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It was early summer in upstate New York, the air warm but not yet holding the humid heat of the months to come. A dark grey luxury sedan cut through the early-morning quiet, purring up the quiet road toward a large, stone mansion and through the ornate gates that closed it off from the public. A security sensor beeped deep within the mansion, accepting the visitor who climbed out of the sedan, settling a heavy-seeming bag over his shoulder as he looked around the area.

He glanced toward the building’s main entrance, his features tightening, before turning and heading for a walled off part of the well-manicured lawn, a slight limp marring an otherwise fluid gait. He stopped several feet in front of a trio of graves, a few loose strands of auburn hair falling forward as he bowed his head in silent prayer. Three bottles of fine wine, all different vintages, were removed from the bag and placed with exquisite care before he turned and started toward the mansion.

The sensor had roused the remaining X-Men, though the system’s acceptance of the newcomer satisfied most of them enough to wait till the newcomer came to them. Most of them, that was, but not Wolverine. Logan made for the doors, intent on meeting the new arrival before he could possibly pose a threat to the teenagers at the school... or the remaining adult mutants.

Wolverine opened the door and stepped out, a challenge on his lips, only to falter and stare at the tall, lean redhead making his way toward him.

“Remy?”

Red on black eyes rose to meet dark brown, and Remy inclined his head regally. “Logan. I’m sorry I wasn’ here to help.”

“Rem,” Logan whispered in a broken tone, nearly staggering forward to wrap his arms around Remy. For the first time since Scott’s death and Jean’s return, he didn’t have to be the strong one. Logan could let go and count on Remy not to consider it a weakness or something to take advantage of.

“Ahh, Lapin,” Remy murmured, voicing the nickname for the first time in years as he closed the distance and pulled Logan into an embrace. “It’s a hard, hard world.”

“So many died, Remy. Scott, Jean, the Professor, they’re all dead. And there was nothing I could do to save any of them.”

“Dat what you got to remember, dat you couldn’ do anythin’ to save dem,” Remy murmured. “Sometimes… tings jes don’ go de way we wan’.”

“Well, it sucks,” Logan growled, his head on Remy’s shoulder, both of them oblivious, for the moment, to the row of wide eyes and dropped jaws at several windows.

“Remy can’ argue wit dat neither, but we go on.”

“I’m glad you’re here, Rem. Ororo’s the only real adult left, and she’s just too nice,” Logan sighed.

Remy rubbed a hand over the back of Logan’s hair, mussing the thick hair. “You tellin’ Remy dat ‘Roro ain’ singed yo ass a time o’ two when you need it?”

Logan chuckled wryly. “Yeah, she has, but she always looks for—and sees—the good in people. It can make her hesitate. And that’s not something the kids need to learn.”

Remy looked up at that, studying the rows of faces in the windows. “So you sayin’ Remy need to singe de asses o’ de ones who don’ know him?”

“Well, not everyone. But it’ll be good to have someone else showing them that it’s okay to be on guard, to be suspicious.”

“But no’ paranoid,” Remy pointed out, grinning at the children and teenagers watching them. “An’ I tink’ dis taking away from yo’ aura, mon ami.”

“Huh?” Logan pulled back and turned to see what Remy was talking about. “Aw hell,” he groaned as people quickly ducked back from the windows.

“Don’ scare dem so bad dey won’ eat,” Remy murmured, stepping back and settling the bag over his shoulder. “Need to put sometin’ in de vault.”

Logan cast him a wry look. “Is Interpol or the FBI likely to show up on the doorstep?”

Remy shook his head tiredly. “No, dis sometin’ de Professor ask Remy to look into. Not much use now.”

Logan frowned and slung an arm around Remy’s shoulders. “Maybe we can figure out what he wanted to do with it.”

“Do with what?” Remy smiled and turned to see Ororo standing at the entrance, smiling.

“Wit’ de beautiful women here,” he chuckled, breaking away from Logan to hug the dusky-skinned woman. “You do sometin’ wit yo’ hair?”

Storm raised a hand to her hair, smiling slightly. “And that’s why all the women love you, Gambit. You notice things.”

“I noticed,” Logan protested, and Remy chuckled.

“I’m sure you did, mon ami.”

“How long are you here for this time?” Storm asked, cutting to the chase.

“Don’ know. Sounds as if you be needin’ some help here right now.”

Both Logan and Ororo nodded. “We lost so much with the Professor, Scott and Jean,” Storm admitted, “but we’re going to carry on. It’s what the Professor would have wanted, and what the children deserve. But some adult mutants to help would be most appreciated.”

“We’re outnumbered, and you’re about their mental age most days,” Logan said bluntly. “You’ll be able to outthink them.”

“Oh, now dat hurt,” Remy sniffed theatrically. “Why don’ you let Remy go lock dis away, den I join you fo’ breakfast – unless you plan on starvin’ dose little ones.”

Logan snorted. “Those ‘little ones’ eat nearly as much as I do. They might eat us if we tried that.”

“Remy jes stay away from Peter while he’s eatin’,” the Cajun laughed. “De littler ones be easier to handle.”

Logan’s eyebrows rose, but he didn’t comment, aware of the many ears listening in on the conversation.

“Yes, I think I’ll go see if someone has started breakfast yet,” Storm said before making a hasty exit.

“Sometin’ I said?”

“Go do what you have to with that, and then come help us feed the ravening hordes. We can see about getting you a room afterward.”

“Dis mean I’m hired?”

“Yeah, it does. And later we can catch up on what you’ve been doing since the last time I ran into you.”

Remy nodded at that. “All right. It safe to leave de car der?” He nodded toward the vehicle he’d arrived in.

“Yeah. The kids might prank you, but not till they get to know you a little better, and they’re careful not to damage anything when they do.”

Remy snorted out a quiet laugh at that. “All right den. See you at breakfast - an’ de coffee better be good.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “It’s coffee. Deal with it.” He was laughing as he headed back inside.

~*~*~

A short time later, Remy followed the sounds of conversation and laughter to the dining hall, noticing that the noise level dropped remarkably when he entered the room. Smiling easily at the youngsters and teens, he grabbed a tray and filled it, his nose wrinkling as he sniffed the coffee. “Dis smell like it been here since de las’ time Remy visit,” he announced as he took a seat with the other adults.

“You’re such a coffee snob,” Logan informed him, shaking his head before taking a sip of his own coffee to hide his smile. He was aware of the students—and many of the teachers, for that matter—watching him in bemusement due to the way he and Remy interacted, but he found it all more amusing than annoying.

“Remy know what he like,” the other man shrugged, winking at Ororo before looking around at the students and adults staring at him and Logan and chuckling. “All righ’, jes so you know, I’m Remy Lebeau, also known as Gambit, and it look like I’ll be stayin’ and helpin’ out some here.”

“And yes, Remy and I are old friends,” Logan added. “I do have some.”

