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Whisper in My Ear

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Whisper in My Ear


Remy blinked at the figure smiling down at him. He gave her a sleepy smile, feeling his lover's arm tighten around his waist. He was comfortably warm and surprisingly secure in the midst of the king size bed. He could hear his lovers breathing gently in the rhythm of deep sleep.

The woman looking down at him was faintly familiar. Her smile was sad, but gentle. They looked at each other for a long moment, then Scott turned over. She vanished. Remy closed his eyes and slept.

****

Rogue played with the stuffed frog prince. Currently, he was heading a stealth infiltration of the Pillow King's fortress, aided by his trusty partner the blue eyed Siamese cat. They had just scaled the mountain ridge behind the fortress when there was a sharp rap at the door. The frog went into the highest leap he'd ever made. Rogue managed to catch him and set him back into his place of honor on the bed. "Who is it?"

"Bobby."

"Come in, sugah."

"Hey. How are the troops?" Bobby asked as he came in and closed the door.

"They're pretty good. Got some new blood the other day." She pointed to the center of her shelf of animals which now sported a seal and a parrot."

"And who are they?"

"Michaelmas and Henry."

"Interesting."

"What's up, Bobster?'

Bobby leaned against the wall. "Well, you see, I need a favor."

"Oh?" She raised a brow. "What sort of favor?"

He grinned and outlined his latest trick to get Hank out of the lab.

****

Remy measured Colossus' painting again, making notes on his notepad. Then, he measured the mantel and windows once more. He figured out the wall area, threw in some extra for fudging and called it good. Logan watched him. The Cajun was so deeply engrossed in yardages that he didn't notice his lover stalking him.

He turned and nearly jumped out of his skin. He touched down, fighting ready before he recognized the Canadian. "Merde, cher! Don' sneak up on a body so."

Logan grinned. "Lemme apologize." He kissed the younger man gently. He slowly pulled back, licking at Remy's lip. "You been stealin' Chuck's scotch again?"

"Bourbon," Remy corrected, leaning in for a better kiss. Logan obliged him. "What can ole Remy do f' M. Wolverine den?"

"I'd be careful, kiddo, I got all sorts of answers for that question."

"Oui? An' what's t'day's answer?"

"You done here?"

"Oui."

"Good. Put up yer numbers."

"Why?"

"It's a surprise."

"Don' know if'n I can trust y', cher." Remy tucked his papers away.

"If ya don't trust me, who ya gonna trust?"

Remy grinned. He followed the Canadian out of the house towards the woods. They were going in the direction of "their" clearing, so Remy wasn't prepared for a detour that took them towards the far edge of the woods. "Logan?"

"Hush."

"But, cher. . ." Logan kiss him soundly.

"Trust me, kiddo."

Remy nodded. He held out his hand. Logan took it, smiling. The woods were bathed in the dappled light of a fall sun. The leaves were just starting to turn. In the distance, Remy could hear the Canadian geese. The first time he'd heard them, he'd though he was hearing voices. Logan was humming a sweet old love song. Beyond that, they walked in silence.

Then, they stepped free of the trees. Remy's breath caught. He hadn't known there was a valley there. A picnic basket and blanket were set out. Jean and Scott were sitting, quiet, watchful. Remy cocked his head to the side. //Sh, sweetie. You'll see.//

Remy settled down on the ground. Logan sat down and Scott leaned against him. Remy shook his head in amusement. He wouldn't have pegged Scott as a such a cuddler. Logan smirked and settled his arm around the field leader.

//You didn't miss anything.// Jean told Logan. The Cajun watched his lovers, questions in his eyes. He turned his eyes to the scene. It was a simple to take pleasure in the scene. His fingers itched to paint it, but he'd given that up long ago.

Then, Remy became aware of a strange rumbling. The train's horn sounded in the distance and a black cloud rose into the sky from the valley and the trees around them. The cloud of birds rose up past the hill they were on, into the sky and away.

Remy's jaw dropped. "We're on the migration path from Canada," Scott said softly.

"Dere's so many of them."

"Amazing isn't it?"

"Beautiful."

"How'd y' find it?"

Scott looked up at the sky. "I was going to run away from the school. I didn't want to be here. I thought leaving the back way would be better than the front door. That way the professor wouldn't get into trouble for misplacing me. I ended up on the ridge just as they took flight. My surprise, my awe attracted the professor's attention. He sent Warren after me. He took me flying with them. I come out every year."

"Good surprise, Darlin'?"

"Oui."

****

"Hey, Scorp," Bobby typed.

"Hi, S.F. How you been?"

"Pretty good. Normal. This week at least. You?"

"Back in DC. Hectic, but normal. One catastrophe per day. :)"

"LOL. Only one? Slacker."

"You love me anyhow. Oh, on that goodie you sent me: That's high level shadows you've got."

"Really?"

"Definitely. I'll send you the info on the same program."

"Thanks. Anyone new in your life?"

"Me? Are you kidding? You?"

"You know I don't have a life."

"Someday I'm going to come and give you one."

"Oh? Is that a promise?"

"As soon as I know how to find you. *wink*"

"Sorry, gorgeous, I love you, but I don't trust you *that* much."

":) That's my paranoid hunk."

"Hunk, huh?"

"Yep."

"You wish."

"That's okay. I'm not gorgeous either."

"I'll believe that when I see it."

