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Shatter the Stars

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Scott had been expecting this. Ever since Jean had let him know earlier that Logan was pulling back onto the property, Scott had been waiting for this moment. He’d made sure to send everyone away, to have Jean warn people to stay away, and then Scott had sat down in his office to wait. He already had a bottle of whiskey sitting out on his desk. In his hand was a tumbler with a generous amount splashed inside. As he waited, he took a sip off it, hoping maybe that the burn might warm up some of the cold places inside. Or maybe that it might fortify him for the hell that was about to come bursting through his door.

He didn’t have to wait long. He was sitting behind his desk sipping at his whiskey when the door to his office slammed open so hard it bounced off the wall. Logan slapped it again when it snapped back at him and then he was inside and it didn’t matter to him that the door bounced yet again with enough force to actually make it close once more. At any other time Scott might’ve been impressed not only by the amount of strength that took, but by the strength of the door. He made a mental note to check later and find out just what the door was made of. Maybe they should make all the doors around here out of the same material. It might keep them from breaking so often because of little ‘accidents’.

All of that was noted in an absent sort of way. The rest of Scott’s focus was on the furious feral that strode towards him. The sound of Logan’s claws extending echoed loudly in the room. Scott didn’t even flinch. He stayed in place as Logan marched right up to his desk and brandished one fist at him, blue eyes snapping like fire, and every line of that compact body vibrating with the need to let go and break something. If that control snapped, it was Scott that was most likely going to be the thing that broke. He didn’t flinch. Not even when Logan bent down and growled out in his deadliest voice “What the fuck happened?”

There was no need for him to pretend not to know what Logan was talking about. He knew; of course he knew. It was the one topic on everyone’s mind in this house and the one thing that no one wanted to talk about. Scott didn’t even think to question how Logan found out when no one was saying a word. Did it really matter who told him? He’d known that someone would. Just as he’d known that Logan would come looking for him for answers. He was team leader. He was supposed to have answers for this. Though he hadn’t even been there, he was still supposed to have answers. Only, how could he answer Logan’s questions when he still had so many himself?

It wasn’t time for his own personal introspection. Scott pushed down his pain and grief and the guilt—always the guilt, clawing at his soul and ripping him to shreds until he swore he was bleeding from it inside and how the hell could no one see?—and he focused on the person who needed his attention the most right now. Not because he felt particularly threatened by Logan, but because if there was anyone that deserved answers here, it was Logan. This would affect him for than probably anyone in this house. There was no one who would grieve more. Not even Ororo, though that pained Scott to admit. She was still too caught up in her anger and feelings of betrayal to grieve right now.

Scott sat back in his chair, heedless of the claws still held out towards him, and he threw back the last shot in his glass. He didn’t try telling Logan to sit down, or offer him a drink. Not yet. It wasn’t time for that yet. Logan wanted answers and he would get them. “I wasn’t with the team, but from what I was able to piece together, it would seem there was a trial…”

For fifteen minutes straight Scott talked about everything that he’d been able to piece together. After the first five, Logan leaned back. By the time Scott was halfway through, just to the point where he calmly revealed, in the same neutral tone that he’d told this whole thing, about Remy’s involvement in the Mutant Massacre, Logan reached out and poured himself his first drink. He was on his fourth by the time that Scott got to the end. A fifth was poured, just sipped at. Though he knew Logan could slam it all back like it was water, he’d picked the good stuff for this. It seemed appropriate. Remy would’ve approved of the bottle.

And just like that, the pain was back, cutting through him, and Scott was grateful his story was done because he wasn’t sure he would’ve been able to keep the emotion out of his voice. He poured another drink for himself, using it to chase away the take of bile in the back of his throat. The burn ran down to his stomach and he let it settle there, let it steady him, before he spoke again. “Jean and I went back. We went back and looked everything. She used her powers until she was barely conscious—there was no sign of him.”

Neither one of them mentioned Remy’s ability to keep telepaths out. They both knew that, even half out of his mind, he would’ve at least accepted Jean’s touch if he’d felt it, and he always felt it even when a telepath tried just a casual look.

How long the two men sat in silence, Scott didn’t know. He didn’t really care. There was a brief touch from his wife during which he let her know that they were fine, that was it, and then she left him be to deal with this as needed. It had taken a lot of convincing earlier before she agreed to let this happen. Scott hadn’t been willing to give in. He and Logan might not have always gotten along and they might enjoy fighting with one another more than they probably should—and God knows that man could push his buttons better than anyone else here, he always knows how to send Scott’s temper skyrocketing—but he had a feeling he was one of the only ones in the house who would understand the feral right now. No one else would realize the depth of Logan’s pain. Most people here didn’t seem to realize just how deeply he did feel. No one except Remy. But Remy’s not here anymore. Because you failed him. You failed him and you failed your team. Scott shoved those thoughts down under another shot of whiskey.

The bottle was three quarters gone and neither man was feeling the buzz when Logan finally spoke. “Has anyone stopped by here looking for him?”

Scott shook his head. “No. We tried to find a way to contact the LeBeau family down in New Orleans, but we haven’t had any luck.”

“It’ll be handled.” Logan said firmly. He threw back another shot and Scott caught a flash of the pain in those blue eyes. Then they froze over once more to hide everything. The skill of a man who had lived through so much, lost so many, and had learned how to square his shoulders and just keep on keeping on. Those cool eyes lifted to Scott’s face. “I’m gonna take some time. I got notifications to make and this aint news ya hand out over the phone.”

“Are you going to go tell his family?”

Logan snorted and looked down at his empty glass. “You could say that.”

“I want to come with you.”

That brought Logan’s head up, surprise plastered on his face. He was no more surprised than Scott was, though. But surprise or not, it didn’t take away from the words. He wanted to do this. No, he needed to do this. As team leader, he was responsible for these people, every single one of them. The X-Men may belong to Charles but the teams belonged to him. They were his people. Like any good commanding officer, he needed to be there when the notifications were made. He needed to pay his respects to the people important enough to warrant a face to face notification.

His surprise only grew when Logan nodded at him. There was something akin to understanding and sympathy in the man’s eyes. “I’m fixing to leave tonight. No more than a few hours.”

“I’ll be ready.” Scott said simply.

The two shared a nod of understanding. Then, though they spoke not a word, they both lifted their glasses in a silent toast. Scott only wished it didn’t taste so bitter going down.

