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Gathering Shadows

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Gathering Shadows


Charles Xavier was having an nightmare. He ran and ran and ran as the formless dark figure chased him from above. He dove and rolled to avoid its swoop. He scrabbled to his feet and took off to the left. The figure banked sharply to follow him. He became aware of midnight black wings flapping sharply to keep pace, hounding him. Sandalwood and sulfur assaulted his nose. The thing swooped again and Xavier dove to the side. He faltered as he realized he was being driven towards a ledge. He stopped at the edge with a shower of pebbles. The being dove towards him and he jumped. The ground was closer than he'd though and pain jolted through his hips and knees. He looked up and got the impression of red eyes and black wings. He jerked awake, sitting up sharply.

His breaths came in short gasping pants. Sweet clove and smoke filled his nostrils. His pulse thudded in his throat. He laid back down and found glowing red eyes staring down at him. He bit off a cry, and stopped his instinctive attack. It wasn't as if it would have done him any good.

"God damn it, Gambit!"

"Have a nice dream, Charles?" the thief purred. He was perched on the headboard like an overgrown bird. The sides of his coat were spread over the top of it.

"No, as you should have noticed."

"Tsk. Tsk. Charles. Y' shouldn' be so cranky."

"Would you kindly not smoke in my bedroom, Remy."

"Y' probably goin' t' want one, Charles."

"You've found something? My robe."

"Oui." Gambit weighed the order then shook his head. He jumped down next to the professor on the bed. Xavier fought back a flinch. Then, the young man was sitting next to him. "This is the number and names. Y' don' wanna get pulled int' this. It be anti-mutant."

"Oh?" Charles forgot about the robe and sat up. Gambit automatically set the pillows against the headboard to support him.

"Headlined by a man callin' hisself Bastion. Ain't his real name. No one knows where he comes from. Don' like it, me. Not'in' but a blank slate. Man's a danger. Y' want m' view, we kill de bastard."

"X-men don't kill."

"X-men are idealistic fools." Charles' head whipped toward the thief. He read shock on the young man's face. "Merde. F'get it, M'seuir. Bastion's big trouble. He freaks out undergrounders."

"How?"

"Word says he just ain't right. He ain't . . . real. Ain't met him yet, me."

"I want your personal read on the man. I'll set Logan on this as well. Is the money his?"

"Non. Not all. Bunch of gov'ment fronts. There's some major bad juju here, M. Y' stay out of it."

Xavier raised a brow.

"Gambit's serious, cher. Y' stay out of it. It ain't safe at all. Y' join up, y' gonna bring all sorts of attention t' dis place dat y' don' want."

Xavier nodded. "I will take that under advisement."

Remy rolled his eyes. "Goodnight, Professeur."

*****

Logan's nose twitched. He smelled coffee. He opened his eyes and realized he was in the living room. He stretched. He found Scott in the kitchen. He was rubbing at his neck, trying to get the knots out of it. "Hey, Babe."

"Morning, Runt."

"Lemme work on yer neck."

Scott settled in one of the chairs and Logan's fingers dug into the tight muscles. "So were you the one that tucked me in?"

"Nope. Coulda been Jeannie or the kid."

"Machts nichts."

"True. Damn yer tense, boy."

"Well, sleeping in the armchair didn't help. Ouch."

"So's the kid here?"

"No."

"Fuck. Did he come home last night?"

"I don't know. We'll have to check the Mansion first before calling Alice."

Logan nodded. "And yer gonna teach him a lesson about not checkin' in."

"I am?"

"Yep."

"Yes, sir, Mr. Logan, sir," Scott mocked.

"That's better. Ya need some discipline in yer life."

"Spank me and die, runt."

"Ya got spunk."

"Fuck you, Logan."

"Now?"

"Asshole."

"Reasonable assumption."

Scott grinned. "We're rubbing off on you."

"That could be fun."

"What? Aren't you getting your quota?"

"Naw. It's just that gettin' my hands around yer throat is a turn on." Scott leaned back to look up at the Canadian's grin. Logan took the opportunity to kiss him. Coffee with a hint of mint filled his mouth. He pulled back and Scott dragged his tongue across the lips that hovered above him. "What's the plan fer breakfast?"

"I was thinking sausage." Scott settled his hands on top of Logan's.

"Sounds good. Ya better live up to what I'm hearin' from yer mouth." Logan leaned down for another kiss, then let Scott go. Scott turned around in his chair. He slid to his knees and nuzzled at his lover's crotch. Logan's breath hissed in. He stroked the short brown hair. "Damn yer gorgeous like this."

Scott smiled at that. "You're going to want support." Logan stepped to the counter. Scott resettled himself. "We're out of cream, you know."

"Gonna have to do somethin' about that."

