Movin' On

Remy paused at the front gate. His bag was across his back. The bike was purring between his thighs. He flipped down the visor on his helmet, ignoring the tears that he thought he'd cried out. They'd figure out he was gone soon enough. He kicked off and fled down the road. He didn't know where he was headed, just away from Westchester, away from the X-men, and away from the family that didn't need him any longer.

*****

Storm was the first to notice the note on her dresser:

"Stormy,

"You're the best friend I've ever had, the only sister I've ever known. I don't want to hurt you like this, but I can see no other way. I'm moving on. I can't stay here any longer. I've made up my mind. I'm not going to be trapped by my past. I've lived in my pain for too long. I'm no longer taking the blame for the Morlock Massacre. I didn't kill them, Ororo. I led the Marauders in. I hired the Marauders. But I did not harm one of the Morlocks.

I know that forgiveness will not be mine. At least, it won't be granted for a very long time. I don't ask for it. Maybe someday, somewhere down the road, forgiveness will show up when I least expect it. Maybe some day I'll find the strength to see you again.

This is all I ask of you, my sister. I ask you to live.

Love,

Remy E. LeBeau"

*****

The crashing thunder woke Logan from his slumber. He growled softly before he even realized the sound had awakened him. Then, he noticed there was something missing. There was no warm body next to him or sitting on the edge of his bed watching him in the darkness of the early morning. The Cajun's scent was stale, old. He hadn't stopped by to look in on him. He'd never told the kid that he always woke to his scent. Hadn't told him that he knew of the midnight visits. The thief hadn't missed a morning since he found his way back from Antarctica. Logan jerked to full awareness just that quickly. He pulled on some jeans and went to investigate. Maybe the kid just got hung up with Ro, he told himself. When he opened the door, there was a note tacked to it. He pulled it down and opened it.

"Logan,

"I've got to leave. Good-bye. Thank you for being a true friend. Ė Remy"

"Damn it, Cajun," the Canadian swore softly. "Where the fuck are you headed?"

*****

Scott looked out at the storm over his coffee. It had rolled in too quickly to be a natural storm. The lightening was spectacular. He didn't want to go upstairs to take care of Storm's emotional needs. That was Gambit's place, or maybe Logan's. It wasn't his. He thought for a moment about waking Jean, but decided against it. He turned on his computer and logged in to check his email.

"TO: One-eye@ xavier.edu

FROM: StNicksClerk@ nawlins.net

SUBJECT: Memories

Scotty,

I'm sorry to do it this way, but I don't think I could handle the direct confrontation. You are more you than anyone realizes, but I don't think that would help anything. First, I want to say thank you for letting me stay and throw you out of your honeymoon house. The key is in your top right hand drawer, as are the keys to the front door and the van. I left my communicator there too. I'm sorry it took me this long to see it, but life has been waiting for me for a very long time. I've just been too blind.

I'm not doing any good where I am, and it's a sure bet that no one at Xavier's will ever let me forget what I used to be. I lost everything and finally I realized that I was holding onto an illusion.

I never thought home would be someplace I don't belong.

I've left a message for practically everyone. I made sure that my things were sent on to New Orleans. Tante will look after them for me. Everything's cleaned up in the boathouse and my room at the Mansion.

I've finally faced my demons. It's time for me to grow up. I've got responsibilities that I've been ignoring. I donít know if I'm moving back to the Guild. Belle does a damn fine job. Anyway, I'm babbling on and on. It boils down to this. Iím moving on. I'm leaving. I'm going to miss you. All of you, even Hank's needles and Angel's hatred. Look after Stormy for me. And make sure Logan stays human. And watch out for Rogue. She's going to be on the warpath. I told her the truth.

Goodbye, Cyke.

-REL"

Scott launched his coffee mug across the room. It shattered against the wall and left a splotch of brown liquid slowly running down the paneling. "Who told you you could walk out on me, you miserable thief? Just when I fucking needed you. Who the fuck am I supposed to talk to about demons?"

*****

Rogue picked up the small stuffed cat. It was a pretty little thing in black fur with red eyes. It had a small red pendant around its neck in the shape of a heart. "Remy, I told ya I ain't interested," she told the cat. The card that it was sitting on caught her eye. It was stiff cream, embossed with an "x". She shook her head and smiled. She opened it and found four pages in Remy's distinct handwriting. She frowned and sat down on her vanity bench.

"Rogue,

"I will always love you, chere. You know that, I'm sure. But I'm not in love with you any longer. I realized that some time over the past few weeks of soul searching. I don't know why or how, but I am in love with Belladonna and Logan and Scott, God help me, but not you. I've been using you for several months to keep the truth from myself. If everyone believed me to be pining for you, how could I be in love with someone else? How could I believe it? I loved you like that once, full of passion and yearning and desire. Over the past couple of years, there's been so many ups and downs that I learned that I couldn't give my heart completely. For that I apologize. You deserve a lot better than that from me. Raven would have my head for hurting you.

The main problem is this, chere, I need to change. I need to grow up. That will never be accomplished if I go on the way I have been. Yes, I know, heading a team, heading Papa's business has been good for me, but not enough. I've been hovering in this little cave of a boathouse, hiding from the past and the future and even today. I've been stuck in the past, and you've been stuck in my past for so long, Rogue, that this terrifies me. I've got to face the future and you aren't in it.

I'm sorry that I've put you through all this.

But I'm through begging for forgiveness and for affection. It's over, chere. I hope you remember me fondly at least. Don't dwell on the shadows, it will drive you crazy.

I know that no one here means me any harm, not even Wings. But I don't belong here. I donít think I ever did.

I'm leaving.

I can't believe that it took me that much time to finally work up to writing it.

I've just been marking time here, Rogue. I'm just barely hanging on to it. It's past time for me to leave, to let this team become a family again.

I've left a few books on your shelf. And that sweatshirt you've always liked is in the back of your closet with the winter clothes. `

Pray for me, chere.

Look after Scott, he's headed for a bad time. Ro's gonna be a handful, but she's probably going to understand this the best. You'll need to make sure she doesn't try to follow my lead. She was more reckless with you and me in charge than I've ever seen her. That worries me. I'm hoping that if I walk away, it will help her find herself again. Logan is probably going to want to follow me. I followed him when Mariko died after all. If Bishop ever returns, would you give him the letter I left in your jewelry drawer?

Oh, yes, in that same place you'll find a necklace.

That store didn't need it anyway.

You know they get a 600% mark-up on those things?

The receipt is on the last page of this letter.

Goodbye, love.

Yours,

Remy"

Rogue went to her drawer immediately and pulled out the box she didn't recognize. She opened it to find an emerald necklace. The perfect teardrop gem dangled from a simple silver chain. It took her a long time to finally put it on instead of staring at it.

*****

Jean woke to a house in turmoil. She reached out for Scott first and found him simmering with anger. She pulled back. She didnít want to deal with that until she was fully awake. She pulled on her robe and put her hand into the pocket to get the belt out. She pulled out the card hesitantly. It wasn't Scott's handwriting on the front. She opened it.

"Jeannie,

Thank you for taking care of me. Goodbye. Watch over Logan and Scotty for me.

-R."

"No," she whispered. "You didn't. Remy, why didn't you just ask?"'

*****

"Sir, did you. . ."

"Yes, Scott." Xavier held up the note Gambit had left him.

It was short and to the point. "I always believed. Ė Gambit"

"I need to go after him."

"Let him be, Scott. He'll come back if he wants to. He'll contact us."

"Bullshit, sir. He's gone for good. I've been to his room. There's nothing left that was his. Not even graffiti. He painted the damn room, sir. I don't know how he managed it without any of us noticing. No, scratch that, I know exactly how he managed it. He's been planning this for months, sir. I can't let him just go riding out of here like it doesn't matter. This team needs him. Damn it, sir. We've lost too much. Betsy was the last straw. We can't take any more losses. We're going to break. We haven't been a family since Israel."

"Scott, you cannot leave this team right now."

"Sir, shove it. I'm tired of this. Hell, it might do me good to get out for awhile. It might do everyone good. We've been top heavy on brooders. Rogue's perfectly capable of handling the team. Cable's still haunting the halls. Sam's growing up. Hell, even Kitty can do it. Just not me. Not anymore. Hell, Gambit held together better than I did."

"What about Jean?"

"What about her?"

"She just got over losing you."

"Frankly, sir, we haven't been able to reconnect. I just can't be who she needs me to be anymore. Let Logan take care of her. She was thinking of filing divorce papers anyway. It will be easier if we separate."

"You can't mean to leave for a year!"

"I mean to leave for however long I need to leave." Scott's voice went ice cold and Xavier looked at him in shock. "Cyclops is fine. Scott is not." With that Scott turned and left.

"Scott, you're always welcome here. Both of you. Tell him that when you find him."

"You seem certain I will."

"You will, Scott. I know you too well to think otherwise."

*****

Warren Worthington III was not happy. Granted he and Betsy hadn't been together for awhile, but he still missed her. He missed the sex to be completely honest. He caressed the feathers of his wings. He was so glad to have them back. He opened his medicine cabinet and found a letter there. He sat on the edge of the bathtub to read it.

"Ange,

It's taken me a long time to figure out what was wrong between us. There was always more to it than the Marauders. You've never liked me. And I've never taken the time to know you. I've spent a lot of time watching my memories.

I'm sorry I never gave you a chance to like me, but at least it won't hurt as badly when I tell you that I'm leaving.

You never asked me the question I've waited for. 'Why did you do it?'

The truth is, I did it because I owed Sinister for saving my life.

Chew on that for awhile. Sinister was to me what Charles is to you. You forgave Xavier for Onslaught. I forgave Sinister for his part in the Massacre.

I have not forgiven myself.

I'm not asking you to forgive me. You can't do that.

I will leave you with this. I forgive you for walking out on me in Antarctica. I know now that it wouldn't have made a difference. I know that my bitterness towards you was wrong. I'm sorry I took things out on you. You were convenient.

My church abandoned me, Warren. My guardian angel was never on duty or else I wouldn't have gotten into half the trouble I have. I expected you to be perfect. I expected you to be an angel. I forgot you were a man.

Goodbye, Warren.

Godspeed.

Gambit"

Warren crumpled the letter and threw it into the trashcan. Then, he stopped and pulled it out. He flattened it with his fingers and shoved it into the top drawer of his dresser. Maybe someday he'd be able to look at it.

*****

Bobby Drake whistled to himself. He picked the envelope up off the carpet. He pulled out the single sheet of paper. "Goodbye, Bobby. Take care of yourself and stop denying who you are. She's yours. Ė Gambit"

"Oh, shit. This isn't good."

*****

Cable frowned at Jean. "What do you mean he's leaving?"

"Scott is leaving to follow Remy. He's worried about him."

"He's worried about the most irritating bastard on the planet."

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because Remy doesn't have anyone else to do it. His father's missing. He's divorced. He broke up with Rogue and he thinks of Storm as his little sister."

"I don't get it."

"You never knew Remy before. . . the incident."

"Before he was left to die, you mean."

"Nathan!"

"Say it, Jean. It makes life easier."

"For you. Not for me."

"No, for you as well. Deal with it. His clan denied him. He has left. That is all."

"Some of us can't just live in the present, Cable."

"You need to."

"Cable, sometimes you're a real asshole."

"I'm just right."

*****

"Logan?" Rogue knocked on the Canadian's door. He didn't respond, so she peeked inside. "God damn mother fucking asshole!" she screamed at the disarray inside. "He doesn't fucking want ya to follow him!" She restrained herself from hitting the wall. "How the fuck am I supposed to take care of them when they keep leavin', Remy?"

She sounded like she wanted an answer so Bobby had to provide one. "By not pounding on the door when they aren't there? Who are you supposed to take care of anyway?"

"Scott, Logan and Storm. Storm's the only one that ain't left."

