TC Horsing Around
Jean looked around at the city streets. She was uncomfortable in this part of New York City, but Ororo had stated that she would not accept any seeds not from her favorite shop. Remy seemed at home in the welter of humanity that crowded around them. //How do you stand having so many minds around you?//
Remy smiled at her. He squeezed her hand. //Most these folks, even the po' ones, are content t'day. The sun be shinin', even if it's chilly. Le petites are home from school. Only fools can't find happiness.//
//But there are so many slimy minds.// Jean shivered.
//That's called lust, Jeannie. And lust can be found all over, non?//
//I forgot that you can't hear what they want to do.//
//I can make a good guess.//
Suddenly, there was someone in front of them, blocking their way. It was deliberate. The man wore nothing out of the ordinary, but his posture was commanding. "Your papa needs to talk to you, boy."
Remy blinked. He cocked his head to the side. "And y'd be?"
The man grinned. "Ted Carver." He gave them a flourished bow. "Mama Caver sent me to fetch ya. Your papa needs to talk to you."
"He got m' number." Remy leaned his weight forward.
"I said your papa, not your father, boy." He looked down his nose at the younger man.
Remy looked over his shades. "I ain't catchin' y'r meanin'."
"Ya know yo' papa, don't ya?"
Remy studied Carver for a very long moment. "I don' practice no mo'."
"Mebbe that's why he wants to talk to ya. I only follow orders." Carver grinned. "Don't worry. Mama won't let anything happen to your girl, here. She's just upstairs."
//Are you sure about following him?//
//No question, chere.// "Upstairs, y' say. Well, don' seem to far out of the way t' make a femme feel good."
"Go on up. She's waitin' for you. I'll stay with your girl."
//Watch y' back, chere.//
//Why don't I just come with you?//
//Not if what I think he's sayin's what he's sayin'. This be somethin' y' ain't allowed t' know.// He grinned at his lover. //Y' just take care. Carver ain't an issue, but there's others that might be.// "Y' take her on down t' Lo-Chin's hardware f' me?"
"Sure. Come on, pretty lady."
Jean glanced at her lover. //Yell if you need me.//
//Don't worry so, chere, y' get wrinkles.// He turned to go up the dark stairs. Jean watched him for a long moment. Carver offered his arm and she took it. She glanced up at his wide grin.
"What was that all about?" she asked.
"Sorry, pretty lady, I can't tell you that. Ask your boy when you see him. Lo-Chin's is just down here. You a gardener?"
"No, my best friend is. She swears this is the only place to get seeds."
Remy mounted the stairs, heart hammering in his chest and butterflies fluttering in his stomach. He'd only been summoned like this once before in his life. Papa Samedi had taken over at a ceremony he'd been attending and took him aside to tell him to look for his Stormy. The experience had shaken him. He knocked on the door, hiding his nerves away under a cock-sure swagger. "Come in here, boy," a voice called. He opened the door and stepped into a small room that was chock full of flowers, food, incense, statues, and spiced rum. Homesickness slammed into him so hard that he was like to cry.
"Bonjour," he said, smiling. The woman who was sitting in the chair looked old enough to make Tante Mattie look like a little girl.
She looked him up and down. "Least you still honor your papa. Sit down, boy-chile."
He settled in the chair she indicated. "Y' called?"
"Not me, boy. Your papa." She smiled at him. "I'm not as young as I used to be, but I still get called."
His return smile was lopsided. "So how we do this, Mama?" he asked.
"It's been too long if you have to ask," she informed him. She chuckled. "Don't worry, chile, I'll walk you through everything."
Jean picked out the seeds for Ororo. Ted Carver was a congenial shopping partner. He chattered about his family and his three little boys. "I haven't seen you around this area before," he said finally. "I've seen your boy, but not you."
"He normally comes with his sister."
"The white-haired beauty?"
"They're brother and sister?" Ted blinked in surprise. "That explains some things. But why haven't you come before?"
"Ororo never asked me to come with them. Sometimes family needs time alone."
He smiled. "So do you have any kids of your own?"
"We just adopted a little angel who's mother was killed. Her name is Melody."
