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.
It had been quite soon thereafter that she had sensed it. Sinister had taken her out of her little cage and ran more tests – things she once again tried to ignore – and then placed her back. His "project," as she consistently thought of it, had taken, she knew. That had been the sense of deep satisfaction that she'd picked up on. …That realisation to her was almost enough to drive a saint crazy. She immersed herself in drawing and reading. Rough pencilings of the city littered her room and she'd gotten to Queen of the Damned. Sinister showed three times a day as usual, with a surprisingly more polite demeanour. Still, Alix had pointedly begun to ignore him. Even as he became more gracious towards her, she became more resentful. Occasionally, she'd ask a random question simply to catch him off-guard (it surprised and pleased her she could shake him up so easily, and a hated part of her was morbidly intrigued in the bits of information he dropped here and there) before shutting him out again.
At first she wasn't sure what it was. Just a palpable warmth on the edge of her perception – comforting what with the changes and general situation she was going through. Soothing her through the nausea and the damnable mood shifts. The loneliness and listlessness to restlessness. She wondered if Sinister had more minions lurking about she didn't know of – or another prisoner, for that matter – and for a few days subsequent, she'd spent her time pushing her sense – her "empathy," he called it – as far as she could, like casting a net for fish. It was only Sinister's cold void and this pleasant warmth. And the warmth felt far too close, she realised, for her not to notice whom it belonged to, had it been another person in Sinister's employ.
Finally, she realised the warmth was with her. Within her.
She'd cried. It shouldn't feel that pleasant, to come from something that evil.
And it went downhill from there.
It was little by little, but Alix slowly began to close off. And even as she physically and mentally slowed down, it seemed her empathy reached out. The drawings were listless lines in the rough shape of the skulls that dominated her surroundings, and the design of the quilt upon her bed. ("Why is this quilt important?" – a question she had randomly thrown out during one of Sinister's visits. A pause. "It belonged to my wife." And no more on the subject.) The books lay untouched on the desk. It had been nearly four months. She could just discern a hard concave rise to her once almost-convex stomach, as if she'd eaten a heavy meal. But this was no heavy meal, though. That was a child beneath her skin, within her body.
She felt sick. And at the same time, she couldn't feel hatred.
She felt Sinister approach, bearing her midday meal. She curled tighter into herself. Her morning meal lay untouched upon the desk, where he had left it as she had appeared to be sleeping when he had come that morning. She hadn't been. She been up most of the night, counting the little scratches she had nicked into the skulls along the wall with one of the fountain pens. Cent vingt-un. One hundred and twenty-one. They didn't account for every day she had been here, but they did for just about all, give or take a week's days. One hundred and twenty-one days she had been kept in the bloody catacombs in some perverse lab, by a mad mutant scientist and— She had to stop, because the more she thought on it, the more absurd it sounded, and she was bound to start crying. And if she did that, she wasn't quite sure she could stop.
She was done with this.
"You didn't eat your breakfast."
His voice was so cold. How did she ever find him so enticing those months ago? She resolutely stared at the texture of the skulls and bones before her. She sighed. "Non, je ne l'ai pas."
Sinister inhaled stiffly through his nose. She felt the flare of perturbed emotion colour the void he was. He had once said something about being "devoid of all but productive emotions" thanks to his master. Evidently, anger and frustration were deemed at "productive emotions," she had noticed. Concern wasn't. She had deduced that any "concern" he felt for her was firstly for his project. If any at all was for her, it was because of her "gift," irregardless of any offhanded "interest" he said he had in her. Humanity surely wasn't even a quality he possessed.
"You will eat your lunch."
"Je ne vais pas."
"You will, mademoiselle. I will not have you ruining what I have spent nigh on a century perfecting."
She bit her tongue on the petulant "Faites-moi," at the tip of it. She would not stoop to childish taunts; she was quite certain if she goaded him, "Make me," indubitably he would.