Several muffled snickers met that comment though the students who laughed were careful to hide their faces when they did so.

“It don’ soun’ like dey believe you, Logan,” Remy chuckled as he sat and picked up his fork. “Roro, you know it de trut’.”

“Yes, it’s true that Logan does in fact have some friends,” she agreed with a tiny smile. “Though he usually hides it well.”

“You make me sound antisocial,” Logan protested, mirth sparkling in his eyes.

More snickers sounded from the students at that though some were still looking nervous.

“That would be because you are,” Storm replied serenely.

“Don’ worry, Logan, I like you jes fine,” Remy assured him.

“Maybe that’s his power,” someone muttered.

“Making Wolverine like him?”

“Liking Wolverine. He’s scary!”

Logan stared down at his plate, knowing that if he met Remy’s eyes, he would burst into laughter. Remy wisely kept his attention on his own plate though Ororo had to clear her throat to stifle a chuckle before finally introducing Remy to the other members of the staff at the table, most normal humans or mutants with low-level mutations, the ones who taught the school’s regular courses.

Once the introductions were over and everyone was again concentrating on their meal, the hum of low-voiced conversations filling the room, Logan cast Remy a sidelong glance. “After we get you settled in a room, we should head down to the Danger Room, see if getting older has slowed you down too much.”

The Cajun gave an expressive shrug in answer as he swallowed a bite of eggs. “Dat a challenge?” he asked.

“What do you think?” Logan gave him a toothy grin that sent sane men running for cover but which only ever seemed to amuse Remy.

“Can we watch?” came the question from the far end of the table, and Remy focused on Bobby Drake’s excited expression – one mirrored on the faces of the group around him.

“Didn’ know you was raisin’ a generation of voyeurs,” Remy grinned, looking back at Logan and Ororo, who smiled.

“We have taught them to seize opportunities, and I too would like to see that.”

“Looks like we’re gonna have an audience, Gumbo,” Logan said easily.

“We?” Remy’s eyebrows rose.

“Unless you don’t think you can keep up with me...” he paused for a long moment, smirking, before finishing, “in the Danger Room.”

Remy’s eyebrows climbed even higher before he tossed back the rest of his coffee. “Ain’t Remy’s fault dat he’s agin’ while you ain’t... Peter Pan.”

“Does that make you Wendy?”

Several people choked while Remy smiled blithely. “Naw, dat be ‘Roro, Remy be de crocodile.”

Logan burst into laughter. “Guess we better hide all the clocks then.”

“Naw, den people know when Remy’s comin’.”

“It would be a new and interesting challenge for a master thief,” Logan pointed out laughingly, and Ororo chuckled as well.

“He makes a good point, my brother.”

“Remy’ ain’ swallowin’ no clock!”

“And here I thought you liked challenges,” Logan chuckled, while all around them people tried to mask their own amusement.

“We see how much you laughin’ when Remy leave yo’ ass in de dust,” the Cajun snorted.

“That I want to see,” Bobby whispered to Kitty who shhshed him while Logan looked over at him with raised eyebrows. After a moment where Bobby seemed to find his empty plate fascinating, Logan turned back to Remy.

“Looks like we shoulda sold tickets.”

“Naw, looks like dey all need some fun, no point in chargin’ fo’ dat.” Remy stood as he spoke and carried his tray over to the kitchen window, smiling charmingly at the woman who took it. “Thank you for de meal.” He glanced back at Logan and the others and chuckled. “Well? You all comin’ o’ what?”

Logan got to his feet, smirking, and moved to Remy’s side to sling a companionable arm around his shoulders. “Right with you, Rem.”

Surprised glances were again exchanged at the obvious ease between Wolverine and Gambit before the older students made haste to follow them, Bobby, Kitty and Peter well ahead of the others, close on Storm’s heels.

“You all still wearin’ de bonadage gear fo’ missions?” Remy asked, an amused grin quirking his lips. “An’ is Gambit’s still aroun’?”

“It’s not bondage gear,” Logan growled, holding back a sigh since he knew the kids had heard that and now that was going to be all they ever called it. “And yeah, yours is still there.”

Bien. Don’ have to break in anyting new dat way.” They broke off from the others to go change, Remy glancing back over his shoulder as the teens’ voices grew louder. “Good bunch’a kids you got der. Heard some about what dey did out at Alcatraz.”

Logan nodded. “They shouldn’ta had to deal with that shit, but they did real good. They’re what the Professor always hoped mutants could be, a real team.”

“It be better fo’ dem,” Remy nodded. “Dey learn from de start dey can depen’ on each other - ahh.” The pleased sound came when he found the uniform he’d been given the last time he’d visited, two years before, and began stripping down so that he could pull on the combination of Kevlar and black leather.

“Still looks better on you than anyone else,” Logan said softly before turning to change into his own uniform.

Remy paused in the midst of pulling up his pants, a questioning look on his face. “Well a’course it does,” he finally answered easily, squatting down a few times to test the fit of the pants, rubbing his left thigh when he straightened.

“Still have that self-esteem issue, I see,” Logan chuckled. Dressed, he turned around, stretching to settle his uniform into place. “Ready to get your ass whipped?”

“By you and what army?” Remy laughed as if at a private joke as he settled his jacket into place and settled his black duster over it, pulling a short length of dark metal out of a pocket and extending it even as he checked the other pockets for their contents.

Logan smirked at him and opened the door to the Danger Room, gesturing grandly for Remy to precede him inside.

Merci, mon ami Lapin,” Remy snorted, tapping Logan on the ass with his bo before walking into the barren room, settling himself just inside the door.

“I am not a rabbit!” Logan growled, making sure it wasn’t loud enough to carry to their audience. He followed Remy inside and sealed the door behind them, starting the program. An instant later they were standing in the shadow of a doorway, debris and shattered glass littering the city street a few feet away.

“Rather I call you Wolvie?” Remy asked mischievously before sobering and looking around, studying the desolate landscape and watching for movement.

“You got something against my name?” Logan asked while also warily looking around, waiting for the first attack.

“Dis from de man who calls Remy ‘Gumbo’.” A whistling noise had both men diving to the side moments before a small missile impacted with the building where they had been standing seconds before. Remy was on his feet in an instant, cards and bo in hand, taking a second to get oriented before sprinting in the direction the missile had come from. Logan was close on his heels, adamantium blades extended as they headed toward the enemy.

As they closed in on what looked to be a blockade of battered and upended cars, rifle fire sounded and Remy dove behind cover. “Y’know, Gambit really hate guns,” he grumbled when Logan dropped beside him.

“Not my favorite thing either,” Logan agreed. “Think we should do something about it?”

“Think you can keep up wit’ Gambit?” was the reply before Remy was off, using his bo to vault over the car and flinging cards toward the blockade, setting off explosions that provided cover for them.

