Disclaimer: The X-men and their world belong to Marvel. No profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.


Chapter 1

Jiggling nervously, Paul slumped on the bus bench and stared at the deserted street. There was no one out this late but he lingered, despite the rain, hoping for just one more trick. He needed the money and he needed it now. He was hurting for a hit and his stash was long gone. One trick - even a cheap one - and he'd have just enough to get him through the week.

There was someone across the street, leaning on a streetlamp and watching him. Paul squinted, struggling to see past the flecks and glittering streaks that wiggled across his vision most of the time. His eyes were bad tonight, even with his sunglasses on, the dim illumination of the streelamp was broken up into a confusion of rainbow streaks and jumping specks. One of the reasons he wanted his dope, it helped for a few days. But yeah, the tall guy in the coat was watching him, smoking. Paul leaned against the bench and let his legs sag open. Stared at the guy.

The man swaggerd across the street, graceful as an alley cat. Close enough now that Paul could see that the long duster was real leather, the man was young, thin as a rail with long brown hair, a long pointy nose and - more importantly - he was wearing nice clothes. He had money and Paul smiled at him, mentally doubling his prices. Why the hell someone with looks like that was picking up a street whore - then Paul met the man's eyes and flinched, jumping to his feet. The red and black eyes shown like a cat's in the dark. Staring, shocked, at the man's eyes, Paul didn’t notice the bitter twist to his smile. The tall stranger was a mutant. No wonder he had to pay to get laid.

Paul pushed his shades up on his nose then glanced nervously up and down the street. Nobody around except for some gorilla in a ratty biker jacket heading towards the bus stop.

"Eh, cher - getting pretty wet out here Non?"

"Uh - guess so." Paul muttered. "Look - uh - sorry but I don't do mutants. You never know what you're gonna get, you know?"

"Ahh. Of course. But it's just de eyes, cher. Just de eyes." The man flicked his cigarette butt into the gutter. "And I'm lonely tonight. You must be lonely - or something - to be out so late, when everyone is safe in der beds."

Paul's stomach cramped, reminding him why he was out here and he managed another weak smile, trying to avoid looking at the man's strange - and terrifyingly familiar eyes. "Okay, yeah. I can be lonely too. But it's gonna cost extra."

The man nodded, mouth quirking. Then he snapped his fingers and a hundred dollar bill appeared. Paul snorted at the cheap trick and reached for the money, trying not to snatch at it. A hundred dollars.

As he folded the bill into his pocket, Paul eyed the man, trying to guess what he wanted. Chewed on his lip uneasily when he realized he didn't feel the usual wash of lust from him. He always knew when someone wanted to fuck him and what this man wanted was more - complicated - than that. On the other hand, he didn't seem to want to hurt him either. Or save his soul. Didn't have the feel or look of a god nut. He felt sad though nothing showed on his sharp face. Paul shrugged. Whatever. "Okay. What do you want to do? And you gotta wear a rubber if you wanna fuck me. I got some."

The tall man sighed, sadness rising, making Paul wrinkle his nose and glance away. "Not to scare you, cher but dat man looming back der is m'friend. He come to, oui?"

"Crap." Paul muttered. The gorilla. That's why the big bill, they wanted a threesome. He looked the man up and down quickly. Short, built like boxer, black hair every which way and glaring at his 'friend' a reeking cigar clamped between his teeth. Dangerous, with those heavy fists, but even with all that leather and sullen glares, he didn't strike Paul as the kind of guy who beat up whores for fun. He was angry, but not at Paul. He licked his lips and considered bolting. Whatever was going down between these two, he didn't want to be involved. He just wanted the money.

"This wasn't what we talked about, gumbo." The man growled. The tall man shrugged.

"Seems a good t'ing now, cher. De boy is - easy on de eyes."

He was lying, even as he very obviously looked Paul up and down. There was no heat in him, not really. He was faking. And who the hell was he trying to lie to?

The tall man reached out and brushed his fingers across Paul's cheek, just below the sunglasses. Everything changed. Paul's vision went out in a rush of white static and he was suddenly, painfully exited. Blinking frantically, he pulled back, his vision cleared but the heat remained. His cock surged in is pants, swelling painfully. The man was staring at him, hand frozen in mid-air, blinking and rubbing his eyes. Hungry and startled, still sad, and Paul could feel it all. Feel the way the man was desperately interested in Paul, not for sex. Or that's the way it had been. The man was as unexpectedly aroused as Paul was. And Paul could feel it, feel it like it was his own excitement, his own growing unease. He could feel it like he'd never felt anything before.

"Rem - Remy!" The big man shook his friend roughly, then glared at Paul. "What the hell did ya do to him kid?"

"Nothing!" Paul backed up and sat abruptly on the bus bench, shivering. "I didn't do nothing. He's the fucking mutant!"

"You watch your mouth!" The biker snapped. Too dizzy to stand, Paul stared up at him, frightened as the guy loomed over him, teeth shining white in the night.

"Non - non, homme. S'v plait." The skinny guy murmured, resting a bony hand on his friend's big shoulder. "It's alright. De boy did - nothing. It's Remy causing de problems, as usual, Logan."

Then it was like someone was sitting on Paul's head and only years of hiding his reactions - especially when something hurt - kept him from crying out. He blinked back tears, vision blurring then - the specks and flickers of light that had tormented him all his life dimmed. The skinny guy was doing something. Something to stop all the weird feelings and the painful throb of his cock. Paul shook his head, it was like someone had stuffed cotton in his ears. He couldn't hear.

Except it wasn't his ears that were muffled. It was the thing that told him when people around him were angry, or happy, or wanted to fuck him. It was the thing that sometimes kept him alive and other times made his life miserable. And it was the first time Paul had been without it.

"What -," Shivering, Paul lowered his head. He couldn't let on that he felt anything, that he knew anything was going on. He started again. "What's the matter with you? Sick?"

Remy - if that was his name - shrugged slightly, still looking a little blank. "Non, homme. Just a screwed up mu'tant."

He took a seat on the bench and with his big friend on the other side, Paul felt trapped. He stared at his ratty sneakers, wondering if he had the energy to run. He felt out of balance, already missing that extra sense of his, suddenly cut off from what people around him were feeling. What if it never came back? When he'd still believed in god, he'd prayed for that.

"What do you want already?"

"We just want to talk kid." The big guy leaned forward earnestly. "Kid, look - it doesn't have t'be like this - "

"Oh, shit!" Paul surged off the bench, disgusted. "No - I haven't been saved and I don't want to be, thank you very much! If Jesus wants me, he can come by and pay like everyone else! Okay? Now piss off."

The skinny guy was laughing silently, laughing so hard tears were squeezing out of his weird eyes. "Dieu, no one ever tol' Remy he'd be saving souls!"

The other guy slumped back on the bench, tapping a booted foot in a puddle and chuckling softly. "We ain't evangelists, kid."

"Not social workers?" Paul asked suspiciously. "Vice? Nope, can't be - not handing out the green first. Or, at least, you can't arrest me. What the hell do you want then?"

"Look we just want to talk a little."

Paul crossed his arms over his chest, clenching his hands to hide his shaking. Man, all he wanted was to get high and go home and sleep. He didn't need this. "We'll, I'm not a fucking talk show host. You wanna fuck, fine. I give great blow jobs too. Whatever, but I ain't no friend of yours. I'm just a cheap whore."

The tall man sobered abruptly. "Turning tricks b'cause you're hungry don make you a whore."

Paul snorted. "Look, I'll have sex with you - both of you - but I don't need any lectures. I don't need anyone promising to take me away from all this."

The cigar smoking ape sighed. "Y'know, kid there are still some people in t'world that just wanna help. Christ - okay - it's a lame line, but it's true this time, kid."

"Uh-hu." Paul took a step back. He had the money. He didn't have to put up with these two. He could just run like hell.

The skinny guy stood abruptly and stepped closer. "Alright den, maybe we go see about t'ings, oui?"

"Gumbo?" The dark man glanced at his friend curiously. The thin man jerked his head, walking down the street.

"Know a place, homme, where we can all get more comfort'ble?"

Sighing, Paul trailed after. He couldn't outrun the tall man with him already on his feet. "Sure. Just up sixty-ninth there. Hey, if you're both gonna do me, I want you to rent the room for the whole night."

The biker guy winced.

The French guy rented the room for the night, like Paul asked. The desk jockey didn't even look up from her computer as she took the money and gave them a cheap cardboard keycard. Paul always went here when he had a john that wanted a room so the dirty gray and blue decor, the sagging queen sized bed and the blessedly dim lights were familiar. The other two glanced around, then the thin guy stretched out on the bed while his friend dropped into the only chair in the room.

"Gotta piss, be right back." Paul said, retreating to the bathroom that was shared between the two hotel rooms. The opposite door was locked and there were no noises from the neighboring room.

He pulled off his soaked jean jacket and squeezed it out as much as he could, then shoved it under the sink. Squinting he pulled off his shades and stared at himself. The flickering at the edges of his vision thickened, a multi-colored halo around the dull bulb screwed into the fixture, less intrusive in the shadows. He saw best in the dark. Black hair, brown eyes. Paul smiled. Plain brown eyes, nothing unusual about them. And dammed expensive - the contacts had cost more than a month of blow-jobs and butt fucks. But they hid everything, pupil, iris - even the whites of his eyes. Whites that weren't white, pupils that weren't brown. Eyes that he'd never seen on anyone else - not until tonight and some skinny mutant came up and gave him a hundred dollars. His smile faded and he tilted his head trying to overhear the soft conversation outside. His eyes might suck but his ears were good.

"- don know w'at happened, Logan." The thin guy was saying quietly. "De charm just - go off like crazy. Somet'n about that kid. Wonder w'ats -"

"Shit, Gumbo, that just a kid in there!" The big man's deep voice rose angrily, then dropped off again. " - why the hell are we up here? We can't -"

"De boy, he's skittish as hell -"

"- ain't goin' t'do nothing with some kid. We're here to help him -"

"Was gon' run on us."

Paul narrowed his eyes at his reflection. They were here to try to save him, the sons of bitches. Thinking he was some kid that couldn't take care of himself. He'd been on the streets for years. He didn't need saving. He pulled off his shoes and pants, then unbuttoned his shirt and let it hang open. He knew had a nice body - people were sure willing to pay for it - and he remembered how hot the French guy had been before. They thought they were going to save him. Paul's mouth twisted. Let them try.

He pushed the door open and leaned against the frame, smiling triumphantly as two sets of eyes tracked down his body then snapped away. But then the thin guy looked back, strange eyes sliding over him even as the man's mouth twisted with guilt. Yeah, he had him. That's the way it usually was with all those good Samaritans. All they really wanted was to fuck you over - or just fuck you.