"You will eat, woman! I refuse to let you sabotage my plans!" His fury lashed at her overly sensitive mind and she gritted her teeth against it. But other than that, Alix gave him no satisfaction of a response.
Too enraged to trust himself not to act rashly, Sinister walked through and deposited the tray with a notable punctuation, then swiftly left.
Alix rolled over to her back, hands laying listlessly over the rise of her stomach. Yes, she would eat eventually. If she had planned to stay here, she would consider starvation – but she didn't. She didn't plan to stay here.
Sinister had just returned to his office when he was brought up short.
The geneticist bristled at the steely, authoritative tone of the vision before him, a mental projection, much like a hologram. While his Master's face was set perpetually in a purple-jawed scowl, Sinister could tell by how even further the lines of him mouth drew down and the deep furrows in his wide brow that his Lord Apocalypse was most displeased.
He tipped his head in respect. He prepared to defend himself against his Master's disapproval. "My Lord—"
"Your niceties do not placate me, Sinister," Apocalypse interrupted with a sneer. "I expect your presence before me at once, servant."
Sinister found that his teeth set on edge at such a simple word, servant. He forced himself to incline his head in acceptance of his Master's demand. "May I inquire as to why, Master?"
Apocalypse evidently did not notice or simply saw no reason to care about the slight edge the British mutant put to his sire's title. Sinister reckoned of course he didn't; it was a rather human thing to do, and Apocalypse was beyond such.
"I am all but truly omniscient, Sinister," informed Apocalypse with a pompous air. Sinister took care to school his expression, to conceal his disdain and seething loathing while Apocalypse saw fit to continue. "I made you, Sinister. Without me, you'd still be that mere mortal Nathaniel Essex, dithering over being ostracised for his visionary genius and wallowing in pathetic sorrow for his family. I made you more than that, Sinister. You would do well to remember. As it had been said, what I hath made, I can take away. And you are always indebted to me – a debt which you cannot repay beyond obedience."
"As you say, my Lord," Sinister conceded. It was a matter of time before Apocalypse would suspect his servant was considering a mutiny. But what would Apocalypse do? Sinister had meticulously-kept copies of notes and genetic stores, across the globe, in a myriad of places. He felt confident that should Apocalypse take it upon himself to try and impede his workings, he could start again.
He just hoped that his Master wouldn't take it upon himself to "teach" him about the consequences of insubordination, with a display consisting on destroying Alix and his almost-completed new incarnation before him.
How he did hate when his work was crushed right before he could show its glory.
Well, better to comply sooner than later. With a careless wave of his hand, a tesseract of black pulsing nothingness appeared, like a seven-foot tall rip in the very fabric of reality, and Sinister stepped through.
Alix felt when Sinister left. She did not know that he had gone, simply that the void of his signature, still flushed with anger and – she thought annoyance as well? – simply disappeared.
It was unnerving. The loss, as well as the fact that she had become so accustomed to it.
But it was gone. Alix sat up, the realisation slowly fully sinking in. He was gone.
And not a moment later, there was a sizzle and the forcefield flickered, then shorted and faded away.
Alix raised a suspicious eyebrow. This wasn't happening. She looked down at her freckled arm and pinched it. Merde! No, she was awake. What the hell was going on?
Rubbing at her stinging forearm, Alix cautiously approached the now-open wall. There was no hum, no feel of static to indicate that the field was still up. She picked up an apple from the tray on her desk and gave it and underhanded toss.
It passed straight through.
A cheval donné, on ne regarde pas les dents, as Grand-mère had told her now and again. She wouldn't. Sparing a glance down up the hall and down it, Alix purposefully strode the direction Sinister came from everyday. Merci, bon Dieu, she silently thanked. Merci beaucoup. She consciously had her gift cast out – something she would have never thought to ever do before this ordeal, but something she was quite certain could save her now. Sinister's signature had vanished – and she wanted to be far from here before he returned.
