Wolvie Femmes * Rayne’s Torment
By the time Remy came running in, Jean and Hank had
already assessed Rayne’s condition, and had started IV’s with a myriad of
Hank took Remy into the other room, dragged the eyeglasses off his nose and pinched his bleary eyes. Then he explained to Gambit that Rayne was very ill. That his sister’s wounds had become infected with a streptococcal gangrene, a flesh eating disease, and it was spreading rapidly. Antibiotics and surgery were her best hope right now.
Gambit ran his hand through his hair, "How did she get dis sick wit’out yo’ doctors seein’ it?"
Hank cleared his throat and set his glasses down on the table. He took a deep breath and looked apologetically at Gambit. "I am very sorry Remy."
Gambit glared at Beast, his eyes glowing bright red.
Dr. McCoy He held his hand up to quell Remy from interrupting and continued, "The type of infection that Rayne has is a particularly nasty one. We have her on every ATB that is known to work on this strain and we hope that they will help keep the disease from spreading any further. Surgery is necessary to remove the dead tissue and infected areas." Hank looked at Remy and tried to read his re-action to the news.
Gambit was looking at the ground now. Twice in just one week he had seen his sister in a bad way. And this time it looked very bad. He sat down, closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands, "Doc, jus’ don’ let my sister die, alright? Do everythin’ yo’ can."
Hank laid his hand on Remy’s shoulder, "We won’t let that happen Gambit. Your sister will pull through this. She is young and strong."
Remy looked at Beast, "Ah jus’ don’ understan’ how she got dis bad, dis fast."
Hank nodded understanding his confusion, "This disease tends to appear suddenly and it spreads quickly," He thought a moment, " It would have expedited things had we known about her condition earlier. We’ve had a degree of difficulty trying to get her in here for check-ups."
Remy now ran both hands through his hair, "It’s jus’ not like Rayne to let sometin’ get dis bad. She’s a healer herself Doc, she knows better than ta let t‘ings go."
"Maybe she wanted it this way Gumbo," Logan said from the doorway.
"What?" Gambit stood up and faced Wolverine, "Yo’ talkin’ crazy. My sister would not wan’ ta die!"
Logan paused, shifted his unlit cigar; then he explained to Remy that when he was carrying Rayne to the lab he heard her rambling on about some things, "She said something about the choice she had to make and the code of the guilds." Logan looked Gambit dead in the eye, "And she also said, that she’d rather die then be the cause of your death."
Those words slammed into Remy and he staggered back, fell over the chair he was just sitting in and landed up on the floor. All he could get out was, "No Rayne."
Kamikaze stormed into the room and announced that the Calvary had arrived. Behind him came Alex and a very confused looking Reg Grundy. Tyler looked at Gambit on the floor, "Hey, what’s goin’ on?"
The Aussie piped in, "Is this red-eyed bloke the patient? I thought you said it was a Sheila."
Hank looked at the crew that had just walked in and wasn’t sure how they could be of any help. Kamikaze read his thoughts and reminded Hank that Reg Grundy had healed his own wounds.
"This is quite different from superficial animal bites on a leg," Hank countered Tyler’s reasoning.
Reg guffawed,"How about I pull yer testicles through yer bloody mouth and we’ll see how much you think it hurts ?"
Kamikaze snorted but Hank was not amused. Tyler then brought up how Reg had healed Hank on the battlefield during the funeral, but Hank was not listening.
Jean contacted McCoy from the surgery area and told him that Rayne’s temperature was now at a critical 106. She needed him there immediately. McCoy excused himself and left for the OR room.
Alex picked up on the communication and followed Hank into the other room, "I think I can help." She offered, "I can use my ice powers to try and get her body temp down."
"Good idea Alex," Jean responded, "Take it down as slow as you can but quickly. Know what I mean?" Alex nodded.
Hank hesitated and looked over at Jean, "We have a secondary problem here."
Jean eyed Hank suspiciously, "What secondary problem?"
