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Remy snuggled deeper into his lover's arms. Bobby's grip tightened around him. Bobby smiled into the auburn hair. "It's snowing," he informed the thief.

"Merde." Remy shivered. "Gonna stay right here where it be warm then."

"Fine by me." Bobby pulled the comforter up and tucked it around his lover's shoulders. "So are you going home for Christmas?"

Remy closed his eyes. "Non, cher."

"But you miss it so much," Bobby said in surprise. "Storm or Rogue could fly you down."

"Remy *can't* go back t' Nawlins. They'll kill him."

"What do you mean?" Bobby stroked the long line of Remy's back gently.

"They banished Gambit."

"Banished? Is that still legal?"

Remy snorted quietly into the soft blond curls on Bobby's chest. "Can't tell y' more. Shouldn't have said that much. Let it go. Y' gonna go see y'r papa?"

"No, it would make things awkward."

"Je suis desole. Je t'amie, Bobby."

Bobby felt the sappy grin appear on his face. "We have to build a snowman."

"Don't need another one. I got y'."

"I don't count." Bobby smacked Remy's ass.

"Hey!" Remy's head popped up as he arched away from the brief sting. By way of apology, he received a deep, probing kiss. Bobby's tongue danced over the neat sharp teeth. Remy's hips arched forward and their cocks brushed in an electric touch. Bobby broke the kiss gently, pulling at Remy's lip with his teeth.

"We have to get up. There's a Danger Room session in ten minutes."

"Fuck. It's too early."

"No, it's almost ten. That's late for Cyke."

"One can only hope that Wolvie'll beat some sense int' him."

"One?" Bobby snickered. "You, King of the bayou, just used 'one' in a sentence?"

"I can speak proper-like! I don' often. But I can."

"You are just one surprise after another."

"Don' want y' gettin' tired of m'."

"Come on, Cajun. I need someone to wash my back."

*****

Remy flopped across their bed. "I hate de Danger Room."

"You're just pissed because Scott put you in the control room with the professor."

"Don' know why that man always pulls Gambit out when he wants t' play."

"Because you and Logan don't need to practice as much."

"How's that tutoring from Stormy going?"

"Stop asking me that. You know damn well that I hate it. I like your lessons much better."

"Cuz I'm easier to bribe," Remy teased.

"No, asshole, because you *explain* things rather than just saying 'do it.'" Bobby loved it when Gambit blushed. It made him look young. "You need to shave, Swamp Rat."

"Hey, now, cher. When'd y' start up wit' callin' po' Remy a rat?"

"Oh, about the same time Rogue did and you know it." Bobby bounced onto the bed and went after LeBeau's unprotected ribs. "Non! Bobby!" Remy laughed. He squirmed under the assault. Bobby straddled the laughing form. His fingers became more soothing and he started stroking through the thin, white, tee-shirt.

Remy looked up at him with smoldering red eyes. "Looks like you could use a good kissing." Bobby leaned down and captured the slightly parted lips. His hands fisted in the soft cotton, holding his lover in place. He rubbed himself along Remy's body. Remy moaned into the kiss. His fingers kneaded the muscles of Bobby's thighs. Bobby slowly released the kiss. "Lunch time, Cajun-kitten."

"Know what I want t' eat?" Remy purred, fingers working up Bobby's thighs.

"Nope. What?"

"Cream."

Bobby gaped. "I left myself wide open for that one. And why, exactly are your fingers at my fly?"

"So I can get m' cream. Y' ain't gettin' responsible on m', are y', cher?"

"Naw. I'm just a sadist." He tweaked Remy's nose. "Come on, Thief. Lunch first. Then, we can burn it off."

"Spoilsport." Bobby pulled one gloved hand to his lips and kissed the palm of it. "What y' want f' Christmas, Bobby?"

"You laid out for the taking."

Remy smiled up at him. "Do we really got t' go eat?"

"Unless you want Logan pounding on the door to come get us. Scott's combining the briefing with food."

"Summers needs that stick taken out of his ass."

"Why? Logan'll just put it back."

"I don' believe y' jus' said dat! How am I t' look at them straight?"

"Because if you don't he'll put you on security duty and that means no sex."

"Y' won' come t' visit?" Remy pouted.

"Nope. I'll jerk off and get a god night's sleep instead."

"Y're pure evil."

