Dedicated to Jana, who bribed me with a thin mint ice-cream to get me off my butt and start working.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE'S GONE?!"
"Logan! Calm down! She's not in any danger. Gambit took her along with him to settle some...personal matters."
"WHAT?! NOT IN ANY DANGER?! The Cajun IS danger. She'd better not be hurt in any way or so help me, when I'm done, there won't be enough left of the Cajun to make Gumbo!"
"They're fine. We only just communicated with them yesterday." Cyclops reassured the fuming Logan.
"Yeah. Till you ran into some interference," came Bobby's sardonic voice.
"Drake, you're not helping the situation."
"Hey fearless leader, I merely stated the facts that you conveniently left out."
"Are you implying that I..."
"Boys, boys, boys. Let's all cool down and think of some rational action to take rather than slugging it out over supper," Jean said as she came out of the kitchen, balancing a large blueberry pie while trying to hold the door open.
"Here, lemme give you a hand with that Jeannie."
"Thanks but no thanks, Logan." A flare of light blue energy surrounded the door and held it open.
"Why didn't you use your telekinesis in the first place?" Warren queried.
"I was trying to do things the 'old-fashioned way', no powers," Jean replied laughingly. "Just proves that I've become too dependent on my powers to aid me in doing ordinary routine chores."
"Speaking of chores, where's Rogue? She's supposed to do the laundry today." Scott asked.
"Oh. She went shopping with Storm. Won't be back for a couple of days." Bobby replied nonchalantly.
"A couple of days? Shopping? Ya kidding right?"
Bobby brandished a neatly folded up piece of paper and waved it around. "She left a note on the refrigerator."
Logan took it from Bobby and sniffed at it. Beneath the familiar scent of Robert Drake were two distinctly feminine scents. Not Rogue's. Not Storm's. A low, feral growl emitted from his throat.
Sapphire lay back on her bed, staring up at the stark white ceiling. She did not know how to feel or what to do. Sadness threatened to overwhelm her when she learnt that Jubilee was an orphan, that her parents were...that her parents had gone before them. That sadness was dulled by the realisation that she had really lost them years ago. A warm glow filled her soul at the thought of her baby sister, Jubilee. Only she was not a baby anymore, she was an X-man.
Then there was Remy. It was so long ago when both their innocence and youth had been stripped away from them. Thrust into the cold and uncaring world, forced to participate in activities of utter humiliation, broken in body and spirit. God had forsaken them. Reality seized them cruelly by the throat.
Remy was the stronger of the two of them but even he eventually gave in, subjecting himself to whatever his 'employer' had planned for him. Living a life of abject terror, under the shadow of their owner. Constantly fearing that the wrath of their owner would bring the sting of the whiplash down upon them if they failed to satisfy their customers. How they yearned for freedom, for their families, most of all, for their lost childhood.
It was one of those slow nights. Neither of them had any customers to serve. They were in her room. Remy sat on floor, seemingly lost in his thoughts, as always.
"Remy?" He cast her a quick glance. "Do you miss your family?"
"I miss them all the time."
"I...I can't really remember dem. Who dey are. What dey look like." He looked ashamed of himself.
"Where are you from?"
Sapphire nodded. "At least we'll know where to start looking for them if we ever get out of this rathole." She paused. "What is your surname? You never told me."
"...can't remember..." he said softly.
"Don't you worry about it. My folks will do their best to help you find your family."
"Ain' ever goin' t' find dem."
"Dey never came f' me. Never tried t' find me."
"How do you know that? Maybe they're still trying...maybe..."
"Don' you t'ink dey would 'ave found me by now if dey tried hard enough!"
"Do you love them?" After a moment's hesitation, Remy nodded. "Do they love you?"
"Dey did...once." Remy closed his eyes, struggling to push back the tears that were squeezing out under his eyelids.
Sapphire reached over and hugged him. Her heart ached for him. Beneath his hardened exterior he was just like any other child. He needed his parent's love, wanted the assurance that they would always be there for him when he needed them. They had failed him. They failed to protect him from the harsh environment. Left to fend for himself, he found himself quite unable to do so. A lamb amongst wolves, vulnerable, very much alone and so very afraid. Perhaps he consciously or unconsciously suppressed the memory of his parents because they were incapable of given him their love and protection when he needed them most.
She tried to reassure him that his parents still loved him and had never stopped their search for him just as she knew hers never would abandon her. He eventually ran out of tears. They sat in silence, neither one of them saying a word.
Finally, he pulled himself away from her. There was a determined look on his youthful face. Sapphire knew he had resolved to do something. Something about his parents, she was sure, she knew that look, the pure blue flame blazed in his eyes. She was wrong.
"We'll escape." Remy said quietly.
"Y' love your parents an' your petite sister, dey obviously love y' too. We'll sneak out, stowaway on a ship t' America. We'll find your parents. I promise." He spoke with grim determination.
"But what about..."
"My parents?" He smiled sadly. "I no longer know dem. I 'ave no hope of ever findin' dem. We'll deal wit' yours first." Sapphire's heart soared. She was finally going to be reunited with her family.
"When do we...?"
"Business is slack, dey won' t'ink of lookin' f' us, until it's too late."
"Trust me. I'll help you find your family." Sapphire nodded.
End of Part 10