"*grins* Ask me nicely."

"Ha. Ha."

****

"Oui, Kitty. Can y' sharpen up the text on number three and make the blue a little less harsh in number 14? Merci, petite. I'll send y' some chocolate soon."

"You'd better. Oh, and Cajun, pick Jubilee up or she's never going to believe you didn't seduce Logan."

"Ah, merde! Things got so hectic I f'got. I owe her a shoppin' trip."

"Don't you mean 'gossip' trip?"

"That too." Remy shrugged. "Talk to you soon." They both hung up. Remy checked the time. He wouldn't be able to make it to Boston tonight. Jubilee was going to make him pay for "seducing" Logan. He didn't mind buying things for her, just the rumor that he was the one who started things. He fingered the earring, wondering how long Jean had been planning for it. The earring wasn't Scott's, or Logan's, or hers. He'd have noticed. Remy always noticed jewelry, it was an occupational hazard.

Jean watched the pensive thief for a long moment. He seemed a million miles away.

"What y' want, chere?" The question made Jean jump.

"I didn't mean to disturb you." Jean sat on the edge of Remy's bed.

"What's up?" Remy asked, turning to straddle his chair.

"What is the project you and Scott are working on?"

"An ad campaign. That's all. What can Remy do f' y'?"

Jean crossed her legs. "He can do the shopping with em."

"Chere, not t' be superstitious, but the last time y' went t' market, y' got kidnapped."

"That's why I didn't collar Logan for it this time. He'll get guilty and brooding, which can be intense, but boring. Come on, Sweetie, it won't hurt." Remy rolled his eyes. He liked shopping. He readily admitted to being a bit of a jackdaw. He liked to cook. But he hated, absolutely hated, the grocery store. He'd been caught shoplifting twice as a little boy and turned over to the orphanage. He'd run away both times. Still, he hated the places.

Jean put on her best pout. "But everyone else is already doing their chores. I hate going shopping alone."

"Get Scotty. An' y' know better'n t' pout at *me*, chere. Remy's immune."

Jean sighed. She ran a hand through her hair. "He's busy sweetie."

"And I ain't?"

"You're not in a conference with the professor. And you're more mature than Bobby."

Remy sighed. He'd known he would be doing something as soon as she walked in. Actually, he'd hoped she was interested in something a little more stimulating. Jean held out her hand. "Please?" she said sweetly.

"Oui, chere. Let m' get m' coat." He squeezed her hand. She tugged him closer and kissed him softly on the lips.

"Thanks."

"Wouldn' get no rest if'n I didn't."

"True. And I can make your life very difficult."

"Hard, non?" He winked at her as he fished his shades out of his trench and set them on the top of his head.

"I wish you didn't have to wear those."

Remy shrugged. "Life ain't fair, chere. I ain't a pretty, never will be. Folks out there don' like it much. There been some dat like m' eyes, but not many."

Jean's smile was sad. "I know." She spoke softly.

"Give m' a real smile, ma petite." Remy tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

"I'll get the keys and meet you in the garage."

Remy nodded. He'd be able to get a cigarette in before his torture. He wandered down to the garage, cigarette on his lip. "Hey, Rogue. Robert. Who y'all plannin' t' trip up now?"

"Warren."

"Have fun."

"Where you goin, sugah?" Rogue was too focused on the catapult part she was crafting to look up. Remy lit the cigarette with a touch.

"Out."

She scowled at him. "This is why you drive me crazy."

"Because y're a nosy bitch?"

The young woman's face pulled into a deeper frown. Her eyes hardened. "Why are ya makin' this so difficult?"

"Because I ain't ready t' f'give an' f'get yet. Y' took half an' when I offered the rest, y' tossed it int' m' face that I ain't up t' the standards of a terrorist." Remy took a breath to calm himself. He hated the bitterness I his voice. "I loved y', Rogue." His voice was soft.

Bobby sat frozen. Once again he had a front row seat to the spectacle of Remy and Rogue. And once again he didn't want to watch, but couldn't look away.

"Ya don't know how to love." Rogue's voice was pure poison with its honey drawl.

"Try not projectin' y'r feelin's on m'. Y' de one that don' get it girl. Y' de one always do the breakin' up. I'd've stayed wit' y' f'ever. Even ole pups can learn new tricks though. An' I'm learnin' t' live without y'. If'n y'd ever looked at m' memories y'd understand I. . . Nevermind, girl. It ain't y'r problem no mo'."

Remy turned away and headed for the van. Rogue closed her eyes. "I know the gloves were for you not me," she said softly. "Ya could've told me."

"I can't do no mo' of this, Rogue. Ole Remy's wore out."

"How did ya get ahold of your powers, Remy?" Her voice was soft, curious.

"Surgery."

Rogue's eyes closed. "I won't do that, sugah. We talked about it."

"And I ain't never suggested different! I ain't never pushed y' t' do not'in'!"

"Liar."

"I wanted y' t' learn how t' manage y'r powers. Ain't no crime in that. Y' just scared. Y' gave up after Danvers."

"I nearly killed you!"

"Non, chere, only three weeks in a coma, not f'ever. Y' gettin' better! Y' can steal powers no trouble an' leave folks conscious. M' shields caused the trouble."

"I'm glad they were there. Why didn't ya tell me about your charm?"

"That's self-evident, chere." He smirked at her. "M' charm is. . ."

