Champagne and Pop Rocks



The opportunity for a true vacation came up very rarely for the X-men. Thus, when they were offered the use of a private island by one of the professor's friends, they jumped at it. For safety, it was determined that two members of the team would remain behind. They drew lots. In the end, Gambit and Cyclops were chosen to man the house.

"Next time, couples go on one ticket," Scott groused as Jean packed. "Two weeks with him? I can barely handle two hours!"

"Scott, sweetie," Jean said wrapping her arms around his neck, "just fuck him and he'll do anything you want."

Scott laughed and hugged her. "He's not my type."

"Bullshit, honey," Jean replied cheerfully. "If you do, I want details."

"Never."

"A girl can dream, can't she?" she sighed.

*****

"Rouge, chere, I'm gonna *kill* him in two weeks. He don' know how t' relax!"

"Sugah, ya could always try what ya're best at."

"Stealin'?" he looked at her in confusion. "And what? Get m'self sent t' federal prison?"

Rogue shook her head. She ran a gloved fingertip down the line of Remy's jaw. "Screw him, Remy. Then, ya can tell me all about it."

Remy's jaw dropped and he blushed. "Rogue!"

"Ya know ya want to, Cajun. Ya can't fool me, remember?" She tapped her forehead. "I know ya. I know how hard ya get when he's focussed on ya. Hell, that boy yells and your'e willin' to go down on him. So open your pretty mouth and suck him dry. Then, tell me *all* about it when I get back." She rubbed his crotch with a leer.

"Y're cruel, chere," Remy said as she pulled away.

"And ya're a tease, Cajun. Now, shoo. I got things to do."

*****

"Gambit, Cyclops, my office," Xavier called. The pair settled uneasily in front of the professor's desk. Xavier pinned them with his iciest glare. "When I return, I will not find either of you dead, maimed or seriously injured. The Mansion will still be standing with all of its contents accounted for. If there is damage caused by the two of you fighting or I receive a call from *any* of the teams regarding either of you losing control, I will personally tear you limb from limb. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Scott grumbled.

"D'accord, Charles."

"Dismissed."

They sulked out of the room and to different sides of the house.

*****

Unhappily, Scott and Remy saw the team off. "Pizza and beer?" Scott offered.

"Oui," Remy accepted. "Next time, homme, we do the drawin' in pairs, oui? Y' and Jeannie. Me and Rogue?"

"Bobby and Hank. Definitely. Let's try to make this bearable. Maybe if we try. . ."

"We won't end up killin' each other? Non, never work."

Scott shook his head at Remy's grin. It was going to be a long two weeks.

*****DAY 1*****

Scott looked at his "to do" list and sighed. "Gambit, come here."

"What? Y' want m' t' work on m' vacation?"

"If I have to, you have to. It's one of my pleasures as boss. Don't worry. You should be able to clear off your list easily enough."

Remy looked at the list. "This ain't Remy's list, cher. It's y'rs."

"You want to have a bed by the end of the week."

"Bitch."

"I'm married to Jean, what did you expect?" Scott shooed him with one hand. Remy flicked him off, but took the list with him. Scott smiled down at his paperwork. Peace and quiet was the only way to get through the papers the county wanted him to have on hand.

Remy looked up at the gutters, then went to the shed for the ladder. He might grumble and moan, but he didn't really mind doing chores. It made him believe that he was actually a member of a family. If he had his own place he'd have to clean out the gutters and fix the back stair. Of course, it would be his house in the French Quarter, and he'd be able to hire someone to do it for a song, but there was such a thing as principle. Besides, the weather was just perfect. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. He peeled off his shirt. The sun felt nice on his skin.

*****

Scott rolled his shoulders to ease the kinks out of them and wandered into the kitchen. He was surprised to see Remy at the stove. "Makin' dinner. Y' can eat it or not. I don't rightly care."

"I can't cook," Scott pointed out. "I'm willing to eat anything."

"Y' have a point."

*****DAY 2*****

"How's that list coming?"

"Go fuck y'self, Cyke," Gambit groaned rolling over and pulling the covers over his head.

"It's almost nine," Scott stated. "It's perfectly reasonable to be up at this hour."

"F' sick fuckers like y'self, mebbe. Remy, he's gonna sleep. See y' f' lunch."

"I can't make breakfast," Scott said trying to put as much of a pout on the words as possible. Remy tried to resist it, he really did. It didn't work. Scott just stood in the doorway looking tragic.

"There's toast."

"But the toaster's toast. Remember? Storm got pissed?"

"Homme, just eat some cereal an' leave m' alone."

"I'll make your life a living Hell."

"Y' already are. Go away!" Remy put the pillow over his head.

"Please?"

"Fine! Get out!"

*****

Remy scowled over his coffee at the cheerful field leader. Scott was reading the paper and eating eggs and bacon. "Gotta get a cook, homme, cuz this is the last time."

"You say that every time," Scott pointed out.

"Fuck y'self."

Scott made a face. "Not my style."

Remy blinked. "Bon Dieu, did y' just make a joke?"

"I have a sense of humor."

"Wouldn't know it."

"Just because I'm not a prankster, doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humor."

Remy rolled his eyes, then closed them. He leaned back in his chair and listed the many ways to kill a man that he'd learned from his wife.

*****DAY 3*****

"Y'r honey do list is finished, cher." Remy's lip was curled up into a sneer. "I ain't doin' y' laundry so y' can just take that up with Jeannie. Now, ole Remy? He's takin' a vacation. He t'inks y' may as well do the same." That said he left Scott's office, peeling off his tee-shirt on his way up the stairs. He would take a nice hot shower and get the grime off of his skin.

Scott looked at the list that sat on his desk now. He blinked at the tiny notations next to each item. Sometimes it was something else the Cajun had noticed needed to be finished. Sometimes it was snatches of songs. Sometimes it was a comment on Scott's parentage. But everything was checked off as finished and a few things that had been added to the bottom were done as well. Scott smiled. Well, no one ever said the thief *couldn't* be efficient, just that he wasn't. It seemed he just hadn't been given the proper motivation.

