Disclaimer: I didn't tag this for underage because Remy is 18.
Remy LeBeau sits in the very back row of Mrs. Porter's classroom. The clock on the wall says 3:05, and detention's not over until four. He sighs and deals himself a hand of solitaire.
"Mr. LeBeau, don't you have anything more productive you could be doing?" Mrs. Porter asks. Remy's surprised she can even see what he's doing--she must have gotten new glasses or something. He likes detention with Mrs. Porter much better than with any of the male teachers, or with Sister Agnes, the school's only remaining nun.
Remy especially hates detention with Sister Agnes.
But Mrs. Porter is kind, if a bit clueless. She seems to genuinely hope that each detention would encourage Remy and his fellow delinquents to see the error of their ways.
"No, ma'am," Remy lies politely. "I've finished all my homework for today."
She looks at him doubtfully and says, "Well, still, put away those cards. If you are looking for a way to pass the time, I suggest you read the Good Book." She points a finger at a shelf of Bibles. Remy sighs and collects one. Back at his desk, he carefully props up the book and hides his cell phone inside the book's thin pages.
Catholic school isn't so bad all in all--for one thing, they're way cooler about having a kid with red and black eyes than public school had been. But it has its downsides--for one, the uniform doesn't really fit with his personal style. For another, he's really sick of the Bible. He studies his phone, hoping his face looked like someone deeply interested in the word of God, rather than someone deeply interested in texting his friend Bella. She's written, "Want 2 come over? I have pizza :)"
He covertly replies, "Sorry :( Detention :("
"LOL of course. Soon, ok?? :)"
He feels bad. He and Bella have been best friends since elementary school, but ever since Remy met Logan he's barely seen Bella. He'll have to make time for her soon. It's just so hard to turn down any chance to spend time with Logan.
Remy notices Mrs. Porter's eyes on him, and he turns the page of his Bible, trying to look lost in thought. He looks up at the clock and almost groans when he sees 3:11. He brightens, though, when he hears a motorcycle out in the parking lot. He only knows one person with a bike that loud: his boyfriend, Logan. That's another downside of Catholic school--they're not super into boys dating other boys. But Remy's pretty sure that if God is real, then He must have sent him Logan as a special gift. Logan is hilarious in a way that only Remy got, quietly caring, and hot as hell. He works construction and it's made him ripped, and his shifts often end just when Remy's getting off school. There's no way Remy is going to wait another 49 minutes to see him. Remy chews his lip and carefully slips his phone back into his pocket. Ugh--his Bible was open to Leviticus. "If a man has intercourse with a man as with a woman both commit an abomination. They must be put to death. Their blood is on their own heads."
Remy tries unsuccessfully not to roll his eyes. He flips through the pages trying to be quiet, until he finds something he can work with.
He raises his hand and Mrs. Porter, sounding wary, says, "Yes, Mr. LeBeau?"
"Mrs. Porter, I've been reading the Bible and I came across this verse that I don't understand, and I was wondering if I could go to Father Aucoin to ask him about it?"
"Well... well, I'm glad to see you taking such an interest," Mrs. Porter says. "But why don't you come up here and talk to me about it?"
"With all due respect, ma'am, I'm not sure if you would feel comfortable with that."
"Of course I would feel comfortable discussing the Bible with you. Come here, young man." The handful of other boys watch him with interest as he walks up to the front of the room, Bible in tow.
Remy innocently points out his verse. Corinthians 14:34-35--"Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."
"Why would it say that in the Bible?" he asks politely. "God made both men and women, and I know women talk in our churches."
Gentle old Mrs. Porter blinks at him. "Well," she says. "Well, there are some things in the Bible--that we are meant to take metaphorically..." she trails off.
Remy gives her his most earnest schoolboy look and says, "I know that, Mrs. Porter, but I'm just struggling to understand why we take some things literally and not others. I'd really like to get some guidance from Father Aucoin. Could I please go see if he's free? I promise, I'll come right back if he isn't."
"Well..." Mrs. Porter says hesitantly. Remy's used to getting that response from adults, who frequently feel that Remy is pulling one over on them but they're not quite sure what the catch is. (They're right.) He feels a little guilty for pulling this on Mrs. Porter--she's nicer than most of the teachers at St. Thomas. He files it away for his next confession.
She says, "Well, yes, you may go see if Father Aucoin is available. But if he isn't, you come right back, young man."
"Of course, ma'am," Remy says meekly. It's now 3:15 and he's sure Father Aucoin would be a few drinks in by now. It's a cliche, really, but one Remy can use to his advantage. He tucks the Bible in his backpack and slips out the doors. In the parking lot, Logan’s slouching against the bike rack, a cigarette dangling from his lips.
Remy had heard the term "butterflies in your stomach" before, but he'd never felt them until Logan. They'd met at a bar in the Quarter. Remy'd gotten in with a fake ID and a wink, and he was dancing his ass off and relieving a few people of their wallets. He'd tried to grab Logan's, only to find his wrist grabbed by an incredibly strong hand. Remy hadn't been caught in the act since he was eight years old, and he was momentarily stunned. Then he'd tossed the wallet into the crowd and bolted. But Logan had chased him down, and pinned him against the wall in an alley.
"Aw, you're just a kid," Logan had said.
"I'm old enough," Remy had replied, staring into Logan's eyes. Logan had held his gaze, something people rarely did unless Remy was wearing his brown contacts. Remy had licked his lips and suddenly Logan was pushing him against the wall in an entirely different way. They'd seen each other pretty much every day since.
"Bout time you showed up," Logan says.
"Detention," Remy says with a shrug.
"That's my boy. You want a ride?"
"Where’re you going?"
"Anywhere but here," Logan says, and they both hop on his bike. Remy grins. His arms are wrapped around Logan, his stupid tie is blowing back behind him, and he feels free for the first time all day. He smiles as he realizes where Logan's heading--north of town, to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Logan stops halfway across the bridge and pulls the bike off to the shoulder. Remy loves the view here--you can't see across the lake in any direction. It's like being in the middle of the ocean. He braces his hands against the railing and stares out. Logan stands next to him, arm slung around his shoulders.
"So, what'd you do to get detention this time? Smoking in the boys' room?" Logan asks with a smirk.
Remy shrugs. "Nothin' special. Just got a little chatty in class is all."
Logan snorts. "What a surprise."
"I hate to be predictable. I'll have to think of something good for tomorrow."
"Or you could try not getting detention," Logan says. "Anything you could do to reduce the amount of time I spend hanging around the parking lot of St. Thomas's School for Boys would be great."
"Ah, cher. You know you don't have to pick me up. I got my own ride." Remy knows Logan's teasing him, but he does sometimes get nervous that Logan would dump him for somebody older. Remy's eighteen and almost done with high school, but still... Logan's four years older, an Army veteran. He could find someone else. But Remy's excellent at reading the emotions of others; it's like he feels their emotions himself. And he's pretty sure that what he and Logan have is the real deal.
