Title: Truly, Madly, Deeply

Author: Rebop (Email)


Rating: NC-17 for sexual situations, language, and talk of suicide

Pairing/main characters: Gambit/Chamber

Series/Sequel: Sequel to Walking Wounded

Summary: Jono POV. Both Jonothan and Remy try to make sense of the relationship they've suddenly found themselves in. There is no plot to speak of, mookiness abounds, just the way I like it.

Disclaimer: Both Gambit and Chamber are property of Marvel Comics, dearly wish they were mine, but I'm afraid not.

Warning: The story is about a male/male pairing, has some pretty graphic sex and naughty language, mostly because of Jono, the little sod. If this bothers you, please do not read.

Notes: * indicates telepathic speech

Dedication: I am dedicating this story to my dear online buddy, Raietta. Thanks for being my muse, cheerleader and devoted reader. Love and twinkies to you, chere.



Truly, Madly, Deeply

By Rebop


Chapter One - Jono

I feel you
Your sun it shines
I feel you
Within my mind
You take me there
You take me where
The kingdom comes
You take me to
And lead me through Babylon
This is the morning of our love
It's just the dawning of our love

When I was around four, I dreamt that I could fly. I became so convinced of this possibility that one day I went out into the back garden and somehow climbed up to the top of the old lavatory. I still remember that split second of ecstasy when I jumped into the air, followed by huge disappointment when I went splat. Broke me arm, and after I got back from hospital, dad gave me a beating. It wasn't because I scared him, but because he was probably right pissed to discover he had such a moron for a son.
When I was six, I dreamt of having a pony, (fat chance) and at eight, I wanted to be a World Cup football player. Then around ten, I fell in love with music, and that dream completely consumed me. And there had been a possibility of achieving that dream too. My guitar playing got pretty decent, I was in a band that clicked, and we had a record company sniffing around.
Then I literally exploded and all my dreams got very, very simple.
A.E. (After Explosion) dreams were hoping that I could function properly for an entire day. Forgetting for a while that I looked like something out of a nightmare. Praying for a time that I wouldn't feel so bloody, fucking awful.
I certainly never dreamt I would have someone in my life like Remy LeBeau.
He literally came out of nowhere, grabbed me before I jumped off a bridge. And although Remy would probably laugh if I told him this, I can't help but think of him as some sort of angel in disguise. I had this incredible dream where he flew me through the air, glorious heavenly wings and all.
Because of Remy, I suddenly have all my other A.E. dreams answered. I don't want to crawl in a hole and die anymore. I'm actually happy when I wake up in the morning. (Of course, who wouldn't feel completely giddy when you wake up next to someone like him?)
We haven't really known each other for very long, a little more than a week, but it also seems like a lifetime. I can't quite get over my amazement that I could feel so much for someone so quickly. I was cynical even before the accident, and the A.E. period gave me what I thought was pretty tough emotional armor. But all it takes is one look from Remy's red and black eyes and I'm a pool of warm treacle.
There is so much understanding in those eyes, not a trace of pity or "oh, you poor lad". There is also so much hurt and old, old pain. It's a look I know as well as my own half face. Remy has the eyes of someone who has stared into the pits of hell for a very long time.
It's funny, when I first saw Gambit at the Xavier mansion, I thought to meself, "What an arrogant, full-of-himself, pretty boy dick". But I now know it was just one of Remy's masks I saw, just like the ' silent, moody, don't fuck with me' mask I usually wear. It's very scary and wonderful to realize that we've peeked under each other's masks and not backed away. Instead, we recognized each other.
That second night we stayed at that little motel was amazing. We talked a lot, both intensely curious about the other. It was more than a little odd to have this deep, very emotional connection and still be relative strangers.
Remy has had this truly awful, marvelous life. If I had read it in a novel, I would have laughed it off as complete and utter bullshit. But he really did live on the streets as a child, get adopted by this weird criminal secret society, have an arranged marriage, get exiled, become an international jewel and art thief. In comparison, it seems like all I've been doing with me time is watching the telly and scratching me bum. But for some reason this beautiful, exotic man finds me equally fascinating, although for the life of me, I can't understand why. He also finds me hilarious, although this isn't exactly on purpose. He almost fell off the bed one time when I suddenly realized (unfortunately, "out loud" telepathically) that this N'awlins he was going on about was actually NEW ORLEANS. I thought it was some odd province in Canada because he spoke in French. When he was done laughing, Remy explained about Cajuns and Louisiana, and I decided that America keeps getting more and more interesting. It's a right pity that he's been banished from N'awlins or New Orleans, it sounds like quite the place. And I can't imagine being banished from somewhere, I mean, how medieval. As well as fucking horrible. And Remy has had way too many fucking horrible things happen to him.
So it's really nice that I can make him laugh or smile, since I don't think he's had much reason to. He has a really sexy laugh too, all deep and rumbly. ( Then again there isn't much about Remy that isn't dead sexy.) He has an interesting series of smiles, as well. There's the ' c'mere, I want to have my way with you' grin, the cool, devil may care one, and a kind of haughty, know it all one as well. My favorite is the rarest and most fleeting, it's the smile of a sweet, mischievous boy who is up to something quite naughty. That one makes me warm all over and want keep hugging him like there's no tomorrow.
Anyway, we talked and talked and talked. In between times, we took little naps, took a shower together (!) and Remy ate and ate. (Which is good, 'cuz he's terribly thin.) Oh yeah, we also had THE MOST INCREDIBLE, MIND-BLOWING, TRANSCENDENTAL, HOLY FUCK SEX IN THE ENTIRE KNOWN UNIVERSE!!!! I am honestly surprised I haven't gone blind. I did almost pass out once. And I can't quite figure out why this is so fan-fucking-tastic, not that it's exactly a problem, mind you.
I don't think it's all because it's new, or that I haven't really been physically touched in two years, or because I'm with a man for the first time, even though they certainly are factors. Remy, also, is gorgeousness personified, he even has beautiful elbows, if that's possible. The sight of him naked actually makes me dizzy. He also is a very experienced, generous lover, with hands and a mouth that can drive me completely wild. And there's also that empathy. Emma Frost always pooh-poohed empaths, said they were second class psi's. Well, Emma obviously never slept with one. Dear god.
But that's still not quite it. I think the real reason; the real frightening, wonderful reason that it's so good is that for the first time I'm with someone I truly care about. And who really cares about me. I honestly thought I had that with Gayle, but there were so many twisted, bad parts to our relationship, I never got this close to her. I guess for the first time in me life I'm not just fucking someone. How incredible. How scary.
It's a bit startling to think that this all happened to me with a man. I've known I was bi for a long time, but could somehow never quite work up the nerve, despite that one disastrous incident with Vic, the drunken bass player. Anyway, it's a thousand times more amazing than any fantasy I've had. And I'm going to get a perverse amount of pleasure living up to me father's worst expectations. Dear old dad! He hates anyone not white, not British, not C.of E. Mutants and faggots were always high on his personal bigot list. Well, ha, ha. Turns out I'm bloody both! Actually, I should appreciate all he's done for me. Early on I knew he was completely full of shit, so all his attitudes and prejudices were a bunch of garbage too. It was my first step toward wisdom and enlightenment. If dad hated it, it therefore must be good. And gay sex is certainly very, very, VERY good! (Very!)
Interestingly, as much as Remy also seems to love the sex, I don't think that's the most important thing to him. Remy seems to love being just touched, held, cuddled. When we're talking, or lying next to each other, he is always putting his hands somewhere on me. And that kind of behavior normally bothers the hell out of me, I was that way even B.E., Before Explosion.
My family was never much for hugging or any kind of physical affection. (Except Gran, god bless her!) Typical cold Brits. And one of the Major Issues between Gayle and I is that I would only start touching her when I wanted a fuck. Unfortunately, true. (What a terrible jerk I was.)
But Remy doesn't demand it, he just seems to need it, and I have been trying me level best to give it to him. And honestly, it's not much to ask, especially when I consider just how much he's done for me. Like, saved my life, for starters. And it really isn't so bad; I'm learning to enjoy it. And when Rem touches me, it's not like some invasion of personal space. And it's not exactly a chore to run your fingers over someone who looks like an outlaw angel.
Really weird to think that Remy's ex (who I now refer to as that Fucking Murderous Bitch) was a person that could not be touched. Some kind of terrible masochism on Remy's part, I guess. But I, of all people, certainly shouldn't judge someone else's screwed up relationship.
So I'm suddenly still alive, and actually happy to be alive, and I have this beautiful, incredible lover who doesn't seem bothered by how I look in the least. I can't really fathom why he's so attracted to me physically. I wouldn't have thought even if I were in one piece, someone as fantastic as him would have wanted to touch me with a ten foot pole. But he's not sorry for me, and he doesn't have a freaky fetish for mutilated mute people. His empathy tells me his feelings are genuine and true. Which really makes me believe that he's my Guardian angel in disguise. I keep looking for those wings.
So after spending another rather wild night at the infamous Briarwood Inn, Remy and I left barely before checkout time. (He is not an early riser either, thank God!) The plan was to go to New York, take care of some business of Remy's, and fly off to the Bahamas. (How very international jet-setty and James Bond-like.)
Then, in the Briarwood parking lot, I made a complete and total ass of meself.
See, I had no idea what kind of transport Remy had. He knocked me unconscious on the bridge, so I had not a clue. So I just about had an orgasm when he walks up to the most beautiful, fucking Harley Davidson I'd ever seen. It was a total wet dream.
I lost all dignity and basically behaved like Jubilee making a Back Street Boys sighting. When I was done ranting and wowing, I noticed that Remy had this " Jono, you so cute" look on his face. I'm beginning to think I'm turning into his personal version of Hello Kitty. 'Spose it could be worse.
Remy grinned and tossed me the keys. " Why don' you take her out, mon ami."
* Me? * I think I actually mentally squeaked here. If I were Remy, I wouldn't want anyone breathing on that Harley, let alone touching it.
"Why not cher? Y' know how, don't ya?"
* Err?yeah?* Now the situation was ripe for humiliation. I wanted to Remy to know I was somewhat capable, but I had a wave of sheer terror just considering the possibility of denting that machine. At least I was wearing my old motorcycle jacket, the only thing salvageable from my old clothing, so I looked like I belonged. Sort of.
"Well, let's get dis show on de road." Remy's grin got even wider.
So I climbed on, praying to every god in existence I wouldn't make an utter fool of meself. The bike started with just one try, roaring to life like some great, gorgeous dragon. My fear began to ebb a bit because I was falling madly in love with her. Then Remy got behind me, hugging me tightly about the waist and I got all nervous again. But I managed to get the bike out of the parking lot.
I'm afraid I was riding around like a little old lady for a while. Remy gave directions in my ear, since I had no idea where we were. We got on a little, winding backcountry road, and Remy hugged me even tighter. Then he said, " Open her up, mon ami. See what she can do."
I hesitated for a second, and then wondered what I was worrying about. So I let her go, and it was bloody fantastic! And it suddenly occurred to me just how great this all was. It was a clear, crisp autumn day, and I was on this incredible bike, and my lover was riding with me, holding me. How did it get so perfect all of a sudden?
With each mile, I got more and more confident. A regular Peter Fonda, I was. I started taking corners like a pro, the wind was in my hair, and every so often Remy would use his empathy to tell me how he was feeling. It was the same as me. Really fucking good.
Then all of a sudden, I started to feel, well, a little too fucking good. Maybe it was the vibration of the bike, or the feel of Remy's long, hard body pressed tight against my back, but I started to have some rather naughty thoughts, which in turn gave me a huge stiffy. I tried to calm down, because I was, after all, supposed to be in control of the Harley. The last thing I wanted to do was end up in a ditch and explain to Gambit it was because I had a monster hard-on.
I tried to settle meself down by thinking unsexual thoughts without much luck. Then Remy breathed into my ear, " Turn down dat road. Now!"
There was a definite tone of command and I immediately did what he asked. I pulled over on a dirt road, and Remy had me take the bike into a big grove of oak trees near a cow pasture. All the while I was thinking, "Shit, fuck, crap," hoping against hope that Gambit wasn't pissed because I had suddenly gotten all clumsy. Then I became mortified when it dawned on me that Remy knew exactly what was going on, being an empath and all. Shit.
"Turn off de bike." Remy barked, and I started to get all nervous, no idea what to expect. I cut the ignition, and Remy immediately swung off. I looked at him, and saw to my relief that he wasn't at all mad, although he was making every effort to appear stern. But there was too much amusement in those red eyes. He grabbed my arm. " Get y' ass off dere, Misieu Starsmore. Need to give y' a real talkin' to."
I almost sent the bloody Harley over, and my knees were shaking as Remy dragged me over to this big tree. He shoved me against it, and held me by the shoulders. Then he put his foxy, sharp face very close to mine, our noses almost touching. There was a dangerous, exciting heat in those red eyes. " You been driving me crazy for de last ten miles, little boy. Jus' what is Gambit gonna do wit' you?"
* I, err, I ?* I couldn't really answer; I was really struggling, at this point, to remain upright.
He smiled wickedly, and his warm hand stroked the side of my face. " Shush, little boy, shush." Then he kissed me ever so softly, and his purring, deep voice got even lower. " Take down y' pants, cher."
Ohmygod. If I wasn't aroused before, I certainly was REALLY aroused now. As well as a bit freaked that all this was happening right out in the open. In the back of me mind, I thought, " Well, this is one for the Penthouse Letters section." As if Penthouse would ever print anything to do with two male mutants doing the nasty. Maybe if two drunken stewardesses were also involved.
My hands were trembling so badly that it took awhile to get my belt unbuckled and me trousers down. But I finally managed. And all the while Remy is hypnotizing me with this cat about to eat the canary stare. Blimey.
He took one long look at my aching erection and smiled very wide. " Oooh, Jono, y' got a real problem dere, don't you baby?" He moved close to whisper in my ear. I could smell his cologne and his soft; dark red hair tickled my face. " What y' want Remy to do about it?" His smooth voice sent a tremor down my spine. I closed my eyes, praying I wouldn't keel over. *Whatever Remy wants. * I was finally able to say.
He chuckled. " Good answer." Then he delicately licked my ear, tongue probing, teeth nibbling. I groaned a very shuddery groan. He then covered my face with gentle kisses that tongue of his exploring my eyebrows, eyelids, nose, and forehead. He even kissed my bandages, which I always find amazing. Then he slowly kissed his way down my chest, kneeling before me. He stroked my quivering, bare thighs, kneaded my ass with his long, tough fingers. He then lifted up my shirt, and his mouth found my naked stomach. Each touch of that hot, wet mouth was sheer ecstasy. And there are no words to describe what I felt when he started to slowly suck on my balls. He carefully rolled them in his mouth, playing and teasing. My cock throbbed, and I felt precum begin to dribble out.
By this time, I was really moaning, and saying some pretty unintelligible things, off me head, really. Remy continued to taunt me, mouth and tongue so close to my poor cock, but not touching. Remy finally finished with my balls, and then he stopped. He looked up at me, eyes crinkling a bit. "Now, Jonothan Starsmore, " he said. " Here's where I really give y' dat talkin' to."
I was in a bit of an erotic haze when he ran his tongue up and down the length of my penis. Then he took the head in his lips; teeth deliciously scraping a bit. I felt a surge of both incredible pleasure and dizziness, and then he halted, teasing me some more. He lapped the end of my penis, sighed, " Y' taste so sweet, cher." And without warning, he took my entire length in his beautiful mouth.
And that's where I had the Moment. I know it's sort of ridiculous and possibly blasphemous to have, what do you call it, an epiphany, when someone is going down on you. But I did. And it really was more sort of a Buddhist like moment then a Christian moment, anyway. I mean, I just became so aware of everything. I felt the bark of the tree as I clutched on to it, the warmth of the sun, a soft breeze. I smelled the decaying oak leaves and the grass. And I had Remy's elegant hands tightly gripping my hips as he did the most unbelievable things to me with his tongue. He also sent me an empathic message; so full of affection and naughty delight it made me reel. And I had this great burst of happiness, not really coherent, mind you. But in essence, I said to myself over and over, alive, alive, alive!
Yeah, I know, pretty over the top. Needless to say, I got off like a Guy Fawke's rocket, thought I'd never stop coming. I saw stars, and almost toppled right over. St. Jono and the Divine Blowjob. Remy caught me before I hit dirt, and he held me upright as I laughed and shivered into his chest. He hugged me tightly in his strong arms, talked in French into my hair. I guess one thing that has surprised me about this whole experience is how gentle Remy is. I didn't think men would be that way with each other. Dunno why not, and now I've started to crave it and try to give it back.
Gambit got me cleaned up a bit with his shirttail, got my trousers back on. By this time, I was back to me right mind. I touched his face, grazed a high cheekbone and ran my fingers down his long jaw. * Thank you, love. Yer too good to me. *
" You worth it, sweet." He playfully bit one of my fingers.
* Now it's my turn to be good to you. * I ran a hand down his chest. * I imagine that you could use a bit of a talking to as well, Mr. LeBeau. * I lightly touched the front of his jeans, felt heat and a definite hardness. He shuddered * Yeah. A real serious talking to. *
Remy grinned hugely. "Blue steel. Cat couldn't scratch it." This broke me up; it was the best description of a hard on I'd ever heard. Too bad I can't tell Angelo, he'd just love it.
When I finally stopped laughing, I told him to turn round, and he leaned all gorgeous six feet or so against me, both of us propped up by the tree. I started to stroke his face, tickling his ears with one hand. With the other, I touched his flat belly, his narrow hips, those long, racehorse thighs. Remy is very vocal, which is lovely, he sighs and whispers encouragement, groans when particularly pleased. I don't have to guess what's working, and this has helped my confidence as a lover most tremendously. Plus it's as erotic as hell, that deep Cajun voice, all moany and hot.
I put my fingers in his mouth, and he sucked on them greedily, licking and biting. My fingers wet, I put my hand under his shirt, and found that amazing chest. I felt his jutting ribs, and tight pecs, the soft hair. I could feel the rapid beating of his heart under warm, satin skin, and then I started to tease his nipples. They are so very sensitive; I coaxed them into hard little peaks. Remy hissed, the muscles in his jaw worked as I tortured him.
I finally let my other hand travel down his stomach, caressing in circles, going lower and lower. I loosened his belt, slowly pulled down the zipper. " Oh cher.." Remy sighed, his body trembling in anticipation. I lightly traced the outline of his cock through his silky underwear, he was so very warm. I stroked for a bit, letting the friction drive him crazy. Remy is truly a wondrous, shameless creature. He closed his eyes and almost purred, thrusting his dick towards my hand like an ecstatic tomcat.
Then I stopped my attentions on his cock for a while, instead, I decide to play with with his ass. Like the rest of him, it's incredible too, so hard you could bounce a shilling off it. I stuck my hand under the elastic of his boxers, felt those muscles play under my fingers. Then I got incredibly bold, I let my fingers explore the cleft of his ass, finding that oh so sensitive area. " Jono, Jono, Jono?" Remy murmered over and over again. He was starting to pant a bit. I then yanked off his underwear completely. His erection quivered, and the sweet fluid dripping from the head indicated the depth of his pleasure. I moved my hand over to a hipbone, and then played with the dark red curls surrounding that gorgeous cock. When I grabbed his balls, Remy gave a cry, and then he bit his lip. " Cher, you drivin' me around de bend, here."
I laughed. * That's the whole point, love.* I let him moan some more, then I took his throbbing cock in my hand. Remy made a sharp "Ah!" sound as I slicked the precum all over his shaft. God, it felt so good to have my hand on him like that, to know I was giving him the same electric, roller coaster thrill he gave me.
Well, I may not be able to give a blowjob, but as far as hand jobs are concerned, I'm king. Years of practice mate! If you put a lump of coal in my hand, in a minute, I can give you back a diamond. I started to slowly stroke his cock, building the rhythm. Remy got suddenly very quiet, he was shaking all over. Then I used the secret weapon, something I discovered quite by accident; Remy loves it when I talk dirty to him. And fortunately or unfortunately, I'm also good at that.
* Oh, Remy, yer so nice and hard, bet you want to cum sooo bad?*
" Ahh, oui, amoureux, s'il te plait, oui!" Remy was getting quite wild now, he bucked his hips like a stallion, I almost lost hold. I went faster and faster, and his words became unintelligible a mish mash of French and English.
* Then cum for me love, cum hard, I know you are dying to, you're so ready, I can feel it, cum for me, cum for Jono, love?*
Remy grabbed my legs, fingers digging in fiercely. He was almost at the point of no return. Then his body went all rigid, he cried out, "Mon Dieu!" and his hot seed was suddenly pumping out all over my hand. And when Remy is climaxing, he is indescribably beautiful. I think of angels again, but I suppose that's blasphemous too. But that's what he looks like to me, flushed and sweat streaked, head thrown back, eyes half closed, the most divine ecstasy on that wild, exotic face. It is the most heavenly sight in the whole world, and I have been allowed to witness it.
I had to hold tight to his waist, his legs giving out and going to rubber. He gasped for a moment, and then gave me a wide, blissful smile. I fussed and clucked over him a bit, like he had me, and I tried to clean him up. When I got him back to rights, he buried his face on top of my head. " Ah, Jono, Jono?my sweet baby?" I hugged him tight, savoring the moment.
Then we heard a very loud noise behind us, an unmistakable "Moo". We both turned round, and there at the fence was this very baffled looking Jersey, staring at us with wide brown eyes. And for some reason, this struck me as hilarious, this poor, innocent bovine witnessing a bizarre human mating ritual. I just lost it, and Remy really started laughing too. We sort of fed off each other, and pretty soon we were both rolling on the leafy ground, getting all muddy in the process. I didn't care; it was wonderful to laugh like that, I honestly couldn't recall the last time I did.
I finally got meself under some kind of control. (Although I couldn't look in the direction of the cow, I would have started all over again.) I glanced over at Remy; and that's when I saw that precious, mischievious child smile for the very first time. Then he hit me with a face full of wet leaves.
I of course had to retaliate, and this escalated into a goofy battle with us throwing leaves at each other like two idiot children. I don't think I've ever been this carefree and stupid, even as a kid. We both got completely filthy, and I got a bunch of leaves stuffed down my trousers. I still had some there when we hit New York.
We got to the Big Apple in the late afternoon, Remy taking over the bike, as I obviously couldn't be trusted. I was a bit limp from having " a talking to" anyway.
Remy headed straight for this rather grand hotel near Central Park, the Sherry-Netherland. After we parked the bike and entered the lobby, I noticed some people were staring at us. I suddenly realized how scruffy we were, muddy, windblown and dropping a few leaves on the polished marble floor. Remy managed to still look handsome and cool despite the scruffiness, however. I just looked scruffy and weird.
This is where I first got introduced to an aspect of Remy I now call the Prince of Egypt. We went up to the front desk, and I started to feel incredibly conspicuous, while Remy was blithely oblivious. We stood at the desk for quite awhile, and I picked a couple of leaves off his coat to pass the time. He gave me a slight smile.
Finally, someone came over to us and I immediately sensed there was going to be trouble by the way he looked at us. Kind of like you would stare at a dead rat. 'Mr. Benson' was on his nametag, and he had a tight, sour lemon smile.
"How can I help you gentlemen?" His voice was all fakey cheery, and he kept staring at my bandages.
"Like a room, please. Best y' got." Remy stood very straight all of a sudden.
There was a slight pause, and Benson finally tore his eyes away from my face. " You DO have a reservation, don't you sir?"
"Y' full up den?" Remy's voice got very cold, very still, and very imperious all at once. Then he pulled out this charge card, one I'd never seen before, a super duper ultra platinum Express thingie. He started to tap it on the counter. Benson went a bit pale when he saw it, he looked hypnotized by it.
Remy continued to tap the card. " Was told by my broker dat dis was de place to stay when I was in town. Guess I was mistaken." He returned the card to his wallet." C'mon Jono, looks like dey got no room."
Benson went even paler. "Sir- I'm so sorry I gave you that impression! We can most certainly accommodate you." Remy hesitated for a long moment, probably just watching the sweat bead on Benson's upper lip. I was certainly fascinated. "Okay den." He finally said, like he was doing old Benson the biggest favor.
Benson certainly acted like he did. He started to fuss, cluck and hustled around like his shorts were on fire, and it sounded like we were going to end up with the Imperial Suite or something. Remy looked like royalty too, an icy, detached expression on his perfect face. When he finally handed Benson that remarkable card, he gave a taut smile. " Guess y' know where y' can put dat?" A pause. " Binson."
Old Ben flushed red. If he hadn't been such a wanker, I would have almost felt a bit sorry for him. " Yes sir." He said meekly. When Benson turned around Remy said in a most audible voice, " When money talks, people walk, eh, Jono?" Ouch. I nodded, thinking that I'd thought I'd seen it all with Monet and Emma. Well, Remy could give 'em both a few lessons in bitchery.
We finally got checked in, and Benson fell all over himself, wishing us a lovely stay. Remy said nothing, and I was surprised he didn't ask the unfortunate man to kiss his ring. Benson would not have minded, as he was already kissing ass.
Gambit waltzed off, with a dramatic snap of his leather coat. And I Jono, his faithful retainer, trailed behind, carrying the saddlebags.
Our room turned out to be pretty splendid, something that spoiled popstars trash on a regular basis. I turned into some sort of bumpkin, kind of oohing and ahhing over everything. You'd think I'd have been used to posh surroundings since traveling with Emma, who always goes first class, but this was still awesomely luxurious. There was even a Jacuzzi! When I finished making a fool of meself, I noticed that Remy had lost the Prince of Egypt face and was now smiling his 'Jono is so cute" smile. If I had been capable of blushing, I would have.
" Glad y' like de room, cher."
* It's wonderful love, thank you. Think Benson is going to come up and give yer a foot massage later? *
" He should be so lucky. What an asshole." Remy rubbed the back of his neck. " I could use a shower, me."
* What a coincidence! So could I! * I'm really turning into a terrible strumpet, I am. Remy just laughed.
Actually, we behaved ourselves for once. Astonishing too, when you consider that I had Remy all naked and wet right in front of me. But it was just rather playful and sensual. Thought Remy was going to die when about a half pound of leaves fell out of me drawers. Then we jumped into the water together, got delightfully soapy, washed each other's hair. All very PG, although Remy kept dropping the bloody soap and asked me to bend over and pick it up. Ha. As if I were born yesterday! It's sort of nice in a way that everything doesn't have to end up in a massive orgy. (Never thought I'd ever say anything like that!)
Remy got himself wrapped up in one of those big hotel robes afterwards, me in a classic sweats ensemble. He curled up on the bed, which was as big as an ocean liner. He suddenly looked very tired and fragile, and I remembered that he had pneumonia not long ago. Remy, I thought, has gotten very; very good at hiding any kind of weakness or vulnerability, but he still can slip once in a great while. I wondered what kind of effort it took to keep up the front.
I went over and sat on the bed next to him, stroked his still damp, silky hair. * Tired then, mate? Sure yer don't want nothing to eat first? * I said in my best mother henny voice.
He yawned. " Maybe later. Right now, I'd like a nap." He grinned a sleepy grin." Dat bike ride wore me out."
I chuckled. * Want a bit of company, then? *
" Love some, sweet." Another soft, sleepy smile, impossible to resist. I grabbed a comforter, got on the bed, and threw it over the both of us. Remy snuggled very close, and we lay spoon fashion. He held one of my hands, pressed it to his chest. He was fast asleep in a few minutes, like a tired kitten.
I wasn't sleepy at all really, but I discovered that I loved lying there, holding him so close. It was so peaceful. I could hear the distant buzz of the city traffic, watched the dying golden sunlight in the big balcony window, listened to the sound of Remy's deep, even breathing.
I found myself looking at his face, and realized that while Remy was beautiful during sex, he was also beautiful when he was asleep. And his face really changed somehow, all the masks were gone, there was no arrogance, or coldness or pain, just him, the real him. And he was so angelic; it brought hot tears to my eyes. I felt this overwhelming rush of protectiveness and tenderness, an entirely new feeling for me. It's sad that I never got there with Gayle, she was me girlfriend after all. But she was too busy being a bitch while I was being a bastard. And I had real twinges of it with Paige, but I was too fucked up in my head to make anything work.
But Remy, I suddenly thought, I'd fight the whole world for, lie down and die for. What a shocking thought that was. An enormously shocking thought. My heart is still in my chest and it works sporadically, it gave a hard thud. My God. I was in love. Truly, madly,deeply in love.
I'd never said those words to anyone before, never had this incredible, aching warmth go through me. It hurt, it was terrifying, and it was marvelous. I flashed back to my four year old self, standing on top of the back garden lav, looking past our rotted fence and Mrs. Singh's washing on the line, staring up into the clouds and the blue, blue sky. How much I wanted to fly, and it was the same way I wanted Remy, the same desperate exhilaration.
Me being me, of course, my mind was immediately flooded with garbage. " You'll surely fuck it all up." " He'll leave as soon as he finds someone whole." " You're not worth it, Starsmore, he'll find out what a piece of shit you are and hate you for it."
" You don't deserve him, you ugly monster."
But I decided, for once, to not listen to all the messed up voices in me head. Remy was too precious a thing to lose, and I didn't want to drive him away. And I would be brave, and tell him how I felt, not play the stupid, too scared asshole games I played with Gayle and Paige. And Remy being an empath made it all the more terrifying, he might already know. But I vowed I would work up the nerve, say it to his face. Just had to find the right moment.
Remy slept peacefully on, blissfully unaware of the angst festival going on beside him. He still had hold of my hand, and I caressed the warm skin under his robe. I pulled him even closer, my face near the back of his neck. I closed my eyes, drank in his scent, and let myself love him with all my heart. Pretty soon, I fell asleep too.
I woke up much later because Remy was tickling my bare toes. He ordered a massive meal from room service (good) and then we somehow ended up in the Jacuzzi. Where we did not behave. At all.
Remy woke me up surprisingly early the next morning. I was dead asleep and I felt someone pinching my nose. I opened my eyes and saw Gambit all dressed and smiling down at me.
"Got to go sweet, got to met wit de bankers, de brokers, de lawyers. Rather have a root canal, me, but dat's life. I'd ax y' to go wit' me, but all you'd be doin' is parkin' your pretty behind in a waiting room, readin' Forbes magazine." He took my hand and gave me a wad of money, enough to choke a Clydesdale. " No reason why you can't have some fun though."
The money made me feel all weird, but I made myself be gracious. * Thanks, love. Hope it won't take to long, I'll miss you." I sat up and gave him a big hug. Remy kissed me hard, ran his fingers through my already messy hair.
" I'll miss y' too." He pinched my nose again; he loves doing that for some reason. "Behave y'self now."
* Don't count on it, mate. * Remy laughed a big Cajun laugh, kissed me once more, then left.
As soon as he was gone, I felt very lonely and empty. Scary, as the last thing I wanted to turn into would be a clinging vine. Gayle and I used to bicker about this constantly; I began to feel I couldn't wipe my ass without her wanting to watch. So I vowed I wouldn't do it with Remy, we weren't joined at the hip. So I made meself not sit around and pine. Besides, there were some things I really needed to do too.
I got washed and dressed and left the hotel. First place I stopped was a chemists, where I had to get something that would no doubt get me a lot of teasing from Remy. Well, I live to amuse. Then I found stationers, and I got an enormous amount of paper, envelopes, a rather nice pen and a journal. On my way back to the hotel, I saw this intriguing little shop that sold some rather sexy products. Bought a present for Remy. Ha.
I spent the rest of the day back at the hotel, writing letters to my teachers and mates back in Gen X. I wrote separate letters to each of them, apologizing profusely for causing them any worry, and assuring them that I was really okay. And then I had to say I was not coming back. I knew it would drive them all crazy, but I couldn't say anything about what happened after I left the school. Gambit wanted his return to remain a secret, and I wanted to protect him. After all, the Xmen wanted him dead. Miserable hypocritical motherfuckers. They'd better bloody hope they never run into me, especially the Fucking Murderous Bitch.
With the letters, I really tried to speak from the heart, and I'm not really good with words and feelings. But my friends deserved to hear how I really felt, and there were a lot of times I didn't show much kindness or gratitude, caught up in my own shit. I felt really bad that I couldn't write to Penance, I worry about her a lot. Hope they take good care of her, she breaks my heart.
The two hardest letters were to Paige and Angelo. I told Paige that I was sorry I hurt her feelings, and that I had played some head games with her. It wasn't out of meanness though, I was just too afraid and fucked up. Paige is a sweet, lovely girl; I hope someday that she can find someone that will make her happy. Angelo I thanked from the bottom of my heart for being such a wonderful friend. We were the Fabulous Freak Brothers. He should get some kind of award for putting up with my endless pissing and moaning, he never let me down, and his non-stop good humor kept me sane. I lost every one of my friends in London when they found out I was a mutant, so Ange was a godsend. I am really, really going to miss that grey skinned goofball.
After I finished with the letters, I was in a very melancholy mood. I started scribbling in the journal, it always helps. It was the only therapy that my shrinks gave me that worked.
Remy got back around eight o'clock. He looked a bit strained and tired, and God, I was ever so glad to see him. I bounded up like a silly puppy when he walked in the door. He seemed just as glad to see me; I got a big wet kiss and a tight hug. I instantly felt a million times better.
* So, how'd it go then? *
Remy gave a loud, theatrical groan as he threw off his coat. "Lawyers are de most irritatin' species on de planet." He pulled a packet out of an inside coat pocket and then plopped on the bed. "However, dey get de job done. How was your day, sweet?"
I sat down beside him. * All right. Spent most of the day writing letters to Gen X. *
He rubbed my shoulder. "Bet dat wasn't easy-you ok?"
* It wasn't fun, but I'm fine, love. What's in the packet, then? Or is it any of my business? *
Remy smiled, and it was a sort of a nervous smile. "Actually, it is y' business, Jono."
First thing he pulled out were two tickets to the Bahamas, we were leaving the day after tomorrow. I started to get rather excited. He then floored me with the next three items. I suddenly had a passport, ID, and an international driver's license. I couldn't believe me eyes.
* Remy, crikey-how on earth-?*
He grinned wide."Still got some old Thieves Guild connections, cher. Wanted to leave ASAP, didn't want to screw around wit' any fuckin' bureaucrats."
I couldn't stop staring at them. It hadn't yet occurred to me yet how complicated things could without any ID, as I left the Academy with nothing. These were such magnificent fakes too, and I also noticed that I was suddenly 21 years old instead of just 19. I was rather in awe, and I began to wonder just what kind of power and connections Remy Etinne LeBeau had.
*This is pretty incredible, love. Thank you. * I touched his face gently, and he seemed to like the praise. * Can't imagine how on earth you did this, you old scoundrel. I also notice that I can now accompany you to any strip bars you want to hang out at. * I crinkled a smile at him.
Remy gave a wicked chuckle. "Dat was all part of my devious master plan, sweet."
Then Remy gave me two more items, and this is where I did one of the stupidest, most dickheaded things in me whole life. First thing he gave me was a charge card, exactly like the one that so dazzled Benson. It had my name on it. The other item was an account book. I opened it up and discovered that according to the Bank of Manhattan, I was suddenly a very rich boy.
I didn't say anything for quite awhile, I couldn't say anything. I was right stunned. Remy was really tense now, watching me very closely. "What y' t'inkin, Jono?"
*That I can't possibly take this. * I tried to hand them back. * This is incredibly generous of yer, but Christ, it's just too fuckin' much. *
Remy took a deep breath. " Jonothan, I wan' you to really t'ink about this. I know y' a proud person, but-"And if I had kept quiet here and actually listened to him, things might not have escalated. But of course I didn't keep quiet.
* Are yer tryin' to buy me or something, is that it? Is that it?! * Ah, me terrible temper. Got it from my old man, and it has caused me no end of trouble.
"No cher, I'm not, I-"
* Because I'm not for sale! I know I'm not worth much, but I'm no fuckin' whore!*
Remy reacted as if I had slapped him, and his eyes narrowed dangerously, red pupils glowing. I suddenly had the feeling I was treading on very thin ice for some reason.
"You got a big mout' Jonothan!"
Worst, worst thing for him to say. I went nuclear.
* Actually Gambit, I don't! Don't have a mouth at all! And I am NOT your official charity case! So take that bloody charge card and shove it up yer ass sideways! * And with that, I stormed out, all furious. Slammed the door and everything, really hard.