CXCX

They took separate vehicles out there. Scott had assumed that they would take a car together. That assumption had grown when Logan brought down a few bags and put them into the trunk, with their silent audience watching on. No one dared say a word in the face of the fury on Logan’s face or the coldness of Scott’s expression. They said nothing as Logan took Remy’s things—who knew he had so few things? All his time with them and it fit into a large rucksack and a small duffle bag—and put them in the car. And no one said anything when Logan walked over to Remy’s precious motorcycle. Scott saw the man climbing on and he understood what was going on. Logan was leaving nothing of Remy’s here for these people. People he felt betrayed his friend. Scott couldn’t really blame him. They had betrayed him, all of them. Though none so heinously as him.

It was easy to follow Logan on the road. For once, the man didn’t race ahead, didn’t speed like there were demons on his tail. He kept a speed that Scott could follow and always stayed at least within sight. But of all places that they could end up going, he could honestly say that he hadn’t expected it to be Washington DC. As far as he knew, all of Remy’s family was back in Louisiana. Then again, you didn’t really know him at all, did you? His mind taunted. Scott pushed that thought back, too. He’d become an expert at that.

They eventually pulled into the parking lot of an apartment building. Scott parked his car in the slot next to where Logan had parked and he quietly climbed out, not asking questions, just waiting. Logan stood beside the bike and looked up at the building for a long moment. He looked like a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Someone who knew they were about to do something horrible and there was no way out of it.

“This is gonna get bad, Cyke.” Logan’s low voice rumbled in the night. He turned his eyes from the building to pin Scott with his stare and the nearby streetlight seemed to reflect off them, giving them an even icier appearance than before. “I know you feel you do, but you aint gotta be here for this. But I promised Rem a long time ago I’d do this personally if it ever came down to it.”

“I need to.” It was all Scott said, but it was enough. Logan nodded at him. Silently, the man took off towards the building, and Scott followed close behind.

They made their way up three flights of stairs before Logan stopped in front of an apartment door. There was a brief moment when the man visibly gathered himself, his strength, his control, and then he lifted a hand and firmly knocked on the door. This was it. Scott stood behind him and tried to prepare himself for whatever was coming. He tried to brace himself even though he knew nothing could. They were about to deliver terrible news to someone whose grief was going to be immense. There was no preparing for that.

It took a minute that felt like hours before the door opened. The person who answered it wasn’t quite what Scott had expected to see. Whoever this kid was, he wasn’t family of Remy’s. There was no resemblance there except in that they were both tall. Whereas Remy was tall, he was also well defined with a body used to fighting and moving. This kid was tall and slender, almost delicate looking. He had wide brown eyes set in a youthful face that was made even younger by the shaggy brown hair that surrounded it. He looked like a businessman or a professor in slacks and a button up shirt, and Scott had bet a tie had been worn at some point before he got home and shed it.

The man lit up when he saw Logan. “Logan!” There was honest happiness on his face and in his eyes. His smile stretched wide. Then, in just the blink of an eye, it all froze.

Logan let out a soft sigh. “Hey, Spencer.” His voice was lower, a soft rumble. It was the tone that Scott had heard him use once or twice with Jubilee or Kitty when they woke up from nightmares or were scared.

The kid’s smile melted away and Scott swore he could see all the color drain from his face. They didn’t have to say anything. Whoever this kid was, he saw it on them, saw it written on their faces. His eyes grew impossibly wider until they seemed to take up his whole face. They shot over to Scott like they were looking for anything that might make this not real. When he didn’t find it, they flashed back to Logan, and the fear there was like a fist to the gut. This kid, Spencer, gripped tightly to the doorframe until his knuckles went white. “No.” The word broke from him, a trembling whisper that held so much grief to it. “Logan…”

“I’m so sorry, slick.” Logan said.

Spencer bowed his head and squeezed his eyes shut. The low moan that he gave was one that Scott knew would haunt his dreams for a long time to come. It was a raw sound, full of an almost animalistic pain. Then, to Scott’s shock, the man seemed to—flicker. That was the only way that Scott could describe it. He flickered like an image on a television that was cutting in and out. And then he vanished completely.

A low curse came from Logan and the man quickly reached forward, had in fact already been reaching forward when the kid started to flicker, but his hand encountered nothing. He quickly darted through the door and there was nothing for Scott to do but follow him and make sure that the door was shut behind him. Whatever happened in here, this wasn’t something for public consumption. Strangers didn’t need to bear witness to this. When Scott looked across the room and saw Logan wrapped around thin air, or what appeared to be thin air, with this look on his face that was more devastating than anything Scott had ever seen, so full of a grief that seemed centuries old, he couldn’t help but think that maybe he shouldn’t be witnessing this, either. He felt like an outsider standing on the edge of something personal and private. The grief in the air was a palpable thing that pressed heavy against his skin and would’ve brought tears to his eyes if he were physically able to cry. Standing there frozen in the entryway of this apartment, he watched as Logan held on to the empty air, held what Scott assumed was this invisible man, and he could see Logan’s mouth moving, could just faintly hear enough words to tell him that Logan was giving the same speech that Scott had given him hours ago.

The air that Logan was holding gave another flicker, like what had happened in the door, only this time it was that same young man flickering back instead of away, and the scene was all the more heartbreaking as Scott became able to see the man again. This man who had looked before like someone young and who now looked like a child curled tightly into his father’s arms. Logan moved from a squat to sit down right there against the wall and he didn’t hesitate to draw this slender young man right up into his lap, dragging him in close, and Scott’s heart gave a lurch when Spencer's fists went tight in Logan’s shirt and he drew his knees up to his chest, compacting into this shaking ball. Logan wrapped strong arms around him and drew him in impossibly closer. There was such strength in that gesture. Such tenderness. He held Spencer close as if he could shelter him from the world with just the protection of his arms. His head bowed down and he pressed one cheek against messy brown hair and Scott could still see his lips moving, catch faint whispers of reassuring words they both knew meant nothing to the trembling young man that was still flickering in his arms. It wasn’t the words but the tone that would register with Spencer. Another layer of the protection that Logan was wrapping around him. He was anchoring this Spencer in every way that he could and Scott marveled at the depth of tenderness that Logan was displaying. The unselfconscious way that the usually gruff, growling feral was holding and caring and protecting this broken young man.

One thing that Scott had learned over the years was that most people reacted with denial at first when bad news was delivered. They tried to deny the truth, sometimes even begging and pleading for you to tell them that it was all a joke, demanding for there to be another answer. That was a part of the process that Scott had been through, both inside himself and with other people, and he’d expected it here, but it didn’t come. Spencer bypassed that and went straight to pain.

Logan.” The word came out low and broken, throbbing with pain, and it cut through Scott like a knife.