"Hey. Remy. You know I'm just teasin'," Logan says, picking up on Remy's shift in mood. He reaches out and holds Remy's face in his hands, pulling him down for a kiss. Remy eagerly kisses him back. Logan kissed better than anyone Remy had been with before, male or female. Remy's pretty sure that Logan feels likewise about him--it's how most people describe Remy's technique. The thought, too, makes him less nervous about Logan.
Remy says, "Guess I'm just ready to be done with high school, y'know?"
"Trust me, Remy, I know," Logan says. Remy had never asked if Logan had even graduated high school. He finds it hard to imagine his boyfriend ever sitting in a tiny wooden desk, and harder still to imagine him ever sitting quietly in detention. Logan reaches out and tugs Remy's striped tie. "I think I might miss dating a Catholic schoolboy, though."
Remy says, "Did you want me to wear a plaid skirt?"
Logan laughs. "I don't really want you wearin' anything at all. But I like that you spend a lot of time on your knees."
Remy's face flushes, feeling Logan's lust and his own, and he says, "Then maybe we should get out of here, non?"
"In a minute," Logan says, grabbing Remy for another lengthy kiss. Remy grinds his erection against Logan's leg, to his boyfriend’s amusement. "You high school boys," he says.
Remy purrs, "Help a boy out, mon vieux?"
"Who you calling old?" Logan growls. It's a familiar exchange between the two of them, and it feels as comfortable to Remy as Logan's old T-shirts feel against his skin. Logan finally steps back from Remy and starts the bike up. Remy hops on and Logan veers back onto the bridge. Remy's cock is agonizing, against his leg, against the vibrating leather seat. But Logan's speedy and traffic is pre-rush hour light, and they make it to the other side in less than ten minutes. From there it's another five to one of their favored destinations, an urban forest preserve outside Mandeville with the cutesy name of Neighborwoods. Logan parks the bike and they promptly ignore the sign beseeching them to "Please stay on designated trails."
Remy's had abstinence-only sex education at school; he knows it's shit but he thinks he's gotten the gist of things. Coach Jameson had told them that, when aroused, a small amount of blood would engorge the penis. But Remy thinks he might faint. He's not entirely sure he has blood left anywhere in his body except between his legs. Nothing in Coach Jameson's class had prepared him for Logan's stamina, either. It should be medically impossible, Remy was pretty sure.
"What's on your mind, Remy?" Logan growls. "You seem distracted." He nips at Remy's throat and pushes him back against a broad oak tree.
"Wait," Remy pants, "Tante Mattie will kill me if my jacket gets fucked up." Logan laughs while Remy delicately removes his jacket and pants and neatly folds them up.
"You might as well keep going," Logan says. Remy winks and complies. He's far less concerned about some stranger seeing him naked (unlikely, anyway--they're pretty far off the trail) than he is about Tante's laundry rage. He leaves the tie on, though. Remy doesn't really get it, but Logan loves that goddamn tie on him.
"Mmm," Logan says. He runs his hands over Remy's sleek chest, toying with the necktie. Remy squirms with anticipation. He loves the feel of Logan's big, rough hands on him. He reaches out, grabbing at Logan's back, pulling him closer. Then Logan sinks to his knees and takes Remy's cock into his mouth. Remy gasps and moans. He's so hard he could come just now, just from this, but he leans back against the tree and digs his nails into Logan's shoulders and tries to hold on. But Logan's just so good at this, and when he speeds up just a little and cups Remy's balls, he says, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I'm going--" and then he comes in Logan's mouth. Logan cleans him off with his tongue and then stands up, kissing Remy.
The girls Remy's been with before Logan have always insisted on getting up and rinsing out their mouths after swallowing, if they even would. But Logan seems to get off on it, and Remy can't complain. Then Logan's gently pushing Remy down, and he settles on his hands and knees.
"You want this, darlin'?" Logan asks.
"Mm," Remy assents. He hears Logan unzip his jeans, and he feels a cool, slippery finger enter him. It's funny; Logan is the first man Remy'd been with. Before him, he'd always joined in the jokes with his friends at school about fag priests and how they loved putting stuff up their butts. It had been a foreign concept to Remy, but sometimes he wonders if he should tell all his friends that it actually feels awesome. Then Logan replaces his fingers with his cock, and Remy stops thinking of much at all beyond the sensations radiating through his body. He mumbles something in French and keeps thrusting back against Logan.
"Catholic schoolboys," Logan grunts.
"Hail Mary, full of grace," Remy manages to say. He's pretty sure he's going to Hell.
"Mm. Hail you, Remy LeBeau," Logan says. Then he thrusts harder and reaches forward to fist Remy's cock, which has somehow gotten hard again, and before long they've both gone off. Remy rests for a moment on his knees, dazed.
"It's gettin' late," Logan observes. "You got work tonight?"
Remy shrugs. "Yeah, but it shouldn't take too long." Like every other member of the Thieves' Guild, Remy has a quota to meet. He doesn't mind; it definitely beats flipping burgers.
"Still. Better get you back."
"Since when are you so responsible?" Remy teases, pulling his boxers on.
"It's so friggin' annoying when you're grounded."
"It's annoying when you get come on my tie," Remy says, frowning down at the offending accessory.
Logan laughs and tugs on it. "It'll wash out," he says, kissing Remy. "Probably."
Remy sighs and brushes stray twigs off his jacket before pulling it on. "It had better," he grumbles. At least it's just the tie. Logan grins and reaches out to adjust the collar of Remy's shirt.
"Looks good," Logan says, giving Remy a lingering look.
Remy elbows him. "It had better, unless you want me grounded..."
They make their way back through the woods, back to the trail, where a startled jogger almost runs into them, back over the bridge and finally back to the LeBeau family estate. Logan drops him off with a quick kiss and a "See you around, kid."
At home, Tante Mattie immediately asks Remy if he's eaten. "In a minute, Tante," he says. He rushes upstairs, where he changes into his work clothes and furtively scrubs his tie in the bathroom sink. He hangs it to dry on the back of his desk chair. Then he takes a photo of the damp tie with his phone and texts it to Logan with the caption, "Yr filthy Catholic schoolboy cleans up his act."
His phone buzzes with Logan's one-word reply: "Hot."
Downstairs he eats two huge bowls of Tante's jambalaya and feels pleased about having evaded her wrath, at least momentarily.
Then he kisses her on the cheek and says, "I'm going to work in the Quarter tonight."
"You be careful," she says.
"I will," he says, and he probably will be.
Then she says, "And you should see Bella."
"Did she call?"
"No, but I know these things."
