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The Starlight Saga, Chapter Eight

Mac O'Roni

     “Oh, dear God…” Phoenix said, taking a sudden tumble in the air, but catching herself before she crash-landed.
     “Jean, what is it?” Storm asked, worried.
     “It’s Gambit…he just…I don’t know, but dear Lord, such rage! I’m terrified, Ororo. I’m afraid he might really hurt someone.”
     Storm shook her head, full sable lips compressed and nearly white with her own concern. “No. No, I do not believe that my brother is dangerous, even now. I refuse to believe that.”
     Jean shrieked and took another short tumble as her telepathy picked up on the first explosion, the one that effectively silenced Phil and Don Everly in their nasal whinings about how horribly they were going to be punished for falling asleep at the movie theater with Little Susie. “He just blew something up, Storm. It was a tremendous blast, I can’t believe he wasn’t hurt himself.”
     They were still too far from town, apparently, to see the explosion, but Logan’s keen ears were not required to pick up the sounds of the blast. “Geez-Louise,” he uttered. “Talk about yer friggin’ A-Bombs. Kid’s gonna turn Salem Center into a big smokin’ crater if we don’t do somethin’ about this soon.”
     “The question, my friends, is what?” Hank said. He looked utterly helpless. “If what you say is true, Wolverine, and I have no reason to doubt you now if I ever did, there is no way the four of us can apprehend our Acadian Apocalypse.”
     Another high-pitched shriek from Phoenix as Mr. Pot Gut’s shotgun went up like a Roman candle.
     “You don’t really think…” Storm’s face was a study in despair. McCoy’s comparison of her brother to the mutant who had tried, and nearly succeeded (and in one permutation of time, had succeeded), to end the world of man and mutant as it was known today completely floored her.
     “I’m afraid so, Ororo,” a new voice, elegant, educated, and Oxford said. Professor Charles Xavier moved to join them, golden hover chair moving soundlessly over the asphalt. “Remy is hardly himself, as you told me yourself in our conversation this afternoon. I came as quickly as I could.”
     He turned the chair to face them. “I was unaware of the full extent of the problem, as were you all. But now I know a great deal more than I did—more, indeed, than I truly want to know. Gambit is no longer in control of his body, his powers—something much older, and far more powerful, is.”
     “You mean…possession? Like a demon?” Jean was flummoxed at the suggestion.
     “No, not exactly. More like Dissociative Identity Disorder. Not even that, not in a psychologist’s sense. Remy…is not, and has never really been, Remy. But it isn’t a mental disorder. His current condition is, however, exacerbated by recent unfortunate events, in association with painful past life experiences.”
     “Professor, what do you—” Hank began, but a sudden sharpening of the Professor’s expression cut him off without word or gesture.
     “Phoenix, do you..?” Xavier asked.
     She concentrated. Then her eyes opened very wide. “Yes.”
     “Sinister. He’s after our Cajun,” Xavier said, and his voice was very grim indeed.
     Logan growled ferociously, and sprang away down the road as fast as his stocky body could move—which was deceptively swift, though not quite on par with how quickly and easily his erstwhile paramour had been running over the same ground before him. His fear and anger at the knowledge that Sinister was tailing Gambit overrode any sense of caution and he was lost to a reckless abandon bordering on one of his wildest feral states. Hank was ready to follow him but Professor Xavier held him back merely by raising a hand.
     “No, Henry. It is too dangerous. Wolverine is made reckless by his love for the boy and his own passionate nature. Do not put yourself in the same position. You are capable, my friend, but not so capable in such a situation as Logan.”
     The professor thumbed the com button on his hover chair. “Cyclops, assemble the full team, code Omega.”
     “Professor?” Summers’s voice was tinny and shocked over the communications device. “Where are you?”
     “Meet us in Salem Center. Don’t ask questions, Scott, just do it.”
     “Yes, sir. Cyclops out.”
     “Code Omega?” Storm’s voice was weak and high. She sounded nothing at all like the powerful, confident woman they all knew her to be. “Surely he’s not…Remy can’t be…”
     “An Omega mutant? I would not count on that, Ororo. He has not yet exhibited a fraction of his full power tonight, and I for one am not willing that he should be given the opportunity.”
     “Professor, we’re not going to…hurt him, are we?” Hank’s face was worried.
     “I am not prepared to swear to anything we may be forced to do tonight, Henry,” Xavier said. “We will, of course, do everything in our power to make certain that no one is hurt this night, but I will not make any promises that I can not keep. The fate of the world is more important to me than the fate of one mutant, as much as it pains me to admit it. But come, we must make our rendezvous with the X-team.”