Hank cleared his throat not sure how to put it, "Well, it is entirely possible that the patient is … um …"
Jean snapped impatiently, "Spit it out McCoy, we’re loosing time."
Beast couldn’t find a way to put it delicately so he just stated that Rayne might not want to survive this.
Jean stopped working. This opened a whole new can of worms. They could do the surgery and pipe in mega doses of ATB’s, but if the patient had lost the will to live… Jean took a ragged breath. She knew then that she would have to go into Rayne’s mind and try and help her there. She told McCoy the plan and gave him the task of the surgery while she would help Gambit’s sister telepathically. And it was left to Alex, to try and keep Rayne’s body Temperature down.
Kamikaze stepped just inside the area, "Um guys, Reg really wants to give it a go. There was dead silence in the room. Come on, he wants to try and heal her. Is it ok if the man just tries?"
Hank looked skeptical but at times like these anything was worth a shot. McCoy motioned for Reggie to come over to the table.
Reg tentatively walked over and craned his neck to see what was going on. When he saw who the patient was he scoffed, "Hold on, that rat sheila bit me the last time I tried to help her." He held out his hand to show them but forgot that he had already healed it.
Alex lost patience with him, "does she look like she is in any shape to do anything to you?"
Reg felt his face flush, "Right. Ok, where do I start?"
Hank asked Reg to explain how his healing powers worked. Reg told him that all he knew about it was, that his hands would glow, and he would touch the part that needed to be healed and it would heal. Hank told him to give it a try and moved his own hands out of the way.
"Let‘s give it a go," Reg felt sorry for the girl and he really wanted to help her. But he couldn‘t help wishing that he were back in Waroongah sitting in his lounge with a nice cold VB, a smooth cigar, and was listening to the world cricket match. ‘Ok, this needs to be done,’ He told himself, ‘so just screw yourself up to it." He swallowed hard and tried to concentrate. His hands began the tell tale white glow and he moved them to the infected area. He felt his fingers tingle when they came into contact with her skin. Then a wave of nausea ran through him and he almost pulled his hands away. ‘No,’ He chastised himself, ‘I will give this everything I’ve got.’ Soon his hands burned painfully and he gritted his teeth, "Flamin’ hell, this hurts."
Reg steeled himself against the pain, "Alright you disease from hell, prepare ter die!’ There was nothing else in the room for him now. It was just him and the disease that he had to defeat, and it was a battle that he intended to win.
Gambit sighed, and tossed his head in his hands. He couldn't help but feel he shared the blame for what has happened. But, she didn't want to be found and she didn't tell him what was going on with her. How could he have known? Was this a game she was playing? Messing around with something this serious, could really mean death. He moaned. Didn't she love him enough to stay with him?
How could she want to leave him behind now after all they had done together and been through together. When they were now finally re-united after so long. For a good part of his life she was the closet person to him, like an extension of his own hand. She could finish his sentences, and he would know when to show for important things at the right time because she would always be there to remind him. They were halves that together made a whole person. The perfect compliment they were always there for one another during bad times and good times. They had loved each other that much. Now she has decided to go to a place where he cannot follow?
He stifled a cry, ‘Oh ye yaille,
chere. Don’ do dis t’me.’ He recalled how there were those who had always
wondered if she would amount to anything, and they never supported her enough.
And yes, he had been one of them from time to time as well, rubbing his chin
and shaking his head at her foolish antics. But the same things had been said
about him too though and he had turned out all right. Maybe better than all
right, but he wouldn't pat himself on the back yet. He still had a long way to
go. What was so different in his upbringing? What caused his sister to loose
her will to live? She must be praying for death if she is willing to let it go
like this but why? If she truly loved him she wouldn’t dare leave him now. He
needed her now. Didn't she love him enough to try harder?
