Scott looked up from his coffee and the perusal of the Sunday paper to see Remy looking surprisingly well-groomed for a weekend. He was wearing a black suit, complete with a red brocade vest and tie. He had his car keys in his hand. He frowned, looking around the kitchen. "Y' seen y'r wife recently?" the younger man asked.
"She was in the bathroom last I saw her, doing female things I learned a long time ago not to ask about. Why?"
"Mansion or boathouse?"
"You want coffee? She might be awhile?" Scott asked mildly.
"Non, merci." Remy stepped into the hall and bellowed at a battlefield command level voice that made Scott's eyes widen, "Jeannie! Y' got five minutes or I'm leavin' y' here!" The thief threw a quick smile over his shoulder. "Now, y' might want t' start breakfast. If'n I hit the pitch right folks ought t' be awake now." He put on a pair of gold wire-rim Lennon-style sunglasses. They were red-tinted.
"Thanks," Scott drawled. His eyes narrowed. "Should I be flattered?"
"Couldn't resist, non." The younger man's voice was sweetly innocent.
"So where are you taking my wife anyway?"
Remy looked over top of his glasses. "It's Easter."
That made the thief blink. "Y' mebbe noticed that the team was fightin' wit' Magneto? Which was jus' wrong cuz I t'ought he was a good Jew and he shouldn't be doin' t'ings like that on the Sabbath, but…" he shrugged. "Anyway, point is, we was busy last night."
"So?" Scott prompted.
"So, me and Jeannie didn' get t' mass last night."
"Again I say 'so'?"
"It. Is. Easter." Remy shook his head. "Drink y' coffee, cher. Jeannie! I'm leavin'!" The thief headed for the door. Jean was there, a moment later. She wrapped her hand around his arm.
"I need my purse."
"I'll start the car."
Remy leaned against the railing as he waited for Jean to stop cooing over the little girls in their Easter dresses. He smiled lazily at the twenty-something widow who was watching him out of one eye while she watched her son playing with the other kids from the Sunday school. Father Timothy crossed the steps to speak with him. "Good to see you again, my son."
"Bonjour, Pere," Remy said politely.
"I was thinking that you had moved out of the area again."
The thief winced. He shrugged. "Ain't never said I was a *good* Cat'olic, pere. Jus' try t' make a point t' come sometimes."
"And how did Lent go for you?"
Remy grimaced. "Ain't had a smoke in six weeks, Pere." He checked his watch. "I'll wait 'til Easter be done t' start back up."
The priest laughed at that. "Six weeks is better than some. I think you might find it easier to quit permanently if you joined the parish fully."
"Pere Timothy, m' tante'd hide m' if I changed parishes. M' family been wit' the same parish f' near unt' a century."
"And yet you're here. Come to mass more often. You'll be surprised how soon it becomes a habit."
"It's been a pleasure, Pere, but I got t' get Jeannie back t' her husband."
"Perhaps you should bring her husband as well. Think of the scandal you could cause."
Remy laughed. "Oui. Y' right, Pere. See y' f' Christmas if not b'fore."
"Have a good Easter. I'll see you next week." Father Timothy looked pointedly down his nose. He had nothing on a Cyke lecture so Remy just grinned at him and went to collect Jean.
"So, where's the candy?" Bobby demanded when Jean came back. She looked at him blankly. "The candy that was supposed to be sitting on the dining room table this morning is missing." His blue eyes narrowed as he swung to face the thief she came in with. "Have you seen it?"
"The candy that was sittin' under the sink yest'day? Last I saw it at least."
Bobby shook his head. "No, that's my stash for the next time I have to bail someone out of prison because they couldn't spend a night out without getting into a fight."
"Y' bailin' Logan out?" The Cajun looked intrigued at that. "Y' get any pictures of him b'hind bars?"
"I'm still breathing," the second youngest member of the team pointed out. "But speaking of behind bars and Logan, where's Jubilee?"