Logan rubbed his cheek against Spencer's hair and seemed to draw him in even closer, though Scott wasn’t sure how. They already looked plastered together. “Shh, kid, I know. Just let it out, Spencer. I’ve got you. I’m here. I’ve got you.”

And like those words had been some sort of magical permission, as if he’d only been waiting to be told it was okay, the young man fell to pieces. Scott knew he would never, not in all his years, forget this day. He would never forget the painful sounds that tore past Spencer's lips, the violent sobs that shook that slender frame until it seemed like he would come apart if it weren’t for Logan holding him together. This wasn’t grief at the loss of a friend. This wasn’t even grief for the loss of someone that was family, or like family. This was grief for the loss of someone so loved they were like a part of your very soul. Though Remy and Rogue were on-again-off-again, there was no doubt in Scott’s mind that this man right here loved Remy with every single fiber of his being in a way that no one else did.

Through it all Logan just held on and let him grieve and he kept whispering those same words over and over again. That’s it, just let it go, telling him that he had him and it was okay to let go, he was here for him and he wasn’t going anywhere. He kept up that stream of words while his blue eyes lifted and locked on Scott, as tumultuous as an ocean in a storm, grieving in his own way even as his voice remained steady while he kept up his litany of reassurance. Not once did he tell him it was okay. He never said anything close to that. He didn’t tell him it would be okay, that everything was going to be all right. He just reassured him that he was there. With body and words, he let Spencer know that he was in a safe place and that he could let go, and that was what Spencer did. He continued to flicker in and out of visibility as he cried. Logan never faltered, never flinched away when the man in his arms vanished. He just stayed there and held him as the screaming sobs slowly tampered down until, so suddenly it was a surprise, they cut off.

Worried, Scott took a step forward, not quite sure what he was going to do, but Logan didn’t look worried. If anything, the man relaxed a little, body slumping ever so slightly. One of his hands slid up Spencer's back until he was cupping the back of his head, blunt fingers threaded through fine hair, keeping Spencer's head cradled close. Scott saw what had happened when he got closer. One look at Spencer's face told him—the man had passed out. The pain, the explosion of grief, it had been too much. His body hadn’t been able to handle it and had sought out the blessed relief of unconsciousness.

Logan surprised him once again by turning his head just enough to press a soft kiss against Spencer's hair in yet another gesture that put Scott in mind of a father and his child, or at the very least an older brother with a much younger brother. There was definite love in that gesture, though. In all of this. A familial love that was stronger than some of the bonds that Scott had seen between real family members. Strong arms shifted around Spencer and once more Logan looked up to Scott. “Help me brace him so I can get up.”

The man was surprisingly light when Scott took some of his weight off Logan. They didn’t move him completely—even unconscious, Spencer was still holding to Logan and he seemed to flicker a little when Logan shifted away from him. But in a few short moves, Logan was back into a squat and he had Spencer cradled in his arms and then he was lifting him, straightening himself at the same time, and Scott helped to keep Spencer's head from flopping as they rose up. With Spencer in his arms, his head now tucked against Logan’s neck, they carefully made their way not to the bedroom, but over to the couch. Logan very carefully made his way over and then sank down onto the far end of the long couch. He didn’t look up at Scott as he adjusted Spencer in his lap, but he did speak in a low voice. “Down at the end of the hall is the kid’s room. Would you go grab the quilt off the bed, an his cell phone off the dresser?”

Scott moved quickly, not even really taking time to look around as he darted down the hall and grabbed the requested items. By the time he got back out to the living room he found that Logan had stretched Spencer out on the couch with the kid’s head pillowed in his lap. Scott handed the cell phone to Logan and then moved to lay the quilt down himself, just like tucking in a child.

“I’ll have to call his boss later.” Logan said, setting the phone down on the table beside the couch. “Let him know the kid aint coming to work for a few days.”

Scott tucked the blanket down around Spencer's feet, making sure he was completely covered. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Naw.” Shaking his head, Logan looked down at Spencer, one large hand coming down to once more thread through that long hair, and this time Scott had a feeling the gesture was more for Logan’s sake. The kid wasn’t conscious to even register the touch. “Rem built a plan just in case something like this ever happened. He knew our life wasn’t always safe and he wanted to make sure the kid would be taken care of. Spencer don’t know it, but Rem and I met with the kid’s boss once, just to make sure the man knew his part of things. We’ve got plans in place.”

“He’s important to you.” It wasn’t what Scott had been thinking, but he couldn’t bring himself to really ask what he wanted. He couldn’t make himself actually ask who this kid was and why he was so important to both Remy and Logan.

Yet, the look that Logan gave him told him the man had clearly heard the unspoken words. He looked up as Scott sank down into the nearby recliner and he gave him a sort of half smile. “Far as I know, him and Gumbo have known one another since they were teens. Met up bout the time that Spencer's powers kicked in an they’ve been close since then. A few years back, we were hear in DC for something or other and the Cajun decided to introduce us, an we been friends since. I promised him if anything ever happened, I’d make sure the kid was taken care of.”

There was more to that story, a whole lot more, but it wasn’t Scott’s place to ask and he knew that. The way that Logan was holding this kid, caring for him, the way he looked at him with that kind of paternal love, spoke of a much longer story. A very private one that Scott knew better than to try prying in to. He let that all slide and turned his own eyes down to the brown head peeking out the top of the quilt. “He’s lucky to have you.” Scott murmured.

A low snort slipped from Logan. “I’m lucky to have him. He’s …special.” The way he said that told Scott that he wasn’t just referring to Spencer's relationship with Remy. He meant ‘special’ in an entirely different way. Logan’s gaze softened into a look that Scott had only seen when the feral man looked at the ones he considered like his kids. It was a soft look, a warm one, only this time it was tinted with worry and heartache. It was the most open that Scott had ever seen him be and it was a heartbreaking experience and one that Scott could’ve lived without ever having seen, this open and vulnerable part of a person he’d always sort of thought of as indestructible. But Logan didn’t look indestructible now. He looked worried and so protective of the young man that was curled against him like some lost child seeking comfort. “He’s special.” He repeated again in a low murmur. “And this is going to shatter him. I just hope like hell I’ll be enough to put some of the pieces back together.”

The room grew quiet after those soft words. What else could be said? Scott sat back in the chair and watched as Logan sat there and carefully watched the young man in his lap, a man who very obviously had a part of his heart and who had been someone so important to Remy. Someone that no one else at the mansion had known about. In this young man, Scott was getting a glimpse of a different Remy, one that he had seen only hints of before, and he found himself grieving even more for the loss of this part of him that he would never get to know, a part that inspired such love that the loss of it left a young man broken and shaking on a couch, cradled in his friend’s arms.