"Yeah." Scott's fingers opened the oversized belt buckle, then the fly. Logan never had believed in underwear and today was no different. His erection bobbed clear. Scott covered it with light flicks of his tongue. He paused to suckled the balls. Logan growled deep in his throat. He stroked the younger man's hair encouragingly.

Scott sucked the tip into his mouth, pressing his tongue to the slit to taste the salty pre-come. The familiar flavor urged Scott on. He took the stiff cock as deeply into his mouth as he could handle and started to move. He scraped his teeth lightly down the hard length and Logan whimpered. His hips started to trust. Scott forced himself to relax and tightened his hands on Logan's hips. He sucked hard and Logan's body went taut. Logan came with a howl and Scott swallowed eagerly. He licked his lover clean as Logan slumped against the cabinets.

"Yer such a slut, boy."

"You've got me confused with someone else."

"Nah. His hair's longer." Logan cradled Scott's head against his thigh. Already his erection was returning. "Ya hot fer me, boy?" Logan felt more than saw the nod. Scott was resisting the urge to stroke himself. "I'm gonna take ya right here. I'm gonna spread ya over the table and fuck ya until ya can feel every inch of me. I'm gonna open ya like ya ain't felt in years." Logan saw the sparks behind Scott's shades that indicated his control was completely gone. He could hear the shallow breaths. Logan grinned and grabbed the decorative bottle of olive oil in one hand, the back of Scott's head in the other. "And yer gonna go wild fer me." He guided his lover to the sturdy oak table and bent him over the edge. Scott squirmed but one hot, heavy hand in the small of his back was enough to keep him in place.

Logan loosened Scott's jeans and pulled them down. He drizzled the olive oil along the crack of the firm ass and spread it with thick fingers. He coated his cock and pressed in. Scott moaned, moving back immediately to speed the pace. Logan's grin turned feral and thrust home. Scott arched up, then adjusted. He reached back and Logan caught his wrists. He pinned them neatly behind Scott's back with a hand.

Scott wriggled. "Faster, Logan," he breathed finally. "Fast and hard."

"Too close fer slow and deep?" Logan growled.

"Oh, yeah. Just fuck me."

Logan's pace didn't change.

"You're gonna kill me." Scott bit his lip as Logan's free hand settled on his cock. Trapped between a hand and a cock, Scott could only react. He came hard, milking Logan's erection. Logan came, frozen deep in his lover's ass.

By the time Jean stumbled down, there was no evidence of their activities beyond Scott's relaxed smile and bruised lips. She ignored both of them. It *was* morning after all.

"Did Remy come in last night?"

"Well, he's at the Mansion. I asked Bishop. He crept in late."

"You're going to teach him a lesson about not checking in, right?"

"Why do you both think it should be me?"

"Cuz the brat recognizes ya as his boss."

"Exactly. Case closed. Besides, you claim you can read him so well. Prove it."

"Fine. Geez. Ask a simple question."

*****

"Professor, can I speak with you?"

"Of course, Warren. Come in."

Warren looked at the professor in concern. Xavier had the pinched look he got when he hadn't been sleeping or there was an emergency. "Is something wrong?"

"Nothing to worry about. Tell me, Warren, what brings you here today?"

Warren turned the armless visitor's chair around and straddled it, so that his wings could hang freely. "I want to talk to you about Gambit."

"Yes?" The professor's brows raised.

"He gets under my skin and I don't know why. And I don't want to spend the rest of my life snapping at him."

"Why not?"

"Because I don't like what it makes me sound like."

"And what do you think it makes you sound like?"

"Like a bitter spoiled brat." Warren's wings twitched. "I'm having trouble seeing things from his point of view. That's what you always said to do when there was a problem around here."

"Remy's not so different than you, Warren."

"Yes, he is," Warren said sharply.

"What were you thinking just then?"

"LeBeau is *not* like me."

"Explain that to me."

"I'm not a thief! I'm not a Marauder!"

"And?"

"And I'm not a whore."

"Is it his relationship with Scott, Jean and Logan that's giving you difficulty?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm pretty sure he didn't start that. Besides, who knows if it's going to last?"

"Do you hate Remy, Warren?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because he's Gambit the asshole."

Xavier raised his brow. "Go on."

"He's a cocky son of a bitch who doesn't follow orders and thinks the world is his to command. He expects every woman to fall for him. He dresses like a slob and doesn't give a damn about anything."

"What do you think he cares about?"

"Well, Rogue, I suppose. He has put up with her for this long. And he'd probably go right back to her if she wanted him now." Warren paused. Xavier didn't say anything, simply waited. "And his family in New Orleans. I think that if anything happened to them, he'd flip." After a long moment, Warren said, "Storm. He'd die to protect her." Warren shrugged. "That's all I can think of."

"What about money?"

"No, he doesn't care except to have it available. And if he takes my credit card one more time, I will string him up Scott or no Scott."

Xavier shook his head with an amused smile. "So you think it's Remy that steals your cards?"

Warren blinked. "What do you mean?"