"Boston," Remy replied shortly. "Where I'm supposed t' be headin'. Tell Scotty, not t' call m' okay, chere? Got family obligations." He snarled and stuck his tongue out in disgust. He turned and left them standing in the hall. Bobby felt it unfair that he could walk in dress shoes and still not make noise on the hardwood floors.
"Scott was buying candy this year," Jean informed Bobby. "But Remy seems to think he'd forgotten it was Easter at all, so who knows."
Bobby sighed. "Fine. I'll grab Blue and go fix this oversight, but it's the last year I do."
Jean smiled. "Thanks, Bobby."
Jean entered the kitchen, still smiling. "Why do you do that to him every year?"
"Because if he wants to rot his teeth, that's between him and his dentist. I don't celebrate, I won't celebrate, and none of you Christian-freaks can make me."
"Then stop telling him you'll buy candy."
"Every year I volunteer and every year I don't do it. Bobby's old enough to form logic chains. Besides, it gets Hank out of the lab." Scott was diligently filling in the NY Times crossword in pen. He did it in pen to frustrate the professor and always had. Xavier was in the habit of leaving applications for the SUNY on the younger man's desk. Scott left the correctly completed crosswords on the dining room table. It was a competition that had been going on since Scott was the juvenile delinquent Warren warned her about. She shook her head at him.
"Father Timothy was trying to get Remy to bring you to church with us. He thinks we'd be a scandal."
"He thinks you're cheating on me by going to church? That is bizarre."
"No, he just wants to shake up the congregation. He's been on both of us to come more than three times a year."
Scott hummed encouragingly. Jean fished a piece of ice out of the fridge. She held it until her fingers were cold. She casually leaned over her husband's shoulder while placing her fingers squarely on his neck. "Ah! You are evil!"
"And you were ignoring me." She batted her lashes. "What's a girl to do?"
"Yo, over here!" Jubilee called as she waved. Remy wove through the airport to meet her. She had no idea what name he was traveling under or if he'd brought any of his tools. He greeted her with a smirk and a kiss to the forehead, which was totally cruel. Jo, her possible boyfriend greeted Remy with a much more formal handshake.
"Jo, y' drivin'?"
"Lead on," the Cajun said to the younger thief. He dropped his arm over Jubilee's shoulders and she resisted the urge to pick his pocket. It wasn't as if he wouldn't notice. He ruffled her short hair almost absently.
"What's the matter? Your girl PMSing again?"
"She's just normally that way," he defended. Once they were settled in the car – she and Jo in the front, Remy in the back – he spoke again. "Well, Jo, since I'm standin' in fer her papa, what are y'r intentions toward my apprentice?"
Jo startled. "I was planning to date her, Master LeBeau."
"Y' mess up her trainin' schedules or y' get her pregnant I'll let her papa gut y'. Beyond that, y' ask m' if'n y' need protection, oui?"
Jubilee rolled her eyes. "Back off, Gumbo. I know what I'm doing."
"Y' both sixteen. I was married at 16. I ain't gonna pester y'. I just want y' safe."
"I understand, sir."
"Now, tell m' who Emmaline's doin' so I can terrorize him."
The former Valley girl laughed at that.
"Prince LeBeau, you've made it in time for dinner."
"Guildmistress, my apologies for being late."
The Boston Guildmistress cocked her head to the side. She smiled. "To be honest, I was expecting a phone call saying you wouldn't be able to make it. I saw the news last night after all."
Remy rolled his eyes. "Made it t' mass this mornin' even. That man needs some good sense knocked int' his fool head. But I don't spend nearly enough time wit' Firecracker. And I would never miss an opportunity t' flirt wit' Emmaline."
"My daughter is engaged."
"Really? Someone f'got t' mention that."
"Don't give me that innocent look. I've known you since Jean-Luc adopted you."
Remy gave her a sweet smile. "And what is his name?"
"Shoo. Get ready for the party."
He pouted at her for a moment, then retired to his guest room with his bag to change into his colors. Emmaline leaned against the doorframe watching him change. "So, Firecracker's fitting in well. You going to have her challenge soon?" Remy shrugged. He stared down at the Persian rug, spotting the variations in the dye. It was real handwork, but he doubted it was as old as it looked. The heir of the Boston Guild stepped into the room, closed and locked the door. She stepped well within his range. "Master Gambit?" she pressed.