Scott looked out the window at the bright sun and winced. He didn't want to be outside for that long with no cloud cover. He'd have a headache worse than a horse sitting on his head. He wondered where that thought had come from and put it down to something Alex must have come up with. The Cajun gloried in weather like this. And Scott had to admit it was nice. But the Cajun could wander around in cutoffs and a ratty tee-shirt. Scott had to make sure he was in long sleeves or he'd be heading towards taking down a mountain.

Remy leaned against the shower wall. He thought he might have twisted his back when he was reaching for the hammer to fix the shed, but now he was sure of it. It ached like a bastard. And there was nothing to do about it except wait it out. He wouldn't have anyone around to massage it out for him. He'd just have to suffer. He sighed. Looked like he should go make dinner. Lord knew he didn't want pizza or whatever other place Scott had on speed-dial.

*****DAY 4*****

Scott grumbled as his computer froze. He turned it off and rubbed his temples. Idly, he wondered if he could talk the Cajun into cooking two days in a row. He wandered through the mansion. He finally discovered the thief on the back porch. Remy was sprawled over the steps, his battered and torn jeans riding low on his hips, his tee-shirt showing more of his taut abdomen than it needed to. He was barefoot. His shades were on his head, holding back his wealth of hair. His eyes were closed. The sun bathed his face, glinting off the fine, red-gold bristles.

Scott firmly pushed down the surge of lust that was Remy's most irritating power. He noticed the bag of pop-rocks in Remy's left hand and the open coke in his right. "Creative suicide, Cajun?" he smirked.

"Mem'ries." Remy leered up at him. "Jeannie ever suck y' off wit' pop-rocks?"

"As if I'd tell you?"

"Sit a spell. If y' nice t' Remy, he'll make y' dinner."

Scott gave in and settled on the porch, just out of the sun. Remy rolled onto his side and propped his head up on the side of his wrist. "What are we gonna do wit' y', homme? Mus' be dat Northern blood of y'rs. Can't even sit in dis beautiful sun? Po' Scotty."

"What have you been remembering?" Scott dared to ask, snagging the coke for a sip. Remy, to his surprise didn't protest, but offered the bag of candy too.

"Plenty. First time Belle went down on m'. First time I went down on her brot'er." Remy winked. "Jus' kiddin'. Ain't never done Julien. Non, he was too busy tryin' t' get int' Belle's pants t' worry about mine. Hell, ain't given head in over a year. Gotta be a record."

Scott listened to the Cajun's babble with a smile. You never could tell when the thief was lying, but he could be damn entertaining.

"Wanna break m' streak?" Remy queried.

"What?" Scott stared.

The Cajun grinned wickedly. "Y' heard m'."

"Flattering, but no."

"What? Y' don' like po' Remy?" He arranged his mouth into a pout.

Oh, God, Scott prayed Ė hoping someone was listening Ė don't let him fall into a sulk. He shook his head again.

"Y' sure?"

"Very." Scott got the impression that he'd just passed some obscure test. Remy grinned.

"What y' want f' dinner?"

"Steak? I'll even walk into the freezer for you."

"Okay. Y' get the meat, Remy'll get the rest started."

Scott stuck the steaks into the microwave to defrost them. "Anything I can do?"

"Vin?"

"Sure. Um?"

"Merlot. It's hidin' under the china cabinet."

"Okay."

Remy smiled to himself. Maybe it wasn't going to be too bad. Then again, the professor's threat might have had some effect, but it was doubtful. They'd both heard and ignored it before. Surprisingly, the conversation over dinner turned to architecture. "Y' can calculate heights like that in y'r head?"

Scott blinked. "I always assumed you did too, given the way you jump."

Remy shook his head. "Non, I just know whether I'm gonna be able t' make it or not. Use paper and pen t' figure out t'ings f' jobs." The thief shrugged. "Better wit' money and appraisin' than figurin'."

Scott was struck by a sudden thought. "Did you go to school, Remy?"

The Cajun got very quiet. "Got m' diploma from high school. I was goin' t' the University of Washington when t'ings got complicated."

"What's your major?"

Remy looked away. "Pre-med," he said softly.

Scott stared. "Really?"

"Oui."

"How long?"

"T'ree years."

"And then?"

"Life got complicated."

Scott wasn't usually a toucher, but after a few glasses of wine, he'd loosened up enough to put his hand over Remy's. "What happened?"

"M' powers went haywire," Remy said after a long pause. Scott winced. He could imagine the sort of damage Remy could do when he lost control.

"You hurt someone?"

"Killt. Merde." Remy's free hand raised to twist at the bit of his bangs that he couldn't keep back out of his face even when he wanted to. Scott squeezed the hand he held.

"Tell me?"

Remy looked at the field leader for a long time. "Y' remember Charles t'reatened t' kill if'n one of us got hurt, non?" he said with a weak smile.

"Yeah." Scott gave him a solemn nod.

"It was in Seattle. That's where I was studyin' after all. I went t' the theatre. By m'self. Just wanted t' see the play, oui? Not play wit' some femme an' keep her happy. Well, m' powers had been gettin' stronger. I t'ought I was just tired. I was t'ievin' at night and studyin' and tryin' t' get int' Med School. So little t'ings kept blowin' up. Weren't no big deal. I went t' the show. Don' remember much of it, just that I lost it. Everyt'in' went up. Didn't harm most of the structure, but brought down de inside. I still dream about dem screamin', dyin'. I ran away. Normal f' Remy, non?" Remy laughed bitterly. "Ended up in dis Arizona shit hole and out int' de desert. Blowed up almost anyt'in' I touched. Eventually, Crow, m' friend, he brought m' a name. Dere was dis docteur he found t' help m'. Went t' see him.