"Logan went after Gambit?"

"Scott went after Gambit. We don't know where Logan went. Maybe after Scott."

"That would make sense."

"Shit. Fuck me."

"Just name the place."

"Don't get smart with me, Drake," she snapped. "I don't hear an accent and last time I checked your eyes were still blue."

"Ah, but Gambit's got blue eyes when he's in pain."

"And you're gay."

"I am *not*. Christ on a Crutch. The reason I haven't had a successful date is because I wanted them to be you! Shit, if Gambit could see it, why can't you?"

Rogue's eyes finally snapped to his. "What?"

"I love you, Rogue. I always have. But I never made a move." He looked down at the ground. "I didn't want you to laugh me off."

"Sugah, I ain't exactly a prize catch."

"Yes, you are Rogue."

"I'm never gonna be a mother."

"I'm never going to have kids. That doesn't bother me."

"What are ya sayin'?"

"Will you go out with me, Rogue? Will you give me a chance to love you?"

"I don't know if I can, sugah. I was hopin'. . ."

"That Gambit wouldn't notice that you trashed his heart again after trying to kill him and replacing him with a Magneto clone?"

Rogue winced. "Sort of silly huh?"

"Yeah, but I like the fact that you're stubborn. I've just decided to be more stubborn."

Rogue's mouth dropped open.

*****

"Why's everyone so gloomy?" Sam Guthrie asked as he sat down at the kitchen table.

"You didn't get a letter?"

"Ya mean that Gambit's decided ta let the past go and I better watch out for his Ororo or he's gonna find a way ta kick mah ass back ta Kentucky? Yeah, but I don't know why y'all are so down."

"Because he's leaving *us* as part of his past!" Kitty stated. "Jubes is *not* going to take this well."

"Maybe he just needs space," Sam suggested.

"Maybe you should stop before one of the women decides to gut you, Farm-boy," Warren suggested. "Just a thought."

Sam rolled his eyes.

Kitty sighed. She toyed with the letter for Jubilee. "I don't know if I should send this to her."

"If you don't, when she finds out, she'll kill you," Bobby stated firmly. "More toast, Rogue?"

"No thanks, sugah."

Warren blinked. "Did you finally get off your ass, Drake?"

"Yeah."

"It's a miracle."

"No, asshole, it's called permission."

"What are ya talkin' about, Bobby?" Rogue asked calmly.

"I never went after you because Gambit was pining for you. He let me know that he's not waiting in the wings for you anymore." Bobby shrugged. "I'm too much of a gentleman to cut in on someone who's serious. And I witnessed most of your break-ups, Rogue. He was serious. Felt sorry for the bastard."

Rogue stared. "I don't know if I should even ask."

"Because he was so in love with you that he didn't recognize the fact that you to got along like fire and oil. Or maybe he just likes fighting."

"He likes makin' up," Rogue corrected absently. "Would ya get me some more coffee?"

"Sure."

Jean snickered. //Good for you, honey. You've already got him trained.//

//He doesn't fight as well as Remy and he knows it. Boy's all mine.//

//So are you okay with this sexist permission bullshit?//

//Are you gonna start screwing Storm now that Scott's gone after Remy?//

//Yes.//

//Yes. I've known Remy was old fashioned for years, Jean. He's a Southern boy after all and his father'd kill him if he weren't on his best behavior. Besides, it got Bobby to open up to me.//

//Touche.//

*****

"So where are we headin', Cyke?"

"You're the one with the nose," Scott shot back, flipping up his helmet's visor as he and Logan stopped at the stoplight. Logan grinned at him and took off to the right. Scott followed close on his tail. He loved the freedom of the motorcycle. He let himself fall into the rhythms of the turns and didn't pay attention except to keep close to Logan's tail. It had been years since they went out riding together. Shit, before the wedding at least, he decided. The thought depressed him so he moved away from it. He was riding now and that's all that mattered.

*****

Remy LeBeau stopped at the Crossroads Center more out of habit than need. He checked in with Jo-Jo, the woman who'd taken over as the commander in chief of the operation and smiled when she told him he looked like shit. "I'm gonna be out of reach except by my cell f' awhile, Jo-Jo."

"Running away, honey?"

He gave her a lopsided grin. "Sometimes home doesn't feel like home anymore, y' know? 'Sides, it's time f' me t' go south for awhile. Get the chill out of m' bones."

She looked him over. "Well, you be careful and check in once a week or I'm calling the cops. I've got friends you know."

"I know." He held up his hands in surrender. "It's just time to get away."

"So you snuck away in the middle of the night."

"It was six."

"It was still dark out and you've got tear streaks on your cheeks still." He rubbed at the marks and she shook her head. "Are you sure about this?"

"Sure as I ever am. Thanks f' bein' a cryin' shoulder, chere."

"Take care of yourself, Reb."

"Keep y'r nose clean, Yank. Y' can email m', but I ain't gonna promise t' log on every night. So if it's an emergency."

"I know where to reach you. I can still call Xavier's right? They won't turn me away if there's a gifted child?"

"Non. Just ask f' Charles Xavier or Jean Grey. They'll get them help."

"Good."

"Bye, Jo-Jo."

"Bye, boss." He winked at her and put on his sunglasses, even though the storm outside was heavy enough that he wouldn't need them. He was doubly glad of the waterproof bag for his tools and clothes. At least when he decided to stop he'd have something to change into. The kids watched him go past with something akin to awe. He was wearing all green leather. His hair was cut short. He wondered if Scott would cut his hair again now that he wouldn't have to keep up the status quo. It was strange to see Scott with long hair. Even weirder to consider that it tended towards the same color as his own when the sun got to it. And after his time in Egypt, Scott'd had plenty of sun.

Sun sounded very good as the latest drip of Storm's tears hit the back of his neck before he could put on his helmet. Damn shame that he didn't have a ponytail to absorb it all. He'd forgotten that it was so good at keeping him warm in bad weather. Well, he decided, we'll just have to start growing it again, won't we, Remy? He took off towards 95 S. Best to be obvious and go for speed. He might take a detour into Pennsylvania for a little while if he got bored of the highway.

*****

Scott looked at the name on the tiny little sign on the warehouse. "What is this?"

"It's," Logan paused. "It's a shelter, Scott. His shelter. The one he set up to feed kids to Xavier's. The one that he set up so there would be someplace for kids like him to go."

"An orphanage?"

"A shelter. A home. This is his part of the dream. Don't fuck up, Slim. These people can get word to him. He'll either bolt or not. If ya piss off Jo we're screwed."

"Fine."

Logan hated it when Scott got that note in his voice. It made him think there was a little more psychopath in him than he wanted to believe. It was going to take a lot of adjusting to get used to Cyke like this. Just like it took awhile to get used to Gambit trying to be Scott and damn near crying his heart out on the pier when he thought he'd fucked up. Not that he'd ever tell either of them that he'd been watching. Hell, he'd gotten so used to watching them from a distance that there was a weird sense of vertigo whenever he realized he could touch one of them and they weren't going to disappear like they did in his nightmares.

Jo-Jo scowled up at the man in her doorway, then, slowly, her face cleared. "Logan," she greeted.

"Jo. This is Scott Summers."

Scott nodded to her. "Nice to meet you."

She snorted. "Right."

"Did the kid stop by here?"

"Who wants to know?"

"His lover," Logan said flatly. Scott just focused on the picture on the desk. He caught his breath. He remembered that picture. He moved before his brain caught up with his body. Logan stared as Scott crossed the gap and picked up the frame. It was a good picture of Gambit. He was smiling up at Jubilee from the couch in the library. It was from Christmas after dinner the first year he'd been there. They hadn't seen that smile since Antarctica if not before. Scott examined the feelings. There was guilt there and a touch of anger, but he couldn't really feel them. It was like they belonged to someone else.

Jo-Jo watched the two men. "So you're the bastard who's been fucking around with his head."

"Which one of us?" Scott asked blandly.

She shook her head. "You're Summers. He's Logan. He's the bastard. You're the boss-man. You're forgiven. Hell, you're married. No, Logan, the bastard that he's also in love with. The one that uses him like a sex-toy."

"I don't use him, lady," Logan growled.

Scott snickered.

"Watch it, bub."

Jo-Jo cocked her head to the side. "No, I want to hear what you were going to say, Summers."

"Well, I'd sit down and give you the long version, but I'm not going to ruin the upholstery. Bottom line, my wife, fiancee at the time, had this little discussion about the two of us. Logan and me that is. She determined that just because the fucker can't express his emotions doesn't mean that they aren't there and my lack of ability to read them does not constitute a reason to claim he didn't feel anything about our relationship. Therefore, I couldn't be sure if he was just using me for the sex or not. But my girlfriend never threatened to throw me off of the building."

"Hey, Rogue never said she'd kill him."

"No, just torture him. I'm guessing Remy did show up here though, considering the looks I was getting out there, I bet I could find out which direction he took off in too. The only thing I couldn't do, is make sure you don't tell him we're following him."

"What makes ya so sure ya could get the information?"

"Because if I say I'm his brother, no one's going to question me."

Logan blinked, paused, then studied Scott as the younger man put down the picture and crossed his arms. He wuffed out a soft laugh. "Shit. Never realized I ran to type."

"Well, Jean's a red-head too. But I don't know how Mariko fits in."

"She was just perfect."

Jo-Jo shook her head. "Get out of my office. I have *important* things to do. Oh, you'll want to head south. That boy's got the constitution of a snake."

"Thank you kindly, Jo," Logan said tipping his hat.

"You're no more a cowboy than I'm a man. Move it, boys."

Scott smiled at her. "Thank you."

*****

Rogue looked out at the rain. She sighed and mounted the stairs to see Ro. She stopped at the top of them and then cautiously approached Storm's room. Ororo was looking out the window at the weather. "Hello, Rogue. What can I do for you, child?"

"I just came to see how you're doin'."

"Horrid. Couldn't you tell?" She gestured at the clouds. "How could he do this? How could he not tell me?"

"Because he couldn't handle seein' ya cry or hearin' ya tryin' to stop him," Rogue stated calmly.

"He has left me behind."

"It's for the best, honey," Rogue said gently. "The X-men have been yahr life. I know ya'd follow him into Hell, but he wants ya happy. He wants ya safe."

'Then why leave me alone, Rogue? My heart feels more shattered than when I found out about the incident."

"Ya aren't alone, sugah. Kitty's here. Jeannie's here. Charles is here. I'm here. Don't lock yourself away, sugah." Rogue placed her hand on Storm's arm. "He thinks his bein' here is hurtin' ya worse."

"What are you saying? That I have driven him away?"

"No." Rogue sighed. "Ya ain't been actin' like the Stormy he knows. Ya been takin' risks like ya're one of us wild kids. Risks ya either gotta be invulnverable or semi-suicidal to take. He thinks if he ain't here ya're gonna stop tryin' to prove yourself to him."

"I wasn't."

"Yeah, sugah, ya were."

Storm blinked at the young woman.

"Christ, girl, did ya think we were datin'? We talked about the team. I know everythin' that happened in Russia. We may have two units, but that don't mean it ain't one team."

Storm scowled at her. "So rather than Cyclops and Phoenix evaluating the team's performance, it was Rogue and Gambit. I do not believe I am comforted by that thought."

"Well, it's better to have a male and a female perspective, ya know. I'll let ya decide who provided which."

Storm couldn't help but laugh. "Tell me something, child, did you love him at all?"

"Of course. I lusted after him like everyone else in the Mansion. He treated me nice, like a normal girl. But I weren't in love with him. I was in love with what he represented. He was comfortable. I could do anythin' and he'd come back. Shit. I left him to die and he came back to me. But I know too much about him. He's still in my head. I love him like my best friend, not my lover."

"Thank you." Storm rested her head against the glass. "He's going to catch his death out there."

"No, Stormy, his life."