"Okay, Tante, I will," he says. And he will. Tomorrow. He pulls out his phone and sends her a quick text: "Pizza tomorrow? Unless I get detention again lol"
His phone lights up 10 seconds later, "Sure. U buy"
Remy grins and turns his phone to silent, no vibrate. He doesn't need any distractions now. He figures he'll pickpocket a few tourists and be out of there. He's not really in the mood for anything elaborate tonight. He works like he's been trained; quietly, quickly, and efficiently, and he's made quota within an hour. Nice and easy--except for the person who's been following him. Remy carefully makes his way down an alley. He grabs a few playing cards out of his pocket and turns around to see his pursuer. He smirks when he sees that it's Logan.
"Just like watching you work, kid," he says.
"Damn, cher, you made me nervous there for a second," Remy says. He reaches into his pocket to replace the playing cards and extract a cigarette to calm his nerves. He offers the pack to Logan, who rejects them with a head-shake. He takes his first puff and exhales happily. "So, you like watching me?" he asks, a suggestive look on his face.
Logan laughs. "Yeah. I do."
"You are a dirty old man," Remy pronounces.
"Catholic schoolboys are into dirty old men," Logan says.
"That is an unfair stereotype and I will not stand for it."
Logan laughs and puts his arms around Remy. "Not going to take it lying down, eh? Maybe on your knees?"
Remy can feel his face flush slightly, along with his cock. He knows he's a teenage boy and these kinds of urges are natural (if also sinful), but Logan makes him feel hornier than Remy had previously thought possible. "Not here," he whines. "Too many cops. You'll get arrested for soliciting a minor."
"You're eighteen," Logan says, amused.
"I don't got any ID with me," Remy says, batting his eyelashes. "I did drive here, though..." and then he leads Logan to the backseat of his lovingly maintained Mustang convertible. The first time Logan had seen it he'd raised his eyes and said, "You steal this?"
"No!" Remy had replied, indignantly. "I bought it fair and square, with money I stole my own self." Logan had laughed and then they'd sucked each other off in the backseat.
Now they're scrambling to strip each other’s clothing off, to touch each other. It's so good with Logan. It feels right. But all good things must come to an end, and before long Remy's tugging his clothes back on.
"You've got school in the morning, huh," Logan says, half-amused, half-annoyed.
"Don't give a shit about school," Remy says. He's already gotten into college; graduation is an annoying formality. "Tante Mattie's waiting up for me and she'll turn me into a pumpkin if I'm out much longer."
"How much longer till you graduate, anyway?"
"Thirty-three days," Remy says promptly. "Wait, is it after midnight? Thirty-two!"
Logan laughs and leans in to kiss him. "Well. Guess I can wait that long."
"I'm worth waiting for, non?" Remy says.
"Yeah, kid, I think you are," Logan says, a smile playing on his lips. He opens the car door and lets himself out. "Drive safe. I hear there's thieves around here."
Remy blows him a kiss and Logan quickly disappears into the Quarter. Remy heads for home, a smile on his lips.
When he arrives, Tante Mattie says, "You're getting slow."
Remy says, "Good things come to he who waits."
"Mmm-hmm," she says. "And how's Logan?"
Remy has a split-second to decide if he's going to lie or not. Then he says, "Fine."
"You take care of him, Remy. He is broken."
"Trust me. I know these things."
And she does know these things, so Remy just says, "All right, Tante, I will. Good night."
He kisses her cheek and she ruffles his hair. Then he empties his pockets into an envelope and sticks the cash in his father's office. After he’s done he goes upstairs to write a quick essay about St. Thomas Aquinas. Since starting Catholic school, this is the third--maybe fourth--time Remy's written about St. Thomas Aquinas, and he thinks he has the guy down pretty well by this point. He clicks "save" and figures he'll double-check it in the morning and then print it. He has math homework, too, but he can do that in English class. By this point it's almost 2am and he throws himself in bed.
In the morning he brews coffee, prints his essay, and discovers he'd missed a text from Logan last night when his phone was on silent. He grins. The timestamp was 11:47pm and the message read "U look good in black." Remy does look good in black, but tragically, he puts on his school uniform. It looks like the stain has come out of his tie, which is lucky. Or maybe a sign that God's watching out for Remy, even when he's having premarital homosexual sex. Remy checks his reflection in the mirror one more time. He looks good, as usual, and he walks out the door with a smile on his face.
Logan wakes up early, as usual. Remy's lying sprawled out on the bed next to him. The sun lights up his cinnamon hair, longer now than it had been in his high school days. Logan's struck, not for the first time, by how fucking beautiful Remy is. He knows how pissed Remy'll be if Logan tried to wake up him before noon on a Saturday, so he doesn't. Logan watches the kid sleep for a few more minutes and then crawls out of bed to make coffee.
The kitchen table is covered in printouts and textbooks, and Logan digs out an empty spot for his coffee cup. Before Remy had moved in, the apartment had been spotless. It wasn't that Logan was a neat freak or anything, he just didn't own that much stuff, and some leftover military training encouraged him to keep his few possessions squared away. But Remy did own stuff, and felt no particular compunction to keep it squared away. At least he did the dishes. And the laundry. When Remy had moved in, Logan had made it clear that his sensitive nose couldn't stand that kind of mess. Remy had been offended, and said, "Course, Logan, I ain't that kind of messy."
Logan picks up the nearest book, After Modern Art: 1945-2000 by David Hopkins. He doesn't understand how modern art could end. If people were painting it now, wouldn't it still be modern art? He puts it down in frustration after a few pages and picks up the Times-Picayune, turning to the sports section. This is more his speed. He finishes the coffee and relevant sections of newspaper and then decides to go out for a run. He scrawls, "Running. -L" on a paper towel and leaves it in front of the coffee maker, on the off chance that Remy gets up before he returns.
He pulls on running shorts and sneakers, tucking his key into his sock. Then he sets out running. It's still early but it's springtime in New Orleans, and he's sweating before long. He sets a hard pace for himself and lets his mind wander. He's been in NOLA for over three years now, longer than he's been in any one place for quite some time. It's not hard to see why; Remy LeBeau is a persuasive motherfucker, and Remy LeBeau doesn't want Logan to leave. And, well, Logan doesn't want to leave him. When he'd caught the young thief in that alley, he'd simply followed the basest impulses in him. Every atom in his being wanted to make that beautiful boy his. He'd felt a little ashamed upon learning that Remy was still in high school. But he was 18, and as Remy pointed out, if he was old enough to rob Logan he was probably old enough to get fucked by him. And often.
Still, Logan feels a lot better about the situation now that Remy is a college boy. He'd been a little surprised that Remy had gotten into college at all--he didn't seem like a particularly devoted student. His family wanted him to get an art history degree to "support the family business," and his father wanted him at a Catholic university. So Remy had ended up at Xavier University of Louisiana. It was a historically black school, but they'd taken Remy and they had an art history program. Remy appeared to like it. He certainly spent more time reading for his art classes than he had for any of his high school classes. He'd joined a band, too--Logan was dating the lead singer of a fairly popular zydeco/punk band, the Alligator Wranglers. The net result was that even though Logan and Remy lived together now, they still saw each other about as often as they had when Remy still lived with his family. That was okay with Logan. He needs a fair amount of space, although he enjoys sharing a bed with Remy. He definitely enjoys that.