*****

Scott was sure that Gambit's eyes were glazed over behind his shades. He couldn't prove it though, so he kept a careful eye on him as the briefing continued. "Jean and I are going to be with her parents for Christmas. Hank will be with his family. Wolverine and Jubilee are going to Canada for the week. Warren is visiting his folks. Betsy will be going to England to see Brian. Rogue is visiting Mystique. That means the professor, Gambit, Bobby, Storm and Bishop are here for Christmas. If there's an emergency, Emma and Sean will be the closest back-ups. Any questions?"

He waited for a moment, then continued. "I want you to be careful if you're out on your own. This goes for everyone. There's rumors that the FOH is going to have a national convention of sorts. All the heads of the chapters will be meeting at a 'secret location.' Rumors say either New York of DC. That means their thugs will be out and abut too, wanting to start trouble. No fighting just for the Hell of it. Understood? Logan? Gambit?

Remy rolled his eyes, but nodded. Logan just snorted.

"Fine. Merry Christmas, people. We'll see you at New Year's."

*****

Remy looked at the professor. "Y' ain't serious, homme."

"I am quite serious. I need the information immediately."

"Merde. Fine. Y' get it." The professor dismissed the thief who muttered to himself as he went up the stairs. Bobby was watching The Three Stooges. He was snuggled into the beanbag chairs they'd set in front of the television. Remy settled down by his lover's side and was immediately pulled closer. He closed his eyes and breathed in the peppermint smell he always associated with the man.

"Got t' go out t'night," he murmured. "Try not t' wake y' when I get back."

"I don't care if you wake me up." Bobby kissed his lover's temple. "I'd like to know you got home safe."

*****

"What's up, Popsicle?" Wolverine asked when he found the younger man in the kitchen at midnight. "Thought you'd be snuggled up with Gumbo by now."

"Usually. He's out on assignment and my stomach's in knots. I can't sleep."

"Ain't the first time he's been out."

"No, it's not. But it's the first time I've ever felt this way. It's like. . . Oh, I don't know. At least it stopped snowing before he left."

"Yer worried." Wolverine grinned.

"Yeah. And it's not just Scott being all doom and gloom either."

"I'll sit with ya."

*****

Remy sighed in relief as he got back on his bike. Meetings with the Kingpin where never good. He felt eyes on him and gunned the engine. He tore off at a fair clip. The feeling of eyes left him as he got out of the area. He dropped into the next 7-11 for a soda.

"Hey, pretty boy. Nice bike," the thug getting coffee said.

"Thanks."

Remy paid and was on his way. He made it to the bike when the group moved in. "Grab him."

"Fuck." Cyke's gonna be pissed, he thought.

*****

Bobby couldn't keep his eyes off the clock. "His bike's comin'."

Long minutes passed. Then, the thief limped up the stairs.

"He's goin' to see Chuck."

*****

"Here," Gambit snapped. Snow was still clinging to his hair. He threw the discs in the professor's lap.

"Thank you, Gambit. You've had some trouble."

"What clued y' in, M. Wheel?"

"Your charming disposition and the blood on your lip. Was it necessary to fight?" Disapproval colored the words.

"That or die. Don' worry, Charles," Remy purred. "Dey beat me cuz I'm pretty first, den because I'm a mutie."

He spun on his heel and slammed the door as he left.

"That went well, Charles," the professor muttered to himself. "Why not just hit him yourself?"

*****

"Shit! Remy, are you okay?"

"Oui, cher, just fine. Three broken ribs, split lip, concussion more'n likely. An' probably got a lecture comin' from stick-ass when he gets back. But Remy's just fine."

Logan snorted. "Yer lucky Hank ain't left yet."

"Don' need t' see Bete."

"Yes, you do," Bobby contradicted. "You're shaking."

"Adrenaline's wearin' off."

"Bullshit," Remy's lover told him cheerfully. "Logan, would you be so kind?"

"No problem. Come on, Gumbo."

"Non. Just need a drink."

"Get yer ass downstairs or I'll carry ya."

"That might be fun. But y' might piss of Bobby."

"Do it," Bobby said.

"Hey!"

Logan threw the Cajun a beer. "Come on, kid."

They herded him down the stairs to Hank's lair.

"Oh my stars and garters. Glasses off. Clothes off. Wolverine out."

Logan smirked at the thief, then left. Hank's hands were gentle, but Remy was still on edge, partly from the fight, partly from fears he wouldn't name. "You know I have to ask, my friend."

