Hurt & Comfort

Book 2: Circumstantially Hurt

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Chapter 16: Life's a Show

Andrew awoke to find that Alan was already awake... and obviously worried.

"What's the matter, love?" he asked quietly.

"I was thinking about Remy. My life is going so great and he's lost everything." Alan said sadly.

Andrew sat quietly for a moment and came to a decision.

"Let's visit him this morning. I think I know what went wrong yesterday, why I got so tired."

"What was that?"

"I left the portals open, and while they stood open, I was without that power." Andrew said, trying to describe the sensation.

"So, what do you want to do?" asked Alan, intrigued by the possibility.

"Where do you think Remy is in the mansion?" Andrew responded with his own question.

"The MedLab, I guess." Alan answered after a moment.

"Then let's go down to the MedLab and I can phase us into your dimension like I used to do to use up my power. We would be able to be seen and heard, but not touch anything. It would take almost no power from me and we could talk to Remy." Andrew said, considering what he would have to do.

"So we would be like ghosts?"

"Yeah, it would seem like that from the other side. They'll be like ghosts to us. But this way we could visit with Remy without taking a chance of me overdoing it like yesterday." Andrew said quietly.

"I'll get the wheelchair." Xander said from the other bed.

"Good morning Xan. Sorry if our talking woke you." Alan said sincerely.

"I was awake, just laying here thinking." Xander said and tried to get out of the bed without waking Scott.

"I'm going with you." Scott said, still laying with his eyes closed.

"It's going to take a few trips to get all of you down there." Xander said to the group.

"Are you up to it Xan?" Alan asked seriously.

"Sure, I'm feeling like my old self. I'll be ready to start hauling people in just a minute."

* * * * *

Nearly twenty minutes later found the entire group in MedLab with a surprised Hank.

"I'm just going to let a little bit of my power loose so we can see the other dimension... I used to do it all the time when I thought I was going crazy, I thought what I was seeing was hallucinations. As long as we're in the same physical space as the other dimension, I don't have to target or create portals. You can stay here with us if you're worried about it Hank." Andrew said with reassurance.

"I intend to. And Mr. Harris, I need to talk with you privately afterward." Hank said to Xander.

Andrew closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened his eyes, they were glowing golden; the glow spilled across the room and the features of the room changed. The MedLab didn't look the same. It was more primitive, more rugged. There was no MRI unit and there were several more beds in the room. Professor Frost turned to see the group as they faded into being.

"Welcome gentlemen. To what do I owe the honor of this visit?" She asked regally.

"We came to visit Remy. I was worried about him." Alan said, allowing his concern to show on his face.

"He's just in the next room, I'll go get him for you." Professor Frost said and left the room.

Hank began to walk across the room when Andrew said, "You don't want to do that Hank. We just appear to be here, we're still in our MedLab. If you move around, you'll run into something."

Hank stopped and went back to his original position.

Professor Frost entered the room leading the distraught form of Remy LeBeau.

"Remy, I've been worried about you." Alan said and fought the urge to run and hug the man.

"Scott? I could say the same for you, mon ami." Remy said in a tired voice.

"Professor Frost, may I have a word with you?" Hank asked and remembering where he was in relation to his own lab, made his way away from the group.

"Please call me Alan. In the dimension I've been in, there is another Scott. It's just less confusing. Remy LeBeau, I'd like to introduce you to Scott, my brother from another dimension, Andrew my fiancée, and Xander my caregiver. Doctor Hank McCoy is also here, talking with Professor Frost." Alan said politely.

There was a chorus of 'hi' when Remy gave a small smile and said, "I'm blind, non? You need to talk one at a time for Remy to tell one from another."

"Okay, I'm Scott. It's nice to meet you Remy. Alan's told me... actually nothing about you, but he seems to like you so that's good enough for me." Scott said, ending with a smile.

"Fair enough." Remy said, turning his face toward Scott's voice.

"I'm Andrew." Andrew said shyly.

"You got you a real talker der Sc... Alan." Remy said with a teasing tone.

"Hi Remy, I'm Xander. Nice to meet you." Xander said quietly, looking at the weary, defeated man before him.

"Xander? As in Alexander, non?" Remy asked, turning to him.

"Yeah, I got the choice of Alex, Lex, or Xander. This seemed to be the coolest." Xander said with a shrug.

"So, are you all mutants too?" Remy asked as he felt for and found the bed behind him and took a seat.

