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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 2

Remy LeBeau was getting restless. Dressed casually in ripped jeans, a long sleeved henley, and his ever present overcoat, he was standing in the mansion's lavish foyer, impatiently shuffling the deck of cards that never left his side. He looked around the room. It was darkened because of the late hour, but that did not bother him. Heightened night vision was one of his mutant powers.

He'd been in this room hundreds, if not thousands of times, but he was always just passing through. This was the longest extended period he had ever spenthere. Wolverine had told him to be ready in half an hour. That was at 11:00pm. It was already pushing midnight. Normally he was the one who kept people waiting. This turn-about was not to his liking.

He looked around the room. Everything here reminded him of Rogue. The Cajun's mind began to wander, and his feet went with it.

Face it LeBeau, evert'ing in da whole place remind you of her. Mebbe Logan's right. I need ta get away from dis place. Far away for awhile. T'ink t'ings out f' myself.

He was beginning to get bitter again, that was happening more and more when he thought about her. It was childish. He knew it, but didn't care.

I know, I'll go to Caldecott County. Dat be de only place in de worl' a body can t'ink - non?

He was surprised at how angry the thought sounded to him He was beginning to worry himself. He'd never been so obsessed with a woman before. He was wandering aimlessly now, flipping cards from hand to hand.

'Course you ain't never been left by no femme before either. Well, dat ain't x-ctlly true is it LeBe. . .

The thought died as he registered where he was.

He swore to himself as he looked quickly up and down the hall. Fortunately, he was alone.

T'ank God f' small favors. His cheeks burned red in the darkness as he stood there and contemplated the door to Rogue's room.

He threw another quick glance up and down the darkened corridor to ensure himself there were no prying eyes. He tried the door. It was locked.

Gambit smiled and pulled his tools out. He selected one, and removed it from the worn leather case that was its home. He looked and the metal object, then at the door, and then back at the metal object.

What de hell you gonna do in dere LeBeau?

Unsure of the answer, he began to back away from the door, as if it held some great danger. He was beginning to sweat now, and he licked his lips nervously. He slid the lockpick back home.

Gotta t'ink. What ya gonna do in dere boy? Why ya' wanna even GO dere? De only t'ing in dat room fer you is pain. Ya don' like pain do ya' LeBeau?

He was sitting now, with his back to the wall, unsure of himself. He knew that if he was caught he'd be hard pressed to explain his actions. He took a quick inventory: Jean be wit Cyclops at de boathouse b'now. Psylocke and Warren are outta town. Haven't seen Stormy fer a while, but she's prob'ly in de attic. Don' b'lieve dere are any guests who'd be down dis corridor. Dat leaves Bishop.

Since Bishop had made it his 'duty' to know everything he could about Remy, Remy had decided it would be prudent to return the favor. He had followed Bishop on his nightly rounds for six weeks, long enough so he knew all of the big man's routines, even though Bishop changed them frequently.

He looked at his watch. 12:05. He won't patrol dis hall fer another 20 minutes or so.

With that he stood up and smiled. Shaking his head, he went back to Rogue's door and once again selected a tool. His heart was racing as he inserted the pick into the lock. His hand was shaking so badly he put a slight scratch on the lock.

"Steady homme, steady." He said quietly to himself. "Quarter of a million dollars f'dese tools, and what do ya use 'em fo'?" He felt the tumblers click, and quickly slipped into the room, just in case he was wrong about Bishop or Storm.

He stood with his back to the door, breathing hard. Something was wrong with him. Usually, he enjoyed any act of thievery. No matter how small, he was always elated whenever the job was successfully accomplished. Right now, he was slightly sick to his stomach. He didn't even want to consider the shaking hands.

Pr'bly jes Wolverine's snack comin' back to haunt me, he thought with a nervous chuckle. He surveyed the room, taking in everything while his heartbeat returned to normal. Everything, that is, except the figure hovering in the shadows outside the window.

The room looked the same as the last time he was there He couldn't even remember when that was now. The faint smell of magnolia lingered.

There were stuffed animals all over the room. Dogs, cats, bears. Even an armadillo. "I t'ink dat's what dis is." He moved over to the bed to take a closer look, then sat down. His weight on the bed caused a teddy bear to fall onto his lap.

"She didn't take you neither eh'?" He said to the bear as he gently put it back in it's place. His hand had stopped shaking. That was good. The bear fell over again, this time landing on its back, its eyes staring at the Cajun. Gambit looked at the bear and shook his head and blinked his eyes. The way I the bear was laying, it almost looked like it was accusing him. . .

"MERDE!" Gambit slapped at the bear. It smacked silently against the wall. "Ain't my fault," he hissed. "She'd found a reason t'split sooner or later." The bear just looked at him from the floor and didn't answer.