Logan snorted out a laugh before following Remy, using his claws to scale buildings and leap from one to the next. “Look out ‘round that corner,” he called, warning Remy of a trap. He received a sharp nod in answer, and Remy leapt, swinging upward to a broken outcropping, dropping a charged hunk of metal onto the waiting assailants, then leaping ahead of the explosion to catch up with Logan.

“You leavin’ me all de clean-up work!”

“Well, far be it for me to keep you from the action. After you.” Logan grinned, as he paused, waiting for Remy to lead the way before he moved. “Let’s do this!”

Remy’s smile was hard and white. “Oui, mon ami. It’s time.” In the midst of the gunfire, he darted around their shelter, cards appearing in his hand as if by magic, then exploding in the distance. This gained them the blockade where they both waded in for hand-to-hand combat, Remy’s bo whirling, shining with the same sheen as Logan’s claws.

To the students watching, it seemed impossible that neither Gambit nor Wolverine would injure the other as they moved too fast for the eye to follow, staff, cards and claws inflicting massive damage on their opponents, but both men remained constantly aware of each other, protecting one another when necessary. Ororo watched with a tiny smile on her lips, listening to the students’ exclamations and knowing that this demonstration was teaching them more than any amount of lectures.

When the last of the faceless enemies fell, Remy waited until the scene faded away before retracting his staff and slipping his remaining cards back into his pocket. “Been a long time since Remy had dat much fun,” he commented, breathing deeply but not out of breath.

Logan gave him a wide, wicked smile. “You always were the only one who could keep up with me. That was fun.”

“Seem like dat somethin’ you all need mo’ of here. Remy help wit dat.”

“Is that a threat or a promise?” Still grinning, Logan led the way out of the Danger Room to the locker room so they could shower and change.

“You sayin’ der a difference?” Remy laughed, peeling back the flap on his jacket and working at the fastenings beneath them.

“With most people there is, but there never has been with you,” Logan said. He hesitated for a moment, thinking as he undressed, and then said, “I’m really glad you’re here.”

Remy looked over at that and nodded. “Glad to be here too.” His jacket hit the bench next to him and he sat to pull off his boots. “At de school, too.”

Logan looked down as he smiled. “So you gonna stick around longer this time?”

“Someone got to keep you from scarin’ de little ones.”

“And someone has to stop you from corruptin’ ‘em, so I guess we’re both staying.”

“An’ der we be.” Remy stood and shucked off his pants, the Kevlar insets leaving them half-upright on the floor as he stepped out of them, walking past Logan toward the shower.

“And here we stay.” Logan followed Remy into the shower, his eyes intent on the lean Cajun as an attraction they’d moved away from in recent years began to spark anew.

“’Roro mus’ have a good hand wit dose young ones since dey ain’t barged in here yet,” Remy commented as he ducked under the water, hopping slightly to balance himself on one leg.

“Nobody barges in on me after a Danger Room session,” Logan assured him. “They’re afraid I might be tense.”

“Thought de workout would make you less tense?”

“It does, but I never figured I needed to tell them that.”

Remy snickered at that. “I wonder if you mo’ scared o’ dem dan dey be of you.”

Logan snorted. “Hardly. But I appreciate being able to shower in peace.”

“Mmmhmm...” Remy’s answer was noncommittal, but his expression was amused as he soaped himself off.

“I don’t notice you invitin’ them in here,” Logan pointed out.

“Too young, don’ wan’ to be accused o’ bein’ a sugar daddy.”

Logan burst into laughter. “Well, I’m a lot older than you are, at least we think so.”

“Don’ look it,” Remy mused laughingly, “and don’ dat burn my ass.” The last was added in a mock grumble.

“Hell, why? You’re one of those annoying people who’s gonna look good when you’re eighty.”

“An’ you say you ain’t sweet – not dat Remy won’ be lookin’ good until de day he die.”

“And you’ll still be telling everyone how lucky they are to get to look at you, I’m sure,” Logan chuckled.

“If not, you can tell ‘em for me,” Remy laughed, flicking water in Logan’s direction.

Logan nodded slowly, his eyes intent on Remy. “Yeah, I could do that.”

Bien, jes make sho it a proper N’Awlins wake an’ Remy won’ haunt you.”

“It’ll be the biggest party in the history of New Orleans,” Logan assured him.

“Be de only way I get back der. ‘S’alright though, bein’ here is what counts.”

Logan turned the water off and stepped back, turning to watch Remy. “I’ve missed having you around,” he admitted.

“Been a long two years,” Remy nodded, pushing his hair back out of his face and studying the other man.

“Seemed longer,” Logan said quietly. “I thought about going to find you a few times, but I didn’t think you wanted to be found.”

“Places I wen’, you din’ wan’ to find me.” Remy’s voice was just as quiet, just audible over the dripping water from the faucets. “’Sides, you had a home here, no matter how much you fight agains’ it.” One corner of his mouth curved in a smile as he headed out of the shower, grabbing a towel and starting to dry off as he went.

“You do too,” Logan replied, following Remy and watching him. “You always did.”

“Had one, may not have been de white picket fence, but was a home. You de one need it,” Remy countered.

“Does that mean you don’t think of this place as home?” Logan asked with a frown, worried that meant Remy was still looking at this as something temporary.

Remy sighed and ran a hand through his damp hair, making a face when his fingers caught in the tangled strands. “It could be, jes give me time to get used to it again, alrigh’?”

Logan shrugged, finally reaching for a towel to dry off. “Sure, but you should keep in mind that if you disappear again, this time I’ll come huntin’ you.”

Remy paused and cocked his head to the side, studying Logan through half-lidded eyes. “Dat so?”

“Yup.”

“Guess I’d better stay aroun’ den. Don’ want you to wear yo’self out.” That said, Remy got dressed again.

“You’re too good to me.” Logan dressed as well. “Ready to face the hordes?”

“Have you known Remy not to be ready?” Remy asked archly, breaking into laughter at Logan’s expression as they headed for the door, pulling it open to the sight of suddenly innocent-looking teens.

“He’s all yours,” Logan said, tossing Remy to the wolves without the slightest qualm, earning himself a glare that promised dire retribution even as Remy was surrounded. Bobby and Kitty started peppering him with questions, and even the normally taciturn Peter offered a few comments.

Logan returned the dirty look with a smug smile and edged away, making his break for freedom.

~*~*~

“Remy, can I ask you a question?”

The afternoon’s quiet was broken by the high-pitched question, and the tall man’s shoulder twitched almost imperceptibly before he turned and smiled easily at the young teen standing at the inner edge of the balcony. “You can ask, but de answer depend on what de question is,” he answered easily.

“How long have you known Wolverine?” The slight-bodied brunette bit her lower lip and looked up at him hopefully, and Remy sighed to himself. He’d been on his own too long, should have taken some time off before jumping into this; all these kids were making him twitchy.

“Longer den you been alive, petite, but de story ain’t one fo’ me to tell witout Logan’s say so.”