"All but Xander. Andrew is called Portal, and I've been renamed Gemini. Scott is Cyclops."

"But that name might fit me best." Xander said under his breath.

Remy turned to Xander and raised an eyebrow above his bandage in question.

"Xander had one of his eyes gouged out by a... demon?" Alan questioned, not remembering if he had been told exactly what had happened.

"By a priest of the first evil... but he was kind of demony with super-strength and stuff." Xander said, getting more comfortable talking with Remy.

"You sound like you're talking through a tunnel, why it be like dat?" Remy asked of the group.

"Andrew is sort of projecting us here with his mutant ability. We're still in our own universe, we're just able to see and hear yours." Scott said in explanation.

"So, did you see what you came to see? I be here, all dats left of me. Bout time for ole Remy to be put out to pasture." Remy said, looking more tired.

"I came to visit with you to see if I could help you." Alan said seriously, worried by Remy's attitude.

"Ain no help fo da Cajun. Nuthin left ta help." Remy said and got off the bed.

"I wouldn't say that Mr. LeBeau." Hank said from behind the group.

"What's up Hank?" Andrew asked in confusion.

"I have been talking with Professor Frost, I won't bore you with details, but suffice it to say, I may be able to restore some sight to Remy." Hank said, worried that he might be giving false hope.

"Hank? What do you mean? Is there something you can do to help Remy?" Alan asked excitedly.

"Perhaps, I would need to examine him to see if he would be a likely candidate for a live organ transplant. I had actually been looking into the possibility for Mr. Harris." Hank said professionally.

"You be sayin dat you can get Remy some new eyes?" Remy asked with excitement.

"I'm saying that I can examine you to see if it is a possibility." Hank said calmly.

"Doctor McCoy and I have discussed this and decided that, if you are willing, you may go with them to their dimension to receive the medical attention that we frankly cannot provide for you." Professor Frost said without emotion.

"While I am familiar with the theory, I have not performed the procedure myself. Therefore, I have contacted a specialist who will be at the mansion later today... that was the matter I wished to discuss with you Mr. Harris. I see no reason why he couldn't look at Mr. LeBeau while he is there." Hank said, pleased that he might be able to help these men.

Xander and Remy were both dumbstruck. Finally Andrew broke the silence by saying, "Let's open the portal and get Remy to our universe then."

"Give me a moment to collect Remy's medical records, that should save you some work." Professor Frost said and opened a file cabinet drawer.

"Thank you, Professor, I'll take good care of him." Alan said seriously before Andrew interrupted.

"We're going to fade out now, but the doorway will open in just a minute."

Professor Frost nodded as the men faded. A minute later a swirling vortex appeared before her and Alan stepped out.

"You ready to go Remy?" Alan asked with happiness showing through his voice.

"Oui." Remy said and followed as Alan led him back through the portal.

* * * * *

Tara and Dawn went to the men's bedroom to find it empty. After checking the dining room and common room they made their way to the MedLab, starting to worry that something may have happened to one of them.

They entered the room just in time to see Alan emerge from a portal with a man neither of them knew.

Alan notice Tara and Dawn standing in the doorway and said, "Remy, I would like for you to meet two very lovely ladies. Tara McCoy and Dawn Summers. Ladies, I would like to introduce Remy LeBeau, also known as Gambit."

"McCoy... like the doctor, non?" Remy asked of Tara.

"He's my uncle." Tara said shyly as Remy took her hand. Rather than shake it as she had expected, he took it to his lips and kissed the back gently and reverently.

"And Dawn Summers, would you be related to Scott... Alan?" Remy asked as he took Dawn's hand and gently kissed it too.

"No, just a coincidence." She said shyly, impressed by Remy's manners.

"Actually, we are kind of related, in a round about interdimensional way." Scott said.

Dawn looked at Scott with surprise which prompted him to continue.

"Your father is my cousin, which makes you my second cousin... if we were from the same universe." Scott finished with a confused smile.

"Close enough." Dawn said with a smile.

"Mr. LeBeau, if you would follow me, we will conduct an exam before the specialist gets here. I want to be able to provide him with all the information he might need to determine your viability as a candidate." Hank said as he took Remy's hand and put it on his elbow so he could lead him.

"We were worried when we couldn't find you guys." Dawn said, turning back to face the men.

"Alan was worried about Remy, it turned out that Hank has been trying to get Xander a new eye, and he might be able to get a couple for Remy too." Andrew said happily.