Shaken just a little more than he was, he got up and walked over to the closet. Unsure of what he was looking for or why he was there he opened it. It was neatly organized, and he absently moved the clothes back and forth, as if he were looking for something to wear. Too preoccupied, he didn't hear, or sense the window open, and the figure that was floating outside enter.

"Remy are you alright my friend?"

Gambit looked up and blinked. He didn't even hear Storm enter the room. Was he that far gone? Not letting onto his surprise, LeBeau turned. She was hovering in the middle of the room. The flowing white gown against her dark skin gave her a mysterious, regal appearance.

"I don't know Stormy".

He returned to his examination of the closet. Keep up de look boy, don' let her see ya sweat.

"What you doin' here?" He asked. He tried to make is sound casual, like he was workin' on his bike and she stopped by to see him. It came out choked, and sounded like he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, which he had.

Storm landed next to Gambit. Her concern for his recent condition caused her to ignore his favorite nickname for her. She placed her hands on his shoulders, and firmly turned him away from the closet. He was surprised, not by her strength, but his lack of desire to resist her. She took his chin in her hands and looked deeply into his eyes. Her hands were cool and dry to the touch. His eyes. . . She searched his eyes with deep concern, and what she saw caused her to smile sadly. After what seemed like an eternity to the Cajun, she released his chin and responded.

"I could ask you the same thing," she chided with a gentle smile. He started to respond, but she continued. "I saw you and Logan earlier on the roof, and wanted to speak with you before you left." Gambit started at this.

"You were dere?" That meant that at least twice tonight she had gotten the drop on him. Add Wolverine and the late raccoon. . . it hadn't been a good night for the mutant thief. He had a feeling it was going to get worse.

"So how come you here? I been waitin' in the foyer for de last fo'ty five minutes for Logan." He slapped his head. "Shit! I forgot 'bout him. I hope he ain't ready yet." Gambit began to make his way to Rogue's door.

"You'll not escape that easily Remy LeBeau." He stopped and looked at her, afraid of what she'd say next. "I'll walk with you, we can talk on the way."

He sighed in semi-relief. "Ok Stormy, but I gotta get movin'." As he opened the door, Storm's hand landed on his. "Did you forget something?" she asked.

"Don't t'ink so" he rejoined, although the mere fact she asked the question indicated he had.

She pointed to the bear lying in the corner. "I don't believe Rogue left him down there. Do you?" Gambit smiled sheepishly. He had forgotten his earlier 'fracas'.

"He was givin' me de evil eye Stormy," he said quietly. Gambit knew how lame that sounded, but Storm merely looked at him.

"Evil eye or not, you need to put him back on the bed. AND smooth the cover where you were sitting."

Gambit looked at her. "How'd you know. . ." He stopped and looked at the bed. It was obvious he'd been there. "Not bein' too good a t'ief t'night. Non?" He went over and began to smooth it over. After a moment, Storm took pity on him and helped him return the bed to its previous state.

"T'anks Stormy. Guess housekeeping ain't my strong suit." He flipped a card out our his sleeve and charged it to illustrate his point. Storm glared at him, and he extinguished it quickly, wishing he hadn't tried to be so glib. They both gave the room a once over. Satisfied it was back to normal, they shut and locked the door.

They began to walk to the stairs, Gambit looking straight ahead, aware that Storm's eyes never left him. "What were you doing in Rogue's room?"

Remy kept walking, hoping she would give up and go away. He knew better. He had made it back into the foyer before Storm grabbed his arm and spun him toward her. "Do I have to repeat the question? Again?"

Gambit gave a large sigh, and looked around. Wolverine still hadn't shown up. He glanced at the grandfathers clock, it was about to strike the half hour. He was suddenly very tired, and slumped to the floor by the foot of the stairs. He stared at his feet.

Ororo was growing impatient. She had been up almost twenty four hours, and although she still looked fresh, was very tired as well. She was about to press Gambit for an answer when he spoke.

"Dunno f'sure chere." It was barely audible. "I was waitin' for Wolverine in de foyer like I said, den de next t'ing I know, I'm outside a' Rogue's door." He stopped here for a moment and looked up at Storm. The pain in his expression was almost unbearable for her.

"I jes wanted ta take a look around Stormy. Wasn't gonna take nuthin'. I jest. . ." He stopped and looked away. Storm averted her eyes and remained quite, letting him regain his composure. After a minute or two he turned back toward her, but not looking at her face.

"Ain't never felt dis way befo' chere. Can't sleep. Can't eat. Can't fight. Least not wit de team anyway. De only t'ing I can do lately is get drunk and t'ink 'bout Rogue." He stopped again, then started a moment later, as if he'd figured he spilled this much, he might as well come clean.