"I didn' understand what was happenin'. Dr. Essex, he made sure I couldn' hurt no one while he studied my make-up. So many needles an' drugs an' sensors dat I can' look at dem no more. He hurt m' but it was better'n hurtin' anyone else. An' he talked t' me all de time. Was his pet project, me. Became his first assistant. Tried t' learn me t' control it, but after t'ree mont's he called it. He put m' under an' put in dis filter." Remy frowned. "Hard t' explain. Used t' have no control over m' body when m' powers just went. He t'ought it was somet'in' like epilespy. Put a filter on de corpus collosum." Scott nodded his understanding. "Didn' sever it. M' seizures weren't bad enough f' dat. Den spent me six mont's learin' t' control what was left. Ended up his nurse durin' dat. Took m' time t' get used t' de lapses. Can't remember t'ings as quick. Get frustrated easier too, and I don't see t'ings as clear when I t'ink about dem. Den had t' pay him back." Remy bit his lip. "Didn' want money, y' understand? Wanted things dat weren't legal."

"He knew about your. . . unique skills?"

"He knew everyt'in' 'bout m'. Knew more 'bout m' den I did."

"What did he want?"

"Simple shit. Ot'er labs' info. Den he wanted mercs. Den he wanted plans an' gov'ment info. Den he want m' t' get his mercs int' places. Couldn' take no more. He promised m' dat after one more mission, Gambit'd be free. Stupid boy agreed wit'out knowin' everyt'in'. Just get them in and return to me. That's what he tole m'. Papa'd hide m' if he knew Remy done assassin work wit' anyone but Bella." Remy fell quiet.

Scott spoke softly. "Sinister?"

"Oui," Remy whispered. "Always called him Essex, me. He liked dat. He was m' hope. De light at de end of de tunnel dat turned out t' be not'in' but de next train barrelin' right at m'."

"And the Marauders?"

"Hired dem."

"Even Sabretooth?"

"Chat's a pro. He's one of de best and Wolvie ain't freelance. Know exactly what he be capable of."

"The Massacre," Scott continued in the same soft and deadly tone. "Were you a part of that?"

"It near t' killt Remy. Such a fool me."

"Did you kill them?"

"Non! He tol' m' dey was collenctin' samples. Kidnapping!" Remy gestured wildly. "Dat's part of t'ievin'. Even Remy was stolt f' his eyes. But T'ieves give 'em back or sell dem. We don' kill! Chat, he cut m' open when I tried t' stop dem. I grabbed a chile. De petite. Her name was Sarah. Had t' give her up t' Callisto. Ma petite Sarah. She gave m' de strengt' t' get out. Would've died dere and happy t' do it, but she needed me."

Remy gulped down his wine. He closed his eyes, and bowed his head. Scott considered what he knew. "Gambit, Remy, look at me." The red eyes flickered up. "I killed my foster father to save Charles' life," he said carefully. "No matter what Charles believes, it was murder. I wanted Jack dead. Protecting Xavier was merely my excuse. I don't have the right to judge your actions and I refuse to do so. No one on this team with the possible exceptions of Bobby and Hank are clean enough to throw stones. I accept that what you've told me is the truth as you know it. When you joined this team you made a commitment to fight for something better. Who you were doesn't matter. The only thing in this world that I am fit to judge is your performance as an X-man. You have *never* let me down on that score."

Remy nodded once. Scott released his hand. They were quiet for a long time. "Y' mad at m', Cyke?"

"No more than usual. You drive me crazy. You never listen in meetings." Scott shrugged. "But you're there when I need you, even if you do think curfew is a guideline not a rule."

That summoned the smile Scott had been fishing for.

"Thanks for making dinner, Remy."

"Y're welcome."

*****DAY 5*****

"Cajun, come with me to the video place."

"Why?"

"Because I don't want to watch movies alone?"

Remy blinked. "Why can't y' just go an' bring them back?"

"You ever seen me in the video store?"

Remy considered. "Non. Usually go wit' Rogue."

"I need someone to tell me I'm being too choosy."

"Ah, t' remind y' that y' ain't buyin' it?"

"Yeah."

"Oui, t'ink I can handle dat."

"Good."

*****DAY 6*****

"Hey, Cajun, we need food."

Remy looked up from his book. "Oui?"

"Yes, and it's my turn to cook."

"Saints, non!"

"That was my reaction. We're down to Thai, Afgani, Greek and Kosher Jewish."

"Mais, we could try teachin' y' t' cook," Remy stated.

"You do remember that death was the penalty for destroying the house right? The last person who tried ended up in tears and it took me three weeks to repair the kitchen."

Remy blinked. "Who?"

"Storm."

"Sans de connard?"

"Yeah. I had Storm sobbing on the floor." Scott sighed. "It took Jean hours to calm her down. She can't say she wasn't warned though. Jean told her I was hopeless."

"How 'bout a deal? Y' do prep work, Remy'll do the cookin' part."

"Only if you give me *detailed* instructions."

"I t'ink I can do that."

*****DAY 7*****

"Cyke?" Remy said. He shifted uncomfortably under the weight of the box he was holding.

"Yes?"

"Next time y' t'ink 'I wonder where that is?' Keep it t' y'self."

"Shove it, Gumbo. You were bored."

"Y' say that like it's a bad t'ing."

"You were getting on my nerves. You wanted something to do. What we are going to do is finish cleaning this attic. Um, what color is this uniform?"

"Blue an' gold."

"Burn it."

"Cher?"

"That means it's one of the originals. It has to go."

"You wore that!"

"Yeah."

"Defeatin' the enemy wit' laughter?" Gambit hazarded. "Charles was punishin' y' f' somethin'?"

"Wait until we find Rogue's old uniform. You'll be kissing Lilandra's feet."

"More'n willin' t' do that."

Scott paused. "Are you really that much of a slut?"

"Non, she just reminds m' of Bella." Remy shifted handed the box up the ladder. "Do y' really t'ink I'm a slut?"

"That was the impression I got. I mean you're out until all hours of the night. People are always calling you. You'll flirt with anything that moves. Hell, Logan mutters about pheremones when you come in late and has to adjust himself." Scott shrugged. "I don't know if you do it on purpose, but you could have anyone in this house in your bed."

Remy flushed and scuffed at the floor. "I ain't, y' know."

"Oh?"

"Oui. Belle, Rogue, merde, Raven for a little bit, and there was a girl in Paris, but that was f' a job." Remy sighed. "I ain't done anyone in years. Since m' powers went nuts."