She hesitated again before bursting out, “How come you haven’t been here before if you’ve known Wolverine for so long?”

“Remy was actually here befo’ Logan, jes’ come an’ go every so often.”

“Really? It must have been a long time since you’ve come back.”

Remy smiled slightly and leaned back against the stonework behind him. “Few years, mus’ be befo’ you came here, eh?”

Jubilee nodded, inching a little closer to the Cajun. “Before Kitty or Bobby too, and they’ve been here forever, at least three or four years,” she said earnestly.

“Non, dey was here de las’ time; don’ think dey noticed though,” Remy chuckled. “Remy can be quiet when he want.”

“Is that one of your powers?” the young mutant asked curiously. “We all saw you making things explode with playing cards in the Danger Room, but do you have others too?”

He shook his head, pressing his lips together to avoid smiling at her earnest questions. “Non. Remy spend most o’ his life learning to be quiet an’ sly. What about you, petite? What do you do ‘sides bein’ pretty?”

She pulled a face. “I just make explosions, nothing special.”

“Dat soun’ close to what Remy do,” he pointed out with a smile.

“You’re a lot better at it, though.” Jubilee stared down at her feet for a moment before dark eyes rose again to meet Remy’s red-on-black. “You know Logan pretty well, huh?”

“Had a lot mo’ practice,” Remy countered before considering her next question. “An’ Remy know him a long time, suppose I know him as well as someone can.”

“Thought I felt my ears burning,” Logan said, coming out onto the terrace and giving Jubilee a hug as he passed her. He continued on to perch on the wall next to Remy and looked from one to the other. “So what’re you two sayin’ about me?”

“We jes commentin’ on how you like to sleep wit teddy bears,” Remy answered easily, causing Jubilee to giggle.

“Think you got me mixed up with yourself, Gumbo,” Logan retorted.

“Naw,” Remy replied easily, “don’ like bears.”

Jubilee looked from one to the other.

“Not quite the way I remember it,” Logan mused, giving Remy a sidelong look.

“Rather have a gator,” Remy grinned. “What about you, petite? What animal’s yo favorite?”

Jubilee smiled shyly. “A wolverine, of course.”

Bien, dat be one to keep you safe, dat’s fo’ sure.”

“You two are going to make me blush,” Logan said, watching them both curiously.

“Can you?” Jubilee asked with lively interest, regarding him closely.

“He can, Remy swear.”

“No one here has ever seen that!”

Logan groaned. “Why do I think that may change sometime soon? Behave, Gumbo.”

Remy sighed and glanced over at Jubilee, who had gradually moved closer, ending up at Logan’s side. “Wolvie never let Remy have any fun.”

“He’s the same with me,” Jubilee confided. “It’s kinda like having an over protective older brother around all the time.”

Logan snorted. “Some people take more keepin’ out of trouble than others.”

“Dose be de interestin’ people, right, petite?” Remy asked, grinning at Jubilee’s eager nod. “An’ if you wan’, we can schedule some time, see what we can learn abou’ dose explosions of yours.”

“Oh, that would be great,” Jubilee exclaimed, nearly bouncing where she stood.

“You can discuss that tomorrow,” Logan said. “Time for you to get to your session with Storm now, little one.”

“’Kay, bye Logan,” she hugged him hard. “Bye Remy.”

“Have a good lesson, Jubilee,” he said as she let Logan go and hurried into the mansion. “Suppose I passed inspection.”

“Realized that, did you?” Logan chuckled. “She’s kind of protective herself.”

“Dat good, havin’ someone lookin’ out fo’ you.”

“Yeah, even if it does drive me crazy some days.” Logan turned to face Remy fully. “You looked a little antsy out here. Everything okay?”

Remy shrugged languidly even as he flicked a glance toward the mansion. “Jes feelin’ a little... overwhelmed, is all. Been out o’touch an’ feelin’ out o’ sorts. Been five years since I had a cigarette an’ righ’ now I’d jes’ abou’ kill fo’ one.”

“And maybe this is a few more people than you’re used to having around all the time?” Logan suggested, remembering how every time he’d encountered Remy, the Cajun had been living someplace out of the way. “Ya know,” he mused, “there’s a boathouse down on the lake that was renovated years back to make a nice little apartment.”

“Thought de point o’ Remy bein’ here was to help,” the Cajun answered, not denying the first comment.

“Yeah, and you still would. Doesn’t mean you can’t have a little space. It’s not as if you’d be far if we needed you.”

“Surprised you ain’t out der.”

“I just head out into the woods when I need some time to myself.”

Remy’s nose wrinkled at the thought before he shrugged. “May have to go see dat boathouse, at leas’ for a while.”

Logan nodded. “I had a feeling you were starting to need a private place. Want me to show you now?”

“Dat be good,” Remy said as he pushed off the railing. “Not used to someone readin’ me dat well, either.”

“We’ve known each other for a while now, Rem. And in some hard times; it’d be hard not to get to know each other.” Logan started down the path to the lake, knowing Remy would follow.

Bien,” Remy commented once they were away from the main building, “it’s been almos’ fifteen years; long time, even if it is on an’ off.”

“Hopefully more on than off now,” Logan said, glancing over at him. “Everything that’s happened lately made me realize how much I missed havin’ you around.”

“Life be borin’ fo’ an X-Man witout Remy aroun’?” Remy asked, though his tone was oddly gentle.

“Well, I don’t know that I’d ever call my life boring, but something’s definitely missing when you’re not around.” Logan’s gaze darted to Remy and skittered away again.

“Someone who see Logan befo’ Wolverine?” Remy was studying the summer woods that bordered the path as he spoke. “O’ maybe jes someone who manage ta get you drunk.”

Logan laughed. “All of the above. And you’re pretty comfortable to fall asleep with too.”

Remy slowly looked in his direction at that. “Could always try it again,” he said nonchalantly.

“I... Yeah, that’d be good,” Logan said, turning his head to meet Remy’s eyes only to find himself grabbed and pulled into a hungry, demanding kiss. Logan groaned and wrapped his arms around Remy, pulling him close as the kiss deepened.

“Dis place have a bed?” Remy growled, his fingers digging into Logan’s back through his soft cotton shirt.

“Yeah. No sheets, but we don’t need ‘em. Fuck, Rem, been too long,” Logan rasped, his hands cupping Remy’s ass to pull him even closer.

Remy nodded even as he kissed Logan again, finally pulling back, panting for breath. “Way de hell too long. Les’ get der.”

Logan nodded sharply, starting down the path again at a much faster pace. “And don’t forget to lock the door once we do. No interruptions.”

“Thought no one disturb de Wolverine?” Remy chuckled, though there was a knife edge of desire in his words.

“Not usually but I’d hate to have to kill someone ‘cause they choose today to change that.” Logan gave Remy a hungry look and sped up even more, Remy keeping pace with him until they arrived at a picturesque cottage on the edge of a quiet lake.