Chapter Text

It took a whole week before Spencer went back to work again. Seven days spent at his apartment with only Logan for company. Scott had been sent home after that first day, though Spencer's recollections of that were vague. He sort of remembered Logan introducing them, maybe even remembered Scott saying something, but he had no clear memory of him going, only of Logan telling him afterwards that Scott was gone and it was just them now. Then things got a little fuzzy again and they stayed fuzzy for almost all of the week. Spencer could barely remember any of it. It was all a big kaleidoscope of pain and this never-ending emptiness that didn’t go away. Without Logan’s steady presence through that week, there was no doubt in Spencer's mind that he would’ve sank down into a darkness he never would’ve returned from. With Logan’s help, Spencer made it through that week, and through the days beyond. With his help, the pain dulled, though the emptiness stayed. It would always be there. Half of Spencer was gone and there was nothing in the world that could fill that void.

The person who returned to the Bureau wasn’t the same person that had left there before. The team had all been told that Spencer had taken the week off after losing someone, so they expected their friend to be hurting when he came back. What they found was nothing like what they’d expected.

The young man who came in that Monday morning was a shell of who he’d once been. He dressed the same, was full of all the same facts and statistics and random information, but he wasn’t the same. It was Derek who put it into words for them after the end of that Monday—“There’s no life in him.” That was the perfect description. There was no life in Spencer. It was like all the life had been drained away from him. The happiness, the sweet shyness he was known for, that spark that had gotten him through so many hellish things in his life, all of those were gone and all that was left was this shell of a man, a walking robot. The life had been drained away from him in one single moment and there was nothing any of them could do to bring it back. He answered questions when asked, spoke when spoken to, and did his job with an efficiency that bordered on scary. Questions or remarks of concern were met with a blank stare that was truly terrifying. Wide brown eyes that had always carried so much emotion now seemed dull and blank. The spark behind them was gone.

Spencer knew he was worrying his friends. On some level, he knew and understood it. He just didn’t have it in him to care. The pain was still in him, held back only by a thread, and he knew if he let himself feel anything, then he’d have to let himself feel that pain, and he didn’t think that he could survive that. So he shut it down and locked it all away until there was only the cold, only that emptiness where nothing could touch him. He was alone.

CXCX

Losing people was a pain that Logan was far too familiar with. Even with the messed up memories that he did have, he knew that loss had been a part of his long life many, many times. He knew what it was to lose someone close to you, someone that you cared for, who were such an important part of your life. That was part of the reason why he kept so many people at bay. Always, there was a part of him that told him not to get too close, not to let himself care, because he knew how much it would hurt in the long run when he lost them. And he always lost them. Just as he’d lost Remy. The pain of that was sharp and hot in his heart and shredded him in ways he hadn’t felt in a long time. Yet, it was a familiar pain, one he knew well and one he knew how to cope with. Cold as that may sound to others, it was just how it was. He knew how to live with this kind of pain and grief. He knew how to handle the memories when they swarmed up over such simple things as a clove cigarette, or the sound of a violin, or he caught sight of a dark trench coat in a crowd and his heart did that little skip-a-beat hopeful wishing only to end up squashed down when reality sank in. Those were all things that Logan knew how to handle and how to live with. A few drinks, a good fight or two, and he could burn away the pain.

But nothing told him how to handle watching a friend slowly dying a little more each and every day, right there in front of him. Nothing told him how to fix that.

Spencer had been back at work for seven weeks now and, to the casual observer, he seemed almost normal. He’d even managed normal enough to somehow convince the psychologist he was ordered to see to let him out into the field. That had sent Logan into a long and furious rant when Aaron Hotchner had called to give him the heads up. How on earth had anyone found Spencer ‘okay’? What seemed hidden to others seemed so obvious to Logan. Couldn’t they see the grief the man was living with? Couldn’t they see how wrong everything was? His team saw it, Logan knew, and that was the only thing that kept him from locking Spencer up at home where he could make sure he was safe. They took care of Spencer while he was with them and Logan took care of him back at home. But it wasn’t enough. It was never enough.

“I’m trying, Rem.” Logan said, standing on the rooftop of Spence’s building and smoking a cigar. He looked up at the night stars and sighed. “I’m trying. But it aint me he needs. I always told ya that you were underestimating the kid. He loves ya more than you’ll ever know, now, and I don’t know how the hell I can get him to live without ya. But I’m trying.”

CXCX

They were going to lose him.

It was a painful realization that Derek was coming to. He couldn’t deny it, though. Not when he had a front row seat to the painful loss of one of his best friends. Day in and day out he saw Spencer. Saw him at work, saw him on cases, saw him on those rare nights that he bullied his way into Spencer's home to share a meal with him and Logan, to check up on him and watch him when he was too worried to go home alone. He saw him all the time and he saw as clear as a bell—they were going to lose him.

The man that Spencer had become was but a pale shadow of the one he’d been. Dark circles had become commonplace under his eyes. When had they last seen him without them? The once cheerful and awkward babble that the good doctor had been known for was gone. Not when it was work related, oh no. There, he talked as needed, giving them all he had for the case. No one could deny that he did his job. It was the extra babble that had vanished. Useless facts and statistics, bits of information that Derek had once found so boring and had often begged Spencer to stop regaling him with, only now they were gone and he would give anything to have it all back, just one little ramble about anything at all. Anything that could replace the damn silence. He’d kill to see a spark of the old light back in Spencer's eyes.

He’d fading away in front of them and it’s destroying Derek to see it and know that nothing he’s doing is helping at all. Spencer's become more withdrawn, thinner—and God knows, there was never enough weight on him to begin with, and when Derek saw him changing at one of their motels he’d had to actually bite back the cry that wanted to rip free when he saw he could count those slender ribs from across the damn room—quieter, more contained, and emptier. He lives life as if going through the motions. He only eats when told to eat. He sleeps when taken or sent to a room. He doesn’t fight them on his personal care, he just doesn’t realize it on his own anymore, like it doesn’t register.

This last cast flashed through Derek’s mind and he bowed his head as the memories washed over him. He’d gone back to the hotel room he was sharing with Spencer, intent on getting a few hours’ sleep before they left, weary but happy with a case well done. He hadn’t been prepared for what he found in the bathroom. The door hadn’t been shut all the way, so he hadn’t realized that Spencer was in there. When he pushed the door open with the intent on going in to brush his teeth before sleep, he found himself frozen in the doorway for a full minute, his exhausted brain not quite able to compute what he was seeing. Even now, the next day, he still couldn’t believe it. Spencer had been standing by the sink in just his slacks and nothing more, and for a moment Derek had once again been caught on the painful realization of just how much weight his friend had lost. Then he’d seen the blood. Spencer, idiotic Spencer, had a first aid kit spread out on the bathroom counter and was actually sewing up a long gash in his side.