"Non. Dey didn' fuck m'. Tried, oui. But after Gambit knock some down dey decided hittin' would do fine."

Hank nodded. "And how did you extricate yourself from this perilous situation?"

"De clerk come out wit' a pump action shotgun an' t'reatened t' kill 'em. Dey took it t' heart and left."

"Hmm." Hank listened to the young man's chest. "Any difficulty breathing?"

"Hurts like a mother fucker. Broken ribs."

"I had guessed." He peered into Remy's eyes. Remy hissed and flinched back from the light. "Discomfort or death, Gambit."

"Connard."

"What did you have for dinner?"

Gambit blinked.

"Your skin is clammy. You're shaking. What did you eat for dinner?"

"We sorta skipped dinner when we helped see Rogue off," Bobby cut in.

"And when someone with a high metabolism doesn't eat, then engages in rigorous activity, what happens?"

"His blood sugar drop. Oui, Henri. Remy was stoppin' f' a snack when he got jumped. Even bought the fuckin' soda."

"You are not doing well, my boy."

"Don' be callin' Remy 'boy,' Hank."

"I meant no disrespect."

"Je suis desole, M. Bete. I know."

Hank brushed back the Cajun's bangs and cleaned the cut on his forehead, then the split at his lip. "I want to make sure there is no internal bleeding. Shirt off."

"Y' radiate this Cajun much more he gonna mutate again."

Hank chuckled and settled his recalcitrant patient for X-rays.

*****

"Bobby, y' make po' Remy some cocoa?"

"Hey, turn off the puppy-dog eyes. You've got me wrapped around your finger already. You have to come with me. Hank said to keep a close eye on you tonight so what's left of your brains doesn't drip out your nose." Remy pouted, but Bobby just grinned at him. "Come on, Gorgeous, crawl out of your cocoon."

"Nest. Ain't a cocoon. It's a nest an' I'll keep it warm f' y'."

Bobby dragged a finger down Remy's cheek leaving a streak of ice behind.

"Merde!" Remy rubbed at the frost. "I'm comin'. I'm comin'."

Remy took his favorite perch on the counter as Bobby set the water boiling. Remy watched Bobby pull out two mugs and marshmallows and whipped cream. "Been thinkin', cher. Stormy and Bishop ain't much f' Christmas. I ain't got many happy memories m'self. What we gonna do?"

"Get a tree. Decorate it. Exchange gifts. Watch sappy movies. Eat the biggest meal you can make for us and listen to the Prof read at us."

"Y' ever been t' midnight mass?"

"What's that?"

"It's a Catholic service. Y' go t' mass at midnight on Christmas Eve t' welcome de light back int' the world. Mais, y' ain't Catholic. If'n y' don' want t' go I ain't gonna push it. Probably a stupid idea anyway. Nevermind."

"Remy, just because I've never been doesn't mean I don't want to go. It obviously means something good to you. I want to share it. It's not like you ever force me into things. Hell, you're probably the lowest maintenance person I've ever met." Bobby rolled his eyes. "Remy, why are you so afraid I'm going to say 'no' to things?"

Remy swung his legs and looked at the tiles on the floor. "Ain't used t' anyone listenin'."

Bobby poured the cocoa. "How many marshmallows?"

Remy shrugged.

Bobby added a handful. "Whip cream?"

"Sure."

"Come on. Let's get some privacy so we can talk." They curled up on their bed. "You were telling me why you aren't used to asking for anything."

"Bella, she don' take 'no' lightly. An' our peres had some pretty strict rules f' us. Couldn' do not'in' right wit' Roguie when it came t' romancin' her. Don' wanna lose y' too, cher."

Bobby rested his forehead against his lover's. "There is nothing you could tell me that will drive me away. We may fight, but I'm not going to leave at the drop of a hat. How many times have you been raped since joining the team? Hank wouldn't have asked if it hadn't happened before."

"Two or t'ree times." Remy shrugged. "No big deal."

"Yes, big deal. Give me a list so I can hunt the fuckers down and kill them."

Remy snorted. "Y' go after Creed and I'll kill y' myself. As f' the others. I didn' know them. Been a good six month's since the last time. Tol' y' it weren't safe t' go wit'out protection f' a reason. M' tests been comin' up clean, but y' can' be sure 'til it be over a year or more."

"Hank knows."

"Oui."

"Fine." Bobby gave his love a quick kiss.

"Cher! M' lip."