Chapter Two - Jono

I feel you
Your heart it sings
I feel you
The joy it brings
Where heaven waits
Those golden gates
And back again
You take me to
And lead me trough oblivion
This is the morning of our love
This is the dawning of our love

I stormed down the hallway, scared an elderly couple in the elevator with their pet poodle, and finally ended up in the hotel lobby near the piano bar. I sat in an over stuffed chair just seething for a while as some untalented jerk murdered Gershwin. Thank god he wasn't singing, I would have blown the place up.
It took me about an hour to calm down. And as I cooled off and came to my senses, I suddenly began to realize what a complete and total fuck-up I was. It dawned on me slowly what Remy's motives might be, and I was shocked. For he had done something incredibly unselfish and kind, and I had thanked him by kicking him in the teeth.
Remy had to be aware of what my options in life were. And I don't have many. I can't live like a normal person, I can't get a job. Belonging to some spandex group is one possibility, hiding like the Morlocks in some attic is another. That's really it. But Remy had just granted me a third possibity. With all that money, I could live very comfortably, go where I wanted, beholden to no one. And he also severed any tie I had to him. I would never have to ask or beg, I could leave him whenever I wanted. It was an incredibly brave gift. Instead of trying to buy my affection, he had actually set me free.
It truly was the most amazing thing anyone had ever done for me. And I suddenly felt about two inches high, the most ungrateful bastard in the whole freakin' world.
I ran back to the room as fast as I could. When I got outside the door, I had this terrible feeling he might have left, and I wouldn't have blamed him in the least. I opened the door, very scared and a bit sick. I felt a huge gush of relief when I saw him sitting there in a chair near the window. His eyes flicked up to mine, but there was no expression on them. He had his cold, arrogant mask on, and he had been drinking, there was a bottle of whiskey beside the bedside table. Shit.
I closed my eyes for a moment, praying very hard that I would be able to give a good enough apology. Shaking, I sat down on the bed, facing him, forcing myself to look in those enigmatic red and black eyes.
* Remy-yer right. I DO have a big mouth. And a terrible temper. And an unhealthy dose of lower class, stiff-necked Cockney pride. I grew up real poor, me old man was on the dole for years, and taking any kind of charity was the worst sin. But that's not what you were trying to do, and there's no excuse for how I treated you. What you did for me was so wonderful, and I am the worst fucking asshole not to see it. I wish with all me heart that I hadn't hurt you like that, but I did. I am so ashamed of meself, I can't tell yer how much. I owe you my life, I owe you everything, and I hope you'll forgive me for being a complete idiotic prat. I am so sorry, love. *
I braced myself for him to tell me to go straight to hell, but he didn't. Instead, he let out a long breath, and the mask was gone. " Cher, dat was a good apology, one of de best. But I should also apoligize, I went too far-"
I stood up. * No apoligies from you, mate.* I tuned round and bent over, right in front of him * Now give me a swift kick in the ass like I deserve.*
There was a short, barking laugh; an I did get a surprisingly sharp slap on the bum. The he pulled me into his lap. "Brat." He murmered, wrapping me in the hardest, fiercest, hug. He was trembling and again, I was aware of his fragility. I must have scared the shit out of him. What had become of my vow to protect him? I was off to a real rip-roaring start. I hugged him tightly back.
After a long while, Remy lifted up my head so I could look into his eyes. " Should tell y' somet'ing Jono. I love dat stiff necked, Cockney pride of yours. I don' wan' to walk all over you, run your life. I wan' you to be able to tell me to go straight to the devil. I wan' you to be with me because you choose to, not because you have to. Y' understand?"
I nodded slowly. * Took a while to filter in. I'm as thick as the proverbial brick at times. * I touched his cheek * Remy, that the was the kindest, most generous thing in the world. Thank you from the bottom of me heart. Don't deserve it, but I will be grateful until the day I die. *
And here is where I should have said it, the big "L" word, but I didn't. Instead, I burst into a flood of embarrassing tears. Angelo's right, I'm much too emotional for an Englishman. British Embassy finds out, and I'm in a world of shit. Then again, I should give meself a little slack. In the course of a few days, I did have a nervous breakdown, almost commit suicide, and fall crazy in love. So it makes sense that I am a trifle overwrought. Remy just held me through the hysterics, he's getting used to this. At least I don't get snot all over him.
After I finished, we just sat there for the longest while. It felt a trifle ridiculous perched on his lap, but it was so comforting. I rested my head on his shoulder, he stroked my hair. It was quite lovely actually, and I enjoyed the fact that we could be silent together.
I finally broke the quiet with a positively brilliant statement.
*Did yer have dinner then, Rem? * Yeah. I'm turning into his mum.
" Lawyer took me out. Figure wit' all de money I hand over to dem, dey can buy me a meal. I paid for it anyways, he was a boring little weasel."
*Dinner with a weasel. Must have been loads of fun. * I smiled my version of a smile at him. * Well, I've got something that will cheer you up, Father Christmas. I got yer a present. *
"Really?" Remy smiled back, and it was that quick, little boy smile. 'Aha', I thought to meself, Remy likes presents. I filed this information away for future reference. I got up and grabbed a bag, handed it to him. He peered inside, and looked really puzzled. Then I suddenly realized I had handed him the wrong bag, I had given him the one from the chemists. Oh bugger.
Remy pulled out a large pink bottle of Johnson and Johnson's baby lotion. He was trying to be very polite. "Mais, Jono, t'anks." I wished that the floor would swallow me. *Sorry Rem, wrong bloody bag! * I frantically searched the room, found the bottle of message oil that I had gotten him. Remy, by now, was grinning like a monkey. He seemed quite pleased with the actual gift, but he was obviously not going to let the baby lotion thing go.
"So, dis is yours, den, cher?"
I was so fucking doomed. * Err.yeah. 'Fraid so. My skin, like everything else about me, is totally weird. Gets real dry and, uh, baby lotion is, um, the only thing that, um, works. *
Remy looked on the back of that horrid pink bottle. "Says here dat it keeps 'baby's skin ever so soft'. Also prevents diaper rash." Then he started to actually giggle. Remy. Giggling.
I sighed. * Well, I can personally attest to the fact that I have not had nappie rash once since I have been using it. *
Remy just lost it here. Really and truly, a full blown laughing jag. Thought he was going to split or something. And when someone laughs this hard, you can't help but start yourself. Even if it is at your expense.
Remy finally got himself under some kind of control. Then he suddenly grabbed me and threw me on top of the bed. He kissed me, and I felt all wonderful and happy all of a sudden.
"T'anks for de present." I wasn't sure if he was talking about the massage oil or sending him into hysterics. Guess it didn't matter.
* It was my pleasure, love. * I ran my fingers through his satiny hair. * I really am sorry again Rem, for -*
"Hush now, no more apoligizin'. Dat's over and done wit'." He then slid a hand under my shirt, and started to caress my bare stomach. I immediately got all melty and hot.
"Hmm?" he said in a thoughtful tone. " Y' skin does seem awfully dry, cher. Maybe I could do somet'ing 'bout dat."
God help me, now I started to giggle. * Uh, maybe yer could at that, Rem. *
Remy gave me a sweet, very wicked grin, then he pulled my shirt up a bit further. He started to lick the area around my navel, which felt incredibly good, my eyes half closed in rapturous delight. Then I heard this deep Cajun chuckle, and without warning, he blew a very loud raspberry right into my stomach.
I was so utterly unprepared for this that I was just astonished for a few seconds. Then I began to laugh, really, really hard. Remy took total advantage of this hysteria by tickling me. And I am, much to my vast regret, appallingly ticklish.
I tried to fight back, I really did. But Remy is incredibly agile, fast, and a whole lot stronger. I was basically screwed. Soon I was pretty helpless, and Remy showed absolutely no mercy. While I was laughing and writhing around, I also started to lose bits of me clothing. First boots, then socks, then trousers, my shirt, and finally, I was down to me drawers. This last bit of modesty I tried to desperately retain. I knew I would ultimately lose, but I was gonna make him work for it.
Remy was grinning like a hyena during this pitched battle. He tried to pry my hands of the elastic. "C'mon now Jono! Y' jus bein' mule stubborn."
* 'Course I'm being stubborn! It's me middle name! Ahhh! Remy! You bastard! Not the stomach again! Shit! Ahhhh! *
Remy then really nailed me right at the base of my rib cage; with his other hand he gave my poor boxers a hard yank. I held on for dear life, shrieking with laughter. There was a ripping sound that startled me, and I suddenly let go. Remy gave a crow of triumph and then there I was, buck-naked. (Bandages don't count.)
Gambit gave what was left of my underwear a toss and ran a lean hand up my bare thigh. I instantly stopped laughing. " Y' gonna behave y'self now, Mr. Starsmore?"
Quite frankly, I was too weak with laughter to do much else. * Yes, love. I am now the model of complete and utter obedience. *
Gambit shook his handsome head. "Yeah, and pigs gonna fly and dance de Macarena." He messaged my thigh some more, which now was making me shiver. " So let's see what ol' Remy can do 'bout dis dry skin of yours."
Apparently, Remy's skin therapy included getting all naked himself. I didn't protest. It was so lovely watching him undress. I adore that magnificent, angular body. There's something very feline about Remy, his skin has a soft ivory sheen and there are all these rippling, lean muscles. Holy god. A hot pool of warmth started to form at my groin area. Remy took a look at my growing hard on and chuckled. "Jonothan, you bad, bad boy."
* Can't help meself. It's yer blinding beauty, Remy me love. *
Remy threw back his head and laughed, and that moment, he removed his shorts. He was very hard himself, and that glorious, pink tipped erection thrusting out of a soft brush of red hair was quite a blinding sight indeed. I groaned and tried to maintain some kind of control.
Remy went and fetched our now well-used tube of lube and the baby lotion and returned to the bed. I had a feeling this was going to be a highly unorthodox skin treatment. Remy knelt beside me and opened the lotion bottle. "Now hold still, baby."
* Do yer have to use the term "baby"-Ahhhh!!!* I squealed when Remy poured an enormous amount of pink goo on my belly. * Jesus, Remy that's fucking cold! *
"Hush up, brat." Remy's long thieves fingers started to rub the lotion every which way. I stated to squirm again, not because it was cold, but because it felt like heaven. Dazed as I was, I decided it would be a good idea to share this divine experience. I dipped my hand in the goop on my stomach and started to rub some on Remy's chest. I'm totally mad about his chest, there's this dark red hair perfectly feathered across his pecs, and these exquisite pink nipples that are a pleasure to touch and tease. I tickled them into sharp pebbly nubs and I watched in delight as Gambit bit his sexy lower lip in response, eyes half closed.
Very quickly, things got totally out of control. Lotion started going just everywhere, and we both got slippery and as slick as seals. We laughed and tormented each other, and I almost slid off the bed once. I slopped a thick handful of lotion over Remy's balls, and he gasped and bit my shoulder. I made him moan and shiver for a few delicious minutes, then he turned the tables by stroking my erection with sure, Johnson and Johnson covered fingers. This was so amazing a sensation that I instinctively started to thrust my cock into his warm, slickery hand. Remy stopped me all of a sudden, and I was just about to shamelessly beg when he said, " Not yet sweet. Want y' to come big time for me."
Well, that sounded like a fabulous plan, I was game! I wasn't sure how much longer I was going to hold out though.
Remy suddenly flipped me over on my belly, and started stroking my ass. Then he said, in his most naughty Cajun purr, " Spread y' legs a little, cher." I did what he asked, groaning loudly in anticipation. He started to both kiss and bite my bum, making me shiver and cry. Then he ran his long, very hot tongue into the cleft of my ass. I just about died right there, I gripped the bedclothes tighter and tighter as Remy's tongue probed even deeper. I don't know what I was saying at this point. All I was conscious of was Remy's incredible tongue torture, and my cock throbbing and aching against the rough bedspread.
Remy drove me crazy for a few more wondrous minutes, and I completely lost all dignity. * God Remy, god, stop-oh don't-oh god, let's fuck, please, please, please! *
He finally stopped toying with me, and turned me back over, bringing that sly, beautiful face, ever so close. He licked his lips and grinned. "Since y' ask so nice baby, Remy more den happy to oblige." He handed me the lube.
I didn't hesitate. I got that lovely stuff all over my hand and the put a serious coating over Remy's trembling cock. I coaxed out a drop or two of precum from the tip, watched it trickle down the length. Remy sucked in some air through his teeth and licked his lips again slowly, so sensual. What a picture. He then sat back and leaned against the headboard, propping himself up with some pillows. I instantly sussed out the situation, it was a position we hadn't tried yet. Couldn't wait.
I straddled his lap, my legs now shaking with excitement. Remy had a very naughty gleam in his ruby red eyes. He kissed my face as I caressed his strong shoulders for a moment. Then I reached down and took hold of his penis, and started to guide it inside of me. Gambit immediately moaned. "Oooh, oui Jono, oui." Even with all the lube, it's a bit painful at first; I guess I am very tight. But the pain goes away pretty quickly, and I had the added enjoyment of listening to some throaty Cajun groans as his cock went deeper and deeper. Pretty soon I took in his entire length, and it was total bliss. My own cock brushed against his flat, washboard stomach, I was now dribbling excited fluids everywhere.
Remy gipped my ass very tight, then he leaned forward a little. His voice was ragged and trembling. " Jono, cher, it so good inside y', my sweet." He grinned and moaned again. "Make me cum, baby."
I balanced myself by holding on to Remy's shoulders, and started a slow sweet rhythm, guided by Remy just a bit. As his hardness slipped in and out, I was able to watch the waves of pleasure cross his face. I was so happy to do this for him, and I soon got lost in my own ecstasy, Remy's cock driving me wild. We both sighed and groaned, and Remy urged me on to ride him harder and harder, faster and faster. Pretty soon there was just nothing but the two of us, totally focused, totally crazed.
"Oh Jono, dat's de ticket, yeah, you feel so good, umhmm, umhmm." Then Remy reached down and his hand found my now very raging hard on. He pumped it, tortured it, and such a wave of heat through me that I almost lost my balance. But I kept on riding him until Remy suddenly threw back his sweaty head and made an aching cry, eyes tightly shut. Then his orgasm slammed into me like a freight train and my own began. I ejaculated in a sticky, mad gush, and all I could do is say his name over and over as the wildfire zoomed through my body. Then I did a rather embarrassing thing. I passed out.
It was only a few seconds. When I came to, Remy was holding me up with one hand, patting my cheek with the other. I blinked and shook my head. "Jono-cher, you okay?" There was a tremor of worry in his voice.
I felt like I was happily, goofily, drunk. I giggled a bit. * Err, yeah love, I'm fine. More than fine. Must have blacked out for a mo'. * I slumped over, resting my head on his shoulder. * Christ on a sidecar that was just bloody fantastic! * I giggled uncontrollably
Remy threw his arms around me and started to laugh too. "Yah, dat was quite de rocket ride. But I should be lil more careful of y', sweet."
I made a mental Remy 'pffft' noise. * Oh, rot. I'm tough! Bring on another orgasm, I say! I can take it! * I nuzzled his ear. * Only problem with this earth moving event ducks, is that you are going to be so bleedin' insufferable. " I made Jono cum so hard he passed out." Me only hope is that I can someday return the favor. *
Remy licked my nose. "Gambit more den willin' to let y' try, Jonothan Starsmore."
I ran my fingers through his damp hair. * Might be a lot of trial and error, sweetheart. Might have to practice, practice, practice. *
A very wide grin. "Damn."
I gently pressed my bandages to his lips * Yeah. Damn.* He kissed me softly back. Then with great regret, I got slowly off his lap, severing our connection. Remy slid onto his back and gathered me in his arms. I rested my head on his wet and somewhat sticky chest as he drew a blanket over both of us.
I'm learning to really love the whole post-coital cuddling thing. I smelled that wonderful after sex smell, and Remy is the most delicious thing ever, although there was also an overpowering baby lotion scent mixed in. He stroked the small of my back with one warm hand. I was boneless and floaty, safe as houses. I ran my fingers through the air on his chest as he murmured in French to me, voice all sleepy and dreamy. He calls me all kinds of things, little terms of endearment. Amoureaux, he says. My French sucks, but I know it means lover. I am Remy's lover. And he is mine.
It scares me a bit that I want to stay this way forever. And that I came so fucking close to blowing it. I know things can change in a heartbeat, better than anyone, I expect. But I don't want to be ruled constantly by fear anymore. So I'm going to try to live in the moment as much as possible, just take it a day at a time. How very wise and Zen of me, such valuable knowledge.
I also now know that I really, really, really love my Johnson and Johnson's baby lotion.
Next day was Shopping With Remy. A very fascinating experience, that. We had to get some things for our trip, suitable clothing and whatnot.
Now I have a confession to make, which should come as no surprise: I hate most shopping. I can spend an hours in a book or music shop, but clothing, I last about a half hour, tops. This is why I stick to one color (black) and one basic style. I made the enormous mistake once of going on a shopping excursion with Paige and Jubilee. After two bloody, agonizing hours of staring at nothing but shoes, I was ready to lie down in the middle of the street and let a lorry run over me. And Angelo and I got into a rare fight at a Gap store once, when I discovered the old fellow is intensely label conscious and can spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating a single pair of underwear. I figured no court would have convicted me if I had throttled him, a person should only have to endure so much.
So I felt more than a little trepidation when this all started, but I was absolutely determined to be on me best behavior. I had already fucked up spectacularly; I didn't want to do it again. Besides, I was spending time with Remy. What else would I want to do?
I will say this for Remy, he doesn't dither. Knows what he wants, and if they don't have it, fuck it, and if they do, fuck the expense. It's kamikaze style shopping. He also took me gently in hand, as I get a little lost in these situations. He had to remind me, for example, that we were shopping for a long period in the tropics, so sweaters were probably not the best choice
So the actual shopping part wasn't bad at all. But what I did not expect is what happens when you walk into Macy's with the most Beautiful Man on Earth.
Generally, I can't get someone to help me even if I set meself on fire. Remy had people falling all over themselves to get to him, both men and women. Swear to god, they must have been even coming out of the mailroom. And the all had this stupefied, "I'll drop my knickers for you in a minute" expression. And Remy seemed to enjoy all the attention, took it as his due. I guess he does have a bit of an ego, or maybe it's the need for reassurance. I dunno. He really poured on the charm too, flirted like nobody's business with that very sexy accent of his.
At first, I was just amazed by the circus, then, well, I started to get pissed. Remy was very adept at avoiding any touchy feely stuff, and he coolly ignored the most blatent of come-ons, but I began to stew anyway. And I could have been a mannequin standing for all they cared. If I did get noticed, I got this puzzled, 'you can't possibly be with him' stare.
So I was ripe for an all out, Jonothan Starsmore tantrum, pat. pend. This one tart, I swear, was about to ask him to just fuck her on the perfume counter, and I was seriously contemplating hurling her down the escalator. But then, a miracle happened! I got a rare, sudden attack of common sense. The conversation went something like this:
Me: If that little slut touches his arm ONE MORE TIME I'm gonner blow her right off her bleedin' high heels and into next year!
Common Sense: Hey, vato, now just calm down and hold your horses. (Me common sense sounds exactly like Angelo.)
Me: Why the fuck should I?!!!
CS: Because you already used up your entire asshole quota.
Me: Oh. Yeah.
CS: And Remy is a big boy, he can handle it if they get out of line.
Me: It's not just them I'm pissed off at. Does he have to be Miseu Cajun Smoothie all the time?
CS: Well, brudda, my guess is, that's just the way his motor runs. He's not serious. Doubt he'll change. If you get all jealous and stuff, you'll just burn yourself out. Kill ya, dude.
Me: Well that bloody sucks!
CS: Not really, estupido. Who, after all, does Mr. Cajun Smoothie sleep with these days? These people may be panting all over him, but you're the one he shares his bed with, the one he treats like royalty, the one he smiles that smile at. So grow up, save the jealous hissy fit for when it would mean something, and get over yourself.
Me: (long pause) Yer gotta point, mate. Thanks.
Suddenly feeling all grown up and wise, I went over to Remy and the sales clerk. She was most definitely offering him every opportunity to peek down her blouse. I however, remained cucumber cool.
* 'Scuse me, Rem. * I touched his arm, and Remy actually looked a trifle embarrassed, as well as seeming to brace himself for some kind of tirade. * Just wanted to let yer know that I will be over there, lookin' at socks. * I then gave the sales clerk an Incredibly Smug Look. (I obviously can't telepathically speak to average people, it really freaks them out. So I have to carry a pen and memo pad everywhere to communicate. But it was sooo very hard to not say to her, "I'm fucking him and you're not, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah." Err, so much for my new found maturity.)
Remy rewarded me with this wide, dazzling 1000 watt smile, and I had this distinct feeling I had passed some kind of test. Then he made the sales clerk eyeballs nearly pop out of her head when he leaned over and kissed my cheek. In the middle of Macys! "Be wit' y' in a minute, sweet." I shot the now stunned sales clerk another Incredibly Smug Look, and floated off to actually look at socks.
After a little while Remy joined me at the amazing sock emporium. He threw his arms around my shoulders (again, in the middle of Macys!) and told me he had done a very Prince of Egypt thing and sent our bags on to the hotel. Only thought that happened in films. Then he said; " Jono, I was t'inkin' it would be nice to to go out and celebrate, y' know, dinner, dancing, de whole nine yards. What do y' say?"
* That sounds wonderful, love. * Of course, I am so utterly enamored with Remy, if he had said instead, " Jono, I was t'inkin' it would be nice to get naked, paint ourselves blue, stick feather dusters up our asses and run around Times Square." I would have answered, * That sounds wonderful, love. What shade of blue d'yer prefer? *
Now Remy apparently can't do anything without doing it in style, so he had to get suitable attire for this big evening. He found this Armani suit (bitching all the while it was off the rack) in a dark green color, combined it with a white silk shirt. Very simple, really. But when he walked out of the dressing room, he was enough to stop traffic. He preened in front of the mirror a bit, my darling Prince of Egypt, then turned to me. " What do y' think, cher? Will I do?"
I went over and straightened his collar. * Now ducks, you know and I know yer god's gift. What a great, shameless peacock you are. *
He laughed, as me giving him crap seems amusing to him somehow. A nose pinch. " Now your turn, Jonothan."A wave of panic. The idea of me in Armani was totally fuckin' ridiculous. Although if we were gonna go out, what I was now wearing wouldn't do either. I had on the emergency clothing that Remy had bought me earlier. I was kind of Goth Bondage meets L.L. Bean.
* Um, well, sweetheart, I don't think I quite have the panache to, uh, carry off any of this. * I gestured at the entire Armani line.
He chuckled. " Well, den let's find something y' got de panache for. And y' do have panache, Jonothan Starsmore."
Oh yeah, right. Panache is me middle name. How do I get myself into these situations?
So we ended up taking a cab to a store I've been to a couple times, DeSade's Dungeon. It's kind of a Mecca for all us W.O.B.s, (Wearers Of Black) as well as the kinkier element of society. I had no idea what Remy would think. It turned out he was mightily amused by the entire black leather, latex and chains inventory. And I found myself relaxing a bit, as in a place like that I don't look weird.
I still sort of drew a paralyzed blank as to what to pick, so Remy had to start bossing me around, thank God. He quickly selected a coat, trousers, shirt, and some really quite splendid boots and shoved me into a dressing room.
The trousers were leather and a bit tight, so it took a while to get 'em on. Pretty simple black shirt, and belt. The boots were just incredible, I wanted them desperately. Calf high with lots of buckles. And the coat was also fantastic. Very Victorian ultra Goth, with a hint of sable. Reminded me of what Trent Reznor was wearing in that "Perfect Drug" video.( I'm afraid I've had a number of raging wet dreams about Trent.) But it was something I'd never pick for myself. Too much panache.
"C'mon, Jono, let's have a look at y'." Remy was standing right outside the dressing room. The things I do for him. So I put on the coat and walked outside, feeling stupid. Remy smiled so wide, I thought his face was going to split.
"Oooh baby, you, hot, hot!"
Yeah, sure. *Yer kidding, right? * Remy's expression got very gentle. "Didn't y' look in de mirror, Jono?"
I couldn't help it; I stared at him as if he had grown a horn out of the top of his head. I've become the world's biggest expert in mirror avoidance, didn't glance at the one in the dressing room once. I've destroyed a number of them too, got about 49 years of bad luck coming
Remy didn't wait for me to say anything. He suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders, spun me around and I was suddenly face-to-face with my reflection. For a second I was shocked, and then I became just totally, utterly furious. Why was he being so cruel? I also got swamped with that old, familiar mix of self-hate and fear.
But I had forgotten I was with an empath. Remy countered all this turmoil with a blast of affection, warmth and kindness so intense that I instantly stopped shaking, all anger evaporated. I still looked at the floor. He wrapped his arms around my waist. "Not tryin' to hurt y,' honey." He whispered in my ear.
*Then why are yer doing this, Rem? * I whispered back.
"Because I want y' to stop bein' so afraid, stop hating yourself. Y' really are de most beautiful t'ing, Jonothan, inside and out. I ain't tellin' no lie. Look and see what I see."
I kept staring at the floor, and I was also thinking that everyone in the shop would be gawping at us by now. * I can't. *
"Oui, y' can, baby. I'm right here. And Jono, y' de bravest person I have ever met. Y' can do dis too."
And somehow, what he said gave me courage. I lifted my head very slowly and looked. Remy kept up the empathy, soothing me, holding me tight. And it really wasn't so bad. The clothes were magnificent, and I actually did have a bit of panache after all. And my face?it wasn't so bad either. I'd forgotten my eyes were so brown. Or my nose was so long. And I saw that I needed a haircut. What really helped though, was what I saw on Remy's face. He had pushed up his dark glasses for a moment; I could see his strange eyes. And his usual cool, somewhat arrogant expression was long gone. In its place was so much caring, warmth and pride. And I could see, at least in his eyes, that I was indeed, really beautiful.
Of course, I broke down once more. However, this is such a monstrous issue for me, I'm not going to offer any excuses. It is a bit mortifying though, I've cried more in the last few days then I have in my whole life. I'm going to have to change my nationality from British to hysterical Italian person.
I managed to give Remy a quick, hard hug, and then I shot back into the dressing room and had a nice PMS type cry. I eventually got under control, changed back to my old clothes and red-eyed, left the dressing room. I was sort of relieved Remy was not there hovering, as I would have started to cry again. He must have sensed this, and was over in a corner, looking at some back issues of 'Skin' magazine.
I went up to the counter to buy the whole lot, to turn meself into a panachey person. The girl at the counter was really cute, a little porcelain doll of a thing with an absinthe colored hair bob. She gave me a sweet, black lipstick smile.
"Glad you're getting all this." She said as she rang up a small fortune on my new charge card. "You looked so great." And I had the feeling that she wasn't just saying this because she was making a whopping commission. I took out my memo pad and wrote 'Thanks, love'. She patted my hand quickly. "People in love always look so beautiful, sweetie."
It was such an unexpectedly kind thing to say, I was right shocked. I was also filled with a big, warm happy feeling. She could tell? I did something I would not normally do; I picked up her hand and squeezed it. She beamed at me. "Enjoy yourself, Mr. Starsmore." She winked. "He is SO gorgeous, but then, so are you." I winked back. Then I picked up my bags, and tore Remy away from the magazine rack. As we left the shop, I was lighter than air.
Remy smiled at me, brushed the back of my hand. "Y' doin' ok now, sweet?"
I took his hand in mine. * Just grand, love, grand. * And I was. All in all, I'd never had a better shopping experience.