“You got a key, o’ do I need to get us in?” Remy asked, crowding up behind Logan, pressing up against him.

“It’s open. The key’s on the hook inside. We don’t lock it unless someone’s living in it,” Logan said, pushing the door open and slamming it shut as soon as Remy was inside, pressing the Cajun up against the door to kiss him hard while locking it with his free hand.

“Logan...” Remy breathed the word into his mouth as he yanked at Logan’s shirt, losing all semblance of easy finesse as he struggled to get to the bare flesh beneath it.

“Fuck, yeah, touch me,” Logan rasped, his own hands tugging at Remy’s clothes. “And get these clothes off before I slice ‘em off,” he ordered, his mouth moving over Remy’s throat in a series of biting kisses.

In a matter of seconds Remy’s clothes were on the smooth wood floor, with Logan’s following, both of them shaking off their pants and boots, their hands greedily reaching for every bit of now bare flesh they could find.

“Look even better than you did,” Logan whispered, dropping to his knees to nuzzle Remy’s groin.

“Dieu, Logan,” Remy’s hips bucked forward, rubbing his cock against Logan’s face as he placed a hand on the other man’s shoulder for balance. “Look de same, feel de same. Need de bed now.”

Logan surged to his feet, tossing Remy over his shoulder as he rose, and then started for the bedroom at a rapid pace, Remy taking advantage of his position to grope Logan’s ass, groaning as he felt the thick muscles flex beneath his hands and shaking his head when the ring on the chain around his neck hit him in the face. Logan took equal advantage, a hand running over Remy’s ass and between his thighs.

“Still smell the same,” Logan whispered, turning his head to bite at the muscular cheek before tossing Remy onto the bed and following him down, Remy twisting and ending up on top of Logan, sliding the length of their bodies together, tilting his head and unerringly finding the spot at the base of Logan’s earlobe that made him shudder.

“Oh fuck,” Logan gasped, arching under Remy, his hands cupping Remy’s ass and pulling him close so he could grind up against Remy’s erection.

“Not gon’ last,” Remy panted, “wan’ it too long.”

Logan nodded. “Me too. But we’re just getting’ started. This’ll take the edge off, hard and fast, and we can do slower next time.”

“Nex’ time migh’ take a little longer than befo,” Remy chuckled huskily even as he ground down against Logan’s body, precome making their cocks slide together.

“You think I’m gonna complain about havin’ time to lie here and explore you?” Logan scoffed, a smile curving his lips. “Never happen.” He groaned as Remy moved, thrusting up involuntarily, Remy riding out the abrupt move with ease though his teeth closed together against Logan’s earlobe at the jolt. The sudden, sharp bite made Logan groan and thrust up again, and then again, his arousal spiking.

Remy moved with him, his breathing becoming harsher as his movements lost their fluidity, finally devolving into spastic jerking as he felt Logan drive upward beneath him. They moved together, their rhythm ragged but still in perfect harmony, each instinctively knowing what the other needed and moving to provide it. Logan stared up at the fine-featured face above him, watching the pleasure twist Remy’s expression, and he pushed a single finger inside Remy.

“Yo turn, Lapin,” Remy purred, his movements growing more undulating and sensual and all the while he tasted and explored the spot of flesh that drove Logan mad.

“Yeah,” Logan breathed, his eyes falling half shut as he gave himself up to the pleasure, feeling it gather at the base of his spine and then explode outward, making him cry out as semen spattered between them.

Remy’s head darted to the side, and he covered Logan’s mouth with his, eating at his cries as they continued to rock together, their movements growing more languid.

“Not letting you go again,” Logan whispered. “Not making that mistake again.”

“Like that idea,” Remy answered just as quietly. “So we gon’ try an’ make dis work?”

“Yeah, I think we are. We shoulda done it years ago. But we got here eventually.”

“Time, place, an’ opportunity,” Remy murmured, crossing his arms on Logan’s chest and pushing up slightly so he could look down at the other man. “Dey work fo’ us dis time.”

Logan nodded. “’Bout damn time. Even if we’re going to have a giggly audience this time ‘round. Good thing you’ll be stayin’ out here. We can both hide from ‘em.”

“Fo’ a time.”

“Don’t rain on my parade,” Logan grumbled at him, clasping his hands at the small of Remy’s back and smiling faintly. “I’m happily imagining a sanctuary, so leave me to my blissful ignorance.”

“Po’ baby,” Remy chuckled. “You should be used to it by now.”

Logan shrugged. “Never been anyone for them to spy on me with before.”

“Suppose dey was busy wit...” Remy changed gears in the middle of his sentence, “everyting goin’ on.”

Logan eyed him curiously but didn’t push it. One thing that hadn’t changed over the years was Remy’s stubbornness. Trying to force the Cajun to do or tell something when he didn’t want to was guaranteed to cause the opposite. “Been lots happening lately, yeah. But I think things are finally starting to settle down, even if it does seem weird around here without the Professor, Jean and Scott.”

Oui,” Remy nodded, “can imagine dat. Gotta build new routines when you lose de old ones.”

“Yeah, it’s just strange to think of the new kids who’ll never know them.” Logan shook his head. “Then again, they’ll know you. Things are going to be very different around here, I think,” he chuckled.

“Wit us bein’ de role models? Good ting we have Stormy to balance us out o’ dey end up crazy.”

“You mean you don’t think we’re all crazy already just for being here?” Logan asked dryly.

Remy considered the question seriously before shaking his head. “Non, dis place give dem a home, make dem feel normal; dat make dem not crazy.”

“Good point,” Logan agreed. “Though I’m not sure what I think about you, me and Storm as substitute parents,” he added wryly. “It’s a lot more Addams Family than Brady Bunch.”

Remy chuckled and shifted his weight onto one arm to tug on Logan’s facial hair. “Didn’ know you were so into pop-culture, Lapin.”

Logan growled and pretended to snap at Remy’s fingers. “I don’t live in a cave, Gumbo.”

Remy howled in laughter in response. “Didn’ say you did, but it been mighty close at times.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, no cave now. And this place is pretty comfortable, not that you’ve seen much of it yet.”

Remy looked around the room, his nose wrinkling as the move caused the semen between their bodies to squelch. “Remy tink he be wantin’ to see de bathroom abou’ now.”

“Fastidious as a cat,” Logan chuckled, unlinking his hands to free Remy to roll off him. “But I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind a shower myself. Someone got me all sticky.”

“Actually, I was jes gon’ to get a towel an’ clean us up,” Remy said as he rolled to his feet. “Not much point in taking a shower, is there?”

“Huh, good point. So I’ll just lie here and wait for you to bring that towel back,” Logan said with a smirk.

Remy flipped him the bird even as he walked into the bathroom, where he collected a hand towel, ran the tap water until it warmed and wet the towel. After cleaning himself up, he rinsed the towel, twisted it until it was damp, and carried it back out to Logan.