"Sorry. Hurts?"

"Bleeds. Y' even listen t' anythin' I just said?"

"Yes. Your tests have been clean for six months. *I* don't have an open wound in my mouth. I'm going to kiss you if I want to."

Remy sighed, but let Bobby kiss him again, more deeply this time. "Listen to me, Rem, this is important. If *anything* I do scares you, tell me. We'll work through it."

Remy frowned. "Bobby, sex an' rape are totally different. Ain't their fault that m' powers got out of hand."

"Powers? You mean your empathy? Rem, it isn't *your* fault you got raped!" Bobby's eyes widened. "You think your powers are to blame? Shit. Remy, it's not like that. I've wanted you since you got here. I sat with you when you were so high on painkillers that Hank had to take a cold shower every hour. No one in this house raped you, even though you were giving off more pheromones than a bitch in heat, to quote Logan. Even *Scott* reacted."

Bobby stopped when he say the wide, red eyes. "Y' mad at Remy, cher?" the thief asked softly.

"No, Rem. I'm mad at whoever convinced you it was *your* fault you were raped." Bobby set their empty mugs on the side table. He took his lover's hands. "There is no excuse for rape."

"But, cher, if it weren't m' charm, why do perfectly nice people force the issue?"

"Date rape is still rape," Bobby said firmly. "If a woman told you she wanted to stop, would you push her?"

"Ain't never been in that situation." Remy winked. "Mais, probably not. Probably wouldn't feel right t' me neither." Remy shrugged.

"So what give someone the right to force you?"

"M' charm makes people crazy. Always has, even when I was a pup."

Bobby wrapped his arms around his lover and buried his nose in auburn silk. Remy snuggled into the embrace, trying to soothe his lover's emotions with touch. Bobby's mind was swirling with a mixture of things that Remy could barely separate, but love, soft and warm, flooded all of it. "I wish I could take it all away."

"Cher?"

"The pain. The fear. The sadness you hide when you look at me sometimes. The cover you shove over your anger. The guilt that keeps you up at night. The nightmares. The scars. I want to heal you so badly, Baby. I'm so scared I'm going to lose you to some memory and I'll never know why you've left." Bobby started rocking, not knowing if he was comforting himself or his lover.

"Merci, Bobby. Ain't never been taken care of like that, cher," Remy whispered. He tightened his arms around Bobby's waist. They stayed like that for a long moment. Slowly, reluctantly, ribs screaming at him, Remy pulled back. "Love t' stay like this, but m' body got different ideas."

Bobby's laughter ruffled Remy's bangs. "Yeah, I know the feeling. Shave, then bed?"

"Oui."

*****

Remy whimpered in his sleep. Bobby's eyes popped open. He made sure he was tucked around his lover before the struggling began. There was no fighting this time, just a muffled scream into the pillow. Bobby whispered. "I'm here." The red eyes opened. They glowed in the darkness.

"Bobby?"

"I'm here. Want to tell me what that was all about?"

"Non."

"Will you?"

"If y' really want t' know."

"I do. I'm not going to run away."

"When I was somewhere around 18. Four years back or so. My powers went haywire. Worse than hurtin' people when I touched them. Went t' the t'eatre. In Seattle. Every cell in m' body started t' ache an' burn. Couldn' control it an' I charged everyt'in' in de place. Dings started explodin'. People were screamin' and dyin'. And deir fear was so strong. Couple of de men started pounding on m'. Dey exploded too. When m' powers finally went out, I was hurt bad. Dat's when I lost m' soul."

"What happened?" Bobby encouraged. He rubbed Remy's back gently.

"Sinister," Remy choked out. A single tear tracked down his cheek.

"He saved your life."

"And damned m' soul. I wanted t' live, Bobby. I didn' ask what it'd cost m'."

"Rems, tell me all of it. Please. Don't let him win."

"I can't." Remy felt hot tears cascading down his cheeks. "You'll hate me, Robert."

"Tell me."

"He had m' hire a team," Remy whispered. "Then, he damped down m' powers so they be bearable. Spent about t'ree years wit' him."

"When did you leave?"

"After he lied to me."

"How?"

"Told m' he wanted samples, den had de others prepped t' kill dem all. It was slaughter. I still hear dem cryin'. I stolt a chile and ran. Got her safe before Chat found m'. Cut m' up t' make m' stay put. Crow took m' back t' le docteur. Never wanted t' die so bad, cher."

