Disclaimer: I don't know how the "Any Kinda Breath" story is going to turn out at this point. Kaylee wouldn't say. All I know is this is one way that it *might* have happened. As for continuity, it's branching off from that story sometime after the second chapter, but before the end - whatever that's going to be. ;-)
Written because I like happy endings, and this one was the one I came up with most likely to end in a full recovery for Remy. <g>
As always, I don't own them; Marvel owns the originals, Kaylee owns their mooky incarnations.Catching His Beath
They came in the dusk, like the predators they were, and attacked without warning.
Bobby was bathing Remy, soft cloth sliding smoothly over pale, wasted flesh, when the door crashed in, along with a good chunk of the wall. The two men inside the bedroom looked up in astonishment, staring at the invaders, before Bobby iced up, and Remy made a frantic roll, trying to make it to the other side of the large bed. He didn't make it, doubling up with racking coughs before he could get out of the line of fire.
"Give us LeBeau and you live, Iceman," the leader, a tall man with long black hair and a drooping mustache sneered.
Bobby's reply was extremely profane, and in Cajun French. It was obviously something that he'd picked up from Remy.
"Big talk, feeb. Now hand him over, before we decide that killing you's fun enough to risk damaging the merchandise. You know Sinister is his only chance," Scalphunter said, with a nasty smile. It was obvious that he was only bothering to talk because he'd been ordered to bring Remy to his master unharmed, and a fight might result in the Cajun getting injured.
"Rather die... dan be... Sinister's... again," Remy gasped. He could barely breath, and there was no doubt that he was truly dying, but there was just as little doubt about his sincerity. "Ain't... g-gonna let... 'im t-t-twist... me... like 'e... did y'." He stopped, gasping for breath, "M' soul... not... much... but... all I... got."
Bobby was uncharacteristically silent, simply watching the Marauders, waiting for them to make a move. At that, he spoke up. "You heard him. Get out." His voice, like his form, was ice.
The Marauders laughed.
In the case of Scrambler and Scalphunter, that was the last thing they ever did. Scalphunter's finger had just begun to tighten on the trigger of the massive gun he carried when he was frozen solid. Scrambler, standing beside him, suffered the same fate.
The others froze in astonishment for the barest instant. This wasn't an Iceman that they'd seen before, not one that they'd expected. No one had seen this Iceman, not even his lover. This Iceman was a killer.
Arclight broke through her paralysis first, charging at Iceman, fist pulled back to shatter him into crushed ice. A spear of ice stopped her charge, and her heart. Harpoon pulled a javelin from the quiver on his back, and a battering ram of ice slammed him hard. Iceman remembered those harpoons penetrating his ice-walls, and pinning his friend Warren to a stinking sewer wall, like a butterfly pinned to a specimen tray.
And then Vertigo hit him. Everyone always seemed to forget her, but her power matched her name. Iceman stumbled and he vaguely heard Remy retching. He was too thin already, Bobby thought distantly, he can't handle this for long. Got to pull it together enough to ice them without hurting hi.....
He'd only needed a moment. Just a second to gather his wits. But Blockbuster didn't give him that second to recover. Those massive fists clubbed together and came down on him like a sledgehammer. Once, and he felt himself graying out. Twice. He could feel his ice-form cracking. Three times, and he shattered.
As if from a great distance, he heard Remy scream.
More than one.
It didn't matter. Nothing mattered but pulling himself together.
<Bobby!> came a voice, horrified, angry, frightened. <Bobby, can you hear me!?!>
He felt a vague irritation. Couldn't they see he was trying to concentrate, to pull the scattered pieces of his body back together?
<Bobby, what happened? Where's Remy?>
Oh, God. Remy.
Just like that, everything snapped back together. Just like that, the shards of ice that formed his body shifted state, turned to water, flowed together into a puddle that he rose from as ice. "Remy!" He staggered and almost fell. The transition was so fast, so sudden, it put him off-balance. "Oh, God, the Marauders..."
Faces around him paled, bodies jerked to attention. Marauders. Every X-man knew that name. Everyone here had faced them, and none came out of it unscathed. If they hadn't been injured in body, then the scars were carried on the soul.
"Did they say where they were going, or what they wanted him for?" Prosaic Scott Summers vanished and Cyclops, leader of the X-men, took his place.
"They want him alive. And some of the stuff that Remy's said... I think Sinister's going to put him into a clone body. It's gotta be easier than repairing all the damage the chemo and the cancer have done to him. We've got to get him before that happens."