"Mind if I smoke, homme?" The thin guy said, immediately pulling a cigarette out and concentrating on lighting up.

"Na. So long as I can." Paul snapped his fingers and a joint appeared his hand. The French stranger choked on a laugh. Paul lit up and went to slouch on the bed next to the skinny guy who'd shed his long coat and boots. Didn't even have holes in his socks. The three of them sat in silence for a while three different kinds of smoke - sweet, herb and bitter - floated up to roll and drift near the ceiling.

"W'ats your name, homme?" The thin guy asked. "Me, Remy. Him - dats Logan."

"Paul." He said.

"'Paul, d'accord."

"You French?"

Logan, who was watching them both sullenly, snorted.

"Non - Cajun. American, eh. N'Owleans."

"'Kay." Paul murmured lazily and ran a hand down his chest, slowly pushing his shirt open. "Whatever."

"An where you from?" Remy's eyes followed Paul's hand as he rolled a nipple in his fingers, then jerked away.

Paul rolled his head on the headboard and sighed. "Utah. Not a great place for - faggots."

"Family kick you out den?"

"Sure." Paul muttered. "Don't they do that to everyone?"

He took a deep drag, pulling marijuana smoke deep, and slid up to press his lips to Remy's. He gave him a shotgun kiss and the Cajun reflexively inhaled the smoke. Paul pulled back a little, still leaning on the man's tense body, and smiled. Smoke drifted from both their mouths, mixing together.

"What's a matter, Remy. You afraid I'm gonna break?"

Skin to skin, Paul felt that cottony, smothering feeling drift away like the smoke from the man's cigarette. Underneath that was - heat. The skinny bastared was burning up for him. This, Paul knew how to handle. He brushed a thumb along the man's jawline, feeling stubble and a speeding pulse. Those red and black eyes dilated suddenly and Paul felt the surging ache of Remy's cock like it was his own. It was his own. This close, Paul felt everything Remy did. Suddenly, he wanted the tall stranger so bad it was like dying.

"God -!" He moaned and kissed him.

He swept his tongue past prostesing lips. Tasted even white teeth and groaned at the sudden hard sucking on his tongue as Remy gave in and kissed him back. A long hand cupped the back of Paul's neck, dragging him closer and the mouth on his opened demandingly. Whimpering at his almost painfully stiff cock, Paul pulled at Remy's shirt. It was silk and pretty but now all it was a barrier to what he wanted so much.

Some strange connection had opened between the two of them and if Paul hadn't been so desperately turned on, he would have been scared. A too small voice in the back of his head was telling him he should leave - now. Before it was too late. Before something bad happened. But he was forgetting all that he'd learned on the streets, all the things that had kept him alive. Because Remy's hand had slid down his back to cup his ass. Paul's hips jerked and he bit Remy's lips as that long fingered hand stroked him, one finger probing gently.

"Jesus - Remy - ! What the hell -" Logan's rough voice didn't even penetrate. When he reached angrily to pull Paul away, the connection between the two on the bed jumped to Logan as well. The big man groaned suddenly, jerking away then coming back, uncontrollably drawn. It was so much better with three.

Paul felt the bed dip and scrambled up, Remy caught him in his arms. Logan grabbed for him too and there was this scary moment when Logan and Remy glared at each other, Paul between them like a prize bone two dogs were fighting over. Paul slithered around, sitting between Remy's spread legs, feeling the hot mouth sucking on the back of his neck as he reached up and pulled Logan's head down. Remy's hand snaked between Paul's legs and he wailed into Logan's mouth as his cock was touched. He nearly came right then.

Logan's teeth were sharp and the man bit him. Paul flinched, Logan groaned. Remy kissed Paul's neck and murmured soothingly.

"He's a little rough, cher. But he don want to hurt you."

"B-bleeding." Paul muttered dazedly. But he really didn't care - especially when he felt how hot it made the big man kneeling in front of him. He lifted his head, catching Logan's mouth again. Let him suck on his cut lip. Kissed him, feeling - fangs - in that greedy mouth. Christ, they were both freaks.

Paul pulled back, panting, the last of his warning bells going off. He could get really hurt here. These men, he knew, were dangerous.

He met Logan's dark eyes. There wasn't anything mean there. Just hunger and uncertainty and more than a little confusion. Well, he was feeling pretty confused himself, right now. Remy's fingers found his nipples and Paul cried out, arching up and staring pleadingly at the other man. Logan licked his bloody lips and shrugged off his leather coat.

"God, I - dunno - this ain't right." Logan muttered, shaking his head as if that would help him think. "Y'just a kid. Just a kid."

All Paul wanted was to be touched. Touched more. Touched everywhere. "P-please, god. I'm almost seventeen. Almost legal, I swear. Please. Need it so much. I'm gonna die. Please -"

Remy, his cock pressing against Paul's back through his pants, was convinced but Logan wasn't. Not entirely. Paul couldn't stand it. He could feel how much Logan wanted to touch him but he - wasn't. Paul reached out and cupped his hand over Logan's crotch, squeezing just a little roughly.

"Ah, shit!" Logan cried out, low in his throat and surged forward. He kissed Paul hard, hands pulling on his bare thighs. There was a fierce pulsing against Paul's fingers, pulse that throbbed through is own body, it felt so good and behind him, Remy moaned. Shit, the guy had gone off in his jeans.

Logan was crushing him, his hand pulling on his cock, tangling in Remy's fingers. Paul gasped for air, pressed tight between the two men as the big man's mouth nipped along his throat and down his shoulder. Remy shifted behind him, nuzzling Logan's thick, black hair. The other man lifted his head from Paul's skin and the two strangers stared at each other, eyes wide.

"L-logan?" Remy breathed.

The man growled. Remy leaned forward, long reddish hair sliding across Paul's shoulder and kissed his friend gently. The kiss deepened and Paul moaned.

He could feel it like they were both kissing him. Wet and hot and new - they'd never kissed before. Never touched before. Never - Paul pushed frantically at Logan's shirt and dragged open his belt. He didn't care what they'd never done before. He knew what he wanted.

There were hands on him, sliding up his naked thighs. He couldn't tell if it was Logan or Remy and it didn't' matter. They all felt it. They all wanted it. Naked. Hot. Hard. Remy was wiggling behind Paul, sliding partway out of his pants even as Logan dragged Paul farther down on the bed so he could stretch him out and mouth his way down Paul's pale skin.

Then, Remy's thighs were on either side of Paul's head and he was tugging his cock free of his pants. Paul licked his lips, blood humming with hunger. Logan growled and bit a nipple. Paul gasped and tangled his fingers in the coarse dark hair.

Remy's cock was - everything he'd ever wanted. Long and sleek, the tip wet. Paul watched a fresh drop form at the slit then curled a hand around Remy's hip and pulled him down. Opened his mouth. That incredible cock slid into him. Shuddering, Paul closed his eyes, tongue circling the head. Tasted so good. There was another generous dribble of pre-cum across his tongue as Remy made a choked sound and dragged Logan's head off Paul's chest to kiss him again.

Logan was between Paul's spread legs while Remy knelt at his head. The two men were kissing across his body. The supple Cajun flexed his hips, pushing into Paul's mouth with careful thrusts. Vaguely aware that Remy was afraid he'd choke, Paul wrapped his arms around the narrow hips and pulled, relaxing as the cock surged into his throat. He knew how to suck cock, for god's sake.

Remy yelled and collapsed down Paul's body. Suddenly, stunningly aware of how close the skinny man's mouth was to his cock, Paul made muffled begging noises from between his legs. He drew his knees up and - god - Remy sucked his cock into his mouth. At the hot licking tongue, Paul wailed again. Remy's balls smacked lightly across his nose as the other man thrust. Then - he was being sucked too. Same rhythm, same deep, hungry heat. He thrust up, Remy thrust down. Again. Again.

Paul couldn't tell where the Cajun began and he left off. It was like he'd lost his skin but it wasn't confusing, it seemed very clear. Sensations sliding across his body, a silk shirt, the rough weave of the cheap cover against his back, Loan's hands running up his thigh and the big man bending down, breath hot on Paul's balls. The glorious, glorious stroke of Remy's cock in his mouth. The wonder of Remy's mouth, open and skilled and teasing him closer and closer to the edge. It was more than just the physical touch. Paul was feeling - sharing - Remy's dismay, pure joy and self- disgust and the needy edge. The man ached to be touched. Ached like Paul ached. Right now, it was the same ache.

Logan was afraid, angry and exited; the feelings were driving the man into a vicious, frightening, bundle of instincts. He was so hard it hurt, watching Paul and Remy move together, hearing the double sounds of sucking. Smelling salt and musk. Paul shifted, pulling his knees up further while Remy's long hair tickled his thighs. Afraid to offer himself to that growing madness, more afraid not to.

Remy's mouth on his cock never stopped, he just shifted to give his big friend room. Logan was dipping down and then there was wet heat on Paul's balls as the big man licked him. Sucked him, pulling hard on his testicles. Paul writhed, teeth scraping lightly along Remy's shaft. The man cried out, throbbing in Paul's mouth. Sucked on him harder. Logan was - Logan was - no one had ever -. Paul wailed, jerking under them, pulsing into Remy's hungry mouth as Logan's tongue thrust into his hole, fucking him like that. Wet velvety pressure that didn't stop as Remy swallowed his cum, stiffened and shot into Paul's throat with a muffled cry.

Logan pulled at him, pushed at him, growling as he licked Paul's hole. Making him wet and teasing him open with single minded insistence. Paul choked weakly around Remy's softening cock, clawing at the man's back until he rolled off and Paul could breathe again. Even as Remy gave him room, Logan pushed his knees up, looming over him.

Paul stared up into the dazed face above him. The dark eyes were glazed, sweat beaded his forehead. The man was panting raggedly and shaking. He wasn't sure Logan even knew what he was doing. Paul tried to relax. The familiar touch as the big man positioned himself and the immediate, dull, sliding ache. Another thrust, driving deeper and Paul cried out, clutching the sheets, arching up. Welcoming the burn, the stretch and the sensation of being filled to bursting, opened, taken. Fucked. He was such a whore.

Logan froze, breath hitching on a whine, aware of Paul's pain and not sure what to do.

"Oh, god!" Paul cried, clawing at the powerful arms clamped on his shins. "Don't stop - god, don't stop!"