Remy grabbed some hair between his fingers. He gritted his teeth and kicked the wall. He had a good life with little worries. He was happy enough with his life. But now he couldn't help but feel guilty when he thought how she gave up her happiness to ensure his. He had been given all the breaks and it didn't help to know that she had done all she could to make sure he got them even if it meant her own death. Except for his current significant other, Rayne was the only one who truly didn't judge him or make him feel inadequate. Often he felt lacking when people found out he was a thief. Not that he couldn't hold his head high, or put on a good show so they didn't notice how their taunts and accusations hurt him but it was always good to know he needed no facade with her. She accepted him for who he was without hesitation. He narrowed his eyes determined to tell her how he felt. That in all their years together, they had made all their decisions together, how dare she think of taking her love and her life away without talking it over with him. Without giving him a chance to help, ‘Wit’out even sayin’ good-bye,’ Gambit clinched his fist and fought back the tears, ‘Mon Dieu Rayne ! Yo‘ can‘t do dis t‘me. Not again.’
Though this was not the same as before, when they were cruelly separated by powers beyond their control. This time she was the only one responsible for her leaving his life and he was angry. He will make her see how wrong she is if he has to beat it into her head. He would do whatever it took to convince her that she couldn‘t go.
He leaned his head against the wall and thought of how greedy that sounded. Rayne had to be in terrible pain to cause her to give up so. Was it his right to deny her an end to her aguish? Would the end to her pain be the end of his too? She obviously wanted to be released from her physical pain and the other agonies she had no control over. Was it right to make her stay? To force her to stay and love him as she always had in the past? He fell to the floor and folded himself in half resting on his knees feeling defeated. He hid his face as the tears came and this time he let them fall. He had failed his sister. He didn’t see what was right in front of him. He didn’t see her pain. He took advantage of her love, and didn’t make sure that she knew he loved her and needed her as well. It only would have taken a little bit to time and effort. Just small things that he could have said or done.
Remy was overwhelmed with grief. He had failed his sister again and it was almost more then he could stand, ‘No!’ He yelled in his head, ‘This can't happen. I won't let it. If I have to scream in her face to make her understand how much I love her and need her, I will because without her I am only half a person. Damn the past! I was young then but I can do something about it now and I will.’ Was it his anger, his love or his own stubbornness that wouldn't let her go. He wasn‘t going to let her do this. She had too many wonderful things yet to do and see. She was too young to miss out on all life had to offer. If his love could save her then she would be all right, because he did love his sister and this time he was going to give of himself so that she could find happiness. The thought of letting her go like this was incomprehensible to him, and he hoped that she was not beyond repair or hope. She never deserved any of the terrible things that had happened to her, and that angry thought made him want to fight harder for her. Was that what she needed? To know that he would fight for her life, because he loved her that much did she feel that alone? That unwanted or that unnecessary?
Gambit shook his head. If that was all took then he would gladly do it. The fight might not be an easy one and it might be a very long road. But if he stuck by her and held her by the hand along the way, then maybe it would only hurt each them half as much, and she would again be the whole, life loving person he used to know.
Jean made contact with the upper layers
of Rayne’s mind. There was so much fear and sadness. She saw plainly that Rayne
had given up on her life. Jean needed to find the root of the young mutants
hopelessness and then try to help Rayne come to terms with it.
The telepath gently prodded deeper into Rayne’s consciousness. Jean saw shadowy images of the young woman’s past. She saw fleeting glimpses of a lab, and saw a woman’s scarred face. She saw a man’s face as well. Flashes of red intermingled with the images, and Jean was overwhelmed with a feeling of dread, panic, fear, and most of all pain. ‘What did they do to these poor mutants?’ She though, although she knew full well what evil some people were capable of. Again, Jean saw the visage of a scarred woman. The female was looking down at Rayne and had a pleasant smile on her face. The telepath saw the woman bring into view a scalpel. The scene went blood red and Jean heard an agonized scream. Then everything went black.
A single point appeared and drew Jean’s attention. It was a cage, suspended in nothingness. And in the cage was an image of a whiskered and clawed Rayne. She was sitting against one side of the cage, her arms dropped to the bottom of the cell with the palms of her hands up. Her legs were drawn up close to her body and she had an empty, unblinking stare.