"What?"

"Raven and me had a little fling when I was passin' through DC one summer. I was 17. Then, I was doin' school and workin' and there weren't no time f' anything. And I ain't int' one night stands. They don' feel right. Makes me feel like Iím whorin' again."

"Again?"

Remy was startled. "Quoi?"

"You said, 'whorin' again'," Scott said mocking the thief's accent lightly. "That would mean you'd whored before."

"Ah, dat. Oui. Remy used t' whore b'fore Jean-Luc took him in."

"You were on the streets?"

"Oui." Scott looked down at the younger man.

"But you look like Jean-Luc?"

"I'm adopted. Dat don' mean I ain't *his* y' understand, but he ain't my birth father."

"That's odd."

"Charles adopted y' non?"

"Not officially. Jack the asshole took me in as a foster kid when he found out about my blasts. That was after several different homes. They thought I was incorrigible." Scott shrugged. "Like anyone normal wanted a kid who had brain damage and migraines."

Remy nodded. "I hear dat. Paper don't mean shit, y' know that right? It's what y' heart says dat matters."

"I know. Here we go. Rogue's old uniform."

"Dat ain't a uniform. That's a sack."

"And this is what Storm used to wear."

"And y' didn't put her in a sack too? Merde, homme, dat ain't clothing!"

"Storm isn't a kid."

"But, homme, that ain't even a full yard of fabric."

"Just a halter top. And some bands for artistic merit. Hell, she used to carry her lockpicks in her headpiece originally. I think they were in the arm bands on this one."

"Bullshit."

"It's true."

"M' wife wears more'n that on Marti Gras. Merde, t'ink she wears more on the beach."

"You're wife isn't an African Goddess."

"She's as proud," Remy muttered. "Bon Dieu, and I t'ought Lizabetta was bad."

"She's just one in a long line. I think it's to distract the enemy."

"Mebbe t' distract more'n just them, non?"

Scott didn't respond. "This is what Jean wore in the beginning."

"Dat ain't so bad."

Scott held his hand about two inches down his thigh. "It ends about here on her."

"Okay, mebbe it is bad. How'd y' manage not t' embarrass y'self?"

"I wore a sack."

*****DAY 8*****

Scott Summers wasn't a terribly patient man. He hated being frustrated. He hated being on hold. But he had to check the accounts for the school and therefore he had to either drive into the city or call. He leaned back and closed his eyes as the music continued. It was a Muzak rendition of some eighties pop tune and he strained his memory trying to place it. Remy wandered into the office.

"Tell me y' ain't hummin' _99_Luftballons_."

"That's what it is! Thanks. It was driving me crazy. Shit, now it's a new one. Why can't you play classical?" he demanded of the hold system. Remy snickered softly. He held out a cup of coffee. Scott took it. Remy then wandered over to the bookshelf. He knew that the book he was looking for had to be in this office. And it had to be behind Scott's head because that's where he always ended up staring when the man lectured him. Scott watched him curiously. "Hello? Hello? Goddamn fucking piece of shit machinery. It cut me off!" Remy patted the field leader's head absently. "Are you petting me?"

"Um. Oui?"

"Why?"

"Cuz y're upset?"

"You want to be doing the voice mail dance?"

"Non."

"Then stop petting me."

"Oui, cher. Where's that Five Rings translation?"

"It's on the third shelf from the top, three quarters of the way to the window. Approximately one foot to the side of my head when Iím lecturing you."

"Ah, merci."

Scott leaned back to trap the Cajun with the chair. "Didn't say you could borrow it."

"I'm a t'ief, cher. I don't ask." Remy winked at the field leader. "Besides, I could steal the one from Logan's room, but y' know how he gets if I go in there. Y' ain't the type t' go gettin' paternal on me at least."

"Paternal?" Scott asked as he wended his way through the voice mail system to get put back on hold.

"Oui. Gets all older'n wiser at me. Drives this boy insane. Don't rightly know why he does it. Only happens when I been lookin' through his books though."

"What would you do if I were to go grab that first edition Marvel out of your room?"

"Tell y' that it's a forgery."

"It's nice though. I like Andrew Marvel."

"T'ought y' might be a poetry person. Lookin' at y'r shelves I don' see none. There was some when we was movin' y' down t' the boathouse. That where it is? Y' read t' Jeannie?"

"Red doesn't like. . . Yes, this is Scott Summers from the Xavier Institute of Higher Education? I was on hold to talk to customer service about the wire transfer that was supposed to come in today?" Scott shooed the Cajun out with a hand. Remy rolled his eyes and dropped into the visitor's chair. Scott handed him a 'to do' list. The thief scowled at him, but took it. Scott pointed at the door. Remy flipped him off. He tucked the book under his arm and studied the list as he left.

*****DAY 9*****

Scott blinked behind his goggles at the figure standing at the door of his room. He'd moved into the mansion for the time being because he didn't like being at the boathouse alone. The place gave him the creeps at night. The Cajun shifted from foot to foot. Scott cocked his head to the side. The young man was standing there, flannel robe over his satin pajamas, arms crossed protectively over his chest. Scott patted the bed and the Cajun curled up next to him.

"Nightmares?"

"Oui."

"No Storm."

"Oui." Remy flushed, but the darkness of the room hid it.

"Want to stay the night?"

"Oui?"

"Then get under the covers, don't kick me and get some sleep."

"Merci," Remy whispered. He curled up under the covers, settling as close to the other man as he dared. Scott grumbled something under his breath about stubborn so-and-sos, then put his arm around the thief and pulled him close.

"See? I don't bite."

"Ain't what Jeannie says."

"Without provocation."

"Want Remy t' provoke y'?"

"Didn't we go over this with the whole blow job conversation? You're not on my to do list."

"We don't gotta get up early, right?"

"You've been up all night?" Scott blinked at the clock. "You went to bed when I did."

"Ain't been sleepin' so good. Don't know why."

Scott nodded. "We donít have to get up. Cuddle all you want."