Chapter Three - Jono

I feel you
Each move you make
I feel you
Each breath you take
Where angels sing
And spread their wings
My love's on high
You take me home
To glory's throne
By and by
This is the morning of our love
This is the dawning of our love*

A while later we left the hotel, all swanky and full of panache, Remy having more than any human should be allowed. He looked fucking incredible in that suit, dark red hair all loose and shiny, smelling heavenly, it was really hard not to throw him down on the floor and have my way with him. Instead, I contented meself with looking all starry-eyed, and fought a weird urge to trail behind him, holding the hem of his jacket.
We went to this restaurant in Chinatown called the Four Gates. It was a very cool place, very dark, mysterious and intimate. Remy told me they had the best food outside of Beijing, and he gave me a huge thrill when he mentioned it was a big Tong hangout. I suddenly had every Jet Li/ Chow Yun Fat video Ange and I had ever rented run through me mind. But there didn't seem to be a Kung Fu battle on the verge of breaking out, just people drinking tea and eating too much moo-shu pork.
Something very interesting did happen, however. While we were waiting for Remy's order, a woman approached our able. She was Oriental, with a plain, no nonsense face, her long grey hair pulled back in a single braid. She was dressed very simply, all in black, but she did have this beautiful jade necklace on. Remy looked very startled to see her, although he recovered himself.
She gave a slight smile. " I thought it was you, Remy LeBeau. One does not hear many Cajun accents in new York."
Remy immediately got to his feet; they embraced and then kissed, Continental style. I stood up too; there was something about her that commanded respect. I was also burning with curiosity.
"It is good to see you, Shao Ssu Ming." Remy replied. He seemed a bit nervous, which for Remy is unusual behavior, I think.
However, she was giving him a pretty hard stare, which could have accounted for it. "And it is very, very good to see you, Remy. Your father has been completely frantic. There have been the most terrible rumors about you."
"As you can see, dis old thief still alive and kickin'."
She suddenly grabbed both sides of his head with her hands. " I can also see that you have recently had much trouble, it is written all over your face, little fox. I sincerely hope that you have dome the duty of a good and obedient son, and set your father's mind at rest."
Remy actually blushed. Who was this woman? " I telegraphed pere yesterday."
" He needs more than that, Remy. You are both overdue for a long talk." She patted his cheek. " And now I will cease to meddle in your affairs and remember my manners." She turned those very penetrating, very intelligent eyes on me. " How do you do, young man?"
I started to fish out my memo pad, but Remy caught my eye and shook his head. I guess Shao Ssu was accustomed to mutants. Remy introduced us.
" Ming, dis be Jonothan Starsmore. Jono, allow me to introduce Shao Ssu Ming. Ming is old, old friend of de family."
I extended my hand, and fought an insane desire to curtsy. * Pleased to meet yer. So, you've known Remy a long time then? *
She wasn't fazed at all by the telepathy and gave me a wide, warm smile. It changed her face, and suddenly she was very beautiful. " Since he was a very skinny, snot nosed little boy."
Ha, what an image. I laughed, and so did Remy. Then Remy asked, " Would you join us den, Ming?"
" I would love to, as I am dying to hear what has been happening to you, little fox. But alas, I have urgent business in Madripoor, my flight leaves in an hour. My youngest son, Pai-Yu, has gotten himself in a bit of a scrape, and needs Mummy to bail him out. A parent's job is never-ending. " She shot a pointed glance at Remy, then turned back to me. " It has been a pleasure to meet you Jonothan, I hope someday I will have more time to get acquainted. Please keep a most watchful eye on this wayward thief." She gave Remy a soft kiss, and then a sharp poke in the chest. " Call Jean-Luc." Then she departed.
Remy seemed very subdued and preoccupied when we sat back down. * She seems like a most amazing person. *
Remy smiled a bit. " Y' don' know de half of it. Ming is de head of de Jade Dragons, biggest, oldest and most powerful Tong in New York. She also a very old friend of my father, dey go way back. T'ink it's more den just friendship, but dey both been kinda coy on de subject. Not dat it's any of my business, anyways" He chuckled, then slipped back into his sober mood.
I decided to be bold; I took his hand and squeezed it. *You okay, love? This has upset yer, hasn't it? * I hazarded a pretty obvious guess. * Are yer worried about your dad? *
He squeezed my hand back, and then ran his fingers through his hair. " Yah. Ming is right; pere and I are way overdue for a pow wow. Jus' ain't lookin' forward to tellin' him all dat's ben goin' on in my life lately." A little smile. 'Cept for you, sweet."
I was a trifle stunned that Remy would even consider telling his father about his new male lover, but I didn't know Jean-Luc. My old man would want to shoot us on sight. I could see that Remy really loved his father, and was scared about confessing the whole Morlock/Anarctica tragedy. I didn't blame him.
* Rem, * I began softly. * I can tell yer love yer dad, and if he was so frantic about what's been happening to yer, he must love yer very much as well. And if that's the case, yer can tell him the truth. He'll forgive yer. And I'll be behind yer one hundred percent, yer know that.*
I suddenly got a wide smile "Yeah, I do know dat, cher." He picked up my hand and gave it a kiss. I almost died right there. "T'anks, Jono."
Remy's mood improved, and his food arrived soon after. I put a little on my plate and pushed it around with some chopsticks, as I have discovered that waitresses and waiters get somewhat annoyed and insulted if it looks like you aren't eating. Don't ask me why. Remy enjoyed his meal, and I wasn't envious, as it looked like there was squid involved. I may miss food at times, but anything with tentacles is right out. Remy then told me this incredible story about when he was 14, when he, Jean-Luc and Ming recovered this ancient sword from the clutches of a nasty Tong called the White Tigers. If had been anyone else but Remy, I would have thought they were pulling my leg. But this is Remy LeBeau we're talking about, mate.
After dinner we took a cab to a club called Nocturne, which is like the current hot spot of the nanosecond. Angelo has been dying to go there. There was a huge line out front, but Remy ignored it and immediately went into Prince of Egypt mode. He marched right up to the door and I immediately became aware of a number of potential patrons giving us the evil eye. Remy wasn't fazed one bit; he gave the bouncer a wide Gambit grin and said something to him in a low voice. I felt a whisper of empathy at work. The bouncer, a gigantic feller who looked like he had as much humor as a rock, suddenly burst out laughing. He thumped the Prince of Egypt on the shoulder with one meaty paw, and opened the door for him. As part of the P.of E.'s official entourage, I was also allowed egress. Didn't even have to pay the bloody cover.
It was quite an incredible scene. Full of smoke, tons of strobe lights, the music a kind of house/latin/disco/funk blend, so loud the floor vibrated. It was crammed with representatives of just about every New York clique; I saw gansta wannabes, ravers, neo hippies, Goths, freaks, and the elite "don't you wish you were as cool as us?" crowd. It was also a real rainbow tribe: black, white, Latino, Asian, all dressed in their trendiest threads. There was the straight, the gay, the god knows what. And there were a fair sprinkling of celebs, I was pretty sure I saw Lauryn Hill (Ange would have died!) and that Titanic bozo Paige was so gaga over. However, even with all the beautiful people scattered about, I realized I was with the Fairest of Them All. Go figure. From the second we walked in, Remy was given the eyeball once over from both men and women. It was going to be a true test of me resolve not to get all jealous. I hoped my common sense was in working order.
Remy was smiling pretty wide. He totally ignored all the come-ons and grabbed my hand, starting towards the mass of bodies grooving away on the dance floor. And this is where I got this sudden panicky feeling. I had been in such a romantic haze, I'd sort of forgotten just what going out to a club could actually entail. And maybe it would have been less embarrassing if I had chosen instead to run around naked, painted a nice shade of turquoise, feather duster up me arse.
I decided that Remy at least deserved a warning. I stopped in my tracks, and Gambit shot me a puzzled look. " C'mon, cher, ain't dis great? What y' draggin' y' feets for?"
* Uh, just wanted to let yer know, Rem, before we get out there. As, uh, far as dancing is concerned, I, uh, stink. Really stink.*
"Aw, Jono, y' can't be dat bad." Remy laughed and pulled on my arm and I had to accept my fate.
Well, I really CAN be that bad. I dunno what it is, either. I'm a musician; I have an excellent sense rhythm. But when it comes to dancing, I can't tell my body what to do. It simply pays no attention.
I gave it my most Herculean effort, for Remy's sake. Didn't help.
After a few minutes of this appalling atrocity, Remy halted his extremely cool, James Brown type moves and just stared for a while. Then, I would say his reaction was somewhere between Gayle's (mortified) and Angelo's (denied he wet his Gap underwear, but he really did.)
He made a major effort to control his laughing, but it took more than a few minutes. When he finally got a grip, he seized my shoulders. "Jono-cher-"
I sighed. * Yer don't have to say it. I know. I suck. *
Remy laughed some more, then mastered himself. "It's just dat, dat, you so. uh?"
*White? British? Take yer pick, it's a deadly combination, love. Mick Jagger nonwithstanding, we Limey's have never been known for our killer moves on the dance floor. * I sighed again. * Look, Rem, if yer want to dance with someone else, I'll quite understand. Yer not used to people pointing and laughing. *
Remy bent and kissed me on the forehead, surely making the other patrons wonder why he was being so nice to a spastic person. " You de only one in dis world Remy wan' to dance wit', sweet." That gave me an extremely warm, happy feeling. Also showed me just how brave and daring Gambit really is.
So Remy attempted to help me in this area, despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation. He was very patient; although I could see he was using every ounce of will to fight the urge to roll around on the floor, clutching his sides. He kept up trying to get me to feel the beat in my body, to move to the music, to not step on his feet.
After forty-five minutes or so of this torture, Remy decided to go get a drink. I'm sure he needed a real stiff one. And I was in charge of finding us a table.
And this is when the probably The Most Embarrassing Thing That Has Ever Happened To Me happened. I'd thought I had done with it on the dance floor, but God, apparently, had other plans.
So, I was wandering around, sort of looking for an available table and sort of celeb watching at the same time. I was almost positive that I had spotted Puffy and Jennifer, and I was craning my neck a bit to see what Jennifer might NOT be wearing, when I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned round and came face to face with the most spectacular pair of tits I'd ever seen.
The incredible cleavage belonged to this rather gorgeous woman all done up in big time leather dominatrix gear. Long ebony hair, tons of black eye shadow, red vampire lipstick, nine inch fuck me heels and flowing out of a very tight bustier. (I will forever treasure Jubilee's definition of a bustier, "Ya use it to boost your T.A.'s" God bless yer Jubes, I love yer.) Anyway, I was rather taken aback by her, especially since she was ignoring my Personal Space Barrier, shoving her boobs right in me chest.
She gave me this big, leering grin. " I've been watching you."
Oh peachy, I thought. She's taken it upon herself to come over and inform me that I'm performing criminal acts on the dance floor. Despite the amazing tits, my opinion began to sink rather low. Her rating plunged even further when I realized she was three sheets to the wind and smelled like a gin factory. I backed away, and started to look for the bleedin' memo pad so I could tell her to piss off. But the next thing she said froze me on the spot.
"You are the most beautiful slave I have ever seen. Your Master has devised the most exquisite punishment."
Now, normally I'm fairly quick on the uptake, but for a few seconds I had absolutely no idea what she was going on about. Then she grabbed me by the shoulders, and breathed martini breath in my face.
"I want to know, does your master share you? Because I would punish you so wonderfully well, pretty boy." Suddenly, a light dawned. This drunken dom thought my bandage/mask was some kind of fetish B & D device. Now, I am not prejudiced in regards to people's personal kinks and turn ons. I have more than a few of my own. And I really should have found this all very funny. But since she had started pawing me, I started to get angry instead.
* All right, that's quite enough, sweetheart. * I pushed her away, not worrying if my telepathic 'voice' freaked her out or not. * Don't like being felt up by strangers. So why don't yer totter off and find someone else to spank, eh? *
The telepathy didn't bother her one bit. " I want you, sweet slave. And I'm going to get you." She grabbed me again, and then, I swear to god, she went for my crotch. Now I really was furious. I gave her a really hard shove. * Fuck off, yer stupid, drunk bitch! * Ok. Not the most enlightened or PC thing for me to say, but I was really wound up at this point.
Unfortunately, instead of landing on her bum, she fell forward and crashed into me. I lost my balance, and we both hit the floor. I banged the back of my head pretty hard and saw stars. When I came to a few seconds later, she was sprawled on top of me. People had started to gather round to watch this little scene, and I was flooded with absolute embarrassment. I started to try and push her off me, but I realized my hand was pressed up against something warm and soft. It most definitely felt like a breast. She must have popped out of her bustier.
She was smirking at me. " Now I have you where I want you, little slave."
* Oh, Christ. * I answered. * Yer an idiot. * I tried to move my hand to shove her away in a less volatile area, but then I noticed my finger was trapped in something. She screamed in pain, right in my ear. I looked down. Oh. My. God. Somehow my finger had gotten stuck in her bloody nipple ring.
People were now really laughing at this little comedy act, and I heard a familiar guffaw. It was Remy, laughing his ass off. I closed my eyes, really wishing the Skrulls or someone would invade New York, causing a major distraction. Incredibly selfish of me, I know. But you get stuck in someone's nipple ring and see what goes through your mind.
So I couldn't really move my hand without hurting her. (Much as she had it coming) I finally looked up and saw Remy. He was doubled over; tears of laughter streaming down his face from under his dark glasses.
* Err, Rem?* I began. * I think it's lovely that you're getting your jollies and all, I really do. But when yer get a moment to catch your breath, WOULD YOU GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF THIS?!!*
Remy knelt down beside me and my new companion. "Sorry cher, sorry. Should never left y' to go wanderin' around unsupervised."
By now the dom was having a fit. " Would you stop moving, you little shit! Ow! That hurts!" Thought that was a bit odd coming from her. Without much ceremony, Remy took hold of my hand and the now infamous nipple ring. Suddenly I saw a tiny crimson spark, the signature of his kinetic charge, fly out of his fingers. I was suddenly free, and the dom gave a big, startled yelp of pain. She sat up and glared at Remy, holding her breast.
"Hey, that really hurt, asshole! What the fuck did you do?"
Remy grabbed her face with one hand. "Dat was a warning, mademoiselle." All the laughter was out of his voice, it was a bit cold and scary. " Don' put y' hands where dey don't belong. Y' got me?" She went rather pale and quickly got up and stumbled away. I was rather amazed; Remy sounded all jealous and stuff over me! I suddenly also got this fear that he might be angry with me as well.
He wasn't though. He gave me this huge, warm smile and started to help me up. "So, Brer Rabbit. T'ink y' better watch out for dem Tar Babies from now on." He started laughing again. I hadn't the slightest idea what he was talking about, but I had the sinking feeling I had a new nickname.
Remy hugged me tight and kissed my nose. " Jonothan Starsmore, don' know what dis Cajun boy ever did wit'out y'."
* Obviously yer life lacked comedy relief, love. * I hugged him back. * Glad yer not pissed at me. I really didn't-*
" Oh cher, c'mon. I saw de whole t'ing, and besides, I trust y'. But I don' trust others not to keep dere paws off my sweet baby, so I'd better watch out for y'."
I must say, this was more than a little flattering. And all of a sudden, the humor of the whole situation suddenly hit me, and I really started to laugh. Which got Remy going again. Pretty soon we had to hold each other up, we were laughing so hard.
When we finally calmed down, I actually dragged Remy out on the dance floor. I figured what the hell, I was pretty much past all embarrassment now. And we had a smashing time. And it's great; I now have two words that will guarantee a laugh from Gambit. 'Nipple ring' will get him going from now until Doomsday.
We ended up having so much fun we stayed until the club closed. It was close to dawn, and instead of taking a cab back to the hotel, we walked. A bit dangerous for the average person, but between the two of us, Remy and I have enough mutant power to level Manhattan, so muggers aren't really a worry.
It was really very romantic, we were hand in hand, and New York was both beautiful and mysterious in the predawn light. Every so often, Remy would pull me into the shadows for a quick kiss or a long hug. When we got to Central Park, Remy leaned against a tree and drew me close, wrapping me in his long arms. We watched the sun rise, and I don't think I had ever seen a more gorgeous one.
" I'm so happy, Jono." Remy murmured into my hair. " I felt really euphoric myself. I turned round and took his foxy face in my hands and rubbed noses with him, Eskimo fashion. Remy gave a deep chuckle.
* I'm so happy too, love. Very happy indeed. *
This blissful haze suddenly evaporated when we got back to the hotel. Both of us didn't realize exactly when our plane left, it was much earlier than we thought. Thank God we checked the tickets. Panic did ensue, and we rushed around like two idiots, packed, checked out and found a cab. Remy threw a big wad of money at the driver, told him if he got us to the airport in time, there would be more where that came from.
The feller took him at his word, and we had this absolutely terrifying, white knuckled ride to JFK airport. I know I'm supposed to be a super hero and all, but I kept me eyes closed through most of it. Remy, though, was the picture of calm.
I was shaking a little when we arrived, but I had no time to collect meself. We ran around at a pretty breakneck pace, and that fucking airport is huge. We made the plane about a minute after the final boarding call. I was very glad for a moment that I didn't breathe; otherwise I would have been a panting ball of sweat.
We were both a bit giddy when we took our seats- first class, of course, Remy doesn't fool around. This mood was short lived though, as we discovered we were seated next to the Family From Hell, two obnoxious parents with three demonic offspring. We both were hoping for a bit of a nap, but that proved to be impossible. After an hour of this torture, Remy was in a very bad humor. I tried to make light of the situation by introducing Gambit to a side benefit of telepathy. You can make the snottiest, rudest comments in the world about someone while your victim sits beside you without a clue. I managed to wrest a few chuckles out of Remy, but that all ended when two of the kids got very airsick. I was very happy that nausea is a thing of the past for me. Remy ordered a Bloody Mary and aspirin for breakfast. My sarcasm, by this time had completely dried up, and I occupied myself with fantasies about throwing the Family From Hell out the window. Remy just glowered.
After an eternity, we arrived in the Bahamas, more specifically, the city of Nassau on New Providence island. I cheered up immediately, I have never been to the tropics and from what I had seen from the air, and it seemed unbelievably beautiful. But Remy was still very cranky, talking now in monosyllables.
We had to take another, smaller plane to our final destination, the Grand Bahama island. It was a forty-minute flight from Nassau. At least this time our fellow passengers were a very quiet, subdued lot. Remy managed a catnap and I read all about the Bahamas in a guidebook I had bought in an airport shop. It really is a fascinating place, and I was really getting excited about spending some time here.
We landed in the city of Freeport, and we then went to an auto rental. I was hoping Remy would start feeling better after his nap, but this wasn't the case; he was even in a worse mood. And at the auto rental he went into full Prince of Egypt mode, ragging on the clerk because they had somehow screwed up his order. He got real nasty too, and I honestly didn't see what all the fuss was about, I could have cared less if it was a fucking Ford Explorer or a fucking Jeep Cherokee. The poor bloke behind the counter really didn't deserve all the crap either, he wasn't a Benson, and was trying his best to placate an irate Gambit.
After listening to Remy be a complete jerk for another five minutes, I had finally had it. * Awright, yer majesty, that's quite enough! Get off yer fuckin' 'igh 'orse! * My accent, when I am really pissed, gets very thick, but Remy understood me just fine. He turned and stared at me in surprise as I grabbed a pen and put it in his hand. * Sign the bloody agreement RIGHT NOW! * Still amazed, Remy did what he was told. I grabbed the keys from the equally astonished rental guy, who was probably wondering who this bandaged nut job was, silently waving his arms. (He couldn't, of course hear my telepathy.)
* Ok then, say thank you and get the goddamn luggage! * was my next command. Remy gave the bewildered feller a fast "Merci." and picked up all our bags, following me as I stormed out the door.
I found our vehicle, which turned out to be the Explorer. I opened up the back end, grabbed our suitcases from Remy's hands, throwing them in. After I slammed the hatch shut, I gave Gambit a sharp poke in the chest. * Now get yer skinny arse in the car, and I don't want to 'ear one more arrogant, stupid word out of yer gob! Yer got that, mate?! * Remy nodded, and quickly got in the passenger's seat. I drove, and we departed the rental place with a squeal of tires.
There was dead silence in the car for about five minutes. Then Remy cleared his throat. " Uh?cher?"
I turned and glared. * I thought I told yer to shut it, and I meant it! * Another five minutes or so of quiet. Remy then coughed.
*Awright then, WOT?! *
" I jus wanted to ax y' Jono, y' got any idea where y' goin'?"
Well, that stopped me. I had no idea. I was quiet for another moment or so, and then it all became very funny. I began to laugh, and Remy started too. I finally had to pull the car over.
* Yeah, Rem? *
" I'm sorry 'bout dat business back dere, I was really bein' a prick." Then he said, in a very credible Cockney accent. " Thanks for knockin' me off me 'igh 'orse."
* Y' mos' welcome, cher. * I answered in a terrible Cajun imitation. * And I'm sorry for losin' me temper, love, *
" Don' 'poligize, Jono. I had it comin'. Y'sure are some hot head though, boy. Whoo-ee! Remy better mind his p's and q's. " Then he leaned over and gave me a soft kiss. I kissed him back in my own fashion, and all was right with the world again. We found the map back in one of Remy's bags, and then, we were officially off.
We were headed for a house that Remy actually owned, although oddly, he had never been there, had seen it only in photos. It had been a wedding gift from his father. Remy never got to take Belladonna there on their honeymoon, him being exiled and all. I felt a tiny bit strange about it, as well as terribly curious.
The place wasn't that far out of Freeport, and we had a lovely little drive. Grand Bahama Island is truly fantastic, the air was so soft and warm and fragrant, the sky and the ocean was so blue. We stopped at this little open-air market where Remy picked up some food and flirted in Creole and English with all the ladies in the stalls. They just loved him, and flirted right back, he got a lot of freebies. Some of them even flirted with me, I got right embarrassed.
Back in the car, I found this incredible Reggae station. (What else?) A memory I will treasure until the day I die: Remy LeBeau sitting next to me in the car, singing along with Toots and the Maytalls. He's eating an orange and licking the juice off his fingers, his red hair is blowing in the wind. And his face is so open and happy, that my heart just aches with love for him.
The house was right on the beach, there was a gated front, surrounded by thick palms and brush. Remy told me that it had a caretaker who stopped in twice a week, and he had many, many offers to sell it or rent it. But he just couldn't bring himself to do it, and when we pulled up the drive, I could see how it would have been very difficult to part with. There was a magnificent stretch of white sand, and a lagoon full of blue/green water. And the house, wow. It was old, and I know next to nothing about architecture, but I guessed it was built around the twenties or thirties. It looked like the type of bungalow Hemmingway would have written novels in, all weathered boards, wide porches and big, curtained windows. I totally loved it.
Remy had gotten very quiet , and he stared at the house for the longest while. He had a sad expression on his face, and I imagined he was thinking about how different is life would have been if he had made it here with Belle. I took his hand.
* Rem- love, are yer you okay? *
He seemed to mentally shake himself and turned to me with the sweetest smile. " Glad I brought y' here, Jonothan Starsmore. So glad." I gently put a hand to his face, and he kissed it. Then his smile suddenly got very playful. " Will y' look at dat water? Let's go for a swim!"
My eyebrows rose. * Don't yer want to unpack first? *
"Pffft. Jono, you no fun. C'mon." Remy got out of the car, started to strip off his shirt. My eyes got wide as shoes, socks, trousers and underwear followed in rapid succession. Remy the went to the back of the Explorer, found a bag, pulled out some sunscreen and started to smear it all over. And I mean, ALL over. I suddenly realized that Remy had no intention of putting on any trunks.
He threw the sunscreen at me. " Would y' do my back, cher?" I snapped out of my awestruck, somewhat aroused stupor and started slopping the stuff all over that lean, greyhound back. And lovely ass. When I'd finished, Remy grinned at me. "T'anks. Now your turn. Get undressed, baby."
I felt a wave of huge embarrassment. * Err, Remy, maybe I'll take a rain check on the swimming. Why don't you go ahead and I'll unpack. *
I saw real disappointment cross his face, but he reined it in. He kissed the top of my head. " Ok, Jono, but y' don' know what y' missin'." Then he walked out on to the beach and into the beautiful blue water, looking for all the world like some ancient nature god.
My embarrassment faded, and it was replaced by anger, anger at myself. Why was I being such a namby-pamby coward? "Ok, Jono,"I thought to myself, " so yer can't swim. But yer can't bloody drown either, you fucking idiot, since yer don't breath! And when a gorgeous naked man asks yer to go skinny-dipping with him, by God, yer GO!"
I didn't go so far as strip, however. Despite me recent behavior behavior, I'm still a Brit. I found some shorts and a t-shirt, and put on about two inches of sunscreen on every exposed area of skin. I dunno if I can still burn or not, but I didn't want to take the chance. Then I made a very determined Churchill-never-say-die march to the water. Rule Britannia!
The ocean turned out to be the temperature of a warm bath, it was wonderful. I got out to where the water got up to my stomach, then Remy spotted me. Of course, he swims like a dolphin. He glided over, a big, delighted smile on his face. "Cher, y' changed y' mind!"
*Err, yeah. * I sighed. *Remy?I can't swim. *
He looked astonished. " Quoi?"
* Only had one lesson. It was at a public pool, and when I saw that the Mulrony twins were peeing in the shallow end, I wanted nothing more to do with it. *
Remy burst out in laughing, and he stood and gathered me in his arms. " Oh, Brer Rabbit, y' have to be de most wonderful t'ing in de whole wide world."
* I don't see quite how. I think I'm an idiot. *
He gave me a quick kiss. "Trust me on dis one, sweet. Now let Remy give y' a few swimming lessons."
* All right then. But if yer decide to take a pee, just don't tell me. * Remy cracked up again.
It really turned out to be easier than I thought. I was helped by the fact that I can't possibly sink, I float like a cork. Within a half hour, I had a very respectable sidestroke down pat. Once I lost my self-consciousness, it became bloody marvelous. The water, the sun, the wind, and this incredible man who smiled at me with such affection. Another moment of complete happiness to hold in my heart forever.
Then a wave of desire just washed through me. Remy just looked so beautiful, his ivory skin glistening in the blue of the water, heavy red hair all slicked back. I wanted him badly, and I boldly let him know it without my usual hesitation. I splashed up to him and ran my hands down his sleek, muscled torso. Remy sighed with soft pleasure at my touch. He grabbed me about the waist, and I let my fingers play over his hard shoulders, the dip of his collarbone, then brushing across peaking nipples. He moaned as I grew more and more brazen, and I could see his cock growing rigid under the water. I was also very excited, and Remy's long fingers slipped into my shorts and started to stroke my ass.
Our hands began to go everywhere, and my clothing eventually got tossed out to sea. I didn't care. All I was focused on was my lover, giving him pleasure and getting it in return. It was almost a sensual overload, the warm water all round, the feel of Remy's skin, his cries over the sound of the surf.
I took his balls in my hand and teased them, getting some garbled French in return; he buried his face in my shoulder. Then I placed a hand on his penis and felt it jerk in response as I stroked. * Oh Remy, I want yer. * I mentally whispered.
" Want y' too, baby. " Remy licked my ear, and then bit it. God.
* Come on, then * I grabbed his arm and pulled him towards shore. By now, I was really amazing meself. Remy was usually the one taking the lead, now it was me. And he seemed to love it as I pulled him down on the white-hot sand, lying on top of him. We were still both wet, and Remy's skin felt heavenly, like cool satin. The only thing not cool was his hard cock, which poked into my belly like a heated rod. I ground my penis against his, and it was an amazing, delicious sensation, the friction making us both moan and shudder. I put my fingers in his mouth and he ran a hot tongue over them, making me sigh into his chest.
I stroked him all over, worshipped him with my hands, felt his cat muscles ripple, made him arch his back. He was panting now, his fingers digging into my lower spine.
" Cher, Remy wan' y' so bad." There was a slight begging tone in that deep voice.
* I want you too love, I?* I had totally lost all inhibitions now. * I want to be inside yer. * I hadn't done this yet, and the prospect made me tremble.
For a brief second, I saw a flicker of hesitation on Remy's face, and I became afraid I had done something wrong. * Remy, I'm sorry, does that idea bother yer? If it does, that's all right, we can- *
"Non, Jono, non. I want y' to take me, to fuck me." He pulled my face close to his, his entire body was trembling. He whispered hoarsely in my ear, " Biasez-moi, amoureux, sil' te plait." His strange eyes were now glowing like coals.
I still wasn't sure, and I didn't want to hurt him. I made a move to get up, go get the lube or something, and he stopped me by grabbing my wrists.
"Now, cher, now! I want y' now!"
* But I don't want to hurt- *
He reached down and stroked my erection, seducing me, making me shiver. "Oh cher, Remy know dat y' never hurt him. You my sweet lover, Jono, I trust y'. Please cher, come inside me, make me scream, fuck me." He continued to torture me until I couldn't stand it anymore. I sat up slightly, and I spread as much precum moisture over my aching cock as I could. Then I opened his legs. I found his tight entrance with my finger. He was so sweet and hot inside, Remy gasped and thrust himself wantonly against my hand. He was driving me crazy, and I withdrew my hand, positioned myself and slowly entered his body.
Oh Jesus. The feeling was sheer ecstasy, I had no idea it would be so amazing. He was so tight, and I had to fight the overwhelming urge to start slamming into him like a madman. But I wanted it to be just as good for him, too. I began to very slowly thrust in and out, watching his face for any signs of discomfort.
* Remy, oh God, sweetheart, are yer all right? Is this okay? *
He wrapped his long legs around me, pulling me deeper inside him. " Dis more den okay, honey, dis so fucking good. Oh, Jono?" He started to urge me on even further, without words, by panting, grunting and moaning. His body gripped me like a velvet vise, it was paradise, it was Nirvana, it was the Body Electric.
Remy now had a thin sheen of sweat covering him, mixed with the salt water, he smelled incredible. I started to build a rhythm, and Remy coaxed me as I thrust away. I felt like I was on fire after awhile, my whole body was throbbing. Dazed, I found Remy's swollen cock and fisted it roughly. He began to whimper, begging me for the final release.
"Please, Jono, please, ah oui, please baby, make me cum, dis is such a sweet, good fuck, I want to cum, ah, YES!"
He suddenly just screamed, and cum just exploded from his cock in a hot, steamy fountain. His orgasm caused his inner muscles to clamp down on me, and that was it. I screamed my own release, and then Remy managed to send me his climax as well, and he howled again when he experienced mine. It was all just devastating, so strong I was just completely lost for a moment in a complete, throbbing tidal wave of delirium. I collapsed on top of him like a falling tree.
I'm happy to report that I didn't pass out this time, although reality was disconnected for a moment. I just lay there like limp spaghetti, listening to the sound of the waves and Remy's gradually slowing breathing.
I finally was able to lift my head, and look at him, my wild angel. He seemed pretty dazed himself, and had a rapturous expression of complete abandon on his face. Then his eyes met mine, and he smiled at me, a smile so sweet and gentle and joyous that I just died. And I didn't even gather my courage, or think about it, I just seized the moment. I looked into his eyes and jumped off the lavatory.
* I love you Remy. *
He blinked for a moment, and he seemed very startled. I had a flash of pure fear, I had made a terrible mistake, I had said it too soon, or he didn't ever want it to be said. I cringed, and felt that I was about to hit the ground.
But then he wrapped his arms around me and held me close. Then he whispered very softly, " J'taime, mon petite ange. J'taime, mon couer."
Tears sprang to me eyes, and I tried to smile my smile at him. I marveled over the fact that Remy somehow thought of me as his angel too. Me, Jonothan Starsmore. And of all the Moments in me life, this was the ultimate. I had told someone that I loved them, and they loved me back.
And yer know what, mate? It's a thousand times better than flying ever could be.