"It's not Remy, Warren. To the best of my knowledge he wouldn't touch your money. Scott, Bobby, Hank and Jean on the other hand have been using your cards since you were teenagers here. You can't tell me you didn't know?"

"I knew about Scott, but we worked that out back when we were roommates. The others must have picked up the cues from him. But what do you mean Gambit wouldn't touch my money? He's a thief."

"He's a professional, Warren. He doesn't steal from people he knows. It would lead directly back to him."

"How do you know?"

"We discussed it when I had him check into some drains on my accounts. They were being hacked."

"I never heard about that. Did you catch whoever was doing it?"

"Yes. The problem was solved. Warren, Remy doesn't need your money. He doesn't want your money. And you don't fit the profile of his usual targets. You aren't a drug dealer and you don't hurt children."

"He steals from crooks?"

"He steals from whomever I choose to send him after," Xavier stated. "Now you are the third person in this household to know that I actively use his talents."

"Who are the other two?" Warren asked with narrowed eyes.

"Myself and Gambit. I suspect that Logan has known for some time. And Scott used him while I was away. I suppose Jean knew then. If she didn't she knows now. But none of them have heard it from me. That he gathers intelligence for the team is well known, but his other activities are not and I would ask that you keep it that way. Tensions are already running rather high."

"He's stealing for you?"

"When there is no other way."

Warren stared at Professor X. "So why is Gambit such an arrogant bastard?"

"Because he's afraid of being betrayed again."

Warren's wings tensed. "He thinks we would betray him?"

"Wouldn't you, Warren? In the Danger Room, you ignored his warnings. What if that happens in a fight? He'd die to protect you Warren. He was neatly cornered by Bishop and Wolverine to do just that. Can he trust you at his back in the heat of battle or are you going to get him killed?"

Warren swallowed.

"Think about that for a little while. I think it will give you a place to start."

*****

"Hey, Babe," Scott purred into the Cajun's ear. They were in the security room.

"Why y' give m' this shift?" Remy whined. "I hate lunch shift."

"So you'd be free for later."

"Oh." Remy blinked at Scott's leer. He looked back to the monitors. It wasn't as if anything interesting was happening. Scott bent a bit more to fasten onto what he considered his spot. Remy tipped his head to accomidate him.

"You know, little thief, I don't think you understand some of the rules of this game."

"Rules?" Remy asked.

"You didn't check in last night. That isn't allowed."

"Y' were sleepin'," Remy protested. "Besides, I had t' see Charles. Dieu, how y' expect m' t' t'ink when y' doin' dat?"

"I expect you to listen. When you don't come back to the boathouse," Scott paused to press a kiss to Remy's jaw, "Logan gets frustrated. When Logan gets frustrated, he gets bossy and irritating." Another kiss, this time to the space behind Remy's ear. "And then Jeannie gets ruthless and makes me take care of it. Now," Scott purred, "I could torture you for a little while." He nipped sharply at Remy's throat. "Or I could just make sure that you understand what I'm saying."

"Depends on what y' callin' torture these days," Remy gasped.

"I'm not a spook."

"So?" Scott tipped Gambit's chin back to receive a kiss on the mouth. Remy purred into the kiss. "You like that?" Scott asked. The half-lidded eyes and a smile were his only response. "I'll take that as a yes. You're like a big cat. Pet you and you purr. Jesus." Scott stroked through the silky bangs. Remy leaned into the touch. He checked the security monitors. Scott brushed his thumb over the nice bruise that was forming on Remy's throat. He pressed a bit harder and the younger man moved away from the touch instinctively. "Hurts?" Remy nodded. He really *was* trying to keep his mind on work. Scott smirked to himself. He pulled the wheeled chair back.

"Merde! Cyke!"

Scott shut him up with a kiss. When he released his lover's mouth, the thief looked up at him with wide eyes. The field leader settled on his knees.

"Bon Dieu," Remy whispered. "Y' wouldn't," he said slightly awed. This was not the man he'd classified as Scott. Scott didn't bother answering. He stroked along the Cajun's quickly hardening cock. Remy licked his lips. "Cher, I'm supposed t'. . ."

The sound of the zipper of his fly lowering interrupted him. He looked at the monitors, still nothing. Scott's fingers were warm on his flesh.

"Scotty, stop."

"Why?"

"Cuz if somet'in' happens right now, I'm gonna get blamed f' it."

Scott smirked up at him. "Responsibility? What is the world coming to?" Scott stroked Remy's cock lightly. He shook his head. "I really don't understand you most of the time, Gumbo." He propped himself up on Remy's thighs, looking up at him. Remy's eyes were wide and his breathing was faster than normal. The thief bit his lip. His hands settled on Scott's arms.

"Please, cher?" he begged softly. "Don' do this. I'll check in, honest. Remy'll be real good. Y'll see."