"No," she said sharply, "not your looks, manners or talk. Not your history. Your charm. The power that lets you control people. Control me!"

"I ain't never used it on y', Rogue. Y' ain't allowed t' blame m' f' your own mind an' heart."

Rogue stared at him. Bobby did too. The thief shifted, uneasy at the regard. Finally, Bobby spoke. "When'd you grow a backbone, Cajun?"

"Hehn?'

"You ain't never talked like that, Swamp Rat."

"Y' just never given m' a chance. 'Sides, I didn' tell y' cause I knew what y'd assume."

Jean arrived, cheeks a bit flushed, keys in her hand. "Sorry, Sweetie." Remy's brows rose. It was just foolish to feel jealous about Jean kissing someone good-bye, but he did. Hell, he wanted to be kissed like that. "I'm sorry. Did I interrupt something?"

"Non. We finished. I'm drivin'. Y' look distracted."

"Logan can be rambunctious."

Bobby snickered. Remy winked at him. He took the keys and got in.

****

Scott flopped into his office chair. He closed his eyes and rubbed the side of his head. The blood thumped loudly in his ears. There was a knock on the doorframe. He winced.

Warren spoke softly. "Hey, Slim. You want something from Hank?"

"Depends on why you're here."

"I wanted to talk, but it can wait."

"Then, no. Thanks for offering." Scott cracked his eyes open. "You want to set up a meeting?"

Warren shook his head. "I'm heading into town. I'll see you ina few days."

"Take your training schedule?"

"I've got it. You're snippy. Get some rest."

"Fuck off, Wings."

"Bitch." Warren laughed at Scott's respondent gesture.

****

Logan settled the remote under his thigh and leaned back to watch the football game in peace. No one would be stupid enough to disturb him there.

****

Rogue shoved a pack of peanut butter crackers into her jacket. "I'm going out, Joseph." She kissed his cheek.

"Be careful, my dear." He gave her an absent smile, mind engrossed by a novel by Victor Hugo.

Rogue shook her head. How could she have fallen for two men that were so different? Still wondering she took off. There was nothing better than flying in the fall air. Maybe she'd even go downtown.

****

Remy leaned against the shopping cart. He wished for a cigarette. Jean frowned at him.

//What's the matter?//

//Nothing.//

"Do you see soy crumbles?"

"Hehn?"

"For the chili. You've eaten them quite cheerfully."

"Chere, they in the cart."

Jean looked into the cart. "No, that's tofu for Ro's stir fry."

"What's the difference?"

"Tofu's too firm." Jean peered through the glass at the freezer case items. Remy leaned his chin on the back of his hands where they rested on the cart.

"I ain't never seen soy crumbles. Merde, chere, it's cold in here."

"Do I take that to mean you don't want any ice cream?"

"Don' be a bitch, Jeannie."

The sound of automatic gun fire sent both of them to the floor. //They're shielded, honey. Make it a mutant matter.//

//Don' mean that. Still a cop matter. If'n they don't use their powers we keep our heads down an' don' interfere unless there ain't no way out. Bein!//

//I don't trust the police.//

//Me neither, but we better off not getting' in the way.//

Remy pulled her closer.

"You two, up front."

The couple joined the rest of the hostages in the front of the store. "Chere," the Cajun said softly, "we ain't never lettin' y' shop again. Use the internet an' have them deliver."

"Shut up, boy." The leader of the gang was tall and bulky. It was muscle not flab. Ex-con, the thief analyzed. "That all of them?"

"Yes." Each of the other five confirmed.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you're not being held up, you are being held hostage. With the world being what it is, there are times when things don't go according to plan. Actually, we've already cleaned out the bank. If you'd all put your cell-phones into the box here, none of you will be harmed. The manager has already called it in as power failure on the fire alarm that's forcing us to close early. The doors are locked." The lights started to click off, sector by sector. Remy settle don the floor. He calmly turned off his phone. He raised his hand. "Yes?"

"After the cops pass by an' y'all leave, we gonna get our phones back or should I write down all m' contact numbers first?"

The leader considered. He tossed the young man a notepad and pen. "No guarantees."

"Bien."

There was a quickly stifled snicker. The leader glared at his youngest team member. Remy copied down his contact numbers. Jean rolled her eyes. Around the room other people followed suit. As soon as he was finished, Remy sent a tiny charge through the system. He'd learned as a teenager that his powers could fry circuits without the tell-tale-smell of burning wires. The phone was a total write-off, but better that than someone getting ahold of his numbers. He dropped his phone into the box.

Jean curled up next to him on the floor. "Tell me you have a deck of cards."

"Of course. Ain't even marked." Remy pulled them out carefully. "Poker? We can grab some chips from the snack aisle."

"No," the leader said flatly. "Put the cards away."

Remy looked up. He pouted almost automatically as he put the deck back in his pocket. Jean sighed. //We'll just have to figure out another way to entertain ourselves.//

//Not now, chere, I have a headache.//

//You sound like Scott.//

//Y' got weird ideas, Jeannie.//

//Christ! I wasn't thinking sex.//

//Merde. I was hopin' f' a good fantasy. Mebbe spin the bottle. Oh well.//

"How long y' figure b'for' the cops pass by an' we can all go our separate ways?"

"That depends on how good the cops are around here."

"Merde. We fucked if y' want *good* ones. All we got is City-rejects."