He runs past a bakery on his way home and considers bringing back some pastries, but then he remembers he hadn't stuck any money in his sock. Ah well. Next time, maybe. He's dripping with sweat when he returns to their apartment, and Remy looks up from his book to eye him appreciatively.
"Hot out?" he asks innocently.
Logan shrugs. "Ain't cold."
"Mm. It never is, here," Remy says. He's wearing only boxers and Logan's dogtags. Logan had given them to Remy last year, in a fit of sentimentalism before leaving on a long trip. Remy hasn't taken them off since, the romantic bastard. But it's not like Logan wants them back. He likes seeing them on his lover, and anyway, they're a good reminder to Remy (and to everyone else) just who Remy belongs to.
Remy chews his lip for a moment, which always makes Logan think indecent thoughts. Then he says, "Cher, while you're up, will you start more coffee?"
Logan says, "Yeah, fine. Then I'm gonna shower. You wanna join me?"
Remy frowns at his book and then looks up at Logan. "Well, yeah," he says. The word "duh" is unspoken but Logan hears it just the same. "But then don't start the coffee."
"No skin off my back," Logan says, and he heads for the bathroom. Remy joins him, shucking off the boxers, but not the dogtags.
In the shower, Remy purrs, "Wash my hair?"
Logan's happy to comply. He likes the feel of Remy's long hair, and he loves the palpable joy Remy emits at Logan's fingers on his scalp. Remy repeats the favor, thoroughly shampooing Logan's scruffy hair and massaging his scalp. It's pleasurable, though not as good as when Remy lowers himself to his knees and takes Logan's cock in his mouth.
"Uh, fuck, yes," Logan groans. Remy's an art historian and not a half-bad painter himself, but his true artistry is with his tongue. Remy teases him skillfully, and Logan reaches out to grab his lover's hair, holding his head in place. "Dammit, Remy," he says.
Remy giggles, his mouth still full of cock. The sensation is strange, but not unpleasurable. Then he picks up his pace, reaching the perfect rhythm to get Logan off. Logan pants for a moment--two moments--then recovers, trading places with Remy. When they're both sated and toweling off, Logan says, "Remember how much you used to hate getting jizz on your school uniform?"
Remy grins. "Maybe we should have spent more time in the shower. Would have solved that problem."
"Maybe," Logan says. "Or maybe you shouldn't be so prissy."
"Hey, mon vieux, you got any idea how much a good tie costs?"
In fact, Logan does not, so he says, "Whatever."
"Been awhile since we been out that way. We should go."
"I'll drive if you pack the lube," Logan says.
"Ah, mon coeur, we make a great team," Remy says. "But not today, I'm afraid."
"You got homework?"
"Regrettable, but true." Remy pulls on fresh boxers and heads back out into the living room, stopping to grab After Modern Art and a pencil from the kitchen table. He flops on the couch and starts reading intently, occasionally scrawling notes across the page. When he's not writing, he absentmindedly chews the pencil. Logan should really be used to Remy's half-naked studying, but somehow he isn't. He's half-tempted to hop back in the bathroom for a cold shower, but instead he retreats to the bedroom and meditates. After Iraq, the Army diagnosed him with PTSD and sent him to some dumb doc who gave him drugs that didn't help for shit. He'd travelled some, after he'd been "medically separated from active duty." There'd been a girl, in Japan, and she'd taught him how to meditate.
Then Logan had accidentally stabbed her in his sleep. She'd survived, but Logan had left the country after that.
He still had blackouts, and nightmares, and he just didn't deal well with people in general. But meditating helped, as did pure physical exhaustion. So construction work (of which NOLA had plenty), frequent sex, and a boyfriend with a busy schedule suited Logan just fine. He unrolls a worn tatami mat and tries to clear his mind. It works for a while--he's not sure how long, exactly--and then abruptly a memory surfaces, he's underwater in some kind of tank--and he panics, and then Remy's sitting behind him, petting his shoulders and whispering reassurances. Remy's mutant gift gives him a weird way of knowing what Logan's feeling--what everyone's feeling--without words. It's convenient for Logan, since he hates talking about that shit, though it can sometimes be a little unsettling. But mostly he welcomes it.
He welcomes it now, relaxing under Remy's soft touch.
"You wanna talk about it?" Remy asks.
Logan shakes his head "no."
Remy kisses the back of his neck. "That's okay, mon coeur, but you can if you want to. Always."
"Yeah," Logan says quietly. "Thanks." He's feeling better, now. It's warm in their bedroom, and dark. Remy nudges Logan up and gracefully maneuvers him to their bed. Then he turns on the reading light and curls up against Logan, laying his book on Logan's chest.
"You know, we have perfectly good tables here," Logan says.
Remy runs a hand down Logan's abdomen and says, "Oui, and this is the best one of all. Now be still."
Logan sighs. He puts his hands behind his head and lets Remy use him as furniture. All in all, he doesn't mind having Remy lying quietly with him--on him. And the look of concentration on Remy's face is frankly endearing.
Finally, Logan asks, "So, what comes after modern art?"
"Postmodern art," Remy says. "Obviously."
"Seriously. Also, contemporary art."
"You're telling me there's a difference between modern art and contemporary art?"
"Yes. Don't make fun of my studies."
"I'm not making fun!" Logan protests. "I'm just curious."
"You went to the MoMA with me."
"Well, I guess I just didn't realize I didn't know the definition of 'modern.' Or 'art,' maybe."
"It's all art, Logan."
"Uh-uh. I been to galleries with you, Remy, and some of that shit is not art."
"It's not art to you. But to some people, everything is art."
"Well, all right. But if you were fixing to steal a painting, what would you take, a Rembrandt or some paint splattered on a canvas?"
"It would depend on which Rembrandt and which Pollock," Remy says, very seriously. "Pollock pieces aren't cheap, you know, and he really was a revolutionary."
"OK. But if you were gonna put one up in the house, what would you pick?"
Remy sucks long and hard on the end of his pencil. "Well, I don't know. Best trick in the world would be to steal the Mona Lisa, so that might be fun. But I believe you are asking me based purely on aesthetic appeal... perhaps The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night. Van Gogh."
"Yeah? Not Starry Night?" Logan asks, feeling proud for remembering. He and Remy had gone to New York, last summer, and waited patiently in line to see the painting. Remy had made him get so close to it that a guard asked them to take a step back. Logan remembered those thick brushstrokes, but more than that he remembered the look on Remy's face at seeing it--starstruck, he might say.
"I certainly would not say no if Starry Night presented itself to me. But it would not be my top choice." Remy sets his book down and shifts position, looking into Logan's eyes. Logan thinks that if someone could perfectly photograph Remy's eyes, that would be the only art he'd need. Abruptly, Remy grins. "You're thinking something sweet, I can tell."