"If'n I have her challenge, she'll be beholden t' the Guildmistress here an' Papa. And she got other responsibilities." He swept his trenchcoat on instead of his cape and she frowned at him. He carefully didn't meet her grey eyes. He rubbed his temple. He stared at the Han Dynasty vase in the corner. It was real. He'd stolen it as a present for Emmaline when she turned eighteen. "Come, we walk the gardens a bit, oui? Y' as much her Master as I am these days."
"I don't begrudge you that. She's thriving with the kids here. And we'll have her and Jo married at some point."
"Merde. Best not t' let her papa hear that. Ole Man'd kill me." They were quiet until they escaped into the woods. Emma took crook of his arm. There were always eyes. "I was testin' f' Master when I was fifteen. Jubilee, she already knows more'n I did back then. She could do it. She could challenge f' T'ief, then Master. Easy as pie."
"But once she does that." He looked up at the budding trees. "I ain't worried about her flyin' away, Emmaline. But I want t' give her so much more. She ain't been t' Europe yet. She ain't learnt all the systems. She ain't got the contacts yet."
"And?" Emma's voice was soft.
"And m' contacts know about her. The gov'ment wants her. Merde, they want her bad. They want her t' do what I was doin' f' them when I was seventeen an' stupid. I got t' get her transferred outta Frost's too. Get her int' my custody."
"Will her father sign those papers?"
"She ain't legally his neither. Oh, Em, Remy's a mess, y' know? I got an assassin wife, an ex-terrorist girlfriend, a teenage apprentice, and a whole house full of folks that don' like m' stealin' on a regular basis. I got enemies that'll eat her alive if they catch her. And once she's a full T'ief I ain't gonna be able t' protect her no more. She got Jo and y'all here and I don't want her t' lose that neither. It's a lot harder t' get here than folks think. Less'n y' found a teleporter?"
Emmaline dropped her head onto his shoulder. "Has she pulled a test-level heist?"
He blushed. "Oui."
"Does she know?"
"That I been itchin' t' have her wit' me? Oui. That she's ready? Non."
"Why not?" Her voice was steel. It contrasted sharply with the soft scent of orange in her hair and the still sharp spring air.
Remy looked out at the lake they'd reached. He gestured to it. "See that infinity there? That ain't important. She ain't had a real, strong, safe family since she hooked up wit' a merc in Hong Kong. She seen her parents murdered, her friends destroyed. She been kidnapped, beaten, and survived. She spent t'ree mont's in an alternate universe fightin' vampires. Now, she got Boston. When I was sixteen I was t'rown out of m' city. Her papa don't remember bein' a teenager. And the man I work f'? He was a soldier at sixteen in a war that no one talks about. I want her t' live. I want her t' have a chance t' be, t' have somethin' normal."
"She'll always have us. You know that. We would never turn her away. And neither would your father. You know that." Jean-Luc would open his home to Jubilee. There was no question of that. They'd even discussed sending her down to New Orleans for the summer one year. It would do her good to build a relationship with him. Emma wrapped her arm around his waist. His elbow felt cold and empty. "And we will never turn you away." Her voice was as soft as a cherry petal landing on water. "Talk it over with my mother as well. Have her gain her rank. She can start building her skills more quickly that way."
"Will y' father witness?"
"And who y' marryin' anyway? Not DiMedici?"
"Of course I'm marrying Nick." She shook her head. "I'm not going to spend the rest of my life waiting for you to divorce your assassin after all. At least my name isn't Bambi."
The laughter that bubbled up at that surprised him. "True. So, y' mother gonna be willin' t' talk t' me after dinner? Or should I stay over?"
"You'll be staying the night regardless. And you will be staying in your room with your apprentice. And you will *talk to her* about this."
Remy chuckled. "Oui, Emmaline. Remy'll talk. Now, y' brother get along with DiMedici?"
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