Something of his desperation reached the other man and with a snarl, Logan slammed into him. Paul shrieked. Merciless hard thrusts, Logan grunting, leaning over him, forcing Paul's knees to his chest. Paul's head was resting on Remy's trembling thigh, he couldn't think. He could only ride the rhythm. Ride Logan's pleasure, know how good it felt, the tight clamp of his ass around Logan's heavy cock. His own pleasure too - he could see it reflected in the red and black eyes staring at them - they were all drowning in it. It was making him hard again, the stimulation painfully good.

Paul was rocking unconsciously up, meeting Logan's thrusts, hairy balls slapping his ass. With a raw howl, Logan's rhythm staggered and he slammed deep, froze and came. Paul whimpered, Remy echoing him as the both felt what Logan felt. Something so good about that.

The big man sank down, touching Paul's face gently, still lost in a place where he only felt. Couldn't think. Paul kissed him, licked the man's soft mouth. Stubble rasped against his chin. He reached down to touch himself. He was hard again. Needing more. He shifted closer to Logan, rubbing against him. Warm hands held him as Logan nuzzled Paul's hair, breathing hard.

Remy was curling against his back and long fingers slid into his stretched ass. Brushed his spot, making him whine and push back. "Cher? Okay?"

"Ohhh - god, yes." Paul moaned, fingernails scraping down Logan's back. The man shuddered. "Yes. Fuck me."

The Cajun rolled Paul over, against Logan and moved to press against Paul's sweating back. Whimpering, Paul let his head drop against the biker's powerful shoulder, spread his legs wide and felt the long, careful slide of Remy's cock into his wet, relaxed hole.

Hooking a knee over Logan's hips, Paul humped against the man's thigh in time to Remy's slow, almost lazy thrusts. It wasn't long before he more.

"Easy der, cher." Light kisses fluttered along the back of his neck and Remy's cock moved in tormenting, shallow thrusts. "Let Remy make you feel good."

"Need it. Need it." Paul panted, arching back, hips churning as he struggled for more sensation. "Damn son-of-a-bitch. Fuck me!"

Logan growled a half-coherent curse and pushed his hands between their bodies, grabbing Paul's cock. "Don't tease him, dammit Remy!"

Then Logan was jacking him hard and Remy was fucking him hard and Paul was coming - coming hard. He shrieked then sank his teeth into Logan's neck. The big man grunted and gave his cock a final wonderful, terrible squeeze. Remy sagged against his back, breath hot on Paul's neck. The two men kissed each other lazily over Paul's shoulder. He felt the friendship between them, the trust, with a wistful envy.

Paul shut his eyes and pretended that the warmth, the gentleness and the arms curled protectively around him were for real. That it meant something. That these two really gave a shit. Remy's head bowed against his shoulder. Paul felt tears against his neck as the man cried.

All that grief and guilt spreading between them like the earlier lust. Paul lifted his head to stare at Logan's expressionless face. His face might be blankly hostile but Paul could feel the misery in him, the man didn't want to be here. Neither of them did. Paul pushed his way to the edge of the bed and hugged himself. He dug his toes in Logan's discarded pants. Of course they didn't want to be here - no one really wanted a whore - but Paul didn't have to have his face rubbed in it.

No longer touching, the feelings weren't so bad. More like what he was used to, except for the thread of desire still lingering. He never felt that way for his tricks, god he was sinking low. Paul rested his head in his hands.

"Eh, Paul - "

"What?" Paul snapped.

Remy pulled himself upright. Logan rolled himself abruptly off the bed and grabbed his pants, not looking at either of them.

"Dat not - dat not w'at we come here for, Remy swear. We - w'ant to talk to you. About - about not havin' to hide anymore. About not living like dis no more. We know a place -"

Paul knew he was telling the truth but he let is face twist in disbelief. "Sure. You just pick up whores to - talk."

"Stop callin' y'self a whore, kid!" Logan snapped, zipping up.

Paul dropped his eyes to where Logan's hands were buckling his belt, then lifted them to his face. Didn't have to say a word. The man rubbed his hands over his face, hard. "Goddamit - oh, kid it wasn't supposed to go like this."

"Gotta piss." Paul muttered, heading to the bathroom, jeans in his hands. He shut the door and locked it. Turned on the water and grabbed a towel to wash up. He wasn't bleeding, not even after being fucked twice in a row. Neither of them had used condoms, Paul shrugged. Wouldn't be the first time and he was more worried about starving than dying of AIDS anyway. And more worried about getting his next hit than eating. That put safe sex third down, at least.

He let the water run as he quickly pulled on his pants. He pulled his wet jacket out from under the sink and shrugged it on. He opened the wallet he'd stolen from Logan's pants, bit his lip. Two hundred dollars. Shit. These guys were rich. He snatched it up, zipped, flushed the toilet and - while the water was running - jimmied the lock on the opposite door.

Holding his breath, Paul cracked the door to the neighboring hotel room. Dark. Quiet. Deserted. Paul slipped out of the bathroom, leaving the light and water on. Trotted across the room and opened the door. The bright hallway lights made him wince and he put his shades back on. The door to the room where he'd left the two johns rattled and Paul took off, racing for the emergency exit.

"Kid!" Logan hollered and pounded after him. "Wait -!"

"I ain't a kid, asshole!" Paul yelled and ran faster and slammed into the stairwell. Sprinting down the stairs, hearing the alarm go off, he also heard the big biker chasing after him. Still pleading with him to stop.

It was pouring rain outside and the skinny Cajun was waiting at the mouth of the alley, water dripping from his finger tips, cigarette glowing like a third eye in the dark. Paul skidded to a halt, glancing wildly around. Logan slammed out of the stairwell, pulling up and patting the air reassuringly.

"Let me go!" Paul yelled, panic stricken. Wondering if they knew he'd lifted Logan's wallet. "You got what you paid for!"

"It wasn't what we wanted, dammit!" Logan shouted.

"I don't give a damn what you want!"

"W'ant to live like dis 'till someone kills you den, cher?" Remy said coldly. But the pain in him was flooding out to Paul like a shout. "You know you can trust us - know us b'etter den most - an' we know you."

Paul shook his head, lying, desperately frightened. "I don't know what the hell you're talking about you freak!"

"Don't lie!" Remy yelled. "Remy know the taste of lies, cher. He know you felt it, felt us all t'gether like chilun in de mamma's belly. T'gether. Sharin'."

"I don't know and I don't care! That was you - I never felt like that! I'm not - not going anywhere with you! I don't need you to save me!"

"Alright." Logan's voice carried clearly. He gestured at Remy who shut up, dragging angrily on his cigarette. "Alright kid. We ain't gonna drag you off nowhere."

Paul pushed his hair back and sniffed. "Fine."

"But you take dis." Remy insisted. He snapped his fingers and a card appeared. Paul smiled slightly. "Take it, call us if you need help, cher and we come."

Paul reached out, snatching the card from the thin fingers as he was afraid the man was going to bite him.

Xavier's Academy for Gifted Youth

2074 Graymalkin Lane

NY NY 21002

And scrawled on the back in smudged blue pen was a phone number and 'Remy' underneath.

"Okay. I took it, now let me go." Paul shoved it into his pocket. The two men parted to let him pass.

Nervous, just waiting for Logan to suddenly discover his missing wallet, Paul sidled past the two men. As soon as he was on the street, he started running again. Running in the thunder and rain until he was sure they were gone. He was safe. He was alone.

"Fuck!" Logan slammed the door on the jeep and slumped behind the wheel. The rain was hammering down and, dammed, that kid was out in it somewhere, to scared to trust them. And his scent was all over his body. The passenger door swung open, then closed as the Cajun climbed in, water running off his leather duster. Logan glared at him, smelling the boy on him too. Sex and blood and the three of them tangled together in a cheap little room. Fucking some half starved homeless kid. No wonder he thought he wasn't worth more than a hundred dollars and a dry place to sleep for the night. They sure as hell hadn't shown him any different.

"Cajun, you better start talkin'" Logan said softly, knuckles white on the steering wheel.

Remy fumbled out a cigarette and lit up. His casual shrug was belied by the trembling of his hands. "Not much to say, homme."

"No?" Logan slammed his hands on the wheel of the car, fighting to control his urge to just punch that sarcastic smile off the Cajun's face. "Nothin' about scaring some kid half to death? Nothing about that goddam charm o'yours? I thought you could control that damn thing!"

Remy laughed bitterly. "Oui, Remy t'ought dat too! Dat boy - dat boy - "

"Yeah, I know what you thought of that boy!" Logan growled. "Y'couldn't wait t'get your hands on him."

"Remy not the only one!" The thief flung at him.

"Fuck that!" Logan snapped. He hauled the thief across the seat and snarled into his face. "You let that goddam charm loose on me again and I'm gonna kill you. You got that?"

Remy shoved his hands off, eyes wild. "Remy couldn't stop it! Dieu - Remy tried! He tried. Ain't never been like dat. Ain't never so strong. You t'ink I want to hurt dat boy? Merde - Logan - I know - I know w'at it's like t'be hungry. T'got no place and no one. Remy swore - swore he never do dat to anyone else - "

Logan leaned back and Remy buried his face in shaking hands. "I swore - I swore -!"

"Christ, Remy - suck it up and tell me what the hell happened!"

"Dat boy, he's an em'pat - or somtin like it. Remy never knew ano'ter em'pat. Just touch him and Remy could feel him under his skin. Just a touch and de charm go off like a rocket. De boy - he felt it to, from de start." Remy shook his head and pulled his hands through his tangled hair. "Tried shuttin' it down, homme. Den de boy - he touch me 'gain. Never been dis bad - not since Remy a chile."

"Wheels don't know what kind o'mutation the boy got." Logan said gruffly, staring at his fingernails. "Hell, we werent' even sure it was him. Just someone in the area sending off weird signals."

"De boy like a mirror, Logan. Sent de charm right back on us." Remy sighed. "Remy never - eh - never felt de charm from de other side."

He gave Logan a bitter smile. "So now Remy know eh? Dat boy made him feel it - w'at everyone else always bitchin about. Made me feel it - an Remy couldn't say no. Remy felt dat heat and just took him. Just like everyone e'ver did to Remy. Now Remy know."

Logan shook his head, still pissed at the thief for dragging him into something that was going to leave him feeling dirty for months but he could see how shaken the swamp rat was. He knew - if no one else at the mansion did - how ugly the world could get for a young mutant with a gift for making people hungry. The thief had probably been where Paul was now. "Isnt' like that w'you Remy. It was stronger - man - it hurt it was so strong. Did it feel like that f'you? Like he was makin' y'more sensitive? Maybe he can magnify other people's powers."

"Remy can't tell. Jus - remembered the feel of him. Being so close - never been so close t'anyone else. Was like living in his skin - and yours. Could feel you to, homme. But he got a gift of his own, Paul does. He knew what Remy was feeling b'fore we - touched. Em'pat. Remy swear it."