Scott nodded. He kissed each hand, then brushed a kiss against Remy's cheek. "You're good. I had Logan begging in less than a minute."

Remy snorted. "I've got more pride. And y' better brush off y'r pants or people are gonna be askin' y' what y' been gettin' up t'."

"Or down to?" Scott laughed.

*****

"Scott?" Warren said, knocking on the doorframe. Scott looked up from the computer.

"Yeah?"

"Can I talk to you?"

Scott shrugged. "Sure." He closed whatever he'd been working on and turned to Warren. "Is this a beer talk or a talk talk?"

"Talk talk," Warren confirmed. He shifted uncomfortably and went to the window. He looked out over the grounds. "I was out of line yesterday, Scott. I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For yesterday morning. For insulting you. For, for being a jealous asshole."

"Oh, for being yourself?"

Warren winced. "I guess I deserved that."

"No, no you didn't." Scott sighed. "I'm sorry. I haven't been a really good friend lately. I haven't really been there. At least not for you." He walked over and put a hand on Warren's shoulder. "Let's start over. I'm Scott Summers, and you are?"

"Warren Worthington the Third. You can just call me Trey," Warren said with a straight face.

"Darn, I was going to go with Wings, but whatever you want," Scott answered with a shrug. They both snickered. "Welcome back to the land of the living, Wings," Scott said softly.

"I needed that. I haven't laughed in a long time."

"I noticed. What changed?"

"I found out you're still stealing my credit cards."

"It's not stealing if you know about it," Scott protested.

Warren looked down his nose at him. "When they're supposed to be in my wallet?"

"Oh, *those* cards. I thought you meant the ones I'm still authorized on."

"I gave you authorization?"

"War, I'm on three of your accounts. Do you *ever* look at your bills or do you just have your secretary sign the checks?"

Warren shrugged. "Why bother when the amounts are so piddling?"

Scott snorted. "You don't look at the balances at all. It figures."

"Like a laptop worries me?"

Scott looked at him innocently. "Laptop?"

"Yes, laptop. The reason why I'm suddenly getting ads from Dell."

"You mean they haven't been sending you stuff for years? I thought all paragons of business received them?"

"At this address?"

Scott blinked. "Damn, I missed one."

"You and Jean were in an alternate time line raising your children. Or rather, dealing with the fact that you came *back* from the future after raising your son."

"Hey, it's not every marriage that gets a twelve year honeymoon night in a post-apocalyptic world."

"True," Warren conceded. He shook his head. "I thought it was him."

"Him?" Scott asked in confusion. "Bobby?"

"No. Bobby only uses them to buy porno in my name." Warren sighed. "My reputation is never going to be the same."

"What did he buy?"

"Some thing on threesomes."

"Bobby Drake?" Scott was startled. "I thought he wasn't well, I thought he hadn't. . ."

"Spit it out, Scott."

"He's still a virgin, right? I didn't really miss something *that* big, right?"

Warren stared. "Bobby is still a virgin. Bobby having sex is a disgusting thought. He's still a kid."

"I hate to point this out, Warren, but Bobby's in his twenties."

"Like I said, a kid."

"You lost your virginity at 15."

"I was mature for my age."

"You had a girl that wanted to fuck an Angel. A rich angel to boot."

"And you're going to tell me you waited until you got married to do Jean? Right."

Scott took a breath. "You thought Jean was my first?"

"Well, I had my suspicions about you and Logan, but yeah. Why?" Warren's brow furled. Scott leaned against the wall.

"I lost my virginity at 9, Warren."

Angel's heart clenched in his chest. He felt like he was breathing underwater. "What are you telling me, Scott? Spell it out for me?"

Scott took a deep breath and pushed away the residual pain and panic. "I was put in a foster home at nine. They just wanted the money and a toy to use when they got bored at night. By the time I ran away from them and onto the street, I knew more about sex than I ever wanted to and I'd contracted my first STD. If I hadn't ended up getting caught by the truant officer and returned to the orphanage, I'd probably have died from it."

Warren didn't hesitate. He might not have his real wings, he might not be as pure as he used to be, but there was one thing he'd always done. He pulled Scott into a hug and wrapped his wings around him to shield his back. "I'm sorry, Slim. I'm so sorry. I wish I could take it all back. Every nasty word I said to you when I first met you. The Hell I put you through before I trusted you as my friend."

"Why?"

"Because you're the best friend I've ever had, Scott, and I wish, by everything I never believed in, that you had never been hurt. And I wish that I had cared enough to find out more about you than your GPA and Xavier's FBI deal before now. Can you forgive me being an asshole?"

"Can you forgive me for not being perfect?"

"Yes."

"Yes," Scott replied.

*****

"Bobby," Logan nodded to the young man. "Ya ready?"

Bobby shook his head. "Not really, but I don't think I'll ever be. Let's just get started."

Logan nodded. "Come on. It ain't gonna hurt. We're gonna start with forms."