"So Remy is from Alan's universe?" Tara asked in confirmation.

"Yes, Friends of Humanity got a hold of him and cut his eyes out because they didn't look human." Alan said tiredly.

"Look at you on your feet, you need to get back to bed." Dawn said sourly to Alan.

"There's enough of us here, let's get them back to their room." Xander said.

"Actually, I'd really like to have breakfast with the students." Scott said as he took his own seat.

"Then we're off to the dining room." Xander said as he pushed Andrew out the door with Tara and Dawn following close behind.

* * * * *

Alan, Scott, Andrew, Xander, Tara and Dawn were sharing a table, enjoying a breakfast of scrambled eggs, hashed browns and fruit when the professor approached the group.

"Did the bedrest order fall by the wayside?" The professor asked with amusement showing in his face.

"Yep. We decided that we needed the company of others, so we revolted." Andrew said before taking another bite of his breakfast.

"Yes professor, welcome to our uprising." Scott said with a smile.

The professor was surprised by the playfulness of Scott, given the sullen mood of the previous day.

"We were just telling the guys that we will be leaving today." Tara said, then took a drink of her juice.

"You're leaving? May I ask why?" The professor asked, not having been aware of this development.

"Tara just wants to go to my dimension. And I don't care where we go, as long as we're together." Dawn said with a smile.

The professor considered his next words before saying them, "Could I speak with you two in my office for a moment?"

"Sure Professor." Dawn said in surprise as the professor moved his chair out from the table, then out of the room.

Dawn and Tara hurried to follow as the rest of the group looked on in confusion.

* * * * *

"Ms. Summers, Ms. McCoy. I had hoped to have more time before approaching you about this... but seeing as you are thinking of leaving, the time is now." The professor said as he made a motion to offer the women a seat.

"What is it Professor?" Dawn asked, beginning to worry.

"Tara, I know why you called your uncle for help. I don't know how else to say it, but your father won't be looking for you anymore." The professor said without betraying any emotions.

"What? What do you mean? Did something happen to him?" Tara asked, more in hope than in worry.

"Yes. He'll never hurt anyone else." The professor said coldly.

"What... what about my brother?" Tara asked with a shaky voice.

"He had an unfortunate accident... or will have when Logan finds him." The professor said and looked suddenly tired.

"Mr. Logan?" Tara asked and went pale.

"Logan has some interesting abilities, one of them is superior hearing. He heard enough to put the pieces together and realize everything that had happened. After that he became enraged and..." The professor trailed off.

"...and you couldn't stop him?" Dawn said, filling in the blank.

"... and I gave him directions to your fathers house." The professor said plainly.

The two women sat stunned as the professor continued.

"I am a peaceful man, I believe that all men should get along and work out their differences... but when there is a threat to one of my children, I take it seriously and work to resolve it as best I can. Tara, I think of you as one of my children. The beast you call a father was evil and had no remorse for his actions. He was dispatched this morning, stabbed through the heart in an alley on his way to work. It was quick and relatively painless. I'm sorry if it disturbs you, but I would do the same for anyone in the mansion." The professor finished in an emotionless voice.

Tara got up from her chair and walked to the professor. She leaned down and kissed his cheek. "Thank you, Professor. And thank Mr. Logan for me." She said quietly before sitting back down.

"On to other matters. If you two would be interested in staying here, I would like to offer you jobs." The professor said, switching back to his professional persona.

"But we're not mutants. What would we do?" Dawn asked disbelievingly.

"The philosophy that drives me is that mutants and non-mutants can coexist to their mutual benefit. I would not be providing a very good example for my students if only mutants were welcomed here. As to what you would do... Ms. Summers, during the day, you would be a student, working toward your college degree much the same as Andrew; at night your job would be as an activities director for the students in their free time. After the success of your party yesterday, I believe you would be an asset to the institute and make the students off-duty hours more pleasurable."

"Ms. McCoy, I know that you are just a few credits short of a degree. You could gain those credits here during the morning, and in the afternoon serve as an assistant for your uncle. The recent crisis has shown us that he needs more help." Charles said, letting his expression show the truth of his words.

Tara looked at Dawn who shrugged.

"We need some time to think about it Professor. Thank you for the job offers... and the rest." Tara said and got up to leave.

"There is no pressure, just do what you think best." The professor said as the women left the room.

