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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11


Written by Steve Paul
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 10

Remy LeBeau was surprised. He assumed that since this was an ice arena, and ice was cold, that the arena would be cold. It wasn't. Not that he would mistake the atmosphere for Miami Beach, but the building was warm enough for his Southern standards. That was good. After the emotional roller of the past 24 hours or so, the last thing he needed was an irrational irritation like a cold building. Ya turnin' inta a little ol' lady, homme.

Remy, Logan, Tory, and Amy were walking the main concourse of the Joe Louis Arena, heading toward the section where their seats were located. Logan and Amy were arm in arm; Wolverine not only comfortable, but actually enjoying their growing intimacy. Gambit, however, was growing more uncomfortable with it. Seeing the two together reminded him of better days with Rogue, and it soured his attitude. Tory seemed to sense this, and slipped her hand wordlessly into his.

They still had about fifteen minutes to kill before the national anthems, so they walked and looked at the pictures and memorabilia of great (and not so great) players from the franchise's 'storied' past.

"Ya mean I gotta listen t'two a dem?" Remy's hockey education had begun.

Tory giggled at his total lack of knowledge of the sport. "Sure. Got an American team and a Canadian team. Can't just have one anthem 'cause the other guys'll feel left out."

"What about the Ruskies?" Logan was quieted briefly by Amy's elbow. Logan and the women then started to argue about the influx of Europeans in the league, and whether it was good or bad. Logan's voice was almost playful, If y'can call anytin'g he do playful! Gambit shook his head in disgust, disengaged his hand from Tory's, and wandered off.

He was walked aimlessly, not too far from his friends, watching the crowd, and occasionally looking at a picture or a plaque. A black and white picture of a smiling man holding, what he'd been told was, a goalie stick caught his eye. He sidled over to it and examined the picture. He studied it for a moment, mesmerized by something in the man's smile. He glanced at the nameplate on the picture, and froze, as the man's Mona Lisa-like smile mocked him.

He stood there for a minute, maybe two before the others caught up to him. When Tory tried to take his hand again, he jerked it away from her and stalked off with a curt "I'm gonna go sit down."

She looked at Logan, who only shrugged. "Cajun's been in a yank lately."

"Yeah, I've noticed. Is he this way all the time, or do I bring the best out in him?"

"Somethin' sure wound 'im back up." Logan moved over and took a look at the picture Gambit had been studying moments before and grunted. "That explains it."

Tory walked over to the picture and looked. It didn't explain anything to her. "That's a picture of Rogie Vachon. Why would a picture of an old hockey player upset Remy?"

"That's his girlfriend."

"Rogie Vachon is his girlfriend?"

"No! Her *name* is Rogue. She came back home today, and brought some dirt bag with her."

They began walking again, aware that game time was getting close. Amy had taken Tory's arm right after Remy had stormed off continued to walk with her, much to Logan's regret. She had been quiet until this point. "How do you know she's home?"

"I called while you were asleep." He added a hasty "collect" before either could say anything.

"I don't get it. You called her house?"

"No, I called our house"

"You called your own house? Why?" Tory entered the conversation.

"Me and Gumbo don't live there alone."

"You share it with this 'Rogue' person?" -- Amy.

"Yeah. 'N others."

"How many 'others'?" -- Tory.

"Let me think. There's McCoy, 'Ro, Guthrie, Drake, Bishop, Prof., Betts, Fly boy (sometimes), Scott and Jeanie, but they live in the boathouse, me and Gumbo. That's what eleven, no twelve. There's twelve of us."

"Fourteen if you count this Rogue and the 'dirt bag', right?" -- Tory again.

"Yeah, somethin' like that."

Tory looked at Amy, who's face was incredulous. "What do you live in, some kind of commune?" Looking at Logan's face, Tory almost burst out laughing; his expression was priceless.

"Never thought 'bout it that way before." He tried to picture Chuck living in a 'free love' community. Lack of hair aside, he just couldn't picture the Professor turning on and tuning out. Still mulling this, and with Tory and Amy laughing hysterically behind him, they found their section and made their way to their seats.

Any hope they might have had of Gambit shaking his funk before they arrived was dashed when they found their seats. He was seated, leaning forward, his hands gripping the empty chair in front of him. Logan was sure that, if he could see them, the Cajun's knuckles would be white. As it was, they were glowing softly as he kinetically charged the row in front of him. Gambit was staring at the Edmonton goalie, apparently unaware of the bomb he was making.