"Maybe." Logan tried to figure if he'd felt - somehow - different. If the kid did something to his own powers. He could hardly remember anything except the intoxicating taste of him, salt and sweet and strong. Long legs wrapped around his waist and an incredible heat tight around his cock. The kid had begged for it. Begged. Logan winced, he remembered that at least. And that was more than he wanted to remember.

"What the hell are we gonna tell Wheels?"

Remy shrugged. "Tell him we made contact, oui?"

"Christ, we did that." Logan muttered.

"Tell him dat de boy bolted on us. Gave him some money an' a card. 'Ave to wait and see."

"And just pray Chuck don't go pokin' around in our heads." Logan shook his head, letting it thump onto the window wearily. "'Cause I don't think he's gonna take to kindly to us fuckin' an underage kid we'd gone to recruit."


Chapter 2

"I don't have any." Paul said. "I don't have any money right now! I swear it."

Kirstoff hauled him close, twisting his hand in Paul's collar until he choked. This close, he could feel Kristoff's anger and frustration and the shuddering ache of withdrawal. Paul closed his eyes and twisted his face aside, stomach churning. God, don't let him puke on the man. He get killed. "With that ass of yours, I find it hard to believe. You been paying me fine all along. What's wrong now? To much smack?"

"No. N-no, Kris." Paul tried to jerk away. "No. I've - been sick. Couldn't work. You don't want me puking all over the tricks, do you?"

"I don't give a shit what you do - I want some goddam money!" Kristoff shoved him back and Paul stumbled into the grimy wall of the cheap apartment they shared. He started sidling for the door. "You get it or you're gonna pay out of your skin! Stupid whore! You're fucking liver is worth more than you are!"

"I don't have it!" Paul cried. Kristoff punched him. "No!"

Furious, Kristoff pounced on him, shoving Paul to the floor and kicking him in the ribs. "Who the hell you telling no, you bitch!"

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry -!"

Then Kristoff was on him, punching him, kicking. The older boy had a lot of weight behind his fists and he was used to using it. Paul didn't fight back. He never did, he'd learned better a long time ago. Paul curled up on the floor, hiding his face in his hands. His eye was already swelling from the first blow. Kristoff was wrenching at his jeans, going through his pockets. He threw the condoms aside with a curse.

"Where the fuck is the money, fucker?" Kristoff's hands were shaking. He was desperate for his next hit. Paul realized that he had been depending on him to get the money for it.

"I don't have it! I don't have it! I'll get some - I swear. God - Kris - don't hit me! Don't -"

Another kick and he was choking, gorge rising. Paul crawled desperately away, hand over his mouth. He really was sick. Had been puking every day for a week and pretty much given up on eating. Kristoff chased after him and caught his jeans, ripping the back pocket off.

"You think you're gonna get away from me?" He yelled in Paul's ear. "You think there's anywhere to go? Where the hell you gonna go? Huh? No one wants you, you devil-eyed freak! I'm the only fucking friend you got! No one is gonna save you!"

Kristoff yanked Paul's pants down. Whimpering, struggling not to vomit, Paul let the other man push him to his knees. He was shoved face down onto the filthy carpet, Kristoff straddled his hips. "Lift that ass you stupid whore. You know how!"

Tears burning in his eyes, Paul did as he was told. Kristoff rammed into him and he screamed. Kristoff laughed, grinding deep and hard. Coughing, Paul struggled weakly, hating the way he was feeling. Feeling what Kristoff was feeling. Liking it because Kristoff did. He began to cry when he started to get hard.

"That's right, bitch. You know what you are - just some cheap whore." He kept pounding into Paul's ass, battering him, making him bleed. "You - get - my - money. You - get - out - there - and - get - my - money."

Paul wanted to die. He clawed at the carpet, dizzy and being cruelly wrenched back and forth, he vomited. Tried to push himself out of the mess, ears ringing as Kristoff yelled in his ear.

"Goddamm you!" Kristoff slammed his fist on the back of Paul's head. He stiffened and came then pulled out. Kicked Paul as he lay there. "Puking on my carpet. Stupid bitch - I'm gonna gut you!"

He meant it. Kristoff was half crazy, temper fried under his need for his next hit and blaming it all on Paul. He pulled a knife and Paul could feel how much he wanted to use it. Multi-colored sparks danced along the silver edge of the cheap blade. Paul stared, pants around his knees, at the hypnotic glitter.

"Stupid!" Kristoff yelled pulling Paul up by his hair. He stabbed him in the side and Paul screamed. "Stupid, stupid freak! To stupid to fight. To fucking stupid to live! I'm gonna kill you. I'm gonna cut you to pieces! My fucking dog is smarter than you! I don't know why I ever helped you!"

Blood pouring down his side, Paul lashed out convulsively, managing to push Kristoff away. Fought his way to his feet despite the roaring in his ears and the sick pain spreading through him. If he didn't get away, Kristoff would kill him. Stumbled on his jeans, hauled them up and staggered for the door.

"Don't you run away from me!" Kristoff chased after him. He caught Paul's wrist, lashing out with his knife. "You ain't gonna get away from me!"

"No! Help me! Somebody -" Paul yelled, knowing it was useless. No one helped anyone. He threw up his hand as the knife came down, yelled at the bright pain and the spatter of blood across Kristoff's pricey Nike workout suit. He managed to haul the door open and weeping with pain and fear, kicked Kristoff in the balls. He felt the pain nearly as intensely as Kristoff did.

The man doubled over with a howl. Paul raced for the stairs, arm wrapped around his ribs, feeling the blood pour down his body. He was hurt. Hurt bad. He didn't dare stop. Half falling, he made his way down the stairs, hearing Kristoff gasping curses after him. It was cold out and Paul nearly fell.

Leaning against the concrete balustrade, Paul looked helplessly up and down the street. A late night jogger saw him and made a large arc around him, avoiding his eyes.

"Please - " Paul whispered. Shivering, he started down the sidewalk, cringing as the winter wind bit agonizingly into the open wound on his hand. He was getting dizzy and desperately cold and - there was blood everywhere. Sticky on his pants, dripping off his numb fingers, a little pool along his forearm where he was clutching himself.

He stumbled along, swaying, knowing that if he fell he wouldn't be able to get up. He didn't know where to go. Didn't know where the hospital was. Couldn't find a cop to help him. He choked on a laugh - for the first time in his life he wanted to see a cop and there wasn't one in sight. The cold and weakness drove him, finally into the shelter of a phone booth. Paul stared at the battered phone for a long moment, then fumbled in his jacket.

"Hello?" Scott rubbed his eyes and resettled his goggles on his face. He'd been sound asleep - everyone had been. But Charles demanded that a live voice always answer the school phone - it could be the difference between a hang-up and a rescue - it had been Scott who'd finally dragged himself out of bed to quiet the ringing.

"Wanna t-talk to Remy." Someone whispered. "Remy - "

The thready drift of the unknown voice woke Scott right up. "Sure - I can get Remy for you. Are you okay there, who are you?"

Panting. "R-remy said - I could call. Who are you?"

"My name's Scott. I'm a friend of Remy's. Tell me your name." He tried again.

"Paul. He said -" The voice drifted off completely for a moment. "I want Remy."

"Paul. Okay, Paul." Scott kicked the edge of his bed and Jean sat up. He jerked his head towards the door and mouthed Remy's name. The possible emergent mutant power Cerebro had detected recently. "Paul? Paul are you still there? Hey - talk to me Paul. Where are you?"

"Phone booth." Paul said shakily. "Un - he said I could call."

"That's right, Paul." Scott said quickly. "Where are you? What street? We can come get you - just tell us where you are. I'm Remy's friend, I want to help you too."

"Remy said -" Paul went silent and nothing Scott yelled into the phone got him to talk again.

"Dammit!" Scott left the line open and snatched up his wireless, ringing down to security. "Trace the call! Trace it!"

"Already started." Logan's voice. Thank god he'd been the one manning security tonight. "City location, public phone - ah - seventy first and Lincoln. That was the kid we met, Slim. His voice. Didn't sound good."

"We'll get him, Logan. Wake Hank up, and send Bobby to the garage, we'll take the new van. I want Remy with us since Paul seemed to remember him."

"Got it."

Scott threw on his uniform and by the time he had the van ready, Bobby was fitting the med-kit into the back under Hank's watchful eye. Remy jogged in last, dragging that coat, climbed in the passenger seat and Scott gunned the engine and headed down to 71 and Lincoln as fast as he dared.

"So w'ats the story?" Remy was already lighting up, glanced as Scott and rolled down the window. There'd already been a few lectures about that and unlike Logan, Remy seemed willing to comply.

"Paul gave a us a call." Scott said while Bobby hung over the back seat to listen. "He didn't sound good, asked for you, then - stopped talking."

Remy shook his head. "De boy's on de street. Anyt'ing could happen to him."

Scott sighed and flattened the accelerator. "We'll get there."

"Why Bobby?"

"Hey -!" The teenager protested.

Remy was flicking his thumbnail on his cigarette nervously, scattering ashes. "Jus - could be ugly, Fearless."

"We'll see when we get there and Hank's been training Bobby as a medic. He needs the experience." Scott left unsaid the fact that this pick-up was likely to be simple.

"I'm part of the team to, you know." Bobby grumbled. "Not just a mascot."

"Der times, Ice cube, when bein' part o' de team ain't all it's cracked up to be." Remy said.

Scott frowned at Remy's comment, taking the corners as fast as he dared. The new van had Hank's patented high powered electric engine and was as silent and responsive as a big black van could be. He missed the instant, loving response of the Blackbird but - there were times and places for a stealth jet and this wasn't one of them.

"He probably just got hit by a car -" Bobby said into the silence. "I mean - that's what Hank says is the most common accident in a big city. Even more than getting mugged."

"Less you're a mut'ant." Remy said gloomily.

"Then it's suicide." Bobby responded. "And he wouldn't be calling after that."

Remy grunted and stared out the window, chain smoking. The thief was fidgeting, nervous enough to show it. Scott knew Wolverine and Gambit hadn't told them everything when they'd given their report after contacting the young mutant. It obviously hadn't gone well but they'd assured the professor that no one had gotten hurt - 'hadn't gotten into a smackdown' as Logan put it.

"Is there something I should know?" Scott asked quietly.

The thief's mouth quirked and he looked curiously at the field leader. "Quoi?"

"About this young man Paul. Anything that you and Logan might have - forgotten - to tell us the first time?"

Remy smiled. "You're getting tact'ful. Hard for dis swamp rat to believe. Non. Nothing you need to know, Fearless."