     They sped into town, Phoenix ahead of the others, hoping to catch up to Logan and calm him before he could hurt anyone. She could not find him; they had been detained too long. She tried to link to him telepathically, but he must have been fully feral by that time because she could not contact him at all. She communicated her fears telepathically to the professor.
     I know, Jean. I’m worried as well. But there is nothing we can do. Wolverine is on his own.

     Wolverine’s senses were keyed to their most sensitive pitch. So focused was he on the scent trail he was following that he never noticed when that scent became overlaid with a second, unfamiliar scent. A smell that would have, had he been aware of it, told him everything Professor Xavier had left unsaid. A smell that might have managed to quail even his courageous heart.
     He was aware when the smell of the Sabretooth clone lapped the scent of his love, his Remy. His hackles rose in rippling waves and a throat-rending growl ripped itself out of his chest. He tore straight through a crowd of curious onlookers and leaped the yellow police tape cordoning off a crime scene. “Hey, you! Stop!” a young police officer yelled, but the feral snarl the Wolverine directed at him forestalled any idea the man might have had about giving chase. He leaped onto the roof—the roof of Mr. Fix-It, the handy mechanic who was now short a cheap radio and an expensive toolbox full of God alone knew how many dollars worth of tools—and cast about for the scent. Then he was off again, following his lover’s agile roof-hopping smell with no difficulty whatsoever. If he had not been so completely out of control of his animal nature, he could not have done so.
     He finally caught up with him, on the far side of town where the tallest buildings were. It was much harder going here, the rooftops unevenly spaced and the buildings of varying heights. Still, his progress was slowed only a little, and Gambit had at last stopped running.
     He was above the tallest building—literally above it, for his feet were high in the air. He hung suspended from nothing, his brilliant red body glowing like a beacon, his head thrown back, his arms extended at his sides. He looked like an angel, or a devil, come to avenge or to destroy. He was utterly beautiful, and utterly oblivious to every earthly thing.
     This last fact was evidenced by his complete lack of attention to the massive, growling figure crouched beneath him on the roof. Sabretooth.
     The clone had followed him cautiously, smelling the dangerous new scent that Wolverine had, in his passion, ignored. Now, with his prey dangling so provocatively above him, he was still cautious—something was seriously wrong with LeBeau, and although he did not like to admit it even to himself, Sabretooth was scared. But his Master was waiting, his prey was seemingly unaware of him, and if he failed he would not be rewarded. He wanted his reward very badly, even now—he’d missed his sweet little Suzette since her escape. She would have to be punished, of course, once she was back where she belonged—not too badly, or Sinister would be angry with him. But there were a lot of punishments he could impose without incurring the Master’s wrath, and they could be quite interesting even if there wasn’t a lot of blood involved.
     The clone crouched down, preparing his tremendous muscles to spring. He jumped.
     A small, growling bullet hit him in the stomach. Foot-long claws ripped at his thick, furry hide. The force of the collision slammed him out of the air and down onto the rooftop, where he cracked his hard skull against the brick ledge.
     Leaving the unconscious clone as unimportant, Wolverine powered his stocky, powerful body off of the bigger mutant’s chest and into the air. He hit Remy high in the chest as though gravitationally drawn to his body in spite of the altitude the Cajun had reached, and together they plummeted out of the sky.
     Growling, sweating, fierce, Wolverine did the only thing that came naturally. He began licking the young man’s beautiful, crimson-lit face.
     Licks became kisses as Logan, the man, slowly replaced the Wolverine. “Wake up, kid,” he growled. “C’mon, Remy, come back to me.”
     Gambit was wholly unresponsive. Choked with emotion, Logan’s voice continued its rough crooning. “Remy, c’mon, kid. I’m here, I’m here for you. Come back.”
     Storm settled on the roof beside him. “Is he all right, Logan?” she asked. “Are you?”
     “I don’t know, ‘Ro. I don’t know.
     “Come on, kid,” Logan pleaded. “Come back, will ya?”
     He lifted the young man up by his shoulders and shook him, trying to jostle a response out of him. Any response. Nothing.
     The Blackbird came to a hovering standstill above them, and the full team poured out through the hatch in the underbelly. Beast immediately went to kneel behind Remy’s head, propping the Cajun up. “He’s gone, isn’t he?” he asked the Canadian. “We were too late.”