“Thanks,” Logan said, sitting up to catch it and clean himself up. Done, he tossed it aside and raised an eyebrow at Remy. “Are you planning to come back to bed now?”

“Was jes’ enjoyin’ de show,” Remy answered as he climbed back into the bed, settling himself on his side next to Logan, his head propped up on one hand so he could watch the other man, whose eyebrows rose after a short time.

“Have I developed some new mutation?”

“Jes lookin’. Der a problem wit dat?”

“Nope, just makin’ sure.” Logan grinned at him and lay back against the pillows, arms folded behind his head. “Feel free to look your fill.”

“Hell,” Remy muttered, rolling onto his back as well, “now you made Remy self-conscious.”

Laughing, Logan pulled Remy on top of him. “Trust me, Rem, you have nothing to feel self-conscious about.”

“Considerin’ I jes made you come like a race horse, yo’ damn right,” Remy snorted before grinning wryly. “Was jes tinkin’ abou’ de first time we met here.”

~*~*~

Logan stomped through the mansion, students and teachers alike melting out of his path when they got a look at his irritated expression. The day had started out fairly well for Logan, with Scott away running an errand for the Professor so Jean had had breakfast out on the patio with Logan. But things had gone downhill when he met with the Professor later that morning and was told that the Professor had chosen him to play tour guide to another mutant who was joining them at the school for a little while after hesitating for a long time.

“Who the hell does this Gambit think he is?” Logan grumbled, not quite under his breath, as he walked through the doors to the balcony where he was supposed to meet this prodigy.

The tall, auburn-haired man standing at the balcony’s edge looked up and started to chuckle. “Well, he tink he Remy LeBeau, but I tink you had another name fo’ him.”

Logan’s jaw dropped. “Gumbo?”

“You be dis Wolverine dey be talking about?” Remy asked as he pushed off the railing and walked toward Logan to grab him in a hug. “Ten years, mon ami. Long time.”

Looking stunned, Logan returned the hug, a smile replacing his scowl. “You tellin’ me we both been on the Professor’s team for years, and we kept managing not to run into each other?”

“So it seems, not here dat much myself.”

Logan nodded. “How ya been?”

Remy chuckled and shrugged as he stepped back. “Been good, you know Remy always manage to stay busy, mon ami. And you?”

“Pretty good, aside from the last while. How’s yer wife?” Logan asked, managing to keep his smile.

Remy’s smile vanished as he looked down at his hands, his shaggy hair falling forward into his face. “Don’ know. Ain’ seen her since de day we got married.”

Logan’s eyes widened, and he took a half step toward Remy. “What? But I thought—“ He stopped and started again. “What happened?”

Remy looked up from his hands to meet Logan’s startled gaze. “What happened is I killed her brother. He wasn’ too happy to have her marryin’ a freak an’ challenged me to a duel righ’ after de ceremony.”

“Rem, I... I’m sorry,” Logan said. “You never said anything last time we met. I figured by now you’d have a couple o’ kids, charming little holy terrors.”

“Notin’ you could do, notin’ no one could do. Julien died, an’ to keep de peace, Remy was banished out o’ de city. Been travelin’ ever since, dat why we met in Paris.”

“So ya been married for fifteen years and never once spent a night with yer wife?” Logan sounded shocked. “Damn, Remy, why the hell didn’t ya take her with you?”

“Don’ really tink she wanted to go wit de man who jes’ killed her brother,” Remy chuckled wryly. “What about you? How long you been here?”

“Just about two years now. I never heard anyone mention you; then again, there are a lot of mutants out there that I haven’t run into yet,” Logan said with a shrug. “Too bad though. I wouldn’t have minded catchin’ up with you sooner.”

“Haven’t been back in more years dan dat,” Remy mused. “Firs’ came here ‘bout six years ago wit Stormy, been doin’ jobs on and off fo’ de Professor since den.”

“No wonder we never ran into each other then. Well, just means we gotta get us some beers and find a quiet place to drink and catch up.”

Remy smiled at that. “Dat sound good, and is dat befo’ o’ after dis tour you supposed to be takin’ me on?”

“After, I think. We’ll end the tour in the kitchen, grab the beers, and head out to one of the balconies. Sound good?”

Remy’s smile was pure charm. “Perfect.”

“Still easily pleased,” Logan said, managing a chuckle and to keep his hands to himself. “So right this way for the ten-cent tour.”

“You sayin’ Remy ain’ a man o’ discernin’ taste?” Remy asked in mock affront as they headed inside.

Logan snorted. “Only if you mean that you discern between livin’ and dead.”

“It sounds as if you know Gambit well, Logan,” Storm commented as she entered the hallway where they stood, then ran forward to be pulled off her feet and swung in a circle by a whooping Remy.

“Damn, Stormy, you lookin’ prettier every time Remy see you,” he laughed.

“Looks like you two know each other pretty well, too,” Logan said, and Storm looked over at him in surprise at the tinge of jealousy in Logan’s voice.

“’Roro’s de reason I know ‘bout dis place,” Remy said easily. “We met when she was ‘bout thirteen.”

“That was only for a few months,” she protested. “And don’t call me Stormy.”

“Oh, Storm, don’t you know that tellin’ him not to do something is a guarantee that he will?” Logan laughed, shaking his head at her.

“I’ve been telling him that as long as I’ve known him, and I intend on repeating myself until he understands it,” she laughed.

“Aww, now you two be hurtin’ Remy’s feelin’s.”

Logan snorted. “Yeah, right, Gumbo. You were born contrary, and you revel in it.”

“An’ you be one to talk, La – Logan,” the younger man snorted.

Logan’s eyes narrowed slightly at the near slip with the nickname, but since Remy had covered it, he let it pass without comment. “Me? I’m the most easy-going guy, just ask anyone.”

Both Remy and Storm broke into laughter at that, though the Cajun’s was decidedly louder, and he collapsed back against the teak paneling behind him for support, “Oh, dat be a good one.”

“I’m gonna take back my offer of beer if you keep it up,” Logan threatened, although he was fighting back a grin of his own.

“Now Logan, you don’t want my brother to feel unwelcome,” Ororo said, laughter still coloring her tone.

“True dat,” Remy nodded.

“Is that even possible?” Logan wondered.

“Well, Scott did get a little angry when Remy stole his car the time he was here,” Ororo mused.

“Borrowed!” Remy protested. “He got it back de next day.”

“You took Cyke’s car?” Logan repeated in disbelief before howling with laughter. “For that, you can have more than half the beer.”

“He thought Remy be tryin’ to put de moves on Stormy. Didn’ believe me when I tol’ him he’d know if I was puttin’ de moves on someone. Damn good ting he didn’ think I was lookin’ at Jean cross-eyed.”

Logan immediately looked away while Storm tried to catch Remy’s eye and shake her head, the Cajun’s eyebrows arching upward in a silent question that didn’t get an answer.