Around the cage, appeared shapes of humans and one demonic looking creature. The humans were circling the cage, pulling at her form within and taunting her. The demonic looking one was at the side of the cage where Rayne sat. It looked like it had once been human but its dried-up flesh and skeleton made it look more like a demon from hell. The creature kept reaching through the cage and clawing at Rayne. She was covered with slashes from the demons talons but was not re-acting to anything around her. The young woman just sat there, staring.
When Jean approached the cage, the shadowy forms dispersed into the nothingness except for the creature that was clawing Rayne. With her telekinesis Jean tossed the demonic looking creature away from the cage. It screeched in anguish, "It’s ma right. Ah demand venge’nce fo’ de heinous crimes against ma’se’f!"
Jean asked the creature what crimes were committed against it, that it should torment the young woman so. The demon keened and thrashed about in the emptiness. After a while it settled and told its tale.
It said it was from New Orleans and described the many pleasures of life it had there. It had once been young and strong and had a prosperous future as a member of the Assassins guild. It loved its life. It relished every breath and every life it took for its clan. The creature leapt onto the cage and fiercely rattled the bars, "Dis witch took ma life." The demon’s eyes glowed a brilliant red, "But den she wasn’t happy wit’ jus’ killin’ me, non, she turned ma’se’f into dis atrocity!" The creature wailed and thrashed and the red in its eyes flared so much that the entire scene vanished in a haze of crimson.
The red dissolved into black. Jean wondered if it was true that Rayne had killed that person and the memory of him tortured her soul. She needed more information. She also needed to try and establish contact with Rayne herself.
She heard sobbing and footsteps. From the blackness two forms materialized. One was an 11 year old Rayne was sitting on a fallen log. She had her arms wrapped around over her head with her elbows propped on her knees, which were pulled up against her body. Her head was buried in the shelter of the space in between her body and her knees. With every sob, her back arched and shuddered.
The other form was Gambit, about 14 years old, who walked up to Rayne. He asked her why she was crying and he knelt down in front of her. Rayne wouldn’t look at him and Remy asked her again, why she was crying. She told him that it was ok, that nothing was wrong. He didn’t believe her and wanted her to look at his face and tell him nothing was wrong. So he reached over and pulled her arms away from her head. That knocked her off balance and her legs unfolded so she could catch herself. When she did so, Remy saw that her shirt was torn and she had bruises and scratches on her face and neck.
Remy stood up and demanded that she tell him who did this to her. Rayne just shook her head no and said it was nothing that she had just fallen that’s all. The young Remy gathered his sister up and they started walking. He told her he was taking to her Tante’ Mattie’. Rayne said she would go but insisted again that she was ok, that she had just fallen.
Another form materialized a teen a little older than Gambit. He had black hair and blue eyes and his clothes had blood stains on them. He snickered at Rayne who was being mollycoddled by her brother, "Well lookie ‘ere. If dis ain’t a fine pi’ture." The boy circled them with a cocky swagger and stopped at Rayne’s side. He grabbed a corner of her torn shirt, "Looks lik’ someone’s been havin’ some fun, eh?" Rayne buried her face into Remy’s side.
Gambit put it all together when he looked at the boy’s lewd grin and anger welled up inside him, "Ah’m gonna kill yo’ fo’ what you’ve done ta ma sister, Edval!"
The young assassin snorted his derision, "Yo’ can try, but yo’r jus’ a weak, pat’etic t’ief."
The young Gambit let go of his sister and began to circle the other boy. "No, Remy," Rayne pleaded, "Forget ’bout Edval. Jus’ take me ta Tante’s, Please!" Remy ignored her request and threw a punch at the scum that he reckoned had raped his sister. Edval side stepped the punch, came in under that punch, and rammed his fist into Remy’s stomach.