"Merci." Remy laid his head over Scott's heart and fell asleep to the sound.

***** DAY 10*****

Scott raised his hand in a threatened backhand and was surprised when the Cajun flinched back. He dropped his hand. Then, slowly, he reached out to touch the thief's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I don't know where that came from."

Remy shrugged. "We all got demons. Some of us just wear 'em closer t' the surface."

"What do you know about me?"

"Just what's in dat file in Charles' study."

"When did you break into that?"

"Soon as I got here."

"And what did you discover?"

"Not'in' I hadn't already guessed. I was pushin'. I'm sorry."

"Pushing?"

"Oui. T' see if I could get y' mad enough t' break down an' hit m', 'stead of lecturin' m' t' deat'."

"I won't hit you. I refuse. Well, unless you give me a good reason, like trying to destroy the mansion, or trying to kill someone on the team."

"Or changin' all the icons on your desktop t' red?"

"Bobby so deserved that. And I didn't even get to hurt him. He iced up."

Remy smiled at that.

"I still shouldn't have threatened you."

"Y' let me sleep in y'r bed last night, cher. That makes up f' more'n y'll ever know."

"You want to talk about the nightmares?" Scott turned back to chopping the vegetables under Remy's watchful eyes.

"Y' wanna talk about Jack?"

"Maybe. It hurts to remember."

"I know."

"But if I forget him, then I'm going to be just like him."

"Why do I piss y' off so bad?"

Scott considered. The silence was broken by the soft sound of gas heating the oven for the bread that was going to join the penne pasta with vegetables. "Because I see myself and I don't want you stuck in the same traps I got pulled into."

"What traps?"

"Thinking you have to please everyone to the extent that you forget who you are."

"And who are y', Cyke?"

"Depends on the day."

"T'day?"

"Scott Summers. Horrible cook and sometimes barely hanging on team leader. And you?"

"Remy LeBeau. Part time t'ief and sometimes teacher. Dice the garlic f' the sauce."

"Nice t' meet y'," Scott teased. "Like this?"

"Oui. Y' gettin' the hang of this."

"Don't tell anyone."

"M' lips are sealed."

***** DAY 11 *****

"I gotta get outta this house, cher," Remy stated. "Y' comin'?"

"No. I'm just going to finish up some odds and ends."

"Y' sure I can't change y'r mind?"

Scott looked up. The Cajun was leaning against the doorframe with his keys in his hands. The field leader blinked. "Shit, Cajun, you can't go out looking like that!"

"Why not?" Remy asked with false innocence.

"Because there'll be a riot! There is a fine line between trying to look attractive and trying to start a fight."

"Oui, I know. Mebbe Remy likes bein' the cause of a fight."

"You're certifiable."

"I'm livin' here. It comes with the territory."

"And looking like a slut comes from where?" Scott raised his brows. "I don't think Rogue will appreciate you going out like that."

"Rogue's into watchin' and listenin'. She likes t' know about everythin'. She wanted me t' do you and tell her all about it. Since I ain't done that, I better have somethin' to tell her when she gets back." Remy sighed and twirled his keys. "I was gonna even pay f' y'r drinks, but if y' don't want to come. . ."

"Let me change. Christ. I hope Jean didn't throw out all of my old clothes."

"Oh? Y' got somethin' more interestin' than jeans and a flannel?"

"Yeah. Here, finish this." Scott handed the thief a pile of paperwork. "I'll be down in a few."

"Don't take too long or I'm leavin' without y'."

"I hear you." Scott rolled his eyes and went up the stairs. Remy looked down at the forms and groaned. He hated filling in bubbles. At least he didn't have to fake any of the information on the form. It was already filled in. He located a mechanical pencil and finished filling in the little circles. Scott cleared his throat and Remy's head jerked up. His jaw dropped. "This work for you?" Scott was wearing black leather pants with a deep blue long-sleeved tee that pulled on the highlights in his hair. A matching black leather jacket was hanging over his shoulders. He had combat boots on his feet.

"Y'll do, cher. Y'll do. Where the fuck was that hidin'?"

"Back of my closet in my old room. No one's used that room since I moved down to the boathouse. And I left everything I didn't want Jean to get her hands on in there. I wasn't sure they'd still fit actually. I was a little more slim when I got them, but baggy was in fashion, so I didn't wear things quite as tight."

"Fits just fine, cher, just fine. I'll drive. Mais, mebbe Remy ought t' get a body-guard for y'."

"Ha. Ha. I can take care of myself."

"Everyone's gonna t'ink they know y' from somewhere."

"Everyone always thinks that. Luckily, none of them ever seem to put it together with those mutant terrorists. They're called the X-men I think. They get shown on t.v. a lot."

"Don't they just. Merde." Remy shook his head. "Y' just one surprise after another ain't y'?"

"Got to keep you on your toes somehow."

***** DAY 12****

"We'll be coming home early, honey. There's a hurricane moving in and we want to be off of the island before it hits."

"Okay. I'll let the brat know. We'll get the hanger prepped."

"How are you two doing?"

"We're still alive and the mansion is in one piece."

"That didn't answer the question."

"We're fine, Jean."

Jean sighed. "Goodbye, Scott. See you tonight."

"Have a good flight, honey."

***** DAY 13 *****

"Hey, chere," Remy greeted Rogue in the morning. She looked haggard. "Bad flight?"

"Don't even get me started, sugah. I can't believe we agreed to let Bobby fly. My stomach ain't never goin' to recover. I should've just flown myself home."

"Y' let the popsicle fly?"

"We drew straws. It ain't like we had Scott there. Bobby needs the practice on top of it, but Lord, I don't know what to do with him. So, how you feelin', Swamp Rat?"

"Remy's good, chere. Better now that you be here."

"Charmer. Save it for when I'm feelin' better, okay?"

"Sure, chere." Remy winked at her. "Ain't mornin' sickness is it? I don't got t' kill some fool f' y'?"

"Remy! Out, LeBeau! Out! I need to get some sleep."

Remy smirked at her, but left her there to rest.

*****

Jean curled up next to Scott. "So, do you have anything to tell me?"

