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A Holiday Fanfic, X-Men, Remy LeBeau (updated 30th Jan 2014)


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So, here is my second fic, and it is, I promise, much more fetish-related than my first, and not nearly as long. It is also very much unfinished, but I will probably add more, that is if you are interested.

Also, I must apologize to Tooth Ten, because I still have not spelled any sneezes, per your suggestion, I admit, it is embarrassing for me to try (for some reason). However, I hope it is still well received.

Also, my personal opinion, I do not think the writing is nearly as good as with the other one, just a warning. And there is some language, too.

That being said, please enjoy!

Holidays As Per Usual:

It was normal for Remy LeBeau to get a cold around the holiday season, in fact, he couldn’t honestly remember the last time he’d sat down for Christmas dinner and could taste it. And so, as Black Friday passed and the radio stations started playing Christmas music, it didn’t surprise him to wake up with a headache a sore throat and an itchy nose. It didn’t make him happy, but he wasn’t surprised.

He had to travel to Washington D.C. this week, to The Triskelion, which was actually located in the Chesapeake Bay, for a conference related to his job as an MCRT agent, which stood for Mutant Community Research Team. He was in charge of it, and so, he really couldn’t decline. His girlfriend, Ororo Munroe, who he had lived with for a little over a year and a half now, had already gone into work, and so, he was alone packing his bags for the week ahead.

He was always cold, had been since he had moved permanently from St. Bernadette, Louisiana to Salem, New York, and so, that made things a bit easier, as he piled in lots of long sleeve shirts and sweaters and also his Under Armour cold gear running stuff, because The Triskelion had some pretty nice trails, if one was into that, which he was.

His phone buzzed then; it was Ororo, with a message, saying: Have fun at the conference. Call me when you get there. Love you.

He would be driving because there was an SUV in the parking garage that needed an upgrade and he was the next one leaving from Westchester’s S.H.I.E.L.D. compound to the Triskelion, so he drew the short straw. The Triskelion was the only place that had the space to accommodate for technological upgrades of anything larger than a computer. Damn Tony Stark and his love of technology. Anyways, because he was driving was the reason for Ororo’s ‘call me when you get there’, because she wanted to make sure he didn’t get stuck in the snow or slip on an icy road. After seven years of living in the north, she still assumed he couldn’t manage a snowy road, when the honest truth was, he was a better driver than she was, lead foot or not.

He responded to Ororo’s message right before he left their house, promising her he would and then set out, headache and all, to D.C. where he would take a S.H.I.E.L.D. ferry to The Triskelion.

The car was in the shop, and he was in the militaristic dorm room styled guest room, exhausted after a very long drive. Unfortunately, he was unable to turn in, because he still had a presentation to make. He could blame himself and his tendency to procrastinate, but he would rather blame Ororo’s small family, who had spent Thanksgiving with them. Not because he didn’t like them, but because why not?

He would be discussing the hierarchy within mutant communities in the Morlock tunnels, most specifically, the ones with access or a liaison to the outside world. Did these communities show a higher level of civility than those communities who did not venture aboveground? Did they have a greater desire to assimilate or were they just taking advantage of what was there?

He had his notes in front of them: several weather-proof notebooks full of his small and neat cursive handwriting. Catholic school had its advantages, after all. He also had his laptop open and ready to go. But what he didn’t have was tissues. And that seemed to be more important at the moment. Though he was the only one in the room, he still ducked his head against his arm as he sneezed, as he was polite to a fault. Southern boy chivalry and manners had been pounded into him by the woman who had raised him since he was old enough to get yelled at.

He sneezed again, and sighed, telling himself that this was no different than any other year. He was always busy around the holidays and he was always sick. He could manage just fine. He sniffled and wiped his nose and then sat up straighter, focusing on his presentation, on his notes.

But, his breath hitched, taking away his focus as quickly as he had gained it, and he sneezed, twice. “Goddamn it,” he said to no one in particular. Mattie would have smacked him if she had heard his foul mouth, but she was eighteen hours away in a warmer climate, instead of freezing her ass off in an ugly, sparsely furnished room.

He got up to check the thermostat on the wall. “Apparently a polar bear must have stayed in here last,” he said, because there was no one else to talk to, he might as well talk to himself. Even though his throat hurt, which reminded him of two things: one, he’d better save his voice for his presentation, and two; he had forgotten to call Ororo.