"The Morlock Massacre?"

Remy nodded into Bobby's shoulder where the blond had pressed his face. Bobby stroked the long hair gently as he thought. "We need to talk to the professor."

"Non!" Remy turned out of Bobby's arms and onto his side. He forced down his tears.

"Remy, you have to trust us. You trust me?"

"Oui, cher. But dis been hid f' dis long. Ain't gonna hurt t' keep it longer. I - I wouldn' survive alone dis Noel."

"Alone? Remy what are you talking about?"

"Why he gonna let m' stay, hehn?"

"Because you aren't a the only person here with a past. We let Rogue stay. We let Wolverine stay. Hell, the professor took in Scott. Christ. We had Magneto as the headmaster! *Sabretooth* was here! Look at me, Remy. Please. I want to see your eyes.

Stiffly, Remy turned onto his back. Bobby put a hand over his lover's heart. "Cher?"

"I love you, Remy. Don't move for a second okay?"

"D'Accord, Bobby."

Drake rummaged in the drawer of his bedside table. Remy turned his head to watch him. "Aha!" He returned triumphantly. "I've been wondering when to give this to you." Remy stared at the small box.

"What is it?"

"Close your eyes." Remy complied. He felt Bobby's fingers on his ear. Then, cold metal pressed against his lobe. He reached up to touch it. Bobby slapped his fingers. "Give me a second. I'm not used to doing this." Remy chewed at his lip. "There."

Remy reached up to touch the earring. "Y' markin' m'?" He blinked.

"It's an 'R'. So if anyone asks, you don't have to tell them it's from me."

"An' y' be lecturin' moi on bein' insecure? T'ank y', cher." Remy smiled. "So I got t' take y' wit' me if I run?"

"I'm not going to let you run away from me." Bobby straddled his lover's hips. He leaned down and gave the thief a kiss. "I'm in this for the long run, Remy. Honest. You worked for Sinny. So who gives a fuck? Rogue's mother is Mystique. Jean destroyed a planet."

"Non, Scotty says that was a clone."

Bobby paused. "Okay. True. Bad example."

"Who y' tryin' t' convince?"

"Just getting things straight in my head so I can take down anyone who tries to threaten you."

"Y're better off with the Magneto and Sabretooth argument." Remy ran his hands up his lover's thighs.

"You know I can't concentrate when you do that. Let's go roust the professor. He's easiest to manipulate in the middle of the night. Heck, he might even already be up. Remy?"

"Oui, Bobby?"

"Don't stop."

"Y' mean doin' this?" Remy stroked his lover's erection.

"Yeah."

"Y' like it?"

"More than a little. Oh, yes." Remy let himself be swamped by Bobby's emotions. Bobby's hips thrust with each stroke, having the added effect of stimulating his lover's cock as he rubbed against it. "Oh, Baby, I'm gonna… Oh!"

"Oui," Remy whispered, eyes half-closed. Bobby came, ejaculate spurting onto his lover's abdomen. Remy lost himself in the orgasm and followed Bobby over the edge. Bobby slumped forward, catching himself before he fell onto broken ribs. He kissed Remy's mouth. He stroked the Cajun's tongue with his own, toying with the stud there. He worked down his lover's throat and chest, tenderly kissing each bruise with such protective reverence that it brought tears to Remy's red on black eyes. Bobby lapped up the remnants of his pleasure with tiny licks, tasting himself on his lover's skin. Then, he cleaned the semi-hard length at his lover's groin. "Bobby, cher, that feels so good." Remy propped himself up on his forearms. He licked his lips.

"I'm going to drive you crazy."

"Oh, Bobby."

"I want to make you come and swallow you down. I want to watch the blood drift to the surface of your skin. I want to kiss you breathless. Think you can handle that?" Remy nodded. His breath hitched in his throat as Bobby kissed the head of his cock gently.

Bobby coaxed his lover back to stiffness with long, leisurely swipes of his tongue. Then, he swallowed the hardness. Gambit bit off his scream. His hands fisted in the soft sheets. "Bon Dieu," he whimpered. Bobby sucked hard. Then, eased back to lap at the tip. Every gasp and whimper made his own cock twitch. He could feel the first stirrings of Gambit's powers wrapping around him. He stopped tormenting his lover then, and took him into his mouth once more. It took every ounce of willpower for Remy to keep from burying his hands in the short blond hair and holding that far too talented mouth to his groin. He arched up into that welcoming moistness. His head fell back against the pillow. Bobby grinned around the cock. He loved driving the Cajun into passivity. Remy's fingers twitched on the sheets.