"Hey! That's not fair," one of the other men chimed in. His bald head shined dully in the lingering sunlight through the windows. "We've got Boston rejects here too."

"I seem to have failed to give you all the right motivation."

"Nah, cher. Y' jus' found a bunch of folks been hassled by Westchester's finest. Long as y' don' kill none of us or somet'in' we keep quiet. Bank's insured."

Remy had noticed the off-duty police-woman earlier in their ramblings. He wished she'd been a little quicker getting out of the store. The last thing they needed was for one of the men to figure it out. He glanced at her. She was a petite blonde. He wondered if her eyes were blue. He didn't realize he was staring until Jean smacked the back of his head. "Eyes this way, boyo."

"Ain' dead yet," he muttered rubbing the abused spot. "Y' don' have t' hit so hard."

****

"What's wrong, Slim? Head botherin' ya?"

"Yeah. Hank's coming with something for me. First time in two years. Used to be once a month when I first got here." Logan reached to turn out the desk lamp. "No, I'll trip on something on the way to the couch. I'm not good I the dark."

"I'll carry ya."

"Mean it?"

"Yup."

"Just help me limp along. I'm wobbly."

Logan snorted. He gathered Scott up carefully and lifted. The angry squeak turning into a moan. Scott wrapped his arms around Logan and tried to hold steady - he barely felt the movement as they crossed the room. Tears leaked from screwed-closed eyes as Logan set him down. His arms tightened. Logan stroked Scott's hair. "Lay down, kiddo. Blue'll take good care of ya."

"Stay?"

"I ain't got anywhere to go." Logan settled on the floor. Scott's migraines were infrequent, thankfully, but they struck with such fury that Scott'd be out of commission until he woke up from Blue's shot.

Speaking of the doctor, Hank showed up with a capped needle. A dab of alcohol and brief pain later, and the Demerol took effect. Blue patted his patient's shoulder. "Sleep well, Fearless. He'll be dead to the world for at least six hours. You don't have to stay. I can take him upstairs."

"I promised I'd stay. I can take him up if ya think he's better off in his bed."

Hank shook his head. "He'll be groggy and bitchy when he wakes up in any case."

Logan nodded. He tucked the afghan Jean's mother had given the couple for their wedding around him. The Canadian stroked the younger man's hair. He settled into the lotus position. He rested his hand on Scott's head and closed his eyes.

****

Remy's toe tapped. Finally, the leader broke. "Jesus Christ! Did you miss you're Ritalin or something?"

Remy blinked. "Sorry. Get bored easy me."

"I've noticed," Jean muttered. "No checking out pert-breasted blondes."

"Oui, chere."

"Maybe you should take a nap. In fact that might be the best for all of you."

"Ain't tired. Jus' bored. If'n y' let us play poker we be better off. Mebbe strip poker."

"That's is. Can I borrow you're gun. *Someone* is going to sleep."

"Ah, Red, dey gonna get bored if all they watchin' is a bunch of sleepin' folks."

"Better sleeping than dead. Lay down like a good boy." The leader tapped his gun lightly on the barrel. "Then things won't get messy."

"Y' don' want t' shoot us jus' f' a diversion."

"But consider the great pleasure it will give me."

"Just lay down and shut up," Jean snapped.

"Mood swings dis early in de game?"

"Now I know why your girlfriend used to beat you!"

Remy smirked. He laid down on his side, head resting on his curled arm. He closed his eyes. Jean settled against him. //Are you sure we should let this stay a police matter?//

//I'm bored but boss-man's a smart one. He's just the contingency plan an' he knows it. As it stands these folks'll remember us more'n them. 'Cept f' the boy wit' his book. I'm worryin' on the cop.//

//Cop?//

//The pert-breasted blonde.//

//Is that why you were interested?// Jean's surprise was evident.

//Y' really were jealous?//

//Yes. God, I only just managed to catch you.//

//How long were y' plannin' it?//

Jean snuggled closer. //I've wanted you since the first day, but I've loved you for more than six months.//

//As y' lil' brother.//

//I wouldn't do my brother. That's sick.//

//Some folks'd say we're sick.//

//They'd be wrong. What we are is wonderful and beautiful and pure.//

//I don' love y'all.//

//Liar.// Jean heard a light snore from the bald-headed man.

//Maybe we should invite the cop over. Must be lonely.//

//No way, boyo. I'd have your wife in the bed, but not a cop. I don't sleep with cops.//

//But y'd sleep with a woman? I did' know y' were bi.//

//Storm's my *best* friend.//

//I don' like thinkin' 'bout Stormy an' sex. 'Sides, seems t' m' that Henri's takin' good care of her.//

//I didn't say it was recent. I have in the past. But it has to be someone I know very well.//

//I just never knew.//

//But you don't have the fantasy?//

//Two femmes? Non. Don' know why.//

//No emotion?//

//Exactly. It just don' matter t' me.//

//Because of your empathy?//

//Long as folks are int' it. Don' get porn me.//

//No Playboy channel?//

//Never seen the point. Sex ain't no fun if y' ain't doin' it.//

A shot broke off the conversation. It only took a moment for the situation to become clear. The officer had her tipped her hand too early. Remy went to her side, unconcerned by the leader's weapon. Jean would shield him from that. The cop's eyes were blue, he discovered. She cradled the stomach wound, eyes wide, teeth already starting to chatter. "Who y' want m' t' tell y' g'byes to, chere?"