"I miss her Stormy. I got to 'splain t'ings to her. I got ta tell her how much I. . ." here went went silent again, before adding, "but I can't, and its messing me up somet'ing good."

He looked at Storm, and it appeared to her like he was pleading with his eyes. This time she was the one who had to turn her back on him and regain her composure.

He watched for a moment as Storm's shoulders moved gently up and down. He walked up behind her, and turned her toward him. Without looking, Storm wrapped her arms around the Cajun, buried her head in his shoulder, her tears dampening his overcoat.

"Hey chere, why you cryin'? T'ings ain't dat bad neh?"

"I hurts me deeply to see you like this Remy." She smiled as he wiped a tear away from her cheek. It reminded her of the time they spent together when she was a child. He would often comfort her this way, like a father would his daughter. It felt good to be in his arms again, almost like. . .

"Don' make me feel real good either, but what c'n I do 'bout it?" His tone, which had been calm and soothing moments before, began to turn brittle as he spoke. "Can't talk to the girl cause she ain't here. She looks into ma'head, sees part of de show, and decides ta walk out before d'movie ends."

He let go of Storm and began to pace, pulling the cards out of his pocket, he began to shuffle them again. Before Storm could say anything, Wolverine stalked into the room, looking more human than he had in weeks. He not only showered, but his hair was combed, almost styled, and it looked like he even attempted to shave. All evidence of his earlier 'snack' was gone. He could smell the tension in the room. When he saw the Cajun nervously shuffling his cards the hair stood at the back of his neck.

Better get this show on the road, he thought, while there still is one.

"Took me a little longer than I thought it would."

Gambit shrugged, knowing that was as close to an apology he'd get. Logan nodded to Storm.

"I see. And where are you two off to?" asked Ororo. She was trying to sound cheerful, but not sure if she pulled it off. "Remy said you were going on a trip, but neither of you are in uniform?"

Gambit had been watching Storm, wondering if she was going to mention the evening's encounter to Logan. When it became clear she didn't plan to, he slowly put his cards away.

"Ain't that kind of trip 'ro darlin'" was the only answer the Canadian supplied. He relaxed a bit, now that the Cajun's deck was conceled.

Got a feeling this is gonna be one hell of a trip.

"C'mon Gumbo, we're late. We got a flight to catch."

"We not gonna take de blackbird?"

"Nope. Squint says we gotta fly commercial. At least Chuck's springing fer the tickets" Logan concluded with a chuckle.

"Tickets to where?"

"Can't tell ya Storm. Boy's night out. C'mon Gumbo, I'm drivin'."

"O.K. Logan, but hang on a sec'." Gambit turned toward the hall closet.

"Where ya goin' - we gotta a plane ta catch."

"I know, Gambit jes gonna get de phonebook so you can see over da steering wheel."

The broad smile on LeBeau's face got bigger when he heard the low growl from Wolverine, and the quite laugh of Storm. For her part, she was not so sure why the sudden change in Gambit's mood. Hopefully the prospect of getting away was lifting his spirits. Deciding that was what she wanted to believe, Storm walked over to Remy and gave him an encouraging hug.

"It's good to see you smiling my friend," Ororo said. "It's been a long time."

"Oui. Gambit starting to feel a little better 'bout 'tings." He looked at Wolverine, "you ready homme?" Logan nodded curtly and stalked off to the garage. He held his own smile in check until his back was turned on his fellow X-men. This might be fun after all, and he couldn't remember the last time he had any fun.

As Gambit turned to leave, Storm caught him by the arm. He turned, and she looked long and hard into his eyes. He read the question she didn't ask. . .

"Don' worry, Stormy, I'm gonna be alright. It jes gonna take some time. Dis little talk we had tonight help. . .some anyway."

Ororo smiled. "I am truly glad to hear you say that. I'm sure that Rogue will turn up before too long, and then you can tell her how the movie ends."

"Don' know 'bout dat chere." He managed another smile. "But you know what? Gambit can't worry bout Rogue if she ain't gonna worry 'bout him, right Stormy?" He was standing proudly now. To Storm, it looked as if he were trying to recover a little of the dignity he felt he lost earlier.

She just nodded her head, albeit a little sadly, recognizing not only the lie, but how dangerously close to the truth that lie was. Rogue had better return soon. For everyone's sake.

Out in the garage a horn sounded. "Wolverine gettin' impatient. I gotta go, chere." He turned to leave.

"Gambit. . ."

He stopped. Damn, almost made it. "Yeah Storm?"

"She will return. . . you know that don't you?" He gave her an enigmatic smile, then turned back toward the garage.

"I really gotta go now. Don' wait up Stormy"

With that he was gone. Ororo just look toward the garage for a long time. She sighed.

"Be well my friend" she said softly. "And be careful. Trouble follows you like a lost puppy."


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