Logan shrugs. "How do you know it's about you?"
"Oh? Then who?" Remy asks smugly, knowing that Logan doesn't really associate with anyone other than his co-workers and Remy.
"Maybe... something on TV."
"Right. Getting all emotional about the Real Housewives?"
"You're so annoying," Logan says.
"So I hear. What do you want for dinner?"
"Any--" Logan starts.
Remy cuts him off and finishes, "Anything's fine, right. Well, I feel like cooking, so I'm gonna go see what we've got." He pulls on a T-shirt and pads off, leaving Logan blinking on the bed. He's a lucky man. Then he follows Remy into the kitchen and sits down at the table. Remy hums to himself while he chops vegetables. He throws onions, peppers, and celery on the stove. He moves on, grabbing more ingredients and humming more. It smells delicious, and Logan's mouth is watering by the time Remy serves him a bowl of jambalaya.
"Just like Tante Mattie makes," Remy says. "Well, hers is better. But this ain't bad."
"You're not getting modest on me, are you?"
"Course not. But Tante's got ears everywhere and she would know if I spoke ill of her cooking."
"Right." Logan's not quite sure if Remy's joking or not--that woman does seem to know everything. Then Logan falls silent, dedicated to putting as much jambalaya in his mouth as possible. Remy watches him happily.
Finally, Logan puts down his spoon and says, "It was good."
"I know," Remy says. "And it's your turn to do dishes."
"Yeah, fine. What time's your show tonight?"
"Ten, but I'll probably leave in an hour or so to make sure everything's set up, and warm up and all."
"Maybe I'll join you?"
Remy looks at him, not quite smiling. "You sure? It--I know it ain't really your scene."
"Nah. But I like watching you."
"Well, I'd be honored if you attended tonight's Alligator Wranglers performance," Remy says with mock formality. "I will ensure that your name is on the guest list."
"Good. I'm with the band, you know."
"Mm. I love groupies," Remy drawls.
"That's exactly why I need to get out to more of your shows," Logan says. It comes out as more of a growl than he'd intended, and Remy smirks.
"Getting jealous, mon coeur? You know I only have eyes for you."
Logan's not quite sure he believes that, but he knows Remy's never come home smelling like sex. Sex with anyone besides Logan, that is.
"Still. Be nice to see you in action again."
"Mm. I like it when you watch me," Remy purrs. Then, unfairly, he waltzes out of the kitchen. "I'd better make sure my hair looks its best," he calls.
Logan scowls and works on dishes. There are even leftovers, which he puts in a Tupperware for later. They probably won't last 24 hours; food goes fast between him and Remy. Then he goes into the bedroom. He can see Remy preening in the bathroom mirror. He's wearing black leather pants and a skintight T-shirt. He's putting some kind of product in his hair, which is mostly back in a ponytail, but Remy's teasing pieces of it out to frame his face. Then he pulls eyeliner out of the medicine cabinet and carefully applies it.
"What?" he says, without looking at Logan. "You thought I looked this good without a little help?"
"Well, whatever you're using, I guess it's working." Logan looks down at his own jeans and plain white T-shirt. "Do I need to change or anything?"
"Nah, cher, you're not the one onstage." Then, curiously, "But seriously, you don't use anything in your hair? It just does that?"
"What? We've basically lived together two years now. And why would I try to make my hair look like this?" Logan asks, indicating the puffy, tousled mess.
"It's very sexy. Permanent bedhead. I just thought I'd check. Perhaps the reason you get up so much earlier than me is to apply hair product."
"Well all right then." Remy surveys himself in the mirror with a critical eye and then leaves the bathroom, apparently content. Back in the bedroom, he opens a drawer and pulls out a red bandana, which he ties around his wrist.
"That some kinda political thing?"
"No, mon coeur, it is for sweat," Remy says gravely. Then he looks Logan up and down and pulls an olive green scarf out of the drawer, which he loosely places around Logan's neck.
"What the fuck, Remy?"
"I am accessorizing you."
"It's going to be hot as fuck in that club, what do I need a scarf for?"
"For fashion. Also, you can wipe your sweat with the tail end. Very practical."
Logan turns and looks at himself in the bedroom's full-length mirror. "I look like a fucking hipster."
"Yes. Tonight, mon vieux, you are my hipster groupie."
Logan rolls his eyes, but Remy is looking at Logan like the scarf looks good on him or some shit, so he leaves it on.
"Lovely," Remy pronounces. "Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah," Logan says, grabbing his wallet and a cigar and shoving them both in his pocket. Another reason why Logan's content to stay in NOLA--smoking is still allowed in plenty of bars and clubs here.
"Good. You drive."
"I don't even know where we're going."
"I'll tell you on the way. Let's go."
And Logan doesn't protest too much, because he's only human (okay, a mutant human) and he likes feeling Remy behind him on his bike. Remy guides him downtown. They find a lucky street spot, and Logan follows Remy in the club's back entrance. The bouncer nods at them without a word. Inside, most of Remy's bandmates are already clustered, instruments in tow.
"Sup, Remy. Hey, Logan, good to see you out, man!" says Tyrell, the band's drummer.
"Nice scarf," says Leah, the guitarist. As far as Logan can tell, she's being sincere, but it's still weird.
"Yeah," Logan says. The rest of Remy's band grins at Logan's obvious discomfort. He puts his hands in his pockets and shrugs. And then CC, the accordion player, shows up, and everyone starts talking music and forgets Logan's there. Everyone except Remy, anyway. He occasionally glances at Logan, making sure he's okay. And then, just before the Alligator Wranglers go on, he gives Logan an insanely intense kiss, to general applause from his bandmates.
Remy pretends to ignore them and says, "You can stay and watch from back here, if you want. Or you can go around and join the crowd."
Logan says, "Think I'll stay here, thanks." He kisses Remy again and says, "Break a leg."
"You know I will, cher," Remy says, and then he struts onstage with his band. Logan can hear the screaming crowd and is glad to be separate from them. He lights his cigar to calm his nerves a bit; he doesn't like crowds.
But he has missed watching Remy perform. His boyfriend is charismatic as fuck and he owns that stage, that crowd. Halfway through the show, Remy whips off his T-shirt and the crowd goes crazy. When the screaming is at its loudest, Remy glances offstage and winks at Logan. Logan just shakes his head, but he can't quite hide a smile.
"This is it?" Jubilee asks, unimpressed.
"Cherie, this is the longest bridge in the world," Remy says proudly.
"The whole point of a bridge is to get someplace else," Jubilee replies.
"Not always," Remy says. "Pull over, Logan."
"Oh my God, are you gonna jump?" Jubilee asks. "I'm sorry. It's a great bridge."
Logan pulls off onto the shoulder, flicking on the emergency lights of the rental car.
"No, I ain't gonna jump," Remy says. "Get out."
"Are you going to push me?"
"No! No one is getting off the bridge. We're just gonna look."