“I tink I need to get de res’ o’ dis tour. Mind if we talk later, Stormy?”

“Of course not, my brother. I hope you will stay longer this time.” Ororo gave him a quick hug before moving off down the hall, and Logan nodded.

“Any particular place you want to start?”

~*~*~

Two hours later, Remy and Logan were sprawled out in chairs on another balcony, a beer in each of their hands and their feet up on the stone parapet that circled the open space.

“So... You heard all abou’ why Remy’s here, what about you?”

Logan shrugged. “Couple years ago I was up in Alberta, and Rogue came lookin’ for help. Some o’ Magneto’s crew came after me, and Stormy and Cyke came along and brought us back here while I was out of it. Things got kinda crazy, like always, and by the time the dust settled, I’d pretty much joined the team. I don’t stay here all the time, but they can always find me, and I always come back.”

“Rogue?”

“One o’ the kids here. Her real name’s Marie, and her power really freaks her out. Any skin-to-skin contact and she drains a person’s life force, according to Jean. She also takes a mutant’s powers.”

Remy whistled under his breath and shook his head as he toyed with his bottle. “Okay, dat be one power must be a hell o’ a weight to have. She a good kid?”

“Yeah, she is. I can’t quite tell if she thinks of me as a big brother or another father, but she comes to me when she has a problem. And I threaten Drake if he doesn’t treat her right.”

“Dat boy after her?” Remy chuckled and took a drink. “He be a good kid, or at least he was de last time I saw him, was a little pipsqueak though.”

“Huh. Grew up some, though I can still step on him if need be, and he knows it.” Logan grinned at Remy over his beer.

“Hell, you sit on him an’ he be jammed into de floor,” Remy snickered.

Logan’s grin widened. “Ain’t that the truth. And I wouldn’t hesitate to do it if he hurt her.”

“Les hope fo’ his sake he don’. So you sort of a permanent X-Man, hmm?”

“Yeah, pretty much. Can’t really take more than a few months here though before I need to take off for a few days to get my head on straight again.”

“You implyin’ dat yo’ head was ever on straight, and Remy know dat in’t de truth.”

Logan snorted. “Ha ha. I’m not the one who lived in a bordello in a swamp.”

“Aww now, don’ go insultin’ Remy’s house, sides, it’s gone now.”

“Huh? What happened to it?”

“You ever seen an angry assassin?”

Logan’s eyebrows rose. “Shit, they kicked you outta the city and burned your house down? Sucks.”

“An’ not in a good way,” Remy agreed before draining his beer. “Still, was a long time ago – an’ what Remy’s tryin’ to figure out is how de hell you don’ look any differen’.”

“Ah, right, that.” Logan shrugged. “That’s my ability - healing factor. I can heal from just about anything, including the effects of age, it seems.”

“Too bad you can’ bottle dat, you’d make a mint.”

“Yeah, I guess. But can’t do it any more than we can with any of the other abilities,” Logan shrugged. “Guess I’ll just have to keep playin’ the lottery.”

“Only if you don’ have other skills,” Remy chuckled, flashing a sharp grin.

Logan chuckled. “I’ll keep a close eye on my wallet with you around.”

“You mean dis ting?” Remy asked, dipping a hand into his pocket and holding up a battered, brown leather billfold.

Logan stared and then started to laugh. “I shoulda known.”

Remy smirked as he tossed the wallet toward Logan. “Didn’ even go through it.”

“That’s ‘cause you already know I don’t keep any Old Masters in it.”

“Zactly, no point in it.”

Logan chuckled. “It’s good to know I don’t meet your standards.”

“Jes fo’ what’s in yo wallet. De rest has always been up to snuff,” Remy said easily, and Logan paused in the act of drinking his beer to regard Remy curiously.

“Long time ago, Gumbo.”

“True, dat,” Remy mused. “Lot goin’ on since den.”

“Yeah, lots of stuff, lots of people over the years, at least for me. And we both ended up here eventually.”

“Doin’ some good.”

“Yeah, might as well, right? Since we’re not doin’ anything else.” Logan gave him a wry smile and a half salute with the beer bottle.

“This doesn’t look like giving a tour,” Jean commented as she came out onto the balcony. Remy looked back over his shoulder and gave an easy smile.

“Jeannie, you lookin’ good, girl. Scotty treatin’ you all righ’?”

“Of course, just as well as I treat him,” she told him, moving closer to brush a hand over Remy’s shoulder.

“Strangest pairing I ever saw,” Logan muttered.

“Dey cute together,” Remy chuckled. “When I brought Stormy back, dey was, what, chere, ‘bout twenty? Couldn’t decide if dey wanted to growl at each other o’ kiss.”

Jean laughed lightly. “But we did figure it out eventually.”

Logan just shook his head and drank more of his beer while Remy grinned up at Jean. “You tell Scotty dat Remy won’ touch his car dis time.”

“Oh, you mean he can disable the boobytraps?” she asked dryly.

“Hrmm, now dat sound like a challenge, eh, Logan?” Remy laughed.

“Try not to blow up any of the mansion while you’re playing,” Logan told him, a faint smile curving his lips.

“Aww, Remy never blow anythin’ up he don’ mean to. Don’ you want to come time me?”

“You’re incorrigible, and I can see that you are just going to egg him on,” Jean laughed, looking from Remy to Logan.

“He’s entertaining,” Logan said with a shrug. “A lot more than most of the sticks in the mud around here.”

“Den Remy have to lighten dem up some.”

“Heaven help us all,” Jean laughed. “Please don’t make Scott have a stroke.” She leaned down to kiss Remy’s cheek again before heading back inside, leaving the two men to their beer and conversation.

“Scotty be fun to get goin’,” Remy mused, giving Logan a sidelong glance.

“No argument here,” Logan agreed. “The guy doesn’t know how to have fun.”

“Don’ tink Jeannie agrees wit dat.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what she sees in him. She could do a lot better.”

Remy tilted his head to the side, and he glanced at Logan again, Storm’s silent warning finally clicking. “Like you?”

Logan just shrugged and finished his beer in a long swallow, not answering, and Remy nodded sagely. “So dat how it is,” he murmured, almost to himself.

Logan frowned at him. “You implyin’ somethin’, Remy?”

“Huh? Jes’ meanin’ you likin’ Jeannie is all.”

“Doesn’t really matter one way or another since she’s with Scott. She’s a grown woman who makes her own decisions.”

“Don’ make it any easier bein’ rational, does it?”

Logan sighed and slumped deeper into his chair. “Do you still miss your wife?”

“Some days,” Remy admitted. “Been a long time.”

Logan nodded and reached into the six pack on the ground between them for another beer. “So it gets easier?”

Remy held his hand out in a silent request for one of his own and, once receiving it, popped the cap and took a drink. “It gets... less immediate. Guess you could say dat mean easier.”

“That’s not particularly comforting, Gumbo.”

“You rather I lie to you?”