"Mom. Notebook?"

"In y'r jacket?"

"Yeah." Remy fished it out. "Tell her, 'Sarah says sorry.' Tell Sandy I love her. Oh God." She clenched in pain. "My daughter. Fuck. Mom won't take her. She's a mutant."

"Don' worry. We will." Remy soothed. "What's her name?"

"Kelly-Ann."

"I asked y' her name."

"Melody. Double vocal cords."

"We take her someplace she'll be safe. Anyone else?"

"No."

Remy tore the sheet of paper off after getting her address. "Now, y' got a religion?"

She grimaced. "No."

Rmey sighed. "Make t'ings hard, non?"

"Believe in God, not religion. Sometimes. After Melody, I couldn't. Voice of an angel and those Christian-right-wing bastards try to tell me she's evil."

"Non, chere. Not evil. An' faith ain't the same as religion. Y' need t' confess? I'll pretend t' be a priest?"

"Take advantage of me, you mean?"

Remy stroked her sweat-soaked brow. "Of course. I sit wit' y'. Y' tall m' anythin'. Good at secrets me."

"Pretty girlfriend."

"Yours or mine?"

"Sharing already? I hardly know you. Trade you an ex-boyfriend who forgot to tell me he's gay?"

"I don't know. . . he cute?"

"Gorgeous. Should've clued me in. How'd you meet her?"

"Well, we worked t'gether. Always thought she was pretty> Tempting enough t' risk makin' her boy jealous t' steal a kiss."

"What did he do? She asked as he pressed a balled up scarf from an inner pocket to the wound.

"After t'reatenin' t' drop a truck on m' head?" Remy smirked, then leaned down to whisper in her ear. "Turns out *he* wanted t' kiss m'."

Sarah laughed. "Oh fuck that hurts. Must've hit something vital."

Remy nodded. Jean watched, anger burning in her chest. How could someone shoot a sweet woman, even if she *was* a cop. //Rems, I'm not waiting for the cops.//

//Give m' a count.//

//Six bad guys. No problem. I'll get the guns. You beat them down for me.//

//Got it. Just don' put y' hand t' y' forehead. Don' want y' t' be a target.//

"Y' keep this pressed here? Gonna see 'bout getting some supplies."

//5//

//Don' forget the manager. Inside man.//

//Only six guns though. We've got 10 hostages to protect. 4.//

//Didn' think this place was ever this empty.//

//3// Remy stood up, wiping his hands on a handkerchief.

//2// He moved toward Jean.

//Go!// The guns flew towards the ceiling. Remy's foot lashed out, taking down the closest man. He dove for the leader next, sure he'd react most quickly. Once the leader was out, the rest were easy to take down. Remy looked around. There were only four men on the floor. He frowned.

"Don't worry. They're over ere." The boy with the book pointed down the aisle. Remy looked and found the two men tied with duct tape. The boy offered the roll.

"Merci."

"Bien." He went back to his reading. Remy bound the rest of the gang. He returned the tape. "I want a raise." Remy's brows rose. "Put in a good word?"

"Well, y' best talk wit' y' boss, non?"

"She'll listen to you." Their voices were soft. "You're her husband."

"We jus' keep y' out of the police report. Back alarm out?"

"Maybe."

Remy smiled. Then, turned back to the scene. He picked up a cell-phone at random and dialed the local police. Then, after giving them the address and an "officer down" report, he made sure the cameras weren't taping anything. The manager had been in on it. There were no tapes. No evidence except for eyewitness reports. Good, Remy thought. Now, who will be the heroes?"

By the time he got back to the front of the store, the hostage takers, plus their accomplice were neatly lined up, their weapons in a heap. Jean nodded towards Sarah. Remy went to here. "Hey, chere."

"Hi, cutie-pie." Her hands were cold and her skin was clammy. "You'd be a good cop."

"Nah, chere, folks don' take kindly t' my kind."

"They should. Tell Melody I love her?"

"Oui. Can y' try t' hold on? Mebbe y' tell her y'self."

"Don't lie. It's not nice."

"Try f' m', chere. Try f' Melody. She need sher mama."

"Need a tape. Give custody."

Remy pawed through his coat. He found the hand-held recorder. It had a tape rubber-banded to it. He set it up, tested it, then handed it over.

"This is the last will and testament of Sarah MacLeod. I can no longer claim sound body. I've been shot. The only change I am making is for my daughter. Custody of Kelly-Anne MacLeod is hereby given to. . ." Remy supplied a business card. "Xavier's Institute for the Gifted." She added the address. She shut off the tape. Remy tucked a note around the recorder. Sarah smiled. "Bye, Cutie."

"Goodbye, chere. Angels attend y'." Sarah closed her eyes and was gone. Remy sat with here until he was certain her spirit had left. The instant he knew he could charge her body, he knew it was over. He left the recorder on her chest, one hand over it.

The leader was awake now. "You could've ended it at any time." His voice was soft, considering. "Why did you wait?"

"Y'all are just a diversion. No reason t' hurt none of us. No reason t' interfere. But y' did hurt someone. Killt her. Dat ain't a thing I let pass."

Sirens interrupted anything else that might have been said."