*Depeche Mode, "I Feel You" They make me think of Jono, for some reason.


Chapter Four-Remy

Angel came down from heaven yesterday,
Stayed with me long enough to rescue me,
And he told me a story yesterday,
About the sweet love between the moon
And the deep blue sea,
And then he spread his wings high over me,
Said he's gonna come back tomorrow?*

The X factor in my DNA did a lot of wild things to me. I have red and black eyes; I can release the kinetic energy in non-living material, making one hellacious big bah-boom. And although when I wear sunglasses I can pass for normal, I'm really not. My muscle to bone ratio is more like a cat's then a humans, and I have night vision and a sense of spatial awareness that can really come in handy.
And then there's the empathy. In an ironic twist of fate, I've been blessed and cursed with a power that I really don't understand. I kicked in early, when I must have been around seven. That was a dark, dark year, one of my worst. I was already scared of people, when the empathy began they absolutely terrified me. I spent most of my time in hiding, staying as far away from other humans as possible. I lived out of garbage cans and dumpsters, only coming out of my hidey-hole like a little rat.
Gradually, not really knowing what the hell I was doing, I built up mental shields as thick as the Great Wall of China. It protected me from all the emotions I picked up from the people on the streets, the hate, greed, fear, anger, lust and despair. I also learned to manipulate or "charm" others. I could distract someone with an emotion and pick their pocket or steal their purse before they knew what was happening. The empathy also saved my life countless times, I could project fear into someone and make a quick escape.
But I did not have the greatest control that young, and it caused me so much pain. Knowing what goes on in the mind of a pedophile is somewhat akin to sticking your hand into hand in a bag of maggots.
Needless to say, I did not have the greatest opinion of my fellow man, I absolutely loathed people. So Jean-Luc and Tante certainly had their work cut out for them when my guttersnipe self ended up at the LeBeau house in the N'awlins Garden District. Pere must have thought he had adopted a crazed wildcat instead of a ten-year-old boy. But Jean-Luc LeBeau is well over one hundred years old, so is Mattie Baptiste. They had a lot of wisdom and infinite patience on their side. They gradually wore away my fear and distrust, and I opened my shields. For the first time I experienced the other side of the emotional coin, warmth, kindness, joy and laughter. It still took me almost a year to crack a smile or chuckle, and I still can't cry. Well, hardly ever.
Letting them finally touch me was also very hard. I will always remember the day that I allowed Pere to pull me into his lap, it was a real breakthrough. I rested my head on his shoulder, smelled his Bay Rum cologne and pipe smoke smell, listened to his gentle, deep voice as he read "the Three Musketeers" to me. I didn't understand what he was reading, it didn't matter. For the first time I felt safe. For the first time I felt love.
And that's the one emotion I have the most goddamn trouble with. Lust is no problem, I've sort of figured out friendship. But love, that has baffled and eluded me even though I have always desperately wanted it. And when Rogue left me standing there, thigh high in the snow, I just died inside.
But I didn't count on Jonothan Starsmore. The first time I opened up my shields to cautiously assess what he felt about me, damn, it was so wonderful, like drowning in a sweet, warm flood. It is so strong too, and it gets stronger day by day. Jono has has biggest heart in the world, and he has given it to me fearlessly. And I, much to my amazement, have given my heart back in return. Jono is mon petite ange.
Admittedly, he's not the textbook definition of a heavenly guardian. He's a tough Cockney boy from Muswell Hill in London, all black leather and attitude. His language can peel paint, he can shock even me, and I'm virtually unshockable. (Tante ever hears him, she'd paddle his behind but good.) He's got a powder keg temper, and can be viciously sarcastic.
But underneath, Jono is as sweet as molasses and honey combined. And when I lie in his slender arms, I feel so safe. He holds me and rocks me after my worst nightmares, soothes away my fears with strong callused, fingers.
He is certainly the bravest person I have ever known. Jono has a backbone of tempered steel. Yeah, I can run hell bent for leather into a pack of crazed Friends of Humanity and kick me some tail, but that's a different kind of courage. Jonothan went through a horrifying metamorphosis when his powers manifested, it must have felt like the hand of God was striking him down. And the fact that he didn't start railing against humanity, lashing out at other people, speaks of a deep inner goodness and strength. If it had been me, I would have turned meaner than a junkyard dog.
That he got through it all by himself also amazes me. When they found out he was a mutant, his family and friends deserted him. His grandmere was the only person who stood by him. And that poor woman had some kind of heart attack when she came to the hospital to see him. Jono has not seen her since then, I think he still feels too guilty about it and scared. I hope this changes someday; I'd give my eyeteeth to meet her. Jonothan tells me she's been married five times, plays the horses, wears micro minis and gogo boots, her hair dyed an interesting shade of blue. Before the heart attack, she started out each day with a shot of gin and a pack of Pall Malls. They still write to each other, her letters are a scream. Jono tells her some pretty elaborate fabrications, as she has a hard time dealing with the whole mutant thing. But it's obvious she still loves him very much, and that's all that matters. I guess Jono has told her that he is on some very long school holiday, a lie I find very funny.
Jono must have gotten all his wonderful qualities from her, as the rest of the Starsmore tribe sounds completely worthless. There's some real bad shit between Jono and his father. He doesn't really talk about it, but I'm guessing his childhood must have been a total misery. His old man better pray he never runs into me
Between his baggage and mine (and I have enough baggage to fill O'Hare Airport.) you'd think we would spend most of our time in a cloud of doom and gloom. But we don't, not at all. Except for a couple crisis (unfortunately generated by yours truly) this has been the best two months of my entire life. I have to keep pinching myself to make sure it's not a dream.
I certainly have never laughed so much in my life. Jonothan Starsmore is without a doubt, the funniest person I have ever known. He has a very dry, self-depreciating sense of humor, typically British. Man, he just kills me sometimes. Another thing I really love about him that he also laughs at himself. He takes teasing very well, which surprised me at first, given his awful temper. But he's fine with it, and he can certainly give me the business right back. And Jono, for some really weird reason, is also very prone to getting himself in the most embarrassing situations. I told him it must be one of his mutant abilities.
He is also, Lord have mercy, a terrible klutz. I have total control over my body, so this is very hard for me to relate to. But I swear, Jono could be taking a stroll in the damn Sahara desert and he would find the only rock within one hundred miles to trip over.
I've been teaching him some simple self-defense moves to give him a little more physical confidence. It's important that he doesn't depend solely on his powers. I've spent most my time knocking him on his skinny Limey ass, but although he hasn't exactly shown much aptitude, he's no quitter, and gives it his all. And I want to make sure that he's ready for anything. The Xmen may think I'm dead, but I still have enough enemies that want a piece of me. I don't want Jono to ever get hurt in the crossfire. Something ever happens to that boy, I'd die.
I'm just naturally paranoid, old survivor's instinct. The house that we are staying at (it's still hard to think of it as my house) has pretty decent security; it was a gift from Pere after all. I've beefed it up since our arrival anyway. Jono's eyes became big, round orbs of astonishment when I showed him all the stuff concealed in the walls. I'm trying to get him to think like a thief too, not that I have any intention of dragging him into my old profession. But thinking like a thief means that you are observant, patient, and ever so cautious. Jono is really fascinated with all the Guild lore and loves getting me to talk about it, something I never did with the Xmen. It was sort of implied that I should have been ashamed of what I was. And I know that stealing is wrong, but I still feel pride in the Guild, and love the man who raised me and gave me a last name.
I showed Jonothan how to pick a lock after he pestered me about it, and it was so cute, he was completely tickled when he did it. He would make a pretty good thief too; he has a quick, sharp mind. On second thought, scratch that. There's also that klutz factor. Jono would probably trip every alarm in about five seconds. I shudder at the thought.
Along with my paranoia, I'm also a little superstitious, Guild thieves usually are. And I've revealed that side of myself to Jono too, another thing I would never do with the Xmen. I knew I would get nothing but ridicule, ironic from a group that fights intolerance. Rogue would have had an especially hard time. Deep down I know that gal is a holy rollin' bible bangin' Baptist, so she would have freaked if I had ever told her I really believed in Voodoo. Yet another reason our relationship was destined to end up in a train wreck.
But I trust Jono so much, and wasn't afraid. And I can tell that even though he really doesn't understand it, he accepts it. So I bought some candles and pictures (the Bahamas have some practitioners around, along with all the Rastafarians) and drew a veve of Dumballah, the serpent Loa, to protect us near our bed. Jono was so sweet, asked me all kinds of questions, and all I felt from him was curiosity and respect. Made me feel so much better, so very free.
Pere dragged my butt to Mass every Sunday, but I never really bought into the whole Catholic thing. Didn't ever understand it, didn't really like it. Too much thou shalt nots and burning in hell. I went along with it mostly to please Pere, although I sure gave the nuns a number of nightmares. Now Tante Mattie is a Mambo, a Voodoo priestess, and it's from her that I got what little faith I carry around today. Despite all the Hollywood crap, Voodoo is all about embracing life and death and celebrating it. Jono again loves to talk about it, and all I get from him is acceptance. Acceptance. What a wonderful gift that is, and I never knew how much I really needed it. I've been able to tell Jono some of my worst, ugliest secrets, and he still loves me, warts and all.
This is only one of many gifts, Jono is generous. He has made a supreme effort to touch me, for example. It seems like such a simple thing too, but it means the world to me. And it's funny how significant it's become in my life. When I was a kid, it terrified me; it meant that I would be hurt. Then, when I discovered what kind of comfort and security it could bring, I became almost a junkie for it. I needed it like air.
So who, in my infinite wisdom, do I pick to fall in love with? Rogue, a woman who can't be touched. I fooled myself into thinking I was being noble, that I could have a love that would transcend the physical. In reality, it was some sick, masochistic urge on my part. I must have been out of my rabbity assed mind! And Rogue is all twisted up in her own shit, I think she used it to control me, to keep me in line. Made herself the ultimate virgin prize. I once scored a black-market Genoshan slave collar, tried to talk her into using it. Man alive, we could have fucked our brains out, would have been so good for both of us. But Rogue made me feel like dirt for even suggesting such a thing. Wanted to be able to touch me on her own. Had to be all or nothing with her, and now I have no idea why I got sucked into such a sad, destructive game. Self-hatred, I guess.
Now Jono isn't naturally physically affectionate, part of it is his upbringing; some of it is his mutation and the accident. But bless his heart; he tries so hard with me. He hugs and snuggles and strokes and tickles, and he says he's become an expert in post coital cuddling, and I agree. And me, well, I can't keep my damn hands off of him.
God, he is cuter than a June bug's left ear, that child! I love his long, graceful legs and big feet, his Anglo Saxon skin, paler than alabaster, softer than an infant's behind. I love his smell, a combination of baby lotion, shampoo and leather. I love his wild chestnut hair and his long, sharp nose. And his telepathic 'voice' just turns me inside out. I'm sure it's close to what his old speaking voice must have been, it's blues musician ragged, sexy as hell. His grandma must have started him out a child with a fifth of Jim Beam and a bunch of Camel unfiltereds. When I hear it in my head, I get goose bumps, and when that boy moans, he gets me so damn hard. Whoo-ee.
And lordy, lordy, lordy, do I love Jono's ass! Shakespeare could have written a sonnet about it. I can look at Jonothan all day, but he's especially wonderful in the morning. He's got this dazed, sweetly sleepy look, hair like an old squirrel's nest. He shuffles around in an old t-shirt, nothing else, giving me a breath-taking view every so often of one of the tightest, cutest, sweetest butts on the planet. More often then not, I get really riled up and pull him back into bed to have my way with him. He never argues.
He's a wonderful, incredible lover too. Jono can fuck like a demon, make love like an angel. I've finally me someone whose motor runs just like mine. We literally burn up the sheets sometimes. And I was always afraid that if by some miracle, I ended up in a monogamous relationship, I'd get bored or restless. But the idea of ever being without Jono seems physically painful. I need him, like I need sunshine or water. He's my whole life now. Never thought that would happen to an old rakehell like me.
But the thing I love most about Jono are probably his eyes. They are so beautiful, even Raphael couldn't have come close to capturing them on canvas. I think angels, if they exist, have eyes like this, such a deep, soft brown. Jono's eyes warm up all the cold places in my heart, and they absolve me of all my past sins. In Jonothan Starsmore's eyes I have finally found love and salvation.