*****

"My dear Ororo."

"Yes, Hank?"

"Would you most graciously join me for an afternoon repast of modest proportions including a beverage often known as tea?"

Storm smiled. "Of course." She cocked her head to the side. "Yet, I have to wonder what devious plots are in your head, my friend."

"Plots? You have me confused with someone else."

"Then you want to pick my brain."

"Perhaps."

"Henry," she said with a little pout that she'd picked up from Gambit when they'd been partners. She had found that rare usage increased its results. Hank was no different in that respect. He fumbled with his glasses.

"It is about your brother."

"Ah, I wondered if it might be. If you wish to grill me about Remy, you will have to provide dinner, not tea. Might I suggest the new Jamacian restaurant downtown?"

Hank shook his head as he smiled. "You are too clever for me, my dear."

She laughed. "Do not try to flatter me, Henry. You do not need to." She paused, thoughtfully. "Do you have anything particular you need to know? You might wish to discuss this with Bishop. Or with Remy himself."

"Remy has been less than forthcoming. I don't know if he even knows what I'm looking for. I am hoping that by interviewing those closest to him, I may be able to discover some of the details he thinks are unimportant."

Storm smiled. "Hank, you *have* considered asking him, have you not?"

"Yes, Ororo, but I think this needs a more subtle touch."

She shook her finger at him. "You wish me to keep secrets from Remy."

"Yes, my dear, I do."

"Very well, Hank. Unless I think it is necessary for him to know."

*****

"Jeannie? 'Bout this mornin'. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at y' so," Remy said, running his hand along her collar bone to settle on her shoulder. He automatically avoided her skin. That wouldn't do. Jean stood to face him, wanting no barriers between them. Remy tended to express his emotions through touch. Jean was all for that.

Jean forced Remy harshly into the wall. She welded her mouth over his. He slid down it until she was on his lap. She curled her fingers into his hair and pushed her arousal at his mind until he couldn't deny it. He soaked in the tincture of her emotions. His eyes drifted closed as he reacted purely on ingrained techniques. He forced her kiss to gentle and stroked down her back with firm fingers. She felt his erection through the stiff fabric of his jeans. He wrapped calm around her and she fought it with lust. He pulled her back until he could look into her eyes. "What y' doin' t' me, chere?" he whispered. She squirmed in his lap.

"Driving you crazy," she purred dangerously.

His eyes flashed and she ignored his hands as she pulled forward and took possession of his mouth again. His fingers played over her back and through her hair. She bit his lip and relished the tang of his blood. He didn't pull away and let her suck at the bite. He whimpered low in the back of his throat and Jean found herself on her back on the floor. She tore her mouth away.

"My way this time," she murmured harshly and flipped them over until she was straddling his hips. She bore down on his wrists with her weight and felt the slenderness of his bones. She freed him briefly to attack his shirt.

"Chere, Remy can. . ."

"Shush, Cajun." He subsided chewing on his lip. He gave her a full little boy pout and she almost caved. "No, Remy."

"Could make it real good f' y'."

"Not today. Today you take." He shivered a little at that. She catapulted her arousal back into his mind, using the small line through his shields that she'd left when she'd erected her own barrier there for him. He shuddered, eyes dilated nearly full black.

"Y're a right bitch, Jeannie," he gasped. He reached to touch her and she pushed his hands back.

"Stay."

He glared at her, a faint coil of fear echoing against her shields. She paused in her stripping of both of them long enough to give him a comforting kiss. She fed affection and love into it and he relaxed, the fear receding. She soothed him for a moment before reaching for the lust once more. Then, she freed them both of the last shred of clothing. She felt his erection hard against her thigh. She smiled down at him bearing more than a passing resemblance to Wolverine. She settled herself on him and his eyes widened. "Chere. . ."

She pressed a finger to his lips. //I'm already pregnant.// She kissed him and shifted her hips slightly. He rested his hands on her hips offering his support. //I thought I told you to stay.//

//An' I tol' y' that y' ain't gonna get control of m' too, chere.// So saying, he broke the kiss and rolled her over onto her back. Her eyes snapped open. She tasted of fire and he smiled into her mouth. //So fight already.// She arched up and spun them once more. She enjoyed the spark in Remy's eyes. Scott wouldn't fight with her and Logan was too worried that he'd hurt her. Remy seemed to have no such compunctions. Her eyes narrowed. Just a little push with her TK and she had him the way she wanted him. "Now dat weren't fair," Remy pouted. She moved her hips. He stopped complaining. She laced her fingers into his and rocked. His hips rose to meet her movements. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the sensations. Remy closed his eyes and let her emotions seep past his shields. When she came, he barely knew that it was her orgasm and not his own. She settled against him, sweetly tired.

"Do you feel them?" she asked softly in his ear. "Can you feel the babies?"