"Fine," Jubilee says. "I really don't think you're supposed to stop here."
"We used to come out here all the time," Logan says. "It's fine."
"Oh God, like on dates?"
Logan glances over Jubilee, at Remy, and says, "Remind me why we took her on vacation with us?"
Remy shrugs. "She's pretty cute?"
"Because you knew it would be cruel to leave me in freezing New York with Mr. Summers," Jubilee says, only pouting slightly.
"Also that," Remy agrees.
Logan nods thoughtfully.
"Let's take a picture," Remy says. "Scoot in closer." Jubilee and Logan both comply, with varying degrees of sulkiness. "Logan, would it kill you to smile?"
"Might," Logan says, but he tries. Remy stretches his arm out and snaps a group picture with his phone.
"That's so not going to come out," Jubilee says.
Remy checks it. "It's fine. Logan even smiled. Kind of."
"Let me see!" Jubilee grabs the phone. "Yeah, all right, could be worse. I look pretty cute."
"Course you do," Remy says, ruffling her hair.
"Remy, I'm sixteen, not six," Jubilee protests.
Remy raises his eyebrows, and she says, "Almost sixteen, anyway."
He gives her a small bow and says, "My apologies, madame."
"Whatever. Let's get off this bridge."
"You better get used to some hair ruffling, if we're going to Remy's family's house," Logan says as he starts the car.
"It's a reflection of love, cherie."
"That's nice, I guess," Jubilee says. Before they died, her parents had never ruffled her hair. They weren't very physically affectionate. But they did love her. She missed them every day, but things weren't so bleak now that she was out of foster care. Now that she was at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Now that she had somehow acquired two gay adopted dads. She runs her thumb over the dogtags she always wears. Last Christmas, just after she'd gotten to the school, Logan and Remy had gone to Louisiana. Just before they'd left, Remy had ruffled her hair and said, "Don't worry, cherie, we'll be back before long." Then he'd taken off the silver tags he always wore and fastened them around her neck.
She frowned down at him. "Are these Logan's Army tags?"
Remy nods. "Bout ten years ago, when we were first dating, Logan went away for a while on a trip. I was still in college, and I got a little pouty. So he gave me these tags. I knew..." Remy had broken off and given Logan gross googly eyes, and then finished, "I knew it meant he'd be coming back. So now, petite, I'm giving them to you. Merry Christmas."
Under the huge tree in Xavier's living room, there were several other packages for Jubilee, but none that she liked so much as the dogtags. And sure enough, Remy and Logan had come back the following week.
But this year Jubilee's going with them. She's a little nervous about meeting Remy's family. Remy's really fun, and all, but she doesn't always get along with grownups. But even if it's mega awkward, at least it's warm here, and at least she's not back at the mansion. Last winter break had been so lonely, since most of the other kids had gone home.
"God, this is a long bridge," Jubilee says.
"I told you, longest in the world," Remy says.
After they cross the bridge, it's another hour to Remy's family's house. It's big, though not as big as Xavier's school. But then, Xavier was using his house as a school.
"Whoa," she says.
Remy shrugs. "Been in the family for a long, long time."
Logan parks in the big circle drive in front of the house, and they grab their bags out of the trunk. Remy reaches for the ornate metal knocker, but the door swings open before he can knock. A beautiful, middle aged black woman is standing in the doorway. She beams and ruffles Remy's hair. "Remy!" she says, then rattles off some stuff in French.
Remy grins and talks back in French, then he steps into the house.
"Logan," the woman says. "You look well."
"Always do," Logan says. "You look lovely, Mattie."
"Flatterer. And you must be Jubilee,"
"Um, yes, yes ma'am," she says.
"Good manners! I've heard so much about you, Jubilee, welcome. I'm Remy's Tante Mattie. You can call me Tante, too."
"Okay, um, Tante. Nice to meet you."
"It means aunt," Mattie explains.
"Oh, okay," Jubilee says.
Tante Mattie turns into the house and says, "Remy! Aren't you teaching this girl anything?"
Remy shrugs. "She signed up for Spanish, Tante, nothin' to be done."
"Spanish. Hmph," Tante Mattie says, but there's no real heat there. "Remy, you and Logan'll be up in your usual room. I opened up Sarah's room for Jubilee. I trust you can show her where it is. I best be getting back to the kitchen."
"What'cha cooking?" Remy asks eagerly.
"Everything. Including jambalaya."
Remy grins and kisses his aunt's cheek. "You're the best tante a boy could ask for."
"Don't I know it."
Logan and Jubilee follow Remy up a big staircase, kind of like the one from Titanic.
"Who's Sarah?" Jubilee asks.
"Hmm?" Remy says.
"Um, Tante Mattie said I was sleeping in Sarah's room. Who's Sarah?"
"Oh, Sarah's room. Let's see. Guess Sarah would be my great-great-great-aunt."
"And she still lives here? How old is she?"
Remy laughs. "No, she died, long time ago. But we still call it Sarah's room."
"Oh God, is like, her ghost here?"
"If it is, it's a very happy ghost, petite."
Sarah's room turns out to be very nice, if a little girly for Jubilee's taste. There are a bunch of framed paintings of flowers on the wall, and the bed is topped with a pastel pink quilt. But it doesn't smell musty or dead, like Jubilee had feared. And there's a vase of fresh flowers on the dresser.
"We'll let you get settled," Remy says. "We'll be just down the hall if you need anything."
"Kay," Jubilee says. She's definitely not going to interrupt them for a good while. They're probably going to make out as soon as they close the door. They're a disgustingly handsy couple. But after a few minutes, there's a knock on her door. She calls, "Come in!" and is a little surprised to see Logan without Remy.
"Hey kid, how you doing?"
"Well, I just, I figured you might have questions about Remy's family. He's down helping his aunt now so I thought, you know."
She shrugs. "I mean, he said he was adopted. I guess I was kinda surprised the rest of his family's black, but, whatever."
"Oh. They're not. Tante Mattie's not really related to the LeBeaus. But I guess she moved in after Remy's dad's wife died. So she really raised Remy and his brother."
"Remy has a brother?"
"Yeah. Henri. They... they had a falling out. When Remy left New Orleans."
"For New York?"
"Yeah. I guess they're okay now, but it's been kinda tense between them. Thought you should now."
"Is he here?"
"Not yet. Think he and his wife are coming for Christmas Eve."
"So it's just Tante Mattie and Remy's dad here?"
"Yeah. Jean-Luc. You better call him Mr. LeBeau at first. He's... pretty formal."
Logan looks at the ground and Jubilee abruptly realizes that he feels out of his element here, that he's come for Remy. And he's come to see her, now, so she won't feel uncomfortable. It's actually pretty touching or whatever.
She smiles and says, "Yeah, okay, I can do that."
"I figured." He looks back up at her and says, "I just figured Remy probably wouldn't say anything. Family's real important to him but... but it's complicated."
"Believe me, I understand complicated."
