Bobby Drake was bored. No, scratch that, bored was too tame a word. He was wasting away. His brain was atrophying. His very molecules were slowing down due to the supreme nothingness of the task he'd been ordered to do. He was on guard duty.
The Mansion was mostly deserted. Hank was visiting his parents. Scott and Jean were visiting her parents. The Professor was at a conference. Warren and Betsy were in town. Logan was out hunting. Rogue was visiting Mystique. That left Storm, Gambit and Iceman at the Mansion.
Bobby yawned as the cameras cycled through the different locations. The external cameras were the worst. They showed expanses of snow. "Why do you torture me this way?" Bobby groaned. He wanted to enjoy the snow without the censure of his teammates. He settled in for a good sulk. I could be watching cartoons right now!
There was still a week until Christmas, but the team was actually celebrating the day at New Years. It was just one more thing to add to the list of villainous cruelty perpetrated against the youngest Drake son.
The internal cameras began their sweep. Ororo was in the greenhouse. Bobby sighed. She was out playing while he was stuck in the camera room. Luckily, the cameras soon moved on showing the empty house. Bobby grinned when he realized that Remy was in the kitchen. That meant that there would actually be food for dinner. Ro was on a salad kick. There was a large bowl of salad sitting on the counter. "She better not be rubbing off on you, Cajun," he muttered.
He enlarged the image. No, Remy was cooking. Bobby's mouth watered. It wasn't just from the imagined smell either. Remy was wearing his rattiest jeans. The left knee was almost completely gone and there was at least one hole that clearly stated the man was going commando. His sweater was just as broken in. The collar was loose and the sleeves refused to stay pushed up over his elbows. His hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail. He was swaying to some internal tune. He looked good enough to eat.
Bobby sighed. There was no way the Cajun would ever be his, even if Rogue had dumped him again. Everyone knew that the thief would always go crawling back to the bitch queen, no matter how often she hurt him. Bobby couldn't understand it. Remy was strong, sweet, sensitive, and generous. So what if he was also secretive, lecherous and manipulative? Bobby'd take him in a heartbeat.
The kitchen must have gotten too hot because Remy pulled off his sweater in one easy movement to reveal a much loved and abused tee-shirt that clung to his torso like a second skin. Bobby whimpered involuntarily. His cock stirred to life. He forced it to calm by thinking of fires and Scott's responsibility lecture (Number 57 not 49. 57 was the personal responsibility lecture while 49 was the team responsibility lecture. Bobby had a collection of them scribbled in his notebook. They did wonders for his insomnia.) Once his body calmed down, he turned his attention back to the Cajun. He groaned.
Remy had snagged a candy cane from the centerpiece on the kitchen table and was sucking on it while he worked the dough on the counter. Occasionally, he would let it slide down, then suck it back in without ever slowing the rhythms of his kneading. The muscles of his arms moved in the simple, elegant pattern of bread-making over and over again. Bobby considered briefly what that motion would feel like on his back. His shoulders relaxed and a smile danced across his face. The candy cane made its move again. Bobby licked his lips. As if in sympathy, Remy pulled the cane from his mouth and licked his lips. He licked around the cane where the wrapper still hung.
He put the cane back into his mouth and started cutting what Bobby recognized as biscuits. Chicken and biscuits and that sweet, sweet candy cane. Bobby's libido would never survive it. Remy put the biscuits in the oven and started to work on the chicken. He moved the peppermint cane from one side of his mouth to the other, then paused to pull it out and swirl his tongue around the tip of it. Bobby swallowed hard. He's got a tongue stud. Wonder if there's any other piercings I haven't seen? Too soon dinner was ready. Remy put his sweater back on.
Bobby sighed. An alarm tripped -- one of the field sensors. By the time he'd verified that yes, it was Wolverine hunting that set off the alarm, and no, there wasn't another signature out there, he'd lost track of the Cajun. "Damn," he muttered.
The door clicked open and Bobby spun around in his chair. "Hey, cher, brought dinner up. T'ought we could eat t'gether."
"Storm kick you out?"
"Don' want no lecture on how I should be eatin'." Remy pouted. "Don't y' want me?"
Bobby's mind stuttered to a stop. There was no safe answer to that question. He ignored it. He wheeled the filing cabinet out and Remy set down the tray. They ate, chatting lightly and watching the screens. "Remy, if I tell you a secret, will you keep it?"
"Course, Robert." The red eyes narrowed in annoyance. "Who y' t'ink I am? Warren?"
Bobby smiled weakly. He shook his head. "Remy, I'm gay."
The Cajun blinked. "Didn't t'ink that was a secret, cher."
"And I think you're gorgeous."
Remy ducked his head. He looked through his bangs. "Non, I ain't. Just ain't someone y' grew up wit'. We go out dancin' and find you a boy, oui?"
Bobby shook his head. "Don't blow it off. I'm not interested in some pretty boy stud for a one night stand or something. I know how to get those. I just wanted you to know is all." The thief blushed and Bobby was enchanted by the warm red cheeks.
"Merci." Remy continued to hide behind his bangs. With a start, Bobby realized that the man across from him - stubborn, smart-ass, arrogant Gambit - was insecure as Hell. He reached across the table slowly. Remy froze. Bobby brushed the silky bangs aside, tucking them behind an ear.
"That's better. Now I can see your eyes clearly."
"Why? They ugly."
Bobby shook his head. "No, they're not."
Remy looked down. "I'm gonna make some cocoa. Stormy should be down t' relieve y' soon. Come on up t' the kitchen and I'll get y' some."
"I'd like that. Thanks. And thanks for dinner."