He called her and when she didn’t answer – she might still be at work, everyone was busy around the holidays – he left her a message saying he had arrived in one piece and would call her later. He might have said more, but had to sneeze – again – and didn’t want to have it recorded. He ended the call just in time for his sneeze, and was slightly disappointed that it left his already sore throat feeling much worse. If he didn’t cut this out, he wouldn’t have much of a voice for tomorrow.

That was always the case when he got sick; it always sounded a lot worse than it was, and drew an unnecessary amount of attention to himself than he might have wanted, despite what some people said. He honestly didn’t want to attract attention to himself when he was coughing, sneezing, or blowing his nose; had someone had gotten it misconstrued years ago that those thing, in public, were rude.

He sneezed again, and pulled himself back to his job. This was going to be a long night.

Monday was the presentation on outside world liaison mutant communities. Tuesday was an introduction the new assimilation strategies presented by Sharon Carter, a bitch who thought she knew everything, because she was responsible for assimilating Captain America after he was found frozen in ice. Wednesday was spent discussing the mutant communities that interspersed throughout the mountains and other hard to reach, segregated regions.

Remy woke up at five every morning and hit the trails; Monday and Tuesday outside, on the track that ran almost to the edge of compound, looking out onto the Bay. It was dark and cold, but still beautiful. However, by Wednesday, he woke up and had taken a turn for the worse, hopefully the lowest point of the infection, and chose to run on the indoor tracks that were set at a comfortable sixty five degrees.

Thursday and Friday were sort of open ended discussions and breached many topics. Because it was his job, and only because of it, kept Remy interactive. When he got back to his room, though, he was hard pressed to do much more than lay around, wishing for sleep. It was hard to come by, though, because of his slight aversion to sleeping in new places.

Saturday he would return home, and he set the alarm for six. He woke up and felt awful. Driving home was going to be a bitch, and so, he tried to go back to sleep, since he didn’t really have a set time he needed to be back, but only managed another half hour. After a long shower, he returned to the hangar where the newly upgraded SUV was waiting for him, and set out for home.

He called Ororo after he was off the ferry.

“Hey handsome,” she said. It had been awhile since she had talked to him and she had missed him.

“Hey yourself,” he replied. “Just wanted to let you know I’m on my way home.” Goddamn, was that his voice? Well, she would find out eventually.

“You’re leaving a little later than planned,” Remy was always one to leave as soon as possible. “Everything okay?”

He could come clean right now and say: No, I feel like shit, but he said, “Sure. Just slept in, I guess. The weather’s fine, ‘Ro.” He knew she was worried about the weather, though it was ridiculous of her, since he wasn’t a child and she was kind of a master when it came to all things weather, her codename being Storm, and all.

Ororo had known Remy for nearly the entire time he’d been in New York, but more seriously after his divorce was finalized, and she wasn’t as clueless as some people thought she was. “You sound like your throat hurts, baby.”

“Well, I have been talking non-stop all week,” he supplied quickly, realizing she had given him another way to come out with it, and he hadn’t. He coughed then, and it wasn’t the just-had-something-in-my-throat type, either.

“Mm hmm,” she replied. “Or you could be getting sick.”

Okay, fine. He’d spill, if that’s what she wanted. “Maybe. See what New York does to me?” He would always be more Big Easy than Big Apple.

“Jean says the cold weather does not cause anyone to get sick,” Ororo countered, talking of Dr. Jean Grey, their next door neighbor and good friend.

“Jean also says Phil Collins is the best singer ever, so really, what does she know?” Remy loved Jean as much as Ororo did, but really wasn’t joking. He could handle listening to You Can’t Hurry Love maybe once a year before he contemplated shoving something kinetically charged in his ears and blowing his head off.

Ororo laughed. Remy continued, “Well, I should let you go, I’ll see you probably around dinner time.”

“Just be careful, dear, I hate to think of you driving through wintry conditions when you aren’t feeling well.”

“I’ll be fine,” he said, though he wasn’t sure who he needed to convince of that more.