Well, the first week or so in the Bahamas was very rough sailing, and this was all because of moi. I can get wound up real tight, usually because of fear. And I had to confront one of my worst ones.
After running into Ming in New York, I knew I had to contact pere. I felt deeply guilty about worrying him. One of the few things in this sorry life of mine I have been sure of is that Jean-Luc LeBeau loves me. And I love him. But I had to work up the nerve to confess some very ugly things to him, I owed him the truth. And that made me afraid. I had been banished from my home, but I hadn't been banished from Pere's heart. Yet.
So one night I drank a bottle of wine and wrote the longest, most difficult letter of my life. I could have called, yeah, but the sound of his deep, soft voice would have undone me. So I wrote him in my best Sister Agatha coerced penmanship, telling him all the sordid, rotten, miserable shit I had done when I left home. I told him about the Morlocks, the Xmen, about Rogue and Antarctica. And I begged his understanding and forgiveness.
When I was finished, I felt sick, sick of myself. I stared at the letter, a big pile of misery on the table. I was sorely tempted to just charge it up and incinerate the whole thing.
It was 'round four am, Jono had gone to bed hours before. I stared out a window at the ocean, the waves rolling in the moonlight. Then I put my head down on my arms on the table. A few minutes later, I felt Jono's hands lightly touch my shoulders.
* Eh, Rem. * he whispered.
I looked up at his pale, narrow face, skin even whiter in the moonlight. His eyes were big, dark pools, half obscured by thick hair; his tall, thin body was draped in a sheet.
"Go back to bed, cher." I was being a self-pitying dick. I was feeling so low and dirty; I didn't want his kindness or love. I just wanted to wallow. But Jono doesn't back down, he's not scared of me at all. I could see a frown form in his eyes.
* I think yer need a bit of company, love. Come back to bed with me. *
"Non, jus' leave me be, Jono." I shrugged away from his touch, got up and went to the window.
* Don't be such a drama queen. I know what's upsetting yer. *
This really pissed me off. I glared at him. " You don' know shit about it Jonothan! You never done nothin' dat y' were ashamed of, a t'ing dat y' terrified of other people findin' out. And if dey do, den dey might hate y' forever."
* Yer dad isn't gonner hate you, Remy. If he really loves yer, he'll find it in his heart to forgive yer. * Then he suddenly spun me around, making me look at him. " And for what it's worth, Remy LeBeau, I do so know all about guilt. And regret. And I also know what it's like to feel scared and alone. But yer not alone in this, love, remember that. *
I swallowed hard, tried to look away, but I couldn't. Jonothan's beautiful angel eyes bore into me, and I couldn't resist their pull. I opened my shields a crack and let his love and comfort pour over me.
"Sorry." I whispered.
He drew me into his arms, hugging me tight. * Yer should be sorry, yer great twit.* I buried my face in his soft, fragrant hair, felt him rub warm circles on my back. I let him lead me to the bedroom, where he gently undressed me, and laid me down. He wrapped his willowy body around mine, holding me close. I clung to him, and for a moment, was sorely tempted to ask to make love. But for some reason, it wasn't the time. It was enough to be loved and held. I rested my head on Jono's shoulder, and drifted into a fitful sleep.
I'm afraid I was still utterly impossible after this, though. Mr. High Maintenance, that's me. I sent off my letter to pere special express. And that act stressed me to the max. All I could think of was Poppa in his study in N'awlins, holding my letter, his eyes wide in shocked disbelief. I couldn't shake the vision of him crumpling it in his hand, tossing it aside and cursing my name.
I got all knotted up, couldn't really eat, couldn't sleep, snappy and bitchy as hell. I was a real joy to hang around. I wanted to be left alone, and Jono, for the most part, wisely gave me wide berth. Every so often I felt his steady love and concern, but it didn't help. I felt guilty over what I was putting him through; he really was earning his stripes. But sometimes I can't control myself, and it's best to let the whole thing run its course.
During this delightful period I paced around a lot, walked up and down the beach. Jono amused himself by hanging out on the deck or in the bedroom, reading or writing in his journal. I certainly hope he vented about me in there, I deserved it.
Finally, after three days of this unrelenting tension, I got the brilliant idea to get good and stinking drunk. Hey, when I decide to be an ass, I go all out. It takes me awhile to tie one on too. I can hold my liquor real good, and frankly, getting smashed is a very rare occurrence for me. Ingrained thieves training, you need to be on top of your game at all times. But I was so uptight at this point I needed a nice period of oblivion. It was either that, or start screaming.
So I went out on the deck and proceeded to empty almost two bottles of very fine whiskey. I watched the waves roll in and out in a fixed stare, and gradually, my body began to finally unknot. Pretty soon I was looser than a goose, drunker than a skunk.
I was sprawled all over a deck chair when Chamber found me. He had been out on the beach most of the day, reading and listening to his Walkman. His eyes narrowed when he gazed down at me. I was on top of the world at this point, feeling absolutely no pain. I gave him a big old' slip-sloppy grin.
"Heeyy dere Jono baby. How's it hangin'?"
* Just fine, thanks. Probably better than yours at this point. *
There was a definite sting to his words, but I decided to be amused. " Maybe so. I'm higher den a kite, me."
Jono picked up the whiskey bottles that were rolling around the deck. * I imagine yer quite numb, love. *
My euphoria bubble suddenly popped here, and my shields were as open as an old barn door. I sensed a dark throb of anger from Jonothan, as well as disapproval and worry. And since I was full up to the brim with hooch, this made me really mad and mean.
"Hey, I don' need y' standin' dere, lookin' down y' nose at me. You ain't my maman, I can do what I want, when I want."
*And does that include alcohol-poisoning, dumbshit? *
"Oh, fuck off, Jono! You don' like my behavior, fine, jus' get y' skinny Limey ass out of here then! Don' need you, don' need nobody. I been takin' care of myself since Day One." I got up from the deck chair and had the audacity to be surprised that my arms and legs weren't working so good.
* Taking care of yerself from Day One, eh? Well, sorry, yer doing a pretty piss-poor job at the moment. * He folded his arms. * Getting all shit-faced isn't gonner solve anything.*
This really galvanized me. I loomed over him, breathing fire. But his dark eyes locked into mine and he didn't back down an inch.
"Jus shut up, Jono! Y' don' know nuthin' 'bout what I'm goin' through. I didn't ask for your fuckin' opinion! I could fuckin' care less!"
* Fine! I'll give yer my opinion anyway! Yer just making this all a thousand times worse by doing this.*
My meanness boiled in my blood like poison. " I was okay until you showed up, you little hypocrite! Bet you would give anything to get drunk too. But y' can't now, can ya?"
That hit home, the arrow hit the bullseye with a solid thunk. Jono flinched, and blinked rapidly a few times. And I got no feeling of triumph. Instead, my gut twisted up in self-loathing.
But Jono, Jono, Jono. Did I say he had a backbone of steel? Non, he has a backbone of adamantium.
* Aren't you a right bastard when yer drinking, Remy me boy? Well, I not gonner play this little game with yer. Yer trying to hurt me so I'll walk, is that it? I played this game meself, so I know how it goes. Sorry lover, but yer stuck with Jono. So go ahead and be a dick, I can take it. And lemme tell yer, LeBeau, I got far worse from me father when he was all tanked up, so any of yer fuss and bother is nothing in comparison. You're a fucking amateur! So rant and curse all yer want! I've got yer number. You're just scared, Remy. And yer a total asshole. But guess what? I still love you anyway! *
I swayed for a moment, all the anger and fear draining out of me." Jonothan, cher, I-I-" I couldn't finish because the world began to spin and my stomach began to lurch. My legs buckled, and I started to drop to the deck.
If there had been any justice, Jono should have left me there. But instead, mon petite ange caught me and half dragged me to the bathroom. For the next half hour or so, all I could focus on was puking my guts out, praying to the porcelain God. I hadn't eaten much recently, so it was mostly the alcohol. I also had an entertaining period of dry heaves. And through it all, I was dimly aware of Jonothan holding my head, rubbing my back. He put a cool washcloth on my neck, used another one to wipe the sweat off my face. And he murmered softly to me the whole time, saying how everything was going to be all right. Yeah, lovers can say romantic things, buy you diamonds, take you to dinner. But when someone holds your head as you heave, well honey, that really is love.
When I was finally, finally empty, Jono got me to rinse my mouth out. He managed to get me undressed and wrapped up in my bathrobe, as I was shivering and as weak as a little newborn kitten. He got me tucked into bed, lying on my side. Then he lay down next to me, rubbed my shoulders and back with careful fingers. And he kept saying over and over, * It's really gonner be okay, Rem, I promise. I love yer, sweetheart. * With his croaky crow voice in my head, I fell into a deep, troubled sleep.
I woke up the next day, late morning. For a moment, I was confused and disoriented, and when I sat up, my head just throbbed. I had the Hangover from Hell, which I really had coming to me.
Jonothan was asleep at the foot of the bed, still dressed, all curled up, fetal position. There were a pile of books and magazines all around him; he must have never left my side. I reached out and stroked his thick chestnut hair. I honestly couldn't believe that he was lying there, he hadn't walked out, didn't hate me. Rogue always ran at the first sign of trouble. But Jonothan, obviously, was made of much sterner stuff.
I was deeply ashamed of all the things I had said to him earlier, I unfortunately recalled everything. And I was so touched over his gentle care. What had I ever done to deserve him?
Jonothan stirred in his sleep, the suddenly woke, blinking for a moment. Then those big brown eyes crinkled up in a smile.
* 'Ello there, Rem. Back amongst the living, are yer? *
"Not too sure yet, cher." My voice was dry and raspy, my mouth tasted like I had been licking dog crap. This was going to be one bad, motherfucker of a hangover.
* Bet yer feel like shit. Yer sure look like shit. * Jonothan observed, a bit too cheerfully. Before I could answer, Jono got out of bed and left the room for a moment. He returned with a big glass of cold tea and a bottle of Tylenol. God, do I love this man, I thought.
* Here yer go mate. Hope it helps. * Jono handed me the tea, and it tasted like heaven. I swallowed about five tablets, and finished the tea. After I put the empty glass on the nightstand, I took both of Jono's hands in mine.
"Cher, " I croaked, embarrassment and shame flooding through me. "Can't tell y' how sorry I am. What a fucking, terrible shit I was to you. I treated y' so mean, honey, don' know why y' still hangin' around."
Jono's eyes sparked. * Because I love yer, dumbass. *
I had to laugh, which hurt. That statement was oh so Jonothan though. " I love y' too, sweet. " I kissed his big knuckled hand. " And I am so ashamed for being such a fuck."
* Well, yer should be. But before yer go condemning yerself and all, I should point out that I can be a total asshole as well. So, we're quite the pair, ain't we? * He sighed. * Just don't making a habit of it, love. Not my idea of a party. *
I suddenly remembered what Jono had said about his father during our fight. I swallowed hard. "Jono-you said somet'ing 'bout y' pere getting drunk all de time..."
Jonothan looked away, staring at the wall. * Yeah. Don't think I'd recognize dad sober, if yer wanna know he truth. Mean alcoholic too, not a life of the party, lampshade on head type drunk. Used to smack me and me mum around a lot. * Jono gave a short, sad laugh. * Then, when I was fifteen, I had enough. Knocked him clear through the screen door, broke me hand, which was worth it. Didn't touch me again, or mum, at least not when I was home. Me family puts the "D" in dysfunctional, Remy. Someday we'll all be on "Springer". *
At that moment, I honestly wished that God would have taken a big, fat, blue lightning bolt and zapped me but good. How the hell could I have put Jono through this? Shame flamed my face. I also was in awe at how much this sweet boy must love me, considering how easily he forgave me.
"Jono, I am-merde, I don't know what to say-"
He shrugged. * Don't have to say anything, love. And maybe we'll talk about the Starsmore Soap Opera some more, but not now. We have more important things to discuss. Hope yer up to this. * He clutched my hand tightly. * Package arrived late yesterday afternoon, special delivery from New Orleans. *
I felt like I had just jumped out of a plane and gone into free fall. My heart was in my throat. Jono stood and picked up a small Fed Ex packet from the dresser, handed it to me. I began to shake.
* Love, do yer want me to leave so yer can read it in private? *
That was the last thing on earth I wanted. Jono was the only thing that was going to get me through this. I shook my head. "Non, cher, please stay." I managed to get the Fed Ex envelope open, and pulled out a thick letter, Pere's familiar ivory colored Crane's stationery. I held it in my hands and my blood turned to ice. I tried to open it- an easy enough task, as Jean-Luc still favors sealing wax- but my fingers wouldn't work. I just stared at it.
Jonothan finally touched my wrist. * Want me to open it for yer, sweetheart? *
Like a total, gutless coward I handed the letter to him. "Oui, Jono." I took a deep breath, not believing I could be this chicken shit. " And Jono- could y' read it? Not out loud, but-"
Jonothan nodded, eyes full of understanding. I saw that his hands shook a bit too as he cracked the seal. I tried not to look at him as he read, stared instead at the light playing across the walls. I tried to keep breathing, ignore the fear clawing at my stomach.
After a seeming eternity, I heard the rustle of paper. * Remy? * I looked at him, his eyes were shining. * It's all right love. Yer dad, he's incredible. *
I can't tell you how relieved I was, it was like a bunch of chains fell away from my heart, like I had spouted wings. I took the letter from Jono and scanned pere's beautiful, copperplate handwriting.
I was truly the most wonderful letter. It was full of love and forgiveness, caring and worry. I was angrily berated for keeping so much from him, and not coming to him sooner. He had gone through hell thinking I was dead. He had called the mansion after not hearing from me for some weeks. He got a strange run around, until finally Storm talked to him and told him that I was either lost or deceased. She didn't go into much detail, which made Pere very suspicious, and he detected guilt and grief in her voice. Ah, Stormy. Perhaps in your heart, at least, there is some forgiveness.
Pere used every resource he had looking for me, and they are considerable. He even went to Antarctica, with no luck. He was about to give up; when Tante assured him that I was still alive, the Loas told her so. I can't tell you how guilty this made me feel, thinking about putting pere through all this. But I had been in such a crazed, suicidal mess, I really couldn't think too straight, if I was thinking at all.
After Poppa got my letter and found out the truth, he considered taking revenge against my former teammates. I was relieved he ultimately decided against it, even though I have a lot of unresolved anger and hurt inside me. Jean-Luc is not a vengeful man, but his retribution can be terrible. He could break them, to be sure. But as torn up as I am over it, I really don't want revenge. Would be a hollow victory, so empty.
The letter ran me through a gamut of emotions, the last couple paragraphs nearly undoing me. Poppa wrote:
" I want you to know, mon fils, that I will always love you, and that I have always been so proud. Oui, you have made some terrible mistakes, and those mistakes have caused some terrible suffering. But fils, you need to let this burden go. I do not mean forget it, nor should you suddenly claim innocence. But I know, mon fils, that you are a good man, and you don't deserve the pain you are obviously putting yourself through. You have punished yourself enough, dear child. I do not want you to hurt any more; you have done enough of that already.
All is forgiven, my Remy. You are the best, most wonderful thing to happen to this old thief. And when you are ready boy, please come home. Exile be damned! I am the Patriarch of the N'awlins Thieves Guild, 'bout time I started to throw my weight around! Perhaps Christmas? Mattie would no doubt cook up a storm, and we would both love to spoil you. And please do bring that young friend you mentioned along.
Again, mon fils, do try and remember how much I love you. I have from the moment you picked my pocket on Bourbon Street. As always, your Poppa."
I read the letter about four times, my eyes blurring with tears each time. I really wanted to break down and bawl, but I fight crying like my worst enemy. Not remotely healthy, I know, but that's just the way I work.
Jono sat quietly at my side the whole time, gently rubbing my back as I read. I drew so much strength from his presence. When I finally put the letter down, he pulled me into a hard, long hug. I buried my face in his thin shoulder, smelled his Jono smell.
* Of course, I'm not gonner say I told yer so. * He said after a while. * You okay now, love? *
Okay? I felt as if I had suddenly sprouted wings, the chains had fallen from my heart.
"Oui." Was all I could say. Jonothan leaned back a bit to look at me. He brushed back my hair, cupped my chin.
* Now ducks, is there anything else I can do for yer? Want to lie down some more? You look awfully peaky. Something to eat maybe? *
I had to smile. Jonothan fusses over me like an old grandmere sometimes. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I just eat it up too, I'm so shameless. My hangover was still there, although the throbbing in my head had died down quite a bit. Probably because my stress level had taken a significant dip. Anyway, the idea of food made me feel weird, but a shower suddenly sounded just wonderful.
" Maybe a little food later, sweet. T'ink I'll take a shower. " I managed a leer. " Care to join me? Maybe you can scrub my back."
Jono cocked his head. * Uh-huh. Sure that's all yer want? Yer not up to much hanky-panky. *
I stood and the room gave a lurch, but I stayed upright. " How d'ya know what I would be up to, Mr. Smarty-pants?"
He followed me into the bathroom. * Well, generally speaking, Rem, I've learned that yer always up to something. *
I pinched his wonderful, long English nose. "Y got dat right. Now get y' clothes off before I snatch y' naked myself."
He smiled a Jono smile at me and started to pull off his shirt. As I took off my robe, I glanced at his slender, graceful arms and narrow waist, and felt an unexpected stab of desire. Despite all my innuendo, I honestly didn't imagine I could even think about getting it up, let alone do it. But as Jonothan continued to strip, the sight of his long legs and delicious ass made a wild heat start to pool in my groin. He just makes me all crazy, that pretty boy.
I turned on the shower and we both jumped in. It felt so good; I gave a deep, contented sigh. I love taking showers, I love getting clean. I would bathe ten times a day if I could get away with it. This behavior stems from childhood, I know. I was so dirty for so long, I hated it. When Pere and Tante introduced me to the delights of personal hygiene, you couldn't pry me out of a bathtub. I'm sure Jean-Luc's water bill skyrocketed the first month I lived him.
After basking in the hot water for a few minutes, I grabbed the soap, and started to lather up. Found some really great stuff at that market we stopped at outside Freeport. Smelled like herbs and the ocean. After I finished with myself, I attacked Jono with it.
* Err, Remy, this most definitely constitutes hanky-panky. * He said as I spread some suds over his flat, lithe stomach. I love the feel of his skin under my fingers; it's so soft and warm.
"And y' got a problem wit' dis? " I ran a hand down his thigh, which was trembling slightly. My wrist brushed against a growing erection, the velvet of his scrotum.
He chuckled. * Well, no, obviously. * His dark brown eyes twinkled with mischief. * Just hope yer can follow through, stud, if yer get my drift. *
I pulled him tightly into my arms, pressing a wet body against his. I ran my hands down his back, felt the bumps of his spine, and kneaded the tight muscles. I traced my lips over his face, tasted him with my tongue. Jono's strong fingers had by this time slicked up my torso, played over my chest. Our cocks started to rub together, felt like heaven.
"Have I ever disappointed y', sweet?"
Another deep, croaky chuckle, so damn sexy it gave me the shivers. * No. Yer a regular Love Machine, Remy LeBeau. *
He found my nipples, plucked at them expertly, which sent a trail of fire to my cock. I threw back my head and moaned a little as he slowly worked his hands down my stomach. He stopped at my groin and kneaded the skin just at my pubic bone. I bit my lip in anticipation, hoping a hand would run over my now aching penis.
But Jono was in a teasing mood. He gave me another ragged laugh, and mentally whispered. * Yer like that love? Want me to touch yer cock, give yer a thrill? Bet it would feel so fucking good, too. * I started to whimper. He massaged the inside of my thighs, still avoiding the obvious. * I could rub yer balls too, get you so very hard, sweetheart?make you cum?" A naughty chuckle. *But not just yet. * He grabbed the soap. * First, I scrub yer back, like yer asked. *
I moaned into his hair. " You mean little bastard. C'mon cher, use dat soap where it do de most good."
A snicker. * Sorry. In the mood to torture, mate. Turn round then. *
" Jono, didn't know what a rotten pissant y' could be." Grinning, I obeyed him, leaning against the tiles.
* Such lovely talk to someone who's gonna be very nice to yer. *
And he was very, very nice to me. He ran the soap over my back, then started to rub and caress my muscles, which were a lot more knotted up then I realized. Jonothan has the most wonderful, strong hands, and sensitive fingers; he can just about bring me to orgasm with a few deft strokes. He was giving it his all now, and I responded with grunts, groans and sighs, the pleasure was incredible. I closed my eyes and just let myself go, not thinking. The warm water flowed over me as my sweet lover took me to another place with his hands. He worked his way down very slowly, touching, probing. With each deft caress, my cock throbbed in delicious heat, begging for a final release. I bit my forearm slightly, hoping it would be soon.
And then something happened that really spooked me. Jonothan stopped his massage and reached his arms around my waist to hug me, his body pressed against my back. I could feel his hard on rub against my ass, and a wave of irrational terror and an old, old memory washed over me.
I instinctively whirled around, all defensive, trembling. For a second or two, I didn't know where I was. Then I saw Jonothan's shocked expression. I tried to compose my face, hide the fear. But it was really too late, Jono had seen.
* Love, what's wrong? You okay? * Jono's "voice" took on the tone of someone trying to calm a frightened horse. * What scared yer? * He very carefully touched my shoulder.
My throat constricted, I couldn't speak. And as I looked into those worried, angelic eyes, I knew I couldn't tell him the truth. That I had just had a rape flashback.
I have learned to love sex and push all those dark, evil things that happened to me as a child in a far corner in the back of my head. As long as I feel I am in control, calling the shots when making love, I'm just fine. It's when I think things are getting out of hand that my panic button gets pushed. But this totally surprised me, as I trust Jonothan more than I have any other lover. He's the first I have ever allowed to take me, come inside me willingly. We had gotten so carried away on the beach that day, and my empathy felt so much love and desire from him that my usual fear just vanished. And he was so sweet, passionate and gentle, it was everything I had ever fantasized about, it was ecstasy. I had started to hope after that beautiful experience that my old, old shit was finally behind me. But nothing in my damn life is ever easy
Jonothan slowly pulled me into his arms, patiently waiting for some kind of answer. And I, old liar, couldn't think of a big whopper to tell him. Plus, I hated feeding him a line. I'd been more honest with him then anyone before. But I sure as hell didn't want to tell my lover the truth. Never told Tante, never told Pere, wanted to take it all to my grave.
I made myself talk. "Jono-cher- I'm so sorry. Jus' started to feel real weird all of a sudden." This was, without a doubt the lamest piece of BS ever to cross my lips.
* What exactly does 'weird' mean? Yer shaking all over and cold. Yer feel sick? * There was so much concern in his soft brown eyes I indeed felt sick for scaring him.
" Not 'zactly. Jus' got a lil' dizzy." I swallowed hard. " 'Poligize, baby. I kind of killed de mood here, me. Y' were right, I wasn't up to no hanky-panky."
Jonothan gave a snort. * Like that matters. * He reached over and turned off the water. * Let's get yer dried off and back into bed, sweetheart. *
Jonothan opened the curtain and grabbed some towels, and started to briskly dry me off. I didn't fight his fussing, it was very comforting and it slowed my panic and shaking. He then got me back into my big, soft, terrycloth robe, and it made me remember Tante gently taking care of me when I was ill.
Jono then quickly got himself dried off, and he started to pull on the baggy, black t-shirt he usually wears to bed.
"Cher- y' forgot to put on y' baby lotion." That had become a very entertaining little ritual.
Jono's head poked through the hole of his tee, and his thick brows knotted together, giving me a puzzled look. * Um, maybe later, Rem. Right now we should get yer arse back to bed. And I should fix yer something to eat. Yer haven't really had anything in days. *
I tried to smile. " Sweet, stop y' clucking'. I'm feelin' much better, I'll be fine."
Another frown with his eyes. * Remy, yer ghost white and yer still shaking. * He turned me around, started to push me into the bedroom. * Now behave and listen to Jono-*
I managed to wriggle out of his grasp and then pulled him into a hug. " Like dat y' want to take care of me, Jonothan Starsmore. You so good to me." I kissed his damp soft hair, his pale forehead, the upper part of his cheek. His closeness and warmth began to turn me on again.
And then I got this pretty desperate, stupid idea that if we made love now, right now, I would be okay again, back in control. It would push all the bad stuff away, far away in the nether regions of my mind. I wanted a sexual exorcism. I suddenly pulled his lanky body tightly to mine, grabbing his small, bare ass.
* Remy, what the fuck are yer doing-? * Jono started to protest. I quieted him by immediately pouring it on, sticking my tongue in his ear. This is a move that always gets Jonothan very hot, and it worked, he moaned loudly in my head.
"Want y' baby, want y' bad" I whispered seductively. I slid my hand over to his groin, closed my hand over his penis, which was nice and rock hard. " Ah yeah, Jono, you still all het up for Remy."
My lover began to tremble, and I felt his fingers dig into my back as I continues to stroke him. I was okay now, back in the driver's seat. But Jonothan had other ideas. It was like he suddenly shook himself, and then his hand grabbed my wrist.
*Stop. * There was a definite tone of command.
I was taken aback. " Jono, sweet, why?"
He was staring very hard at me, and it was then that I got real nervous. Jonothan is an incredibly powerful telepath; I don't think he knows how strong he is yet. Probably omega class. But he has been very respectful of my privacy, I've never felt him try to poke around in my head. And I would know too, my shields set off an immediate alarm if someone tries to 'read' me. Both the Professor and Jean were relatively "minds off", although I could tell that my shields both baffled them and caused intense curiosity. Betsy was another story; she was always trying to snoop. I gave her the surprise of her life once, booting her out of my head.
But Jono has never trespassed, and that's one reason why I love him so much and trust him. But even I can slip, and I suddenly realized I might have inadvertently broadcast something even the most beta level telepath could pick up. My behavior also was giving him reason to be sorely tempted.
Jonothan carefully touched my face, his way of kissing. * Love, please don't take this wrong. But this just feels?strange. You've been really upset for the last couple of days, under a lot of stress, and I honestly don't think this is the best idea. *
I definitely must have let something slip, but Jono obviously didn't know the real reason behind my erratic behavior. I would have picked something up empathy wise. Jono is such an emotional person; he's like Technicolor to an empath. I seriously thought about arguing, but that would have been real stupid. I was skating on very thin ice now; if I pushed it, I was in real danger of getting into an area I never, ever wanted to go.
So I let out a big, dramatic sigh, and decided to make light of the situation. " Okay den, have it your way. If y' wan' us both with a bad case of blue balls, den dat's what we'll do." I started back to bed. " Jus' don' know what y' missin'."
* Problem is ducks; I know exactly what I'm missing. * Jonothan gave me a slight, playful swat on the behind. *So I'd better get a rain check."
" I'll have to t'ink about it." I clambered into the bed and suddenly felt a wave of exhaustion. I hated to admit it, but Jonothan was probably right.
*Stop pouting. Yer look like a moron. * This was delivered in such a warm, affectionate tone that I wasn't at all offended. Plus, I like the fact that Jono doesn't flatter me much. I prefer the cheerful insults. He drew a sheet over me and plumped up my pillows.
* Now, what can I get yer to eat? 'Cuz yer gonner eat something. * Jonothan wore his Brahma bull expression, so there was going to be no point in arguing.
I had to think about it for a moment. "Um?coffee and toast sound good." And it actually did.
*All right then. Back in a jiff. * Jono ruffled my hair, and then went to our dresser to pull on some underwear and shorts.
"Jono, don' put dat stuff on!" I pleaded wickedly. I have a hard time letting anything go.
He rolled his eyes. * Sorry. We're both behaving for a bit. *
"You no fun."
*On the contrary, I'm quite a hoot. Now lie down! *
I stuck my tongue out at him and he crinkled a smile at me in return, and happily flipped me off before he left. I had to laugh.
However, as soon as he was gone, I got the shakes again. I had come close to really giving the game away; how could I have been so careless? I fretted over it for a while, and then I somehow must have dozed off anyway. I awoke shortly afterwards to the smell of something burning. More specifically, toast burning. I suddenly realized what a mistake it had been to send Chamber into the kitchen all alone, unsupervised. I prayed that he remembered where the fire extinguisher was.
Jono entered a few minutes later, bearing a tray. He looked a tad sheepish, but not singed, so I figured we still had a kitchen. He set the tray down, and it was so hard for me not to laugh, it was so damn cute. It was piled high with toast, all in varying degrees of blackness. He had made such an effort too; there was jam and butter and honey, a big steaming mug of coffee, even a flower in a little vase.
"T'anks, sweet." I kissed his nose after he sat down beside me. " Y' spoil me."
* Err?I'm afraid the toast got a bit well done. * Jono sighed.
" Mais, honey, it looks great!" I picked up a piece of toast, which felt as solid as a hockey puck. As I spread some butter over it; there was an intense crackle. "I like it well done, me."
Jono loked immensely relieved; so I couldn't really start rolling around on the bed, laughing. Instead, I crunched my way through the driest, blackest piece of bread you could ever imagine. It was like eating a charcoal briquette. Mouth parched, I then took a sip of the coffee. Now given the state of the toast, you would think I would have hesitated.
Now let me tell you what you could do with Jonothan's coffee: You could use it as rocket fuel. You could kill termites with it. You could most definitely pave a street with it. Drinking it, however, is another matter. As I swallowed the incredible, thick substance, I started to pray that I would have a stomach lining left.
* Coffee's not too strong, is it? * Jonothan asked in all wide-eyed innocence.
And here's where if there had been a camera crew filming me, I would have gotten an Academy Award. "Cher, de coffee's great! Best I ever had!" I gave him a wide, Cajun smile. Jonothan got an extremely happy look on his face, soft brown eyes shining. I was now in big trouble. There was no way I could drink this coffee, unless I wanted to die of over-caffination. But I am, after all, a Master Thief, and I quickly formulated a plan.
"Jono? Could y' do me a favor? Could y' put Pere's letter up on de dresser? I don' wan to get jam or somet'ing on it."
* Sure, love. * Jonothan picked up the stray pages and as soon as his back was turned, I grabbed the empty tea glass that Jono had brought me earlier and dumped the coffee in it, hiding it behind the nightstand. I thanked God for my mutant agility and quickness; he still almost caught me.
Jono plopped down on the bed, lying on his stomach, feet up in the air, little boy fashion. * Remy, are yer gonner take up yer dad's invitation? *
" 'Bout Christmas? Maybe-but I wanted to know how you felt about it first." I took an imaginary sip of coffee.
Jono traced a pattern in the bedspread. Something was bothering him. * I'd really love to meet yer dad and Tante, but?*
This was suddenly getting serious. " But what sweet?"
* I did notice that Jean-Luc called me your 'friend' in the letter. *
I put the tray on the floor. " You t'inkin' I was ashamed of you or somet'ing?"
* No, love, but?*
" Nothing could be further from de truth. I'm proud of you, I'm so happy dat we're lovers. I guess I didn't want to drop everything on Pere's head in one letter."
Jono gave me a worried look. *So yer think he'd be okay with us, then? *
I had to really think about this before answering. Truth be told, I wasn't exactly sure what Pere's reaction would be.
" I t'ink so. For a guy dat's over one hundred, he be pretty open-minded. He knows dat I'm bi, known dat for a long time." I scratched my chin, thinking out loud. " I've never brought a lover home before, male or female, so dis is all new territory. But I'm sure once Pere gets used to de idea, he'll love y', sweet. And Tante's just gonna go nuts." I smiled. " Y' just better watch your language 'round her though, or she liable to open a can of whup-ass on y'. Worse yet, she put a gris-gris on y'."
Jonothan looked relieved, and he came up beside me, wrapping his arms around me. * What's a gris-gris? *
" Voodoo curse." I slid us both down on the bed, snuggling close to him.
A loud mental laugh. * Aren't I already cursed, mate? I'm stuck with you, aren't I? *
I grinned and softly kissed him. " Fuck you, Starsmore."
He pulled my head into his shoulder. * Thought I had a rain check for that. *
"Y' do, honey." I cuddled even closer; he made me feel so safe and warm. I basked for a while in his love, which spread over me like an old security blanket. I closed my eyes.
* Are yer getting sleepy then, Rem? * He stroked my hair ever so gently.
I sighed into his neck. " Lil' bit. Might take a nap right here. Y' don' have to stay though, Jono." I was so bad. " Mais, maybe until I fall asleep?"
* 'Course, ducks. Never mind holding yer, yer know that. *
I smiled. " You be my guardian angel."
A croaky chuckle. * More like yer Goth Boy Angel. * He nuzzled me. * Go to sleep now, sweetheart."
" 'Kay." And as I drifted off, I knew how lucky I was to have a beautiful Goth Boy Angel watching over me.

* "Angel" by Jimi Hendrix


Chapter Five-Remy

And I said fly, oh my sweet angel,
Fly unto the sky,
Fly, oh my sweet angel
Forever I will be by your side.