Bobby settled his fingers on Remy's lips. The lips parted to suckled on them. Once they were wet, Bobby took them away. Remy's right hand settled on the back of Bobby's neck. Bobby traced down between his lover's legs and thrust in one finger in unison with hard suction. "Bobby!" Remy gasped as he came. Bobby was overcome by the intensity of sharing Remy's orgasm. He sighed contentedly and lapped at his lover's thigh. They stayed that was for a long moment.

"Come on, Baby. Time to see the professor."

"Lemme shower first," Remy murmured, snuggling into the pillow.

"No way, Baby. Let's go." Bobby gave his lover one last kiss and dragged him out of bed.

*****

Charles Xavier was awake. He blinked at his visitors. "Bobby, Remy, what can I do for you?"

"Remy has something to tell you," Bobby stated.

The thief shifted from foot to foot. He was more on edge than Xavier had ever seen him.

"Please, sit down." Bobby sat on the foot of the bed. Remy joined him, half-cowering under Bobby's protective arm. "What is it, Remy?" Xavier asked gently. Slowly, haltingly, the story of Remy's deal with Sinister came to light. Bobby rubbed his lover's back, soothing him.

Xavier closed his eyes for a moment. "He used you." And the guilt is eating him alive, he continued to himself. "Thank you for telling me."

Remy blinked and straightened his shoulders. "Mais, if y' want m' t' go?"

"Us," Bobby corrected. "If he wants *us* to leave, we will find a hotel."

"Why would I want the two of you to leave? Gambit, you were a child. The man sitting here wouldn't hurt anyone in cold blood. You were tricked and used by a master of the art. You aren't the only person who has ever made a mistake. We'll address this issue when everyone returns. Until then, this *is* a vacation. Enjoy it. Perhaps, the two of you could lead the tree expedition?"

"Cool. We'll take the van."

Xavier stared calmly into haunted red eyes. "Have fun. And Bobby, try to keep the cost within reason this year."

"Sure, Professor. Come on, Rems. We've got planning to do. Furniture to move. Boxes to find."

"Bobby-cher."

"Yes?"

"It's only five t'irty."

"Well. Maybe it could wait for a few hours."

Xavier smiled to himself at the projections from Bobby's mind. He wasn't sure that position was even humanly possible.

****

"Ro, would you put on the star, please?" Bobby begged. They'd gotten the tree into the parlor with very little damage beyond Bishop's bruised shins. Jubilee had started them off decorating before she and Logan left.

Bobby had taken over then, which left them at this point, a fully decorated treed needing only the topper. Remy was draping a runner onto the library table. Bishop was hanging holly over the windows. Storm carefully placed the star on the top. She smiled at the richly covered confection of a Victorian tree. It fit the room perfectly. All it needed now was presents.

****

"Cher, why are we at the mall of all places?"

"Because I need to do my shopping. Okay, I'll meet you here in two hours." Bobby winked. "Don't forget to get something for Ro's stocking."

Remy rolled his eyes behind his shades and nodded his assent.

****

"Need t' get food f' Christmas dinner, Robert." The French inflection always made Bobby smile.

"So make up a list and we'll go."

"It's snowin'," Remy said in disbelief.

"It's New York. What did you expect?" Bobby dropped a kiss on his lover's nose. Gambit continued to stare. "We'll take the van. It's got snow tires."

"But it's snowin'. The van's traction ain't all that good."

Bobby blinked. "You're scared of driving in the snow?"

Remy blushed and looked away.

"Oh, Baby, come here." Bobby put out his hand and led Remy to the library. It had the best windowseat. He settled there and reluctantly the Cajun joined him. They looked out onto the glistening snow. Slowly, Bobby pressed a finger to the pane in front of Remy. He created a delicate layer of frost. Remy frowned at it. "It just surprised me, Rem. I wasn't making fun of you. Honest."

"Snow kills, cher. Cold like that's deadly."

"What do you mean?"

"Lived on the streets, me. Talked t' couple fillies from up this way. They watched friends die of cold, Bobby. It's worst went it's fallin'."

"For them, yes. Look at me, Gumbo. I'm not going to let it hurt you. Remy, this is what I *am*." He pointed at the frost. "You aren't afraid of me are you?"