"Also, has he... said anything to you about... the family business?"
"Yeah. The Thieves Guild. It sounds really weird that they have a guild for that."
"Yeah. It is weird. Anyway, well, you might see some stuff... you..."
"Don't worry. I won't call the cops," she says gravely.
"Good girl," Logan says gruffly. "Oh. And we'll have to go to midnight Mass."
"Oh," Jubilee says. "Well, it can't be that bad."
"It kind of is. But the food's good. Anyway. Remy's family's really into the church stuff. Even Remy, sort of. So if you're gonna roll your eyes, just point 'em at me, okay?"
"All right. Good. You ready for lunch?"
"Sure," Jubilee says.
Lunch is delicious, spicy and warm and full of flavors Jubilee can't really identify. Remy and Tante Mattie dominate the conversation, happily catching up. Remy's dad seems okay, but pretty quiet. Remy pretty clearly takes after his aunt. Halfway through the meal she goes to the bathroom and checks her phone. She has messages from Kitty and John, both asking what Mr. LeBeau's family is like. She tells them both, "Cool. How r u?"
Then she goes back to the table, just in time for some kind of cinnamon chocolate cake. It's amazing, and Logan politely compliments Mattie on it. It's weird to see Logan with, like, manners.
Jubilee adds, "Seriously, this is the best cake I think I've ever had."
Mattie smiles benevolently. "Old family recipe. I can show you if you'd like, Jubilee."
That surprises her, and she smiles. "Well, I'm a pretty lame cook. But--but that would be nice. Thanks."
"Certainly. It would be nice to have someone help in the kitchen."
"Hey," Remy protests. "I help."
"You help eat," Mattie says.
"Oh, that doesn't count? Desole."
Mattie shakes her head and laughs, and then she turns to Jubilee. "So, petite, have you been to New Orleans before?"
"No, Tante, it's my first time. I'm from California."
"California, hmm? Well, Remy, you'll have to take Miss Jubilee out and show her the sights."
"But of course. I was going to take her down to the Quarter after lunch."
"Good. Now, Jubilee, don't you pay anyone for one of those ridiculous ghost tours. If you want to know about ghosts, I'll take you. I'll show you real ghosts."
Jubilee's eyes widen. "Really?"
"Really. But don't even ask about the vampire tours. Everyone knows there's no such thing as vampires."
"Oh," Jubilee says, unsure what to think. Is she seriously saying there are ghosts? She looks serious. "Well, cool."
"If you want to meet ghosts, we'll go after dinner," Mattie says.
"Thanks, Tante, now my tour's going to be boring," Remy pouts.
"Now Remy, if I raised you right--and I did--you can give a decent tour of the city without any ghosts."
"Oh, I s'pose," Remy says.
And Jubilee does enjoy the tour. Remy and Logan point out where they met, where Remy went to school, where they always used to get beignets. Family history, she realizes.
They pass several signs advertising ghost tours and vampire tours and graveyard tours, but, per Tante Mattie's advice, she ignores them. They stop in some stores. Jubilee wants to buy some Mardi Gras beads but Remy is scandalized. "You can't buy Mardi Gras beads, cherie. You must be given them."
"Then give me some," she says.
Remy sighs. "When you're older, you'll have to come to Mardi Gras yourself. You'll love it."
"Count me out," Logan says.
"Mardi Gras is not for everyone," Remy acknowledges. "But for you, I think, it would be a very good time. When you're a little older."
"Fine," Jubilee says.
Remy's face softens and he says, "I am sure I have some beads back at the house. I could give you those. But there are traditions, Jubilee. And you are not a tourist in New Orleans. You must respect them."
Jubilee finds that she can't argue with that. She does pick out some shot glasses to bring back as souvenirs for her friends. Remy and Logan both laugh, and Remy says, "Just don't tell Mr. Summers we saw you buy them."
Logan says, "I don't give a fuck if he knows. Ain't like she's bringing anything to put in the shot glasses."
And after dinner, which is also delicious, Tante Mattie takes her back to the Quarter. She points out the historical landmarks that Remy had neglected, and she talks about how thin the veil is between the dead and the living.
"Are you, like, a ghost whisperer?"
Mattie laughs. "I have what some call the sight," she says.
"So you're telling me you can... talk to dead people?"
"Sometimes," Mattie says. "If they have something to say."
Jubilee bites her lip and then figures she just has to ask. "Like... my parents?"
Mattie gives her a soft look. "Perhaps. I haven't heard anything from them. But I will listen."
"Okay. Um. Thanks."
Mattie stops in front of a random mansion. She says, "This, they say, is the most haunted house in America."
"How do they measure that?"
"I do not know. I suspect it is all for tourists. But there are ghosts here. Unhappy ones." Mattie shakes her head. "Bad things happened here, petite. Very bad." She reaches in her purse and pulls out a packet of herbs. She sprinkles them on the doorstep of the house and whispers something over them, not in English.
"What's that for?" Jubilee asks.
"To honor them. To help them." Mattie's so serious that Jubilee can't imagine making a joke right now. Even though it sounds crazy. She is going to have to ask Logan about this ghost business.
"What happened here?"
Mattie shakes her head. "I do not like to speak of it... medical experiments. Like what happened to Logan."
"What?" Jubilee asks.
"Oh. Oh dear." Mattie sighs. "I suppose there are some things..." she trails off, and Jubilee's mind runs wild. She knows Logan can heal, and that he was in the Army. She knows he has some kind of PTSD but... she hadn't really put it all together.
Mattie says, "Listen, cherie. It was fate that brought Remy to the LeBeaus. It was fate that brought Logan to Remy. And it was fate that brought you to them. You all belong together. And you are together. And that is what matters."
"Oh," is all Jubilee can say.
Mattie smiles. "You are in good hands, Jubilee. I'm glad you are a part of our family."
"Thanks. Um, you're really cool, Tante Mattie."
"I know I am, petite. Now come along, and I'll show you the graveyard." Jubilee finds the aboveground vaults to be unspeakably creepy, but she's grown-up enough to pretend like she doesn't. Mattie tells her all kinds of stories about the people buried--well, not buried exactly--there, including several LeBeaus. The LeBeaus all seem to have been killed by assassins.
Finally, Jubilee asks, "Uh, how many assassins are there in New York?"
Mattie sucks her teeth and says, "Enough. But the Thieves and the Assassins haven't had much trouble lately."
"Well, that's a relief!"
"Indeed." Mattie narrows her eyes thoughtfully, and before long they end their tour and return to the LeBeau home. Logan and Remy are sitting side by side in the parlor, watching TV. Both men turn upon hearing Jubilee and Mattie enter.
Remy grins and says, "Ah, my two favorite ladies. Hope Tante didn't scare you too much, Jubilee."
"Course not," Jubilee says, and Mattie just smiles.
Remy's grin widens and he says, "Good for you, petite. When I was a kid Tante Mattie used to scare the shit out of me."