After they had hung up, maybe half an hour later, he stopped at a convenience store and bought a box of tissues, a bag of cough drops and a couple of water bottles, and by the time he pulled into the compound at Westchester, he had only a third of the tissues left, and half the bag of cough drops remaining. In short, he felt terrible.

He refused to take cough medicine, because he was a baby about such things, and cough drops, after so many made him feel sick to his stomach. His nose was painful from blowing it and his headache was slowly, but surely, morphing into a sinus headache. By the time he drove the twenty minutes from the Rotunda, the name of the main facility where he had left his car, to his house, he was not in a mood to do anything but fall into bed and sleep – unfortunately it was dinner time, and not bed time.

Ororo met him at the door and helped him take off his coat and scarf and gloves, hanging them in the closet for him while he slipped out of his shoes.

“You didn’t eat, did you?” she asked, turning off the stove. She had made soup and homemade bread and was also serving salad.

“No, I didn’t,” he replied. He didn’t really want to either.

“Well, go get changed into something comfortable and I’ll dish everything up.”

“I’ll just have the soup, hon,” he said, as he dragged himself upstairs to change into a sweatshirt and sweatpants combo he had in several different designs, but all similar colors from his high school and college days. Burgundy and black for the St. Bernadette Pirates and purple and yellow for the LSU tigers.

Now, at the table, Ororo took a moment to assess Remy’s condition. It didn’t look good. He looked ready to nod off at any second and probably would have had he not been coughing and sneezing. He barely ate half of the soup in the time that Ororo finished.

“Are you finished, sweetheart?” she asked him as she was taking her plates to the sink.

He nodded. She took the soup bowl and put the remaining soup in a small Tupperware, separate from the other stuff still in the pot. That finished, and the dishes rinsed and placed in the dishwasher, she put a hand on Remy’s shoulder.

“Come on, let’s get you to bed.”

“It’s not even eight yet,” he murmured.

“You’re falling asleep at the table,” Ororo countered. “You might as well go to bed.” Not only did she know the symptomology of his cold progression, from a sore throat, to sneezing, to coughing to sinus infection if not handled properly; but also the emotional shifts. This was his martyr stage. It would ebb and flow through the duration of his cold.

“I have too much work to do,” he said, getting up and going into the living room.

She shook her head. And decided to just leave him alone while he dealt with the sad fact that his immune system sucked sometimes, or a lot of the time, since he also had seasonal allergies. She tidied up the kitchen and then went to the basement to do a load of laundry. When she came up, she saw that he was situated on the couch, using their coffee table as a desk, considering that they did not have a study because they had turned it into Ororo’s art studio. He was typing up a report and he had several pages marked up of a briefing he had printed off. He also had the Kleenex box close, the cough drops he bought earlier and a bottle of water open and half consumed. At least he was hydrating himself.

He didn’t look up from his work, so she knew he was still sulking, and so she went to her art studio and lost herself in her creativity. Two hours passed before she realized it, and she belatedly remembered the laundry. She left her collage as it was and tiptoed downstairs, finding Remy curled up on the couch, fast asleep, with the slight rumblings of the dryer coming from downstairs. Apparently, Remy had taken care of the laundry.

She put the cap back on the pen he had used – and as usual, sunk his teeth into. She closed the top on his lap top and screwed the cap back on the empty water bottle before recycling it. She didn’t want to wake him, considering he had a hard time falling asleep. So, she crept back upstairs and returned with two blankets, draping one over him and placing the other over the top of the couch, just in case. Then, she got him another bottle of water, turned out the lights and returned to her art studio.

Something involuntary pulled Remy from his sleep and he checked his wristwatch to see that it was now after midnight. He was downstairs, he noticed, and remembered falling asleep on the couch while he was writing a report. Ororo must have set him up here for the night as he registered the blanket the closed lap top and the water bottle.

He thought about joining her in the much more comfortable bed upstairs, but rethought that decision when he began to cough. He took a drink from the water bottle and set the alarm on his cell phone for the next day, and pulling the other blanket on top of him, he went back to sleep.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I love this. Huge Remy fan! Is there more to come? I would be very interested...

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Yes, I do have more, and I will try to post it very soon. I'm so glad you're interested!! biggrinsmiley.gif However, in the mean time, I'm about to post the ending to my first fanfic which is also about Remy, if you'd like to read that! blushsmiley.gif

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Okay, so feeling rather ambitious, I decided I'd add the next two installments to this one. (Also, how do I update the title of the post so people know I added more story??)