"Mais, sometimes." Remy shrugged. "When y' get mad, oui."

"I didn't know. I'd never hurt you, Remy. I'd *never* hurt you."

"Don' matter if y' do." Remy shrugged again. "Y're like a drug, cher. Don' t'ink this boy could live wit'out y' no more.

"Remy?" Bobby stroked his lover's cheek, feeling the sharp bristles. "If I ever scare you, tell me. I don't want that. I don't want you afraid of me, ever."

"Cher, I got lots of t'ings that scare m'. That don' keep m' from doin' 'em." Remy kissed his lover's mouth. "I trust y'," he whispered and was rewarded with a light hug. "M' ribs don' hurt no more." The grip tightened.

****

"Cher, if'n y' play Jeff Foxworthy one more time I'm gonna charge the damned tape."

"Fine. Have it your way," Bobby sulked. Remy sighed. He knew it was weak. Still, it was Christmas Eve. He caved.

"Fine, cher. Play it. Y're still comin' t' mass t'night, right?"

Bobby turned on the tape. He smiled at his brash, cocky, insecure thief. "Yes, Remy," he said firmly. "Anything you need help with?"

"Non. Merci. Everyt'in's prepped f' mornin'."

"So. You. Me. A couple of free hours. Snowman time."

"Bobby, cher," Remy began as he was dragged towards the mud room.

"Rems? Shut up. Parka. Boots. Scarf. Gloves. Chop-chop!"

"Slave driver."

****

Christmas morning started at five. Remy flipped his attacker onto his back and started tickling him. "Uncle!" Remy kissed the breathlessly laughing Bobby.

"Y're trouble."

"I know. I even let you sleep latest. The Professor, Bish, and Storm are already up."

"Salud. Fine. Where's m' robe?"

"On the foot of the bed." They bickered their way down the stairs much to the amusement of the people gathered in the parlor. Storm gaped at the contents of one of the boxes from Remy. She then glared at him.

"Is this your way of telling me to get out more often?"

"Non. Just t' *enjoy* livin'. Mebbe the snow'll stop then."

Bobby held up the silver key on its chain. He lifted his brows. Remy purred something in his ear and he slipped the key around his neck.

Bishop was pleased with the gun oil and bullets in his stocking.

Professor Xavier laughed at the detailing kit for his hover-chair.

****

Bobby grinned at the ribbons on the bed and the silver box in the center of them. He unlocked the box and his mouth formed an "o." "Did you make this?"

"Oui." Remy blushed as Bobby carefully removed the glass ball. He lifted it to the light to see the pictures in the center more carefully. They were black and white stills from the last six months of the two of them together: watching TV, at dinner, in the pool, talking, fighting. A fishing-line hanger would allow it to be hung. He sat it gingerly on the bed and lifted out the journal beneath it. His jaw dropped.

"You never told me you could draw. Don't go getting shy on me. This is great." The last layer was a stiff cream envelope. He opened it carefully. The card was written in French.

Remy leaned close and read each line. "my revered Robert," he purred in Bobby's ear. "You took on my demons without flinching. I have just given you my heights. Now, you have all of me, including my soul. Je t'amie, Robert. Forever. Remy Etienne LeBeau."

Bobby carefully placed each piece back into the box, locked it and set it carefully aside. He turned to his lover and kissed him as gently and as reverently as he could. "Don't move," he whispered, lips brushing his lover's. He came back with a small box. "Close your eyes." Bobby carefully slid the white gold band into place, then turned Remy's palm up and placed a kiss in the center of it.

"You've given me your soul. This is to claim your heart." He placed something smooth and cool atop the kiss. "Open your eyes, Gorgeous."

"Bon Dieu." Remy gasped at the sight. It was small. A quarter of a carat, the professional part of his brain assessed. He lifted the stud carefully and the blue diamond caught the light. "Cher. . . Merci, Robert. Will y'?"

Bobby smiled. He carefully changed the dangling "r" for the diamond. He loved the way Remy turned into his touch. He put the other earring away. Remy watched him, smiling. He carefully wrapped one of the ribbons around his wrist. Bobby stopped him with a touch. "What are you up to, Remy?"

"Just playin', cher. T'ink they're pretty."

"Not as pretty as you."

Remy blushed. He seemed to do that a lot around Iceman. Bobby gave him a deep kiss. He pressed Remy down onto his back. Remy wriggled until the gold bow was out of the middle of his back.