"About what? It's been quiet around here for the past week and a half. The Avengers have been taking care of all the troubles."

"Not that. About the thief." She rolled her eyes. "Did you sleep with him?"

"We shared the same bed for one night, but it was just cuddling."

"Cuddling? That's all?" Jean was outraged. "You don't cuddle with me."

"I do too."

"Never!"

"This is cuddling." Scott blinked. "I cuddle whenever you want."

"Cuddling. Shit. I lost the bet."

"What bet?"

"I bet Rogue that you'd get far beyond just a cuddle. She said you wouldn't. Damn it, Scott! Why do you have to be so stubborn?"

"There's no way I'd take advantage of someone who was having nightmares and needed to feel safe just for your perverse curiosity."

"Not just my curiosity."

"The Cajun's not my style."

"Isn't he? He's just your type. Red hair, attitude, tall, thin, powerful."

"It'd be like doing my kid brother. Drop it."

Jean sighed. //You're lying to me. I know you are. There's no way you two would be so chummy if you hadn't done something while we were away.//

***** DAY 14 *****

Logan pinned the Cajun to the mat. He glared down at him. His claws were extended and his fist pulled back in preparation to drive them through him. "What's up wit' y', homme?" Remy demanded, squirming against the weight of adamantium and muscle. The hand on his throat tightened. The red on black eyes widened. "M. Logan?" The thief's voice was soft and sweet now, pushing every one of Logan's buttons he could think of. "What's wrong, M. Logan? Remy done conceded the match. Y' got him pinned right good. Don't need t' be threatenin' him." The claws retracted but Logan slapped the Cajun once.

"Don't pull that mind-messing charm shit on me again, boy." Remy rubbed his cheek, eyes innocently wide.

"Charm, old man? Remy weren't doin' not'in'."

"Bullshit. Now, tell me the flonquing truth about what you and Cyke got up to."

"Nothin'. Swear on m' honor, ain't nothin' between us."

"Yer lyin' to me, Cajun."

"Get y'r nose fixed, homme. I ain't lyin'."

"Yer lyin'. I seen the two of ya. Ya stand close, ya talk low. The two of ya got things ya discuss in that sweet fuckin' lover's tone."

"We ain't lovers. We ain't fuck-buddies. We ain't doin' nothin'." Remy pushed uselessly against the arm that held him down. "Logan, let me up!"

"Stop bullshittin' me, Cajun."

"Weren't not'in' between us!"

Logan's nostrils flared. The Cajun's anger was overlaying everything. Logan couldn't smell if it was truth or lie. He'd just have to keep a closer watch. And maybe he'd have to corner Scooter for a little chat.

*****

"Damn, woman, you have a one-track mind!" Scott snapped. "Leave it! Shit. I've got work to do. I'll talk to you later."

Jean frowned after him. "This isn't funny, Scott. I want to know the full truth."

"I told you the full truth!" he yelled back down the hall. He found Logan in his office. "Out," he ordered.

"Not until I get some answers, Slim."

"Answers about what?"

"You and the Cajun."

"There's nothing between us. You and Jean can go sulk in a corner together for all I care. It's not going to change facts."

"It's bullshit, Cyke. Something went down between ya. I wanna know what."

"Not a fucking, goddamned thing that you have any right to know anything about."

"Did ya fuck him?"

"Why do you care? Am I treading on your territory or something?"

"Shit. Kid's got it too bad fer Rogue fer him to notice anyone else. I gotta know though."

"If the 'kid's got it too bad fer Rogue' then why do you have it stuck in your primitive little mind that I screwed him?"

"Yer actin' screwy. Both of you. I don't know what went down, but something sure as shit did. Ya ain't actin' like yerself around him."

"Maybe that's the difference. Maybe I am acting like myself instead of trying to be a hard-nose bastard because he's been driving me crazy. That man is one of the most irritating little shits that's ever been in this house. But you know what? We worked out an arrangement. Now get the fuck out of my office, Logan. Don't bother coming back until you're acting reasonably!" Scott pointed at the door and Logan slunk out, tail figuratively between his legs. Scott slammed the door after him and locked it.

*****

"Told y' twice, chere, I didn't do Cyke. Y' ask me again y' get the same answer. Can we move ont' a new topic please?"

"No way, sugah. I want to know what changed between ya'll."

"Maybe we ain't tryin' to kill each other no more. Leave off, girl." Gambit glared at his sweetheart. "That's it, I'm out of this conversation, Rogue." He walked out of her room and out of the house. He lit up a cigarette, then hopped up on the porch rail and looked out over the lawn.

*****

"No, Storm, I am not with your brother in a sexual manner," Scott rolled his eyes. "Go compare notes with Hank."

*****

"I ain't sleepin' with him!" Gambit nearly screamed.

Bobby had the good sense to run away before he got a vase imbedded in his head. He wheeled out of the parlor and bolted for the kitchen. At least Jean was in there so it would be safe from flying objects.

*****

"I'm just saying that it's a possibility, Warren," Betsy said. She was sitting in her favorite chair with a mug of tea.

"No, it's not, Bets. I know Scott. He's straight."

Betsy snorted. "Right."

"He is."

"He is not. You should take a walk inside his mind one day. You'd be surprised what a dirty imagination he's got. I'm sure Jean is partly to blame for it, of course."

Warren shuddered. "Not Scott. And not with the Cajun. Why don't you just ask one of them?"

"Because that's not the way gossip works, ducks."

**** DAY 15 ****

Scott in a snit and Remy in a pout. Charles Xavier scowled and prayed for patience. "Cyclops, Gambit, my office," he snapped over dinner. Both men glared at him, but nodded. Remy picked at his food until the majority of the table was finished, then laid down his fork. Scott looked over at him with a questioning glance. Remy shook his head. They didn't notice the sly glances the rest of the table shared at the exchange.

Xavier folded his hands on his desk. The two young men looked at him with blank faces. "What is happening here?"

"We're going to be lectured on our moods," Scott said, leaning back in his chair. "We're both going to ignore you and go on sulking until the team gets over this fascination with the idea that the two of us are a couple."