Here's the second part...

Ororo knew that Remy was taking Sunday off, and because of the conference he went to, he was actually entitled to take off Monday as well. Only time would tell if he would, but she wasn’t surprised to see that he was already awake. The blankets he used last night he had folded and he had taken care of his lap top and his paperwork, too. She figured he went for his usual morning run and possibly also would squeeze in a workout at the gym, too.

She took a quick shower and was in the process of getting dressed when she heard him come inside. She finished putting on her work clothes and drifted downstairs. “Good morning, sweetheart,” she said, when she saw him removing his running shoes by the door.

He righted himself and responded with a ‘good morning’, and she cocked her head to the side. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

He shrugged, “Like I have a cold,” he said. She watched as it looked like he swallowed painfully.

“Any better than yesterday?” she asked.

“I guess I don’t feel as tired,” he said, and she knew since he was being forthright that he was done being a martyr for now.

“Good,” she replied, adding, “Maybe if you rest today, you’ll get over it quickly like last time.”

“I have to go shopping today,” he replied. “Warren wanted to go, and I figure I should get it done now while I have the time.” Remy didn’t mind shopping, but it was one of those things he liked getting out of the way.

“Okay,” Ororo said, figuring shopping wouldn’t be that bad for his health. His voice was hoarse and nasal, but it seemed chipper, too, and if he was feeling in higher spirits then generally, his health was better. Such was a way of life for the empaths. “Just do yourself a favor and stay out of the perfume and candle shops.”

He smiled, “I’ll try. Though you know I can’t resist a scented candle.” Truthfully, Remy hated scented candles, they always made him sneeze and they almost never smelled like the thing they were trying to imitate. “You heading into work now?” he asked.

“Yeah, pretty soon.”

“Will you be home by dinner?”

“I’m not sure. I think I’ve gotta long day ahead of me. So, go ahead and eat with Warren or whatever. I’ll just eat at work.”

“You sure?” he asked.

“Yes, positive. Have fun shopping, sweetie.”

Remy wasn’t that surprised when Warren pulled into his driveway ten minutes after nine with Alex in tow. Warren always felt obligated to bring Alex along even though on most occasions, Alex added a negative vibe to whatever it was his friends were doing.

“Hey, come on in,” Remy said, smiling despite his irritation as Warren and Alex stomped the snow off their shoes before entering. “Did you guys eat breakfast?” Remy always offered to feed his guests, especially these two since Warren’s mutation dictated that he eat constantly and Alex’s low self-esteem dictated that he should, too.

“Yes, we both ate,” Warren replied. “Though I wouldn’t turn down your food, you know that.” Aristocratically handsome, and aristocratically raised, one could never guess that Warren ate like a Viking.

“Well, help yourself to whatever you’d like,” Remy replied nonchalantly. “I still have to shower and get dressed.”

“I figured as much,” Warren replied, considering Remy was wearing athletic gear.

Thirty minutes later, Remy came back downstairs, now dressed appropriately. He went to the refrigerator and took out some water, and handed a bottle to both Warren and Alex. Then he opened up the packet of cold pills he took from the medicine cabinet and swallowed them. The thought of being overly symptomatic while shopping beat out his aversion to taking cold medicine.

“I thought you sounded sick,” Warren said.

“Quite the detective you are,” Remy replied sarcastically.

Warren chose to ignore Remy’s tone, perhaps because even if he tried he was never as rude as Alex was. “Are you sure you want to go?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Remy said.

Warren gave him an once-over, as if he might have been able to tell that Remy, a master charmer, was deceiving him. “Well, if you’re sure. Still, if you start to feel worse, we can always come back. I really don’t mind.”

Remy rolled his eyes. “Never figured my long lost mother would be a blonde,” he said. With his Spanish and French heritage, he doubted the mother he never met would be anything but dark haired and dark eyed as he was.

“Can we go now?” Alex said, irritated. He hated shopping, but had agreed to go because Warren had asked him to.

“Yeah, sure,” Warren replied amicably, trying to keep up the morale. “We’ll take my car.”