"Are you mine?" Bobby lapped at his lover's lips.

"Oui, cher. I'm all yours, Robert. Do what y' like t' me."

Bobby kissed him again, a feather light brush of lip against lip. Remy arched for more. Bobby put a finger to the thief's lips. "Soon as I get these damned clothes off of you." Remy lay passively, an evil grin on his face. Bobby discovered that dead weight was *very* difficult to move. He went for the unprotected ribs and Remy yelped. "Help or be tickled."

Remy laughed and pulled off his clothes. He tugged at Bobby's shirt. Bobby shook his head at the impatience. "You are so easy." Remy sniffed.

"Y' wound m', cher."

"Not if I can help it. But I will fuck you."

Remy's mouth went dry for a second. He licked his lips. "Now?"

"Yes." Bobby stripped. He lit the oil lamp on the dresser and turned out the lights. Remy cleared off the bed. He snagged one of the shining silver ribbons and tied it around his throat in a looping bow. Bobby grinned. "Cute. Do I get to unwrap you now?"

"Y' said that's what y' wanted f' Christmas. Remy laid out f' the takin'. How do y' want m', cher?"

"We'll find out." Bobby carefully removed the ribbon and let it slither to the floor. He glanced to his left. "Ooooh, holiday condoms. You know me so well."

Remy grinned. "Lube. Condoms. A bed. What else do two boys need?"

"Chocolate?"

"Got that too." Remy pointed at Bobby's nightstand and the gold box on it.

"The good stuff. You're going to spoil me."

"Y' deserve it."

Bobby grinned. He stroked his lover's bangs back from his eyes. "I love you." He kissed him gently. Then, teased his lips apart. Their tongues met and danced. Bobby's hands slid into the long red hair and pulled the ponytail holder out so that the hair fell free. He tossed the holder off the bed and buried his hands in the soft length. The kiss never broke. Remy's hands danced up Bobby's spine. Slowly, Bobby pulled out of the kiss.

He moved his mouth down to torture one nipple, then the other. He sat up and looked down at the young man between his legs. "God, you're gorgeous." He stroked the whippet thin abs. "Pure muscle too. I love driving you crazy. I love hearing the little purr in your throat just before you scream my name as you come. I love turning you on with a word. A touch." He bent briefly to nip one of the nubs he was torturing. "Or a glance."

Remy twisted under him to reach for the lube. Bobby caught his wrist.

"Don't be so impatient, Baby."

"Cher," Remy whined, shifting so Bobby could feel the hardness of his cock. "Please don' tease."

"Sh, Baby. Trust me." Bobby kissed each of the trapped fingers. He sucked at the inside of his lover's wrist until he actually left a mark. Remy panted. Bobby drew an etching-work pattern of frost over his lover's ribs, then removed it with a much warmer tongue.

"Dieu!"

With firm control he continued to torment his lover until he heard a soft growl of frustration. Bobby handed Remy a small foil package. "Put it on me," he ordered gently.

Remy complied, then spread his legs to allow Bobby complete access. Bobby knelt between the splayed legs. He pressed a kiss to the inside of each thigh. "Cher," Remy whispered. "Bon Dieu, Robert. Jus' fuck m'. Sil tu plait."

"Soon, Baby. Soon."

Bobby slicked his cock, pressed against the tiny opening and pushed until he was seated.

"Fuck. You're so hot, Baby. So hot. I want to bury myself here and never leave."

Remy moaned. Bobby started to move slowly. Remy pressed himself into each thrust until Bobby took control of his lover's hips and held him firmly for the perfect fuck. Remy's head whipped from side to side in frantic demand for more.

Bobby dropped his shield against Remy's charm.

Remy was deliciously full. He wanted to make each thrust drive in deep, but he was held back. He was held on the edge. He felt his charm slide over his lover and hoped eagerly that he'd begin to thrust harder. "More, cher. Claim m'. Fuck m'," Remy pleaded.

Bobby didn’t resist any longer. He pounded into his lover's ass. He heard the little purr a second before Remy's muscles clenched around his cock with sweet, hot pressure. "Bobby!" Remy's come spurted onto his stomach. Bobby came with a cry. He collapsed across his lover, pinning him to the bed.

He nuzzled at the nicely presented throat. "I can think of better things t' do with those ribbons than wrap presents," he whispered. Remy chuckled.

"Y' gonna show m'?"

"Yeah. We've got all night."

FINIS