"What?!?!?" about half of the assembled X-men yelled in shock.
"You don't understand. When Sinister downloads somebody's personality into a clone, he chooses what goes in. What they remember, how they remember it, the attitudes they have towards those memories... that's why the 'Rauders are so nasty. Because he made them that way. They were no angels before, but they weren't psycho, Remy says."
"Like he's the poster boy for mental health?" Warren muttered.
Bobby gave him a glare colder than his powers, but otherwise ignored the comment. "If we don't get to Remy before Sinister transfers him into that clone, we're screwed. We'll be up against someone who looks like Remy, acts like Remy, knows everything about us that Remy does... but is completely loyal to Sinister. Maybe he could be brought back, maybe not. But the Remy we know will have ceased to exist."
"But if we stop this from happening, he'll die."
"'My soul's not much, but it's all I've got.' That's what he told the Marauders. Besides, you don't really think Sinister would have taken him without that clone being ready for the transfer, do you? If we can steal the clone while we're rescuing Remy..."
Jean looked at him, eyes wide. "If I can't figure out how to transfer him over to the clone body, I'm sure Emma could. Scott, he's right, this could work!"
Bobby could swear he saw Scott's eyes narrow in consideration beneath the ruby-quartz glasses. "Yes, it could." He looked around the destroyed room, the melting piles of ice everywhere. And the blood. "How many did you manage to take out?" Scott asked.
"Scrambler, Scalphunter, and Arclight. Maybe Harpoon, I don't know how bad I hurt him, but I hit him hard as I could."
"Did they say where they were taking him?"
"Nope. But we all have a pretty good idea where he'll be."
Scott's grim expression went even grimmer. "The orphanage." He looked at Bobby, considering the younger man's obvious shakiness. The shock and the over-extension of his powers was hitting him now, countering the effects of the adrenalin rush that had allowed him to pull himself back together, and he staggered with exhaustion.
Hank scooped him up in massive, furry arms. "Jean, call Cecilia Reyes. Tell her that Rogue will be there to pick her up in a few minutes. I'll get Bobby settled in the infirmary and join the rest of you in the hanger as soon as she arrives." He hurried down the hallway with Bobby cradled in his embrace.
Ten minutes later, Hank bounded into the hanger and into the Blackbird. "Bobby is exhausted, but otherwise unharmed," he said tersely. His agitation was plain in the bluntness of his speech, and he was still in his civilian clothes. He slipped back into the small lavatory in the back of the plane to change into his usual uniform briefs, then rejoined the others in the main cabin.
In the laboratory complex beneath the abandoned orphanage that Scott Summers had spent the last half of his childhood in, the Marauders presented Sinister with their prize. Remy gazed up at Sinister with an utterly uncharacteristic passivity.
"Might I ask what possessed you not to come to me?" Sinister asked him, almost mildly. "You know perfectly well that I can cure cancer. When I am given the chance to treat the cancer early enough, that is. At your current stage, nothing short of cloning will be sufficient to completely reverse the degeneration of your physical condition, however." His black lips pressed into a thin line. "Were you anyone else, I would be sorely tempted to simply leave you to the fate that your own foolishness has delivered you to."
Remy merely gazed at him with blank, empty eyes.
Sinister frowned at him. "Answer me, LeBeau."
"Go t' hell." His voice was flat and uncaring. The only reason that he was sitting upright was because Blockbuster was holding him by the shoulders in a chair that Sinister had graciously provided for him.
"Don't be tiresome, LeBeau," Sinister snapped. "You know as well as I do that I'm your only chance to live. If McCoy had a cure, he'd have used it by now. As it is, you're facing a slow and painful demise, unless you cease provoking me and return to my service."
"Dere's... worse t'ings... than death."
Sinister's crimson eyes seemed to roll derisively. "Please, LeBeau. You're starting to sound like those sentimental fools that you've been living with for the past few years."
There was a momentary spark of life in the red-on-black eyes that gazed back at him, then it was quenched. Sinister frowned in confusion. Remy's behavior was nothing like normal. Even sick as he was, the Cajun should be spitting defiance at him, or begging him to save his life. He should be reacting somehow, not simply gazing at him with those blank, empty eyes. "Whatever you're planning, forget it, LeBeau. I'm not letting you slip out of my fingers again. You will serve me, and you will not give me any reason to regret giving you this second chance. Is that understood?"