"Tell me about her."
"I barely know her. She's seven. Her hair is naturally blonde. Her eyes are sky blue. She looks like an angel from a Christmas card. She doesn't look like any of us," she laughed. "She has perfect pitch. We have two on the way." She patted her stomach.
"Congratulations. Your boy isn't the father though. He was telling his beauty once that he wanted kids so badly that he hated the fact that he never could have his own."
"I've got good ears," he told her. "Those two are down here every two weeks. They eat in my sister's restaurant. Let me buy you an ice cream."
"Vanilla or chocolate?"
"Vanilla." Jean forced the gutter thoughts away. She knew darn well that she was being influenced by spending far too much time with the boys now. He did a double-take at her smile. She composed herself and batted her lashes at him.
"There's a wicked woman hiding under that smile isn't there?"
"Why whatever could you mean?" She batted her lashes at him again . He laughed at her. He offered her the vanilla cone and got a twirl for himself.
Scott settled Melody on his lap and opened the book. Tears pricked behind his eyes. He remembered doing this with Nathan when he'd been four before the future had stolen him away. "Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, there lived a baker and his wife."
Logan arranged the second stem in the vase. He'd present it to Jean when she returned from shopping. He'd found the flowers deep in the woods of the Mansion grounds.
Bobby worked carefully on creating the lab equipment for Hank's lab. The concentration was incredible, but his control was getting better. The miniature beakers and test tubes were harder than anything else he'd created for his icy Mansion copy. There was a knock on the door. "Yeah?"
"Come on in." Bobby set his work inside the refrigerator case and closed the glass front. He turned to greet his friend. "Looks like you've got deep thoughts going on."
"Well depth at least."
"Sounds like time for a Twinkie."
Warren smiled a little sadly. "I'd like that. Bobby, what do you do when you think you've screwed everything up?"
"Hide in the attic and eat Twinkies until I get sick. Normally after that I realize that I'm over reacting. There's not much that can't be fixed if you try. I just tend to get more practice than you guys."
"I think you just admit it more often."
"So what's on your mind?"
Bobby flourished two boxes of Twinkies. "One for you. One for me. Lock the door and tell me what's going on. Not that I have a lot of experience with women, but I'll try."
Rogue cleared her throat. The professor looked up with a welcoming smile. "Hello, Rogue. What can I do for you?"
"I need to talk to someone about what's in my head and I can't talk to any of them."
She closed the door and settled in the visitor's chair. "They're all on Remy's side now."
Professor X cocked his head to the side. "I didn't realize that there were sides to be taken."
"There are things you don't know about what he's done." She sniffled.
"Are you referring to the Morlock Massacre or something else?"
"Oh, thank God," she said more fervently than she had since she'd turned thirteen and her first kiss put Cody into a coma.
"You can talk to me about whatever you like, my dear." He moved out from behind his desk and nearer to the chair where she was sitting. "Would you like a drink?"
He cocked his head to the side. "Have you developed a taste for bourbon during your travels?" he asked. He moved to make the drinks. "The last time we shared a drink, you were drinking vodka and tonic."
Rogue huffed out a small laugh. "I've developed a taste for a lot of things, Professor."
"Like what?" He handed her the bourbon. She looked into the amber liquid.
"Bourbon, cigarettes, women, chaos."
"Except for the bourbon, those sound like things you always had a taste for," he said mildly.
She stared at him. "I'm not a dyke."
He didn't reply, simply sipped his own drink and waited for her to continue.
"How can he live with such nasty things in his mind?"
"You have his memories, why don't you tell me?"
"I want you to lock them away. The way you locked Carol away."
"Carol Danvers was a complete personality. All you have from Gambit is fragments. Those you can deal with and must deal with."
"I can't control my powers."
"When was the last time you tried?" he asked her sharply. She flinched away from the words. She bit back the retort that she always tried to control them. She hadn't been trying when she kissed Remy. She'd thought the world was going to end and hadn't given control a thought. It was Remy's mind that had resisted her. It was his shields that had given her only fragments of his memories. Those fragments were more than enough to send her running away.