"SNAP OUT OF IT GUMBO! Look at what yer doin'." Remy stirred, as if shaken from a dream.

"Eh? SHIT!" LeBeau let go of the seat, and the building energy began to slowly drain.

"What's the matter?" Logan could hear both fright and concern in the Stew's voice.

"Nothin' darlin'. Just don't go touchin' the seat in front of ya for a bit."

"Uhhhhh, okay. . ." Neither woman said anything more. They'd both come to accept the string of 'odd occurrences' that seem to surround their new friends.

"What's up now LeBeau?" As soon as he asked the question, Wolverine saw the answer: the Oiler goalie turned his back, displaying his last name; 'Joseph'.

"Oh fer cryin' out loud! Get a grip, will ya?" Logan cuffed the younger man upside the head. The two were oblivious to looks from those seated nearby. Tory didn't give it a second thought: she'd been with them the better part of a day now, and was used to their strange way of interacting, although she was now convinced she'd been wrong with her initial impression of the two as the 'Odd Couple'. They were more like two of the three Stooges.

Remy looked daggers at him, but didn't say a word.

"Look, LeBeau. Number 1, Ya don't know fer sure she and 'Joseph' are together. Wait 'til ya get home, 'cause right now, you're just guessin.! Number 2, you can't lose it every time you hear the name 'Rogue', 'Joseph', or any of that scum's other aliases. Yer gonna drive yerself and everyone 'round ya nuts!" Remy was about to reply, but was cut off by Tory.

"Sloooooooooowly I turn, step by step. . ."

"Darlin', what the hell are you talkin' 'bout?"

Tory blushed crimson under their glares. She knew her outburst was inappropriate at best, but she couldn't help herself. "It's an old 'Abbot & Costello' routine. One of them, I think it's Costello, freaked out every time he heard the words 'Niagara Falls.' Every time someone would say 'Niagara Falls' he'd go into a rant that started that way." Looking at the dark scowls on the two men's faces, she added a subdued "seemed was funny at the time. .sorry" as her voice trailed off.

Remy and Logan looked at each other, then back at Tory. Amy was standing with her back to the trio, trying unsuccessfully not to laugh; she couldn't believe Tory was shooting her mouth off after some of the relationships *she'd* been in. After a moment the two X-Men began to chuckle, then laugh and the tension melted away. Remy turned back to Logan.

"I'm tryin', Logan. It's hard, dat's all."

"Yeah, I know kid. Just hang tough. You can handle it."

"Oui." Suddenly uncomfortable that his love life, or lack thereof, was the center of attention, again, Gambit tried to change the subject. He pointed to the Oiler goalie and asked: "So who's dat guy anyway?"

"That's Curtis Joseph, AKA 'Cujo'. . ." Gambit cut him off, his voice low.

"He a mutant too?"

Wolverine shook his head, unsure of whether Gambit was making a joke or not. "No Gumbo. Believe it or not, flatscans can have nicknames too." Logan let his voice get louder. "Anyway, he's one of the best at what he does. Just like me," Logan added with a toothy grin.

"Well. . .why Cujo, anyway?"

"Think about it, Gumbo. CU - as in Curtis, JO - as in Joseph. . ." Logan's voiced trailed away as the Cajun's eyes momentarily glazed over. I'm gonna gut 'im if he don't stop it.

Fortunately for all concerned, the stadium announcer asked for everyone to stand as they began the national anthems. There was a short scuffle during 'Oh Canada' as the four rearranged themselves for the game. By the time the puck was dropped, Gambit was seated with Logan on his right, with Amy on Logan's right. She was wearing a walkman so she could follow the game, but she had the headset cocked off one ear so she could participate in any conversation as well. Her arm was resting on Logan's leg. Remy sighed and looked to his left. Tory was intently watching the game. After a moment, he turned his attention to the game, and shortly Tory's hand snaked onto his leg.

Ya t'ink I ain't gonna notice dat if I ain't lookin'? Remy Looked back at Tory, who kept her eyes on the game and ignored him. He sighed. What d'hell was dat song? If y'can't be wit d'one ya love, love d'one y'wit?' He took her hand in his, and tried to focus on the game.

Remy hated to admit it, but the game was actually fairly entertaining. Two periods into the contest, and he had a *very* rudimentary understanding of the game. His three companions had taken it upon themselves to educate him on the game's 'finer' points.

He was amazed by the combination of speed, finesse and brutality that the players displayed. At the end of the second period, the game was tied at 2.

