The doorbell rang through the halls of the Xavier Institute. It was the peels of the Westminster Chapel once again, not "Dixie" as it had been for the past two weeks. Remy made a face at the bells, but he'd gotten Scott to back down on the idea of integrating the doorbell into the main communicator system, so it was only right to change them back. Xavier had steepled his fingers and simply observed the two of them over dinner for a long moment the first day and decided not to interfere. He remained on the couch with his book though. He was not on door duty today.

"Scramble," he heard over the intercom. He simply rolled out of the sofa and strolled into the main hall. Jubilee was standing with her back against the door. Her eyes were wide with shock. "Gumbo," she breathed, "I was hoping for armor?" She was in jeans and a tee-shirt that dropped off of her shoulder. He peered out the peep-hole. He closed his eyes and let his head thump once against the door.

"Y' just move on up the stairs and stay out the way, petite," he told her. "Man like this comes t' the front door's here on business." He pulled open the door, very aware of his torn jeans and thin shirt.

Sinister frowned discontentedly at the thief after looking him up and down. "LeBeau," he greeted evenly.

"Essex."

"Pour the tea, we've much to discuss, old son."

Remy's eyes narrowed. "Merde," he muttered. "Come on t'rough t' the parlor. I'll get the tea. On y'r parole?"

"Yes, of course. I offer my parole." They shook briefly.

The parlor was as Victorian a set piece as it sounded. There were antique chiars and side tables surrounded with rose silk wall paper and mahogany paneling. The marble fireplace was viable for heating in the winter with real wood. Above the fireplace was one of Xavier's forefathers, head as shiny as his grandson's, and nose just as proud. His eyes were fierce and he had a sword at his waist – the opposite of Xavier's peaceful preaching. Smaller watercolors and oils hung around the room and a delicate oil lamp sat in the corner near the harpsichord. These were the few things that Xavier had managed to save from the rambunctiousness of the teens he'd house and the enemies that had nearly leveled the mansion. Essex settled in one of the chairs by the card table. Remy opened it before heading for the kitchen.

Summers settled into step with him. "Trouble?"

"Gave m' his parole. He ain't here to cause the sort of trouble y'r thinkin'. At least it don't seem so. Y' let m' talk t' him for a spell and we regroup? Get Jeannie out of the line of fire." Jean was two months pregnant, but after two miscarriages they weren't letting her take any chances.

"Logan's with her. I'm sending Jubilee to her too."

Remy nodded. He started the kettle going while he dragged out the good silver and two china tea cups. Scott leaned against the counter. "Should I polish the silver?" he said mildly. "You seem to be going for impressive."

"Non, merci. It's good enough that I pullt out Xavier's silver. Implies trust."

Scott cocked his head to the side. "Of whom?"

"Xavier trustin' me wit' his family silver and me trustin' Essex's word 'bout his parole."

"I never got the impression you were from money."

"I ain't. Jean-Luc took m' in and I was trained up t' deal wit' folks who was. Got money, oui, but not born t' it." Remy frowned. "But Jean-Luc, he's old and Tante is older still. And they decided ole Remy should learn proper manners. Usin' cream colored stationary instead of white when it's personal. Essex taught me t' make tea. His type of manners, non? T' learn how t' control m' charge." Remy waved a hand. "Had t' relearn fine motor skills an' all after ole Remy dropped a building on hisself. Essex, he an Englishman t'rough and t'rough."

Scott hopped up onto the counter and crossed his arms. "He's different when he's trying to play human?"

"Non, not at all. Just got different color skin and better dress sense. T'ough brown suits, meh." Remy tested the temperature of the water and set the tea steeping. He poured milk into the creamer and added the sugar cubes from the top shelf into the bowl. Jubilee didn't know they were up there and she was too short to see them. It was the only way they'd survived.

"So what color would you put him in?"

Remy's head snapped toward Scott. "Did y' just ask m' about fashion? Does that mean y' gonna break down an' let me and Jubilee do over y'r wardrobe?"

"No, but I'm morbidly curious about this... housewife routine you've got going on."