"He seemed so sweet. I knew he was a thief. But he loved me."
"And that meant what?"
"He was supposed to be Prince Charming."
"And how did he fail?"
"It was a lie!"
"He had a past. So do you, my dear."
"Of course, you're on his side too aren't you!"
"There is no 'his side', Rogue. He has done nothing to you that he has not done to all of us. He kept a painful past from us. Tell me, did he lie about his feelings for you?"
That stopped her. "No, he loves me."
"Yes, he does."
"And now he's sleeping with three other people! He couldn't have loved me very much."
"You told him it was over, correct?"
"Yes, but he had to know I didn't mean it."
"You arrived with Joseph. Do you love him?"
"No, but I can touch him."
"Do you love Remy or are you simply angry that he's managed to find someone else?"
She felt her jaw trembling. She let the tears fall from her eyes. The professor was unmoved.
"Do you love Remy?"
"Do you want him to be happy?"
"Yes, but. . ." She stopped herself. "He was supposed to be happy with me."
"Why you and no one else?"
"He loves *me*!"
"Yes, but he also loves Logan. He always has."
"I know that. They're best friends."
"And now that there is a sexual component to that friendship, you're jealous."
She closed her eyes and belted down her drink. She slammed the glass onto his desk, shattering it. "I decided when I got back here that I'd try to just be his friend. I knew that we couldn't be lovers. Why does it hurt so much to see him with someone else?"
"I can't answer that. You'll have to tell me."
She bent her head. Tears flowed freely from her eyes.
Remy bought a piece of watermelon from the street vendor. He chewed on it as he walked, dropping the seeds into a small plastic bag he found in one of his pockets. He'd keep the seeds as hold-out ammunition. He found Jean and Ted sitting on the front steps of the store. They were laughing over something. "You tryin' t' steal my girl, homme?" he asked, brows raised.
"My wife would snap me in half. Mama done with you?"
"Yeah." Remy dumped the rind of his watermelon into the trashbin. He wiped his hand off on his jeans. Jean frowned at him.
"That's what napkins are for," she informed him. He rolled his eyes at Ted.
"Y' got the seeds?"
"I did." Remy offered her his arm as she got up and dusted off her rump. Carver gave them a nod.
"I'll see you kids around."
"Thanks, Ted," Jean said warmly. Remy simply nodded back. "Now, what was that all about?"
Remy grimaced. "I'll tell y' when I get it all sorted out in my head."
"I'll hold you to that."
Bishop raised a brow at Gambit. The thief stared back at him placidly. They were in the shelter of the trees, the dappled evening light dancing over them. After a long moment, Bishop spoke. "What's wrong?"
Gambit started. He blinked twice. "Not'in'. Exactly. Jus'. I got some information t'day."
"I didn't realize you were looking for information."
"I weren't. And it weren't information I was supposed t' be lookin' for neither."
"And you do not feel it is necessary to involve Cyclops in this conversation?"
The thief stilled and Bishop was reminded of who this man could become. There were calculations in his head. "Non. Not just yet." Gambit studied Bishop for a moment, his eyes darting up and down his frame, looking for something. Bishop held still. He would not give Remy the satisfaction of seeing him squirm. "What we gonna do if'n this place becomes a real school? What sort of security we lookin' at? How many folks can we house? And if'n we got little ones runnin' around, y' gonna be able t' handle it?"
Bishop frowned. "You mean changing the grounds to be able to accommodate housing children separately. Renovating the dorms and possibly converting the stables and out-buildings to teaching facilities?"
"See, I knew y' were the one t' talk t'. Pull up plans f' me, cher. Write down lists. Tell m' everythin' y'd want t' do if'n y'r chilen were going to be here."
"I was under the impression that Xavier didn't want this to be a true school."
Gambit's smile took on a hard edge and his red eyes gleamed in the gathering shadows. "What Charles wants and what Charles gets ain't the same. Things are changin', cher. They changin' fast and we got t' get in front of 'em. We already got Kelly here. Jeannie's havin' twins. And what I heard t'day? It's the start not the finish. Things gonna be dangerous f' chilen in the world. We got t' protect them, teach them. Make dem take off an' fly. Y' help, non?"