     “No!” Logan growled, voice trembling. “No, we can get him back. We can still get him back, it’s not too late.”
     Professor Xavier moved up beside them, fingers at his temples. Phoenix was right behind him, also attempting to read the young man’s mind. “He’s still there,” she said. “Or rather, something is. My God, it’s…absolutely ancient. This is...this is what I saw when I was in his mind, that's why he had such a long memory trail. But what is it, Professor?”
     “It’s Gambit,” Professor X said. “And more than Gambit. He’s retreated deep within himself, but his shields are down and I believe we can contact him. Jean, come with me: we need to reach him, need to let him know his friends are here for him.”
     “I’m ready, Professor,” Phoenix responded, closing her eyes and entering the astral plane just as the Professor did.
     As soon as their astral projections touched the young man’s ancient mind, however, something unprecedented happened. With a blast of hot, brilliant blue light, the core of memory and self exploded outward past them, blasting them back to themselves with incredible violence of force.
     “Oh, my stars and garters,” Beast exclaimed, and the rest of the team concurred in their own unique terms. The tiny ball of blazing blue light conglomerated in the air above Gambit’s face, drawing itself out of his eyes, his mouth, and even his ears and nose. Then it shot into the night sky, too fast to follow—but they could still see it, for as it ascended ever further into the heavens, it grew larger and hotter and brighter. It grew so large and so bright that eventually it lit up the sky like noon-time—but a strange day it was, coming as it did in the middle of the night, and with a sun of blue light instead of yellow. And then, as swiftly as it had appeared to expand, the ball began to diminish, until at last it was just one more bright pinprick of light in the starry night sky, hundreds or even thousands of light years away.
     “My God, what is it?” Jean asked.
     “It’s Gambit,” the Professor said, quite calmly under the circumstances.
     “How…how can that be?” Storm asked, staring up into the heavens to the place where the new star now burned, brighter than any other star in the night sky.
     “I do not know,” the Professor said. “I only know that—good Heavens, look!”
     They could not help but look. The stars were converging on that bright pinprick that had been their comrade, moving in and hovering around it as though in greeting to a long-lost friend.
     “This is impossible,” Beast breathed. “It takes hundreds or even thousands of years for the light of the stars we see at night to reach our eyes—what we’re seeing couldn’t be happening tonight, and not all at once.”
     “Perhaps, Doctor,” the Professor said, “when a star finally moves, the speed of light has nothing whatsoever to do with it.”
     “Gambit…is a star?” Jubilee asked, thunderstruck.
     There was a long silence, and then Storm rose into the sky without a breath of wind to lift her.
     “Yes,” she said, “and now I know what Tante Mattie meant. I know what I must do to bring him back to us.”
     “’Ro, what are you—” Logan began, but he cut himself off when a similar ball of light—yellow instead of blue—coalesced outside of the woman’s body and shot off into the night sky, once more temporarily turning night into day.
     “Holy Jesus,” Logan breathed.
     “I don’t understand,” Jean said. “What is going on here?”
     “I don’t know,” Professor Xavier said. “But I trust Ororo knows what she is doing.”
     The Sabretooth clone rose out of unconsciousness to the sound of those words. Careful not to make any sound or movement to give himself away, he carefully opened one eye. The Runt and the Beast had LeBeau cradled in their arms like a baby. How sweet. Near them, that white-haired witch Storm was hanging in the air the same way LeBeau was earlier, glowing all over like him, only white instead of red. She looked about as gone as he did.
     But she was unimportant, as were the rest of the X-Men, and the reason why they were all looking up into the sky like idiot star-gazers. The only thing that mattered was LeBeau—Master wanted him, and so did Sabretooth, and best of all, he didn’t smell like that scary blue smell anymore.
     He leaped to his feet in a single catlike motion, roaring like a tiger, straight for the young man propped up between the two X-Men. The weather witch was in his way, so he swatted her down with his big, clawed paws. She crumpled to the rooftop in a spreading pool of blood, blind white eyes sparking dying lightning.
     Wolverine leapt up to meet him, claws extended, but both mutants were stopped dead in their tracks by the sound in the air around them; raging, atomic fury glowing blue-hot and getting close. The sky was lit once more by that blazing, enormous blue sun, and soon the very air they breathed into their lungs was scorching hot. The blue light poured itself back into the Cajun’s body, and he became too hot to touch. Beast dropped him and backed away in self-defense.
     The body rose into the air, pulsating with deadly blue heat. No longer was this the young man they’d known; that man had been as a red dwarf to this blazing blue giant—his handsome young face was contorted and made ancient in rage.
