Author: Curt Kenobi
Fandom: X-Men (draws from X-Men: The End, Heroes and Martyrs)
Summary: Remy’s early years are vague at best. But everyone has a mother. And, even when forgotten or unknown, everyone has a beginning to their story.
Disclaimer: Remy and all recognisable characters involved with him are all Marvel’s (but damn, I’d like to have Remy LeBeau – not for profit, just for some fun ;) ) Only one that belongs to me is his maman Alix/Roxanne.
A/N: Apologies for the continued flashbacking italics. >.>
(The day after)
Consciousness came to her slowly, like peeling off layers. A slight awareness returning, manifesting itself in a light dream of running on a sun-soaked beach, though the sand instead of being grainy felt like running upon cotton. Then smell reached her, dissolving from the imagined moist brine of ocean air…but this wasn't a scent she was used to. It was musty, chill. It made her think…
An image of a skull, browned with age filled her vision suddenly and she woke with a gasp, sitting bolt upright, the thick quilt and sheets falling from her shoulders.
Thick quilt and sheets?…
Eyes wide and mind still reeling, Alix surveyed her surroundings. She was greeted once again by the yellow-brown nameless skeletons' bones that made up a back wall and the silver metal of the side ones. There was a glowing blue light field across from her, whereas in the other room there had been another silver wall and a door. No matter the illusion of openness – she was still in a cage.
But it was a lot more hospitable, this room…. There was a small writing desk, and a cubicle housing a toilet and sink.
She was in a bed. An honest-to-God bed. And it was comfortable. The blankets were thick and warm. Absently, her fingers ran about the wide blue interlocking rings that were part of the stitched design of the quilt. She felt odd as she did. While she was not sure if it was from whatever drugs Sinister had shot into her system, she felt it hadn't anything to do with chemicals.
As her fingers tripped over the design, she mused it must be hand-stitched. Just a feeling… And it was old. …Important, somehow.
What was she doing? She shouldn't be musing over some quilt – she needed to get out. She was being held captive!
Alix jumped up from the bed and ran towards the field. It glowed and a low hum resonated from where it originated in the ends of the metal walls. Wary, Alix kept a fair distance from it. What good would it serve if she electrocuted herself? She wanted out, yes, but she didn't want to die. Across from her, more macabre remnants of lives past shaped a long wall.
"Me libérer!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. She repeated it again in English. "Release me! Let me OUT! Monstre! Salaud! LET ME OUT!"
Hazel eyes keenly surveyed the hall, having given up on disabling the blue light-field wall. Too many cons. Maybe she could rely on what got her in this situation in the first place – her wiles. All she needed was for him to show—
Suddenly, just at the end of the hall, came bootsteps.
"You monster! You vile bastard! Let me go! Let me out of here!" Alix raged, growling in her frustration of not being able to throw or hit something. She had been collected until his face had come into view, and then something primal came over her. Something scared. She paced along the wall, glaring.
"Do quiet," Sinister said offhandedly, coming to stand before her on the other side of the field. He showed indifference to her outburst. "And do calm down. I will not have you ruining this process."
Alix stopped. Process. Process? What was he talking about? Why did it – why should she know what he meant? She knew that she should know what he was talking about, but there came a blankness when she tried.
A raven brow arched, slightly bemused. But the expression passed as fast as it had come, and his brow furrowed as he frowned. "Do not play coy, Alexandrie."
"Ne parle pas comme si vous me connaissez, monsieur – Do not speak as if you know me!" she spat. It was pointless, but automatic. She met his red eyes – distorted to a lavender purple through the blue wall – evenly. "Process. What…process?"
Evidently she had blocked it out. Somewhat surprising, but nevertheless, an accounted for happenstance. He dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "We will discuss the matter later. Perhaps after you have eaten?" She was still in a vital stage – he couldn't compromise it by having her break down. The young woman was volatile as it was.
Alix unconsciously felt out, feeling that he was sincere. But…
"What is that?"
Sinister was aware of her empathic probe. "What?"
"That…remoteness. You do not …feel. I can – I know that you are being honest – for now." She gave him a pointed look, telling him that she did not trust him whatsoever, but understood her disadvantage – though she planned to rectify that, as soon as the opportunity arose. "But you do not feel as I remember people feeling."
Sinister smiled thinly. He turned and left back down the hall, saying simply as he left, "That is because I am devoid of all but productive feelings, a gift my master saw fit to endow me with."
(two weeks later)
He had lied – he had not retold her what "process" he spoke of. And she had forgotten it. But as days ticked by tediously, she found herself mentally revisiting the subject. Every time she thought about this gleaming monster with his glowing red eyes and the red diamond set into his forehead, with his black lips and shark's teeth, and his English voice saying "I will not have you ruining this process," more reaction came from her mind each time. The full-body shudder of revulsion and sick, cold terror she was at when she thought of it now was currently enough for her, so she pushed it to the back of her mind, occupying herself with books from the small table in her cell. For her own morbid humour, she was listlessly absorbing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. When she couldn't take that, she found herself drawn to the more lyrical prose of Interview with the Vampire. Neither was particularly uplifting in any sense of the world, and she probably lost most of the story from her rather rudimentary reading skills, but for small moments, she got enough from them to let her forget she was in a two metre by three metre cell in the catacombs.
