"There now," Hank was saying, deftly applying bandages to the last of Lee's cuts and abrasions. "All disinfected, should be healed up nicely within a few days."
Lee nodded and drew her arms around herself. Noticing her reticence, the large, blue-furred mutant turned aside to pack up the first-aid kit. "If you... want to talk about it," he began, but Lee shook her head.
"Call me Hank," he interrupted with a charming smile, all teeth; Lee momentarily reflected on the oddity of the fact that she was casually chatting with one of the X-Men, and one of the original members at that.
"Hank," she said indulgently, with a small smile of her own. "But it's okay. Not the first time I was kidnapped, after all."
The medlab door opened just then, revealing the waiting Joseph, Remy, Cyclops, and a man whom Lee hadn't met before, but whose face she knew well: Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men. Although she was fully dressed, she suddenly felt vulnerable and small in his presence.
"It's my pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lee Holland," Xavier said in a pleasant voice, his hoverchair gliding forward to the examining table on which Lee sat. She hopped down from it and offered her hand, doing her best to maintain her composure.
"The pleasure is mine, sir," she replied.
"I understand from Gambit," Xavier said, "that you are not unfamiliar with the world of superheroes." Remy only grinned at her. She scowled back at him before returning her gaze to Xavier.
"Since that is the case, I felt it incumbent upon me to offer you a place here in the mansion. Not necessarily as an X-Man, you understand, but seeing as how you've already been involved in a dangerous situation as the result of being a mutant..."
She was already shaking her head negatively, and Xavier paused in surprise. "That's all right, sir," she said, smiling. "Thank you - I appreciate the offer - but I gave up the superhero gig a while back. I've been trained in the use of my powers for years now, and I'm doing all right on my own. But..." She paused for a moment, one eyebrow going up. "Should the need arise..?"
He nodded in answer to the open-ended question. "There will, of course, be a place for you here. And you are welcome to call us for assistance, if you need it."
"My thanks," she said, and smiled again. Xavier turned, then, and headed out of the lab. Cyclops gave her a nod and a smile before following his mentor, leaving Lee alone with three X-Men. She glanced around the room a bit nervously, then cleared her throat.
"I think I'd like to go home now. If one of you could call a cab for me?"
"I will," Joseph volunteered. A look passed between them, and suddenly Hank felt embarrassed to be in the same room. Remy, meanwhile, seemed to have faded into the shadows. As Joseph left the room, Lee slumped against the examining table, arms sliding around her waist again.
"Lee," the thief murmured.
She glanced up at him. He stood between a couple of medical machines, resting an arm lightly on one of them. Dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt, his lion's mane caught up in a ponytail, he was more beautiful than she remembered. "Remy," she acknowledged, nodding her head a little.
"You 'member me now?" he asked softly, his eyes glittering a little in the shadows. She nodded.
"Yeah. I hope you can forgive me for that."
"Wasn't your fault, chere," he said dismissively.
She stared down at a point on the floor between her toes, noticing absently that Beast had moved off to another part of the lab, though he was still within earshot. "I know," she said quietly, acknowledging Remy's last statement. "I still feel bad, though." Fidgeting a bit, she sighed. "But you should know that... I got over you a long time ago."
He nodded, stepped forward. "Feeling's mutual," he replied softly. "You just take care of yourself, okay?"
"Only if you promise to do the same." Moving up to him, she impulsively hugged him. "And I wish you the best of luck with Rogue."
He smiled down at the redhead, almost instinctively smoothing a stray lock of hair from her forehead. She glanced down, as if embarrassed by the affectionate gesture, and stepped back. A moment later, the medlab door slid open, admitting Joseph. Lee glanced at him with a smile.
"I've called a cab," he said. "Would you like to go out front and wait for it with me?"
"Sure," she said, and accepted the arm that Joseph offered. As they headed out together, she glanced back at Remy, who was looking after her, head lowered. Her heart clenched, and she bit her lip, facing forward. No regrets.
this page last updated on 18 january 2003