Of course Derek had freaked. Once the shock wore off, he’d freaked out, demanding to know what had happened and why Spencer hadn’t gone to the hospital, trying to take the needle from him and stop him from sinking it into his own flesh. All the while he’d fought the nausea at seeing Spencer stitching himself, and oh Christ had he even used anything to numb the damn thing with?

Derek could still see the empty look in Spencer's eyes when they’d flashed up to Derek’s face before going back to his injury. Never once had his hands stopped their steady movements. “It was just a cut, Morgan.” Spencer had told him in that empty tone of his. “Eight stitches, maximum. It’s not the first time I’ve patched myself up. I saw no need in vesting a hospital for something I could take care of myself.”

“There’s no point in doing it yourself when a doctor can do it for you!” Derek had snapped back. “Jesus fuck, Reid! Are you insane?”

Silence had fallen over them with those words. Derek regretted them almost as quickly as he’d said them and yet there was no taking them back. No way to unsay them. Only, Spencer hadn’t reacted to it. He hadn’t said anything about the words that, once upon a time, would’ve cut him to the quick. No, he’d simply cut that final bit of thread, finished off that last stitch, and then before Derek could do a thing, the man had vanished. Two small flickers and then he was gone, leaving Derek still standing at the door, shaken and terrified and so damn lost.

That feeling was still in him now as he sat in his car outside the Bureau and rested his head against the steering wheel.

They were going to lose him.

Some days, Derek was afraid that they already had.

CXCX

The days bled together for Spencer, one after another, an endless cycle that seemed to have lost so much meaning for him. He’s pushed back the pain for so many months now—five months, three days, six hours and twenty two minutes since Logan came and brought the news, since his whole world had shattered—that it’s become a part of him, this little box inside where he keeps it all locked away, and only the emptiness is left. Only the nothing that makes up his soul. He’s not whole anymore. The most important part of him, it’s gone, and nothing can replace that. Remy had been there for so long, such a vital part of him. Even when months went by between their visits there had always been the knowledge in the back of Spencer’s mind, in his heart, that all he had to do was make one phone call and Remy would be there. All he’d need was a hint that Spencer needed him and he was there, because Lord knew Spencer never really could bring himself to actually ask for help and Remy had become a pro at reading the little cues that Spencer put off without even realizing. But he’d always known that it was there if he needed. And now—now it wasn’t.

Sometimes he’d catch himself calling Remy’s number, knowing no one would answer, hoping each time someone would, clutching the little phone tightly as he listened to the message as it’s the only source of Remy’s voice he has right now.

When he’s home now, so much of his time is spent invisible. If he could feel anything but this numb emptiness, he would probably find some amusement in the whole thing. Something that he had once feared and even hated had become his reality.

For so long when his powers first manifested, he had hated his ability. Hated becoming invisible. What kind of power was that? Life had already made him feel invisible in so many ways and having it become his mutation, having no real control over it for months and months, had left him feeling almost like he wasn’t real. He had felt so intangible, even when solid, as if there was nothing left holding him to this world. He’d been so afraid that one day he would just go invisible and never come back, and that no one would even notice he was gone. Then he’d met Remy. Wonderful, crazy, insane, vibrant Remy. The man had enough life packed inside of him for three people, and then some. When he walked into a room, he drew all eyes, became the center of attention, and he loved it. He thrived on it. No matter where he went, he was the life of the party, filling up each room with his very essence. Just as he filled Spencer's life. He filled up the empty places inside of Spencer. Brought a life to him that had never been there before. Even when Spencer's powers got out of control, when he couldn’t stop the flickering, couldn’t keep his image solid, Remy was still there, still a part of him. He made Spencer feel real.

That’s gone now. The anchor that held Spencer down, the glue that held him together. This beautiful, vibrant man who had such heart and personality that he made a skinny little nobody feel like he was somebody. He was gone. And Spencer had no idea how to hold on to who he is without him. He doesn’t know if there’s even anything left to hold on to.

CXCX

Six months, eighteen days, twenty two hours, fifteen minutes and thirty seven seconds ago, the world had fallen apart at Spencer's feet. Everything in him had broken apart, stealing away the sun and the moon, shattering the stars in the sky, until he was left with nothing but the dark.

Six months, eighteen days, twenty two hours, fifteen minutes and thirty seven seconds later, all of that changed with just the opening of a car door on an airstrip as Spencer descended down the stairs from the BAU jet.

Chapter Text

Remy LeBeau gave a happy little sigh as the cab rounded the corner and the familiar apartment building came into view. Finally, his trip was going to be over. Three days on a train, one holdup overnight at a train station because of bad weather, and then another two days on the train, plus the cab ride from the station to here, he was damn well ready to get up and move around again. Add all of that on top of the confinement he’d been under these past months and it equaled up to one seriously edgy Cajun. The whole thing would’ve been a hell of a lot easier if he’d just been able to fly out here like he wanted. Lifting one hand, Remy brushed it carefully against his head, against the bandage that covered what would soon turn into a shining scar on his forehead. Flying after a concussion wasn’t exactly advisable. He’d been forced to give in and take the ever-so-slow train while very carefully trying not to leave a trail that could be followed.

All of that fell away, though, as the cab finally pulled into the parking lot. Everything faded underneath the fact that he was here. This place had been his goal for days and days now. Months, really. This was the one place he wanted to come to. The one place he wanted to be. It was what had kept him going and kept him strong.

Paying the driver, Remy climbed out of the backseat and drew his duffle bag up, holding it over one shoulder without any of the twinges that had been there even a few weeks before. He took a look up at the building in front of him and his lips curved unconsciously in a soft smile. A familiar sensation washed through him and he was amazed that he had never recognized it before for what it was, this amazing sensation of coming home. He’d never noticed it and yet he realized it’d always been there. At some point without him realizing it, this building, and more specifically the person inside, had become home to him. More so than anyone or anywhere else in his life. Nothing had ever felt more perfect or more right as it did to make his way inside and up the familiar staircase, up to that same landing and to a door that he knew was always open to him, even if no one was currently on the other side. He knew he was always welcome within those walls no matter what happened or what he’d done. In there was love and acceptance, caring and understanding, and someone who had stood by him no matter what. It may have taken a hellish six months for him to realize it, but the certainty of it was in him now, firm and solid, and he knew he’d never lose that.