Growing up with two telepaths had left Scott with certain shortages in his personal skills. He couldn't tell of Remy was lying to him or not. He gritted his teeth and regretted sending Gambit and Wolverine as a team. If they were lying, neither Jean nor Charles had been able to tell. The two odd-balls, a former thief and a former assassin, it was hard to trust them sometimes. And that, Scott knew, made it hard for them to trust him. He sighed. It had to start somewhere.

"Alright." He said mildly and concentrated on his driving.

71st and Lincoln was in the meat market. But this late, even the red light district was pretty deserted and Scott pulled to a cautious halt across the street and just around the corner of the supposed phone booth. His paranoia had kept the team alive for years. Remy swung out, buttoning up his kevlar and leather duster up to his neck. Two cards were tucked between his fingers, just in case. Bobby scrambled out, frost glittering on his hair.

"Stay with the van." Scott told him. He sub-vocalized into his mike. "Wolverine we're a block and a half from the source. Everything looks quiet."

He got a grunt in response, which didn't mean Logan wasn't paying close attention. He shadowed Remy as the thief slunk around the corner and they peered down the street. A lone phone booth was at the far end of the block, the street was deserted. Scott waited for Remy's all clear as the thief scanned the rooftops and alleyways. The Cajun's night vision was acute and Scott's sucked. Scott brushed his finger over the release on his visor, hoping he wouldn't need it. Maybe this would be just a simple pick up for once.

"Bien." Remy murmured, voice echoing in both Scott's radio and his ears. Approaching the phone booth, Scott could see that the sidewalk around it was wet. Scott squinted at it. Remy froze. "Moi Deiu -"

He broke into a run, sprinting down the block towards the empty looking phone booth.

"What?" Scott chased after him. "What?"

"Das blood!" Remy yelled. "Iceman, you get dat kit 'ere now!"

It was a frightening amount of blood pooled on the sidewalk and the booth wasn't empty after all. Remy rattled the glass and aluminum door, the body huddled on the floor kept it from opening. "Merde!"

"Move!" Scott snapped and took two quick shots at the hinges. Remy caught the door and threw it aside with a crash.

"Hurry up, Iceman." Scott said over the com. He heard panting from Bobby's channel as he knelt next to Remy.

"Is this Paul?" He asked.

"Oui - Paul!" Remy wiped a hank of greasy dark hair back from the white face. The young man didn't stir. "He still alive, Cyclops."

"Right. Let's keep it that way. You take the legs."

Scott eased his arms under the boy - quickly getting his uniform covered in blood. The entire floor of the phone booth was slick with it. They shifted the limp body out of the cramped booth and laid him out on the sidewalk. The boy was thin, lighter than he should be and greenish white from blood loss. His head rolled limply on Scott's arms. Remy opened his jean jacket as Bobby came running up with the kit.

"Lord." Scott breathed. The kid's T-shirt was soaked with blood. The thief peeled up the sticky cloth and they found the narrow wound in his side, just below the ribs.

"Dis a knife wound." He said. "Gone deep."

Scott was searching the body, looking for other injuries. "Get the pressure bandages for the side, Iceman."

"I know -!" Bobby slung the med-kit off and opened it up. He handed over the bandages so Remy and Scott could wrap the wound. "Beast?"

Scott couldn't hear the doctor's radio response but Bobby nodded and began describing the scene and the unconcouis form spread out on the sidewalk while taking the kid's pulse and checking his breathing. Then he paused and looked helplessly around.

"What?" Scott asked. They'd found the gash in the boy's hand, bones were visible and he winced. He started on that. "What's he want?"

"Says he needs an estimate of the blood loss." Bobby looked at the drying blood on the sidewalk. "I - I don't know, Hank. I didn't see him bleeding. We didn't talk about this!"

"T'ree, mebee four pints." Remy said shortly.

Bobby relayed it and Scott filed away the thief's response for later. "Let's get him into the van and back home. I'm not finding any other wounds."

"Wait -!" Bobby reached down and explored the kid's head. He peeled back his eyes to shine a little light in them and sat back, dismayed. "His pupils don't react at all. I couldn't find a head injury though - Beast?"

Scott waited impatiently. He watched Remy reach out and wipe the traces of vomit off the young mutant's face. The thief's expression was absolutely blank but his fingers very gentle as he tried to clean the boy up.

Bobby nodded. "He says we should move him into the van - um, as long as there's no neck or spine damage."

"Not that we can find. Let's get moving. I'm just waiting for the cops to show. Eventually, they'll even come here." Scott and Remy took the boy while Bobby ran back to open the van and pull down the medical bay.

The got the kid into the van, Scott joined Bobby in back while Remy slid behind the wheel and started them back home. Putting the monitors on him, Scott saw the needle marks running up both arms and sighed. He just hoped the boy hadn't overdosed on top of everything else. Bobby relayed the information in a shaky voice. The van swayed around a turn, equipment rattling in the back.

"His blood pressure's way down - " Scott watched the monitors for a moment. "But stable. This kid's going to need blood."

Hank's voice crackled in his ear. "We can only hope I have a supply he can tolerate. There is a pint of hypo-allergenic plasma in the kit - Bobby, start him on an IV. Let Scott find the vein, an addict's veins are not a positive first field experience."

Scott finally managed a vein in the kids uninjured right hand. Between the blood loss and the needle marks, there hadn't' been much to work with.

"Why are his pants down?" Bobby asked, looking at Scott like he knew the answer but was hoping someone would tell him he was wrong.

"Help me turn him over." Scott said shortly. They rolled the kid over, careful of the IV and Scott eased the bloody jeans lower. He'd been raped and was still bleeding. "Get me some jelly, Bobby."

"Why - ?" Bobby stared as Scott probed as gently as he could.

"So I can make sure there's nothing - that his rapist didn't leave an object in him." Scott couldn't feel anything critical and the bleeding wasn't severe enough to suggest serious injuries.

"Oh - " Bobby said, staring at the slow seep of blood and Scott peeling the latex gloves off his hands angrily. "Oh - excuse me -"

Scott scowled as he turned away, grabbed a plastic bag vomited. "Why don't you go up front. He's stable for now."

Bobby, nearly as green as their patient, shook his head and swallowed hard. "No. No - I'm okay. I can do this."

Remy drove like a maniac. Scott stayed in the back where he couldn't see anything and trusted the thief's abnormal reflexes and night vision. Anything to get this kid into Hank's hands sooner. He watched the shallow breathing and the blood pressure creep down. The pressure bandage had slowed the external bleeding but who knew about anything inside. The bare chest was too thin, making it hard to judge age but he looked easily under twenty. Far to young to die nameless and alone in a phone booth.

Bobby fidgeted, pressing the kid's fingernails to watch the too slow return of color. "Isn't there anything else we -?"


The gurney was portable and when they reached the mansion, Jean floated it quickly to the med-lab. Under the bright flourecents, the young man looked worse.

"My goodness - my goodness gracious." Hank sounded flustered but his hands were sure as they transferred the limp form onto a treatment bed and he cut away the sodden clothes. Ororo was already prepping a surgical package and Jean had scrubbed up. Scott nodded briefly at her and felt her attention in his mind before she turned back to the patient.

Hank checked the kid's pupils first, concerned about Bobby's report. Scott watched him frown and check again. "Jean, my dear, would you please assist me?"

Being field leader, Scott got to indulge his curiosity now and then. He peered over Ororo's shoulder. The kid's eyes were brown, and fixed, blank as a dead man's. Then Jean carefully reached down and pressed a fingertip to his eyeball.

"Jean -!" Scott said, wincing. She lifted her finger away and a small cup of brown and white came with it.

"My sweet stars."

"Um - right." Scott stared down at the very familiar red and black eye that had been hidden underneath the contact lens. "Right."

Hank shook his massive head as Jean removed the other lens and put them both in a cup with a little saline solution. "That's for later, shoo - shoo now."

"Come on, Bobby." Scott shook his head in wonder and backed away as the sterile field came up with a faint hiss. There wasn't anything else to do besides wait for news - and find Remy. He had some quesitons he wanted to ask. Bobby followed, scrubbing at the blood on his hands. It was silent in the elevator, with Bobby clutching a towel and staring at the floor.

"It's really bad." He asked. "Isn't it?"

Bobby looked so terribly young. Scott reached out and squeezed his shoulders. "You did really well. If he lives it will be because of you."

"If he lives - " Bobby said softly, bitterly. "That guy is younger than me! I mean my Dad hates that I'm a mutant - he won't let anyone mention it - but he never put me out on the street to die!"

You were lucky, Scott thought, but didn't say it. You were very lucky.

"That's why were doing what we're doing, Bobby. Because most people aren't as brave as your father." He said instead.

It was clear there was very little time. No time to pause and wonder at the impossible coincidence of those eyes, no time to grieve at the malnourished thinness or the years old needle scars on someone so very young. No time at all.

Ororo clipped the oxygen monitor on one thin, bloody finger and the alarm immediately went off. Their patient was clearly cyanotic - blue at the lips and fingertips. Jean and Hank cut away the young man's clothes and she started feeding oxygen to the patient - cheating blood loss for a few more moments. As soon as she'd finished with the monitors, each of them with their own alarms and most of them going off as soon as they were activated, Jean shoved a vial of blood at her.

"Type him and get some more of that plasma heated up." She said, not bothering to look up from the anesthesia machine. "Get us some blood."

"Yes." Ororo said and hurried to the lab, vial in hand. She whispered Hank's instructions under her breath as she divided the sample and set up the equipment. She'd been trained to assist in the lab for occasions just like this - when neither Jean nor Hank could be spared to run tests or errands. But she had no real medical education and it was times like this that she really felt it. She watched the indicators come up - one after the other - incompatible. She tried the organic plasma and the synthetic blood - incompatible.

"Ororo my dear?" Hank called while she chewed on her lip and wondered if she'd done it wrong. "Any results?"

"None of it. We can use none of it."

"Well, we shall do what we can, then." Hank said briefly, working delicately in the wounded side, huge hands steady on the modified instruments.

Ororo bowed her head for a moment, staring at her hands. There was nothing they could offer to replace all the blood spilled somewhere in the streets of New York. The oxygen monitor began to whine again.

"I'll be right back." She said abruptly and headed out of the surgery bay, ignoring the brief static charge as she crossed out of the sterile field. She thumbed the intercom and called the security room. "Logan - have Remy come down, right away please."

"Sure 'Ro."

Ororo stared at the door and folded her hands behind her back. Hopefully Remy was nearby; hopefully he hadn't wandered off the grounds on some unmentioned errand. She listened to the soft voiced conversation behind her, the alarm noises rising and falling. Rising. Please, goddess let him come soon.