Sometimes, perfumes and scented candles cannot be avoided, and while Remy and Warren waited on a bench while Alex tried something on – at Warren’s insistence – a heavyset man sat next to them, his bag clearly labeled Ye Olde Candle Shoppe. Apparently, he had bought quite a collection, as the smells of something cookie-sweet melded with the strong scents of pine and floral.

Remy’s nose started itching almost immediately, probably because it was already irritated due to his cold. Jean had told him once that he could not be allergic to a scented candle because there was nothing emitted that would bind to a histamine receptor, but he didn’t believe her. His elbows were resting on his knees and he ducked his head, bringing a hand to his nose and stifling a sneeze. It did nothing to alleviate the itch and he stifled two more as quietly as possible. Now, as a result, his eyes were watering.

“Bless you,” Warren said quietly.

Remy sneezed again, a tad louder this time, but still it did not alert the man next to him that it was his fault. “Excuse me,” he said.

Warren checked his watch. “What’s taking him so long?”

“I don’t know,” Remy replied. He stopped talking as his voice hitched and he sneezed again, this time much more like his normal sneezes than his in-a-public-place sneeze.

“Bless you,” Warren said again, showing his concern.

“Excuse me, thanks.” He was sniffling now, and he was getting a headache. He hoped Alex hurried up or at the very least whomever the man with the candles was waiting for hurried up.

“I’m going to go check. Be right back.” Warren stood up and walked in a quick stride to the store.

Not two minutes later, Warren walked out. Warren came back over to the bench and sat down. Warren shook his head, and said, “He didn’t try any of them on yet.”

“What? Why not?” Remy asked.

“He said he already knew he didn’t like them. So he had the sales associate pick out new items.”

A sneeze caught Remy by surprise. “Ugh, excuse me.”

“Bless you,” Warren said quietly, and lowering his voice even more, he added, “So, who knows how long we’ll be here?”

“Just great,” Remy replied. “Why don’t we just meet him elsewhere?” He sneezed again, muttered, “Christ.”

“Bless you,” Warren said again.

Remy sniffled and stood up. “I’ll be right back,” he said and went towards the restroom. No one was there, thankfully, so he allowed himself to sneeze a bit less reservedly, before blowing his nose.

When he returned, Warren said, “I told Alex we’d be shopping and to call us when he’s done.”

Remy sneezed once more as he bent down to pick up his bags and swore again as the relief he had found when he had blown his nose was already diminished. They walked towards another store that sold primarily watches, belts and purses. Remy sneezed again as they entered the store.

“Bless you. Are you okay?” Warren asked him. “You’ve been sneezing quite a bit.”

“I will be in a minute,” Remy replied, his voice more hoarse than before. “That guy sitting next to us on the bench had a bag full of candles.”

“Oh, I see. I might have an allergy pill in the car.” Warren didn’t have any allergies but for some reason he kept allergy pills on hand. Weirdo.

Remy said, “I don’t need it.” He sneezed and added, “Besides, I don’t think it will react very well with the cold medicine I took this morning.”

“Oh true,” Warren said. “Although you may be due for another one soon.”

By the time Remy returned home from shopping, it was nearly eight o’clock, and Ororo still wasn’t home, meaning it was the perfect time to wrap everything and put it away. He had finished his shopping for his family members back home, where he and Ororo would spend Christmas this year, and so it seemed a good idea to get those ready for mailing, too. The cold medicine he had taken earlier was long gone, and the residual effects from the candle episode were still making his nose feel extra stuffy, but he figured it was wrap now or never. Something told him, he’d be glad later he didn’t procrastinate.

Monday contrasted sharply with the peacefulness of the day before, and both he and Ororo had long days. She spent it in meetings and he in the cold, damp and smelly sewers. And so, when they came home, both with headaches for different reasons, neither one reacted well to the other.

Normally, when the two of them argued, or at least did not want to be in each other’s company, Remy was the quick tempered and hot headed one of the two, and Ororo was frosty cool. She used every trick in the book to get a response from him, and then acted miffed when it worked. And Remy, though he never yelled, eventually sparked with something heated and sarcastic. However, he usually fizzled out quicker, and apologized or compromised first. It was the little brother in him. The only child in her, since she was raised by her much older sister since she was eleven, held onto her stubbornness a lot longer. But, tonight, he didn’t want to give in. And he met Ororo’s compromise with disdain, which pissed her off. Finally, she stalked off, letting him wallow in his own self-pity, slamming the door to her art studio.