"Are you?" Charles asked mildly.

"Fuck you, professor," Scott said sweetly and stood up. "Remy, let's get the fuck out of this house and leave them to worry about it. Your car or mine?"

"Y'rs, cher. It's running better."

"Engine trouble?" Scott asked as he led the way out of the office.

"I t'ink it needs new plugs. Lemme grab my coat."

Xavier looked after them and sighed. //Wolverine, follow Cyclops and Gambit. Keep them out of trouble.//

//Sure, Chuckles.//

*****

Remy leaned backwards against the bar, while Scott leaned forwards so that they could talk face to face. "What are we gonna do about them, homme? They drivin' me crazy."

"I second that. The only thing I can think of doing is make them suffer."

"Logan ain't takin' kindly to the talk."

"Is that how you got that bruise?"

"Oui. I don't know what goes on in that boy's head. He's jealous."

"Give me a break. He's just a pain in the ass."

"He wishes."

"He still putting the moves on you?"

"Me?" Remy looked over the top of his shades for a minute. "He ain't after me. Never has been. He's got a hard on f' *you*."

Scott's jaw worked for a couple of seconds. "Bullcrap."

"I ain't lyin'. Boy threatened me somethin' fierce the first time I snapped at y'. He ain't too fond of me lookin' neither." Remy closed his eyes and took a sip of beer. "And it ain't a matter of me flirtin' with Jeannie. Everyone knows that's more tryin' t' get t' y' than anythin' serious."

"Just be glad I'm not the furiously jealous type I used to be."

"I ain't never seen y' that angry," Remy said with a grin. "Might be interestin'."

"Might be deadly in your case," Scott informed him, sipping his drink. "Is Logan here yet?"

"He been watchin' us f' about ten minutes now."

"Want to freak him out?"

"How?"

The bartender turned to hide his smile. He just hoped they'd take it out of his bar.

"Remember that club we went to?"

"Oui?"

"Feel up to a night out?"

"In this outfit?"

"Why not? The crowd doesn't seem to be the type that'd mind."

Remy smirked. "Let's go. Y' want me t' drive?"

"I'm not letting you touch my car, Gumbo. Not with your vehicular luck."

"I ain't broke one yet."

"Except that plane you had to ditch."

"I was thirteen!"

"Excuses. Excuses. Let's go, Cajun. See you around Harry."

"Have a good night, boys."

*****

Logan growled deep in his throat as Remy brushed up against Scott. Didn't the Cajun understand the meaning of personal property? Logan paused. Scott wasn't his. Scott was Jean's. Wasn't he?

*****

Scott ran a hand through the thief's hair as they sat at the bar liberally lubricated with vodka. "He's taking it very well, I think." The bar wasn't exclusively gay, but it was damned close. It paid to come with a partner. He was surprised that Logan hadn't been approached by anyone except a waiter. Logan hadn't even flinched at the place.

"He's just too pissed t' do anythin' about it," Remy disagreed. He leaned into the touch absently. He enjoyed contact and got far too little of it dating Rogue.

"I don't want him going ballistic. How far do you think we can push?"

"You with short, mean and furry?" a voice asked from over Scott's shoulder. Scott turned to the young man who'd settled next to him at the bar.

"Sort of." Scott shrugged. "Why?"

"Because he's headed this way and he looks ticked."

Remy rolled his eyes behind his shades. He turned to watch Logan's approach. The crowd parted before him like the Red Sea. Remy snickered. "He is pissed. Bartender. A beer here, cher." The bartender handed over the bar slipping the offered five into his apron. Remy held it out to Logan. The Canadian growled at him. "Y' sure, homme?"

"Keep the flamin' beer, Cajun. I wanna talk to Slim here. Find somewhere to buzz off to fer a few."

"The Cajun is staying right where he is."

Logan shook his head. "No way, bub. There's something I gotta know and it ain't gonna work when the boy's in ear-shot."

"I ain't charmin' him, Logan," Remy stated quietly. He kissed Scott on the cheek. "Smack him once f' me, sil tu plait."

Logan's eyes widened a fraction then narrowed. He jerked his head to the side. "Go dance or somethin'."

"Cher, y' like a dance?" Remy offered the young man who'd warned them about Logan's arrival. The blond looked torn for a moment, then nodded. He followed Gambit onto the floor. The crowd consumed them. Both pairs were free to talk.

"What is it, runt?" Scott asked twirling his glass in the spinning silver lights.

"This yer scene, Slim?"

"As much as anything." Scott shrugged. "I like bars that don't give a damn who you're doing. Besides, the music's good and the drinks aren't watered down."

"That ain't what I meant and ya know it."

"Oh, that. Sometimes." Scott shrugged. "I'm bi. I don't act on it. I'm married, remember?"

"Jean's got a kink a mile wide, but that ain't what I was askin' either."

"I'm not into casual sex, Logan. And if this is the Remy conversation, I will smack you twice."

The bartender's ears pricked. He signaled to the bouncer to watch. The bouncer moved close enough to monitor the situation. Logan snarled as he tried to figure out what he needed to know. "Ya both told me there ain't nothin' goin' on, but somethin' big changed in the last two weeks between ya. It's unsettling."

"Is *that* why everyone now assumes we're a couple?" Scott's jaw dropped. "Just because we aren't pricking at each other? Like I told Jean, it would be like screwing my brother. Ain't likely to happen."

Logan judged that Scott was just drunk enough to answer questions without thinking things all the way through. "So ya ain't with Rems. I hear ya. But what happened?"

"We talked. We talked a lot. We didn't have a lot else to do. We went drinking. We went dancing. We played pool. We fixed the roof and the shed and cleaned out the gutters. Well, he did. I just wrote up the list." Scott smirked. "And he gave me cooking lessons, so I'm assured my food will be edible."

"No shit? Really? Didn't think he had that much patience."

"He's not that much of a cat. Anyways, that's what happened. We learned how to work together. Deal with it."

"You been flirtin' with him something awful."

"I flirt with you too. Doesn't mean he's going to take me up on it."

"What if I did?"