"Do not call me 'Stormy'."

*****

"New Hope," Remy mused. "As good a place as any." He pulled into the first bed and breakfast he saw and arranged to stay the night.

*****

"Ya wanna push on or spend a few hours sleepin'?" Logan asked.

Scott took his time answering. "I want to push on, but I think sleeping is a better idea."

They pulled into the Motel 6. Scott arranged a room on the ground floor. "It's even smoking," he told Logan.

Wolverine raised his brows. "One bed?"

"That a problem?"

"Not fer me. Just remember, if ya kick me yer on the floor."

Scott snorted.

*****

Sam brought a try up with Ororo's dinner. "Ya sure ya don't want ta join us, ma'am?"

"No, thank you, Samuel. And I have told you before that you need not call me ma'am."

Sam shrugged. "I think ya might want ta talk ta Jean and Kitty."

"I will do that. Samuel," her voice stopped him at the door. "Thank you for dinner."

"Ya're welcome, ma'am."

*****

Bobby settled close to Rogue on the couch. "Can I interest you in an evening of mindless entertainment? Or are you going to turn into a Scott clone?"

"I'm all for mindless, sugah. What have ya got for me?"

"_The_Mask_, _Ace_Ventura_, _Blank_Slate_, and _Dumb_and_Dumber_."

"Sounds wonderful. I'll get snacks. Ya gonna roust Hank?"

"Nah, I got him out for lunch. He's puzzling over some disk Gambit left him."

"Should we send Kitty down?"

Bobby considered. "No, it looked like data, not encryption."

"Okay."

*****

Jean hung up the phone. She took off her wedding band. She put it into the sandalwood box on her vanity. Then, she folded down onto her arms and let herself cry.

*****

Jubilee looked from Kitty to the letter she held out and back. "Just, just tell me it isn't from Wolvie."

Kitty shook her head. "It's from Gambit. I think he was worried that if he came here Frosty would have stopped him."

Jubilee took the paper warily.

"I'll just go to the kitchen and let you read it."

"Jubes,

Hey, Firecracker. First, you have my cell number in case you need me. Don't give it to any of them. If I wanted them to have it, I would have made sure they did. If you want it or need it, there's a job held for you at the Center. Just talk to Jo-Jo.

By now you're wondering if I'm planning some elaborate suicide. No, petite, Remy's planning on living a good long time, somewhere other than Westchester, New York. As you can guess, Scott isn't going to be too pleased with me. And Wolvie's going to be fit to be tied. Try to calm him down and talk some sense into him. A forty-five to the knee ought to slow him down long enough for you to get a leash on him.

If he's already started off after me, then there's nothing to do but wait him out. My email still works too. I asked Kitty to bring this to you. If she mailed it, I'll kill her. I'm leaving the X-men, petite.

I can't take it anymore, chere. I can't have them looking at me out of the corners of their eyes wondering when I'm going to crack or betray them. My heart can't handle being so close to what I want with no chance of getting it.

Watch your back, petite. Call if you need me. Je t'amie, Jubilee. Keep the faith, petite. Things will work out eventually. And if you need to find a counselor who's gonna keep her mouth shut, ask Jo-Jo for Candi Cane's number.

Yours,

Remy

PS: I thought you could use something tangible to hold onto."

She carefully pulled the locket free. The front was the ace of hearts. Inside there were two pictures, one of Remy, the other of Logan. She put it on and slipped it beneath her shirt. "Good luck, Gumbo," she whispered.

*****

Gambit smiled at the gypsy who had set up to read fortunes in an underground store. It was literally underground, in the basement. She was a pretty young woman with big eyes that reminded him of some of the women he'd met in Russia. He didn't take off his shades. She didn't comment on it. He handed her the ten and she slid it into the box to her left. "Dominant hand please." Remy gave her his left hand as he settled across from her. She frowned at his hand. "Let me see your other hand as well, please." She nodded. "You have a very interesting hands. You're trying to leave before it's time to leave home. You have . . . two lovers who want you home badly. You're trying to go to the future, but already you've been caught by the circles of the past. There is another person who wants your presence. A demon almost. A cold man. And older man. All of them are older. You are far younger than people believe. There are duties yet to be discharged which is why you will not be able to leave your past behind you."

"What type of duties?" he asked softly.

"Debts of the heart. Be careful. Your heart has betrayed you already. You cannot fight its power. There is kindness in your soul that you hide away. You should not. You need to let it out for then you can begin to heal the pain. You've hidden yourself away in the corner. You have to get out of it. You have been told what to feel for so long that you've forgotten to listen to yourself. I don't see children in your future. I see a wife in your past. So young to be divorced." Remy shrugged and she let that thread go. "You want roots, but you are afraid that you won't like what you find out." She looked at him in confusion. "I hope this makes sense to you because I'm telling you that this sounds like complete bullshit to me," she said honestly. "But this isn't the usual. You aren't normal. Can you balance two lovers?"

"I have in the past," he said absently. "But it's never worked out in the end." He frowned. "Thank you. That's actually more than I was expecting."

She smiled then. "Well, we do what we can." She held his hands in hers. "Be careful. There's a darkness dragging on you. Don't let it drag you down. And if you need to talk," she offered, "I close shop at six."

"I'm moving on actually. Thank you though." He kissed her hand and left. She shook her head. That was one for the journal today.

*****

"You seriously believe he'd stop someplace called New Hope?"

"Yer in fer a shock. Last time I was through it was a gatherin' spot fer bikers. I think Rem'd like it just fine."

"Funny, suddenly he's Remy."

"What's so funny?"

"You never call him Remy in public, you know. You call him 'gumbo' or 'kid' or 'cajun'. You never call him by name."

Logan shrugged uncomfortably.

"So show me this place."

Scott was moderately impressed with the little shops. They were less touristy than he'd expected. On a whim, he decided to peer in at the fortuneteller. "Go fer it," Logan urged with a wide grin. Scott frowned, but Logan pushed him forward.

"Getting pushy in your old age, Runt."

The gypsy made a game attempt at keeping a straight face but couldn't manage it. She smiled at them. "Come on. You'll be my last customer of the day." Scott sighed. Logan handed the young woman a bill. "This is. . ."

"Exactly what yer gonna give yer mama and tell her Logan stopped by."

"I'll tell her. Dominant hand please." She took the hand and the smile disappeared. "You have found out some things about yourself that you don't like very much. You're scared and you aren't because it's like coming home even though nothing's familiar anymore. You're running towards something you can't understand and away from somewhere that's suddenly too well-known. You're getting a divorce?" Scott inclined his head and Logan's brows shot up. "You're following a trail that you can sense, but you don't know why. You're tied to. . . Holy shit. You're following the kid. You're the lovers." She shook her head. "Why me?" She looked to the heavens. "Get out, both of you. He headed west towards Phoenix. He was hoping to get to Cleveland by tonight. He has business that he has to do there, so you might be able to catch up with him if you leave right now." She shooed them out of the store-front. "Oh, and Logan," she winked, "I'll always remember mimosas on the black beach. Don't judge a book by its cover, sweet-heart." She grabbed him by his coat and kissed him full on the mouth.

*****

Jubilee saw Kitty to the door and went to the library. She needed to think for a little while. She sat down on the floor behind the shelves. She knew that Logan was already following their wayward Cajun, but she needed to figure out why he'd run in the first place. There were clues in the letter and she just needed a clear enough head to find them.

*****

The team settled into their usual routine fairly easily. Rogue set up training sessions for everyone and refused to let the security rotations slack off. She rearranged the schedules brutally. "Deal with it y'all. This is how it's gonna be until we get more members." She put her hands on her hips. "Listen. Y'all prove to me that we're a team, then we'll relax a bit. But at the moment, we're just a bunch of people who live in the same house. I ain't got a clear read on who can do what and how the powers interact yet. And losin' Bets has thrown us all off. We're workin' as a single unit for right now and that's gonna take gettin' used to. We're missin' Wolverine, Gambit and Cyclops. That's gonna change dynamics. We don't know how long they're gonna be gone, so we're gonna adjust to workin' without them, got it?" Bobby saluted her and rolled his eyes. She glared at him. "Don't get cute with me Bobby Drake, I'll still bounce your ass off the ground."

"Oooh."

She pounced, holding him in a headlock and rubbed a brisk noogie into his hair. "Other objections?"

Warren hid his laughter. Jean didn't. Kitty skidded in. "Sorry I'm late. Did I miss anything?"

"Only the whole meetin', but I'll let it go as bein' a factor of the traffic. Danger Room in thirty, people. As for you, Iceman, you get the extra special duty of cleanin' up this mess." She gestured to the war room which was littered with donut powder and napkins.

"Hey, if I was anyone else you wouldn't do this."

"Didn't Remy give ya the full report on what to expect? Po' Bobby," she mocked him.

"He's right. You are a bitch." He looked at her in wonder. "You know, I think if we just get our hands on Frosty's old outfit, you'd be perfect in it."

"What makes ya think I ain't got one of my own?" she purred. He gulped and started clearing the table. Rogue went to empty the coffee grounds and gather up the scattered mugs on a tray. "Welcome to the perils of bein' the S.O. of the leader, sugah."

"I want a promotion," he muttered.

*****

Remy settled into the anonymity of the big city with pleasure. He had stopped at the bank and retrieved the items he'd left stored there. He'd stopped at the bookstore and gotten several magazines and a few travel guides. He just wasn't sure where he wanted to go yet. He'd told the gypsy Phoenix when they'd met for dinner, but he just couldn't go there. There were too many memories in Arizona. Cleveland though, Cleveland was okay. He and Belle had met there a few times and he'd pulled several contracts from the area. He found a little diner and settled down with a cup of coffee and a slice of chocolate pie. He flipped through the magazines idly. He'd stashed his things at the hotel and he was paying them well enough that he was sure they'd be there when he returned. He looked up at the sky and watched the clouds through the window while his hand completed the task of feeding his mouth bites of sweetness. "Where to, boy?" he asked himself softly.

*****

"Cleveland. Is there a big underground scene in Cleveland?" Scott muttered. "Oh, look, they've got a pool table." He ducked into the bar before Logan even registered what the younger man was saying. Then, he saw Scott setting up the pool table. When he bent over in those fuck-me jeans it did not do good things to Logan's anatomy.

"I'm gonna fuckin' kill him if he gets himself in trouble," Logan muttered. He went to the bar and got two beers.

"That your boy?" the bartender asked with a smirk.

Logan snorted. "Naw. He's like a cat. He walks with ya fer awhile, but he ain't no one's. Not anymore. Wife just dumped him."

"That's a bitch."

"Yeah." Logan shrugged.

"He any good?"

"He can play some."

When they left several hundred dollars richer, Scott made sure they weren't followed. "Let's move it, Logan. We don't want to be around by the time they get sober enough to figure out they were had."

"What the fuck was that in there?"

"That was what is often called 'hustling'," Scott smirked. "I wanted some pocket change."

"You call that pocket change?"

"I have complete access to Charles' accounts. This is pocket change." They moved more up town and Scott's shoulders relaxed. Logan was still shaking his head.

"Yer one surprise after another, slim."

"Yeah. Welcome to my world, runt. Oh, look a diner. Time to soak up some of that alcohol."

"Yer such a cheap date."

"Fuck off, Logan."

"No way. Only with a partner."

"Idiot." They bantered their way into the diner.

Logan's nose twitched. "Well, well, well, what have we got here?" he asked softly. He followed his nose to the source, a young man in jeans and a button-down shirt, reading a book. A young man who stiffened under the regard and slowly sat straight up.

"Fuck. It's a clone," Scott snickered.

"Merde," Remy muttered. He banged his head on the table. "Y'all comin' or not?" he asked a moment later. He pushed the menus to the other side of the booth. Logan settled there. Scott didn't take the hint. He sat down next to the Cajun, blatantly invading his space. "Fine." Remy moved over to give him room. "Cul."