Those uncaring eyes gazed at him. "Put him on the table," he snarled in frustration. The Marauders hastened to obey, not eager to annoy him after the totally unexpected casualties they'd taken from Iceman. Sinister had found the damage done by the man most considered the X-men's class clown to be anything but amusing.
Remy didn't bother to fight, knowing that he stood no chance of any kind of physical resistance. Instead, he went totally limp, making the Marauders manhandle him over to the examining table. His long limbs made him a rather awkward burden, but Blockbuster was enough bigger than Remy to be able to haul him over relatively easily.
Sinister began attaching electrodes to Remy's head and chest, positioning the leads carefully for maximum effect. "You've seen this before, Remy, although your stubbornness led you to refuse the safety factor inherent in memory recordings. Simply relax and let the machine do its work."
Remy was too weakened by the cancer to make any credible escape attempt, and the flat position of his body was making it hard to breath, but he managed to make an extremely rude gesture at Sinister and turned his head away from the scientist, a plain rejection that he didn't have the breath to verbalize.
"Don't be an ass, LeBeau," Sinister snapped. "You know as well as I do this is your only chance at life. And we both know that there's nothing you value more highly than your own skin. That's why you ran from the Marauders in the tunnels, after all." Remy made no response to that, simply stared into nothingness.
Sinister gave up attempting to reason with him. "Very well. Be stubborn. You will still obey me." He walked over to the controls and activated the memory recorder.
Nothing happened. The eyes of the man on the examining table remained fixed on empty space and the sensors showed absolutely no psionic energy being transmitted or recorded.
Sinister cursed. "Lower your shields, LeBeau."
"No," Remy wheezed.
"Remmmy..." Sinister said, stretching his name out in irritation, "you will do what I tell you. Now."
One side of Remy's mouth twitched slightly. "Or... what? Y'... kill... me?" There was a flash of mordant humor in his eyes, quickly dying. "Too... late... f'... dat... t'reat."
"I am giving you a second chance at life," Sinister snarled.
"Don't... want... it."
"I didn't ask your permission, LeBeau. You belong to me. Now drop your shields, or I shall force you to."
"Can't... hurt... w'out... killin'." He was gasping for breath after each word, but managed two more. "Fuck... y'self." Remy was visibly fading, his condition deteriorating as Sinister watched. The Marauders had long since taken advantage of the distraction the argument had afforded and slipped out of the lab.
"My dear Remy, I have no need to torture you. All I have to do is neutralize the effects of the painkillers that Dr. McCoy has undoubtedly been providing you with, and your own body will break down your resistance quite handily."
He injected Remy with the contents of a small vial, and waited, nodding as he noticed the fine sheen of sweat forming on the sick man's upper lip and brow. He walked over to the controls and waited patiently. Remy began to moan, panting with the effects of pain and oxygen deprivation caused by his malfunctioning lungs. His eyes squeezed shut in agony, but not a trace of mental energy escaped his shields.
For the first time, Sinister was beginning to worry. The vital signs were spiraling downward, deteriorating at a steadily accelerating pace, and despite his agony, Remy's shields were showing no signs of cracking.
"Quit being stubborn, LeBeau," Sinister commanded.
There was a crash at the door. "Hey Gumbo! Time to bust out of this roach motel," Logan said. Cyclops, behind him, didn't speak. He simply opened fire on Sinister, using a wide-angle beam that sliced through the electrodes connecting Remy to the memory recorder even as it knocked Sinister off his feet.
Over their heads as they came through the door were Rogue and Phoenix, the two flying women splitting up, Rogue attacking Sinister while Jean made a beeline for Remy, snapping a force field up around him.
The force field went down as the Marauders appeared through another door and Vertigo attacked Jean, the distortion field the green-haired woman was projecting shattering the red-headed telepath's concentration, causing her to drop unceremoniously to the floor.
The room became a mass of flying bodies and deadly attacks as the two teams battled each other. It was a blinding flurry of activity that Remy simply couldn't follow in his weakened and depressed state. He wasn't sure who was winning, although the Marauders' losses back at the Mansion tipped the odds in the X-Men's favor. But with Sinister there and actually participating, anything could happen.
The blur suddenly resolved itself into a tableau as Blockbuster grabbed Warren by the wings, one meaty hand at the base of each wing. "Give it up, or I rip his wings off!" the massive Marauder bellowed triumphantly.