He swallowed and swam up towards conscious thought. He let himself drift a moment between bliss and wakefulness and heard the tiny calls. Nothing like thought or emotion, just wavering, throbbing pieces of energy. They weren't complete yet, weren't real. It was the ultimate potential and he craved to touch it. If he could just reach out to it, he'd be completed himself. He jerked awake. Jean tried to calm him with soft words, but his heart was beating wildly. He tasted blood in his mouth and had just enough presence of mind to know that it was his own. Jean's hands were insistent. She curled her fist into his hair and held him still until his heart calmed. He still felt ill.

"Honey, what's wrong?"

"I can feel them."

"I know," she smiled at him. Her smile faded. "Honey, talk to me."

"Need some time, chere. Remy jus' needs some time t' t'ink."

"I'm not letting you run away again. Talk to me. Now. I can and will hold you here. You're panicking. It's a perfectly normal reaction and one I think you've been suppressing."

"Chere."

"Say my name, Remy."

"Jeannie, please," he begged as she surrounded him with her free arm.

"No, Remy. Not again."

"I wanted t' absorb dem." His voice cracked and Jean's arms tightened.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't think that. . . Your charge would see them as incomplete. I'm sorry, honey. I didn't realize."

"I hate it. I hate it, Jeannie. I hate m' charge. I hate m' charm. I hate m' eyes. I hate all of it. Better if Chat had left m' t' die."

"He did."

"Non, chere. He called Sinister an' took m' back t' him. Who else gonna save dis miserable t'ief?"

She held him close. "I love you, Remy. I know you don't want to hear that. I know you don't believe it, but I do. I love you. And there's nothing that's going to change that. Sinister is *not* the only person who cares for you. He is *not* the only person in your life that would save you. Don't talk like that." She kissed him gently. "And I know you hate your mutation. All of us do at some point or other. But I for one, couldn't live without it anymore. Could you?"

"Non. Been dealin' wit' it f' so long, chere. Merde. M' eyes is what made m' parents get rid of m'."

"What do you mean, honey?"

"Somebody done sold m' t' de Antiquary. He wants m' because of m' eyes. Was gonna keep m'. His precious boy. Just because of m' eyes. Could pass wit'out them. Can when the pain's so bad they turn blue." He closed his eyes and rested them against the side of her neck, willing himself not to cry, to be calm. He carefully, firmly built a shield around the memories that were trying to escape.

"Will you let me help, Baby?" she whispered.

He shook his head. "Gotta do this alone, chere."

"But you aren't alone anymore, Remy. I'm here. Scott's here. Logan's here. We aren't going to let you go, you know that by now."

"When Rogue comes back, then what?"

"She gave you up, Remy. You're ours. She's welcome to return, the team can always use her. But she can't have you." Jean lifted his face from the crook of her neck and held it so that they're eyes met. "I will fight her." He swallowed. There was wonder in his eyes and Jean's heart broke for him. "No more running, Remy. No more hiding. You aren't alone. Let us support you."

He inclined his head. It was a surrender, not acceptance. He'd let them try, she decided. But he would run and run so far that they'd never find him if she betrayed the trust he was placing in her hands. She kissed his forehead. "Come on, Baby. Let's take a shower. You can help me with my hair."

He rolled his eyes. "Just cuz y' ain't had someone who knows what t' do wit' it," he said, raising his brows. His eyes glittered with mischief. Jean smiled.

*****

Bobby flopped onto the couch in the rec room with a groan. Scott looked up from whatever he was reading to stare at him. He cocked his head to the side. "I'm sensing Logan-fatigue. You going to live or should I call Hank?"

"Hank is out with Storm having the time of his life while I am laying here dying!"

"Oh?" Scott's brows went up.

"You, the biggest gossip on the campus, didn't know that Hank and Ro were out tonight?"

"I have been holed up doing the bullshit work that keeps you in a campus, so shut it accountant-boy."

"Yes, sir, Fearless Leader, sir."

"That's better. Do you think you're going to live?"

"Unfortunately. I've got another lesson with him tomorrow."

"So you've finally decided to give self-defense a try? I'm glad. Logan's a good teacher."

"I was going to try to talk Gambit into lessons too."

"You're closer to his build," Scott agreed, "but I think that Logan's the better teacher for you."

"Why?"

"Because he's willing to pound you into the ground."

Bobby put his arm over his eyes. "Are you telling me that your boyfriend's got the hots for me? Because if you are, I have to say this, I'm really not interested."

Scott snorted. "If Logan tries it, I'll kill him. If anyone on this campus deserves a shot at you, it's Hank."

"Hank is out with Storm. He could have interrogated her here, but instead they went out to dinner. I think that should indicate something."

"That Storm can't get anyone else to eat the same kind of food she does?"

"Hank has a crush on her, I'll have you know."

"Hank has been pulling your leg. He and Ororo are not involved. Besides, I thought Storm and Bishop were getting into things."