It wasn't long before Remy arrived, trailed by Scott. They both looked rather out of sorts and Remy gave a general scowl at the surgery bay.

"Remy -" Ororo said, relived. "Thank the goddess. I need some of your blood."

The slender young man transferred his frown to her and folded his arms. "W'at for, cherie?"

Scott strode past him to stand at the edge of the sterile field and stare for a moment at his wife. It was clear he was listening to something. "Incompatible?"

"Yes. Please, Remy. The young man needs a blood transfusion. We have nothing - "

"Jus because de eyes are de same don mean Remy can help him." Remy hadn't taken more than a step into the room and that frown was perhaps more frightened than hostile. Ororo went over to touch his arm, he was shaking.

"Please - I fear he will die." She said softly, looking up at him. "Remy - "

He drew a harsh breath through his nose. "Ouai. We best hurry up den, eh?"

Ororo drew him to the lab, shutting Scott outside with a faint shake of her head. The thief was too frightened to be stared at by Scott while she tried to get a blood sample. Remy rolled up a sleeve and stared fixedly at a blank corner while she swabbed at his arm. The thin length of his arm and the lean muscles were not - quite - like anyone else. Remy's prominent veins rolled under her fingers, making it difficult to get a good stick.

"Sss -" Remy hissed angrily after the third attempt. "Meybe Remy just cut his own throat so we can get dis over wi't. It be neater."

Ororo took a deep breath to calm herself and drew the tan skin taunt over a vein. She delicately slid the needle home and the little vial filled quickly with healthy looking dark red blood.

"I'm sorry, Remy." She said quietly. She worked as quickly as she dared, very aware of how few moments that boy on the table had left and the casual way Remy propped his hip on the counter did nothing to hide his fear from her eyes. Green lights climbed across the equipment.

"Remy -"

"Jus hurry it up, den, cherie." He said harshly. "Remy knows green means go."

She took a pint and a half. More than the Red Cross and far from enough to endanger even the most fragile mutant. Remy was sweating with terror before she was done and fled as soon as she pulled the needle. A pint and a half. All she dared and hopefully enough to save a young man's life.

Ororo prepped the blood, counting the minutes as she ran it through the filters. She had to trust the Remy would have told her if he any communicable diseases - and trust the goddess to save them from errors of desperation. When she came back into the surgery bay, Hank had replaced Jean at the arm injury, working rapidly to repair the damage to the complex muscles and veins. Jean was stacking equipment and monitoring the slowly fading signals on the monitors with a fierce frown. Ororo could nearly taste her frustration at her helplessness.

"Remy's blood was compatible." Ororo said, switching the plasma for blood. "I took as much as I dared - he's so thin. Will it be enough?"

They watched the blood creep down the plastic tube. Ororo was holding her breath. Even Hank paused in his frantic race to cauterize all the veins leaking far too precious blood.

"Are we in time?" She whispered. Nothing seemed to be changing. Hank went back to work ears flat against his blue furry skull. "Jean -?"

The redheaded doctor shook her head. "He's very weak -"

The oxygen alarm suddenly went silent.

Ororo closed her eyes. "Thank the goddess."

"Indeed." Hank echoed softly. "Indeed."

Ororo went looking for Remy after dinner. She found him on the tiny side porch where the smokers gathered when it was cold outside. The awful scent of Logan's cigars was fresh but the Canadian wasn't there at the moment. The slim thief was, huddled under a slate gray sweater and several shirts; driven into the cold to feed his nicotine addiction.

"You didn't come to dinner, Remy." Ororo went to stand next to him. "Are you alright? You should eat. We may need to give the boy another transfusion."

"Ah - you jus want Remy for his blood." Remy murmured with a wry smile. "And here Remy t'ought you want him for his looks."

It was sleeting, icy pellets glittering like diamonds in the darkness. They rattled against the bare rosebushes and the wooden stairs leading to the formal gardens. Ororo lifted her head to the cold wind, she could feel how the edge of the storm had already passed them. The air would be clear - and cold - by morning. Remy's cigarette glowed brightly for a moment as he inhaled, illuminating the sharp angles of cheekbones and the long fingers. His red eyes flared in the dimness, shining like a cat's.

Ororo turned to lean back against the porch railing, not bothered by the cold and occasional spatter of sleet against her back. She smiled as Remy eyed her with a shudder. "It looks like the young man - Paul isn't it? - is going to make it."

Remy only nodded.

"You saved his life." She said quietly. "I wanted to let you know. And thank you."

Remy's gaze dropped and the faint light from his cigarette illuminated the bitter turn to his mouth. "No need to t'ank Remy. Was de right t'ing to do, eh? Sometimes even Remy does somet'ing right."

The thief broke off, shaking his head, long hair sliding across his face to hide the black pits of his eyes - and the pain.

Ororo studied the thief for a moment as he sifted uncomfortably. Remy had been among the X-men for only a few months. He'd turned up on their doorstep with a grin and a duffel and a handful of evidence - proof of the X-men's identities. Then he's shown them how to erase that evidence he'd found and decrease the chances of someone else finding out about them. And his usefulness hadn't ended at the computer console. Charles had been willing to trust him, despite his unreachable mind, and Logan - who had a remarkable sense for treachery - accepted him. Since then Remy had proven himself over and over again. Throwing himself carelessly into danger, fierce and graceful and driven.

In the dimness, without his dark glasses, he looked both younger and older. Obviously younger - Remy was barely into his twenties. But - the faint lines around his eyes and the habitual tense turn to his mouth gave him the look of an older man. He glanced sidelong at her then smiled, a practiced, charming smile. It changed his whole face - Ororo found herself smiling back even knowing the good humor was a mask to hide uncertainty and that he was using a mutant power all the more startling for its subtly.

"So gonna have a new student, looks like, cherie." Remy said lightly. "Hope de boy not like Remy was when he was going to school."

"How was that?"

Remy shook his head and grinned. "Teachers had to chase Remy down. Den again - was de T'ieves Guild so maybe dat not a bad t'ing eh?"

Ororo laughed. "Maybe you should be teaching my evasion and surveillance class."

Remy's grin faded. "Remy no kind of teacher. He got no degree. He got - not'ing. He not like everyone else here - no money, no schooling, none of dat. Jus de looks and de charm to make de ladies smile. He got no place in de professor's dream."

"Perhaps." Ororo turned around to lean into the sleet, lifting her face to the stinging cold. "I was a thief for a little while - in Tangiers. I ended up in west Africa though - before I was an X-man I was a goddess."

"I wasn't always the professor's evasion and history teacher." Ororo glanced towards one of the windows at the dim flicker of a TV screen. "Once upon a time there were the 2012 Olympics and Tangiers wanted to look nice and clean for the athletes. So they rounded up all the homeless kids they could find and trucked them out into the desert and left them there."

"Cherie -" Remy's shoulders hunched and he lit another cigarette from the stub of his old one.

Ororo gave him a small smile. "The story isn't over."

"And it was dry and there was no water anywhere." Ororo stared down at her rather expensive shoes. She could practically feel the gritty dust between her toes. "And all those children might have died but the goddess came down and took one of the children as her own. And the rain fell and the children were saved."

She shook her head and chuckled softly. "It was rather an event when the Blackbird landed, three years later. Charles had sensed me through his machine and sent Scott and Jean to fetch me. They were expecting some starving child - it was what they were used to. I didn't give them an audience for a week and Scott got a black eye for refusing to bow down before me."

"It was strange to come here. I had a lot to learn - but a lot to teach as well." She went on quietly. "I teach now - for the future - and I fight to give us time to reach that future but I always remember that I am a goddess."

"Remy know you a goddess, ouai. Beautiful femme - all de femmes are goddesses in Remy's book." Remy bowed deeply, startling Ororo with his sincerity.

"So listen to the goddess. You're as much a part of Charles' dream - and of the X-men - as you want to be."


Chapter 3

There was a lot of pain on the other side of the dope and he was pretty content to stay in the dim, small world created by the drugs. Paul could feel the pain, just like he could feel the itch of a needle in his hand but it was distant. Just like he could feel someone else nearby, sitting silently, attention elsewhere. Equally unimportant. He drifted in and out of sleep.

It smelled like a hospital, sounded like a hospital so he had to be in a hospital. Even if it was too quiet and to clean. When the dope started to wear off and Paul realized just how much pain he was in, lying there not knowing where he was didn't seem like such a good idea. He opened his eyes. The lights were dim - he could see - and, that first hurdle cleared, he turned his head to look over to where he knew the only other person in the room was. He blinked. It was a giant blue lion.

"W-what the hell am I on?" Paul muttered. The lion looked up with a jerk from the paperwork he was studying so carefully. A pair of tiny yellow glasses were perched on the broad, furred nose. Paul couldn't quite suppers his laugh, then he winced at the wrenching pain in his side.

"Ah - awake, at last my friend." The blue lion came over. "How are you feeling?"

Paul, sure he was nothing more than some stranger than usual hallucination, simply watched. Not quite a lion, more like a blue Disney cartoon character. Paul snickered weakly. Okay, it had to be a hallucination. The lion blinked yellow, slitted eyes at him.

"Feeling like shit, Simba." Paul said. "You?"

"Simba?" The lion muttered, ears flicking like a cat's. Paul watched, aware of the pain increasing every breath he took. "My name's Henry, young man. Dr. Henry McCoy and you're quite safe here -"

The lion leaned closer, staring intently at him, urging Paul to believe him. "No one will hurt you here."

"Uh-hu. You gonna give me some more dope? I'm - hurting here, you know."

Dr. McCoy, still blue and furry, checked Paul's drip and did a brief examination. Paul lay there, carefully not moving and stared at the ceiling. There wasn't much point in worrying about where he was, he wasn't sure he could even stand up, and if the lion guy would give him more dope, he really didn't *care* where he was. And the guy seemed really worried about him, more than that usual, cold doctor fashion. Paul eyed the blue fur and wondered if he could get the doctor to give him some stronger stuff.

"Why don't we try some oral painkillers, my friend." The lion hesitated. "Might I inquire as to what IV drug you favor?"

"Smack." Paul said. It wasn't like it was a big secret. Anyone who pulled his arrest records would see it, he was surprised they'd even asked. The doctor come back with some Vicodin, Paul recognized the oval white pills right away and he stared scornfully at them. "These aren't going to do shit. What about the morphine - that's what you were giving me, right?"

The lion ears were flat against the furry head. "Synthetic morphine, yes. And I'd prefer to start you on something less - dangerous."