Remy could feel the terror coming off Warren in waves. He'd lost his first wings in the Morlock Massacre, pinned to the wall like a butterfly to a specimen tray by Harpoon as Blockbuster held him still. He'd played a part in that tragedy, and he'd been paying for his stupidity ever since. He couldn't let Warren be hurt like that again.
He reached out one wasted hand and brushed his fingertips against the soft feathers of Angel's wings, just the faintest touch, but that was all he needed. The terror of the moment combined with the remembered pain, fear and hatred of the tunnels hit Remy like a sledgehammer between the eyes. He could feel it flooding through him, and he took all of those emotions that he'd connected to inside Warren, all the hatred and guilt that he felt, all his memories of the pain that he'd sensed - he'd absorbed - in the tunnels himself, all the emotions that the fight had released into the psychic atmosphere in the room, and slammed it all into the minds of the Marauder.
Remy couldn't see the expression on Blockbuster's face, but he felt the massive mutant's mind shatter under the blow, and he almost passed out from the backlash.
He saw Warren look back at him over his shoulder incredulously, but then the winged man flew back into the fray. There were more important things to worry about than exactly how a man too weak to stand had taken Blockbuster down.
Jean fought her way over to the examination table, picked Remy up, and flew with him over to the cloning tank, where Beast was extracting the clone while Rogue protected him. Cyclops was attacking Sinister, his optic blasts the only known force which could actually hurt the scientific monstrosity. Vertigo was already down, and Prism, as usual, had been shattered, but no one particularly wanted to get in the path of Cyclops' optic blasts, which were being fired at perilously near full-power. Of the remaining X-Men, only Storm had a long-range attack, and she was blasting away at Sinister with lightning bolts that blazed as brightly as the sun.
Remy leaned against Jean's soft breast. The way she was holding him, propped against her shoulder, eased the constriction in his chest somewhat. Besides, she just felt nice, soft skin over strong muscles and long silky red hair brushing against his gaunt face.
Sinister finally retreated, obviously frustrated. "You shall rue this day, X-Men," he asserted coldly as he stepped through a tesseract that he opened behind him. "No one steals that which is Sinister's."
They retreated to the Blackbird hastily, knowing that Sinister was perfectly capable of destroying one of his bases behind him in the hopes of taking his enemies down as well.
Hank placed the clone in one of the twin portable med-units in the rear of the Blackbird, and hastily turned his attention over to Remy, injecting him with a massive dose of painkillers. "There. That should make you more comfortable."
Remy didn't respond, merely turning his gaze to the bulkhead, eyes still dull and dead.
Hank frowned. "Remy. Look at me." He turned the Cajun's face toward him. "Remy. Do not retire from the field at this juncture. Not when we have a chance to return you to your previous vitality." Remy's eyes closed, and Hank frowned. "Remy, I have absolutely no desire to return to the mansion only inform Bobby of your demise."
Remy's eyes opened in surprise. "Bobby's... alive?" he rasped.
"Indeed he is, padnat," Storm assured him, warm mahogany hand stroking his forehead gently. "Dr. Reyes is with him to ensure that he does not take a turn for the worse, but Hank informed us that the only ill-effect from the injuries he suffered at the Marauders' hands was fatigue. If he hadn't exhausted himself so thoroughly, he would be here with us now."
The flat, emotionless expression in Remy's eyes shattered under the sudden upwelling of hope. "How... heal?" he rasped. The deterioration of his vital signs was beginning to slow as he began to fight again, resisting the dark pull of death, but he was still dangerously unstable, and every breath was coming only with a massive effort.
"As soon as we return to the mansion, Jean and Emma shall transfer your mind into the clone that we retrieved from Sinister," Hank said confidently. "You shall be thoroughly vital once more." He scowled at the debilitated Cajun. "And if you ever so much as look at another cigarette again, I shall perform an appendectomy upon you without the use of anaesthetic. I am not letting you put us all through this again."
"Let... you," Remy said, with a tired smile. "Stupid." His eyes slipped closed, but then reopened with an obvious effort. "Trans... fer... now?" Even through the haziness of the drugs that Hank had injected him with, it was obvious that he was in tremendous pain, and he was still slipping away.
"Try to hang on, Remy," Hank soothed him. "It will be much safer to have Emma on hand, and to use Cerebro to enhance the telepaths' power."
Hank felt a sudden wave of pain flowing over him, faint but real, and Jean cried out in sudden agony, rushing back to the medical unit. "Remy, Remy, calm down, I'm here, it's all right, just be patient..."