****

Scott woke slowly. His eyes felt glued shut so he didn't bother trying to open them. He identified Logan's even breathing. He slowly became aware of the fact that he was fully-clothed. There was leather under his cheek. Once he'd confirmed that, he remember a shot. Migraine, he consoled himself.

"Logan?"

"Yeah, Darlin'?"

Good, he'd been meditating. "Where's Jean?"

"Probably back by now. Went shoppin'. Took the kid, I think."

"That must have taken bribery." Scott yawned. The drugs always made him groggy for a good half-hour afterward. "If I act pathetic would you make me coffee?"

Logan snorted. "That takes bribery, Slim."

"How much?"

"A kiss'll do."

"Sold. Half now. Half on delivery." Scott opened his eyes. He found Logan looking down at him. He kissed his lover gently. "That's one half."

Logan grinned. "Black?"

"Yeah. Clear my head. No chickory."

"Only Rems likes that crap. Be back in a few."

Scott closed his eyes as Logan left. //What the Hell have you been doing for the past four hours?//

//Migraine. Hank knocked me out. What's wrong?//

//I'll tell you when we get home. If you're good. Set up a room. We'll have a new student soon.//

//Sure.// Scott's confusion must have been evident because Jean explained bit further.

//Remy and I have been hostages for about three hours. There was a woman who died. She gave us custody of her child because she's a mutant.//

//Ah. Okay. See you when you get home.//

****

The police detective sighed as he went through the stories again. It was simply illogical. Why the hell would six men take hostages where there was nothing to steal. None of the banks had reported a robbery; he'd checked. So, what was the game? And how the hell had the men been captured? Apparently easily, he conceded.

The paramedics had loaded the officer's body to take to the morgue. The tape of her "last will" was in an evidence bag sitting on the desk they'd made of a cashier's lane. He had six guns, seven suspects, one dead cop, and one hero.

"Why did you shoot her?" he asked the men. They stared at him indifferently. He'd need a van to get them all to the station for booking and questioning.

"They ain't gonna answer, homme."

'The hero' Detective Clarke thought irritably.

"Mebbe y' can answer m' though. When can we get out of here? Got some messages f' Sarah's family. Got t' find her daughter."

"As soon as all my questions are answered."

"May as well get a blanket. He worse dan y', cher," the young man informed one of the men.

"Unfortunately, he can't shoot you and save us from your babbling!" the prisoner snapped.

"Why don' y' like me?"

Clarke felt his jaw clench. The boy actually had the balls to pout. As if he hadn't just beat the bastards up.

"You are loud, obnoxious, and irritating. Why did you interfere, boy?"

"Y' shot someone. I tol' y' as long as y' let us go we weren' goin' t' tell the cops. Y' remember? But, y' didn't listen."

"She was a cop."

"So? Y'all are masked. What she gonna do? Tell 'em y' were a big ex-con who bein' used by someone who's makin' more money than y'll ever see? Which bank he tell y' he was hittin'? The foreign reserve in the City? Y' gettin' shafted. Called around, me, ain't no one hit a big place."

"Why the fuck are you so interest?"

"I'm losin' hours of life here, cher, jus' want t' get out t' do the shoppin' before the femme drives m' mad."

"I should have shot you."

The young man grinned. Clarke was beginning to understand the impulse. "Maybe I should get you deputized, if you're bent on questioning suspects."

"Tec Clarke, oui?"

"And you are?"

"Remy. Nice t' meet y'."

"Remy what?"

"One of 'em got all m' information. How many questions 'til y' gonna get 'em out of here, eh homme? Y' de one form Homicide non?"

"As soon as the van gets here."

"Den we can go, oui?"

"We'll see."

"Send him home. Oh, I know, put him in a cell with me. We'll have a heart to heart."

"Y' may be mean, but I'm fast. Took y' down easy 'nough."

"Oh, I think we might be better off elsewhere."

"Mebbe this 'tec let us have a rematch right here."

"Quiet. I won't do anything of the sort," Clarke interjected.

"Y' read them their rights, cher?"

"I follow procedure unlike some." He glared pointedly at the young man.

"Did y' just call m' a cop? Dat's low."

The leader's eyes narrowed. "But logical."

The horror on Remy's face was comical. "Duels been fought f' less than that, homme. Take it back."

Clarke didn't let himself cheer. He'd have recourse if this little brat ruined the case. But, he considered, he might be able to get the men to talk. "Maybe I should write up that brutality charge."

Remy scowled. "If'n I could t'ink of a response besides fuck you, I might answer that. What y' t'ink, cher? If'n I take out the cops, y' don' shoot no mo' folks? Y' get a proper job?"

The leader of the gang snorted. "I'd say the money's worth watching you get investigated."

"Lot of talk form a cop killer. Careful y' don't *trip*."

"I don't know who holds your leash, but you need a muzzle too."

"Oh, dat what turns y' on, cher?" Remy cocked his head to the side. "Would've t'ought y' were more of a tits man."

"If it'd get me the chance to beat the shit out of you. . ."

Remy laughed. The leader shook his head. "Y' too nice f' dat."

"I shot her, maybe I'll get a shot at you too."

Remy leaned over. He caressed the bruised jaw. "Y' so sweet t' give a confession t' a hard-workin' 'tec like M. Clarke."

"Don't make me bite you, brat."

"Why'd y' shoot her?"

"You know why."

"Non, cher, Remy's too dense t' see t'rough a homme like y'."