"Watch it, Swamp Rat. What's with the costume?"

"I'm here on business," Remy said flatly. "It ain't my fault y'all ended up here."

"I've got ten to one against that one, Gumbo. We were following you. And considering the fact that we've had nothing but good luck on the way makes me think that someone's on our side or you're putting out vibes because you want to be followed."

"I donít want y' here."

"Liar," Logan stated. "I'll have the steak and eggs. Eggs over-easy. Steak rare. Hash browns."

"Hamburger, mooing please. Fries and a coke. Now, about this rumor you're heading towards Arizona."

Remy shook his head. "Ain't setting one step towards the place. I was thinkin' Chicago, but there's politics t' deal wit' there. Maybe back t' Seattle."

"Tryin' to outrun the past?"

"Non." Remy gave him an amused smile. "Iím just lookin' f' the future. I'm fine wit' m' past."

"The world is coming to an end. LeBeau isn't brooding," Scott said in an awed tone.

"Y' let him drink? Y' insane?" Remy demanded.

"He's a big boy," Logan shrugged.

Remy looked to the sky for support. It didn't seem to be forthcoming. "So why y'all show up here?"

"Told you, we were following you."

"Why, Scotty?"

"Because we want you back where you belong."

"I don' belong in Westchester. Annie? Can I get some of dat wonderful pie t'night?" Remy pouted.

"I suppose," she said with a smile.

"Merci, chere."

"Flirt," Scott accused. He ran a hand through his hair. "Where're you staying?"

"Marriot."

Logan blinked. "Shit. That *was* your bike I saw."

"Non. That ain't possible."

Scott considered. "No, it's very possible. It's the only place Warren will go near. That means its high class. I didn't think you'd be sulking in some cheap flophouse if you weren't on the run."

"If I'd known y' were followin' this close I would have. Oh, dat's what I need." He greedily accepted the apple pie. "Merci."

"You only love me for the sugar fix."

Remy looked up at her and put a hand to his heart. "My heart is already claimed, sweet lady, but were it not, I'd marry y' in a heartbeat. Y' cook like a gem. Any man'd be stupid not t' take y'."

"Thanks, sweetie." She shook her head. She was easily twice Remy's age. The thing was, Scott was fairly certain that the thief was telling the truth. He would marry her for the food.

"I ain't goin' back t' New York," Remy said firmly. "I ain't been this content in years, homme. I ain't goin' back t' that insanity."

"I don't know about Logan, but I think things are going to be a lot more interesting wherever you end up than the same old same old at the Mansion. Besides, Rogue doesn't need me hovering over her shoulder." Scott shrugged. "I'm not in charge at the moment. Which is the best for all involved."

"Y' so sure about that?" Remy asked. "As I remember it, we weren't playin' by y'r rules. Can't believe Roguie's any different wit'out my tauntin'."

Scott shrugged. "I really don't care. I'm beginning to think we should have been playing a little harder before this time."

Remy nodded. "Wondered when y'r military head would wrap around the idea of killin' and casualties. More'n willin' t' kill y'self. So if'n y' stay around, I ain't listenin' t' any lectures."

Annie returned with their food. She looked at Remy fondly. "Coffee, honey?"

"Yes, please." She returned with the pot. "Merci."

"You're welcome. You boys play nice, hear me," she threatened gently then went to the rest of her rounds.

"You a good tipper?" Scott asked.

"Non, women jus' like Remy. Men too," he smirked. "Jus' gotta know how t' play 'em."

"So who holds your heart?"

Remy took a deliberate bite of pie. He cocked his head towards Scott. "Guess."

"Hmmm. Not Rogue. Not Storm. Not Bobby, no matter how we tease him. I'd say, Logan."

Remy coughed. Logan stared, hands stropped in the motion of cutting his steak. Scott bit into his burger.

"Is he right?"

"Partly."

"Look at me, kid." Remy raised his eyes. "If he's right, why leave?"

"Cuz there's no way y'll ever love m'. Not after Silver Fox. Not after Mariko. Y're still bleedin'. Damn, cher, y' won't even admit y' love Jeannie out loud. Or this asshole here." He gestured in Scott's direction. Scott didn't take offense. "And it's startin' t' look like I was always just a substitute anyway." Remy sneered bitterly at the field leader. Scott offered a French fry. Remy rolled his eyes and accepted it.

"Leave the fingers."

"Shit, kid," Logan sighed. "This ain't the place fer this."

"It's as good as y're gonna get."

"Remy, I do love ya. I just ain't good at tellin' people. Hell, ask Slim. Why else do ya think I'd follow ya?"

"Cause he did."

"So ya can buy that he'd follow ya, but not me?"

"He don' like deserters. Non, get y're own." Remy shielded his pie.

"You're wrong," Scott stated, surrendering his attack.

"Quoi?"

"Logan was on his way when I stopped him."

Remy carefully and pointedly finished his pie and received another refill of coffee before he responded to the new fact. "Why didn't you tell me?" he asked in a flat, perfectly unaccented tone.

"I ain't good at that stuff."

Remy wrapped his hands around his mug. "Why did you let me think it was all me? I spent so many nights crying while you pretended to sleep through it. Why? If you give a fuck, why?"

"I thought ya were cryin' over Rogue. That ain't somethin' I like thinkin' about."

"Y' t'ought I was usin' y' t' get over her?" Remy laughed. "I was usin' her t' get over y'. Well, t' keep everyone from knowin' I was pinin' over y'. What a fuckin' mess." Remy tucked a hundred dollar bill under his plate. "Let m' out. I gotta move or Iím gonna take out the street."

Scott got up. "Remy, don't run anymore. Meet us back at the hotel."

Remy bristled at the tone, but gave Scott a curt nod before pulling on his coat. "See y'all."

Scott finished his dinner and ordered a piece of apple pie. "You're planning on taking good care of the kid right?" Annie asked.

"The best if he'll let me. Thanks."

"You're welcome." Scott folded two twenties around the hundred when she turned to her other customers. They finished silently, each lost in his own thoughts.

Finally, though, they were on their way back to the hotel. "Scott."

"Yeah?"

"I ain't asked ya why yer here."

Scott considered for a long moment. "I need him."

Logan didn't press the point.

*****

Remy answered his cell phone with an abrupt "yes?"

"Hello, LeBeau."

"Raven."

"Are you the one that has my daughter's head in the clouds?" Mystique demanded.

"Non. That'd be Bobby. Don' scare the boy too badly."

"Robert is making heterosexual strides isn't he? Funny. I didn't think he was bi."

Remy laughed. "Lord, Raven, Drake's straighter than an I-beam. Better get y'r gaydar fixed, chere."

"What? I thought he and Beast were an item."

"Non, chere, non. M. Bete is straight. Didn't y' hear about Trish or Dr. Cecelia?"

"No, it must have slipped Rogue's mind. Straight? As in *never*?"

"As in he could look at Tom Cruise an' whine because he got int' Kidman's pants."

"So do you."

"Non, I prefer brunettes."

"Where are you?"

"At the gym. I'm blowin' off steam. Y' still in DC?"

"Unfortunately. Come visit. I'm bored."

"Non, chere. Ain't gettin' near that trap."

"Might be some work for you around here."

"Call m' agent. Good night, chere." He hung up on her.

*****

Scott stared out at the cityscape. He hadn't bothered to take off his leather jacket. Logan was watching him again. Part of him wanted to just kiss the stupid fucker. The rest of him wanted Logan to take "advantage" of his rebounding self.

"So," Logan said finally, when the silence got too thick for him. The rich scent of leather was mixed with sweat and smoke and booze. Control yourself! He told himself sharply. You want the Cajun back, you aren't going to get him by fucking someone else.

"What?" Scott asked, when nothing more was forthcoming.

"Yer gettin' divorced?"

"Jean put the paperwork through today."

"Not because yer here?"

"Idiot."

"Didn't think so. Life ain't turnin' up right huh?"

"She thinks I'm a repressed bastard with no ability to connect with or express my emotions. I'm also showing signs of personality shifts that if she didn't know better she'd attribute to heavy drug use. In short, Iím not the man she married." Scott's voice had no inflection. Actually, he didn't give a damn about Jean. He was sick and tired of playing the games to keep her happy. He wanted to be himself. He wanted to be who he was when Charles wasn't pressing him to be Cyclops. And, he added maliciously, I wouldn't want to get in the way of Jean's romance with her mentor. That was slightly unfair because everyone and his brother knew that Charles was fucking Magneto on the days he wasn't mind-fucking his lover the Empress. For a man who didn't want publicity he sure as hell managed to pick some of the most outstanding lovers in the universe.

"Yer colder than ya used to be," Logan said, "but yer still Scott Summers. I'm guessin' there's more to it."

"I won't let her establish another mind-link with me."

Logan nodded. He crossed his ankles. Then he uncrossed them. He shifted. "Fuckin' chair." He sprawled across the bed. His brain suddenly clicked into place. "Oh, fuck. We can't meet him here."

"Because he's going to see only one bed. If he asks, we'll tell him the truth. We're sharing the bed, but we aren't fucking." Scott shrugged. He leaned his forehead against the glass. If he tried, he could imagine that he was flying.

There was a soft knock on the door. Logan got it. Remy stood there, a little uncertain, but there none the less. He had changed and his hair was still wet. His jeans were the same, but he had a thick green sweatshirt on now. He looked younger than Scott remembered. It was due to the smile, he finally determined. Scott leaned against the window as Gambit stepped into the room. Logan shut the door. "So," Remy said, "what did y' want?"

"Have a seat. Soda?"

"Non, merci. Scotty, what's goin' on here?"

"Simple. We're gonna have a talk."

"Simple," Remy snorted. "We got different definitions of the word." The Cajun settled on the floor and looked up at the two men. Scott stayed where he was and Logan went back to the bed. Remy propped his chin on his hand. "What are we gonna talk about then?"

"Why are you leaving?" Scott asked.

"Because I can't stand that place no more. I can't breath. I can't grow. Half the time I don' know if I'm comin' or goin'. Half the team don' like m'. The other half ain't sure I exist. It was like bein' wrapped up in cotton and stuck in the attic 'til they needed t' listen t' m'. And most the time that's only in the field. M' heart's been breakin' f' so long that I don' remember what it's like when it's full. M' head aches from bein' around all the angstin'. I been doin' some soul searchin' since they went after y'. I found out that I ain't pleased wit' m' decisions, but I'm okay wit' them. I keep hurtin' people when I'm at the Mansion though. I hurt Stormy every time she looks at m'. I can see it in her eyes. I been doin' Rogue and Bobby so much harm f' more'n a year that I had t' get out from between them. T'ink I've got her tamed t' touch enough f' him though. I didn' know I was hurtin' Wolvie, but that ain't a surprise. Jeannie, well, Jeannie kept lookin' at m' and wishin' I was you. When y' came back it was like it got worse. Suddenly, the Summers Standard was back and damned if that damn fool t'ief don' even come close t' the real t'ing. Charles been tryin' t' pry int' my affairs. Warren an' I been fightin' worse. Took m' a long time t' get over him walkin' out on m'."

"Walking out on you?" Scott prompted, moving to sit in the chair.

"At the trial." Logan noted that Remy was the only person in the Mansion who didn't wince when the incident was brought up.

"He left? Why is that important?"

"He was supposed t' be m' lawyer." Remy snorted. "Coulda done better wit'out him. Left when they forced Rogue t' kiss m'. Got all the bad shit about the Massacre. No one ever bothered t' ask m' more."

"Warren walked out on you. Your defense lawyer walked out on you? I would never have guessed it of him."