He was so focused on that one face that he’d been wanting to see more than anything that it was truly a surprise when the door opened in front of him and he found, not Spencer, but Logan standing there. Still, there was only one brief pause for shock on either side and then both men were moving, wide grins stretching wide. Remy dropped his bag in just enough time to find himself caught up in a familiar hug so tight his ribs protested, yet he only laughed and tightened his own hold around Logan’s neck. “Bon Dieu, mon ami, it’s good to see y’!”

Logan’s arms tightened until Remy was sure damage might be done. He didn’t have to say anything, though. That tightness was brief and then Logan was letting him go and pulling back to grin down at him. “Son of a bitch. It’s really you.”

“De one and only, cher.” Remy’s grin grew cheeky and smug, that same grin that had always made Logan laugh at him and now was no different. Scooping up his bag, Remy bumped his shoulder against one of his closest friends and he stepped inside without needing any sort of invitation.

It only took about ten seconds for the question he’d known was coming. “Where the hell ya been?” Logan asked him in his usual blunt, straightforward way that did nothing to cover up the caring and concern that were there for those who knew how to listen. Remy had always known how to listen. He’d always heard the caring underneath Logan’s gruffness.

Remy’s answer was a simple one. “Sinister.” Here, with Logan, he knew no more had to be said. Logan would understand. He wouldn’t jump to the wrong conclusions like others might. A sharp pang cut across Remy’s heart and he shoved it down with practiced skill. No point in thinking about that. No point in listening to that voice that whispered through his dreams “…no home here…no home with the X-Men…” He had a home here, and he had a family here with Spencer, with Logan. They would know better about him. They’d know he hadn’t spent these past six months willingly with Sinister. They would understand, with just that name, all the things he didn’t want to have to say. The things he wasn’t quite sure he could say yet, even to them.

And he was right. Understanding flashed in Logan’s bright blue eyes followed quickly by rage. Rage that Remy knew wasn’t towards him, but for him. Logan had always been the protective one. The thought of anyone hurting people he cared about was enough to piss him off. He didn’t push, though. He could read Remy just as well as Remy could read him and he knew that pushing it would do no good, would in fact do more harm than good, and so he let it go. What he said next wasn’t any less painful, though. His simple words hit Remy like a blow. “Should’ve known the girl’s a lying bitch. She told us she found you dead out there.”

There was no need to say who the ‘she’ was. Remy knew. He appreciated more than he could say that Logan didn’t actually say her name. Though mention of her hurt, it was nothing in comparison to how he knew he’d feel if he had to hear her name, had to speak directly of her. That was a hurt that he had fought so hard not to think of for six damn months. Remy pushed it all down like he had so many times lately and he forced it all into that little box in his head where he kept the painful things. Things that would break him apart. Compartmentalizing, Spencer had told him once. Remy didn’t really care. It was his only way to survive sometimes and he’d perfected the ability.

Pushing it down left him open to more important things, other thoughts that slipped in as the pain cleared from his mind, and Remy’s eyes suddenly traveled sharply around the apartment. Things that he’d brushed off in the joy of seeing his friend were now coming to the forefront and were adding together with the knowledge that everyone had thought he was dead—the picture that was building now was enough to have him frozen. She’d told them that he was dead, and from the way Logan looked and how he’d reacted, everyone had believed it. Meaning, Logan had believed it. With Logan here, Remy knew that could only mean one thing; Spencer believed Remy was dead. That thought hit Remy harder than anything. He’d been holding out hope this whole time that maybe people had just thought his was missing, that no one had said anything to Spencer because Remy knew that Logan wouldn’t come worry the man if he didn’t have to. But they’d all believed he was dead and Remy knew what Logan would’ve done then. They’d planned for this.

“Where’s Spencer?” Remy demanded. He knew how rough he sounded just as he knew Logan would understand. Spencer was somewhere, thinking Remy was dead, had probably thought that for months now, and Remy couldn’t let him go on thinking it for one moment longer than he had to.

A shadow passed through Logan’s eyes that had Remy going cold. That coldness only got worse when Logan spoke. “He’s on a case. I’m supposed to pick him up from the airstrip in about an hour.”

The words were calm and normal, nothing to set off any alarms, and yet all of Remy’s internal alarms were screaming. It wasn’t the words so much as the way they were said, the look on Logan’s face as he said them, and the part of Remy that knew Spencer well enough to know that nothing was ever this simple or easy. Those things had worried—no, not just worried, afraid—and he asked the one question he knew would bring answers he wouldn’t like, but that he had to know. “How bad, Logan?”

That shadow crossed through Logan’s eyes once more. For one split second Remy could see Logan actually hesitating to answer, which only made him more afraid. Then he saw Logan let out a small sigh and his shoulders slumped slightly in defeat; he knew there was no way of keeping this from Remy. What was the point? He’d see for himself soon enough. Squaring his shoulders again, Logan hooked his hands in his pockets, a pose Remy knew meant that he was bracing himself for some shit. “Bad.” He said bluntly, one word confirming Remy’s fears. Then he went on and if Remy had thought any of the previous words had been like blows, it was nothing compared to the pain and fear that knifed through him now. “I been doing my damndest, but there’s only so much I can do. I aint ever seen him like this. He don’t eat unless made to, he don’t sleep until exhaustion drops him in his tracks. He don’t even really talk anymore, either. Not unless it’s for work. Half the time when he’s at home, he aint even visible anymore.”

“He’s flickering?” That was the word they used to describe Spencer's powers. Though technically his power was invisibility, they’d always called it flickering because of the way his image flickered when he’d first been learning his power, and the way it still did when he was tired or stressed. Emotions are always strongly tied into a mutant’s powers and if Spencer wasn’t calm, he generally flickered instead of smoothly vanishing from sight.

Logan nodded. “Yep. Not as bad as before, but still, bad enough.”

Bad enough? Wait… “He flickering at work?”

He didn’t need Logan’s nod to get the answer to that. It was written all over the man’s face even before he blew out a frustrated “Yep.”

Fils de putain!” Remy spat out the curse. Things were worse than he thought! “And y’ let him go to work like dat? How de hell has he managed not to get caught yet?”