That stopped Scott in mid-thought. "You?"

"Me."

"But, I thought, you, Jean. Me?"

"You." Logan smirked. "I ain't after Jean. Not after Mariko. I'm outta my girl phase fer the moment."

"Your bi?" Scott nearly squeaked. "I thought he was pulling my leg. Shit. I should know better."

It was Logan's time to stare. "The kid?"

Scott nodded. "He told me, but I never believed it. I thought you were after him. All this fucking time?"

"About five minutes as I count it."

"Is that all?"

"Since I admitted it to myself," Logan clarified.

"Oh, that's better. Since before the whole, she's dead now she's not thing?"

"Yes."

Scott didn't know how to reply. "That's why you jumped into the well."

"Well? I don't remember that."

"You weren't in your right mind at the time. I thought it was strange, but it's starting to make sense."

"What friggin' well?"

"I fell into a well. I hit my head and they had to work out how to get me out without killing me in the process. You just jumped in and kept me warm." Scott shrugged. "I guess that's explained now."

Logan blinked. Then, he grinned. "Ya gotta get drunk more often. Yer almost talkative."

"I talk. When I have something to say. And right now, I say, go hunt down the Cajun so I can give him the keys, because you and me really got to talk."

"Hey, English major, what happened with yer grammar?"

Scott snorted. "Logan, do you not remember anything about me? Didn't Warren tell you about things? Oh, wait, he doesn't like you enough. That explains it." Scott lifted a hand in the air. Remy made his way back, arm around his dance partner. Scott dangled the keys for him. "I'm riding with the runt. See you around. I owe you twenty by the way."

"Told y' so. Logan, don't do nothin' I wouldn't."

"And that'd be what?" Logan retorted. "Don't ferget we got a work-out tomorrow. I want ya sober."

"Blah. Blah. Get goin'. I'm gonna talk t' James here f' awhile. He's a lot more interestin' that y'all."

"Don't make me tell Rogue anything."

"Don't worry. Girl'll ask me and I'll tell and she'll get off on it." Remy sighed. "Perverted bitch. Just like y'rs non?"

"Yeah, that she is. Be careful. Call if you need a ride. Jean'll come pick you up."

"Oh?"

"Yes." Scott slipped off the barstool. "So, lead on, Logan." The bouncer moved away discreetly. Scott nodded in his direction. Then, he and Logan were out of the bar and on Logan's bike. Logan drove them to the mansion, but they didn't go in. They made their way into the woods and to Logan's favorite hideaway. "This is where you run off to, huh?"

"Home away from home. Keeps the women from interferin'."

Scott snickered. "I know you bribed Ro to do your laundry. Why didn't you get her to clean up this place too?"

"She'd want curtains or somethin'. I ain't into that."

"What are you into?" Scott's curiosity was peaked. He was just buzzed enough not to mind his mouth very much, but not enough to be dizzy. He settled on the bed.

"Lots of shit." Logan shrugged. "Realized watchin' ya was some of that."

"When?"

"When I wanted to smack the Cajun around for touchin' ya. I held him down with my claws out, Slim. Made me sort of wonder why I was reactin' so bad." Logan settled next to the field leader. "Are ya gonna remember this in the mornin'?"

"Yes. I'm not that drunk. I never get that drunk."

"Cajun does I think."

"Nope. He's just got a bad memory," Scott corrected. "Medical thing. So, tell me why you suddenly decided I had to know that you've got the hots for me."

"I love ya."

Scott laughed. "Right. I don't think so."

"I do. And yer bein' a fuckin' brat about it."

"Logan, come on. You decided half an hour ago that you love me? And you want me to just accept it?"

"Yeah. I do."

Scott sobered. "You're really serious aren't you?"

"Yes."

Scott looked away from Logan's scrutiny. "I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you. I don't mean to hurt you. I'm just not thinking very clearly right now. I always thought you were after Jean. Or maybe Remy. I never even considered the possibility that you even liked me, let alone loved me."

"I respected ya before I loved ya."

"Respect and liking aren't the same thing. I respect Magneto, but I don't like him."

"Ya thought I didn't like ya?" Logan was stunned. "I always figured ya didn't want to get too close. I know ya been hurt pretty bad by friends before."

"I have. I've been hurt by friends and lovers and acquaintances and tricks. I always thought of you as a friend, but I didn't think you liked me at all. I've seen how you act with Remy, Jean, and Ro. Those are the people I consider your friends. I didn't think I made the list." Scott pulled his knees up to his chest.

"I love ya, Cyke. Have fer awhile now. And I've always thought of ya as my best friend."

Scott closed his eyes. "You know I can't commit to anything."

"I know."

"But you also know that if sometime in the future, we decide to do something along the lines of sex, Jean won't mind in the least."

"What?" Logan said, blinking.

"I said that if we have sex Jean just wants to listen in." Scott's cheeks flushed to the color of his shades. Logan grinned.

"Well, damn."

"She's got a kink. She likes to watch. She and Rogue go on and on about things that just drive me crazy. But it doesn't really matter. They had a bet going that I'd sleep with the Cajun. He's not that big of a slut and neither am I. There was that one time with Warren, but I don't think he even remembers it. He was so fucking drunk. And Jean might have tweaked his memories just a little bit."

"You and *Wings*? That's just sick."

"He was cuter when he was younger and less, well, before he turned blue. He used to smile and joke and things. He was actually a part of the team as opposed to a drop by member. I sort of miss those days. When it was the five of us. People actually listened to me then," Scott said with a tragic sigh.

Logan shook his head. "Ya wanna head back up to the house?"

"Nope. I wanna stay here. It's cozy." Scott tipped his head back to lean against the wall. The problem with drinking was that his body metabolized the alcohol so quickly that it usually put him to sleep within the hour. If he hadn't taken a charcoal tablet he wouldn't have lasted this long. Logan smiled gently. He maneuvered Scott to a prone position and curled up next to him. "You're warm," Scott told him. "And fuzzy."

The Canadian let out a whoof of laughter. He tucked Scott under his protection and the field leader fell asleep.

FINIS

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