"Well, y' got t' keep in mind that the Massacre means the loss of his wings. He's better now that he got his real ones back, but he ain't m' friend. Never was. Not because he t'inks I'm poor, but because he knows I ain't. He also knows I don' need his status symbols. He don' like m' because I'm not pure and good. I didn' like him cuz he's supposed t' be an ange. I been called a devil f' so long that well," Remy shrugged. "I took it out on his priveleged ass."

"I'd pay to see that."

Remy's jaw dropped. "Merde. Y' in fine form t'day ain't y'?" He shook his head. "Nevermind. That's why I left."

"That's a list of some of the things that bother you, but why did you *leave*, Gambit?"

"Bitch. I left because I don' like hurtin' people. I left because I was dyin' there. I needed t' live."

Logan reached out to smooth the bangs out of his lover's eyes. Remy avoided his touch with a coy tilt of his head. Wolverine pulled back as if stung. "Sorry, cher, m' charm's been outta whack. Touchin' sets if off sometimes."

Scott frowned. "Your charm?"

"Oui." Remy shrugged. "Real nice in the bedroom. Gets people t' do what I like."

"Describe it to me."

"Y' ain't never been interested in m' powers b'fore, cher."

"I'm interested now. Describe this charm to me."

"Well, sometimes it's like knowin' what someone needs t' believe or needs t' feel and then I provide it. Y' know, t' make 'em listen or not hit m' or not call the cops. Whatever. And when people are feelin' down I can make them happy again. Really works well wit' skin on skin contact. Let's m' know just how someone needs t' be touched. Like a circuit almos'. I make them feel good, I feel good. Take away pains and replace it wit' calmness and light an' all."

"And where does this light come from?"

"I ain't never questioned it, cher. At times it tells m' not t' take away the pain. People got t' feel it or else they go nuts, but t' ease it some, I can."

"Warren?"

"Non. Never him. Ain't got the right t' mess around wit' him. Tried back then, but dere were so many dyin' an' hurtin' I couldn' help 'em. Had t' hold on t' help m'self first. Couldn' even get beyond m'self when Chat held m' down an' cut m' open f' stealin' a chile. He chased m' down and dragged m' back." Remy shook himself out of the memory. "Non. Not Ange."

"Who then?"

"You, Logan, Rogue, Stormy, Jeannie, Kitty, Jubes." Remy shrugged. "Just not Warren, or Betsy." He frowned. "Hell, even used it on Chat once. Don' ask."

"Wasn't planning on it," Scott stated. "What the two of you really got up to in Paris is anyone's guess."

"Bite y' tongue, homme. Chat ain't my type."

"Then who is?"

Remy stopped the words before they crossed his lips.

"No, tell me."

"Y' two." Remy felt his cheeks heating. Damn, he hadn't blushed since he was a boy.

"Never knew ya had a thing fer Scott."

"Y' never knew I had a t'ing f' y' neither!" Remy snapped back. He winced and dropped his face into his hands. "I'm sorry."

"No, Rems, don't. Donít hide yer face." Logan slipped to the floor. He lifted the younger man's face between his palms. Logan saw the traces of fear in the garnet eyes. "It's okay, Rems. Ya can get mad at me."

"Non, y' ain't seen m' powers recently. I get upset t'ings go 'boom'."

"Ya got better control then that."

"That's what y' t'ink. But. . ." Remy paused for a long moment. "When I get upset I still charge t'ings. I been tired f' so long that it been a right shock t' realize how hot t'ings can get."

"Tired?"

"Low grade chronic depression accordin' t' Henri." Remy shrugged. "Been better lately. Been a lot better since I left Xavier's." Logan kissed his forehead gently. "I'm sorry I hurt y', cher," Remy whispered.

"It's okay, kiddo." Logan brushed back the bangs. "So when ya gonna start growin' out yer mane?"

"Why? So y' got somet'in' t' hold ont'?"

Scott rolled his eyes. He pulled off his jacket, finally warm enough, and tossed it into the corner on top of his backpack. When he looked back, Logan was proving that he had all he needed to hold onto. He'd sealed his mouth over the younger man's and was proceeding to breath for him. Remy broke away a moment later, panting. "Slow down, cher. Y'd think I been gone f' mont's or somet'in'."

"Ya weren't there the mornin' ya left. I couldn't smell ya. Why didn't ya come by?"

"Too busy, cher." Remy shifted uncomfortably. "Y' wouldn' have let m' leave."

"Nope. I'd fuck ya till yer teeth rattled and made sure ya weren't gettin' outta the bed."

Remy's tongue flicked out to wet his lips. Scott went back to looking out over the city. Remy found himself watching Scott rather than Logan's feral eyes. He knew if he dwelled too long on Wolverine's eyes, he'd be lost. "Why y' come after m' Scott?"

Scott tensed, surprised by the question. "Why wouldn't I?"

"Because y' don' normally give m' a second t'ought."

"You had an explination at the diner."

"But it ain't the right one."

"No, it isn't." Scott caught Remy's gaze. Logan settled on the floor and tugged gently until Remy was settled between his legs. He didn't even mind that the kid was focussed on Scott. Finally, Scott broke the gaze. "Figure it out, Cajun." He turned back to the window.

"Y' love m' personality?" Remy simpered. He rolled his eyes and settled into the arms that were folded firmly around him.

Scott snorted. "Right."

"Come on, cher, tell Remy y' secrets. He a good one f' keepin' secrets."

"That isn't always a good thing."

"True though."

"Yes, true," Scott agreed. The city had a strange disconnected life below him. Like little ants, or peasants with torches storming up to the castle, he thought sourly of the cars' headlights.

"Why, Scott?" Remy asked softly. "Why, when you never cared 'bout m' before except as part of y'r team?"

Scott didn't speak for a long moment. "A lot of things. Because home isn't home anymore. Because I don't recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Because I'm changing and no one wants to let me. Because you accept. Because I feel like a hypocrite every time I do a briefing. Because when I'm laying in bed at night I can't find my way. Because I need to follow someone else's dream for awhile."

Scott jumped when he was enfolded in a gentle embrace. He eventually relaxed into it. "Even if he don't know where it's headin'?"

"Yes. I think this is the most impulsive move I've ever made."

"Non, cher, that was takin' on Poccy."

"Nice to know you noticed."

"How couldn't I? Somet'in' I'd do."

"Oh?"

"Oui. Anyt'in' t' protect m' family."

"Even leaving?"

"Why I left Nawlins. Left Westchester t' save m'self."

"Yeah. I know the feeling."

"So, now y' go t' bed and Logan fucks y' so y' don' have t' t'ink 'bout Jeannie and the divorce."

"How? She told you!"

"She's usin' m' lawyer." Scott whirled around quickly as Remy stepped back. The thief shrugged. "I divorced Belle after she died and came back. She's familiar wit' the situation. If y'all find y'r way back t' each other, y' can remarry. Belle and me, we make better partners than lovers. Especially when I ain't around much. Worked out f' the best. Mebbe it be different f' y'."

Scott tried to summon up a glare, but he couldn't. He wasn't irritated enough to frown. What he did, was nod. Remy reached out to touch his arm. He paused. "Y' mind if I scan y'?"

"What?"

"Let m' charm touch y' f' a second?"

"Why?"

"Wanna check somet'in'."

"Okay."

Remy placed his hand on Scott's arm. "Merde!"

Scott frowned.

"Je suis desole, homme." Remy looked down, guilty.

"For what?"

"Got a link wit' y' from way back. I only learnt how t' control it recently. I can remove it if'n y' wantÖ mebbe," he added in a mumble.

"Maybe?" Logan questioned. "What happens if it don't work?"

Remy grimaced. "Mebbe end up wit' a migrane or it get stronger or close off his emotions."

Scott snorted. "Like that hasn't already happened."

"Non, burn y' out like M. Essex is. . . was. Probably wear off."

"This link. Will it do anything like the one I had with Jean?"

"Probably what brought y' t' Cleveland. But non. Just give us a feedback loop if we get it on. Ask Logan 'bout that. Mostly passive. Lets m' know when y' need t' let off steam so I can piss y' off." Remy shrugged.

"How long as it been there?"

"Since I joined up."

"Leave it."

"Cool. Merci. Gonna get some sleep. Meet y' f' breakfast?"

Scott raised his brows. "You planning on taking Logan with you?"

"Non, y' need him more t'night." Remy winked. "Play nice, Pup." He kissed Logan lightly on the lips.

*****

Bobby settled cross-legged on Rogue's bed. "So tell me about my competition."

"Sugah?" she raised a brow. Bobby gestured to her collection of stuffed animals. It was much smaller than her pre-OZT one. Rogue smiled.

"Well, you might not like it."

"Please?" Bobby begged picking up the new black cat. "Remy?"

"Yes."

"What's its name?"

"Remy."

Bobby laughed.

*****

Storm held Jean as she talked out her pain.

*****

Xavier sighed and rubbed his temples. He had never counted on losing so many members of his team at one time. Maybe if he'd tried a little harder he could have kept all of them with him. On the bright side, Jean was going to be free soon. He'd been hoping since he broke her link with Scott she'd turn to him for comfort. At the time he'd thought Scott was dead. He'd felt truly guilty for his letcherous thoughts. With Scott and Jean merely being divorced, well, a man could dream. He was worried about Scott, however. Hopefully, Logan would be able to take care of him. He wondered then how he could have missed Gambit's dissatisfaction. For the thief to have finally given up on Rogue was one thing. For him to walk out on Storm was quite another. He wondered what had truly motivated the young man. Hank had suggested that Remy merely needed the space to learn to deal with the changes in his life. Xavier hoped he'd return. They didn't have a hope of getting Wolverine back for good if Remy didn't come with him.

*****

"Goin' somewhere, kiddo?"

"Oui, back t' my room, Pup. *You* are gonna fuck Scotty until he feels it in the mornin'. Y' keep him from broodin' t'night. We see what the mornin' brings non?"

"And who says I want to do the runt?"

"Y'r crotch, homme. Take care of each other. I'm on the top floor. Room 14."

"I'll come get ya later, Cajun. Bring yer damn fool ass back down here."

"After y' do him, oui?" Remy reinforced the question with a glare. Logan held up his hands in surrender. After all, he'd wanted to do Cyke since they'd started riding.

"When did you get to say who I would and would not do?" Scott demanded.

"When y' showed up here all hot and bothered. Logan, he wants y' bad. Y' want him. Pas de problem." Remy shrugged.

"I don't think so."

"Shut up, Slim. Kid wants me to fuck ya. I been smellin' ya fer days. Ya been curled around me at night. And I know damn well ya were awake when ya groped me." Scott flushed bright red. "Not to mention those damned jeans of yers. Go on up, Rems." Logan kissed the thief gently and gave him a little push. Remy left with an impish grin.

"I didn't. . . Iím sorry, Logan. I won't. . ."

"Shut up, Slim," Logan said, grabbing the front of Scott's shirt and pulling him close for a deep kiss. Scott licked his lips.

"Logan." He was trying for an authoritative tone, what he got was affectionate. He cursed his language center. "Logan, I don't want to. . ."

"What? Ya don't want to feel me movin' inside ya like I used to do? Don't want me to hold ya down and make ya ferget everythin' but my cock in yer ass and my hands on yer body makin' ya tremble?" Scott shivered in Logan's gentle grip. "Smells like ya want me."

"I do, but. . ."

"But what, Slim?"

"What about Gambit? And Jean?"

"What about 'em? Jeannie's divorced ya and Rems just threw me at ya. Shut up, Slim. Just accept it. Relax. Ya know I ain't gonna hurt ya. Get those jeans off now, boy." Scott chewed at his lower lip as he slowly opened his jeans. Logan's fingers traced along his jaw and down his throat. His palm pressed to Scott's erection. Then, the other hand was sliding down his back and onto his ass. Scott shuddered and pressed into the contact. It had been so damn long. "Ya like that, boy?"

"Hell yes. Damn. Don't stop." Logan removed his hand.

"Ya ain't givin' orders tonight, babe."