He looked up at her with pleading eyes. "Hurts..." he whispered, looking shamed at the admission.
She stroked his cheek. "I know, but you need to hang on just a little while longer. We're almost home. Listen to the engines, can't you hear how they're straining? We're going as fast as we can. As soon as we get to the mansion I'll help you shift to the new body, but you have to hang on until then."
He closed his eyes. "Try."
Somehow, he managed it. The Blackbird flew toward the mansion at full thrust, silent save for the hissing roar of the engines and the soft sound of the lullaby that Ororo hummed as she stroked his patchy fuzz of hair. He'd cut it off when it began to fall out in great clumps, saying it looked worse that way than it would gone completely. Bobby hadn't been happy about it, but that went without saying. Bobby hadn't been happy period since Remy'd taken that last turn for the worse.
It had been an unsettling change for the other X-Men. No one really thought about how much Bobby's relentless good-humor had lightened things up, any more than they'd realized how Remy's wild streak had distracted them from the brooding that X-Men seemed so prone to.
Remy's condition had stabilized by the time that they arrived at the mansion, but it was a precarious kind of stability, balanced on a razor's edge. He could go either way terribly easily, as Hank noticed when Bobby met them at the door to the hanger. The Cajun's vital signs made an immediate, although subtle, improvement.
"Emma's here," he said brusquely. "She said bring him into the Cerebro chamber, it'll be easier to do it with the helmet thingy to amp Jean's powers." He still looked tired, but not too bad. You'd never have known by looking at him that he'd literally been smashed to pieces less than six hours before. But it was obvious that he was worried about Remy. He couldn't take his eyes off the Cajun.
They whisked him down to the Cerebro chamber, a large metal room. The room's chill wasn't merely psychological, and Remy shivered as the air-conditioning hit him. Even in the portable med-unit, he was cold.
On the edges of his perception, he sensed Jean talking telepathically with the others. Probably something along the lines of "go away, we need to work without anyone underfoot", because they reluctantly left, Bobby walking backwards to catch every last glimpse of Remy, and Hank withdrew to one side. Emma looked down at Remy in the med-bed like she was inspecting a bug under glass. "You look horrible."
Remy didn't feel like trying to talk, and he wasn't entirely sure that he had the energy to make a sufficiently emphatic gesture, so he just projected a very strong, quite disgusting image at her. She laughed. "Be good, little thief. Giving me a headache is not the way to get me to help you."
He glared at her, but not too hard. "Jean." As firm as he could make it. He didn't want any question of who was going to be relocating his mind.
"Oh, very well. But I am the most experienced person with body-switching, so you'll just have to put up with me as backup."
He didn't answer her, just tightened his shields a bit more.
"Relax, LeBeau. I have very little interest in whatever is on your tiny little mind. Considering that you willingly consort with Drake, it can't be much."
Remy's lips pulled back from his teeth in a snarl and his eyes flashed with crimson fire as he struggled to get up, to get enough breath to spit out his opinion of her.
"Shut up," Hank growled in a voice very few had ever heard from him. It wasn't easy to get the Beast truly angry, but the White Queen had managed it. Then again, if anything was guaranteed to do that, insulting his best friend and upsetting a critically ill patient at the same time would do it.
Emma drew herself up to her full height and opened her mouth to deliver a scathing reply, but Jean snapped at her. "We don't have any time to argue. Hank, monitor Remy's condition. Emma, link to me. I want you ready to back me up if anything goes wrong."
She went to the massive metal chair in the center of the room and placed the odd-looking helmet over her head. *Remy. I need you to open your shields to me. Let me help you.*
If he'd had the energy he'd have shuddered. *I... oui. Be careful, Jeannie. My head not a good place t' be.* There were layers and levels to that comment that Jean didn't understand, and wasn't going to pry into. She didn't know all of his secrets, she hadn't known about his involvement in the Morlock Massacre until Rogue had told everyone, but she knew that there was a darkness inside him that terrified him far more than any external threat ever could. He wasn't evil, far from it, but his life had forced him to become hard. He'd do whatever he must to survive.
Jean reached out with her mind and gathered him in, cradling his essence as carefully as a newborn baby. With infinite gentleness, she found the cords that bound his spirit to his body and gently began transferring them from one form to the other. He remained passive for a few moments, watching carefully, then the bonds began moving of their own accord. He was taking charge of the transfer. If he'd known how to do it before, he wouldn't have needed any assistance at all, just someone to lend him enough power to pull it off. Maybe not even that if he'd been healthy. It probably would have been different if he'd been trying to take over someone else's body, but the clone was mindless, a tabula rasa. Shifting Remy's consciousness into the clone's form was no more difficult than transferring files from one computer to another, a matter of performing the function that the clone had been created for.