“Hell if I know. And—let him?” Arching one brow, Logan shook his head. “We are talking about the same kid here, right? I don’t let him do anything. Even when I put my foot down, he just gives me that damn dead look he’s got and waits till I’m done to just go on an do what he’d planned on anyways. I try, but dammit, he’s not the easiest person to take care of.” Logan’s tone showed clearer than words just how hard he’d tried to take care of Spencer and how hard it had been, and Remy knew the truth of that better than anyone. He knew how fiercely independent Spencer was and how life had made him that way. Spencer had always been the person to take care of others and not the person to get taken care of. It had left him so damnably self-sufficient that he had a hard time accepting help from anyone at all—except Remy. Remy was the only person who Spencer truly allowed to take care of him and though it might be wrong, Remy enjoyed the hell out of that.

He liked that he could take care of Spencer. Liked that Spencer allowed it, would allow no one else to help him the way that he let Remy help him. He liked knowing that he was wanted—needed. No one had ever truly needed him the way that Spencer did. No one had ever trusted him like Spencer did. No one had ever let him be there, let him hold their hair while sick, let him cradle them close after a nightmare, let him worry about them and care for them and all those little things that Spencer sometimes pretended not to like but would make him get this warm light in his eyes that showed just how surprised and pleased and loved it made him feel. Spencer would protest, sure, and try to claim independence as he always did, but even as he did all that he’d still be leaning against Remy, letting him help, trusting that Remy would know what was best and that he’d take care of him. That trust was heavy and wonderful and one of the most constant and important things in Remy’s life.

“Rem.” Logan’s voice cut into Remy’s thoughts. The softness of it surprised him, had him blinking his eyes to clear them and then looking closely at his friend. There was warmth in Logan’s eyes, a familial love that both acknowledged and that needed no words, and something else that left Remy’s throat tight. “I don’t know the hell you been through, an I sure as hell don’t want to just dump stuff on you when you just got back. I know you got every right to want some time to heal up from all your shit and you’ve earned it, by my guess. But you gotta prepare yourself for what you’re gonna see. It aint gonna be pretty, an fixing it aint gonna be easy, but you’re the only person who stands a chance. Something in him died when he lost you.”

“Den we’ll bring it back to life.” Remy said firmly. He wasn’t going to ‘come back from the dead’ just to lose the single most important person in his life. Especially not after these months had made him realize exactly how important Spencer truly was to him. Everything else be damned. His own trials, those weren’t important, not in the face of this. Remy had always done better when he could push his own problems down and help someone else and there was no one who brought out that protective and caring side of him more than Spencer did. Remy knew his own problems would heal, given time, simply by being here and with people who he loved and who loved him. Face settling into firm lines, Remy straightened up and squared his shoulders, taking on that stance that Logan had seen so many times when the Cajun set himself on a path he was determined that no one would take him off of. “Y’ said we got an hour till he gets in? Den we got some shopping to do and t’ings to arrange. Whether de boy likes it or not, he’s going on vacation soon as he gets home, and I aint letting him outta m’ sight until he’s back in shape.”

CXCX

They were waiting at the airstrip when Spencer and the team exited the jet. Remy waited until he saw the only person he cared to see coming down those stairs, and then he pushed open the car door and stepped out. Then he just stood there, watching and waiting, eyes locked onto the slender figure of the most important man in his world. He swept his gaze over Spencer and wanted to cry out. Shout to Spencer, to the people around him, to the world. Logan had said he was bad, but nothing he’d said could’ve prepared Remy for this. His Spencer was broken. No, not just broken. Shattered. He was completely and utterly shattered and how the hell did no one else see this? How could they let him work like this? Even from this distance, Remy could see just how dangerously underweight Spencer was. How his cheekbones stood out so sharply in that too thin face, how his eyes looked bruised from lack of sleep, how he held himself and moved like every single step was going to be the one to finally break him apart and send him crumbling to the floor. He was thin and, to Remy’s eye, almost translucent in some ways. Oh, not honestly see-through. He wasn’t flickering. But there was a transparency to him that one who knew him well could see, more like a loss of vibrancy than anything physical. As if his very soul was flickering, not just his body, and sweet God it was terrifying to see. Spencer was fading away.

He could see the instant that Spencer's eyes landed on him. They went to Logan first, obviously expecting him to be there, and then focused right on Remy. But instead of surprise or happiness or any of the countless other things that Remy had expected to see in those dark eyes, pain flashed bright in them before they closed. Remy watched as Spencer drew in a shaky breath and slowly squared his shoulders like he was bearing up underneath this immense, invisible load, shouldering a weight no one could see or even begin to understand. When his eyes opened again they were empty and shuttered, all the emotion in them hidden far away where no one could see, and with a blinding jolt Remy understood exactly what was going on here. Spencer thought he was hallucinating. It made his heart ache even more than it already did as this brought home just how bad things had gotten. Beside him, he felt Logan tense, felt the man’s surprise, and he put a calming hand on the feral’s arm to let him know to stand down, that he had this under control. There was only one real way to handle this quickly—and quickly was exactly how it needed to be handled. He couldn’t let Spencer hurt any longer than he had to. Remy lifted his chin and smiled broadly at the group exiting the jet and he called out, not to Spencer, but to the team. “Hey dere, everyone. Don’t y’all just look like y’ had a hell of a case?”

Striding forward, Remy went to the person closest, Emily, and he greeted her with a warm hug just as he had ever since the first time he’d met this sweet, fiercely protective woman who loved his Spencer like a sibling and who had threatened to gut him if he ever caused Spencer any harm even as she’d hugged him like they were long lost friends. Anyone who cared for Spencer that deeply had automatic respect in Remy’s books.

Emily hugged him back, shock bright on her face when they separated, but it was all tempered by the honest happiness on her face. “It’s really good to see you.” There was more underneath those words, a message of wonder and happiness that told him she was curious about what happened but thrilled to see he was alive and well. Remy briefly squeezed her arm and smiled to let her know he heard both what she did and didn’t say. Then he turned his attention to Spencer.

The emptiness in Spencer's eyes was cracking. The debate there might’ve gone unnoticed by others, but it was clear as day to Remy. He could see exactly what was going on behind those dark chocolate eyes. Spencer had thought he was seeing things when he saw Remy—had most likely seen him before, judging by how he hadn’t startled at it at all—and Remy could see him trying to figure out if he was just hallucinating badly enough that it was starting to involve the team, or if there was really a chance that what he was seeing was honestly real. That his Spencer doubted himself so much was just another blow to Remy’s already aching heart.

Remy ignored the others, now, grateful that none of them were demanding the answers he knew they were aching to know. They held their questions and stood back silently as Remy took a single step towards Spencer. He saw Spencer take an involuntary step backwards and then, surprising Remy even more, Spencer flickered slightly, an obvious sign to his distress. Remy hadn’t seen him flicker like that in public since those early days when they’d first been getting to know one another and Spencer had been just getting used to his powers. But he did it now and didn’t even seem to realize that he had. His eyes were wide and focused totally and completely on Remy and the walls inside of them were coming down little by little as reality was starting to sink in. As hope grew. He didn’t believe, not yet, but he wanted to. It was easy to see just how much he wanted to.