"Shit! Logan!" Logan pulled off Scott's tee-shirt, avoiding his shades with long practice. "Why is it whenever we do this you assume I'm going to be on the bottom?"

"Because ya always are."

"Oh." Scott was more interested in getting Logan's shirt of. "You have to lose the fucking flannel, Runt."

"No way, Boy."

"Don't call me boy."

"I'll call ya whatever the fuck I want to."

Scott frowned. Logan just kissed him. Scott sighed into the kiss. "Do you have?"

"Yup."

"Why?"

"Figured I'd be gettin' some sometime on this little trip." Logan grinned ferally.

"Pig."

"Ya love me anyway. Now quit talkin' and get yer ass to that bed."

Scott stuck out his tongue.

"Be ready to use it, boy." Logan grinned at the flush that comment got him. "Yer easy, Cyke."

Scott snorted. "If I was easy I'd be doing Magneto." Pure shock froze Logan in place. Scott toed off his shoes and got rid of the last vestiges of clothes while Logan stared at him. He cupped Logan's crotch. "It's called a joke. A long standing one. Back when I figured out Charles and Eric were lovers in the way back. I used to piss of Charles with it. Although sometimes. . ."

"Don't finish that thought. Hell, Slim. Magneto?"

"You're just pissed because he hurt you. But when you're young, you haven't seen a guy in over a year, hell, I thought he had it all. Power. Looks. And the ability to tell Charles to shove it." Scott sighed with mock-wistfullness. "Besides, I've got a thing for older lovers." He suddenly smirked at Logan. "Like you for instance."

Logan swatted at him. "Bed."

"A man of few words."

"Now."

"Why?"

"Cuz if ya keep it up, I'm gonna have to shut ya up."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah." He kissed the younger man, hard. Scott fell into it willingly. He tried to move his head, but Logan's hand had curled into his hair to hold him in place. Finally, they separated a few millimeters. He licked his lips. "Ready fer me, Slim?"

"Oh yeah." They actually made it to the bed. Scott tugged Logan closer for a kiss that was more teeth and tongue than lips. He was more than ready for anything Logan would do to him. Logan ran his fingers down Scott's back, running over scars he didn't remember and ones he did. He gentled the kiss and Scott whined at him. "Logan."

"Shut up, Scooter. Wouldn't want to hurt ya." Logan could feel the iron hardness of Scott's cock along his thigh. "Been awhile, ain't it?" Logan said as he slid his hand lower and between the solid globes of Scott's ass. Scott nodded, biting his lip. He squirmed.

"Faster."

"No."

"But. . ."

"No, I ain't gonna lose control and hurt ya."

"Damn." Scott wrapped his arms around Logan's throat and held him close, trapping their cocks between their bodies. "Sure I can't change your mind?"

Logan pressed gently for entry and Scott bit at Logan's collar bone. "Yer tight."

"So what?" Scott growled.

Logan matched the growl. "Don't challenge me, boy," he whispered harshly. "I ain't gonna take it from ya. Not tonight. Not after ya been wearin' the tightest jeans ya own and makin' sure I get a damn good look at yer ass fer the past couple of days. Yer mine. Ya wanna fuck me, ya can challenge. Ya wanna be fucked, ya take it like a good boy or I walk. Got it?"

Scott nodded, the cool edge of his glasses catching at Logan's sideburns. "Please?" Scott murmured.

"That's better." Logan stroked comfortingly along Scott's spine. "Lay back, Baby."

"Logan."

"Do it," Logan growled. Scott complied. He laid back against the chintz bedspread. Logan left him. Scott pouted and ran a hand lazily over his erection. Logan pulled out the lube and condoms. He smirked to himself. Looked like he was going to have to start stocking up on the stuff. He looked up at Scott who was squirming rather deliciously to whatever scenes were in his head. He rolled on a condom as he spoke. "Take off yer shades, Slim."

Scott froze. "W-what?"

"Take 'em off. Ya heard me." Scott resisted, his deliciously bruised lips arranged in a pout, then pulled of the glasses and set them on the sidetable. He chewed at his lip and shivered. "Good boy. Ya know what good boys get?" Scott shook his head. "They get rewards." Logan pounced, kissing his way down Scott's chest towards his cock. Scott shivered and moaned, but offered no resistance. The Canadian's smile was cruel. He loved a submissive Scott. Boy had to need a good fuck pretty bad to do it, but it looked like he was in just the right mood. Logan inserted one finger into the tight ass as he swallowed as much of the younger man's cock as he could. Scott moaned and arched up, then pushed back down, impaling himself on the finger. Logan continued the treatment as he continued to nibble. Soon he had three fingers in and Scott's hands were knotted in the fabric of the spread. Even if he'd still had his shades on his eyes would have been closed. Logan released Scott's cock. Scott moaned in disappointment. "Yer gonna come with my cock fillin' yer tight little ass." Scott's cock twitched. "Ya like that idea?" Logan teased. Scott nodded. Logan pressed his cock to the now lubed ass and pushed in, reveling in the tight clench of muscle. Scott squirmed trying to speed the movement. Logan stroked Scott's stomach. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Logan was seated firmly.

Scott reached up to touch Logan's chest. He explored the familiar stretches of muscle and moved up towards Logan's face. Logan stayed still allowing the young man to reacquaint himself with the man over him and in him. "Logan," Scott murmured. "Move, please move." Scott's fingers tangled in Logan's hair. "Please." Logan rocked slowly, giving Scott a chance to get used to the sensation. "God. Logan." Logan sped his pace and Scott writhed to meet the thrusts. His eyes were closed tight, but the small lines of tension were gone from his brow. Logan moved faster and harder. Scott moaned. "More," he begged. Logan caught hold of Scott's wandering hands and gathered his wrists into one firm grip. He held them to the bed above Scott's head, bending the young man more and more with each thrust.

"Come for me, Slim. Come hard." Scott whimpered and came hard. Logan tensed, buried deep in the spasming channel. He came. He brushed a kiss over Scott's forehead, then his lips and chest until the spasms stopped. Scott lay limp in Logan's grip. Logan released his hands. They remained where they had been placed. Scott moaned as Logan carefully disengaged. "Sh," Logan soothed. He disposed of the condom and settled next to Scott once more. He stroked along the high cheekbones. He felt the tears rather than saw them because of the nice flush that glowed on Scott's cheeks. "It's okay, Babe. It's okay." He kissed the inside of each wrist before "freeing" Scott's hands from above his head. He held Scott's hands with his own for a moment. "Yer gonna be just fine, Slim. Gonna clean ya up, okay?" Scott nodded and raised a hand to his cheek to wipe at the tears. Logan kissed his cheek gently. He returned shortly with a wet cloth and wiped him clean. "Ya want yer goggles?"

"Yeah," Scott whispered. "Inside pocket. In the case."

"I'll get 'em."

Scott opened the case and put them on too quickly for Logan to actually register. Scott smiled tiredly at him. "Go get Gambit," he ordered firmly. He pushed himself up to his elbows. "Well, go on."

Logan shook his head. "Shit. Now I've got two of ya orderin' me around."

"So is there a point?"

"Nope."

"Then go already." Logan hovered. "I'm not going to disappear on you," Scott promised. "I'm going to get ready for bed."

"Don't put on yer pj's yet, Slim." Scott shook his head. He waved Logan towards his jeans.

"Clothing, so we donít get tossed out."

"Right, Cyke." Logan smirked at him. "Ya better be here when I get back," he warned. "Ya know how testy I get when I'm frustrated. Ya ain't never seen a frustrated Remy."

Scott snorted. "Go."

*****

"So, you up for getting out of here for awhile?" Bobby asked Rogue. She looked up from the report she was typing. She sighed.

"I swear I don't know how Scott handled this shit for years without blowin'! Hell, I don't know how Remy handled it."

"Remy did the paperwork?" Bobby asked in surprise.

"Ya don't think I did?" She blinked at him. "My typin' is horrid and my writin' is worse. Gotta suck it up I guess. Unless ya want to do it for me?" She blinked at him with big green eyes.

"No," he said firmly. "I am not doing reports. I will massage your shoulders and bring you stiff drinks, but I will not write reports. It's bad enough keeping the books straight around here."

"Damn. Guess we're gonna have to get Cyke back here."

Bobby shook his head. "Slim will either come back or not. That's something Iím sure we won't effect. Unless, I don't know, it turns out, in a strange twist of fate, that Warren is actually Scott and Jean's son from an alternate universe."

Rogue snickered. "Lord, Bobby, Angel ain't Scott's son. He's Cable's!"

Bobby laughed. He grinned at her. "So, back to the original question."

"Where to, sugah?"

"Out. If I say anything, someone might hear, then they're gonna come looking to watch us."

"Bobby."

"I'm not paranoid. I know these people and so do you. Heck, I followed you and Gambit one night until he lost me on a back road."

"Ya what?"

"So, I'm a maschocist. I followed you. I wanted to know what Gambit had that I didn't."

"And what did ya find out?"

"He's really good at losing trackers."

Rogue smiled. "Come on, sugah. I know a great place."

*****

"Jubilee? What's wrong?" Emma Frost asked.

"Just got some bad news, Frosty." Jubilee snapped her gum.

The headmistress of the Academy frowned at the young woman.

"I'll be fine, Frosty." Jubilee rolled her eyes. "Nothing much, just that Remy's left the Mansion, Logan and Scott are hot on his tail and no one really understands why the Swamp Rat left."

Frost blinked. "Tell me more."

Jubilee shook her head. "Didn't they call you?"

"No."

"Well, Remy up and left in the middle of the night. He left notes for almost everyone. According to Paige, he even wrote to Sam. And then, Logan took off after him. Scott took off after him. Scott and Logan left together according to Kitty." Jubilee shrugged. "Rogue's in charge."

"I wasn't aware of this development." Emma frowned. "I'm going to talk to Xavier. Thank you."

Jubilee shook her head at the White Queen's back. She debated using the phone Remy had given her for her birthday and decided to put it off another day. She wandered up to her room.

*****

Jean couldn't sleep. She wandered the halls. She was wandering past the front door when Rogue and Bobby returned. She gave them a false smile. Rogue raised her brows. She brushed a kiss into Bobby's hair. "Why don't ya go on up, sugah?"

"Goodnight, Rogue. See you at breakfast." Bobby gave into the impulse and kissed Rogue's gloved palm. Then, he threw his arms around Jean and gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek. She laughed and wriggled out of the grip. "Goodnight, Red."

"Goodnight, Popsicle."

Bobby loped up the stairs and the two women watched him go. "Ya need to talk, Jeannie."

"I'm fine."

"Bullshit. Ya can't fool me, woman. I've seen that look on my own face. Come on, we'll find some ice cream."

Jean sighed ruefully and followed the younger woman to the kitchen.

*****

Remy opened the door absently to let Logan in. "Non, that isn't going to work. Try sending Black. Oui, he's a good boy Ė honorable. Oui. It's Logan. Yeah. Possessive bastard. Oh, I'm so glad you approve." Logan groped the thief making him jump. "Oui. Talk to you then. Bye, Belle." Remy hung up the phone and Logan devoured his mouth.

"Damn you taste good."

"Merde, homme, only been gone a couple days."

"I got needs. Got yer key?"

"Oui?"

Logan tossed the Cajun over his shoulder.

"Hey!"

"Shut it, Cajun."

Logan felt the thief's laughter against his shoulder as the young man arched and wriggled in his grip. Logan laughed at him. "Put m' down, Logan."

"No way."

"Make it wort' y' while," Remy purred.

"Oh?"

"Oui."

"How?"

"Y're choice." Logan considered. He set the boy on his feet. He pushed down gently. Remy's eyes glittered in amusement as he sank to his knees. A cocky grin graced his face. He stroked Logan's cock through the denim.

"Don't be a tease."