     His cry was not one of animal fury—it was far too deadly, too terrifying for that. It was the cry of a star going supernova, all heat and rage and hatred. In an instant, twin bolts of energy like solar flares burst from his eyes to consume the Sabretooth clone where he stood. There were not even ashes to mark that there had once been a living being there at all.
     The X-Men all scrambled to get out of this awesome creature’s way. He paid no attention to any of them; instead he drifted down beside the fallen figure of Ororo Munroe. He gathered her up in his arms and held her.
     Instead of being vaporized by his heat, she seemed to become a part of him; the blue aura of starlight radiance surrounding him extended to envelop her. A flash of light so brilliant that it seemed like it should have flash-fried them all and her claw-torn abdomen was completely healed.
     But even then, he was angry. He rose up into the air again, still holding Storm’s limp form, and there was no place to escape the terrible heat of his vengeance. Everything; buildings, earth, people, even the very air, began to glow blue-hot as though he were charging the world like one of his playing cards.
     “Remy, don’t do this!” Beast cried. “Please!”
     “Stop it, kid!” Logan shouted at the same time. “You don’t want to do this!”
     Why should I spare this pitiful planet? This sentence entered their minds in many voices, in many languages. In spite of the utter lack of accent in any of those voices, it was obvious who was speaking.
     “Because…because it’s your home,” Beast said, lamely.
     The telepathic voice laughed, a chilling sound that was seemingly bigger than the whole world. Not my home. Never my home.
     “But it’s ours,” Professor Xavier said. “It’s the home of your friends.”
     A star has no friends. A star has only the Brethren.
     “The Brethren?” Phoenix asked, “Who are the Brethren?”
     We are the Brethren. Blue, yellow, red, and white. Brothers and sisters all.
     The heat increased—not enough yet to kill, only enough to wrench each man, woman, and child in the world to their knees in gasping pain.
     Stop, brother! This new voice, or voices to be more precise for it too spoke in many languages at once, was as familiar yet completely alien as the first. A bright yellow star came streaking back to earth, reabsorbing itself into the body of Ororo Munroe. Do not do this terrible thing—you are not a destroyer of worlds!
     This world is nothing but hatred and ignorance, sweet sister, the first voices said. It does not deserve to exist.
     That is not your decision to make, dear brother. Or have you forgotten all that you taught us when the universe was young?

     The temperature dropped slightly, but the world was still engulfed in blue flame. I was a fool.
     You were a leader! Our great teacher! Brother, every star in the universe looked to you for guidance—you were the Wise One, the Ancient One! You are the Secret-Keeper, who knows the answer to the Great Mystery! When this body dies and you return once more to your place at the center of the galaxy, you will have to account for what you do here today. You will have to pay for any evil you wreak on these poor helpless creatures—you taught us that yourself! You taught us that the Brethren must never intentionally harm the weak. These creatures are the weakest of the weak, brother! And what of those among them who may be our deceased Brethren in mortal form, as you and I have been, waiting for death to allow them rebirth in the skies? If you destroy this planet, you will destroy them as well!

     The color suddenly dropped out of the world. It took a long time for the shell-shocked X-Men to realize that this phenomena could be explained by the fact that the world was no longer glowing. The air was again cool and breathable.
     I’m sorry, the first voice said. I lost control.
     That’s all right, brother. Even you are permitted a lapse of temper. You have done no permanent harm—except for the loss of one clone; no less than might have happened at any point tonight.

     "Who are you?” Phoenix asked. “Really?”
     We are your friends, Jean. We are Remy and Ororo, the second telepathic voice returned.
     Though our full names are somewhat…different, the first voice said, now slightly amused. My name is— and he said something long and complex and unreproducible, though the first part of it did indeed sound like “Remy.” The next thing he said was again in many voices and languages. It means “the witness.”
     “And what…what are you witness to…Remy?” Beast asked.
     The creation of the universe, Ororo’s star-voice said. Remy is the oldest brother—he was the only sentient being before the great Becoming.
     “You were there to…to witness Creation?” Beast said, awestruck. “The questions you could answer!”
     Remy smiled. No, my friend. I will not answer the questions in your mind. “Life needs a little mystery,” he quoted.
     Do not feel bad, Hank, Ororo’s star-voice said. He will not tell any of the Brethren exactly what happened, either. That is why we call him the Secret-Keeper. He will only say that it was beautiful.