The young thief doubled over, and the black
haired assassin reveled in the thought of a sure kill, "Ah tol’ yo’ t’iefs
was weak." Edval kicked Remy while Gambit was still hunched
Rayne ran over and pounded her fists into cruel assassin, "Leave ma brother be, yo’ monster!" The boy backhanded Rayne and she fell back onto the ground. Edval made a vulgar gesture to Rayne, "Yo’ can have mor’ a dis when ah’m t’ru killin’ yo’ brother."
Remy growled, then came up out of his crouch with a roar and slammed his body into the assassin. Both of them hit the ground so hard that it knocked the wind out of the young thief. That didn’t stop Remy from pummeling his fists into Edval. Though, when the boy didn’t fight back Remy stopped. There was blood coming from under Edval’s head, and Remy moved the boy’s head to the side enough to see that when they had fallen back to the ground, the assassin’s head had hit a rock.
Rayne crawled over to Remys’ side and looked at the still body, "Is…is he dead, Remy?" Remy shook his head, " Ah t’ink so, Rayne." Rayne reached out and touched the boy’s head. She pulled her hand back quickly when she felt that it was already turning cold. She buried her head into Remy’s side, "What are we gonna do, Remy? If de assassins guild finds out, dey will kill yo’!"
Remy suggested that they bury the body then no one would find out. Rayne told Remy she had an idea. She asked him to help her carry the body to Tante’ Mattie’s. She told him that Tante’ was gone for a while and wouldn’t be back until later. She told Remy that her plan was to bring the boy back to life.
Remy looked at Rayne like she had grown two heads, "Are yo’ crazy, girl?" Rayne shook her head no, "Remy, Ah know a lil ‘bout de spells Tante’ uses. Ah know where her spell book is. Ah t’ink ah can fin’ da right one ta bring dis boy back. Ah wan’ ta try. Ah’ve got ta try! De assassins won’ come after yo’ if he is alive an’ if it doesn’t work. Den we’ll bury him or somet’in. Ok?" Remy still thought it was a crazy idea but he helped carry the body to Tante’s house.
The figures dissipated from view, and Jean is once again left alone in the void. She understood a little bit better now of the trauma that had eventually led Rayne to give up. Jean thought about what she had just witnessed. Two kids that were suddenly plunged into a nightmare, and she couldn’t help but wonder what kind of scars Gambit carried from this as well.
The interior of a house came into focus. Rayne and Remy dragged Edval’s body into the house and hoisted it on a table in a small room. The room was filled with books, vials, herbs and candles. Rayne opened a cupboard, removed an old tattered book and placed the book gently on the table beside the body. Her hands trembled as she flipped through the pages looking for the correct spell that would bring this boy back to life, and thus save them from certain death at the hands of the assassins guild.
She found the spell and looked at the list of ingredients. Then she noted how much time it was actually going to take and was afraid that Tante’ would be home before then. So Rayne decided that she would send Remy away from the house so he wouldn’t get caught. She looked at Remy, "Ah need sometin’ from da woods. Yo’ have ta go get it fo’ me, Ok?" He nodded his head and asked what he was supposed to find. Rayne made up a plant so he would be gone a long time. Remy left the house on his quest to find a plant that didn’t exist. Rayne sighed, lit some candles and placed them around Edvals body. She gathered up the appropriate things to complete the spell. When that was done she began.
Jean felt a chill run through her as she heard Rayne recite the incantation. A long time passed and sweat beaded on Rayne’s brow as she concentrated. There was a noise and Rayne stopped her chant. Her face went pale, "Oh no, Tante’s back!" She looked back to the book, closed her eyes and quickly tried to finish the spell.
Jean saw a woman walk into the room and gasp, "What are yo’ doin’ ‘ere, girl?" Tanti’ stood in disbelief as she saw the lifeless body of the boy on the table, "Stop what yo’r doin’, chile!"
Rayne finished the last of the spell but something went terribly wrong. Instead of the spell bringing the boy back to life, it just re-animated the dead body. She gasped in horror as she looked upon the zombie she had just created.