"Blue suit with a pale blue shirt and a dark tie. Mebbe that red he likes so much. He got molasses colored eyes when he's in human form. T'ree piece suit too. An' nice black shoes with points and shiny leather. Handkerchief t' match the tie in his pocket. Black leather gloves and a cane."

"You've thought about this?"

"Hospitality of his lab was lackin'." Remy picked up the tray. "Had t' do somethin' t' pass the time."

****

Sinister took the liberty of arranging the doily for the tray that should come. He set the papers he wished to review with his pet thief on top. He studied the security array that his tablet indicated. They'd moved a few people out of the house to a more defensible position. That was sound strategy. He made a note to properly chip Scott for closer watching. His older methods were failing. Gambit had chosen the setting of the parlor to control the parameters.

Tea in the parlor to keep the relationship formal. No doubt the young man was defensive and would be twitching for at least half an hour. After that, he would relax and their normal relationship should override the lingering displeasure. The boy had always been over-emotional. Remy set the good silver on the table and poured two cups of tea. He'd done it properly and to suit Essex's tastes. Very well, they were on proper formal ground then.

LeBeau sat straight in his chair, looking proper despite the childish clothing. He was clearly playing the country fool to twit someone in the house; whom was still up for debate. "Review these first and then we'll discuss business." He passed over two folders. "Is Belle well?"

"Oui, M. Essex." Remy's smile was half-cocked. "She finally gettin' her memory back from Rogue's attack. Should be back t' trying f' my head in no time."

Essex considered. "You two are of an age when you should already have children," he commented idly.

"Y' bring up needin' grand-children and I'm sendin' y' straight out the house, see if I don't."

He laughed at the young man's put-on scowl. "Merely stating that time is getting away from you both. It's high time to consider securing your legacy."

Remy eyed him, but didn't respond. He sipped at his tea, then hunched closer to the documents. He likely would need reading glasses soon. "T'ought that was your job," he muttered.

"If you'd prefer a child by surrogate that is simple to arrange."

"We gonna stop talkin' about dis?"

Essex smirked at him.

"Okay, so this security grid here."

"Yes, I thought that might catch your attention."

"Operation Morpheus," Remy murmured. His brow furled as he studied the documents. "Merde. This is, this is madness. Tell m' it ain't real?"

Essex sighed. "Very real. It will, however, take a more delicate touch than my usual team posesses."

****

"Gumbo, yer guest stayin' fer dinner?" Wolverine asked. Gambit looked up at him, face flat.

"No, we have reservations at seven at Monique's," Sinister replied.

Gambit glared at him. "Monique's? Fine, we pick this up later then. Ole Remy's got t' change."

"That would be preferable. Of course, you could simply choose to dress as an adult on a regular basis."

"And y' can bite y'r tongue." Gambit set down the papers he'd be looking at. "Mebbe M. Xavier would be willin' t' play a game of chess wit' y'."

Sinister smirked. "I'm perfectly capable of keeping myself entertained for say, thirty minutes?"

Gambit rolled his eyes. "Forty-five. Next time call ahead." He strolled out of the parlor as though Sinister weren't at his back. Wolverine looked between the parlor and the stairs. He followed Gambit.

"The Hell, LeBeau?"

Gambit scowled at him. "Man's got a problem that needs solvin'. Ain't gonna do him no good sendin' Scalphunter'n the rest. Nasty problem too." Wolverine didn't stop at the Cajun's door. He settled on the bed while the other man fussed through his wardrobe. "Probably need y' t' help wit' it. It'll work better if'n I get Scotty's buy-in." Logan's shoulders relaxed. "Dat what this is 'bout? Y' afraid Remy's goin' off reservation?"

"Never know. Man gets broadsided by his past ain't necessarily thinkin' straight."

"Bah. Know where I stand wit' him. Mostly that's making sure Scott and Jean's bebe don' die an' that me and Belle have at least one chile. Or me an' Storm. Or me an' any willin' female he deems a proper age." Remy jumped in the shower. Logan shook his head. "He wants grand-chilen and he won't take remarry f' an answer."

"So yer tellin' me he's yer pop?"

"Nah. He just t'inks that way."

TBC

XM Library