Paul glared up at him, furious but not surprised. "Sure. Go ahead, why don't you just give me a couple of fucking aspirin instead! I'm just some fucking junkie after all - you damn doctors are all the fucking same! You'll go and hook some stupid ass yuppie on bennies but ain't gonna give a junkie shit! Hell, everyone knows we don't feel pain like everyone else! Maybe you just wanna wheel this bed out and dump me on the sidewalk - that'll take care of the problem won't it?"

"That's not the case at all!" The lion protested but Paul felt the uneasy guilt. He stared pleadingly up at the imaginary yellow eyes. Guilt he knew how to use.

"I'm - I'm hurting. Really. I- I don't think the Vicodin will be enough right now. I - I'm sorry." Paul shifted slightly and winced. He really was hurting pretty bad. He lowered his voice, trying to get the doctor to do what he wanted. Sometimes he could get people to really stupid things. Like a doctor giving a junkie more dope. "Please?"

The doctor wavered, pupils dilating under the influence of Paul's voice.

"I - I know I don't deserve it -" Paul trailed off sadly, pushing at the doctor with his voice and dropping his eyes as if he felt guilty. "Just some street trash -"

"No - do not even think it!" The doctor leaned over him. "That's not true. That's entirely untrue, your circumstances are terrible but certainly nothing you deserve! You are not trash!"

Paul shifted again, moving his bandaged hand as if it bothered him. It did actually. He blinked up a couple of tears and the blue guy sighed. Paul bit back a smile as the doctor turned away, determined to prove to Paul that he wasn't being treated badly because he was a junkie. He watched the return of the needle through half closed eyes, keeping his expression sad. When the imaginary lion injected the IV the rush was almost immediate, and Paul yawned, blinking sleepily.

"You know you're a blue lion doc?" He said. "You look like the Disney lawyers are going to come and sue you for copyright violation."

The ears went back and the doctor gave a massive sigh. "Yes. My mutation, like yours, includes external changes. Mine is - more extensive than most. However I assure you I am a lisecned doctor - not a stand in for the Broadway production of 'Beauty and the Beast.'

Paul stared up at him, shocked awake for a moment. "You mean you really are a big blue lion?"

"Of course not! I'm human - Homo superior, actually - just blue and felinoid -"

Paul stopped paying attention, letting the guy's voice drone in the background. It felt good to be high. He didn't hurt at all and he could just float forever. Or as long as he could get the staff to keep shooting him up.

Hank threw the needle away in the red biohazard box in the corner. His hands were shaking, he noted. Behind him, Paul's breathing slowed as he slid into drugged unconsciousness. Mechanically, Hank put away what was left of the morphine. He'd given the boy too much.

"Sweet stars -" He whispered in the empty treatment room. "What was I thinking?"

He shuddered and went back to the boy. Whatever he'd been thinking, he had to deal with the consequences. Hank tilted the bed Paul lay on until his feet were slightly higher than his head. It would help with the low blood pressure. He increased the flow of plasma as well. He could only hope it would flush the drugs from the boy's system faster. He'd let an addict tell him what to do. Lord, sweet lord.

He took Paul's pulse and checked his breathing. Stable, if slow. The red pupils were contracted into tiny pin-points from the effect of the morphine. For the first time in his life, Hank thanked an addict's tolerance. It looked like Paul would survive his nearly catastrophic misjudgment. Hank cupped the young man's skull in his huge hand for a moment, feeling a mixture of anger and worry as he stared down into the slack, pale face.

When the door slid open in the main room, Hank flinched.

"Hank?" It was the professor, calling quietly for him. Hank shut his eyes, taking a deep breath, then turned and went out. He turned off the light and shut the door behind him.

"Professor." Hank said.

"I thought I'd come and see our newest arrival." The professor said. "Is he awake?"

Hank shifted, throat closing for a moment as he stared down at his old mentor. So fragile, all the people around him now, but Hank was the one feeling small. The professor frowned, eyes searching his face.

"What is it Hank? Is the boy alright?"

"Yes - yes. The boy is recovering." Hank muttered. "He's sleeping - just as well. He needs a great deal of rest, among other things."

The professor frowned at him but let Hank usher him into his office.

Hank picked up the file he'd already begun on Paul. The feel of paper in his hands, the list of figures and fact in black and white were comforting. "The boy was brought in with knife wounds, signs of recent - and forced - sexual activity, general malnourishment and active addiction. Paul did mention to me that he uses heroin."

The professor nodded. Nothing so far was news.

"And - he's got quite a few similarities to our recently arrived Cajun." Hank paused and shook his head. "The statistical likely hood of such similar mutations coming up by chance - well - its very unlikely. I would suspect that they are related. In fact, I can suspect little else."

"Remy seemed - extremely surprised when Scott spoke to him about Paul's eyes."

Hank sighed. "I would not know. Remy has never been forthcoming about this past. Well - be that as it may - I have my results here and my treatment plans. I've already contacted some coworkers and begun the process for putting our young man on a methadone program -"

"Did you have a chance to discuss this with Paul?"

"No, I did not." Hank frowned at the professor whose face had gone stubborn. "Professor - he's very ill. Far to ill to support an addiction. Not to mention the illegality."

"We can't just do things to him. That would make us no different - " The professor waved absentmindedly out, towards the city and the humanity that had rejected everyone in the mansion. "than them."

"We aren't doing things to him." Hank said irritably. "We are trying to help him deal with what he has done to himself."

"We should discuss this with Paul before -"

"Professor, we can't wait for Paul to regain sense. And asking an addict their opinions on their addiction is an exercise in futility." Hank crossed his arms and glared down at the professor. "And I cannot - by my Hippocratic Oath - simply stand by and let him either sicken under withdrawal or support a behavior that will eventually kill him."

The professor sighed and rubbed his hands over his thighs. "I'm not at all comfortable with inflicting our decisions on someone else without their consent. Even if Paul is making the wrong choices, he has that right. We all do."

"He has that right, but not under my care." Hank had to pause, his voice was breaking. "I can't - just shoot him up until he's strong enough to go purchase some possibly tainted street drugs. Sweet stars, professor - you want a sick boy to be free to make his own suicidal choices and you're asking me to violate my oath?"

Hank glared, his dander up, until the professor sighed and nodded.

"No, of course not." The professor sighed. "If the methadone will give us time - give us all time - then it's what we need to do."

"It's the right thing to do." Hank said firmly.

When Paul started coming down again, he found the blue doctor staring hard at him. He wasn't alone this time, a pretty red-haired woman was there and - "Remy?"

His skinny john smiled briefly. He looked tense and Paul could sense the strong unease in him. "Oui, cher."

The big guy wasn't around. Paul shifted under the gaze of the three people, beginning to worry. "Where am I? I thought this was a hospital."

"A private hospital." The woman said then smiled reassuringly. Paul didn't feel reassured. They were all paying way to much attention to him. Things always went bad when people paid attention to him. "Is Paul your name? That's what Remy said."

"Yeah." Paul said cautiously. "Paul. Uh - thanks, for helping me, I mean. But - um I c-can't pay for some private hospital."

"That's quite alright, young man." The blue furry doctor said reassuringly. "We're not expecting you to provide us with finical remuneration."

Paul tried to push himself up and winced, sinking back against the bed. He cradled his hand carefully on his lap. "W-what the hell do you mean? What do you want with me?"

He stared wildly, suspiciously at Remy. What had he told these people. "Is this that - that school? The one on the card."

The woman smiled. "Yes. That's exactly it, Paul. This is a school. I'm Jean Gray, a teacher here. You've met Dr. McCoy and Remy already."

"Yeah. Sure." Paul said. "You a teacher here, Remy?"

"Non. Do - other t'ings."

Paul flushed. "Other things. 'Kay. So - what are you gonna want me to pay you with? Other things? Gotta get better first if you want me to whore for -"

"No!" The woman cried, flushing a startled crimson. "No, Paul. No - that's not what we want. We want to help you."


"Because you're a mutant." She said. "Like all of us."

Paul stared at her, shuddered. Of course. His eyes. They knew. Paul looked back at Remy and the man stared levelly at him with those red on black eyes. "So, you're just gonna blow all this money on me because I'm some mutant?"


Paul lay back and snorted. "Hell, what a bunch of shit."

Remy sighed. "Still de same. No trust, eh? Paul - "

He rolled his head on the pillow to look up at the man's thin face. "What?"

"You're eyes, homme." Remy shifted, glancing briefly at the woman and Dr. McCoy. The two showed no sign of leaving. "Dey like mine, oui?"

Paul shrugged. They had his contacts. His eyes were pretty obvious now. "So?"

"You - Remy was abandoned when he was a chile. Don remember his pa'ents." Remy leaned closer to him, and Paul could feel the urgency rolling off him. Taste the desperation. "You 'ave family? Where you come from? De pa'ents like - you - like us?"

Paul stared up at him. "What, you think I'm your long lost brother or something? That'd be pretty funny hun?"

Remy tensed and his eyes darted briefly to the others before fixing hard on Paul. He realized that the Cajun guy hadn't told anyone just how he'd met Paul. Paul smiled faintly and met the man's eyes. He had a hook on the man.

"Don know, homme." Remy shrugged casually, watching Paul, his emotions shifting from urgent curiosity to wariness. Then he became even more guarded and that ugly, cottony pressure in Paul's head came back. He snapped his eyes closed, swallowing hard at the discomfort and the nausea he'd been feeling lately surged back. He was gonna puke.

Paul scrabbled at the bed with his good hand, struggling to roll over, already heaving. Cried out in pain as the wound in his side was wrenched.

"He's goin' be sick!" Remy's hands were on him, helping him, flooding Paul with concern, mistrust, hope - too much. Sobbing, Paul threw up, barely managing to hang his head over the side rather than puke all over himself.

The heaves went on and on and he hurt so much. The blue mutant doctor was there and the woman, wiping his face, cleaning up with reassuring words while Paul lay on the bed cried in misery. The last thing he felt was someone wiping his face gently with a damp cloth. Remy.

Logan's footsteps paused at his door and Remy opened his eyes at the quiet knock.

"Remy awake, homme."

Logan came in, closing the door behind himself. It was very late, everyone else in the mansion was probably asleep. Remy was sitting up in bed, finishing a last cigarette and his usual, soothing game of solitaire.

"Figured y'still be up." Logan muttered, pulling the desk chair out and straddling it. Looked like the Wolverine wanted to talk. Remy lit up another cigarette.

"Drive Remy nuts, all de morning people here." He said. "Not'ing to do late at night, less he go to the city."

"Guess living in a family of thieves, everyone's up at night, huh?"

Remy tipped his head agreeably, waiting. This wasn't what the man had come to talk about.