Clarke rolled his eyes. Did the little brat really believe that a pout would get a full confession?

"She was dialing the cops. Had to put her down."

"Why not shoot de phone. Why shoot de femme?"

"She was trouble. Should've shot you instead. The cunt wasn't half as much trouble as you are."

"Don' hate m'. Ain't my fault y' don' recognize trouble. Y' ain't meant t' be in this business, cher. Expect y' weren't never gonna see the money neither. Someone wanted y' out of the game. T'ink on it, cher. Why someone put y' in dis place when there ain't no reason f' it. If'n we was in the city mebbe there be a reason, but here? Come on, cher, someone's trying t' keep y' out of circulation."

"Take off your shades."

Remy pushed them to the top of his head. The red orbs were a shock, but the suspect met them evenly.

"My name is James."

"Bonjour."

"They call me Rock."

Remy leaned over to whisper into Rock's ear. "Gambit. Find out who put y' here. Someone wants y' gone f' good."

"I can't sing."

"Jus' accept." The young man pulled back. "Be good. Don' give 'em no reason t' hurt y'."

"Gonna recommend a lawyer?"

Remy shook his head. "Y' broke m' terms when y' pointed de gun at her and not de phone. She left a chile an' a family. If'n y' die, y' die. General defense all y' gonna get, boy."

"Maybe I have a lawyer."

"Y' had one 'til y' confessed in front of a 'tec."

Rock's eyes narrowed. "You're a tricky son-of-a-bitch."

"Merci, cher."

"You live up to your reputation."

"Which one?"

"That you're a traitor."

"T' what? Stupidity? Non, cher, y' f'get y'self. Still the best, me."

"I'll find you."

"Y' do that, chere. Someplace quiet."

"You better watch your bitch."

"She can handle herself, mon ami. An' trust m', she one of the last folks y' want t' piss off."

Rock smirked at that." So she does use a leash."

Gambit laughed. He shook his head. "Not on me. Course, knowin' her husband. . ."

"Don't finish that thought. Has the detective given us the all-clear yet? I'm starving. I'll even allow that place you boys are so fond of."

"Harry's?"

She smacked his arm. "Hungry, not thirsty."

"There's Ro's Ethopian place. Or there's the River."

"The River."

"Jus' don' get ad when the maitre d' asks where m' regular girl is."

"Oh why would I be offended as being treated like your mistress?" Jean batted her eyes at him. She slipped his shades back over his eyes.

"I want your contact information."

"Why? One of the patrolmen got it already."

"I've already told you. And you need a copy of this tape, don't you?"

Remy pursed his lips, but provided the information. "Don' use de cell number. Phone's fried."

"I'll get the copy to you tomorrow." Clarke was already writing up his report. He let the witnesses leave.

****

Scott snuggled down in the corner of the couch to watch the building of the Hoover Dam. Logan took one look at the screen and left the room. Rogue settled down on the other end of the couch. "It just started."

"Cool." She pulled her feet up on the couch, fuzzy angora socks shedding on the sturdy corduroy. They watched in silence. At the commercial Rogue spoke. "It's been a long time since we've done anything like this. When did we stop?"

"The first time you hit Gambit."

Rogue stared at him. "I hit him?"

"Yes."

"When?"

"Second week he was here. You punched him in the jaw. You pulled it, but it wasn't playing. I have abuse issues."

"But if I hit him in a spar?"

"No problem."

"Why didn't ya tell me off, sugah?"

Scott shrugged. "He didn't want to make a big deal about it."

"You never did like me bein' here."

Scott sighed. "It's complicated."

"So explain it. I understand the don't touch mah lover part."

Scott gave her a quick grin. "It's just that it was politics. Tactics, I approve of. Politics I despise. Charles brought you onto the team, not because you needed his help, but because he thought it would keep the Brotherhood off balance. I didn't agree. I thought it was a tactical misstep to give you full access to the place. Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't have turned you away, but I wouldn't have put you on the team by choice."

Rogue swallowed. "It's. . . it's hard to hear that." She blinked away her tears.

Scott sighed again. "You were unstable. You came from an enemy team. You had not control over you powers - not even to the extent of my visor. But Charles thought you'd learn best in the team. Don't feel bad. I didn't want Logan either."

"That was repression, hon."

"Oh?"

"Yep. But, when the Professor wasn't around you kept me on as alternate team leader."

"You've got potential as a tactical thinker. You're also the one most likely to survive."

"That's Remy if ya talk to Bishop."

"He's out of his time-stream. Still, the Witness sent him back for a reason. All I can think is that he felt that Bishop would be useful."

"Maybe he sent him as a bodyguard."

"For whom?"

"You. Summers will save the world. It's like a holy tenet for him." She shook her head. "Why don't ya like me, Cyke?"

"You stopped trying. And you left your partner in a coma. If you'd left anyone else, I wouldn't have been as pissed."

"What?"

"He's your *partner* Dammit, Rogue! Rule number one is watch your partner's back. Who did you expect to protect him?"

"I . . . I assumed. . . I thought he'd be safe here."

"With the number of times this place has been leveled? Christ, even *he* called for help for Betsy."

"What?" Confusion filled her face.

"After Remy was awake, but on PT status, he watched over Betsy while she was in her coma."

"Why not Warren?"