* * * * *

Tara and Dawn joined the men back in the dining room. "Where's Xander?" Dawn asked as she sat down.

"He went to ask Hank if Remy could join us for breakfast." Andrew said as he nursed his juice.

"Would you like some more coffee Mr. Summers?" Clarissa asked kindly.

"Yes, thank you Clarissa." Alan said and handed her his cup.

"So what was that all about?" Andrew asked of Tara and Dawn.

"The professor just offered us jobs if we wanted to stay." Dawn said as she noticed that her plate was gone.

"Kurt is keeping your plates warm in the kitchen." Scott said to the women.

"What kind of jobs?" Andrew asked with a smile.

"He said I could work as an assistant for Uncle Hank and Dawn could be the activities director for the kids when they are out of class." Tara said as her warm plate was placed before her by Kurt.

"Thank you Kurt." She said with a shy smile.

Xander walked into the room with Remy on his arm, in time to overhear what Tara had said.

Xander took Remy's hand off his arm and put it on the back of a chair. "There you go, you can sit yourself down now." Xander said and went to his own chair.

Everyone at the table was shocked by his apparent uncaring attitude.

"C'mon guys, he's blind, not retarded." Xander said as he took a drink of his coffee and made a face.

Remy felt the back of the chair and after a moment to orient himself, he sat down.

Artie showed up with a plate of food and sat it before Remy. Xander said, "Thanks Artie, this is Remy."

"Hi. Did your eyes get hurt?" Artie asked in concern.

"Nuthin ta worry bout Artie. Remy be fine." Remy answered.

"Doctor McCoy is going to try to help Remy with his eyes." Xander said in explanation.

"Docter McCoy will make you better." Artie said with complete confidence and left.

"Remy, you've got eggs at two o'clock, hashed browned potatoes at six and some mixed fruit at ten. Do you want juice or coffee?" Xander said as he snagged a piece of toast from a plate in the center of the table.

"Coffee be good for Remy." He said, beginning to understand that Xander was helping him with the things he couldn't do himself, but leaving him the rest.

"Be right back, mine got cold." Xander said and left the table.

Andrew looked around and noticed that quite a few of the students were staring at Remy.

He raised his voice so all could hear him and said, "This is Remy, he's going to be staying with us for a while. Please make him feel welcomed."

Scott got a smile of fond remembrance, thinking how scared Andrew was on his first day in this very room.

"Remy jus notice somethin, your voices been down low, like your sitting non? Are you all in wheelchairs?" he asked as he found his silverware.

"Yeah, let me tell it, okay?" Dawn asked enthusiastically.

Everyone nodded and Dawn began.

"Alan tried to kill himself, when he did that he was in the exact same place in your universe as Scott was in this one, somehow that threw this Scott into a coma. The professor felt it when Scott went into the coma and he called Andrew and Hank to help. Andrew was in California getting Tara, so he made a portal from California to New York, which caused him to have a stroke." Dawn finished triumphantly.

"And Xander was beat up by demons for over a day." Tara threw in helpfully.

"Damn, I forgot about Xander." Dawn said in mock frustration.

"So Remy not be da only one hurt at dis table." Remy said, somehow feeling like part of the gang, the sick, injured, beat-up gang.

"Yeah, at least you can walk, technically Alan, Scott, and I are supposed to be in bed. They're letting us out for breakfast as long as we behave ourselves." Andrew said as Xander returned with coffee.

"Coffee's at one o'clock." He said as he sat the coffee by Remy's plate in the proper place.

"So, are you ladies going to take the offered jobs?" Xander asked as he relaxed into his chair.

"We're thinking about it. I mean, I wasn't looking forward to fighting demons all the time." Tara said, just a little sheepishly.

"Yeah, I'm not going to miss that part, I need to tell Buffy that I've decided to stay here." Xander said to the group.

"You're going to stay here too? Did the professor offer you a job?" Dawn asked in surprise.

"No, Warren. He convinced me that I could make a life for myself here and said that he would give me a chance." Xander said before taking a drink of his coffee.

"Warren, Sc- Alan, is dat like da Warren we know?" Remy asked in Alan's direction.

"Yeah, most people have doubles here. Wait till you meet the professor... " Alan said then realized that he hadn't warned Remy about Professor Xavier yet.

"Why, does she have a personality in this universe?" Remy asked, curious how different the professor in this universe could be.