"How's the kid?"

"Eh -" Remy frowned. "Still sick - puking every day, mostly. Henri do more tests an' more tests an don know why de kid so sick. Don got HIV, not any VD. Paul said he been sick for a couple of weeks. Say it jus de flu, Henri don believe him. But healing de knife wounds' good anyway. Getting restless -"

"Yeah. Got John t'clean his room up and get the other bed ready." Logan shrugged. "Guess Hank's gonna let him out soon."

"D'accord." Remy exhaled watching the jump and dart of energy in the smoke, bright enough to cast a glare the dark room, in his eyes anyway. He wondered if Paul saw like he did. The glitter of potential energy in the air, blinding during the day under the exiting light of the sun. He remembered the boy wearing sunglasses at night and maybe they hadn't been a style statement. "De boy - he know we didn't tell de Professur 'bout - "

"Fucking him." Logan finished bluntly.

"Oui. Paul don believe us - dat we want to help him. T'inks we gonna use him somehow." Remy grinned briefly. "Told Henri and Jean dat he gotta heal up before he can whore for dem. Shoulda seen Jean's face."

Logan snorted and rubbed his face uneasily. "Don't much like the idea of the kid holding something over our head, gumbo. He's scared and might try to use it against us."

"Oui. Remy know it, saw him realize he's holding de high card on us."

Logan sighed, resting his chin on his folded arms. Remy watched him, those rough features were so deceptive. The mean Wolverine could be as soft as a baby and as hard as - He cut the thought off, shifting uncomfortably. Didn't want the man smelling his hard-on. Those dark eyes snapped open.


"Eh -" He prompted when Logan didn't say anything else. This was what the man had come to his room in the middle of the night to talk about. He could feel it.

"When we were - fucking the kid - I don't remember much but I remember you kissed me. Why'd ya do it?"

"B'cause you wanted me to, homme." Remy said. "An Remy wanted to."

He could feel the flush from here and fought back the smile, heart beating hard in sudden hope. Maybe he could give his left hand a break.

"You been wanting to kiss Remy awhile, homme." He said softly. "Remy know it."

"Shit." Logan said softly, but fiercely. "Why t' hell didn't ya say anything?"

Remy snorted. "Why you not say anyt'ing? Remy know a lot of t'ings he shouldn't, homme. Learned when to keep his mouth shut - most of de time anyway. Remy t'ink you know t'ings too, eh? W'hat dat nose tells you - you don't repeat, non?"

Logan shifted and shrugged in agreement. "Guess so."

Remy nodded. "So? You want to kiss Remy again? Or was dat one time enough?"

Logan shifted and his attention drifted to Remy's mouth. Remy stayed very still as the other man abandoned the chair and came over to sit on his bed. He hesitated at the last moment, the thief could practically taste his uncertainty and desire. Remy tipped his head up and closed his eyes. The bed dipped as Logan leaned closer and the Cajun felt the gentle, hesitant touch of the man's mouth on his. He couldn't help his seeking response and didn't want to. Remy opened his mouth under Logan's, let the tip of his tongue stroke over the other man's lip, urging him to deepen the kiss.

Logan groaned softly and caught up the thief in his arms. His kisses grew demanding, hard though Remy could tell he was trying to be careful of his teeth. Remy leaned against the man's heavy chest, answering his eagerness with his own. He clutched at Logan's hair, protesting against his lips, when he tried to pull back.

"Gotta get my clothes off, gumbo" Logan said breathlessly. "Drivin' me nuts."

"Oui - yea, homme. Remy want you naked."

Logan stood and stripped quickly, avoiding Remy's hungry gaze. The thief could tell he was still uncomfortable, but determined. Remy's gaze dropped to the man's cock - Logan was partly hard, thick and heavy and swaying hypnotically. Remy licked his lips convulsively and reached out, pulling Logan to the edge of the bed with a hand on his hip. He took the semi-hard cock in his mouth without hesitation, feeling it surge and swell rapidly as Logan's hand clenched hard in his hair.

"Ah - Christ, Remy!" Logan's hips jerked and the rush of shared pleasure made Remy moan. "Give a warning - shit. Man, that's good."

"Mmm - d'accord." Remy let his cock slide free and licked his way up the spill of dark hair on Logan's chest. He sucked on a nipple, nibbling lightly and pulled the other man onto the bed with him. Logan pulled at his boxers and Remy lifted his hips eagerly.

The man's mouth was back on his, sucking at his lips, nipping. The thief felt the sharp sting of his teeth and tasted blood. Logan mumbled an apology, sucking on the small cut. Remy trailed his fingernails down the man's back, smiling as he gasped loudly and bit his neck. They were already moving together, Logan was humping urgently against Remy's thigh and the thief's cock was rubbing deliciously in the trail of dark hair on the man's belly.

Remy tore his mouth from Logan's, panting for air. The heat between them was sharp, the burn of Logan's urgent desire, somewhat confused but honest affection and real nervousness was touching. Remy stroked the man's hair, Logan turned into the caress.

"Can I fuck ya, Remy?" Logan breathed against his chest, licking a nipple. Remy squirmed under the touch, moaning at the thought of Logan inside him. He'd been jealous of Paul, back then, watching Logan drive into him.

"Ah - Oui - Dieu, yes." He gasped, arching up shamelessly. "Remy w'ant dat too."

Logan slid down him, mouthing Remy's skin, sucking, biting, growling under his breath. He wasn't uncertain anymore. Remy could feel it. Feel the man's pleasure, feeding his own. Remy reached to stroke Logan's cock then turned on his belly, lifting to his hands and knees and offered himself up to the man's hunger. "In de drawer, homme. Lube."

Logan grunted and leaned over Remy, pausing to rub against him and dip down to bite his back gently. Remy shivered. The man liked to use his mouth and he wondered if Logan could be coaxed into using his mouth other places. The thought of Logan sucking his cock made Remy hiss under his breath and push back against the cock nudging his ass.

"Ah - this shit's cold!" Logan complained, smearing his cock with gel. Remy snickered.

"Remy ain't cold, cher. He warm you right up." He shivered when he felt Logan's cock slide between his legs then nudge his balls. Logan grabbed his hip, pulling him up a little, Remy arched his back, his cock a heavy weight between his legs, and felt Logan press agianst him.

"Ah - easy der, homme." He gasped at the abrupt ache. Logan stilled, groaning a little. "Go slow, been a while for ol' Remy."

"God, Christ - Remy - " Logan panted, edging in carefully, hands shaking on the thief's skin. "Damn, you're tight. So good - jesus."

Remy closed his eyes, savoring the weight and feel, even the pain of the first few thrusts. Rode Logan's visceral delight, the man was loving every second, every touch, every taste. Remy loved him loving it. His cock was drooling all over the sheets and every time Logan thrust the pleasure would stab through him like a knife. Remy spread his knees wider with a whine, begining to push back agianst the other man's rhythm. Logan rocked into him, leaning over his back, panting.

"Chirst, you're a sweet as a girl, Remy." He gasped, clutching the sheets and buring his face in Remy's long hair. Remy groaned, pissed, and pried one of Logan's hands off the bed. He shaped the thick fingers around his desperate cock.

"Feel dat? Remy - ain't no girl, homme."

Logan groaned deeply and began to pull on his cock in time to his thrusts. Remy wailed softly, trapped in the rhythm, the stroke on his cock echoing the stroke in his ass. Hot breath on the back of his neck and a wet mouth sucking his skin, Logan's heat and hunger and pleasure like a deep tide caring him away. Logan was already close - was close and slamming convulsively into Remy's ass. Coming - they were both coming - Logan sinking his teeth into Remy's shoulder while the thief yelled and shot all over the man's fingers. Cried out again, sharing Logan's feelings, as he clamped around Lgoan's buried cock and the other man practically screamed at the feel of it.

Remy braced himself, sobbing for air, as Logan collapsed on his back. The man's cock was still twitching and jerking inside him, going soft. They both groaned when it slipped out and they were finally separated.

"H-heavy, homme." Remy finally managed and Logan fumbled his way off Remy's back. The Canadian flopped onto Remy's bed, staring at the ceiling and catching his breath. Remy dropped onto the bed, panting into the pillow. Logan's hand ran down his back. He wasn't just going to leave then, after fucking, like so many men did.

The thief turned to look at Logan's profile. Not a handsome man, no. But Remy had his fill of handsome men. "Remy get closer? Dat okay?"

He asked because so many men like Logan, men who didn't fuck men, men who tried to pretend he was a girl, men who were used to thinking with their fists and their dicks, didn't want anything to do with Remy once they stopped thinking with their little head. He didn't believe Logan would hurt him, really, but - if Logan was going to get all outraged, Remy wanted to know now.

The Canadian rolled his head to eye Remy, then shifted, pulling the slender thief against his side. Remy sighed, snuggled in, and closed his eyes. He stroked the hairy chest slowly and smiled when Logan shivered. The man was ticklish. Something to know. Logan rubbed his stubbly chin against Remy's hair. The thief kissed his neck, licking up salt.

"The kid." Logan said after a while of drowsy silence. "Shit - what the hell we gonna do?"

Remy shifted, hit with a startling pang of jealousy and desire. Paul was like him. More like him than anyone he'd ever met. His eyes, something of his powers, perhaps. And he remembered how good the kid had felt. Clever mouth. Long sweet cock. And something else. So close, so hot. So hungry and the three of them tangled together on cheap sheets, Paul's pure pleasure binding them all together. The thief still dreamed of it and he'd bet that Logan did too.

It wasn't something you forgot. Just like he couldn't forget that Paul was underage, desperate, and fucking to stay alive.

"Don know." Remy sighed. "Jean gonna figure it out - he don strike Remy like someone who keeps secrets good."

"Na." Logan was running his fingers through Remy's hair and that was a pleasure so unexpected, so gentle, that Remy nearly wept. Been a long, long time since he'd had any tenderness.

"Gonna tell Wheels."

"Dieu! Non!" Remy sat bolt upright. "De protestant white mutant scion of de wealthy hisself? De man probably voted for Regan! He'll kill us!"

Logan smirked. "Forget y'still kinda new here, gumbo. Ya avoid 'paths like the plague. Y'don't know as much about him as ya think. Y'ever wonder why he and Eric - Magneto - always goin' after each other like cats an'dogs? They got history. He ain't the upright, uptight white man he acts."

"So he ain't gonna have a problem wid us fucking de kid an lying about it?"

Logan sighed. "Oh, he'll have a cow alright. But ya don't wanna see him if he has to find out when the kid tries to blackmail us or lets it spill just to piss us off. Ya think Jeannie's got a temper. That man's hair was red, when he had it, too."