     And it was. Can you imagine the beauty of sudden
existence, when before there had been only yourself, spread out amongst the nothingness alone and empty? Never in all my many billions of years of sentience have I seen anything to match it.
     “What was…is…it like?” Jubilee asked shyly. “Being a star?”
     Dull, he said promptly. Life is everlastingly long, and there is very little to do except burn. We do not permit ourselves to actively affect the existence of the creatures who populate our planets—your lives are short, but provide great interest to us. You do many things we do not. Eat, sleep, love…
     When we die,
Ororo continued as he trailed off, we are reborn for a short time as mortals, typically with no memory that we ever were something greater. When our mortal span is over, we reclaim our place in the universe as the Brethren we once were.
     In the ordinary run of things,
Remy’s star-voice now said, blue stars like myself burn hot and fast and relatively briefly before our bodies burn out and we must die. I lasted significantly longer than normal for a star of my size and heat. I only burned out after…after I lost my dear sister.
     He reached out for her hand, and she clasped his affectionately. I was much younger. You know of sister star systems, of course, Hank. I was a yellow star, and quite tiny compared to Remy. I hid quite in his shadow, though our combined radiance would have made us seem like a single, exceptionally bright star in the heavens from Earth. I burned out long before my natural time, she continued.
     I was grieved at the loss, Remy said. It is a rare and wonderful thing, having so close a sister. Stars spend most of their time far, far away from each other—although we can communicate easily with each other over such distances, it is quite different to being within range of your brother or sister’s warmth and light. I vowed to follow her, and allowed myself to die. Hence, I was reborn here on Earth as a younger man than my baby sister. I also retained access to far more of my memories of life as a star than is usual—it caused me some problems in life, but has also kept me relatively unscathed through the hardest parts.
     “This is so fascinating,” Beast said. “I wish I could marshal my thoughts—there are so many things I should ask you, but I don’t know where to begin.”
     We do not have time, Henry, Ororo said. Although Remy was never as acclimated to mortal life as I, and his body is conditioned to the heat of a cool red star, it cannot long withstand the heat of a blue star. And my own body is rapidly wearing down from my own heat. We must reduce to mere memories soon, and become Storm and Gambit again.
     Logan stepped up and laid a tentative hand on Remy’s foot. “Do come back, Gambit,” he said. “Don’t go back to the stars just yet. I’m sorry I hurt you. I never meant to. I love you.”
     Remy smiled, a bright flash of light without heat. I know, Logan. And that is, at first, why I felt the need to leave this planet, before the mortal part of me wanted to run away as much as the rest of me. Here on Earth, I deemed to experience first-hand as many of those mortal pleasures that had long fascinated me as I could. But a star does not love with the love of passion—only mortals are capable of such a feeling. As a mortal, I knew how to love you in return, but as a star, I was afraid of giving too much of myself away to another that I knew would be dead and dust long ages before I next returned to mortal existence. Like I said, retaining so much of my star-self has caused me problems.
     But, I must berate myself for my cowardice. There is no excuse for my behavior—and in the end, I put all your lives in danger with my regrettable temper. Forgive me, my friends. And my loves. He took Logan’s and McCoy’s hands in his. Yes, you too, Doctor. For I know the truth in your heart. In this state, you can hide nothing from me. You love me, both of you. And I wish to love you both in return.

     Jaws that had been slowly rehinging themselves dropped once more as the full import of these words sank in. “Hank…and Logan…and Remy?” Jubilee gasped. “Talk about the Odd Couple…er, Triple…”
     “Real love, Remy? No more con jobs?” Beast asked, skeptically.
     “Real love, Henri,” he said out loud, the Cajun back in his voice. His body seemed to reabsorb its brilliant blue aura and he sank to the ground, Gambit once more. Ororo settled down beside him, also no longer evidencing her deeper nature.
     “Do you still remember?” Logan asked. “All those things you told us?”
     Remy smiled and put a finger to exhausted lips. “Shh. It a secret.”
     The team piled into the Blackbird and flew back to the mansion, trying to avoid being seen. Remy and Ororo both slept, exhausted by the demands their star-powers had put on their weak mortal bodies. They looked very sweet together, Storm snuggled into his chest, a sleepy smile on his face. Wholly innocent for once in his mortal life.
     Beast had the both of them taken to the MedLab for observation, and Ororo was up and about in twelve hours. Remy, who had burned far hotter and longer, required thirty-four hours to recuperate.