He came about every day to leave her food, and left just as purposefully as he appeared. He'd taken her out of her cell and back to a lab, running tests, which he didn't elaborate on, but she felt a sense of deep satisfaction that made her stomach turn. Recently, growing restless and antsy with the isolation, Alix had started to reach out her sense to him, however off it might feel. She was having nightmarish flashes at night – recollections, she had identified them as, of her first moments in this place. The lab had set them off. She recalled him telling her about what her "ability" entailed – not just sensing emotions, but also potentially manipulating them. She wondered if that was truly possible. She knew she was certainly more aware of his – and from a greater distance than she knew previously possible.
Four days after his tests – about her second week in his captivity, she thought –she sensed his peculiar emotional signature before she heard his bootfalls come down the hall – that feeling almost like a void, cold and empty, but driven and sharp-edged. He held a tray in hand – the same sight that greeted her three times regularly everyday. She looked from under her lashes over at him as he came to the forcefield, trying hard to quell the incandescent rage that surged from its smouldering every time she even thought of the bastard now. His eyes were narrowed beneath that eerie red diamond set into his forehead. She wondered absently about it – such an odd marking; was it naturally occurring or did it have meaning? Slightly disgusted at herself for that, she resolutely returned to her book.
"We must talk," he said shortly. Feigning easy disinterest – an almost ingrained mannerism – Alix looked up from the paperback's pages.
"Whatever about, monsieur? The foolishness of keeping a whore captive?"
The baring of teeth held no humour, just cold cruelty. "About your most inconvenient repression of things pertinent to the success of my work."
His words brought a flash of memory to the forefront of Alix's mind. Not so much visual as emotional. Restraints holding her down. Sinister looking down upon her. Cold touch. Cold, cutting emotions. …Fear – fear fading into sickness. Degradation. Humiliation. Worthlessness. Disgust. Self-pity.
No. The memory had been there just under the surface. The emotions. Alix had pushed it all away, just as she had so many times before, before the full memory could replay and emblazon itself forever in her mind, quashing the emotions – those potent, crippling emotions, locking them down. Actively ignoring them. It was second nature. If it weren't, she would have lost her mind early on. Still, the possibility threatened if she didn't take care to "forget" – to block things away. She had wanted to with this – but there it was, the truth stabbing in her mind, in her chest.
"We really need not…" she said quietly, working hard past how the emotions of the memory coupled with Sinister's void of a presence were choking her. Nausea from the negative sense memories and flashes of images waved over her and she suddenly felt quite weary, and acutely caged.
Sinister raised a curious eyebrow. "So be it…" he allowed slowly. "And don't forget the importance of maintaining this body, mademoiselle. You are a vessel for my use. I will do whatever I deem necessary to ensure the fruit of my labour comes out in the best possible condition."
"D'accord," was gritted out as Alix rubbed her temples, knees drawn up to her chest. She could feel Sinister intensely; right there in her senses, cold and critically observant with an inhumanly cool, detached air. He didn't have to experience this sickness, this hurt – hell, for what Alix knew, she believed it likely he never had. Ever. That simmering rage bubbled up renewed in indignation.
And she did something she occasionally did, but never realised because it was an unconscious act: She pushed her emotions out, at him.
Sinister was unprepared for the sudden onslaught – he had figured the girl to be resigned to her fate, the spark to her fire guttered. She barely knew anything about her ability other that she knew how to interest men and which ones were interested but not obviously violent. She barely used her talent at all. In an unproductive way, Sinister was impressed by the obvious strength of her personal shields.
He never expected her to realise consciously how to project her emotions –unconsciously, she automatically projected lust and interest upon a target; that he had realised after wanting her when they first met, in a way he had no need to. But that was easy enough for the most part for him to disregard.
This deep anguish and hatred that she psychically pressed upon him now – those emotions found a long-buried kinship within him. The anger, overwhelming, tingled his own well-schooled hatred of his Master back to the fore. But it was the despair that hit him hardest, unlocking an emotional memory he thought he'd been rid of a hundred years ago: The sick helplessness as he knelt beside a bed; his Rebecca sobbing inconsolably at his feet in the floor; his beloved only son Adam's small child's hand cold and limp in his unfairly alive one.
That was a memory of the true Nathaniel Essex's, the fallible, merely human scientist. Mr Sinister had been freed of the burdens of Nathaniel Essex's humanity when En Sabah Nur created him.
It took all his considerable willpower not to fully stagger. As it was, he was off-kilter and unnerved. He'd dropped the tray he'd brought her lunch upon. He cleared his throat. "I trust you understand the gravity of the situation, then."
Alix had not noticed his obvious faltering. She hadn't looked his way at all; hadn't heard the clatter of the tray he'd held in his hand to the ground. Understatement, she simply thought darkly while tiredly answering, "Oui." She set to the task of once again locking down this sea of intense emotion she had let out. She couldn't forget it anymore, but she could hide it.
Sinister left without another word, the tray left fallen outside Alix's cell.
Hours and a nap later – with Sinister's notable absence – Alix realised her forsaken and dropped meal with chagrin and a sigh.
(The lyrics in the page break are from "Dance With the Devil" by Breaking Benjamin.)
-->Next: Part Three