"Wings had business. No, that's not fair. He was out on the town looking for the Crimson Dawn to save her. I can't bitch too much about that. Didn't you get the briefing memo pack I put on your bed?"

"Is that what that was?'

"Yes. What did you do with it?"

"Put it on my desk."

"There's no hope of finding it then."

"Bitch."

Scott gave her a mock salute. "Wouldn't be able to deal with this group of misfits any other way."

"Maybe I'll go read them."

"That's why I left them." Scott checked his watch. "Where are they?"

"Who?"

"Jean and Remy. They got involved in a situation, but I was sure they'd be back by ten."

"Bad?"

"For us? Fair to middling. They're supposed to come back with a child and groceries."

"Jean got Remy to go grocery shopping?"

"Yeah, she's an idiot sometimes."

****

Logan bowed to Betsy and they were off - bout three of their session.

****

Warren scowled at the stack of reports in front of him. How was he supposed to make decisions if he couldn't get information? At this rate he was going to have to have someone steal it.

****

Bobby sat Joseph up with a controller. "Okay, we're going to start with _Tetris_."

****

Bishop looked up at the clear sky. The moon was large and bright, making the shifting shadows the Witness had always warned him to be on his guard for. They were perfect for hiding motion. He suddenly realized that he'd been taught to steal in reverse. He smiled somewhat fondly. Once he adjusted to the knowledge of who LeBeau was here, he'd come to respect the Witness more. Losing this people could easily turn a nice person mean.

****

Storm settled down in Hank's thinking chair. "Now, my dear friend, if this is meant to be another bribery session to make me give up details of my brother's history, you will not be feeding me Twinkies."

"Of course not. I would never be so underhanded. Yes, it is about Gambit, but it is a much more delicate situation." Hank frowned. "If you weren't listed as his power of attorney, I wouldn't bring it up at all. I am relying heavily upon your discretions and your love for your brother."

"Hank, get to the point so that we can enjoy our time together."

Hank couldn't bring himself to smile. "You may know - peripherally at least - that Remy was once held in Sinister's labs."

"He has never said as much to me, but I suspected that was where his dislike of labs was created. We all know that he was involved with the Marauders."

"Remy was severely injured when Sinister found him. The amount of work that went into piecing his body together is admirable. The only think I have argument with is a small chip imbedded in our Cajun's corpus collosum. I would like to see it removed. At the very least it should be neutralized. Remy is resistant to the idea. Would you see if you can get him to tell you of its function or at least get him to talk to me? I fear that it may be more harmful in the long run than it is useful to him."

Storm took Hank's hand in hers. "You must understand, my friend. Remy's mind is very much his own. I understand your concerns and your need to protect him from Sinister's manipulations. But, he considers me his younger sister and therefore I am not privy to his fears. He needs to protect me from the world and especially his past. I will urge him to talk to you about his medical history."

"Thank you, my dear. Now, my sweet Ororo, where shall we take our evening repast this fine evening?"

"Perhaps a pizza is in order."

"Indeed, it shall be on order soon enough."

****

"Yes, of course we will take her. There is no question of that. My faculty and I have never refused a child in need. No, we won't take her out of the area unless she feels that she can't handle life in Westchester. She will not have to change schools. We will make sure she attends classes." Xavier listened intently. "I understand that she has unique needs. We have the best medical facilities available and a full-time doctor on staff who is used to dealing with such needs. Jean and Remy will bring her directly here, if you have not arguments with that." He listened again. "Despite what you may have heard, we encourage families to stay involved with our students, as long as those relationships aren't harmful."

He rolled his eyes heavenward in a plea for patience. "No, there will be no cost associated with her schooling. We'll see you tomorrow then. Goodbye."

Xavier considered the quiet phone-line. Well, he mused silently, Scott seems to be getting his wish. We're going to be a real school.

****

Melody looked up at Remy with blue eyes the same color as her mother's. "Y' know Mommy ain't gonna be able t' come visit no mo'?"

"Why not?"

Remy picked her up. "Y' Mama teach y' 'bout dyin'?"

"She said that there's no pain when you die. That you go somewhere far away while your body stays behind."

"Mommy's dead, petite Melody. And y' can't stay by y'self in this apartment."

"But Sandy stays with me."

"Sandy'll come visit y' lots. Let's go pack y' a bag."

"We're taking a trip?"

"Yes. How old are you, Melody?"

"I'm six and a half."

It only took a few minutes to get used to the harmonies of her voices. "Y' gonna be stayin' wit' us f' awhile, petite. T'ink y'll like it."

"Like summer camp?"

Remy smiled. "Oui, chere, a bit like camp. Y' still got t' go t' class though."

"That's okay. I like school."

****

Remy collapsed into bed next to Logan. Logan tucked him close. "She's gonna be a pistol."

"Well, we'd better get used to kids." Logan's fingers massaged the back of Remy's neck. Scott's face was buried in the pillow next to Logan's head. Jean curled up next to him. She played with his hair, absorbing the stillness of his mind. She closed her eyes as she yawned. //Night.//

" G'night, Red."

"Bon suir, chere." Remy snuggled into Logan's side.

"Get some sleep, kiddo."

"But. . ."

"I just ain't sleepy. I'll stay 'til yer sleepin' okay? Then, I'll go hunting. Don't panic I I ain't here when ya wake up."

"Bien. Merci, cher."

"Welcome."

FINIS