Remy looked contrite and folded his hands in front of him. "Y' want Rem. . ."

"Ya know I got rules."

Remy winced. "Sorry. Hard t' break the habit." He smiled up hesitantly. Logan stroked the long bangs back.

"Don't look at me like that. Geez. I ain't gonna hit ya." Logan blinked. He knelt down and firmly lifted the young man's chin. "Who, kid?"

"What y' talkin' about?"

"Who used to hit ya?"

Remy was confused and it showed in his eyes.

"Ya had a lover that used to hit ya?"

Remy nodded. He shrugged. "It's over, cher. Why y' so interested?"

"Because yer scared of me."

"I ain't."

"I can smell it."

Remy shifted. "Only sometimes. But not that y're gonna hit m'. Mais, that y'll be angry." Remy settled his hand on the wrist of the hand that cupped his chin.

"There's a difference?"

"Oui. She used t' hit m' cuz she gets off on the hurtin' not cuz she was pissed." Remy shrugged. "Don' hurt cuz she was so hot. Anger hurts."

"I'm not understandin' ya, kiddo."

Remy sighed in frustration. He searched for the words he needed. "M' charm let's me' feel what someone else feels, oui?"

"Yer empathy, yeah."

"Well, means I can get off on whatever turns m' partner on. Don't hurt m' even if it's a beatin'. Feels real nice, cher. Addictive."

"So ya are a nympho?"

Remy shrugged and winked. "Mebbe."

"But anger?"

Remy shuddered. "If it ain't from someone I care about, I can shut it off. Or if I provoke it on purpose, like I do wit' Scotty, it ain't a problem. But if I care, it hurts more'n Chat's claws. Feels like Iím dyin'. Do anyt'in' t' stop it."

Logan gathered Remy close. "And when ya get mad at someone ya think yer hurtin' them just as bad."

"I can kill wit' a cigarette butt, cher. Now, I don' have t' touch t'ings anymore. Got used t' needin' t' touch." Remy sighed. "Ain't as strong as it used t' be of course. Hell, I'd be back in Sinny's lab demandin' a refund."

Logan laughed. "So yer finally okay with that?"

"Oui, okay wit' bein' a stupid, desperate kid."

"Ya know ya can get mad at me, right, kid? I don't mind it. Scares me when ya don't."

"Cher?" Remy nibbled on Logan's ear.

"Figure ya gotta get pissed sometime. Hell, I watched ya wit' Rogue."

"Can't help it. Merde! Dat femme drives m' insane." Remy shrugged. "Besides, I tend t' mirror moods. Took m' a long time t' clue int' it. I got better control now."

"It pissed ya off that I didn't try to comfort ya."

"Figured y' just weren't attached t' m' as more'n a fuck. I wanted y' t', mais, I prayed f' y' t'. But I couldn't be mad at y'. Not then. But t' find out y' did care? Oui, it pissed m' off." Remy tightened his hug. "But right now, mon cher? Right now, I'm too damn happy t' stay mad. Have t' admit it's gonna change some plans. Y' promise t' keep Scotty out of trouble when I'm workin'?"

"No problem, kid. Hell, Slim might surprise ya. Ya gonna come downstairs with me?"

"Mebbe. What y' gonna offer?"

"Probably get ya Scott's ass." Remy's breath caught. "And I can garuntee ya at least one leisurely fuck." Remy snuggled closer.

"Anyt'in' else?"

"I'm gonna mark ya."

"How?"

"Lemme show ya." Logan fastened his lips to the smooth white skin and sucked. Remy whimpered.

"Stop, cher. Y' know what that does t' m'."

"I want ya wild." Logan kissed him gently. "Come downstairs."

"Need t' grab m' brush."

"Yer still packed?"

"Exceptin' f' m' brush and toot'brush. Weren't plannin' on stayin' long."

"Lemme get yer bag fer ya."

Remy raised his brows. "Y' gettin' all gentleman-like on m'?"

"So sue me. I like the idea of treatin' ya nice." Logan waved him toward the bathroom.

"Merci, cher."

Logan hefted the bag and winced at the weight. "Christ, kid, whatcha got in here?"

"M' tools." Remy grinned. "M' clothes. Well, some of 'em. Figured I could buy anythin' else I needed once I settle down. Tante's got the heavy stuff."

"Ya can ride with this?"

"Yup. Y' gettin' weak on m'?" Remy winked. He held out his hand for the bag, but Logan frowned at him and he dropped it. He did a final sweep of the room, checking all the drawers and under the bed. Logan settled a hand in the small of the thief's back. "Come on, Darlin'."

*****

Storm rubbed her eyes and looked out at the moonlight on the lake. She'd gotten control of her emotions and the skies had cleared. The lake was disturbed by a small breeze. The moon's reflection rippled. She watched it for a long time. "I forgive you, Remy. I forgive you for everything," she whispered. "Bright Lady, look after him."

*****

Scott smiled lazily at the Cajun. "Glad you could make it," he stated.

Remy smiled back. "That's better, cher. Less tension in y' face." Scott laughed. He stretched and Remy's breath caught. Logan caught him around the waist.

"Nice view, ain't it?" Remy nodded. Logan's hands opened the Cajun's jeans. Scott leaned forward in avid interest. Remy blushed scarlet.

"I didn't know you could still blush, Gumbo."

"I'm not that much of a slut."

"Yes, ya are."

"Hey!" Remy turned in Logan's arms and found himself in a deep kiss, with Logan's knee between his thighs. Scott took that as his cue and moved forward. He ran his hands up under the thief's sweatshirt. Remy obligingly pulled his arms out of the sleeves. He broke from the kiss for a moment to pull it off completely. Scott traced the scars on Remy's back, playing the usual guessing game of figuring out what each one was. Remy shivered under the touch. Scott didn't like the picture he was starting to get of the thief's life. He followed the overlapping scars. He placed a gentle kiss on each one starting at the back of the neck and working down. Remy's fingers fisted in the soft cotton of Logan's shirt. He felt a tear tracking down his face and didn't know why. Emotionally, he pulled back slightly, trying to block the links he had with his mates. Logan released him from the kiss. He tracked the tear with his finger, bright blue eyes begging for an answer Remy couldn't give him.

"What's goin' on, Darlin'?" Logan asked softly. The question caught Scott's attention and he paused in his quest, lightly stroking the scar he'd been intent on kissing a moment before.

Remy shook his head. "Don' know."

"Talk it out for me." Logan's voice was gentle. He'd been here before, but then, he'd known the cause. It had been frustration, too much stress in too short a time had turned the Cajun into an emotional wreck. If he had to, he would let the younger man bury it in sensation.

Remy frowned at him. Scott's head cocked to the side and he dropped his hand. Remy's head snapped towards him. "Don'." Scott laid his hand once more, gently on the Cajun's back. "Jus'. . . I don' know!" Scott blinked. He wrapped his arm around Remy's waist.

"Sit down, Remy," he said softly. The Cajun let himself be led to the bed and surrounded by friendly arms. Scott looked at Logan who shrugged back at him. Tears were streaming down the thief's face.

Remy wiped at them angrily. "Damn it." He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. He closed his eyes.

"Talk it out, Gumbo."

"I don' know what's wrong. I don't know what hurts. I don' know! Saints. I'm a mess." His cell phone rang, startling all three of them. Remy scrambled to grab it out of the top of his bag. He opened it. "Allo? Petite?" He settled cross-legged on the floor. "What's wrong, chere? Non, y' didn' wake m'. Don' matter if'n y' did. Y' know that. Oh, petite, non, ain't not'in' t' do wit' dat," Remy soothed. "Y' tell m' what's wrong now? Y' scared? Non? De nightmare's back?" Remy winced. "Oh, petite. It weren't y' fault. Dat was just a fucked up time f' everyone, non? Y' did not'in' wrong. Y' didn' make a mistake. Y' were a lot stronger dan most woulda been in y'r place. Ah, ma petite, y' ain't t' blame f' dat. It was bad luck, chere. Any one of y'all coulda ended up dere. Y' want t' blame someone, blame Wolvie. Always works f' moi," Remy smirked. He was rewarded with a tearful bit of laughter on the other end of the phone. "Y' need m'?" Remy calculated. "Can probably get a flight out of here t'night." He glanced at the clock. "Still got an hour or so. Tol' y' t' call didn' I? Oui. Oh, did she? Non, I'll talk t' her. She at de Mansion or still dere at de Academy? Oui? I'll call her in the mornin' den? Oui, petite. Non. Don' y' worry y'self, chere. Oui, petite. Always. G'night, petite." Remy hung up. He tossed the phone into his bag. He wiped away the last of the tears. "Well, dat's taken care of."

"Ya know yer accent gets stronger when yer comfortin' someone?" Logan asked idly.

Remy shrugged. "People like it."

"Now, about ya givin' Jubilee yer number when ya ain't given it to anyone in the Mansion, should I be worried about something?" Logan popped his claws. The bones were impressive, but not as frightening as the metal used to be.

"Jealous, cher?" Remy drawled. "I'm hurt."

"Ya might be."

Remy snorted. "T' quote the lovely Jubilee 'as if'. Non, cher, ma petite just needed someone t' talk t' and there weren't no one else."

"Get up here, kiddo," Logan ordered gruffly. Remy considered, head tipped to the side. Logan looked down his nose at the younger man. He crooked a finger at him. Remy crawled up onto the bed and looked Logan dead in the eye.

"I ain't yer pup."

"Ain't ya?" Logan growled soft and low. "Ya never listen to me do ya, Darlin'? Gonna have to do somethin' about that."

"Like what?" Remy challenged. Scott smothered his laughter with his hand. "What y' laughin' at, cher? Seems t' m' that he got y' leashed pretty tight."

"Flashbacks. Christ. Of course, I think it was going in the other direction. And I had to piss him off and make him fight, but Iím hoping this will end a little differently."

"Naw, ain't gonna have a fight. No repressed attraction. Least, we ain't gonna have a nasty fight. There's more than one way to leash a cat."

Remy shuddered. "Gah, that's a sick t'ought."

"Huh?" Logan blinked.

"Why'd y' want t' leash Chat? Less y' were gonna string him up? Well, that could work."

Scott made a face. "You've got a nasty mind there, Cajun."

"Why y' blamin' po' Remy?" Remy pouted.

"Remy," Logan growled. The young man winced.

"Je suis desole."

"You training him out of that?"

"I'm tryin' but my patience ain't all that great."

Remy stuck his tongue out at them.

"Ya prepared to use that, kid?"

Remy dropped his chin so he could look up coyly. "Oui, M. Logan," he said sweetly. Scott licked his lips. The thief looked really nice submissive.

"Good. Jeans off then, Darlin'. We're gonna have some fun."

Gambit grinned brightly. He looked at Scott. "What y' t'ink, cher? Y' let Remy do y'?" Logan delivered a hard two-fingered slap to the back of the Cajun's wrist. Remy jerked away, eyes wide. He chewed his lip. He rubbed at his hand. "Sorry." He glanced down at Scott's lap and smirked. "Oh, cher, y' got somethin' there f' m'?" Logan pulled off his shirt and jeans while Scott indulged in his first Cajun kiss.

When they parted, Scott held the thief's chin with a thoughtful frown. "I thought you'd taste spicier."

"Well, accordin' t' this doctor I dated, it's because of m' metabolism bein' so high. Makes m' blood chemistry sweeter. That's why I hate skeeters so much." Scott leaned in for another taste. Logan stroked carefully down the thief's spine. Remy shivered. He shifted to let Logan finish undressing him. He ran his fingers delicately along Scott's collar bone and up his throat to finally stroke through the shoulder length hair. Logan grinned wickedly to himself. He didn't disturb the kiss, merely settled his mouth at Remy's collar and bit lightly and held. The Cajun moved away from the sensation and more firmly into Scott's control. Logan followed sucking at the offended place until the bruise was dark purple blue. Scott eased out of the kiss. He looked down at the closed eyes and sweetly parted lips.