Bishop could see his sister curled in the dark behind a dumpster. He could feel the sharpness of glass under his feet and the smell of garbage filled his nose. If he could stop that happening for another child? "Of course."
"Good. Y' start workin' on the plans. I'll start workin' on le professeur." Remy stepped away. A cigarette flared to life. "And cher? Money ain't no issue."
Bishop inclined his head. He was the son of the Witness. He knew how criminal organizations ran. Gambit was not the Witness. But he could be, given the right circumstances. He would understand what Bishop didn't dare say. I don't want to do this. Don't make me a criminal. I am a police officer. Don't make me regret trusting you. Those words would never pass his lips. "I'll have preliminary lists by tomorrow."
Yet another reminder that Gambit was not the Witness.
Remy brushed Kelly's hair for her. "Is Mommy going to be able to see my hair?"
"I don't know, petite. I know she'll be watchin' out f' y'. Y' own personal guardian angel." He braided her hair carefully. He did the rubber band on the bottom. "Y' want t' go t' church in the mornin'?"
She chewed on her lip. He folded the blankets back on her bed. No matter that the paperwork said that Xavier had become her guardian, she was his responsibility now. She looked enough like Belle that he could probably pass her off as his own. He didn't let his thoughts on the matter cross his face. "No. They're mean to me."
"T'ought you liked choir?"
She made a face like she'd just eaten a lemon. "I like to sing. I don't like choir. And they don't like me."
"Well, must be that they ain't as talented. We'll get y' a proper singing teacher if'n y' want."
Her eyes got big. "A coach?"
"If'n y' want one."
She didn't answer. "Are you my daddy? For real?"
"Do y' want me t' be?"
She picked at the blanket. "I don't remember my daddy."
"Y' can call me Daddy or Papa. Or y' can just call me Remy. Come on, under the covers now."
"Will you sing to me?"
He smiled at her. "Oui, ma petite."
She snuggled into the bed. He sat next to her. He sang softly, an old hymn that his Tante Mattie had taught him when he was only a few years older than the little blessing who was hugging a stuffed bear like it was all she had in the world. He stroked her hair and her eyes started to slip shut.
When he looked up, it wasn't Logan or Scott in the doorway. It was Bishop. The large man gave him a sad smile. The sense of homesickness in his eyes cut deep into Remy's gut. He wanted to say something flippant to make it go away, but Bishop didn't deserve that. He simply continued singing until Kelly's breathing evened out. He shut out the light by her bed. Bishop stepped into the hall. Remy placed a hand on his arm to keep him from leaving. Kelly's door was shut carefully.
"Cher?" he prompted.
"Nothing, Gambit. I was simply checking on her on my way to the security room."
Remy bit his lip. "Bishop, cher, I know we ain't really gotten on, but y' can talk t' me if y' want."
Bishop shook his head. He left Remy in the hall with the lingering memory of pain.
Logan dropped his arms around Remy's shoulders. The younger man leaned his head back. "Bon nuit, cher."
"Oui. Borin' shift. I ain't complainin'."
"You want company?"
"If'n y' like. Y' can make the coffee."
Logan dropped a kiss on Remy's bangs. "How's she settling in?"
"She's good. So far. Still confused, I t'ink. Handlin' havin' a new place t' live better than I did. Expect she'll start freakin' soon enough."
The younger man's voice was mild, but his scent spike with fear. Logan let silence fill the room. He prepped Remy's coffee with the supplies Storm always hid in the hollow behind the bookcase. He settled into the second chair and kicked his feet up onto the counter. Remy took his coffee with an absent thank you as he leaned closer to the monitor on the dock.
"What's eating ya, kid?"
"Don't know what y're talkin' on."
"Don't bullshit me."
"Remind me t' realign the boathouse cameras. They lookin' in the wrong direction."
"Sure. Now spill."
The thief didn't look away from the monitors. He dialed Storm's loft window to the center monitor. "Got some information t'day and I ain't sure what t' do wit' it yet."
"What's the intel? Do you trust the source?" He reached out and grabbed the arm of the chair to bring them closer together.