But, just over an hour later, she crept back down and brought him a cup of tea after she was tired of listening to him cough and she also put the heavier blanket on their bed. They usually slept together, even when mad, though perhaps not as amicably as they might have if they were not.

The next morning, Ororo woke to find Remy gone, as usual, but he had left her a note, written in his small near perfect cursive. Catholic school made for good penmanship. It said simply: Thanks for taking care of me last night. Sorry I was a jerk. Love you. Remy.

Their make-up came just in time as Ororo was summoned away on a stakeout. Remy received her text message while he was in a meeting, but since he was only sitting there, basically holding his breath so he didn’t cough or sneeze, he figured he’d answer it.

The end couldn’t have come soon enough, and he tried to filter out of the room, but was stopped by his next door neighbor, Scott Summers, Jean’s boyfriend, of course. “You didn’t say much,” he stated the obvious. “Do you think that the conclusions we’ve come to are appropriate for you?”

Because, recently, he had been collaborating with Emma Frost, his opinions were covered by her, since she was almost never silent at any meeting. He nodded and said, “Yeah, I think everything was covered.”

Scott raised a brow, and said, “I thought you were getting over your cold.”

Remy shrugged. “Apparently not.” Then, admitting the truth, he said, “I feel like shit.” Perhaps to prove his point, he coughed.

“You have a lot of sick days saved up,” Scott said. “Why don’t you use them?”

“Because I’ll be leaving in a couple of weeks to head home for Christmas. And I have too much work to get done before then.” He responded in a manner indicative of his martyr stage.

“I can shift your workload around a bit,” Scott suggested. “I kind of happen to be the boss around here.”

“No kiddin’,” Remy responded, jokingly. “Always thought the boss man would be a bit taller.”

“I’m serious, Remy,” Scott continued. “Consider taking a couple of days off. Go see Jean. Have her fix you up.”

“I’ll think about it,” Remy said, though Scott was bright enough to know Remy wasn’t going to.

He shut the door to his office completely, to avoid any further remarks or concerns regarding his health, or lack thereof and tried to catch up on the huge stack of files he had to read. If someone had told him six years ago that being the head of the MCRT meant he’d be reading a lot of bullshit reports on assimilation and writing some of his own, he would have turned it down. But, now, guilt and his own need to finish what he started made him keep on keepin’ on.

He expected Emma to bounce in and out of his office or call him into her own as the day went on because of their involvement. But as time passed, phone silent, he figured she was caught up in something. And without really planning to, he got a bit more comfortable than he should have and drifted off.

The knock to his door startled him out of what could have been close to sleeping – or maybe it was actually sleeping. “It’s open,” he said and then coughed.

Emma Frost looked at him and sighed as she sat in the chair across from his desk. He had his elbow resting on his desk, and his head resting on a hand that was lazily massaging his sinuses. His dark brown eyes were closed, his mouth slightly open. If he hadn’t just spoken to her, she might think he was asleep. “Remy,” she said, and his eyes fluttered open. “You look like shit. Just go home.”

He managed an ‘mm hmm’ and cleared his throat. “What time is it?” he asked. As far as he knew for an eternity he had been reading this stupid article on European mutant rights’ activists and those who were against it. It was written in Spanish, but he was fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian so that wasn’t the problem. His sinus headache was.

“A little after six,” Emma replied.

“Oh, okay. Maybe I will go home, then.” He put a few things he had out away; he was surprisingly fairly organized. Or at least tidy, Emma couldn’t say for sure if his stuff was organized. “Are you goin’ home?” he asked.

“I have a few more things to do still,” she replied.

Remy already had his winter jacket on, he’d put it on a few hours again, when he couldn’t get warm, so he just added his scarf and gloves and picked up a folder with things to take home, sliding the Spanish article in as well. He sniffled hard to avoid sneezing – for now – and said, “I’ll see you in the mornin’, Em.”

“Good night. Feel better.”