"Ro just likes the idea of having someone she can zap without causing damage."

"Funny, Bobby. Really funny. I heard them singing together."

"Bishop can sing?"

"Yeah. Really well too," Scott said wistfully. "I wonder if he reads music?"

Bobby shifted his arm so he could look at his friend. "Are you writing again?" Scott looked down at the pages in his hand.

"Just looking over some old stuff. It's been years."

"Since before the Phoenix," Bobby stated softly. "I haven't seen you pick up a guitar since."

"I haven't. I don't even know if it's still around."

"It's in my room."

"What?"

"I wanted to make sure nothing happened to it. And you were so upset that I was worried that you wouldn't keep it." Bobby shifted uncomfortably. "I mean, I know it wasn't right, but I just sort of took it out of your room. No one noticed. Not even you. You haven't even made motions about it in years."

"There never seems to be the time."

"Scott? Are you really okay with sharing Red and Logan? I mean, honestly."

Scott smiled. "Yeah, I am. I wouldn't have agreed to it if I didn't want it."

"You sure?"

"Very sure."'

"Okay. I think you're an idiot, but okay."

"Why?"

"It's hard enough to keep one relationship. Hell, I couldn't even start with Rogue, and you're planning on maintaining three?"

"It seems to get easier. I don't know why. But there's just this ease of maneuvering now." Scott shrugged. "Hell, I don't know. I'm probably insane, but I'm happy. From what I can tell, Logan's happy and so's Jean. Remy, well, I worry about him." Scott gestured in the air. "But things will work out."

Bobby just nodded. "Just make sure I'm up in time for bed, okay?" Bobby yawned.

"Sure."

"Hey, Slim?"

"What?"

"Sing me to sleep."

Scott stared.

"I mean it." Bobby grinned. "Come on. You know you want to."

Scott frowned. "I don't have any clue what to sing."

"How about that thing with the horses?"

"Horses?" Scott searched his memories. "Ponies? The lullaby?"

"Yeah."

"You asked for it," Scott warned. He settled back in his chair and started to sing. Bobby's eyes closed. He didn't even wake when Jean carried him to bed in one of her bubbles.

*****

"Did I hear Scott singing?" Warren asked as he fixed a cup of cocoa for his lover.

Betsy smiled. "Yes. Bobby demanded a lullaby."

"Thank God. I thought I was going insane. Scott hasn't sung a note since the Phoenix thing."

Betsy stared at him. "I wasn't even aware that he could sing."

"He writes music too. It goes with the mathematics thing. He sees the rhythms in his head. He plays guitar too, but I haven't seen him do that since Jean died either."

"But she's back."

"Bad memories, I'd guess. Whipped cream?"

"Yes, please."

*****

"Hey, Cajun. How you doin'?" Wolverine asked, settling next to the young man who was smoking on the pier.

"I been better."

"Wanna talk?"

"Nope."

"Wanna fuck?"

Remy laughed. "Non, merci. Cuddle a bit, mebbe," he offered. Logan lifted his arm and Remy snuggled under it. He took in a deep breath of smoke.

"Why the fuck do ya smoke those clove things? Ain't like they're gonna give ya a rush."

"Non, it's more of the cool factor. Habit. Jus' like the taste better. Nicotine don' make it a better smoke. Keeps m' busy when I'm t'inkin'."

"Brooding."

"Potato, Pahtato."

Logan snorted. He stroked Remy's arm. "Ya know somethin', Gumbo?"

"What?"

"I think yer higher maintenance than ya wanna be."

"Why y' say that?"

"Because yer out here, freezin' yerself on the lake when ya could be inside snug and warm and blissed."

"Mebbe Remy likes bein' hunted?"

"Guess I'll have to start huntin' ya again. Maybe I'll collar ya fer real next time."

Remy snorted. "Ain't my scene."

"I know, but it's fun messin' with ya." Remy curled closer and tossed away the butt with a flick of his wrist. It exploded with a small pop over the lake.

"Just like fireworks."

"Yeah." Logan laid his cheek on the top of Remy's head. "Ya know that if ya get scared, ya can tell me right?"

"Oui, Logan, I know."

"I got yer back."

"Merci."

Logan's hand slipped down to settle on one ass-cheek possessively. He stroked it and Remy squirmed. "Now what y' up to, M. Logan?" Remy asked archly.

Logan grinned, exposing his fangs. He slid his hand into Remy's pants, down the furrow of his back. Remy's tongue flicked out to wet his lips. Logan caught him in a kiss. By the time he let Remy breath on his own, the thief's eyes were dilated and his cock was hard. Logan licked along Remy's cheekbone. The spikes of the five-o'clock shadow made the texture more interesting. Remy shivered. "We go inside now, oui?" Remy asked.

"Maybe I was plannin' on doin' ya right here, under the stars."