So concerned with being alert to the feel of a return of Sinister, she was caught almost off-guard by the unfamiliar signature that suddenly appeared before her. She pressed up against the wall she knew the other person was beyond.
Follow, she heard in her head. She clapped a hand over her mouth in surprise. Don't fear. Just obey. She mentally examined what she felt from this entity, this person with the ability to talk inside her head. There was a strange resignation to the emotions, a muted feel. But no evil or coldness emanated from it. Just purpose. As if it had a job to do and simply would do no more than that.
Why, she wondered, had she never felt them before, though?
Pushing the question aside – she knew there were certainly things in this world she'd never know nor understand – Alix made her decision. Slowly, sticking with her "don't question, just accept it" plan, and buoyed by the person's non-malevolent but potentially helpful signature, Alix walked round the corner.
A pallid man stood before her, his body half obscured by a long blackish-brown cloak. "Venir. Suivez-moi."
Swallowing, Alix plucked up the courage to speak. It was that streak in her, that streak Grand-mère always cautioned could bring her trouble, the inability she tended towards to simply go along with something, her defiance and dubiousness.
Obviously, I don't do it enough, Grand-mère, she absently thought bitterly. That, she would work to change. From now on.
"Who are you? And how do I know if I can trust you?"
A long sigh blew wearily from the man before her. "I have no name. And I simply do as bidden. I was told to guide the girl from the catacombs, as this once was my home; I know it well. That is all. But we are wasting time; come."
Alix felt no dishonesty, only that same resignation, in the man's words. He turned away and started walking.
Alix knew she was at a disadvantage on her own. Though she had traipsed parts of the catacombs here and again, she did not know them well, and she certainly did not know Sinister's laboratory. Evidently, this no named man knew a way out. Besides, he was frail-looking – perhaps if his signature did turn to be misleading (which she doubted), she could overpower him. See just how well that manipulation aspect of her gift could be put to use.
There really was no other choice; Alix followed.
Sinister appeared before the forgotten temple that housed Apocalypse in the heart of Africa. Immediately, separated from the girl, he found he regained that implacable, emotionless demeanour he'd become accustomed to since his transformation. Indeed, her ability was far more pervasive than he had previously considered.
He stored the observation away for later notation, squared his shoulders, and entered.
Little did he know that while his Master lectured him on obedience – he had caught wind that the geneticist's play with DNA and cloning had gone from mere thuggish bodyguards in his employ to empowering the British mutant himself (an obvious try at one-upping his Master, which a deity such as Apocalypse saw himself did not suffer lightly) – the powerful godlike mutant had already set his servant's punishments into play. It was something Apocalypse had come to realise: that Sinister would never respect him with the submission he deserved and required, not as such a man completely of science. Yes, Apocalypse believed in the science as well, but he also believed in power. And power required others' belief – true and complete, fearful belief – not only knowledge. It would also be why Sinister could never successful succeed him. He didn't care of others' emotions for him. His flaw.
As he had waited, he had dispatched his own underlings. While he spoke now and Sinister did his best to seem to dutifully listen, a handful of the geneticist's labs were likely now in ruins. The notes from all – and, indeed, Apocalypse knew them all – were being erased or burnt. But best of all, Sinister's "project for his perfection," as he seemed to consider it, had been let out and led from his Parisian catacombs laboratory, which would also be laid waste to once the girl was clear. Apocalypse mentally smiled. He indeed hoped that his errant servant would think his Master had destroyed all his hard work. Firstly, Sinister would set to re-collecting and re-archiving all his copious knowledge. That would take some time. Years, likely. And then, perhaps, he would find that the girl and the child supposedly his genetic superior still existed, and had simply been out of his hands all that time. How frustrating. Perhaps he would learn that they had died. That would be a pleasant outcome – to Apocalypse, at least. But for now, the preternatural mutant was content to let the winds of chance blow as they would. He had done as he so wished for now.
(The lyric in the page break is from "Terrible Lie" by Nine Inch Nails.)
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