By the time he arrived home, Ororo had already left. He figured he wouldn’t see her until tomorrow night. He wasn’t in the mood for food so he took the articles he still had to read into the bedroom where he got changed and slid underneath the covers. The last time he glanced at the clock it read 9:02. He probably fell asleep soon after.

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And here is the third...much shorter, sorry.

The next morning, on Wednesday, Remy seriously considered heeding Scott’s advice. He woke with the worst sinus headache he’d ever had, or at least it felt that way, and a raging sore throat. Grumbling inaudibly, he exited the warmth of the blankets and dressed for his morning run. Outside, the wind seemed fierce; the tiny crystal snowflakes battered his skin like needles. He was sucking air harshly at the three mile mark, and he usually ran five with no problem. By the time he reached the front porch he was winded and lightheaded, and yet, each painful breath was nothing compared to the pain he felt when a cough seized him.

He shivered his way through a hot shower and dressed with extra layers, starting with an Under Armour shirt, adding the matching leggings, dress shirt, slacks, tie, etc. and finishing with a high collared pullover fleece sweater. Then forgoing breakfast, he drove to work.

By two that afternoon, he had managed almost nothing except going through half a box of tissues and several cough drops. He had several reports he should be reading, including the ones he didn’t finish last night, but the print was making his headache worse and so he was getting very little of it read.

He coughed into the collar of the sweater; it was starting to become that ugly bronchitis sound, and then he sneezed too, for good measure. He swallowed painfully and cursed. In some ways he was lucky that he was doing a lot of desk work these days, because otherwise he’d be traveling and outside in the elements, which he did not want. On the other hand, since all he had to do was sit at a desk and read, type and talk on the phone, it made it hard for him to call off of work and do the sensible thing and take care of himself.

He started coughing again and wondered why exactly the cold medicine he took wasn’t doing a damn thing to make him feel better. His throat still hurt, he was obviously still coughing and sneezing and his sinuses were killing him.

He decided to call it a day. Everything he had to do today he could do at home. Not that he actually thought it’d get done. He put his coat on, added his scarf and took the box of file folders and the two flash drives he used and left his office. He was making his way towards the door and was stopped by Kurt Wagner; one of the rookies that were currently being mentored by whatever experienced X-Man had time.

Wagner, an intellect who took himself way too seriously, had a case file in hand that Remy just knew was one of his. “Do you have a couple of minutes?” he asked. “I was reading through this case of yours and I had a few questions about how you came to such conclusions.”

A couple of minutes? Such conclusions? Remy wasn’t a huge fan of Kurt and he knew the younger teleporter wasn’t a fan of his, either. But, Elizabeth and Emma, the two who put the most time into the recruitment process, made sure that the experienced X-Men knew that it was important to help the inexperienced understand Xavier’s dream. That meant taking time out of your life to answer their most philosophical, and annoying questions – at least in Wagner’s case.

“Yeah, sure,” Remy replied. “I was just gonna run this stuff to my car. But, it’s not a big deal.” As if Kurt actually cared.

“If you’re sure,” Kurt replied.

Remy put his free hand in the air as if to surrender himself to Kurt and said, “Let’s go to my office.” He retraced his steps and unlocked the door. Kurt didn’t ask if he always locked his office for trips to his car, but Remy figured he thought about it. After all, technically between two and three o’clock, Remy had office hours that were specifically for the Academy member’s benefit. Unless, of course, he was on a mission.

Remy motioned towards the empty chair across from his desk and then pulled his chair from behind his desk and pulled it around, sitting himself closer to Kurt and the case he was reading. “What’re you looking at?” he asked.

Kurt began by giving a summary of the case file, as if it weren’t Remy who had written it. Remy zoned out mid way through and coughed into the high collar of his pullover. His sinuses pounded in protest.

Kurt’s obnoxious ‘I’m smarter than you are’ voice didn’t help, and Remy forced himself to focus on the end of his spiel. “So,” Kurt said, in conclusion, Remy hoped, “I was wondering why you essentially left these mutants to their own devices, so to speak. I mean, did you spend all that time gaining their trust and then decided not to help them? Or were you ever going to help them?”

Remy cleared his throat, and said, “Well, to begin with, you missed the point of the case. This particular group of mutants does not want to coexist. The purpose of the case was to find out their reasoning, not to try to persuade them to join a community they oppose.” He paused to cough, then said, “Excuse me. Secondly, this file is only the first part of an ongoing investigation. What’s the number on that?”