I obviously was a lot more worn out than I thought; I slept through the rest of the day and all night. Woke up twice; once to pee, once 'bout two am. Jono was always there; keeping a watchful eye like a sweet gargoyle. I can't tell you how safe and loved that made me feel. He had occupied himself as usual by reading; writing and that ever present Walkman. I now think it's a permanent part of his head. He always gave me a Jonothan smile when I opened my eyes and a " 'ello ducks!" sent via telepathy.
I had a surprisingly restful sleep; haven't had such a nightmare free one in ages. When I woke up very early in the morning, I felt really good and so happy. Jonothan had curled up next to me, clutching a pillow, damn headphones still on. I brushed some long, chestnut hair away from his face, and then nibbled on his nose. It always stops my heart when those big, brown angel eyes flutter open. He gave me a warm, fuzzy look.
* 'Eh, Rem. * His mental voice was very soft and heavy with sleep. * Mornin'. *
I grinned wide, suddenly full of the devil. " Hey, Boo. Let's go for a swim."
*Huh? * Jono is always pretty groggy and zombified when he first wakes up, it's one more damn cute thing about him. I took advantage of this defenseless haze. I yanked the headphones off and stood, grabbing him. Before he could really react, I picked him up and slung him over my shoulder, Tarzan style.
* Remy, can I ask what the hell yer doing? * Jonothan was starting to wake up.
"Jus' headin outside." I walked out to the balcony, and took a deep breath of the fresh morning air. It was going to be a beautiful day, and I felt so good just being alive.
*Would you mind putting me down, then? * Jono asked in a very reasonable tone.
"Non." I chuckled, and then climbed the balcony railing. Without warning, I jumped. It was only two stories, but Jono gave a startled yell.
I landed lightly on my feet in the sand. "Nice scream dere, Jono. Kinda high and girly."
*Oh pardon. Ever so sorry. * The heavy sarcasm in his voice cracked me up. * Next time yer take a dive off a building with me in tow, I promise to deliver a more dignified, manly yell. *
I ran for the ocean, laughing as I went. Jono's tone became quite conversational.
* So, love, I'd like to ask yer. Have yer lost yer mind? *
"Yup. Long time ago."
*Thought so. * I reached the water, and splashed through the blue/green waves, getting out about chest high. Jonothan let out a very long, very put upon sigh.
*Yer gonner throw me in, aren't yer? *
" 'Fraid so, sweet." And with that, I gave him a big heave and flung him in the ocean. It was a good toss too. Jono hardly weighs anything and he was quite a sight, arms and legs all stretched out. He hit the water like a cannonball, there was a huge splash. I roared with laughter, and it got even worse when he emerged, dark hair plastered to his face. He slowly wiped his eyes, which were twinkling with amusement.
*Yer so fucking dead, Remy LeBeau. *
He made a pretty respectable lunge at me, catching me by the waist and pulling us both under water. We had us a fine time then, dunking and splashing each other. Jono got dunked the most, as I tickled him, getting an unfair advantage. He is so damn ticklish too, it's absolutely hilarious. He's got this irresistible froggy ol' belly laugh; it sounds like a ratty motorboat. I could listen to it all day.
We couldn't stay out too long as neither of us had any sunscreen on. I'm a redhead, and a nasty sunburn is something I dread. I'm not sure if Jono is susceptible or not, but I don't think he wants to find out. Wouldn't mind smearing aloe all over him, but I'd rather do it under pleasanter circumstances.
I was getting incredibly hungry anyway. I fished my bathrobe out of the water, as it had gotten yanked off as we wrestled around. It was all that I was wearing too; I love having clothing an optional requirement. I can tell my nudist leanings shocks Jonothan a bit, not that he's said anything. But he's also getting a bit more liberal about states of undress himself.
Robe safely under one arm; I grabbed my lover again. This time I hoisted him up and carried him to the house piggyback. And he tried very hard, but I heard a telepathic giggle or two accidentally escape him.
One feature I absolutely love about this place is the outdoor shower. It's just a little concrete platform under some old mangroves; the showerhead is just attached to a tall pipe. The water is nice and warm, I immediately got under it to rinse the salt and sand off. Jonothan finally summoned up enough courage to strip off his shorts and tee shirt, all the while looking like he expected a troop of Girl Scouts to march through. Then again, with Jono's luck, that just might happen.
There was something free and very pagan about this; after Jono loosened up a bit, we played around with the soap and I washed his hair. I behaved myself this time too, although I did try the "Drop the Soap" game once more. He's still not falling for it, however. Damn.
After showering, we wrapped ourselves in towels and went inside to get dressed. I figured Chamber would draw the line at me cooking breakfast naked. There's just something plain weird about it, anyway. As well as dangerous. Hot cooking oil can do some heavy damage.
God, I was starving! My appetite comes and goes, and I was in a ravenous mode. I really needed to start eating on a regular basis too; my body still hadn't recovered from Antarctica. I also burn energy at a high rate; it's a side effect of the kinetic charge. It can take a lot out of me, after a big battle I can drop six to ten pounds easy. My weight had gotten better since encountering Jono, but my old spandex uniform would still bag.
I immediately started to chop up some stuff for a big omelet; Jonothan watched the proceedings with an interested air.
*Yer want me to make yer some coffee, Rem? * he asked, oh so helpfully.
Oh boy. How the hell could I get out of this one without really hurting his feelings? I managed to come up with a big, fat lie.
"Dat's awful nice of y' cher, but I feel like some orange juice dis mornin'.'" (I really was dying for a cup of Joe, but that was all I could think of.) "Maybe y' can crack some eggs into dat bowl over dere." That seemed harmless enough.
Jono beamed at me, pleased to be useful. *Sure thing, ducks. How many? *
"Oh, five, six. Want a big omelet, me."
*Yer got it. * He went and opened the egg carton.
I got a little absorbed in what I was doing for a moment. When I turned around, I suddenly thought I was witnessing a Three Stooges short. Jonothan had apparently never cracked an egg in his life, and none of them were cooperating. I watched the proceedings with the fascination you reserve for car wrecks; you don't want to look, but you just have to anyway. The first egg had hit the floor, the second had somehow exploded, and the third got half in the bowl, half out. I suddenly realized if I didn't step in soon, little chickens would have needlessly sacrificed their lives and I would have to figure out a way to make an egg-less omelet. Jono was hugely embarrassed, but I gave him a big kiss, which cheered him up some. Then I made him clean up the mess.
Still had more than enough eggs, so I had a nice, big breakfast. Jono sat and kept me company while I ate, that's yet another endearing thing that he does. I would think it would be incredibly boring to just sit and watch people eat when you can't. Plus, I would be as envious as all get out. Jono says he doesn't really think about it much anymore, he doesn't have an appetite. God, that child has lost so much, even the simple pleasure of food.
After breakfast, we did the dishes together, singing along to Bob Marley and Jimmie Cliff on the radio. Jonothan has a very interesting 'voice' too, rag and bone edgy, like a young Tom Waits. He told me he never sang much with his old band; they thought he sounded too weird. Those fools didn't know a good thing.
Jono only broke one glass, and after we finished, I went and wrote another letter to Poppa. It was so much easier this time around. The only tough part was deciding what to say about Jonothan and me. I finally opted to wait and tell him face to face. Frankly, I was a bit sick of making earth-shattering revelations, although in this case I was hoping it was going to be just a slight surprise. I told Pere we'd arrive a while before Christmas, and the thought of going home again made me get all emotional. I love N'awlins despite the heartache it's caused me. It's still my home, and the exile has been a terrible curse. It was definitely dangerous to go back: there are both Thieves and Assassins that want my hide. But Pere seemed to think if I lay fairly low there would be no trouble. And I really wanted Jono to see it, experience it. I knew he would love the place as much as I did.
After I finished writing, I decided to drive into Freeport and mail it right away. I went to look for Jonothan; I found him sitting on the deck with his journal, scribbling away in his heavy, sprawling print. I admit, I'd love to peek in it; I have the curiosity of a cat. But I would never actually do it, just like Jono would never read my mind.
I asked him if he wanted to come with me and he hesitated. Jonothan isn't keen on crowds of people, and I really don't blame him. Now that I've been out with him in public, I've been astonished on how many folks just rudely stare at him. I know that they are just being nosy; but it's hurtful. Jono bears it with considerable grace, but it would just wear anyone out after awhile.
So I let him off the hook, told him he didn't have to go if he didn't really want to. He looked very grateful. * Well, I'd rather stay here if yer don't mind, Rem. Maybe I'll beach comb or something. *
"Jus' stay out of trouble baby, dat's all I ask." I didn't think any crisis would befall him just picking up shells. I messed up his hair, and then bent down to kiss him. I was pleased to see that he doesn't flinch at all any more when I get near his face, in the beginning, he'd always wince a little. He's come so far in so little time.
It was funny; as soon as I drove away from the house, I started to miss him. I've been a loner all my life, so this was an entirely new feeling. I had it so bad too, my chest actually started to ache. How the hell had this happened to someone like me? Made me want to laugh and tell everyone about how in love I was. What an amazing, wild emotion. No wonder they say you go crazy.
I didn't linger in Freeport long; I conducted my business at the mail service and left. Then I stopped at the open-air market to get some supplies; namely bread and lots of eggs. I also treated myself to a nice big cup of steaming hot coffee, with lots of cream. It was heaven.
The market was wonderful, full of just about everything you can think of, as well as good gossip and laughter. I love this kind of place, makes me think of home. I bought more food then I could possibly eat, and chatted with some of the locals, enjoying their lazy, Caribbean accents. Then, just before I went back to my car, I saw this one stall. It was run by this wrinkled old gent who had a wide smile full of gold teeth. He was selling used guitars.
I really enjoy showering my lovers with gifts; I can be embarrassingly over generous at times. I've held back with Jono though, that big blow out we had in New York made me questions my motives a little. I had been really hurt at the time, but most of it had been my own damn, stupid fault. I didn't give him any kind of warning at all, just dumped a big pile of money in his lap. I didn't consider his pride, or that he might see it as trying to buy his affections. I was just so eager to please him; plus I wanted to make sure that whatever happened between us, he would be okay. I didn't want him to have to run back to Xavier's mutant stable, which had obviously been doing him no good.
However painful, I learned a lot of things about my lover that night. It certainly gave me a lot of respect for him. Jonothan stood right up to me, no mean feat. I have a very strong personality, and can run right over people if they let me. And Chamber halted me dead in my tracks. I also realized just how much he loved me then, although neither of us had worked up the nerve to say it yet. And he certainly wasn't after me for the money, which made him a rare bird indeed.
So I actually found myself debating about buying him a fifty-dollar guitar. Then I thought, the hell with it, I'm getting it for him whether he likes it or not. I spent a pleasant fifteen minutes or so bargaining with the gent and his gold teeth. I got him down to forty-seven fifty. I had no idea if the thing was decent or not, I know next to nothing about musical instruments. I hoped the thought would count.
When I got back to the house, I didn't find Chamber in either the living room or kitchen. I put my groceries away; then went to look for him.
I found him bonelessy draped over a deck chair, fast asleep. He was lying on his stomach, one hand curled up near his face, a long leg hanging over the side of the chair. Of course, the damn headphones were on, and a book had fallen open on the floor. I was a bit surprised at first to find him napping, and then I remembered it had been me who had slept the last two days away. Jonothan had recently put up with a tremendous amount of my crap; had kept a watchful vigil, so no wonder my poor baby was all tuckered out.
At first I was going to leave him be, but I kept staring at him, smiling. I gazed at those loose, coltish limbs and big feet, that mass of hair hiding his sweet face. He seemed so delicious and so totally, utterly fuckable that I suddenly wanted to do just that. I went back into the house for a minute, put the guitar on the bed, grabbed the lube. I chided myself a little for all the wicked thoughts I was having, but not much.
When I got back to the deck, he had rolled to his side. I knelt down beside the chair and just drank him in for a moment. I could see that his eyes were moving under his lids: he was dreaming. I drifted down to his slender torso; his black tee shirt had hitched up a little, exposing all that smooth skin and the most adorable little innie belly button. I had to chuckle when I noticed a tell-tale swelling in his baggy shorts, my lover was having himself a good dream indeed.
I decided to start having me some fun too. I very carefully picked up one of his hands; he has long fingers and big knuckles. I began to suck slowly on his index finger, relishing the taste of his skin. He didn't wake up, but my action definitely registered; he stirred slightly and arched his small hips. I grinned as that swelling became more pronounced.
I released his hand, and very gently picked up the edge of his shirt, pulling it even higher. Keeping a close watch on his face, I delicately undid his shorts, pulling down the zipper. His eyes stayed closed, so I eased the shorts down his thighs. Then I found the elastic waistband of his boxers, slipped those down as well. His cocked jumped out, hard and swollen, the head a very faint pink. A tiny droplet of precum moisture dripped down the side; I licked my lips in anticipation. Along with his ass, Jono has a perfect dick, not too big, not too small; I love to take him in my mouth. Just looking at his penis made my own newly risen hard on start to ache.
But I waited to attack; I wanted to play a little more. I snuck another peek at his face. He was still amazingly asleep; soft black lashes fanned pale cheeks. I carefully started to lick his exposed stomach, letting my tongue glide over that taut little belly, dipping into his navel. I nibbled and placed feather light kisses, and I finally heard a low moan inside my head. His eyes opened, and he looked totally confused for a few seconds.
* Remy- what the hell-? * His 'voice' was dazed and croaky.
I flashed him a most wicked grin. " Rain check, cher, rain check."
*Oh. * He blinked a few times, and then the dark brown eyes crinkled. * I see yer already been busy, love. *
"Yah. Saw y' lyin' dere, lookin' good enough to eat, so I decided to be de Big Bad Wolf and do just dat." I slyly traced a circle with my tongue on his bare skin, making him shiver. " And you had already started de party without Remy, y' bad child. Must have been a dynamite dream too, cher. About moi, no doubt."
I got a low, very sexy chuckle in return. * Yer sure about that, my darling? Might have been about Antonio Banderas. *
" Jono, you lie, you lie like a rug." I tortured him a bit with my tongue, tasting fragrant skin, feeling the fevered warmth with my lips. I licked the area above his pubic bone; made his cock shiver and him squirm. "Admit dat y' lyin', babe."
* I'm lying. * Jonothan said softly, running a hand through my hair. There was a heat in his eyes. *Really only dream about tall, sexy Cajuns with auburn hair. *
I laughed. "And I only dream of British Goths with big cow eyes." I yanked off his headphones. " Dey ain't hooked up electronically, though." I got a laugh in return, then an astonished gasp as I suddenly pulled both his shorts and underwear completely off. I turned him around a little, threw his legs over my shoulders. I kissed and bit the insides of his thighs, blew hot breath against his scrotum. Jono groaned loudly, his cock pulsed in response, clear fluid slicked down the shaft. I lapped awhile at his balls, causing him to shudder violently. Pubic hair tickled my nose, and I smelled a nice masculine heat, combined lightly with baby lotion.
* Ohmygawd. * Chamber murmured I smiled, and then flicked a tongue up the length of his penis. I was rewarded with more squirming, a little wilder this time. I tasted the salty precum, licked my lips.
" So cher, y' want Remy to make y' go all crazy?" I whispered softly.
Jonothan was shivering. * Oh yes, Remy, please. *
"You English folks are so damn polite." Without any warning, I grabbed his narrow hips tightly and took his cock into my mouth. Jono gave a moan so deep and erotic that my own hard on throbbed in my pants. I was distracted for a few seconds, then I got down to business. I covered his penis with saliva, nibbled and bit the head for a while, probed the slit. Then I took the whole length deep into my mouth, sucking hard. I opened my shields, felt his arousal and ecstasy. I groaned a little myself.
I started a rhythm and he responded to it by thrusting his hips up. I stopped him, holding him down, making him my prisoner. He sobbed in sweet agony as I punished his cock, which had gotten even harder. I glance up at his face; his eyes were shut tight, his head thrown back, his fingers clutching the chair mattress. He was almost there. I managed to take him even deeper in my throat, and that was the end of it. A jet of hot semen filled my mouth and Jono's cry of release banged through my head. His body went rigid; back arched, muscles in sharp relief.
I drank down all his seed, then released his softening dick. As he lay there, still trembling, I flipped him over, running my hands down his back. I wasn't going to give him much time to recover; I was too on the edge myself.
"Gonna fuck y' now baby, I want y'." Jonothan moaned in agreement, making me even harder. I fished the lube from my pocket, got a real generous portion on my hand. I roughly spread his legs wide, getting a soft whimper from him. I slid a finger inside, then two, stretching him some. He cried out at the penetration, and then there was a shuddery sigh. I felt his muscles begin to relax with my probing and I loved his tight heat.
I soon couldn't stand it anymore; the sight of that small, pretty ass, legs open and willing, luscious entrance begging to be fucked was almost too much. I stripped off my shorts in record time, smeared lube thickly over my cock. The act of touching myself made me moan.
Erection gleaming with lube, I positioned myself, then carefully entered him, just the head of my penis. I stroked his graceful back, felt the bumps of his spine.
*Oh, Remy? * Jono's mental voice was almost inaudible.
"Y' ready, baby?" I was now violently trembling, too.
*Oh God, yes! Fuck me Remy, fuck me hard." Didn't need any more urging. I thrust inside him, half lying on his back. It was like being gripped liked a chamois glove, so incredible. I cried out when I sheathed my entire length; his inner muscles clamped down hard, almost undoing me. I suddenly realized I wasn't going to last too long. So I thought the hell with finesse, let's just get good and nasty. I began a fast, punishing rhythm; each thrust into his beautiful body an electric thrill. Jono made some animal noises in my head, which made me even hotter and wilder. Then he began to push against me, forcing me even deeper.
"Mon Dieu, Jono!" I managed to gasp; it felt so damn good. I sneaked a hand down between Jonothan's legs, and found his penis. It was still slick with spit and cum, hot and painfully engorged once more. He whimpered and I fisted him without mercy, coaxing hoarse cries of pleasure.
We basically went at it like two completely crazed minks for another minute or so. It was so wonderfully raw, and I loved every sweet and dirty second of it. All that fear and tension I had recently was forgotten, I just felt so alive. I'm sure I was grinning like a maniac.
Then Jono's inner muscles spasmed hard, and that was all she wrote. I heard myself shouting, even though it felt like I wasn't making a sound. My orgasm shot through my entire body, I managed to hold on to it and sent it to my lover. Jonothan went mad for a second, there was aching, sobbing mental scream, and a thick spurt of cum ejaculated over my hand. I experienced his climax and it took my breath away. Jono cums so very hard; it's like being slammed into a brick wall. I collapsed on top of his back, panting and gasping.
We both just lay there for a while, shaking like crazy. Eventually I slipped out of him, sat my bare butt on the deck. I pulled Jono into my lap; he straddled my waist, facing me. He was as floppy as an old rag doll, and I wasn't much better. I looked into his amazing chocolate eyes, and they beamed back at me. We both were immensely pleased with ourselves for a minute or so.
"Hey dere, Boo." I said when I was able to find my voice. I kissed his dear, thin face. * 'Ey, Rem. * He answered, rubbing his long nose against mine. *Remind me to ask for one of them rain checks more often. Wow. *
I hugged him tight, enjoying the feel of his slender body tight against me. I rocked him for a bit, my eyes closed, thinking all the while how much I loved him. And I also silently thanked him for banishing that ugly stuff to the back of my head where it belonged. I was okay again, in control, and now everything was alright.
I suddenly realized I was drenched in sweat; my shirt was plastered to me. Jono wasn't much better, he doesn't sweat, but he was pretty sticky from me and other bodily fluids.
"You and me one big damn mess, baby." I said with a chuckle. "Should definitely hit the showers."
Jonothan gave me a reluctant expression. * Aww, do we have to? * He nuzzled my neck. * I love the way yer smell after sex, sweetheart. If I could bottle it and sell it as cologne, I'd make a bloody fortune. * A huge mental laugh. * I'd call it 'Cajun Climax'. *
This broke me up. " I'd love to see de ad campaign."
A sly look from Jonothan. *It would feature Antonio Banderas, of course. *
I gave him a well-deserved swat on the behind. "What's dis Antonio Banderas shit all of a sudden?"
He snickered. *He's obviously good for pissing you off, Rem. *
"Brat." I managed to stand and, holding on to Jono's bare fanny, pulled him up with me. He wrapped his long legs around my waist, and he put his arms around my neck. I carried him to the bedroom, monkey fashion. He rested his head on my shoulder, hummed a contented little tune. All was definitely right in my little world once more.
I had actually forgotten about the guitar, but Jonothan spotted it immediately. As I set him on the floor, his eyes got real big, and I felt very happy. "Well, will y' look at dat! Wonder who dat could be for?"
*Me? Really? * Jono looked like a kid at Christmas.
"Duh. Don't know who else round here is rumored to have musical talent."
Jonothan instantly scrambled on the bed and grabbed it. * Aw, Remy, yer shouldn't have! Thank you! * He sat cross-legged and immediately started to tune it. I flopped on my stomach next to him, feeling mighty pleased with myself. " Y' like it cher? I'm sure it ain't much, found it dat market, and dis guy was sellin' 'em used and-"
He put a finger to my lips, shushing me. * I love it. It's the best present I've ever gotten. You're a real sweetheart, Remy LeBeau. * He bent down and pressed his face to mine. There was so much love shining in his eyes; it took my breath away for a second. All this for a stupid forty-seven fifty guitar. God knows what would happen if I ever get him a Lamborghini. Probably wouldn't have the same effect, though.
He fooled around with it for a few minutes, looking like he knew what he was doing. He was quite an adorable picture too, hair all wind tunnel wild, just a tee shirt on. He plucked out a few chords, and his eyes crinkled happily. "Oh, she has a lovely sound. Any requests? *
I don't know why, but I decided to give him a little shit. I drew on my vast knowledge of the Blues, thinking of something sure to stump him. " Ok. How 'bout 'Hey, Hey Baby' by Big Bill Broonzy?" I smiled wide, thinking that there was no damn way. Jono cocked one thick, dark brow at me, giving a pretty good "Fuck you, Remy" look. Then he started to play that cheap guitar, coaxing out an amazing version of that old Delta blues tune. He knew all the words, and his cracked, deep 'voice' would have made Big Bill proud. I was stunned. I had imagined that Jono had some garage band skills, nothing like this. Jonothan Starsmore may not be able to dance, can't really swim so well, and his coffee will most certainly kill you, but Lordy, can he play! I was in awe, and my heart started to hurt a little, too. He truly has a gift, and this is yet one more thing the X-factor has taken away.
However, he didn't seem sad at the moment, he was enjoying himself immensely, rubbing my nose in it a little. When he finished, I looked appropriately sheepish.
"Uh?dat was really somet'ing, cher. Y' know y' way around a six string."
Jono chuckled. *Yer gonner have to do better than Big Bill Broonzy, ducks. * He idly started to play another tune, very slow and sorrowful. I didn't recognize it.
"Dat somet'ing y' wrote, cher?"
A snort. * Don't I wish! This is called "Sweet Jane". * I must have looked blank. * Yer know. Lou Reed? Velvet Underground? Nico? Andy Warhol?? * He shook his head, eyes twinkling. * Yer have a spotty musical education, love. How can yer know Big Bill Broonzy and not have a clue about Lou Reed? Yer need some help. *
"My musical education is jus' fine, t'anks very much. Ain't gonna start listening to all dat 'depressing, woe is me, my life totally sucks' stuff y' pipe through those goddamn headphones twenty-four seven." I stroked the soft brown hair on his right leg. "Play me a number dat you wrote, honey."
Chamber got all embarrassed. *Well, Rem, yer realize that what I wrote is depressing, woe is me, my life totally sucks shit. I was such a bloody poseur. Wore far too much eye shadow back then as well. *
I gave him a big grin. "I'll make an exception in your case, 'cuz you so cute."
A big sigh. * All right then. Try not to laugh too hard. Wish I had the strength to say no, but I have a hard time refusing a beautiful, half naked man anything. *
"I'll have to remember dat whenever I want to borrow money."
Jono laughed and rolled his eyes. Then he nervously started to play again. * This is called, "Walking Wounded". * he said after a moment. The tune was just as dark and haunting as "Sweet Jane". The lyrics he sang made me feel shivery, like standing alone in the rain:
' It's been a year and a day since you left,
Empty room and empty bed,
I've fallen in love with my own pain,
And the voices ringing in my head,
Martyrdom doesn't suit me,
The act is getting tired,
Need to stop hating myself,
Stop walking the razor wire.
I'm Walking Wounded,
I need a healing touch,
Lay your Shaman's hands on me,
Set all my ghosts free,
Make me believe again,
I'm really much too young,
To feel so fucking old.'
I'm not the best judge of music, and more than a little prejudiced, but the song was so powerful. Maybe the lyrics weren't terribly original, but combined with Jonothan's aching, gravedigger voice, everyone would have been mesmerized. I was filled with so many emotions: love, pride and such profound sadness.
When he had finished playing, Jonothan seemed fairly mortified. I grabbed the guitar out of his hands and pulled him close. * I take that since yer not laughing that yer thought it was ok? * Jono said after a moment. I gently kissed him.
"More den ok. Honey, y' blew my doors off! Had no idea my sweet baby was such a talented cuss."
* Really? * Chamber radiated happiness at my praise.
"Yah. Not only are y' cute and funny and smart and sexy as all get out, I bet y' can also play me a mean version of "One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer". Couldn't ask for more, cher."
He brushed rough fingertips against my face. * Thank you again for the present, Remy. I love yer. * He bumped my forehead, and then he sat up and grabbed the guitar again. *So, yer want to hear a little John Lee Hooker? Yer got it. *
And hell's bells, he cranked out a version of that song that would have made the dead rise up to shake their tail feathers.
The next couple of weeks were just pure bliss. I honestly had no idea that people could be so happy. I also figured that Jono and I, being difficult types, would start to drive each other crazy after awhile. But we didn't, we just got on like a house on fire. I was especially surprised at myself. I can get real aggravating and restless staying in one place; I usually need a lot of stimulus to distract me. But this deep feeling of total contentment came over me, something I had never experienced before. I still got tense, and had nightmares once in awhile, but all my other usual tics and annoying quirks vanished. I relaxed, I could breathe; I managed to not get on Jono's last nerve. I began to slowly but surely come to the amazing conclusion that I maybe had finally found what I was looking for.
The days sort of drifted into each other seamlessly; I forgot whether it was Tuesday or Thursday. I could have cared less. We established this lazy, aimless routine. We went to bed late, got up late, took long swims and walks on the beach. We poked around tide pools, and took decadent naps in the big hammock outside the house. When it rained, we read the interesting, slightly mildewed collection of old books we found stacked haphazardly on the shelves. We played cards and backgammon, chess and a pretty cutthroat version of Monopoly. I made messy, extravagant meals, ate ice cream for breakfast if I wanted. And I discovered that even though Jonothan can't brew a cup of coffee, he really makes a fantastic pot of tea. He made me a cup of Earl Grey every morning, full of milk.
We laughed, we joked, told stories, got silly with each other. Best of all were the sweet, endless hours in bed. We found all kinds of ways to make love, with passion, with abandon, with gentleness. Sex was fun, and I cherished every moment of closeness.
It began to dawn on me that I now had a friend as well as a lover. This was a first. I not only loved Jonothan, but I liked him as well. I wanted to listen to his opinions, see the world through his eyes. He was good company, endlessly interesting.
Of course, it I wasn't perfect. There were some squabbles now and again. But it was never serious, kind of the ' I wish you would pick up your goddamn towel' variety instead. We also didn't feel the need to cling to each other like kudzu vines; we gave each other breathing space. I wandered around the island now and again, and Jono had a certain mangrove he liked to sit under and play guitar or write in his journal. He also vanished mysteriously once in awhile, I assumed to practice his martial arts moves. I didn't see any real improvement, not that it mattered.
We took a few trips. One day, we flew in to Nassau to see a fantastic steel band contest, and despite the crowds, Jonothan loved it. Another day found us at this little racetrack in Freeport. Jono was now "officially" twenty-one, and he was thrilled to go there. And I made the mistake of deciding to show him the ropes, be a bit of a know-it-all. Jono patiently listened to me yammer on for quite a while. When I was done expounding, he quietly said, * Well, Rem, I don't think I'll just place a single bet on the field. I prefer to do it across the board. And do yer think the track looks a trifle cuppy? I imagine the chalk will do well anyway, he seems pretty one paced. * He then laughed and touched my jaw, which was hanging lower than usual. * I should have told yer love, that me Gran helped me learn to read with the daily racing form, and I made regular trips with her to see her bookie. So who do yer fancy in the third, then? Naughty Nellie or Wild In the Streets? *
I'm going to cast this in stone: never, EVER underestimate Jonothan Evan Starsmore. He was very gracious about it all too, took me out to a very expensive dinner with a small portion of his winnings. Good thing too, as I was lucky to get out of there with my shirt.
Then one day we decided to go scuba diving. I was sort of amazed it took us so long to get around to it; the waters surrounding the Bahamas are the most spectacular in the world. The water is as clear as glass; the reefs team with life. We rented a nice little powerboat and some gear, and headed out to the southwest side of Grand Bahama Island. That's where the Northwest Providence Channel is, an area of reefs and deep chasms that go two miles down. There are blue holes and shipwrecks, all waiting to be explored. I was going to be careful during Jonothan's first dive though, nothing too ambitious. Just go underwater and have us a look-see.
As usual, it was a gorgeous day; the ocean was a million shades of blue. As we traveled along in the boat, the wind whipped through our hair. Jono seemed both very excited and very nervous, I was just plain excited. I kept thinking back to my thirteenth birthday, when Poppa took me to Tahiti. He taught me how to dive there, and my first glimpse of that undersea world will stay with me forever. I hoped that Jonothan would experience the same wonder that I did.
We anchored at what looked like a good spot. I was rarin' to go. Jono had gotten very quiet, however. He looked great in the wetsuit we had gotten him in Freeport, quite frankly, pretty sexy. Especially his butt. I got to admire it a bit as I helped him strap some weights to his belt. He was rather fidgety, and I suddenly heard a slight mental sigh.
*So, Rem?d'yer think we'll see any, um, sharks? * His tone was elaborately casual.
I smiled to myself. So that was it. " We might, cher. Dere's lots of sharks in dese waters. Also barracuda, moray eels?"
* Oh.* A slight pause. * But there won't be any real big sharks, right? *
I really tried not to laugh. "Well, dere could be." Then I saw a spark of real panic in his eyes, and I felt bad for teasing him. "Jonothan, sharks, dey usually don't bother divers. Dey leave y' alone if y' leave dem alone." I ruffled the mop of chestnut hair. "Plus, honey, if any ol' Great White started to mess with y', y' could jus' blast 'em into a fish stick."
Jono, I could tell, was now terribly embarrassed. * True. Don't mean ter sound like a candy ass, Remy. It's just that I saw "Jaws" on telly when I was real little, and it scared the piss out of me. All them teeth. For about a week after, I wouldn't go to the bathroom. I was convinced the bloody shark was going to get me when I sat on the toilet. *
I couldn't help it, I broke up. I would give anything to have seen Jono as a kid, he must have been something. Real skinny, messy hair in his face, skinned knees and a very stubborn expression. I hugged him hard. " I love y' Brer Rabbit. And we really don't have to go if y' don't want to."
He shrugged. *Remy, it's about time I got over being scared of a big rubber shark. Plus, I want ter find out what yer been raving about for the past few days. *
I grinned. "Den let's get dis show on de road, baby."
We finished getting suited up, Jonothan, of course, needing no aqualung. I hoped I had put enough weights in Jonothan's belt, as he floats like a toy duck in a tub. We slipped into the water, and started for the world below, Jono hanging on to my own belt.
One nice thing about diving with a telepath, we could still 'talk', as Chamber can receive thoughts as well as send. And I'm sorry; I really couldn't stop myself from teasing him as we swam towards the reef.
*Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum? * I mentally projected the "Jaws" theme.
*You 'orrible bastard. * Jono tried to sound pissed, but his eyes twinkled behind his facemask.
Chamber soon forgot any irritation with me though, and all about the sharks too. And I relived that wonderful day with Pere in Tahiti.
A lovely, alien world, with bright coral and elegantly waving sea fans, and anemones blooming like a field of flowers surrounded us. Here and there, fish flickered like vibrant living jewels, their hues from some psychedelic palette.
Jono was instantly enraptured, and I was reminded of exactly how young he really is, just barely nineteen. He acts like such an old soul the majority of the time, so it tickles me to no end when a gee whiz teenager takes over. I heard this excited, hyped up voice in my head, and everything was 'bloody fantastic' and 'absolutely brilliant.' Jonothan had forgotten to be cool for a while.
I had read up a little on some of the fish we might see, a good thing as Chamber barraged me with a million questions. We spotted damselfish, their heads looking like they had been dipped in a pot of ink, and a formation of sergeant majors, black military stripes on their silvery bodies. There was a vast school of blue chromas, the color of their scales almost blinding. Here and there were little wrasse, streaks of paint weaving through the coral. Best of all was a queen angelfish, making its stately way through the water. The brilliant greens and blues on its body made me think it had escaped from a Peter Max painting.
Jono was absolutely delighted with it all, and it made me feel so good sharing it with him. Probably the same way Poppa felt during that trip to Tahiti.
We got so wrapped up in everything I almost forgot about the time, not good. I realized I was going to run out of air soon, so I swam over to Jono, now totally absorbed in watching a big conch crawl its way across the sand.
*Jono-cher- we need to? * whatever else I was going to say was forgotten as I suddenly saw something swimming towards us. A very big something. I felt a tremor of both fear and wonder go through me.
*Remy? * Jonothan looked at me curiously, and then saw the expression in my eyes. His own got huge. * Fuck. It's a shark, isn't it? *
*Non. * Chamber slowly turned around and my empathic sense picked up a blast of pure terror from him.
I sent a calming vibe. * It's okay Jono, it ain't gonna hurt us. It's a Manta ray, dey jus' eat plankton, dey don't hurt people. *
* Jesus. It's as big as a fucking house! *
And it was as big as a fucking house, at least twenty feet long from wingtip to wingtip. I imagined that seeing one this size was quite a rare occurrence. It made its slow, grand way towards us, prehistoric and utterly magnificent; its vast white belly gleaming in the deep cerulean water.
Jono had totally calmed down when he realized that we weren't going to be eaten.
* It's really quite beautiful, ain't it, Rem? * There was a throb of awe in his voice.* Kind of looks like a strange angel, flying through the water. So peaceful. Think we could get a closer look? *
I checked my watch; I still had about fifteen minutes of air left. I nodded in agreement, and I saw a flash of excitement in my lover's eyes. We swam up to the behemoth, and up close it was even more fantastic. I could see why sailors long ago believed in sea monsters, we had one before us in the flesh.
Then Jono surprised me by swimming right up to it. I didn't think he was in any danger; Mantas don't have any poison barbs in their whip like tails like some rays. Plus, I heard they were pretty docile creatures. At this size, the ray certainly didn't have much to worry about.
Chamber reached out and carefully touched one enormous wingtip. I 'heard' a pleased chuckle from him, and I smiled inside. And the something absolutely miraculous happened.
My shields were slightly open, and I sensed an overwhelming burst of emotions from Jonothan, stunned surprise followed by amazement and such happiness it made me almost dizzy. I tried to ask him what was going on, but he ignored me. He swam up to the creature's big head, twisting around to facing it. The Manta slowed, and they actually stared at each other.
I've seen some pretty astonishing things in my life, and I have gotten fairly jaded, but my heart skipped a few beats when I finally ascertained what was happening. Somehow, Jono and the ray were communicating. The creature allowed my lover to touch it's horned head, to run his fingers down it's immense, rough skinned back. It became an otherworldly pas de deux, both of them floating in the water, Jonothan stroking the Manta like a cherished lover. And Jono's ecstasy was mind bending; I lost myself in it for a few seconds.
His emotions were so passionate and strong that I almost didn't detect the other presence. When I did, it sent a chill down my back. My empathy detected a very faint echo of interest and curiosity, it was from the ray. And there were other feelings as well, but so alien that it made me panic. I quickly locked up my shields, remembering a vow I had made long ago to never to use empathy on an animal again. I got control of myself, and saw that I only had five minutes of air left. We had to get back to the boat.
I hated to do it, but I had to put a stop to this. I swam over to Chamber and touched his arm.
*Cher, I'm so sorry, but we have to go. *
Jonothan stared at me like he had no idea who I was; it was like he was in a trance. This scared me, and I 'spoke' to him very forcefully, shaking him a little.
* Jonothan, we HAVE to go! I'm almost out of air! *
Much to my relief, he snapped out of the stupor. * Oh?Remy?sorry. Of course?* He looked at the ray, and there was immense sadness in his telepathic projection. * Goodbye?* I felt a weird thrill as the ray seemed to understand him, starting to swim away from us. As a farewell, Jonothan brushed its underbelly with his fingertips as it passed over our heads.
We swam back to the boat without a word; I had about a minute to spare. I was trembling as we climbed on board, I heaved off my gear as quickly as possible. Jono just stood there on the deck, silently staring at the ocean. His behavior was now really frightening me. I removed his facemask and fins; it was like undressing a mannequin. I got him to sit down and wrapped us up in some towels. His skin was actually cool the touch, very unusual. Jono usually feels like he has a high-grade fever. His pupils were very dilated. I swallowed hard, fear coursing through me. If I had somehow brought him to harm, I would die.
I patted his cheek gently, trying to get him to focus. "Cher, snap out of dis! Y' scaring de shit out of me!" The pats didn't work, so I gave him a hard shake. "JONO!"
This did the trick, he blinked, and it felt like he was returning from some far off place. * Remy? *
I heaved a huge sigh. " Baby, are you okay? Felt like I lost y'."
* I'm fine love, really. I'm sorry to have worried yer. * He touched my face. * Something really amazing happened to me, Rem. *
I was able to smile. " I kind have figured dat, sweet. Seemed like you and dat humongous devilfish had y'selves a little chat." I brushed some damp hair from his face. "What did y' talk about?"
He hesitated for a moment. * It was the most wonderful, beautiful thing, Rem. When I touched her, I felt this presence in me mind. I really opened my shields, and boom! I had no idea I could DO such a thing, use telepathy on something that wasn't human. Why on earth didn't Emma or Xavier tell me? *
I thought for a second. " Maybe because dey can't, cher. Psi's aren't all alike. You might be able to pick up wavelengths dat dey can't."
* Why couldn't I detect it before? *
"Powers are funny tings. I'm still learning' 'bout mine. I'm guessing' you were so relaxed and happy down dere dat you were jus' open to it. Y' been so miserable and depressed for so long, y' might have been missing' some pretty subtle signals. *
Jonathan slowly nodded. * That must be true?my God; I've been missing so much! *
I began to smile. "So tell me about mademoiselle Manta."
* It's-it's so hard to describe. It wasn't the way you and I talk. And her thoughts aren't thoughts exactly. But I understood her anyway. I could see the world the way she does, and her senses and perceptions are so very different. Did yer know that the ocean has a smell? Lots of different smells, actually. And I could hear the other fish through her, and feel these living vibrations from even the coral! Her world is so vast and so complicated, we really see so little Remy. For a moment I didn't know where she, the ocean or I ended, we were connected somehow. * His big brown eyes grew bright with tears. * I know it sounds so bloody corny, but it was one of the most fantastic things that has ever happened to me. * He hugged me tightly around the neck.
I held his thin, now shivering body close. "Ain't corny at all. Boo, I t'ink it's wonderful." And it was. I realized what an enormous revelation this was for Jonothan. So far his mutant experience had been nothing but terrible pain, heartache and misery. He had paid far too high a price for the quirk in his DNA. To suddenly discover that his powers could give him pleasure, could open up a new world, what a joy! And I somehow knew that he had reached a big turning point, and things would be so much better for him from now on. I felt a surge of total happiness.
Chamber sighed in my mind, and then he looked into my eyes. * Wish more than anything I could have shared it with yer, love. * He cocked his head. * Hey, d'yer think yer empathy would work that way?*
The happy feeling I had instantly vanished, replaced by a cold knot. " 'Fraid it only works on humans, cher." God, I loathed lying to him again, but there was just no way I was going to talk about it. I managed a wavery smile. "Looks like y' be de only Dr. Dolittle 'round here. Jus' do me a big favor though. If y' start talkin' to dolphins or somet'ing, don't get into de crystals and incense and New Age crapola. Would drive me crazy. *
Jono laughed, than groaned. *Rem, if that happens, and I start calling meself Jonothan Livingstone Seagull, promise you'll just shoot me. It would be a mercy. *
I cracked up." Couldn't do dat babe. And it won't happen. I'd give y' too much shit." I kissed his face. "Now let's get our butts home. I t'ink dis took a lot out of both of us."
Jono surprised me by suddenly jumping up and dancing around a little. *Actually I feel really, really good right now. Maybe I can drive the boat back. *
I gave his rear end a slap. "Not on your life. Sorry cher, but you'd be de first in history to hit an ice burg around de Bahamas."
Jonothan laughed and pulled me to my feet. * Yer got a point. Unfortunately. * He hugged me tightly. * I love yer, Rem.*
I kissed him hard. " And I love you, Jonothan Livingstone Seagull."

And for those who were wondering what Jono said at the race track:
*Well, Rem, I don't think I'll just place a single bet on the field. I prefer to do it across the board (Place three equal bets to win, place or show.). And do yer think the track looks a trifle cuppy? (Loose and dry.) I imagine the chalk (the favorite) will do well anyway, he seems pretty one paced. (A horse with get up and go.) *


Chapter Six

Sure enough,
Next morning came unto me
Silver wings silhouetted against a bright sunrise,
And my angel,
He said unto me,
The time has come for you to fly,
Take my hand,
You're gonna be my man,
You're gonna rise,
And the he took me high over yonder,
And I said fly oh my sweet angel,
Fly unto the sky,
Fly oh my sweet angel,
Forever I will be by your side.

For the next couple of days, Jonothan was like a kid with his shiny birthday bike. This newly discovered aspect of his powers totally absorbed him, and it made him so incredibly happy. I was thrilled for him too, but I also confess to feeling a little neglected for a while. Then I realized what a selfish, stupid asshole I was being, and was relieved that Jono never noticed my pouting. Lord, I can be so childish at times.
One morning, I found him on the beach, kneeling by a tide pool. I had to laugh; he had a scuba facemask on, head stuck in the water, very cute fanny up in the air. I chuckled over this sight for quite some time, wishing we had a camera. This was such excellent blackmail material.
Finally, I walked over and gave him a pat on the butt. He sat up and removed the mask, brown eyes smiling sweetly at me. I peered into the pool, it was chock full of sea urchins.
I plopped down next to him. "So Dr. D., what's de latest gossip goin' round in de ocean?"
He brushed some wet chestnut strands from his face. * Oh, nothing too interesting. Sea urchins are a bit of a bore. All they seem to think about is eating. * He reached into the pool and carefully pulled out a tiny, greenish crab. The little creature stayed delicately balanced on his wide palm. * Now this bloke is far more exciting. He's got what yer might call `tide sense', which is wonderful. * He chortled. *He's also eagerly looking for an available, attractive, lady crab for intimate, candle lit dinners and long walks on the beach. * The crab waved its miniscule claws, and Chamber returned it to his home. *Best of luck, mate. *
Jono scooted next to me, and I wrapped my arms around him. I kissed his cheek, tasting salt water. Jonothan leaned into me and we watched the rise and fall of the waves for a while in contented silence.
Chamber took my hand. * It's funny, * he said absently.
I nuzzled the back of his neck. "What's funny?"
*How all this has made me realize what a blind, self-centered idiot I've been all me life. *
This surprised me. As far as the two of us are concerned, I'm the one that's self-centered. "You ain't dat way, baby."
He shook his head. *Yeah, Rem, I am. I've been wrapped up so much in me own problems, me own little life. And it's really so small, so tiny. I never paid that much attention to what else was going on. If it didn't immediately concern me, I didn't give a fuck. * He sighed. * It's like walking round with a bag over yer head. And funnily enough, it doesn't take special telepathy to see what an amazing, complicated place the world really is. Yeah, there's shit out there, awful things, but yer can't use that as an excuse to ignore all the beauty. I had no idea. * He picked up a hand full of sand and let it trickle through his fingers.
I hugged him tight, smooched his ear. "Love y', Boo." I knew he was smiling, even though I couldn't see his face. And since I can never resist teasing, I added, "Y' startin' to get kinda a spiritual bead on t'ings. Which is good. Although y' be skirtin' mighty close to Shirley McClaine territory. Pretty soon y' gonna be chantin' and dancin'naked in de moonlight."
He turned to look at me, eyes all crinkled. *Aw, no worries, Rem. I've got you. Yer me handy Bullshit-O-Meter. If I start to worry about me aura or think about living in a yurt, I know you'll smack me right upside the head. *
"Count on it. Not livin' in no damn yurt, me. However, now dat I t'ink about it, de dancin' naked in de moonlight wouldn't be so bad."
I got a Starsmore eye roll. * Oh, well then. Here's a surprise. *
I laughed. " And jus' what are y' insinuating, Jonothan?"
He poked me in the ribs. * You'd use just about any excuse to go starkers, Remy me love. `Hey, cher, it's Arbor Day!' Or the opening of the Kentucky Derby. Sale at J.C. Penny's. *
I pretended outrage, even though it was sort of true. I had to grab him and punish him for insubordination, as well as that awful Cajun accent. Nothing more fun than blowing a big raspberry on Jono's stomach, either. I just can't let him get away with that kind of crap.