Logan excused himself and began to work his way up the stairs to the concourse. Tory looked at him curiously as he passed. "Where's he off to?" Remy shrugged, while Amy responded.

"He went to call someone. I guess we're hooking up with them after the game."

"Who s he calling, Remy?"

"Jus' some friends, I s'pose."

"Why didn't use our cell phone?"

"Don't know, but I did offer. Why don't you ask him when he gets back."

Amy and Tory spent the intermission interspersing small talk while watching the 'Score-O' game and the Zambonies make their laps. Remy sat in silence, thankful the women didn't try to include him in their conversation. He'd pretty much decided that hockey, no matter how 'entertaining' it was, wasn't for him. Come to think of it, neither was Tory. She was nice enough, but she just wasn't. . .

"They'll be taking off in the next ten-fifteen minutes." Remy looked up to see Logan's face about two inches from his.


"Yeah. Blinky wants Guthrie to log some night time hours in on the bird, so he's along. I guess a whole group's coming."

"Why's dat?"

"Dunno. Guess they heard first round was on the rebounding Cajun."

Remy grunted. "Where dey gonna land?"

"That ain't my problem, Gumbo. I told 'em where we'd be. It's their job t'get there. Now shut up; game's back on.

The third period went quicker that the first two, with the Wings taking the lead with under 3 minutes left in the game on a 'one-timer' by Lidstrom (from Konstantinov and Yzerman) during a power play. Remy cheered with the rest of the crowd, although he didn't know what a 'one-timer' was, nor did he really care who Lidstrom, Konstantinov or Yzerman were. The game ended shortly, with a final score of 4-2. The Darren McCarty scored once more for the Wings - dumping the puck in the empty Edmonton net after Cujo was pulled for an extra attacker.

Tory insisted they wait for the three star selection before left. She explained to Remy that the three stars were the players judged to be the best in that particular game. It was one of her favorites parts of an NHL game. Remy just feigned interest.

Finally joining the queue, they made their way up the stairs and out onto the concourse. After a brief discussion, they decided to try and catch the shuttle back to Greektown. Failing that, they'd hop the people mover and go that way.

The group worked their way back to the gate near the river, leaving the same way they came in. As they left the building, Wolverine pulled up short, much the same way he had back at the airport. Gambit, Tory and Amy stopped, ignoring the cursing and pushing from the crowd. Tory and Amy were obviously puzzled by his action, Gambit alerted by them as he watched the Canadian close his eyes, tilt his head and sniff. After a moment his eyes shot open, and he turned to Gambit.

"We got trouble Cajun!" He looked skyward, and pointed east, over Canada, back towards New York. Gambit followed his gaze. He didn't need Wolverine's sense of smell to see the problem; it was now clearly visible, and closing fast.

"Shit! C'mon girl, we gotta get outta here!" Grabbing Tory's hand, Gambit pulled her down the steep arena stairs, Wolverine and Amy were close behind. Tory followed reluctantly, protesting the entire way to the street level. Looking back toward the river, she saw what had spooked the two X-Men, and stopped dead in her tracks, like a deer caught by the beam of a flashlight.

"Oh. . .my. . .GOD! Is that what I think it is?!"

"Oui, *Dat's* why we gotta go," Gambit tugged at her arm, but Tory was rooted in her spot by fear. A deafening roar filled the air as the metallic creature closed in on the arena, quickly righted itself, then descended and came to rest in the auxiliary parking lot between the stadium and the river. Those who were still leaving the arena took one look at the mechanical behemoth to the east before they started screaming and running in mindless panic.

"Unit scanning for programmed targets." They could hear the 'whir' of the monster's gyros as it's head turned slowly from side to side, obviously searching for something. After a moment, it stopped, it's 'eyes' locked on the group of four. When it spoke, it's voice was mechanical and cold.

"Target designates 'Wolverine' and 'Gambit', with unidentified Alpha Class mutant located. . . . . . . . Commence scanning of unidentified mutant. . . . . . . Image and information downloaded for future analysis." There was a brief pause as the monster redirected it's attention back to the two X-Men. "Mutant designates Wolverine and Gambit - you are ordered to surrender by command of Onslaught. Resistance will be met with termination."

Amy tightened her grip on Logan's arm and shrank next to him. While she could tell something was horribly wrong, she had no idea what was happening. When she finally found her voice, Logan could hear the quaking of barely controlled panic. "Logan, what's going on?"

His reply was a low, guttural growl. "It's a Sentinel darlin'. Look's like he wants t'play with me 'n the Cajun."


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