Bobby tracked the younger man through the house. There were two years between them, but you'd be hard pressed to peg Bobby as the elder and he knew it. The pleasing blush had faded by the time Remy made it back to the kitchen. Logan stalked through the door, snow covering him and streaks of blood on his chest. Bobby glowered at the screen.
Remy quickly heated Logan's plate and set it on the table. He fussed over the Canadian, using a paper-towel to wipe the blood away. Logan swatted at him. He said something that made Remy's back stiffen. He turned his back on the Canadian and started doing the dishes.
The door opened. "I am ready to take over. You may find it necessary to separate Logan and Remy for your own peace of mind. They have been arguing over Rogue for two weeks."
"I haven't heard them." Bobby's room was two down from Remy and across from Logan.
"They haven't been yelling, merely arguing. I had to separate them in the Danger Room yesterday."
"What's the argument? Rogue dumped Remy again. By New Year's she'll miss him and he'll go crawling back like the masochist he is."
Storm blinked. "You don't think he should try to work things out?"
"She broke up with him because she doesn't want him to let people touch him. She's being a jealous bitch. She breaks up with him and Logan and I get suicide watch. It's wrong. She treats him badly and he goes back to her thinking that no one else will have him."
Ororo seemed startled. "He believes their last fight was his fault."
"He always does. Rogue's a jealous bitch. She's comparing him to Longshot and that's wrong too. How can he live up to the idealized picture she has in her head? Forget it. Remy's making cocoa and I want some, so I'm going. Logan's in the house, so the outside alarms shouldn't go off anymore. Everything else is quiet."
She inclined her head and took over the post. "Bobby, perhaps you should tell him that someone else wants him before Rogue gets home to confuse the issue."
"You're half and hour too late. I just did." Bobby left the room, fuming silently. He stopped before he got to the kitchen and took a breath to calm himself. "Hey, Logan, kill any defenseless creatures today?"
The Canadian grinned. "There'll be venison and rabbits in the larder soon as I clean up some."
"Y' get enough rabbits f' stew or Hassenfeffer?"
Remy poured the old-fashioned cocoa from the saucepan into three mugs. He stirred his with his candy cane, then tested it. He passed out the other two mugs and took his usual perch. Bobby grinned. "I won't bite."
Remy gave him a wicked grin, catching the meaning easily. Logan's nostrils twitched. "Well damn. Did Drake finally get off his ass and say something?" Bobby flushed. The heat in his cheeks felt as if he had just been caught in one of Pyro's fires. Remy looked down at his hiking boots. His bangs hid his face. How many times has he done that without me figuring out that he's scared? Bobby wondered. "Yeah, I did," he challenged. "Come on, Remy, let's take over the den."
"Non. Hockey game t'night. We chat on the porch. Y' can play some. I'll get m' coat."
"Use Scooter's," Logan interrupted. "Yers ain't warm enough. I'm gonna catch the game."
In short order they were on the porch. Remy was smoking. Bobby made a face. "Why do you smoke?"
"Been smokin' since I was twelve. Least when Jean-Luc couldn't see it. Most folks in m' family do. Ain't like I'm gonna live long enough f' it to be a problem."
"You enjoy it?"
That made the Cajun pause. "It's soothin'. I like the ritual. I like watching the smoke swirl into the shadows. I ain't addicted. Henri says m' body just don't react t' the smoke." Remy shrugged.
"But the smell lingers."
The red eyes studied him for a long time. Then, they dropped. "Y' don't like the smell, oui?"
Remy sighed. "I ain't givin' it up," he said. "They don't hurt me and I don't smoke inside. I ain't smokin' cloves or that herbal shit neither." He raised his eyes. "Remy's far from perfect, cher. I'll only promise t' brush up after."
Bobby nodded. "Okay. I can live with that." He created an ice rose and presented it to the Cajun.
"Merci." Remy spun the rose on top of his fingers. "Tell m' true, Robert, y' really want this for the long haul? Y' want me?"
"I want forever, but I'll settle for a lifetime."
"Y' always been this sappy?"
"Yeah. That a problem for you?"
"Never been on the receiving end. Sort of like it, me."
"I think there's a lot about me you could like, if you're willing to take the chance." Bobby created a few more sculptures in the ice. Then, he turned to the younger man. "I want this to be exclusive, Remy. And I don't want to be a substituted for Rogue. I've watched you crawl back to her too many times."
"If y' want me. I'm yours. But I need you to not be ashamed of m'. I won't be a secret."
Bobby crossed the short distance between them. "I could never be ashamed of you. I just thought you were out of my league." Remy flushed again. He flicked his cigarette away and it exploded with a short "pop."
"You ain't never brought a boy home with y', cher. Folks ain't gonna react too kindly t' Remy bein' the first one."
Bobby settled in the next chair. Remy fished his candy cane out and sucked on it. "Remy, listen to me very carefully. I don't care what anyone in this household says about it. I don't care what any past lover has done to you. I want you. I want to wake up in the morning and know that you'll be there for breakfast. I want to go to sleep at night holding you in my arms. If you'll let me, I'll show you what love is supposed to be like. Can you trust me enough for that?"
"Oui." The word was whispered. Remy was suddenly on his knees in front of Bobby's chair. "Kiss m', cher," he ordered lightly. "This shouldn't go nowhere 'less we like how we fit t'gether."
Bobby laughed at that. Then, he leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on Remy's lips. He pressed Remy's head closer to his own. His tongue danced across the soft lips and was granted full access. He mapped the Cajun's mouth with his tongue, taking in the mix of flavors and recording them to keep him warm on lonely mission nights. When they finally broke apart, Remy looked up at him with wide eyes.
"So, we go forward right?" Bobby asked with a smile.