"I mean... they were really good stories, but they're just stories, right?"
Remy's eyes widen, but Logan laughs. "Of course they're just stories, darlin," he says.
Remy doesn't look quite convinced, but he says, "You want to sit with us a spell before going to bed?"
"Sure. What are you guys watching?"
"Kill Bill," Logan says.
"That's not very Christmassy."
"Name one Christmas movie anyone over the age of six actually enjoys watching," Logan says.
"A Christmas Story?" Jubilee says.
"Yeah, that one's pretty funny," Remy agrees. "We can watch it tomorrow, maybe."
Jubilee shrugs and sits down in an antique plush armchair. She supposes Kill Bill is actually more entertaining than most Christmas movies. It's not like she misses those dumb Claymation characters or anything. But she's still glad when Remy triumphantly produces a VHS of A Christmas Story the following afternoon, after she's helped Mattie bake a bunch of stuff. Remy stacks a plate high with warm Christmas cookies and brings it into the parlor.
Mattie calls, "You save some of those for your brother!"
"Yes, Tante," Remy calls back. He eats an astonishing amount of cookies throughout the movie, but there are still plenty left on the plate by the end.
"Where's Logan?" Jubilee asks.
"Ah, I think he's meditating," Remy says. "He doesn't... he... well, you know how he is, petite. Needs some quiet time."
"You can say that again."
Remy looks at her sideways and says, "You know, cherie, Logan can... well, Logan cares about you, you know that, right? Even if he don't... show it the way other people do?"
"Yeah, I kinda figured that one out," Jubilee says.
"Okay. Good. Because we both love you, Jubilee."
"I know. I love you guys too," Jubilee says. She's touched but also vaguely uncomfortable, and she says, "So, does that mean I'm getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas?"
Remy laughs. "You don't need a gun, petite, you've got fireworks. And besides, you'll--"
"--put your eye out," they say in unison.
"Yeah, good point," Jubilee says. "Fine, then, a pony?"
"There are a bunch of ponies in Xavier's stables."
"Nuh uh, they're totally horses."
"I see. Well, maybe next year we'll get you a pony. I kinda thought car, but--"
"What? No, car, definitely car, please," Jubilee says, batting her eyelashes.
"Well, if you're sure..."
"I'm sure," Jubilee promises.
"All right, then."
Logan joins them, then, seeming to be in a pretty good mood. For Logan. Mattie follows closely behind Logan and pulls Jubilee into the kitchen to help with dinner. Jubilee thinks it's kind of sexist that Remy and Logan don't have to help, but she likes talking to Mattie so she doesn't complain. Before long, it's dinner time. The put dish after dish out onto the dining room table, and they're joined by Remy's brother Henri and his sister-in-law Belladonna. Henri has dark blonde hair and a hilarious 70s mustache. Belladonna is beautiful. She looks like a model. Things seem slightly tense after they arrive; everyone is trying a little too hard to be friendly. Except Logan, who stares at his plate and says nothing.
Finally, Jubilee says, "So, um, Aunt Belladonna, what do you do? Like for a job?"
Belladonna pauses before saying, "I'm an assassin."
"... oh," Jubilee says. "Do... um..."
Belladonna smiles and cuts Jubilee a break. "You might say it's the family business. But don't worry, I don't work on holidays."
"Well, that's really good to know."
"Now Jubilee, I hear you have some experience with the family business," Henri drawls.
She blushes. "Um... I don't... I'm not supposed to do that, anymore."
Henri and Belladonna exchange friendly, knowing glances. "Ah, Remy, mon frere, it's still so hard to believe you've turned your back on us," Henri says wistfully.
Remy closes his eyes for a few seconds, then gives a tight smile and says, "Well, it's just hard to say no to high school teacher salary, you know?"
Belladonna laughs. "Ah, Remy, you always were an idiot," she says, but it sounds like a compliment.
Logan snorts, and Remy says, "Well, guess that's something we can all agree on."
Mattie says firmly, "It's Christmas Eve."
"Sure is," Remy says.
Henri clears his throat and says, "Good stuffing, Tante."
"Merci. Jubilee helped."
Jubilee looks up and nods. She had helped, and now she was refusing to eat any of the stuffing because she cannot get over how disgusting the oysters had looked. And who puts oysters in stuffing, anyway?
"Then thank you, Jubilee," Henri says. And then everyone seems to realize there's a new kid at the table, and he and Belladonna start talking to Jubilee. It's mostly the usual kinds of questions adults ask teenagers--how she likes school, what's her favorite subject, what's her favorite hobby--and then some more unusual questions, like what's her mutant power, and has she considered being a thief when she grows up? Or an assassin, maybe? The conversation begins to feel real, and not strained. Logan looks up from his plate and quirks his lips at her. Jubilee thinks that maybe she's got the hang of this whole family Christmas thing.
After dinner they go out and have a bonfire, and Jubilee meets some of the family friends. She realizes they must all be thieves or assassins. But at school she's constantly surrounded by X-Men and wannabe X-Men, so she guesses it's not that weird.
She stands by the fire and asks Remy, "Do you guys roast marshmallows or anything?"
"You hungry, petite?"
"No, totally stuffed. Just wondering."
"If you must know, the fires are the light the way for Pere Noel."
"Seriously," Remy says.
"You know I know Santa's not real, right?"
"Who says? Anyway, it's mostly for the younger kids. But it's just tradition, is all." Jubilee looks around and sees there are younger kids there, excited and squirmy.
"Oh. That's cool, I guess. But you know Santa probably has GPS now, right?"
"Still. It is nice to have a backup system in place, non?"
Then Logan silently joins them, smoking a cigar and looking tired. Remy smiles and puts an arm around him.
"You ready for church, cher?" Remy asks.
Logan just shakes his head and says, "I'll make it through somehow."
"You don't have to go," Remy says. "If you don't mind your soul being condemned to eternal hellfire."
"Really, Remy? You think this would be the thing that would push me over the line?"
"It's Christmas," Remy says, as if that explains everything, and maybe it does. Jubilee stands there, quietly watching the fire burn with her makeshift family, until someone puts out the blaze and everyone piles into cars for church.
"You ever been to Catholic church?" Logan asks her quietly.
"Just follow everybody else. Lot of kneeling. And standing."
"It is," Logan replies.
But it turns out that Jubilee kind of likes it. The sermon or whatever is really nice and everyone is happy and the songs are pretty. Remy sings them all with a strong, wonderful voice and Jubilee fakes it but she likes listening. At the end of it everyone shakes hands and wishes peace on each other, and maybe it's just because it's Christmas, but the thought doesn't seem cheesy to her. Squished between Remy and Logan and thieves and assassins, she can't help but think maybe they can all find peace. And also, maybe Santa Claus followed the bonfires to bring her a BB gun and a pony. And some new hoop earrings.
If not, it's okay. She's still happy.
But really though, those yellow hoop earrings would look great on her.