"Oui. De source ain't the issue. Dat he reached out is worryin' though. Means something."
Logan's brows rose at the thickened accent. "Source is reliable. This info got a deadline?"
"Merde. Sometime soon. Course that could mean t'ree months from now." The Cajun snorted. He ran a hand through his bangs.
"Who needs to hear it?"
"Ain't y' goin' to ask me what it is?" Remy slanted a glance in the older man's direction without moving his head.
"Love makes ya soft in the head. That intel ain't what spooked ya, so it ain't what I'm worried about. Kelly did."
"Non." The denial was too quick. "Well, mebbe. Nothin' I can do 'bout it t'night." Remy's fingers danced on the arm of the chair. "Seems t' ole Remy that y' can watch the monitors while I blow ya."
Logan blinked. The mere suggestion made him half-hard. "Can't let ya get away with distractin' me, Darlin'."
"Ain't *you* I was tryin' t' distract," Remy snapped. His lips twisted into a furious frown. Logan stroked the taut forearm. The muscles twitched under the gentle caress.
"Make ya a deal. You tell me the full unvarnished truth about what scared ya when you were tellin' me about Kelly and I'll give ya a nice, slow handjob."
"That sort of t'ing is why y' ain't m' shrink." Remy's lips twitched into a brief smile. His scent was filled with arousal now. "Fine. Jus' f' the bribe mind y'."
The younger man used a toe to roll their chairs the last few inches together. Logan traced the outline of Remy's fly. They both kept their eyes on the monitors.
"What if someone takes her away?" Remy's scent spiked with fear. "Her grandmere t'inks I'm her pere, but her mama's partner's gonna know different."
"Ah, Rems. They could've stopped it before ya took her. None of her family argued with a complete stranger takin' her. I don't give a shit if we are a school on paper. Someone should've said something and they didn't. Not her aunt. Not her grandma and not the cops. Some asshole comes out of the woodwork when the written will gets read next week and we'll take 'em to court. Chuck helped me keep Jubes. Ain't like this crew ain't full of kids who's families threw them away." Logan carefully opened the button at the top of the loose jeans.
"Suppose I'd best ask Alice 'bout her lawyer. Mine does criminal law." Remy's breath caught as Logan slowly unzipped his pants. "Merde, got t' call home too. So much t'... t' do." Logan's fingers brushed over warm cotton. "This some kind of... of positive reinforcement?" Remy put his coffee on the ground.
Logan felt something press gently against his mind and let it in. The sensation tickled his own arousal and he bared his teeth in a grin. "Nah. That sort of shit's Chuck's area." Logan's fingers freed his lover's cock from its cotton prison and wrapped around it gently.
"No talkin' about Charles when sex is on the table."
Logan chuckled. His fingers tightened and released. Damn the kid smelled good. Warm and comforting like a good meal. "Eyes on the monitors."
"Change offa Stormy's window. Ain't the sorta t'ing I want t'..." Remy's head dropped back. "Y' watch for m'. More, cher, please?"
Logan stroked languorously. He'd jerked off before he came up so he'd last longer. His cock still pressed against his jeans. Remy's scent grew stronger as his hips started to move. "Na-ah." He stopped moving his hand. "Settle back, Darlin'."
"Don't torture po' Remy, cher."
"Torture'd be me leavin' ya like this."
"Fucker." Remy's hips stopped moving. He gripped the arms of the chair until his knuckles went white. "Won't be able t' stay still long," he warned.
Logan stopped teasing and stroked more firmly. "Alright, Darlin'. You come for me and I'll clean ya up with my tongue."
"Filthy. I approve." Remy's breath stuttered deep in his chest. His body tightened like a bow. His cum was warm, sticky, and slightly salty when Logan lifted it to his mouth. His lover watched him with drowsy satisfaction.
"Y' let me suck y' while y' watch?"
"Nah. I'm good."
"Always heard y' were the best at what y' did. Didn't no one tell me y' were a slut."
Logan smirked. "Well, I reckon they figured *you* already knew all the sluts in the business."
The younger man laughed. "Ain't got no idea what y' mean."