The med-unit holding Remy's old body began to shrill alarms as the vital signs crashed.
Remy, now in the clone body, looked over at his former body as it died.
"Dis is seriously weird," Remy said meditatively as he watched Hank switch off the alarms. He looked at his hands, turning them over, inspecting them as if he'd never seen them before.
Which was only reasonable, actually, given that he hadn't ever really seen these hands, and the hands of his old body had been wasted away to sticks for months now. He lowered his new hands to his sides again and closed his eyes, laying still for a few very long minutes. Then he sat up, slightly clumsy. Part of it was the new body, part the months of weakness that had preceded this unexpected series of events, part probably mild shock after the stresses of the day.
It wasn't until he swung his legs over the edge of the med-unit that Hank snapped out of his happy befuddlement. "Oh, no, my friend. You aren't going anywhere until we are absolutely certain that...."
Hank yelped as a patch of the floor exploded a foot or two his right. "I. Am. Fine. I wan' Bobby an' I wan' him now," Remy said firmly, accent thick as bayou mud. "Y' had y' chance at de ol' poke an' prod when I wasn't in dis body, y' jus' be satisfied wit' dat. Go dissect de ol' one or somet'in'." He gestured carelessly at the wasted corpse that had been his body scant minutes before. A close observer might have noticed that he didn't actually look at it, and that for all his nonchalance, his muscles were tightly drawn as guitar strings.
"Remy, I do not believe that you are making a wise decision...."
Jean laid her delicate hand on Hank's massive, furry shoulder. "Hank, the mind-transfer went incredibly well, the linkage is quite stable. There shouldn't be any problems, and after everything that's happened, Bobby is probably the second-most qualified person on the team to deal with any kind of medical problem. And he certainly would call you - or me - if anything came up that he couldn't handle. There's no way that he'd risk Remy."
Hank looked like he was going to protest, then subsided with a rueful chuckle. "What is the world coming to, that we can depend on Bobby Drake to be utterly sensible?"
Remy stood up, a bit unsteadily, and brushed past Emma, who merely sent a cool, considering glance after him.
The rest of the team was in the hallway outside the Cerebro chamber, waiting for word. Even Warren and Betsy were there, although it was doubtlessly because of Bobby rather than him. Warren and Bobby had been friends for years before Remy'd joined the X-Men, and Betsy was in love with Warren.
Not that Remy cared why any of them was there at that particular moment. He gave Ororo a quick squeeze of a hand and a slanting smile in passing, but his eyes were only on Bobby, drinking in the way the younger man's eyes lit up at seeing him hale and hearty and totally intent on him. He walked straight up to him, kissed him hard, then pulled back and said, "Bed. Now."
Bobby's smile was blinding.
Logan snorted. "So much for quiet nights around here." But neither man heard him, quickly walking down the corridor together, hands entwined and hips brushing in silent promise.
Once in the safety of their room, Remy wrapped his arms around Bobby and lifted him to the bed, hands and lips and tongue desperately eager, hot enough to scorch, Bobby's motions just as ardent. Bobby distantly heard the sound of cloth ripping, but it didn't matter, nothing mattered right now but the touch, the affirmation that Remy was here, he was alive and well and wanting him so badly, both needing the physical contact to reassure them that this was real, not just some dream.
Bobby'd never felt anything so intense, so immediate. Remy'd never responded with such total abandon, such compelling ardor. Only once before had they even approached this peak of intimacy, the night that Remy'd been diagnosed, but this was more powerful than even that incredible experience. No fear here, only relief. Release. Freedom from stress and sickness and long-buried terror. The chains that had held them back were broken, the subconscious defenses that each of them had dropped and shattered in an instant. Nothing mattered but the moment.
Bobby could almost believe that he felt Remy's mind, his very soul, touching his....
Remy's head dropped to Bobby's shoulder and finally, at long last, he allowed himself to release all the buried terror and pain of the past few months, all the heartache of a lifetime, in his lover's arms. Tears soaked Bobby's skin as the Cajun's body shook with silent sobs, and warm arms surrounded him as a gentle voice offered comfort and security. And when the storm had passed, Bobby was still there, holding him as if he'd never let go.
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