The dead thing flung its arm and hit Rayne, knocking her into a cabinet. The blow also knocked off the spell book and some candles. One candle ignited the book, while others rolled on the ground spreading wax and flame. Rayne Screamed.
Jean watched as the zombie slid off the table and reached out to Rayne. Tante’ Mattie’ Grabbed a hold of the creature to stop it, but it was unnaturally strong and it flung her away. Again Rayne screamed.
The fire spread onto the baskets of herbs that where on the floor, and licked up the sides of the cabinets containing the books and vials. The zombie grabbed Rayne by the shoulders and hurled her across the room. Tante’ recited spells to try and send the creature away but they had no effect.
Rayne grabbed a broom-stick and threatened the creature with it. The zombie made an unearthly sound and came at her. Jean saw Gambit run into the house and he slammed into the demon, knocking it back to the table. Then Remy ran to Rayne to see if she was ok.
The creature regained its balance and attacked the person closest to it, Tante’ Mattie’. Remy had pushed the thing into some flames when he kicked it and when it grabbed Mattie’ by the throat, the corpse was already on fire.
Rayne screamed and pointed at the battle. Remy turned, grabbed the broomstick out of Rayne’s hand and attacked the zombie. He kept hitting the creature until it released its hold on the woman. Then Gambit jumped up and kicked it hard back into the flames that had now engulfed the table and the undead thing wailed as its form was consumed by the fire.
Gambit told Rayne to get out of the house as he guided Tante’ outside. He didn’t notice that she just stood there staring at the thrashing, burning body.
Jean heard voices outside the house and figured that the screams and smoke had alerted people. Then the scene in the room faded from view.
Jean could still hear the crackling of the fire and yells from the people outside to get clear of the house. She heard Gambit call out for Rayne. Those sounds faded and were replaced by hushed voices.
*Bang!*, Jean gave a start at the sudden loud noise, and from the blackness she could see what appeared to be a court room. But it was not an ordinary courtroom. There was no judge, jury or lawyers. Rayne and Gambit sat beside Tante’ Mattie. Around them stood a group of people that Jean took to be members of the Thieves Guild. On another side were people she assumed were of the Assassins guild. At the front of the room was a long desk. Sitting behind the desk was a group of grim faced men. On their cloaks were different insignias, which lead Jean to believe that they were representatives for both the Guilds.
Jean saw movement from the corner of her eye, and was shocked to see that the older version of Rayne was standing next to her watching the scene before them. This Rayne didn’t have whiskers or claws though. Jean saw this as her chance to reason with Rayne and get her to see value and hope in her life.
She said to Rayne, "You know that it was just an accident don’t you?" Rayne just stared ahead. Jean continued, "It wasn’t your fault or Remy’s fault."
The older Rayne stirred and said, " Some, wanted ta blame my brother fo’ Edvals death, but ah tol’ dem he had not’in ta do wit’ it." She shifted a bit but kept her eyes on the room, "Dere were people saw Remy run into da house when it was on fire. Dey said he saved us, an ah said dey was right," She blinked once, "Ah tol’ dem ah pushed Edval, an he fell and hit his head," She blinked again, " Ah tol’ dem ah dragged his body to Tante’s, an ah tried ta bring him back ta life." Rayne then closed her eyes, "Remy, he said it was a lie. He said he killed Edval but dey wouldn’ believe him. Mostly, cause dere was people dat saw him run into de house. An he brought out Tante’, den he brought ma’se’f out." Rayne looked about the room as the trial progressed and whispered, "Rem shoulda lef’ me in dat house ta burn wit’ da monster Ah created."
Jean put her hand on Rayne’s shoulder, "surely they could see that it was just an accident?"
Rayne nodded then opened her eyes and stared at the room again. She stood there for a while. Then said, "Wasn’ so much dat Edval was dead. Mostly, dey was angry cause ah tried ta bring him back. An…dat Tante’ was allmos’ killed," A shudder ran through Rayne, "No forgivin’ dose t’ings."