They all sat silently for a moment until all those with eyes were looking at Alan.

"Okay, I'll do it. Remy, I've got to tell you something that you're probably going to freak out on." Alan said in resigned acceptance.

"The institute in this universe is run by Professor Charles Xavier." Alan said and waited for the reaction.

Remy began to tremble and got up out of his chair. Xander noticed that he was about to run.

"C'mon Remy, I'm going back to the MedLab, I have to get a check-up too. You want to come with me?" Xander said carefully.

"Yeah, Remy go with Xander now. Tell your professor ta stay away, Remy still know a ting or two bout fightin'." Remy said with venom before taking hold of Xander's elbow and leaving the room.

"We'd better be getting back to the room. I've suddenly lost my appetite." Scott said sadly.

"Actually, I think I'd rest better in MedLab right now." Andrew said and cast a fond look at Alan.

"Thanks for that, love. I think I want to go to MedLab too." Alan said and sneaked a little kiss on Andrew's cheek.

Since Xander had left, Scott needed to recruit a new driver for his wheelchair. He looked around the room and saw Jubilee watching them. He motioned her to come close and asked, "Would you mind pushing me down to MedLab, my caregiver seems to have forsaken me for another."

"From the look of the other guy, he needs the care worse than you do." Jubilee said honestly and took her position behind the chair.

* * * * *

The group arrived in MedLab to be met by the stern face of Hank McCoy.

"I am conducting examinations; you will have to come back later or wait outside." Hank said professionally.

"How long do you think it will take?" Andrew asked, preferring to wait if possible.

"Without further interruptions, less than half an hour for both my patients." Hank said in a considering voice.

"Is Jean awake?" Scott asked quietly.

"I don't believe so, but she could wake at any time. You may visit with her if you like while I conduct my examinations." Hank said and turned back to the examination room.

* * * * *

Scott was pushed into the room by Jubilee, closely followed by the others. Jean looked up at the movement and was surprised by the number of people entering her room.

"Hi Jean, how are you feeling this morning?" Scott asked, concern showing in his voice.

"I'm fine, I feel a little woozy but Doctor McCoy explained that the drugs he's using to keep the Phoenix suppressed will have that effect." She said with a tired voice.

Scott noticed her questioning look at the others and said, "Everyone, this is Jean Grey. Jean, you know Jubilee. This is Tara, she is Doctor McCoy's niece. She is pushing Andrew, a good friend of mine from a neighboring dimension. The handsome fellow in the next wheelchair is Alan, my brother and counterpart from another dimension. He is being pushed by Dawn, a friend from Andrew's dimension."

Jean sat silently for a moment, then asked, "Who's from this dimension again?"

Scott, Tara, and Jubilee raised their hands.

"And you two are from one dimension and you are from another?" She asked in confirmation.

There was a group nod.

"What has been going on since I've been gone, it looks like I've missed a lot." Jean said and laid her head back on the pillow.

"We'll tell you the whole story in a little bit. First, can we get you anything?" Scott asked with concern.

"I'm thirsty. Could you get me some juice from that pitcher? Doctor McCoy left it out of my reach." Jean said in frustration.

Jubilee was the first to move and got her the drink.

"Thank you, Jubilation. How have you been?" Jean asked after taking a drink.

"After you... left... I decided that I wanted a change of scenery. I'm attending the Gen X school now. I came to visit when Scott, Alan, and Andrew were hurt." She said quietly.

"What happened to you?" Jean asked, focusing her question on Scott.

Alan jumped in before Scott could answer and said, "When my lover died, I couldn't handle it and I tried to kill myself. That threw Scott into a coma and Andrew had a stroke trying to save him and me." Alan said, his guilt for his actions evident in his voice.

"And if you hadn't, we never would have met." Andrew said and reached over to take Alan's hand into his own.

Jean looked surprised at the action and looked to Scott for an explanation.

"They're a couple." Scott said with a shrug.

Jean was surprised by Scott's flippant answer and realized that he wasn't behaving as she expected.

"Is there any way I could talk to you alone for a minute Scott?" Jean asked, needing to know that he was okay after their last talk.

"Guys, do you think you could give us a couple minutes?" Scott asked without looking away from Jean.

"Sure Scott. We'll be right back." Andrew said and looked up to prompt Tara to get him out of there.

The rest of the group made their way out into the hall when Andrew suggested a quick trip back upstairs for juice or coffee.

To Be Continued...