Remy blinked. "Ain't any more stars up there. Dey all in y'r eyes," he said seriously.

Logan's jaw dropped. "Ya know somethin', kid? Yer the first person I've ever heard say somethin' like that who didn't sound like he was bullshittin'."

"I can see dem," Remy said firmly. His eyes were fixated on Logan's bright blue ones and Logan had the funniest quiver in his stomach. Maybe the kid really was seeing something like stars. Logan kissed him gently and ceded the battle. He twined his arm around the Cajun's waist to lead him inside. Jean looked up at them from her magazine. She smiled. Remy was already so focussed on Logan that he didn't even see her. She snickered softly to herself. She slid up the stairs behind them to watch. Scott looked out from the kitchen and up the stairs. He debated for a moment, then decided to simply open his channel with Jean fully. She reciprocated, letting him see through her eyes when he wanted.

Remy looked up at Logan with the widest eyes the Canadian had ever seen. They were filled with an odd sense of awe and Logan stroked Remy's cheek, his cock starting to twitch from just looking at them. Remy pressed a kiss to Logan's palm, then a quick one to his mouth. "Y' let m' worship y' t'night, cher? Jus' lay back and Remy take control? Mebbe make y' come wit'out ever touchin' y'r cock. We see, oui?"

Logan nodded. He felt the charm tangling around him with the softness of cotton batting. Remy stripped Logan slowly, stroking every inch of skin with his fingertips as it was exposed, except for Logan's cock. He could here a grumbling purring noise and realized that it wasn't from Logan's throat. Remy was humming with energy. He wanted to make Logan writhe beneath his assault. Logan stroked Remy's hair. Remy shook his head. "Jus' lay back," he ordered calmly. "Can' concentrate when y' touch m'."

"Maybe I don't want ya to concentrate. Maybe I want ya so hot ya can't think."

Remy licked his lips. He considered raising his shields, but decided that he was so far along that it wouldn't do him any good. "Y' keep talkin', cher, y' ain't gonna get any cuz Remy's gonna be all spent."

Logan's eyes dropped closed and he stretched. He heard the younger man's breath choke in his throat a moment before evening out. Then Remy's tongue lapped up the bead of sweat at Logan's temple and all thoughts of torturing the boy fled. Delicate flutters of tongue and fingers tracked over Logan's skin igniting flames of sensation. "Y' so gorgeous, cher," Remy whispered. His fingers tracked over the muscles of Logan's forearm leaving a tingling trail that edged on burning behind it. Logan's breath caught as Remy's mouth fastened at his throat, marking him. Remy watched the bruise fade sadly. He renewed it, enjoying the way Logan moved up to meet him. He stroked through Logan's hair. It was tangled in places and Remy shook his head. He'd have to do something about that. He ghosted touches over the Canadian's face in wonder. The cares that he wore during most of the day had disappeared making him seem young. It was a transformation the Cajun had never seen before. He felt tears pricking in his eyes and leaned down to press a kiss to Logan's mouth. It was light and gentle. "Merci, Logan," he whispered, even though the man would never know what he was talking about.

Logan's nose twitched as he smelled the salt of tears. The soft brush of lips and the soft purr of Remy's voice kept him in the rapidly heating state he was in. He was being burned alive from the inside out and it felt so damn good that he didn't want to move. Something hard and painful in his heart had been removed and even if it was temporary, he couldn't find any reason to care. The kid was purring something soft and warm into his ear and Logan's cock twitched with every rise in his voice. He had no idea what he was hearing, just an outpouring of sweet and hot and spicy. He opened to a brief touch at his lips and was rewarded with a rush of words as he sucked in the talented finger. He couldn't lay still any longer, no matter what the heaviness of his limbs argued. His eyes flicked open and he reached up with unerring accuracy to wrap his hand in warm auburn silk and pulled the Cajun's mouth to his own.

Remy melted against Logan's body, he'd lost control of the spell of affection he'd been weaving. Logan just felt so good where his hardened body came into contact with Remy's smoother skin. Remy rubbed himself along Logan's side, and forced his mind back to the task at hand. At this point, he didn't think Logan would mind if he was a little more direct in his stimulation. Remy's fingers curled around Logan's cock, feeling, weighing, exploring the hard length. Logan arched up into the touch. His breath panted against Remy's lips. Remy traced Logan's lips with the tip of his tongue and a moan worked from Logan's chest. Remy felt Logan's muscles coil. He was ready. Remy sealed his lips over Logan's and stroked firmly once. Logan came, spurting over Remy's fingers. The thief surrendered to the pleasure and slumped bonelessly against Logan's chest. He brought his hand up to lick it clean. Logan stroked Remy's side, eyes empty.

Jean leaned against the wall. They'd only lost one plate when Scott had lost his concentration on the dishes. It was definitely worth it. She'd move to the bed in a minute, she promised herself. Scott picked her up half an hour later.

FINIS