Later that afternoon we ended up together in the hammock, which happens a lot. Jonothan was reading a battered copy of a book he had found in the house; "Sharks and Rays: Denizens of the Deep". I was slogging my way through Tolstoy without much luck. Should have stuck to Tony Hillerman. I found myself reading the same damn paragraph over and over. I finally gave up and glanced at Chamber. What I saw made me chuckle. He was sound asleep, his book somehow still propped upright in his hands. I carefully pried it out of his fingers, drew him to me. He didn't wake up, but instinctively snuggled even closer.
And for some reason, that little innocent action just devastated me; filled me with emotion. He trusted me so much. I looked at him, long legs twined around mine. He had one flip-flop on, the other was mysteriously missing. His left hand was resting on my stomach. Curled slightly, I could see the ugly, ragged scars on his wrist. I touched his chest, traced where he had once showed me where the terrible wound was. I moved my fingers up to his face; caressed the mask that
gave an illusion of wholeness. I grazed the bump on his nose, brushed an eyebrow, and finally gave his pale forehead a soft kiss.
I started to think about the talk we had earlier that morning. Jono seemed to have gained a special awareness of the world; a new connection. I envied him a bit; but I suddenly realized I had a new and very deep connection of my own. And it was to the deceptively fragile looking boy lying next to me.
I have never really given much thought the future. My philosophy has been, `Live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse.' I never figured I'd be lucky enough to find someone to share my life with, grow old with. I honestly did try with Rogue, but deep in my bones I knew we were both much too scarred and fucked up.
And scarred and fucked up certainly describes Jono and me too. We're both ripe for years and years of therapy. But somehow, the both of us together seem so strong. Rogue seemed to drain my soul, just as her powers robbed people of their life force and memories. Jonothan, on the other hand, only makes me feel complete. And I want to spend every moment of allotted breathing time I have on earth with him. Which is frighteningly close to: "'Til death do us part." I said those words to Belle once and my entire marriage lasted two hours and forty-three minutes. Didn't even get to cut the cake.
I looked at Jono again, sleeping so peacefully. I knew I could say those words once more. I actually toyed with the idea of waking him up and making some sort of proposal. Then I thought about how weird that would sound. Did I want to put that kind of pressure on him? I knew that he loved me, but he was also only nineteen: an age where you don't exactly think about settling down.
I rested my head near his, closed my eyes. I decided that we needed to talk about our plans together, what our future would be once we left the island. And I promised myself that I would do it that very evening.
However, my life has a way of not going according to schedule. I was indeed going to find out just how deeply Jonothan loved me, and how committed he was. But it wasn't going to be because of any little talk. No, instead I was going to take us both on a ride to Hell and back.

The whole thing started innocently enough. We were getting ready for bed, and Jono was in an extremely good mood, having whupped my ass at backgammon. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, thinking about `The Big Talk'.I Idecided the best way was to make love first, getting us both in a cozy, intimate place.
Meanwhile, Chamber was in the bedroom, busily trying to irritate me, `singing' very loudly; * We are the champions, my friends/ and we'll keep on fighting `til the end/ We are the champions, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!! * I have always hated that damn song, and had to be careful not to choke on the toothpaste `cuz I was laughing so hard. What an absolute little shit he was being.
I snuck a look out the bathroom door. Jono unwisely had his back to me. He stripped off his t-shirt and I grinned. I then grabbed a towel and waited, my timing had to be perfect.
I was in luck. He started to pull off his shorts and boxers. As he bent over, I aimed for that very white, very vulnerable ass. I gave the towel a sharp snap; it hit him with a satisfying crack. Jono jumped at least a foot, holding the offended cheek. I would have popped him again; but by now I was laughing so hard I couldn't do it. Jono almost fell on the floor, pants around his ankles. He managed to stay upright, however, and quickly got his shorts back on.
* You rotten fucker! * Jono laughed, and tried to wrest the towel away from me. * What a sore loser! *
"Am not! Jus' getting' y' for bein' such an appalling snot, cher." I managed to pop him in the leg again, then grabbed him and tossed him on the bed. I easily pinned him, holding both wrists with one hand above his head.
Dark eyes stared up at me, laughing and defiant. "I am not a snot! Yer just being all pissy because the Great Gambit got his arse handed to him. Nah, nah! *
"Y gonna regret dat, Jonothan." I touched his nose with mine. " I might have to take drastic measures, me."
* Oh, do yer worst. Yer still a sore loser. * Jono struggled hard, but it wasn't difficult to hold on.
"You asked for it, baby!' And I proceeded to tickle him without mercy. I would give him an `A' for effort too, he really fought me on this. He almost wriggled away a few times; I'm surprised we didn't wreck the bed. It was a very fierce battle. But poor Jono is so hellishly ticklish; I finally had him pretty helpless and weak with laughter.
I was straddling his stomach. " Gonna give up, cher?"
*AHHH!!!! Okay! I give! I give! AHHHH!!!! Stop! STOP!!!! PLEASE!!! *
I halted my torture. "Say it, den."
*Awright, yer got me, mate. * Jono's voice was wobbly. "Yer not a sore loser at all. What a wonderful sport yer are! An example for us all. *
I pinched his nose. " Now, I wan' y' to admit what a naughty brat y' are."
A snort. * Is that all? `Course I'm a miserable brat. I'm awful. Yer just figure that out? *
I tried not to laugh. "Y' call dis contrite? Better change de `tude, Miseu Starsmore, or Gambit gonna have to start de treatment all over again. I got all night."
Jono's eyes got rather huge. * Aw Jesus, no! Sorry, sorry, sorry! I am without a doubt, the most completely awful, rotten little shit on the face of the earth. * And he gave me such a big, Bambi doe eyed look, I completely cracked up. Then I kissed him. "Dat's much better. Now, y' give me a back rub, I'll definitely forgive y'." I got off his stomach and let him sit up. His wild hair was even wilder; it looked like he had stuck a finger in an electric socket.
*A back rub, eh? To hear is to obey, O Master. * Jono did a little salaam. * With or without massage oil? *
"With." I stripped off my tank top, stretched out on the bed. I LOVE Jonothan's back rubs; they are pure heaven. Adding massage oil to the mix made it even better. I also figured it would lead to something even more pleasurable. I smiled into the sheets.
Jono got the massage oil from the nightstand; he poured a small amount on my back. He sat on my ass and started to work, humming as he did. I recognized the tune. It was "We are the Champions." The little turd.
I forgot all about it after a minute, though. His big hands were so warm and strong; I was soon purring like an old tomcat. My muscles relaxed and unknotted; I smelled sandalwood. I gave a large, contented sigh.
"Oooh, y' so good at dis, cher. Gonna have to hire y' out as a masseur. We'd make a mint."
*Not on yer life. I only work for beautiful Cajuns. Ain't about to give fat businessmen with hairy backs this kind of treatment. * He rubbed a spot near my left shoulder blade. * `Ey, Rem? Where'd yer get this scar? *
I had to think for a minute, as I have quite a few. "Kind of a jagged, s-shape?"
*Yeah. *
"Samurai sword. Big melee with a bunch of ninjas in Kyoto. Hurt like hell."
*Ninjas? Really? Yer not having me on? * Jono tried not to sound impressed, but I could hear the teenager in his `voice'. I grinned wide. " Nope. Not lyin', me."
His rough, marvelous fingers traveled further down my spine. I relaxed even more, melting into the sheets. I had to fight to stay awake, remembering the other plans I had for the evening.
*How about the scars down here, love? * Jonothan was at the center of my back. *They're very deep. *
And just why this happened, I honest to God don't know. I suddenly forgot every self- imposed rule, every secret vow. I found myself saying, "A pimp gave me those."
It was truly one of those moments where time seemed to stand still. Jono's hands froze, and my heart seemed to cease beating. Way, way in the back of my mind, I cold hear a voice just screaming, " Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!" in a frantic chant. Every muscle in my body went rigid and I had to fight to breathe.
Jono slid off my back and knelt beside me. He pushed some hair from my face, touched my cheek. *Remy?did yer say?a pimp? *
I stared at a pillow, counting the threads. And I started to talk, although it was like the voice was coming from someplace else, channeled, disembodied. I felt like a broken tape recorder with miles and miles of tape spewing out on the floor.
"Happened when I was maybe `bout nine. I was on de streets, pickin' pockets. I had gotten pretty good at it, was eatin' regular. And I had dis dog. He was de ugliest t'ing you ever did see. I found him chained up in dis junk pile, some shit had left him to starve and die. It took me hours to get close to him; he bit me twice. But I managed to get him loose, gave him somet'ing to eat. And for some reason, he started following me around. We did about everyt'ing together, slept in de same bed. Ate de same food. Don't know who had more fleas. I loved bein' with him. My empathy power started in very
early, scared the crap out of me. I hated people, but dat dog just felt so good. He was de first t'ing dat ever loved me, and I loved him back, although I really didn't have a name for it then. I just knew I was easier around him. I named him Bone, `cuz he was skinny as one."
"Anyways, dere was dis pimp after me. He was a real motherfucker, name of Bulldog. He ran a stable of boys, liked `em young. He really wanted to add my ass to it. I tried to stay out of dat sick bastard's way, he was just bad news. I was like a little wild t'ing den, very hard to catch. So Bulldog, he laid himself some plans. He had a couple of his whores follow me, study my movements. Must have taken `em months, I was very careful. But I wasn't careful enough."
"Dey found one of my hide-outs in an old warehouse. And he and a couple of his bigger boys were waiting for me when I came home one night."
My mouth had gone dry by now; it was hard to swallow. Jono was statue still beside me. And that old voice in my head was howling and crying. " YOU'RE TELLING!" it said, "YOU NEVER, EVER TELL! But it seemed impossible to stop. The poison inside me was going to come out, whether I wanted it to or not.
"Dey ambushed me, and I fought dem wit' everyt'ing I had. Did some damage, but it wasn't enough. First t'ing Bulldog had dem do was strip me. Dey laid me down on de concrete and he beat me wit' his belt. Dat's where all dose scars came from. But I didn't cry or nothin', didn't make one sound. And dat made him real mad. He had de boys keep holding me down, and he raped me. I still didn't say nothin', no beggin', although I wanted to die. He told de boys to do me too, dey had demselves a fine old time, callin' me mutie trash. I passed out a couple of times, but I still stayed quiet. Finally,
Bulldog figured out a way to get me. He grabbed Bone by de scruff of de neck, took out his switchblade. And I did beg him to let my dog go. Told him I would do anything, begged like I never begged before. And Bulldog had a big laugh over this, and he killed Bone anyway. Stuck a switchblade in his stomach, insides went on de floor. Took him awhile to die, too. And I felt all his pain and fear as he died, and knew how much he loved me. Dat's why I don't use empathy on animals anymore. Reminds me too much of Bone."
"Bulldog hauled my ass to his crib, locked me in a closet. He raped me a few more times. But I got lucky. Bulldog was a major cokehead, and he got really junked up one night. He forgot to lock de closet, and I got out through a skylight, `cuz I could climb like a monkey. I was a real mess, but I did have one sort of friend on de streets. Champagne was a transvestite whore, lots older than me. I saved her from a bad john once. Her pimp was fairly decent, and better yet, he
hated Bulldog. I hid at Champagne's place until I healed up. I was plannin' on getting out of town altogether when I got de good news. Bulldog got himself killed in some bar fight. And y' wanna hear irony? He got gutted liked a fish."
And then the tape ran out, I was done. I felt ice cold, even though it was at least seventy-five degrees. I managed to turn my head, and finally look up at Jono. I didn't think it was possible, but he had somehow gotten paler. And those big angel eyes were filled with such shock and horror.
I couldn't bear it; it suddenly felt like ants were crawling under my skin. I bolted from the bed, started to dig through the dresser for some clothes. I had to get the hell out of there.
*Remy-what are yer doing? * Jono sounded dazed and shaky.
"Gotta go." I slipped on a t-shirt.
*WHAT?! * His mental shout rang in my head. He scrambled off the bed; shut the dresser drawer before I could pull on some jeans. *Remy, yer can't go! Not after what yer just told me. *
I was finding it hard to breathe- the walls were closing in. "I can do what I damn well please."
Jono spoke slowly and patiently. *Remy, just listen. We need to talk, yer need to calm down. Yer so upset right now, love. *
"Non." The ants were starting to drive me crazy. "Jus' stay outta my way, Jonothan."
*No, I'm not. I'm not gonna let yer go. Running away from this won't help, sweetheart. Yer told me all this for a reason, yer must have wanted me to know! Please let me help yer. Why do yer feel yer have to leave? *
I couldn't think of any good reason at all except a feeling of terrible panic. "I can't talk right now! I'm done talking! Now I HAVE to GO!"
Chamber suddenly grabbed the keys from the dresser. *Yer stayin' right here, mate! *
I became furious. " I can wipe de floor with y' Jono, y' know dat! So give me de damn keys!"
Jono's temper flared as well. *Like fucking hell I will! *
I just couldn't take it anymore. I reached out and seized his slender wrist; tried to wrench the keys from his grip. Physically, Jono is no match for me, but he put up a terrific fight, it was like wrestling a wildcat. And I didn't want to hurt him, but I did anyway. I finally go hold of the keys and swung my arm wide. The back of my hand cracked across his face; I heard something snap. It knocked him to his knees.
I can't tell you how horrified I was at the sight of my lover in pain, all because of me. I couldn't move, sick with self- hatred.
Jono was stunned, blackish, oily blood poured down his bandages from his nose. I gripped the keys so tightly they cut into my palm.
"Jono-merde, I am so sorry. Forgive me mon amour?" And I am incredibly ashamed to say that I didn't help him. The hysteria had too hard a hold on me. I backed out the door, just wanting to go, go, go, as far away as possible.
But I had forgotten something very important. Chamber is no match for me in physical strength or agility. But as far as mutant powers go, I am so outclassed. I got to the hall when Jono's telepathic voice filled my head.
*Stop. * And this wasn't a plea; it was a command. His `voice' cut through what I thought were impenetrable mental shields like a hot knife through butter. He halted me dead in my tracks. I panicked, I absolutely hate losing control. But there was nothing I could do about it.
* Come back in here and sit down. * I fought this suggestion as hard as I could, but it was like a mosquito taking on a Panzer tank. My body turned itself around, and I walked back into the bedroom; sat on the bed. I was shaking so hard now that my teeth chattered.
Jono got drunkenly to his feet and staggered over to me. He knelt in front of me, hands on my knees. It was torture to look at his poor face; white as paper, all that dark blood splattered everywhere. I just wanted to die.
He stroked my leg. *Remy, I didn't want to do that, please forgive me. But I had to stop yer somehow. * He took the keys from my now limp hand. * Aw shit, yer cut yerself. I'll go get something. * I couldn't believe it. I had just broken his nose; and he was all worried about me. He went into the bathroom and returned with the first aid kit, a damp towel to his face. The blood stained it a weird color. He sat down beside me. *Now then, let's see yer hand, love. *
I finally found my voice; it came out in a strangled whisper. "Cher, I'm so sorry. Didn't mean to hurt y', run away. I'm such a shit."
*Remy, it was an accident; don't worry about it. * He took the towel away from his face; I was hugely relieved to see that the bleeding had stopped. *It's not like it hasn't happened before. Certainly won't affect me considerable beauty. Now let's get yer hand fixed up.
Numbly I extended it, sort of fascinated with just how badly it was shaking. Chamber held it firmly in his warm fingers, and pulled a pad from the kit to wipe the blood with. *So, why did yer want to leave, Rem? * he asked in a calm, casual tone.
I didn't even feel the iodine he put on my palm. "I was ashamed."
Jonothan got out some gauze, and he began to wrap my hand. *Why would yer feel ashamed, love? Yer did nothing bad, nothing wrong. It was that evil, fucking monstrous bastard that hurt yer that bears the entire blame. * He sighed raggedly. * I had no idea when yer lived on the streets that yer were so little. Dunno why it didn't occur to me, how stupid. How long were yer there before Jean-Luc found yer? *
"Not sure how old I am, cher. Poppa took me in when I was maybe ten. I was on de streets for at least four years."
*Jesus. * Chamber murmured. He finished bandaging my hand, then cupped it his carefully. *I've always been afraid to ask this, but now I'm gonner. Remy, what happened to yer parents? *
"Don't know. Don't remember anyone at all. Dat's de truth, Jono. Don't know if I was abandoned, lost?Everyt'ing before de age of six is one big blank." Just talking about this made me even colder. And it was indeed the truth, I have no idea how I ended up all alone on the N'awlins sidewalks. I began to shiver violently; Jono quickly drew the comforter around my shoulders.
*Remy, I can't begin to say how sorry I am about what yer went through. Everything I can think of sounds lame. *
God help me, at this point I began to rock back and forth. It shamed me to no end, but I couldn't stop it. I was losing all
control. "Don't want y' pity, Jono."
*I am the last fucking person who gonner sit around and pity yer! * His sharp tone made me look up at him. And there was no pity at all in his eyes, just love and terrible worry. I took a lot of comfort from that.
*That time in the shower, when yer got all freaked. Did that have something to do with all this? *
I sighed. It all was going to come out. " Yeah. Being held from behind really spooks me sometimes."
*Thought there was something bloody weird going on. * Chamber said, almost to himself. Then he tentatively touched my shoulder. *Remy?can I hold yer? *
"NO!" I blurted. "Don't want y' touching me right now." I was close to out and out hysterics. " I'm dirty, okay?"
*No, yer not. Yer did nothing wrong, love. *
I got very angry. "Y' don't understand Jono, y' don't know one goddamn t'ing about it! Bulldog wasn't my `first'. I sold myself
willingly. I didn't do it a lot, only when I was starving. Let men paw me like I was a piece of meat. Used de empathy on dem too, so dey would like me, wouldn't hurt me. I was a little whore."
I picked up Jonothan's shock; there was such pain on his face. But he kept his tone soft. * Yer weren't anything of the kind, darling. Yer were a little boy, just trying to survive. Those awful creeps took advantage of a kid's desperation. They all should be shot. It wasn't yer fuckin' empathy. I can't believe no one tried to help yer. *
Acid tinged my voice. "Well, welcome to de real world, Mr. Starsmore! No one really gave a shit about me until Jean-Luc came along. Dey called me Le Diable Blanc on de streets, like I was some demon, less than human. Social workers and de holy-holies didn't come near me, too much trouble. I was a mutie, something to be fucked, hit or pissed on, not helped."
Jonothan gingerly touched my back, rubbed a warm circle. I was rocking very hard now, and I felt so lost. I had finally done it; confessed my worst, deepest secret. And the person I loved most in the world knew my terrible shame.
All of a sudden, Jono pulled me in his arms. I got stiff as a board. "Thought I told y' to that I didn't want to be touched." But I couldn't pull away for some reason.
He hugged me even tighter. *Well, I've figured something out about yer, Remy. What yer say and what yer actually want are two different things. *
And he was oh so very right. I found myself clutching on to him like 0I was drowning. I grabbed his arms so hard that I discovered later I had raised big bruises. But he didn't flinch, he just rocked me, stroked my hair. My face ended up resting on his shoulder; I could smell his skin, the baby lotion. And somehow this undid me; tears began to leak out. I fought them with every ounce of will I had.
*It's really okay to cry, Rem. * Jonothan whispered.
"I can't. Y' don't understand." My throat was full of broken glass. " If I cry about it, it means dat dey won, dat dey hurt me."
He pulled back, looking me full in the face. *Remy, they did hurt yer. They hurt yer terribly. And yer don't lose by crying, love. Yer been carrying this inside yer for far too long. Let it out, Remy, please."
And despite my struggle against it, I let go. And it hurt, oh God, how it hurt. It was incredibly painful, crying like that. I was
afraid my guts were going to come out, just like Bone. And through it all Jono held on, so strong. If he hadn't been there, I really think I would have just died.
I have no idea how long I cried. Seemed like days. And there was no feeling of wonderful release or catharsis; what stopped me finally was the overwhelming urge to puke. Jono dragged my ass into the bathroom yet again. He got a cool washcloth and cleaned up all the tears, sweat and snot. And like a sick and exhausted child, he tucked me back into bed. I curled around him, holding his hand. He rubbed my back, soothed me into a heavy, mercilessly dreamless sleep.
Things weren't much better after that. For the next few days I was I was like a shambling zombie from a bad B movie, just numb. All I wanted was to lie in bed, cocooned in a blanket. That's about as far as my world extended.
Jonothan was constantly at my side, although I barely acknowledged him. He must have been frightened by my behavior, but he stayed calm and held it together. All I felt from him empathy-wise was love and concern. He got me to drink water, coaxed me into eating a little, mostly jelly sandwiches, I think. I really wasn't aware of too much. And he was there in the aftermath of some really horrendous, sweaty nightmares. He rocked me endlessly, soothed me through some long crying jags. Jesus, I was a mess.
I finally was jolted out of this stupor by getting good and mad. I was lying like the Undead, head under a pillow, when Chamber patted my shoulder.
*Remy? Why don't yer get up for a bit, take a bath? I'd like to change the sheets. *
I grunted in reply. " Non. Don' wan' no damn bath. Just leave me `lone Jono, y' actin' like my maman. Quit buggin' me."
I heard an exasperated mental sigh. *All right then, be that way. But I should point out to yer Rem that yer starting to smell. And the bloody sheets are getting more than a bit ripe. *
This instantly got my attention. If there's one thing I'm highly sensitive about, it's personal hygiene. I sat up, totally furious.
Jono, in turn, regarded me with Buddha-like calm, arms folded.
"I don't smell! How fucking dare you, y' little shit!"
Jono cocked an eyebrow. * God's truth, mate. Yer do. Yer definitely no bed of petunias. So please go take a bath. Or do I have to drag yer in there meself? *
I staggered out of bed, spluttering and glaring. I suddenly detected a slight twinkle in his brown eyes. I realized I had just been played, but good. He had gotten my ass out of bed. This made me even madder.
"Oh, fuck you, Starsmore!" I stormed into the bathroom and loudly slammed the door.
* I love yer too, Remy. * Chamber replied, a slight chuckle in his `voice'.
I just plain stewed for a few seconds, mad at Jono, mad at being manipulated, mad at the whole fucking, shitty world. Then I flushed with embarrassment when I gave myself an experimental sniff. I was definitely no bed of petunias.
I forgot my anger altogether when I caught my reflection in the mirror. I gasped, I was the definition of Death Warmed Over. My skin was drained of color; there were purple circles under my eyes. My hair hung limp and greasy; I had a raspy beard. And the expression in my eyes was so lost and haunted. And so very familiar.
I was then hit with a strong memory, my nine-year-old self, standing in Champagne's tiny bathroom. I was naked in front of her mirror, staring at the bruises and cuts that Bulldog had marked me with. And I just hated myself, what I was. An ugly, whoring, filthy mutant. Not fit to live. Not fit for anything.
I didn't hear the light knock on the bathroom door, or Jonothan's entrance. I was in a kind of trance in front of that mirror.
*Rem, I brought yer some clean towels?Remy? Are yer okay? * I didn't really register his presence, so when he touched my shoulder I nearly jumped out of my skin. I whirled around and gave him a hard shove.
"DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!" Jono almost fell to the floor, I found myself backing into a corner. I tried to make myself as small as possible crouching into a ball. The terrible panic was back, and I squeezed my eyes tight, trying to control it.
Jono's deep, croaky `voice' filled my head, soft and cautious. *Rem, listen to me. I'm so sorry I startled yer like that. I should have known better. Please forgive me. *
I began to rock, hating it, hating me. "Stop fucking apologizing Jono. I'm de one dat's acting crazy. I'm de one dat should be sorry for putting y' through all dis shit. I don't know how y' can stand me." The weakness and self- pity in my voice started a fresh wave of loathing; I banged the back of my head hard against the wall to make myself stop rocking. It hurt, but I still couldn't quit.
Jono crawled over to me. *Could yer tell me what started all this? Yer were staring at yer reflection when I came in. *
I tried not to look at him, but focused on the tile pattern. " Remembered somet'ing. Somet'ing bad. Of course. I'm so tired of confessing all de time Jono, talking about dis garbage! Aren't you sick of it too?"
*No, love, all I want to do is help yer. *
I got all angry again. "Jonothan, dere really ain't much y' can do! Y' can't erase de damn past!"
There was a long pause. * Actually, Remy I can. *
This shocked me. So much that I stopped rocking. I stared hard at him. "What?"
Jono looked at me steadily. * I can enter yer mind, Rem, and take away all those horrible memories, make yer forget. Telepaths can do that. * He took my hand. * I can also find memories that are lost, Rem. I could help yer remember yer parents, what happened to yer, if yer wanted. *
And as soon as he said that, I knew he could do it. And it was so incredibly tempting, to lose all those nightmares forever. And the offer to finally discover what was behind that big blank wall in my head, well, that was so wonderful and terrifying at the same time, I couldn't speak for a long while.
"Mais, Jono-I don't know what to say?what y' offering is so amazing. And God, how I would love to not have to ever t'ink about all dat shit again." I squeezed that strong hand of his, rubbed the nuckles. "But I believe I'll have to pass, cher. Those t'ings dat happened, dey made me what I am, for better or worse. Should just finally try to deal with it. But I might take y' up on findin' out where I came from?someday. I ain't ready for it yet, and I'm scared dat dere's a really good reason just why I don't remember. I also won't deny dat part of me wants to finally know."
Jonothan brushed his fingers across my cheek. * I thought that's what I thought you would say?whenever yer ready, Rem, the offer will always be open. * He stood up, suddenly, extending his hands. *Now, would yer do us a favor? Stand up for a bit? *
I let him pull me to my feet, a little puzzled. He surprised me by taking me by the shoulders and turning me to face the mirror. * Yer did this once for me, now I'll do it for yer. What did yer see in the mirror, then Remy, before I walked in? *
This was about the last thing I wanted to do, but I made myself. I had just made a big statement about trying to cope with everything. " What I saw was myself, after Bulldog?raped me. I was remembering how bad I felt?how worthless, how dirty?" Every word pained me, but I kept on. " I felt like I was nothing, and so alone cher, so alone."
Jonothan touched a finger to my reflection. * My turn. This is what I see: a survivor. A very strong, tough person who has gone through some horrible, evil shit, and somehow managed to deal with it. And a person that didn't turn mean or cruel or cold like most people would have. * He slipped an arm around my waist. * Another thing I see is that this person isn't alone any more.*
I found myself shaking, and I couldn't stop staring into the mirror. Jono's words hit home, they went deep. But what really got me was not my reflected image, but my lover's. I had been so busy drowning in my own misery pool; I hadn't really looked at Jono much. And if I resembled Death, Jono was like Total Hell. Both eyes were black, and there was an angry bruise across his face. What wasn't bruised was 0ghastly pale; he must have been completely exhausted. But there was
none of that in his dark eyes. They were filled with the fiercest love, something completely, utterly unbreakable. And that was all for me. Me. My Warrior Goth Boy Angel.
I found myself turning in a daze and wrapping my arms around his willowy body, trying very hard not to cry. I wasn't really thinking though, and I pressed his face a little into my chest. Jonothan immediately let out a yelp. *OW! SHIT! * He pulled away with a very pained expression.
"Mon Dieu, cher, I'm sorry-dat must have hurt." Yeah, what an immensely stupid thing to say.
Jonothan understandably looked at me like I was an idiot. *'Course it fucking hurts! * He softened though, when he saw how stricken I was. *Oh Rem, it's all right. Don't get all upset. Broken nose is nothing to me, anyway. I've obviously experienced far worse. * He actually chuckled.
For a second, I was flabbergasted that he would make such a joke, and then I actually started to laugh. Jonothan laughed with me, and took me in his arms. I hugged him back, a lot more careful of his nose this time.
*So, Petunia-are yer gonna take that bath now? *
I found myself smiling a little. "Jono, y' turning into a goddamn nag, y' know dat?"
I was rewarded with an arched brow. *Well, if yer didn't need so much supervision, I wouldn't have to be, now would I? * He very gently caressed my cheek, which always feels like a kiss when he does it. *So, I'll leave yer to it, then. Holler if yer need anything. * He started to go.
I am amazed at how utterly insecure I can get. Jono's leaving really bothered me; I needed him there, and I suddenly craved some reassurance. I worry that someday Jono will think of me as this emotional bottomless pit; no matter how much love and comfort I get, I always seem to need more. My only excuse here is that I had been beyond stressed, and wasn't thinking too clearly. At all.
"Jonothan, please stay. Like some company, me." I gave him the ol' Remy charming smile, trying to be irresistible.
It worked. * `Course, love, if yer want me to. * Jonothan answered good-naturedly. * I'll fill the tub then, while yer get undressed. *
He busied himself with the bath while I stripped. Even though he wasn't looking at me, I felt uncomfortable, and I hated it. This was my lover, and there was no reason to feel strange or awkward. He loved me, wouldn't ever hurt me. But deep down in my heart there was also this awful, irrational fear that Jono might not want tainted goods.
I clambered it the tub, trying not to shiver. The water was divine; it helped my very tense muscles relax some. Jonothan knelt down next to the tub, and he surprised me by pouring a cup of water over my head.
"Might have given me a little warning, Starsmore." I said, spitting out some water.
Jonothan snickered. * Wouldn't have been much fun that way. * He grabbed a bottle of shampoo. *Now keep yer eyes closed, I don't want to hear any whining about soap. * Before I could protest; Jono poured some shampoo on my head, and started to work up a lather. I have to say it felt so good, Jono's clever fingers rubbing and messaging my scalp. I found myself leaning into his touch like an old cat. Some of that fear began to leave.
*That feel nice then, sweetheart? * Jono murmured.
"Ummm?." Was all I could manage.
Jonothan finally finished, carefully rinsing me off. I smiled a slow smile at him; trying to be as seductive as possible. "T'anks, cher, Y' got talented fingers."
*Yer welcome, love. * I took one of his hands and kissed it; his eyes widened when I guided his hand down my chest. "Very talented?" I continued, moving his hand across my stomach to my cock.
Jonothan didn't respond at all for a few seconds and there was suddenly tension in the air. Then he sighed. * Remy, I'm sorry-no.* He pulled his hand away.
I went from zero to asshole in about a half second, the rejection cut so deep. " I FUCKING KNEW IT! Y' didn't mean what y' said at all, did y'? Y' don't want me; y' can't stand to touch me, can y'?! CAN Y'?!" I splashed some water in his face. "Get out of here then, and leave me the hell alone!"
Jono looked tremendously wounded, then he got very, very angry. He startled me by suddenly grabbing my face. "Now listen to me, Remy LeBeau! Don't treat me like that! And don't yer ever, EVER, fucking doubt that I don't love yer! Or want yer! What I just said to you not ten minutes ago, do yer think that was all a lie? Yer the bloody empath here, how can yer not know how I feel about yer? But one thing I WON'T do is play this head game with yer!"
He was so mad that all my anger left. "What head game?"
*Don't play daft, yer know perfectly well what I'm talking about! And I have to say, it is one thing that has always bothered the crap out of me since we first got together. I get this feeling sometimes that yer have sex with me to make sure I'll stay with yer, not because yer really want to. * He furiously wiped some water from his face.
This hit so close to home it really frightened me. " So-y' callin' me a whore, is dat it, Jono?" My voice was shaking.
*NO! * He banged the side of the tub with his fist, so hard I was afraid he might have broken it. * I think I understand why yer do it, now more than ever. Yer scared, that's all. But, Rem, yer don't need to bribe me that way! If yer suddenly announced that yer never wanted to have sex again, it would be okay with me. *
I just stared at him, incredulous. " Jono, don't lie."
Those fierce brown eyes locked into mine. *I am not lying! Yer think the only reason I'm with yer is because yer such a great lay? Yeah Rem, yer beautiful and sexy as hell, but God, that's not the only reason! Shit, I thought I had ego problems! I LOVE YER! And yer the first person I ever felt that way about. I love yer so much it hurts! And I used to stupidly think that fucking was all there was to a relationship-but yer taught me different. There are so many things I love about yer Rem. I love yer laugh, yer smile, yer voice, that accent. I love how tough yer are, how smart. I could listen to yer
talk for hours. I love the way yer walk into a room like yer own the damn place. And yer so incredibly brave. Now that I know about yer past, I love yer even more. Yer have been so very good to me. It takes a rather special person to overlook the fact that I'm missing half me face. Yer respect me, tease me, laugh at all me dumb jokes. Yer so incredibly generous, if I wanted the moon, yer would try and get it. Yer me friend, my lover, the best fucking thing that has ever happened to me! I told yer once that yer were my angel, that was the truest thing I have ever said. And I will love yer until the day I die. *
Jono put his head on the edge of the tub; his whole body was shaking. His fury had ebbed; replaced by exhaustion. And I couldn't say anything at all. I leaned back in the tub, my eyes closed, trying to deal with the fact that someone had uttered the words I had been waiting to hear my whole life. It took me awhile to realize that my face was wet; tears were streaming down my face. And for once, it actually felt good to cry.
I found myself grabbing Jonothan and pulling him into the tub with me. He didn't protest, he just wrapped his arms around me. I cried into his shoulder, and let my empathy loose. I allowed him to feel everything I was experiencing; all the gratitude, happiness, sorrow and love. I didn't hold back at all and my power hit him full force; I smothered him with it. I felt Jono's astonishment at this onslaught and heard a tiny mental, " Oh, Remy?"
To say that we were dazed by all this would be a total understatement. When I finally calmed down, Jono was sort of sprawled on top of me, head resting on my chest. I stroked his hair, rubbed the back of his neck. He looked up at me, those brown angel eyes crinkling a little. He wiped some tears from my face.
*Yer ever notice, mate * his mental tone was rather wobbly, * that I seem to end up soaking wet with all me clothes on a lot? I suspect it has something to do with yer. *
"Cher, it must be some kind of weird side effect. I am truly sorry." I found myself smiling.
* Aww, it's all right. I'll get used to it, and there are certainly worse things. * He sighed. * The water feels lovely, actually. So do you. Mind if I stay for a bit, get all pruney? *
" I couldn't t'ink of anyone better to share bathwater with, Boo." I cuddled him closer.
* Not even Antonio Banderas? * I caught an eye twinkle.
" `Specially not Antonio Banderas. Now hush y'self."
Jono actually did hush, and we both almost fell asleep, listening to the water drip from the faucet. I had a wonderful moment of just pure peace. Then the damn water got to cold, Jono began to shiver. I yanked his clothes off, and we ended up taking a shower to get warmed up again. Afterwards, I shaved and got dressed. Jonothan also got into some dry clothing. I made him very happy by going into the kitchen to get something to eat. I actually had an appetite; Jono
watched me consume every bite of soup with an extremely joyful expression. Never knew that could be so entertaining.
When I finished eating, we took a long walk, visiting the tide pools full of Jonothan's buddies. I was still pretty shaky, but it felt good to be outside, feeling the breeze, tasting the salt in the air. Best of all was my lover's arm around my waist, so strong.
We returned to the house just before sunset; Jono made me a big pot of chamomile tea. We ended up on the big, slightly ramshackle sofa in front of the picture window. I pulled Jono in my arms; he rested his head on my shoulder. It was very cute; he was fighting sleep, but he kept nodding off in the middle of a sentence. He finally succumbed just before the sun hit the horizon. I gave him a big kiss and wrapped an afghan around the both of us. Pretty soon, I was nodding off myself. I lay back into a pillow and then proceeded to have the most horrifying, wonderous dream of my entire life.
The first thing I was aware of was the cold. The air was bitter and sharp; I could see my breath coming out in soft, steamy clouds. There was also a strong, sweet smell: someone was baking. Leaves surrounded me; I was crammed behind some scuppernongs, in a tangled backyard garden. I wasn't alone; there was a rain- worn statue of St. Francis next to me.
Although the place seemed very familiar, it really frightened me for some reason, I didn't want to stay. Yet I was frozen to the spot, couldn't move. I glanced up at the back of a house, faded and blue. A scream cut through the cold. It chilled me to the bone, and I wanted to make myself as small as possible. I found myself hugging the fence, all the while staring at the house. A door started to open, and the fear I felt almost dropped me to my knees. I didn't want to see what was coming through that door.
I got behind a crooked old chinaberry tree. There was a loose board there, and I somehow was little and thin enough to squeeze myself through. Out on the sidewalk, I ran like hell, didn't look back. I was scared I was going to hear another scream.
I found myself out on Decatur Street, near the Old Farmer's Market in N'awlins. Very familiar stompin' grounds, although there was something wrong about it. I soon realized it was because there wasn't a soul in sight. Things got even stranger when it began to snow. This upset me more than anything. My feet were bare and freezing on the pavement.
I drew my coat around me, and started to walk, wanting somewhere safe to hide and get warm. The sound of music halted me, some raucous jazz was being played. I followed the sound, and saw what I first took to be a parade. Men all dressed up in their finest, instruments gleaming. Then I saw something that made me shudder-it wasn't a parade at all, but a funeral procession. There was a big coach; the ebony horses drawing it all plumed and high-steppin'. And the
coachman was someone I recognized. Baron Samedi. The Baron is the chief of all the Guedes, the Voodoo spirits that guard the gates to the world of the dead. I tried to back away from the street, duck into an ally, but the Baron's sharp eyes spotted me. He tipped his top hat as the coach stopped right in front of me.
"Now, petite, " he said softly in a deep, mellow voice, "You can't hide from Le Baron. And when you are ready, I will open the gate for you." He pulled something from his hat and tossed it at me. Then he clicked to the horses and started the coach moving again. I saw two coffins inside through the glass panels; they were covered with dark red roses, roses as deep as heart's blood. I glanced down to see what the Baron had thrown to me; it was lying at my feet. It was a stuffed
toy, a little tiger, button eyes staring into mine blankly. It was sticky too; I turned it over and found it was covered in blood.
threw the thing on the ground and fled.
I headed into the Quarter; and there was still no one in sight. The snow was starting to come down even heavier now, big fat flakes. I found myself standing outside a shop, thinking hard about breaking in just to get warm. Before I could pick the lock, a voice stopped me.
I turned to see Champagne, all tricked up in her finest drag, hugging a ratty fur close to her body. She looked pretty good, although her long blond wig was a bit askew. I was very, very, glad to see her.
"Champagne! Where y' at? And what's all dis craziness goin' on? It don't snow in N'awlins!"
Champagne looked worried under her pancake make up. "Remy, heart, y' best be getting' yo' ass off the streets but pronto!" She shivered. "I hears that Bulldog lookin' for y'all." She dug around in her rhinestone bag and pulled out a key. "Y' head over to my place baby, lay low fo' awhile."
I took the key, relief flooding through me. "T'anks, cher, I owe y' one.""Just stay safe, y' hear?" Champagne gave me a big lipstick kiss, and I saw the scared young man under all the rouge and mascara.
"Y' too, Cham, y' too." I kissed her back and started quickly for her tiny apartment, hoping to wrap myself in blankets as soon as I got there. The very thought of Bulldog made my heart skitter.
But I couldn't find my way to Champagne's place no matter how hard I tried. I kept turning down dead ends and wrong streets. I opened a creaky gate, and found myself smack dab in about the last place I wanted to be: Metairie Cemetary. The place always creeped me out, and now it looked even more eerie. The big, above ground tombs were half covered by snow, and they cast long purple shadows in the fading light. I turned to back out of the gate, but it had vanished.
Trying not to feel trapped and panicked, I wound my way through the City of the Dead, desperate for an exit. It was a grim labyrinth, and I started to mutter a prayer to Papa Legba, the loa that opens all doors. My feet felt totally numb, and I was starting to leave bloody tracks.
A small sound, a little whimper halted me. And there, lying in a big drift, was Bone. He let out a soft, pleading bark.
I ran right over to him, patted his knobby, ugly head. "Dumb fuck dog, what y' doin' here? Y' stuck or somet'ing?" Bone's tail thumped weakly in the snow, he licked my hand. I grabbed him, and began to pull him out of the drift. As soon as I did, Bone gave a painful cry, and to my horror, I saw that his intestines were coming out of a gaping wound in his belly in ropy loops. "Oh no, oh God, please no!" I gasped. Bone gave a little sigh and died there in my arms.
Before I could do anything more, I heard a familiar voice behind me. I turned to see Bulldog standing there, with his flat shark eyes and his gold chains. He leveled a cold grin at me.
"What's wrong with your doggie, boy?" He flicked out a blood- covered switchblade. "Looks like he had himself an accident. Now why don't y'all come over here, Bulldog make you feel all better." He ran his tongue suggestively over the blade.
I backed away, almost stumbling over a tomb. I managed to dodge him as he tried to grab me, kicking him in the shins. I then hurtled through a narrow path, Bulldog's nasty laugh pursuing me. "Run all you want boy, but I'll get your ass in the end! Count on it!"
The tombs seemed to crowd me, getting closer and closer together. I still couldn't see any sign of a gate. The snow was thick in the air; I was having a hard time seeing. My desperate gasps for breath were the only sound I heard, along with the faint hissing of the white flakes hitting the ground.
Then I turned one last corner and saw them all standing there, waiting. Ororo. Scott. Jean. Hank. Warren. Bobby. Logan. Rogue. My old friends. The X-Men.
Rogue was in the center, her beautiful green eyes as frozen and hard as emeralds. "Well, sugah, looks like yah got yoself in a heap o' trouble. Bet y'all are hopin' that yo' old team here will bail your butt out. But that ain't gonna happen, no suh. As a matter of fact, you better really start runnin'. `Cuz I aim to finish what Ah started in Antarctica." She delicately removed one of her gloves. "And this time Remy, y'all are gonna stay good and dead."
I heard a short, high whine, like a sword leaving a scabbard. Logan had unsheathed his claws. He growled deep in his throat. " You heard the lady, Gumbo. Ya better start movin', as I'm in the mood for some sport. Like ta gut ya like that mutt o' yours."
"Sorry, I get first crack at him." Warren's Harvard drawl contrasted oddly with the rage on his blue face. He flapped his wings in an angry display. "You can have what's left."
My insides were as frozen as my feet. I looked at the only person who I thought might still care. "Stormy," I whispered. Storm took to the air, a distant Goddess, white hair whipping in the wind. She threw a bolt of lightening at my feet. "Run, you filthy traitor. Run."
I didn't need any more urging. I ran like I was being chased by the Devil himself. And each step was agony, because I knew that it was hopeless, and that I deserved all that was happening to me. But I ran anyway, until my lungs were on fire, and my legs ached. The drifts got higher and higher and the snow was almost to my waist. But I struggled on anyway, the only thing I felt I could do anymore.
Pretty soon I realized that I wasn't in the cemetery anymore. Through the falling white, I saw the familiar shape of St. Louis Cathedral looming over me. I staggered up to it, not really knowing why I was seeking refuge there. After all, Le Diable Blanc deserved no sanctuary.
When I got to the doors, I found they were locked. Of course. I fumbled around in my coat for a lock pick, panic rushing through me as I heard Logan's howl in the distance. I hit the door in frustration. "Papa Legba, open de gate!" I shouted. And to my vast surprise, it suddenly did swing open.
I walked inside like a drunken man. The churches' interior was even colder than the streets; everything was encased in glittering ice. It covered the pews, the walls, icicles hung from the statues, like stalactites from the ceiling. The light from the votive candles made it all sparkle diamond bright.
I went up to the altar, sat down, staring up at a figure of an angel that took up half the nave. He was angry, wings stretched out like an attacking eagle; a flaming sword high over his head. An angel of vengeance, of retribution, sent to punish all sinners. I shivered as I looked at him and had to turn away. I focused instead on the Blessed Mother; I had always liked her, even though I didn't have much use for the rest of the religion. She was beautiful too, her blue robe patterned with ice crystals. "I'm sorry." I whispered to her, hoping she would understand. To my surprise, the statue smiled at me, soft brown eyes looking down with compassion.
I didn't have much time to contemplate this miracle; as a huge crash echoed through the church. Rogue flew through a stained glass window; the shards of glass seemed to fall on the floor in slow motion. A second later and the Cathedral doors were blown off its hinges by a crimson blast. Cyclops then strode in, followed by the rest of the X-Men and some others who had a score to settle. I saw Morlocks, Belladonna, Sabertooth, Sinister, Bulldog. All were gathering for a
final reckoning.
I was welded to the altar; I couldn't move a muscle. I watched as Rogue walked towards me.
"Yah disappoint me, sugah. Thought the Great Gambit would put up more of a fight. What a pussy y'all turned out to be. And to think that y'all are hiding in a church! That's the last damn place yah should be, Cajun. Y'all are nothing bu tmiserable gutter trash, a stinkin', whoring little swamp rat. Yah ain't fit to breathe; yah foul everything yah come near, shitpile. And Ah finally mean ta do somethin' about it."
Rogue bent down so close I could feel her hot breath on my face, her red lips millimeters from brushing mine. If she kissed me, I would die. I swallowed, waiting for that to happen. Instead, she smiled. "Oh no, lover, it ain't gonna be that easy." She suddenly grabbed me by the throat, yanked me to my feet. I hung there limp and helpless, no fight in me at all.
She pushed me against the altar, and with a hand against my chest, began to strip away my ragged clothing. I was soon naked, and the shame and cold air burned my skin. She grabbed my face, forcing me to look at the mob, all of them staring in rapt attention.
"Now ain't you a purty thing, Remy LeBeau." She purred in my ear. "Be a shame to let it go to waste. Maybe before we kill yah, how `bout a nice, old-fashioned gangbang? Ah'd love to watch.." Horror shot through me, I tried to get out of her iron grip to no avail. "Oooh, this is gonna be fun." Rogue drawled. "Hey, Creed-why don't ya'll go first?"
"Love to!" Sabertooth stalked up to me, ran his clawed hands over my body. I squirmed and struggled, which seemed to excite him even more. Then a few more joined in, hands were everywhere. It was agony.
"Non, stop, STOP!" I screamed.
"Now Remy, don't pretend that y'all don't secretly want this. Yah beg for it, mon ami." Rogue chuckled in my ear. "And yah deserve all that's comin' to yah."
They pulled me down to the frozen floor, forced me to lie on my stomach. Logan and Storm held my wrists; Cyclops and Archangel spread my legs. Creed's heavy weight crushed my back. " Hope ya scream real loud, frail. I like it when they scream."
"Non." I bit my lips so hard they began to bleed.
Rogue knelt down in front of me. "C'mon sugah, don't be a spoilsport. I want to hear some first class beggin'. Yah owe me beggin'."
"Non." I whispered.
"Fuck the hell out of him, Creed."
Creed just grunted and I could feel him near my entrance. Every muscle in my body tensed, and I thrashed around for all I was worth. I found myself staring past Rogue, up at the angel. Tears stung my eyes, and the only prayer I made was the hope that I would pass out soon. My vision blurred, and without warning, the church, Rogue, and everything vanished. It was replaced by a memory I hated more than anything.
I was still on my stomach, naked on a cold floor. I was being held down by strong hands once again. I was in an old warehouse, and a few feet away lay Bone's corpse. I could smell the coppery blood. And on my back was Bulldog, his rotten breath panting near my face, his hands all over me. "Gonna show you who's boss, ya little street rat. Gonna make ya my bitch now." My blood turned to ice.
"SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!" I screamed like I had never screamed before. And then there was this sound, like a glacier crumbling and a volcano erupting all at once. The floor shook; Bulldog leapt off my back, his boys let go of my wrists. They all stared around in confusion, and began to yell when a wall literally melted. A light flooded the room, so white and hot that looking at it was pure agony. Fire and sparks shot all around, catching the empty crates and making
them burst into flame. A big flume roared over Bulldog; he squealed like a pig as it singed his flesh. He began to melt just like a candle near a furnace, oozing and bubbling, the skin slipping off his bones like liquid. His torturous howls sounded thick and inhuman. Within seconds, he pooled to the floor, in a disgusting, bloody puddle.
Bulldog's two whores had fled, their hair and clothing on fire. I managed to get myself up, although I was too weak to get very far. I crammed myself into a corner behind some crates. I knew it was hopeless, and that the wrath of God had finally found me. I closed my eyes and awaited my fate.
But minutes seemed to go by and nothing happened. I finally opened my eyes and saw that the white light was gone, replaced by a soft flickering blue. Footsteps approached me, and I backed into the wall, heart smacking into my ribs.
"Yer don't need to hide from me, love. I won't hurt yer." The rough, cracked voice belonged to an angel, standing at the edge of the crates. He was holding a long brown leather coat. "I'm sure yer cold, mate. Yer want this?" He smiled at me and I had never seen anyone so beautiful. His wings were made of the same sparkling light that had caused so much mayhem, but now the flames were a peaceful turquoise. The expression on his long, thin face was so kind and loving that I wasn't afraid of him. I managed to stand, and totter towards him. I was rewarded with a huge, wondrous smile, almost too big for his narrow face, his dark eyes shining through chestnut hair. He knelt down in front of me, wrapped the coat around my shoulders. I felt very warm and safe.
"Do I know y'?" I asked in a shaky voice.
"I should certainly hope so. I'm yer Gothboy Angel. My job is to protect yer, keep yer safe. Although I haven't exactly done a real bang up job." He stroked my cheek gently. "I'm so very sorry, Remy."
I felt so weak that all I wanted to do is be held by him. He sensed this and pulled me into his arms. My face ended up near his neck, and I smelled leather and something vaguely sweet. It was the best place in the world, those arms, like being in Jean Luc's lap so long ago.
"T'anks for getting' rid of Bulldog." I whispered. "Dat was y', wasn't it?"
"Yeah. But, Rem, yer got to listen to me now. I will help yer all I can, but I can only do so much. Yer need to stop punishing yerself, sweetheart." His dark brown eyes were now very serious.
"Punishing myself?"
He slowly rocked me. "All the bad things that happened to yer just now was yer torturing yerself. This is self-hatred, love." He whispered softly in my ear. " Yer not responsible for being raped, Remy. It wasn't yer fault."
I wanted to argue, but deep down, I knew was true. "Maybe y' right, ange," I sighed. "Y'll stay with me?"
"Always, ducks. I'll never abandon or desert yer. Yer stuck." He grinned another broad, heavenly smile. And I had the overwhelming urge to kiss those gentle lips, but I didn't dare. Le Diable Blanc had no business kissing an angel.
But angels, apparently, can read minds. "Now, now, Rem. Don't be afraid. C'mon and give us a kiss." Another irresistible smile.
In a daze, I pulled his face down to mine. Our lips pressed together, slowly, achingly sweet. My heart pounded, his mouth was so soft and tender, and it caused a burning sensation to whoosh through my body. It was a divine, loving fire, and it filled me up, all the cold, empty places inside. I knew I could kiss my angel for the rest of eternity and never tire of it.
When we finally, reluctantly parted, the angel murmured, "Lovely."
I had to agree. "Oui." He chuckled and suddenly stood, easily holding me in his arms. He spread those astonishing wings, which now seemed to glow with every color.
"Y' can fly?" I rested my head on a leather-clad shoulder.
I got a huge, ragged laugh that made me smile. " `Course I can fly! I'm a fucking angel, mate!" The angel flapped his wings and we soared into the air. He trailed glowing sparks like fireflies. We flew through the hole in the wall, out into the night.
"So, ange, where are we goin'?"
"Does it matter, love?" he whispered.
"Non. Not at all." I kissed him once more, and it was just as wonderful. "I love y', ange."
And with that, I woke up.