One wrong move here, one wrong word, and he knew he would shatter his fragile friend. Spencer was like a thin piece of glass right now and Remy didn’t know if even he would be able to put Spencer back together if he broke apart.

Remy took another small step forward and he lifted his hand, pulling his sunglasses off so that he could meet Spencer eye to eye, nothing between them. He let down his own walls and let Spencer see the emotion in his eyes as clear as day. “I’m real, cher.” Those were the most important words, he knew. The one thing he needed to convince him of before anything else could happen. “Y’ aint crazy. I’m really here. I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to y’, mais I couldn’t get away. I’m here now, though.” He kept moving forward as he wove a gentle spell with his words, his low voice wrapping around Spencer backed by the push of his charm, bundling the young man up not only with his tone and words but with the sensation of his charm that he knew Spencer would recognize. Spencer was surprisingly resistant to Remy’s charm power; he would recognize it, though. He’d know what that sensation was and Remy had a feeling that his charm, more than anything else, would be a factor in convincing him. Spencer had once told him that nothing else in the world felt like the warm blanket of Remy’s charm wrapping around his mind. It didn’t inspire the insane lust that it could trigger in others, or even make Spencer more amenable to doing what he wanted as it could do to others when gently used. To Spencer, it was warmth and love, a sensation that he said was pure Remy, and Remy had grown used to using it around him in lieu of words sometimes, just a silent sensation that told Spencer that he was loved.

He used it now to let Spencer know that he was here and that he loved him. That this was real. He just hadn’t expected it to work so well, or so quickly.

Shock hit Spencer's eyes when the first tendrils of Remy’s charm wrapped around him. For one brief pause it felt to Remy like the whole world was holding its breath. Then he saw Spencer flicker—once, twice, three times. He braced himself, ready to move quickly, to chase him down if he tried to vanish and flee. That didn’t happen, though. Instead, Remy saw as the shuttered look in Spencer's eyes seemed to vanish between one breath and the next. One blink of his eyes and the barriers that had been there to hide his emotions were gone. Love, grief, pain, joy, shock, all of it was right out there in those dark depths, right there for everyone to see, months and months of grief suddenly clear. “Remy?” Spencer's voice shook with the emotion that he’d been suppressing for too long. Remy didn’t get a chance to answer. He saw Spencer's body bunch and he knew what was coming. He didn’t try to stop it—indeed, why would he?—he just opened his arms wide and braced himself for the familiar leap.

The impact of Spencer's body against his was nothing like it should’ve been. There was almost no weight to it. Remy didn’t even rock backwards when Spencer slammed into him. Pushing those thoughts aside for later, he focused now on wrapping his arms around the man he’d been absolutely terrified he might never see again.

Spencer's arms were around his neck and their bodies were pressed tightly together until not even a breath could’ve fit between them. Remy wrapped his arms around Spencer's waist and pulled him in, pulled him up just an inch or two until Spencer was on his tiptoes and there was the familiar feel of Spencer's face pressing right in against the curve of his neck just as he’d done so many times before. How had he never thought about how perfectly they fit together before? Spencer's body was up against his and it was as if they were made to be this way, fitting together like two pieces of a puzzle.

He heard the gasping sound that Spencer let out against him and he squeezed a little tighter even as Spencer's form flickered a few times in his arms. They said nothing. Really, what words needed to be said? What words could encompass this? Though both could talk more than most, were in fact known to chatter on endlessly, they said not a word now. They just clung tightly to one another and absorbed the presence of the only person that mattered to either of them in that moment. No one else existed. Nothing else was important. It was Spencer and Remy, Remy and Spencer, the whole world right there in this small circle of two. Remy turned his head in and buried his nose in Spencer's hair and let the familiar scents finally wash away the sterile, medical smell that had burned his nose these past six months. He held Spencer close, drawing in his warmth, breathing in his scent, and Remy felt like he was finally drawing in a real breath for the first time since he’d escaped from Sinister.

How long they stood there, he didn’t know. He didn’t care. Spencer clung tightly to him, his whole body atremble, and there was no way in hell that Remy was going to move until Spencer was ready. He’d stand here all day and hold him if he had to. He kept a tight grip on him and anchored Spencer in the way he knew the younger man needed. He gave him the solid strength that he needed to feel whole. To feel real. When Spencer gave a small, shuddering sob, he tightened his arms even more. “Remy.” He felt the soft puff of air as Spencer breathed that word against his neck. “Remy.” Again, stronger this time. It wasn’t a question, wasn’t a request for attention. Just one word, just his name, said with a joy and wonder and grief that said so much more than a thousand words could’ve. All of what Spencer felt was bundled up into that one word. Spencer had a thousand different ways to say Remy’s name but none had ever carried as much love as this one did.

A shudder ran down Spencer's body. They were so close, it shook through Remy, too. More tears burned against his skin and dripped down to soak the collar of his shirt. They wouldn’t stop anytime soon, he knew. He needed to get Spencer out of here before they truly started to flow. That was the only thing that could’ve moved him right then. Getting Spencer out of there, taking care of him. But he wasn’t going to let Spencer go to do it. Spencer wasn’t the only one who had grieved these past months. He wasn’t the only one to have hurt.

Sliding one hand up, Remy cupped the back of Spencer's head, moving it just enough that he could press a kiss against Spencer's hair. “C’mon, mon cœur.” He murmured against Spencer's hair. “Let’s get y’ home.”

Remy.” The word was a whimper this time, soft and low.

Remy pet at Spencer's hair and shushed him. “I aint going nowhere. I’ll be right dere with y’, don’t y’ worry. Y’ just hold on tight an I’ll get us home.”

Even as he gathered Spencer closer, Remy knew that where they went didn’t matter. Home wasn’t a place they were going to. Home was here, right here in the circle of Spencer's arms. Him holding Spencer, Spencer holding him. The rest was just extra. Shelter, possessions. None of it mattered. Home was right here with the person who had been a part of his life for so many years and who had always been there, always a part of him, a firm presence in his life for so many years now that he couldn’t even imagine a life without this. He was Spencer's and Spencer was his and that right there was all either one of them needed. Holding one another tightly on the chilly airstrip with their friends looking on, the two clung tightly and the both of them knew that, though it had been a hellish six months, it didn’t matter anymore. They were both finally home.