"You're temptation incarnate," he muttered, shaking his head. Remy's fingers found their way down Scott's chest to his nipples. Scott swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. Logan's hands caught Remy's wrists.

"Lemme guide ya, Darlin'," he purred. Scott grinned as Remy settled back. "Just lay back, Baby," Logan said with a grin.

Scott lifted his brows. "Somehow, I think your love life has been a little more interesting than I envisioned."

Remy snickered. "Y' don' know the half of it, cher."

"Shush, Cajun." Remy rolled his eyes. Scott shook his head.

"Bossy bastard. Don't know why we put up with him."

"Y' seen his cock, cher?"

"Size isn't everything."

"Non, taste got somethin' t' do with it." Remy leered. He settled on his knees between Scott's legs. Logan guided his thief's hands up Scott's legs slowly. Remy closed his eyes and gently charged the skin beneath his fingers. Too much and it felt like burning, just enough, and it was the finest rush of feeling money could buy. Scott gasped. Remy looked at him. "Hurtin' y'?" he asked shortly, tensing against Logan's direction. Scott shook his head.

"No, shit, it's perfect." Scott melted back into the mattress. Remy gave up his resistance and let Logan guide him again. He was practically humming in contentment. Logan loved having control because he'd had so little. Scott liked giving it up. Remy, well, Remy just liked making people feel good. He realized that Logan was skirting around Scott's erection and pouted. He resisted just a little and felt Logan's satisfaction surge when he gave in again. Logan's cock was hard and hot against his back. He squirmed just a little bit to make things more interesting. Logan growled low in his chest. Remy's head fell back to rest on Logan's shoulder. Beneath the combined assault, Scott was writhing. "Damn it, stop teasing!"

"No way, Baby. Yer just too fun not to torment."

"Mais, t'morrow?" Remy chewed his lip. The dual sensations were building towards overload and he knew he'd be broadcasting them soon. Logan licked at the salty skin just behind Remy's ear. "Ooooh."

"Be good, Darlin'." Remy squirmed in the Canadian's grip. Logan's fingers were thick and hot and as immovable as steel around his wrists. He could fight it, of course, but only if he was aiming to get away for good. No, he'd given in for this long, he decided to continue to play. "Scott, condoms, now."

Scott whined in the back of his throat, but fumbled for the box of condoms and the lube. Without having to ask, he rolled one onto Gambit's cock. He grinned when it jumped and pulsed under his touch as he added a coating of lube. Logan held Remy's hands to the side so that he couldn't touch anyone. "Logan!" the thief snarled. Scott laughed. He debated for a moment, then prepared Logan's cock as well. Logan grinned at him and nodded. They were in perfect accord.

"Now then, boys, where were we? Oh, yeah. Rems was about to bury himself in yer tight little ass, Baby. Ya like that idea?"

Gambit bit his lip and nodded.

"Hell yes," Scott answered. Scott's grin was evil.

"An' y' say I'm temptin'. Merde," Remy sighed as one of the two people he'd ever considered his boss was suddenly in front of him, ass presented. Logan loosened his grip slightly, letting Remy guide the motion for once. Remy stroked and petted until Scott nearly screamed with tension, then started pushing forward. Scott relaxed immediately and Remy's breath caught as he was engulfed in heat. "Dieu, Scott."

Logan grinned. "Stay, Thief." Remy stroked along Scott's back, memorizing the scars there. His eyes were heavy with lust. He was just aware enough to let Logan's words soak into his brain. He remained frozen, even as Scott started to move. Scott faltered as he felt something hot press against his shields. Logan opened to it without a thought. He laid a hot hand against Remy's back and felt the little ripples of muscle as he tried to stay still despite Scott's movement.

"Hurry it up, cher. Please?" Remy begged softly.

Scott moaned low as the heat slipped into his mind. He relaxed his shields against it and it flooded his mind.

Logan pressed gently into his lover. "Ya sure yer ready fer me, Darlin'?"

"Oui. Sil vous plait, Logan."

He moved more quickly, the charm urging him on.

"More, y' feel so good." Remy's voice was just honeyed noise to Scott's ears. The sensations were too much to consider thinking. The soft words kept coming, flowing over him and he let them fill his mind and banish the lingering darkness for at least the night. Remy started to move to meet Scott's thrusts and Scott groaned.

Logan let Remy set the pace for all three of them and abandoned himself to the feedback loop he'd practically become addicted to. He was filling and being filled and all of it was a meld of pure sensation. Remy was the first to loose control. He burst, dragging his partners along with him in chain reaction of pleasure. Logan came next with Scott following closely on his heels. Blasted by the sensations, Scott collapsed bonelessly in the wet sheets. He didn't even mind the weight that laid atop his back. Logan came back to himself first and slowly disengaged, despite Remy's slurred protest. "Shush, Darlin'." Remy lapped at the salt that had gathered between Scott's shoulder-blades. Scott was already asleep. Remy soaked in the contentment and sedation of satiation. The warmth of Logan's love and the sharp fire of Scott's lust left him finally warm after almost a year of frozen Hell. "Come on, Darlin'," Logan said as he gently pulled Remy up and away.

"Hey, mebbe Remy weren't done yet."

"Oh, he's done," Logan said, amused. He cleaned up "the boys" and watched as Remy mapped Scott's body with his fingertips. Logan remembered his first night with Remy and the fact that he'd thought he'd blown every synapse of his mind in one night of sex. He hadn't been in any mood to protest any action unless it had involved moving. Remy had spent hours stroking him it had seemed. He talked for the entire time too. Logan had no clue what he'd said. He had a feeling that the words weren't as important as the saying, so he'd never asked. He turned off the lights and made sure the door was locked. He looked back and was surprised to the pink glow that he associated with Gambit's powers. He settled on the bed behind the thief and watched with fascination as Remy traced each scar on Scott's back in bright fuscia. He didn't want to ask what was going on, for fear of disturbing the Cajun's concentration. He heard the tiniest of pops and the glow dissappeared. Remy settled back against Logan's chest.

"Merci, Logan."

"What were ya doin'?"

"Lightenin' his scars."

"What?"

"I charge up the top layer of skin and burn it off. Do it often enough, the scar tissue don't come back as hard." Remy shrugged. His hand continued to stroke Scott's body lazily.

"Lay down, Darlin'. Get some rest. Ya know Scotty. He'll be up with the sun."

"Too bad." Logan laid back and let Remy settle himself before he pulled up the comforter. He didn't realize he had fallen asleep, until he woke to the combined scents of his lovers.

*****

Emma Frost answered the phone almost absently. "Hello, LeBeau."

"Frost."

"What have you done, Little Boy?"

"I left."

"I heard. Didn't I rate a letter?"

"I knew y'd email m'."

Emma restrained her impatience. "I do not take kindly to getting my information from children, LeBeau. What is this I hear that you've left Rogue in charge? Do you know how difficult that woman is?"

"Oh, chere," Remy purred, "I spent how many years datin' her?"

Frost snorted. "Very well. Have you pulled your support out on the children?"

"Non. If they need m', I'll be there. Jubilee can find m'."

"I know that. How do I find you in case of an emergency?" she snapped.

"Try usin' y'r head," he snapped back. "Merde, startin' t' sound like m' ex, chere."

"Was that an insult, LeBeau?"

"Non, I was t'inkin' of Belle, not Rogue."

"Ah, the blonde that came to take Jubilee Christmas shopping?"

"Oui."

"Fine. I accept that for the compliment it was then. Answer my question."

The thief sighed. He relented and gave her his phone number. "Y' don' write that down anywhere, chere."

"I won't. Tell me where you settle, LeBeau. I might have work for you."

"Merci, chere. I ain't sure if Iím gonna be goin' back t' the trade. Y' probably guessed I got two tagalongs now."

"Scott and Logan? I'd heard. Are they giving you trouble?"

"I sent them shoppin' f' clothes. Hopefully, that'll keep 'em f' an hour. I still have some business t' tie up."

"Sounds interesting. Anyone I know?"

"Oh, chere, I wish. I do wish." He sighed. "Y' know, I t'inkin' I should've just gone int' law. I spend more time wit' lawyers and documents dese days."

"You'd have hated it. Although, your charm might have enraptured a jury. Good luck, LeBeau."

"Merci. Goodbye, Frosty."

She hung up on him. "You're going to need it." She shook her head and imbedded his number in her memory.

****

"So, what are we doing tonight, Brain?" Bobby asked, settling on the edge of Rogue's desk. It had been Storm's for the longest time, but Storm had stepped down from her position as second in command. Rogue used it now. Scott's desk had been kept almost as a shrine to him while he was gone. And when he'd returned it he'd taken it up again. Now that he was on a "vacation" it was vacant again. It stared at Rogue with accusing eyes every time she went to bed before she finished the professor's report.

Rogue sighed. "I'm goin' to finish my reports. Ya can do what ya like, sugah."

"So what's you're poison? Pepperoni or Sausage?"

"I'll take a supreme, hon."

"Will do. With Diet Sprite, right?"

"That's Remy. I go for the straight up Mountain Dew."

"Oh, Rogue, just using the soda index, he was all wrong for you."

She stuck out her tongue. "He's hyper when he gets sugar with his caffine. That's why he drinks honey in his coffee."

Bobby blinked. "The things I never thought I'd know."

"Oh, sugah, ya're talkin' to one of the mavens of gossip now. I'll even tell ya what shampoo Warren uses."

"Pert Plus."

"Not anymore."

"Oh?"

"He uses Sauve. Like Betsy used to."

Bobby's grin was pure evil.

"I never told ya."

"Don't worry. He'll assume I just went in and looked."

*****

"So where are we headin'?"

"South f' a bit. I got some business in Peoria."

Scott's brows rose. He sipped his coffee without a word though. Remy nibbled on his sausage. He smiled at the waitress who filled his cup up for him again and brought him another packet of honey for it. Logan didn't want to take the bait. He truly didn't. Part of his mind envied Scott's ability to hear the most rediculus things without reacting to them. "Peoria?"

"Oui."

"Ya got reservations?"

"Non. Got a place me. Not a problem."

"I am learning things I never imagined about you," Scott said quietly. He shook his head. "Peoria."

"Don't like the head of Chicago, me."

"Oh, why not?"

"Makes my skin crawl," Remy said with a frown. "Feels like bugs all over. Don't like her at all."

"Her?"

"Oui. Her." Remy didn't say anything more, frown deepening as he thought. Unfortunately, there was no way around what he had to do. He'd taken the contract, he was bound by oath to complete it, even if Pricilla Masters was a bitch. His mind was taken up with planning. Scott cocked his head and looked at Logan. He'd never seen the Cajun so distracted. Logan rolled his eyes.

"Boy's more irritatin' than you are when he's plannin' fer somethin'."

"Oh, really?" Scott sipped his coffee. "How would you notice me planning anything?"

"I notice everything about ya." Logan shrugged. "I watch you and when ya get to bed, I go out hunting."

"So you were running between the mansion and boathouse?"

"Nah. Rems usually ended up sleepin' in my room."

"Huh. Well, that explains how he managed to paint his room without anyone noticing."

"What ya talkin' about?"

"He repainted his room at the mansion and he repainted the boathouse. No one mentioned it or seemed to notice until I went I to take a look for him."

"Never smelled it."

"Low VOC paint." Remy's eyes were focussed on the mid-distance where he could see how the job was going to shape up. It would be fairly straight-forward. Masters wouldn't care, so long as she got her cut of the profits. "Scotty, y' mind helpin' me wit' somethin'?"

"What do you need?"

"Alibi."

Scott frowned. "You want me to cut my hair, don't you?"

"Oui."

He sighed. "Sure. I'll find a barber shop after breakfast."

"Merci."

TBC