     He finally opened his eyes. Dr. McCoy remembered what had happened the last time Gambit awoke in the MedLab, and even more vividly did he remember what happened to the unfortunate Sabretooth clone—he braced himself for anything.
     Remy smiled. “Hey, doc,” he said, sleepily. “Miss me?”
     Beast grinned. “You know it, Cajun,” he said. “How are you feeling?”
     “Better. Lots, lots better.”
     All this while, Professor Xavier had been monitoring the wider situation created by Remy's near apocalyptic rage. The news ran it top story for days—stories of religious cults committing mass suicide, interviews with witnesses, scientists, politicians, doctors. No answers.
     Lord help us if they ever trace it to us, Professor Xavier thought, but that never happened. Eventually, the events of that night slipped into the back files, showing up occasionally on TV shows like Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Mysteries of the Unexplained. It would be gossiped about and speculated over and investigated for years to come, no doubt, but each day would make it harder to solve. It looked like they were safe: there were no reports from New Salem about any strange aircraft (the Blackbird), or glowing people on rooftops. The story of the exploding shotgun and the demon on the rooftop was relegated to the police logs by the wilder events of that night—and Mr. Pot Gut eventually convinced Mr. Fix-It that it was, in fact, a demon that had destroyed his toolbox, and not a mutant. So much the better. No one need ever know about Gambit and Storm’s little secret.
     At Gambit's first Danger Room session after McCoy released him, Cyclops pulled him aside. “Gambit, I’d like to talk with you for a moment, please."
     “Sure t’ing, Slim,” Gambit said, folding up his bo and stepping out of the Danger Room. “What’s up?”
     “I just want to ask you…how are you feeling, really? I mean, about Sabretooth, and Sinister, and all of that.”
     Gambit laughed. “You askin’ if Gambit goan’ flip out again next time he come ‘crosst ‘em?”
     “More or less, yes.”
     “Don’ worry ‘bout me, Cyke. Don’t reckon I got anyt’ing t’ be ‘fraid of anymore.”
     The young man’s predatory grin, coupled with the brief flash of blue light in those red eyes, set Cyclops’s mind at rest on that score.

     McCoy was so scared he was shedding.
     “Calm down, Hank,” Logan growled.
     “Yah, Henri—y’ gettin’ blue fur all over m’jacket. Jus’ relax, homme. It’ll be fine. We right here beside ya.”
     Beast took a deep breath, then went to beard the lion in her den.
     “Mother,” he said to the plump, smiling woman seated at the table in the bright kitchen, “I have something to tell you. It’s very important.”
     “That went a lot better than I’d expected,” Hank said that night as the three men bedded down together at the hotel.
     “’Course it did, cher. Y’mama love you. Dat don’ change jus’ ‘cause you decide t’ spen’ y’ nights wit’ a couple a guys.”
     “Still, I expected…I don’t know, denial maybe, or tears, or prayers for my soul…a heart attack…”
     “She’s probably getting all that out of the way now,” Logan said. He and Remy were asleep within a half an hour, but Hank lay awake longer, thinking deep, troubled thoughts.
     “Remy?” he said at last.
     A sleepy grumble.
     “Remy?” Sharper.
     “Quoi, cher?” Annoyed.
     “You aren’t just shamming again, are you? This is what you really, really want?”
     A snuggle. “Non, cher. Gambit don’ want anyt’ing t’ do with a big, blue, cuddly teddy bear or a devoted, lovin’ wild man, eit’er of whom would do jus’ about anyt’ing to make sure I’m safe an’ happy. Now, eit’er gi’me some lovin’ ‘r shut up an’ le’me sleep.” Long, talented fingers riffled through soft blue fur.
     Beast grinned in the darkness and turned toward the young man, kissed him tenderly. Logan stirred on his side of the Cajun, and propped up on one elbow to put a beefy arm around Remy’s shoulders and nibble his earlobe.
     “I love you, Gumbo,” he growled.
     “I love you, too, Canucklehead.”
     As Beast continued to kiss Remy—on the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the throat—Logan remained still for a long while, debating with himself. He reached some internal decision and leaned in close to the young man’s ear again.
     “I was born to rock the boat,” he sang in his low, gruff baritone. “Some may sink, but we will float. Grab yer coat—let’s get out of here.
     “You’re my Witness, I’m your mutineer.”

     Remy’s eyes shone in the darkness, and it wasn’t entirely due to those eerie red irises—tears sparkled in those exotic, beautiful eyes as he listened to the love song--their love song.
     “You’re my Witness, I’m your mutineer.
     “I’m your mutineer.”