Kurt looked at the top margin. “Uh, MC79.12.”

Remy didn’t know off the top of his head where the other files relating to that particular group would be located and so he grudgingly rebooted his computer. “Hold on a sec,” he said, as the computer loaded. He slid his chair back over to face the computer and rapidly typed in his password. He got on the database that stored all the files, the database that was off limits to Kurt and he said, “Read that one more time. MC7 – what?”

“MC79.12,” Kurt replied matter-of-factly.

Remy typed that in and coughed again while it loaded. “Alright, here it is. Come here. You can pull the chair around.”

Kurt did as told and looked at the listings in what was apparently the MC section and looked at several file numbers. Remy highlighted three with the mouse and said, “Everything you see with a 79 out front will be related to this mutant community, which as you read, is located only in Chicago.”

Kurt saw a lot more than the three highlighted ones with a 79 out front. “All of those?” he asked, in disbelief.

Remy turned towards the wall and sneezed against his forearm. Sniffling, he said, “Excuse me.” He was certain he wasn’t finished, but whatever remained was currently stuck.

“God bless you,” Kurt said. Kurt was Catholic as was Remy, but Kurt took the words he heard weekly by heart. Remy hadn’t been to church since the last time he went home to visit his family.

“Thank you,” Remy replied. Kurt could feel as pious as he wanted to regarding his more faithful ways, but no one would accuse Remy of not having manners. “Uh, everything with the 79 will relate. I think you should be able to check most of them out in the briefings library. But, if not, let me know and I’ll get the rest of them for you. If you’re interested in reading them.”

Perhaps put in his place, considering the question he asked was accusatory, and he was now aware that he had lacked most of the evidence, he said, “I am interested. I would very much like to read all of them.”

“Any particular reason why these mutants interest you?” Remy asked, mainly to be polite. He hoped Kurt wouldn’t take all day explaining his interest.

“Well,” Kurt said, “A couple of reasons, actually. For one thing, I’ve always considered Chicago, and most cities to be more progressive than say, a small town, or a suburb, but these mutants seem old fashioned in their belief system.”

“One of the files discusses their belief system. I can’t remember which one,” Remy replied without being that helpful.

Kurt gave that a nod and continued, “Secondly, I guess I am really just interested in mutant communities. And I hear it’s something you have written a lot about.”

“I suppose I have,” Remy said. “Like I said, anything you want let me know. I’ll see what I can do.” As a way to signal he was finished with the conversation, he logged off the network.

Kurt stood up and put the chair back where he got it. “Do you know, offhand, if there any mutant communities overseas? And where I could find those files.”

Sure, ask me after I log off, Remy thought. “Yes, there are plenty of mutant communities overseas. As to where you can find them –” he stopped talking abruptly and turned away from Kurt to sneeze again. “Excuse me. Sorry. I’m not sure where you can find them right at this moment. Why don’t I email you later with that information?”

“That’d be great, thanks,” Kurt replied.

“Great,” Remy agreed, with a smile. “Well, anything else I can do?” He made his way towards the door and held it open for Kurt to pass through.

“Not that I can think of. I should give you my email address though.”

“I can just look you up,” Remy replied, easily. He picked up the box he’d had before, and stepped out of his office, shutting and locking his door once more.

“Thanks for your help, Remy,” Kurt said.

“Oh, not a problem,” Remy replied.

“When can I expect a reply?” Kurt asked. “I was thinking about writing about this topic for a research paper. And I’d like to look at different types to see if I can make it work.”

Remy sneezed again. “Jesus, excuse me,” he said, in an irritated tone.

“God bless you,” Kurt replied, making his own irritation apparent. He hated it when people used ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ inappropriately. Especially someone who should know better; someone who wore the cross necklace he received for his Confirmation.

“Thanks. Uh, I’ll get back to you probably later today. At the latest tomorrow. Is that alright?”

“Yeah, sure,” Kurt said.

“Good. I’ll see you later, Kurt.” They arrived at the front door, and considering the briefings library was here in the main building, Remy supposed Kurt was staying. He then ducked into the windy afternoon, and made his way to his car.

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