I woke up in a haze, trying to collect my raveled thoughts. I didn't have to be much of a Jungian to figure out what my subconscious was trying to tell me. And Jonothan, my angel, was right. I needed to stop endlessly tormenting myself. I maybe would be able to do it with him at my side.
There were two things that really disturbed me, though. I love Jono the way he is, why had I dreamt of him as whole? It caused a surge of guilt. But perhaps the infinitely sweet, slightly crooked grin I had witnessed in my dreams was what I had been seeing in his eyes all along.
Also very worrying was the dream's beginning; hiding in that back garden, St Francis, the blue house, the Baron and his coach with the coffins, the toy tiger. Where had all that come from? The garden felt more like a memory than a subconscious desire or whim. This both frightened and elated me. Was it finally a clue to my past? And did I have the guts to let Jono in my head as he earlier offered? Did I really want to find the truth?
I opened my eyes with a sigh, pushed some sweaty hair from my face. I was alone on the sofa; the afghan was thrown on the floor. I sat up, starting to wonder where Jono had gotten himself to. I glanced at a clock on a bookshelf; it was around five a.m.
I suddenly noticed it was very light outside for this time of day. I walked to the window, and saw that the light seemed alive somehow, flickering and pulsing. With a weird thrill, I knew that it was indeed alive. The light that I was seeing came from Jonothan. It was so strangely close to my dream that a chill went down my spine. I walked outside to the deck, and saw him standing on the beach, ankle deep in the surf. His lower mask was off, allowing the psionic field inside him to roar out in sparkling flame-like waves. The color of the energy was white, like the core of a furnace.
I just stared for a while; I couldn't help it. Since we had been together, I have seen Jono with his bandages off a total of twice. As much as I reassured him that it didn't bother me, it really upset him, so I let him be. I knew Jonothan was still trying to deal with feeling like some kind of monster. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. I thought him strangely beautiful, that light like something from the distant nebulas.
I wondered for a moment if I should just leave him alone, but something in his posture worried me. I opened my shields to see what was going on with Mr. Starsmore.
I almost dropped to my knees, the emotions were so strong. Most of it was rage, dark and boiling. I was almost like what I had picked up from him that night we first met on that bridge. I had no idea what could have triggered such profound anger, anger he obviously needed to vent.
I just watched him for a few minutes, my hands gripping the rail of the deck tightly. And then anger switched off like a light, replaced by this terrible sadness and pain. Jonothan dropped to the sand, slowly pulling the mask over his face. I immediately ran out to him, kneeling down beside him. He was very startled to see me, and tried to hide the tears. I grabbed him and yanked him into my arms.
"What's wrong, baby?" Jono didn't answer; he just clung to me, sobbing. I held him tight, soothing him with my empathy as much as I could. It seemed to help; his hysterics soon faded. I brushed the wild hair from his face, wiped his eyes.
"Talk to me, Boo. What's goin' on? What was the big tantrum for?"
Jono sighed. *Shit. Empaths. * Another deep sigh. * I had this terrible nightmare, Rem, about yer. Yer were in this cemetery, and it was snowing, and the fucking X-Men were hunting yer like yer were some kind of animal. They chased yer into this church, where that bitch Rogue tore off yer clothes, and then, they?they?God. * A fresh wave of tears started down his face. I was stunned speechless for a moment.
Jono clenched his fists. * I could feel how helpless yer were, and how afraid. And I hated all of them; I wanted to tear them all to pieces, especially that smug bitch and that Bulldog. * The rage burned in the air again; Chamber's whole body shook. * I'd like to find every slimy, foul dirt wad bastard that ever hurt yer and melt the skin right off their bodies! But I can't do anything Remy; I'm just no fucking good, am I?! AM I?! *
Jonothan began to pound the sand, in the throes of another fury. I stopped him, holding his arms tight. "JONO! Listen to me! Y' de best damn t'ing dat has ever happened to me, and y' helped me more den anybody. ANYBODY! Because of y', Jono I know dat I can get through dis. I love, y' Jonothan Starsmore! And I don't need no revenge. All I need is y' with me, and I know I'll be okay." I kissed his tear-streaked face all over, held him close. I tried as hard as I could with my empathy to let him know how much I felt for him, which was almost more than my heart could stand.
We ended up lying together in each other's arms. I rubbed Jono's back for a while, and decided to drop the bomb on him. "Cher-dere's somet'ing I gotta tell y'. Dat nightmare y' had? I had de exact same dream."
Jonothan started. " My god-yer kidding! I must have-. *
"Picked it up from me."
Jono looked very upset, and I tried to sooth him. " Jono, it wasn't y' fault. I probably was really broadcasting strong, y' telepathy couldn't help but pick it up." I had to ask. "Do y' remember a part with a garden?"
* Yeah. * Jono answered slowly. * Yer were hiding in some bushes. Then someone screamed from the house. Then there was this part with this bloke with a top hat, driving a coach with coffins in it?*
"Dat was de Baron Samedi, a Voodoo loa in charge of de gates between de living world and de dead. De Baron said he would open de gate when I was ready. I'm t'inkin' dat some of de dream was actual memories, clues to my past."
* Really? Yer want me to?? * Jonothan began cautiously.
"Non. I might just see if I start to remember on my own, cher. If I need y' help, I'll be sure to ask. Maybe goin' home to N'awlins will trigger somet'in' too. Y' don't mind if we leave soon? I know it's earlier den we planned, but I need to finally talk to Poppa and Tante about dis."
He took my hand. * It's okay with me, love. Just promise we can come back here someday. * His `voice' was wistful.
" Dat's a definite promise." I caressed the side of his face. " Cher, do y' remember de part of de dream where y' saved me?"
*Saved yer? Me? No, the last thing I saw was Bulldog about to, uh?then I woke up. *
"Well, y' did save me. Y' were an angel too, took care of Bulldog, held me in y' arms. Dat part of de dream waswonderful." I had to laugh. " Y' were `bout de swearingest ange ever, though. I asked y' if y' could fly, and y' said, " `Course I can fly! I'm a fucking angel, aren't I?"
Jonthan cracked up, and I loved hearing his mental laugh roar through my head. Then he sat up, giving me this odd look. *Rem?do yer recall Synch from Gen X? His mutant power is the ability to mimic other mutant's talents. He was able to `synch' up with me a number of times, and luckily didn't have the misfortune of blowing his face off. Anyway, Ev's a great bloke, but he used to drive me fucking nuts, `cuz he could use me powers better than I could. And he could do one thing that just astonished me. Yer might have noticed that I have been going off by meself for a while. *
"I t'ought y' were practicing y' martial arts moves."
Jono's eyes crinkled. * Yer know that's a bloody waste of time. But I have been working with me powers. Had a big breakthrough right after the whole Manta ray thing. I've been dying to tell yer, but I was waiting for the perfect moment. And I think, uh, this is it. *
I was burning with curiosity now. "Okay, y' officially killin' me! Quit stallin' and show me!"
*Err, okay. * Jonothan stood up and nervously pulled down his face mask. The psionic energy poured down his chest and over his shoulders in lazy blue tendrils. *God?I hope I don't fall on me arse ?* I heard him faintly mutter. He closed his eyes, tilted his head back, and stretched out his arms a little. I was rigid with anticipation, wondering what this was all about.
A second later, I found out. Jonothan Starsmore flew.
The psionic energy gave a push downward, and he very slowly rose in the air. I got to my feet, mouth surely hanging open. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was so close to my dream that my heart gave a jolt. And from Jono, I got a feeling of such happiness and pride.
*So what d'yer think, Rem? I'm Peter fucking Pan! *
I recovered my voice. "Actually cher, I t'ink y' look more like Tinkerbelle."
He laughed hugely. *Screw yer, LeBeau! * He did a mid air figure eight.
I put my hands on my hips. "Ain't y' somet'ing, baby!" And he was.
*I am rather spectacular, aren't I? * He did a graceful aerial somersault, showing off a little. He slowly returned to the ground, doing quite well until the last second. He somehow tripped and went ass over teakettle in the sand. I couldn't help it, I just busted up. Then I went to help him.
"Jono, I'm probably pointing out de obvious, but y' might want to work on y' landings a bit."
*Well, no shit. * Chamber said good naturedly, brushing some sand out of his hair. I was pleased to see that he didn't pull his mask back up to cover his face. He touched my arm. *It's because of you, love, that I can do this. I've wanted to fly ever since I was little, and now I can. * There was such love in his eyes. *So... * he said after a moment, *want to go for a ride? *
This surprised me. "Y' sure y' up to dat, honey?" I didn't want to admit it, but his energy field made me a little nervous, although I knew Jono wouldn't have offered if it would harm me.
* I think so. * He seemed to guess my thoughts. *The field won't burn yer, love. I've gotten a lot of control over it. See? * And I was suddenly engulfed in a flood of blue energy. There was warmth but it didn't hurt at all. It felt like I was being caressed all over.
I grinned at him. "Den what are we waiting for? Let's get dis show on de road, baby!"
Jonothan chuckled and had me get behind him, winding my arms tightly around his waist. His body trembled for a moment, then we both rose into the air. I found myself laughing, and thinking that I was indeed with a real angel in more ways than one.
"So where to, Tinkerbelle?" I couldn't resist.
*Call me that one more time, and I'll drop yer in the bloody ocean." His tone was full of amusement.
I squeezed his waist tighter. " How `bout we find a cruise ship and buzz de tourists?"
*Yer really a caution, yer know that? * I got the impression of a mental smile. * I love yer, Rem. *
I sighed. "J'taime, mon petite ange. J'taime."
And we flew over the ocean as the sun rose in the sky.




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