“Some days it’d be nice to be able to believe the comforting lies, wouldn’t it?”

“True, dat, but dat not de worl’ we live in, you an’ I. De lies be fo’ de ones Remy rook an’ you save.”

“Yeah. Guess we just need to muddle along and figure it out as we go.”

“Sometimes dat all we can do,” Remy nodded. “Dat an’ smile while we do it.”

“I usually find that growling and snarling work better for me.”

Remy chuckled softly at that. “Scare off mos’ everyone dat way.”

“Exactly.”

“Guess Remy can’ say anythin’ since he do de same ting, jes a differen’ way.”

“Not news to me, Gumbo. I watched you hide from everyone behind that laid back persona you like people to see.”

“Means I don’ throw stones.”

“Naw, just cards.”

“When I’m not playin’ wit dem,” Remy agreed.

“Makes it hard to get a winnin’ hand if you toss away your aces.”

“Remy always keep one o’ dem in reserve, a joker too jes to keep tings lively.”

Logan laughed. “No wonder you always win.”

Remy’s expression turned rueful at that, and he shrugged as he took another drink. “Not always.”

Logan sobered as well. “Still doin’ pretty well overall.”

“Still alive, dat what count, right?”

“Hell of a lot better than the alternative.”

“Damn righ’.”

They toasted each other with their beers and shared a wry smile. “Now we just need to teach the next generation to do the same,” Logan said. “You gonna hang around this time to help with that?”

“’Less de Professor need Remy fo sometin’ else, sho.”

“Glad to hear it. Place’ll be a lot better for some livenin’ up.”

“Can start by seein’ ‘bout dose so-called boobytraps on Scotty’s car...”

Logan laughed. “You’re gonna make him have a seizure.”

“Like you said, Scotty a little too wound up; gettin’ pissed at Remy gives him a chance to unwind some.”

“And you’re just doin’ it out of the goodness of your heart,” Logan laughed.

“Gambit be all about makin’ everyone happy.”

“Yeah, that’s your way of keepin’ at a distance,” Logan agreed. “Least it’s entertainin’.”

“Glad to be of assistance.”

“It’s what you live for, right?”

“Assistin’ folks? Sho,” Remy chuckled.

“And freein’ them from their assets, too?”

“When de time be right.”

“And you always know when that is.”

Remy’s smile was wide and easy. “Damn righ’.”

~*~*~

Both men had the best intentions, but they only lasted a few weeks before first Remy, then Logan left the mansion to pursue other leads. Days turned to weeks turned to months, and then years passed, with both Remy and Logan occasionally returning to the school, but their visits didn’t overlap again until Remy’s arrival after the Professor’s death when they finally found their way back to the relationship they’d begun before Remy married and Logan met Jean Grey.

Logan rolled over in bed to look at the man sprawled over three-quarters of the expanse, a grin curving his lips. “We gonna tell people about this or let ‘em figure it out on their own while we laugh at ‘em?”

“Don’ care,” Remy murmured. “You may wanna tell dat lil Jubilee, an’ I’ll tell Stormy, but the others?”

“Let ‘em figure it out,” Logan decided. “It’ll be amusing.”

“You gon’ have any problems ‘cause o’ dis?”

Logan looked at him blankly, and Remy rolled his eyes. “You know, men fuckin’ men ain’ exactly run o’ de mill.”

Logan started to laugh. “You really think anyone’s gonna say something to me?”

“Not everyone as scared o’ you as you think, Lapin,” Remy snorted.

“That’d be their mistake then.”

“Not dose aroun’ here.”

“Still would be,” Logan told him. “Not that it’d be a problem. Kids around here are used to all kinds of differences.”

“Meant de kids here ain’ scared o’ you as you think.”

“Oh that. We all pretend they are for the sake of my ego.”

“Mmm, dat be good den. Don’ wan yo ego bein’ bruised.”

“Yer pretty good for it yourself.”

“What? Keepin’ yo ego inflated?” Remy chuckled.

“Yup. You looked in a mirror recently?”

“Getting’ older, Lapin.”

Logan shrugged, pulling Remy against him. “Most everybody does. But you do it like fine wine.”

“Guess dey won’ sell me befo’ my time,” Remy chuckled.

“I think I bought out the harvest.”

Remy snickered at that. “You plannin’ on stepping on Remy?”

“Not really what I prefer doing with you,” Logan chuckled.

“Glad to hear dat.”

“You gonna let me spend some nights out here with you?”

Remy sucked in a deep breath before nodding. “Yeah, dat be good.”

Logan smiled at him. “We really are doin’ this. Took us a lot of years, but this works.”

“Missed you,” Remy murmured before kissing him again.

“Missed you too,” Logan replied, holding Remy close. “I thought about calling a lot of times.”

“Same here,” Remy sighed. “Didn’ want t’ mess up yo life.”

“Guess we’re both fools then. We wasted a lot of time.”

“Lot happened between den and now.”

“True enough. And now we’re in a position to do something about it, about us.”

“Mmmhmm, not complainin’ abou’ dat.”

“Works out pretty well if ya ask me.” Logan ran a hand over the tousled auburn hair, and Remy sighed with pleasure as he leaned against him.

“Missed dis, missed you.”

“Don’t haveta anymore,” Logan murmured, enjoying Remy’s weight against him. “Not goin’ anywhere, and if we need to get away for a while, we can do it together.”

Remy chuckled as he stretched. “What car we takin’?”

Logan smiled faintly. “Guess it won’t be Cyke’s this time. We’ll see whose we want to borrow this time.”

Remy nodded at that as he traced a finger over Logan’s chest. “Yeah, dat work.”

“Been a long time since I had enough Gumbo to keep me happy,” Logan murmured, watching Remy’s finger, and Remy leaned in, catching Logan’s mouth in a fierce kiss.

“Got plenty fo’ you now.”

“Lucky me,” Logan replied. “Must be my birthday.”

“You ever find out when dat was?”

Logan shrugged. “Naw, don’t know much more about myself now than I did when we met, other than some flashes about Stryker.”

“Fucker,” Remy growled. “You learn anyting ‘bout him?”

“Yeah, he’s a fucker. And he’s dead now at the bottom of a lake. Bastard’s the reason I have an adamantium skeleton.”

“Shit.” Remy finger never stopped in its path over Logan’s chest. “Fucker.”

“Yeah. I found the bastard chained to a cliff while a dam was about to break, and I left him there. And I sleep really well now.”

Remy took a deep breath, his expression becoming almost beatific. “Tink I might be sleepin’ better now as well. Any sign o’ Creed?”

“Naw, not recently. And I sure as hell don’t miss him.”

“Now der’s a fucker who needs t’ die, an’ hard.”

“You won’t hear any arguments from me. If we ever find him, we’ll take him down.”

“Like dat idea,” Remy nodded.

“And in the meantime, we’ll train more X-Men and take each other every chance we get.”

“Wit each other?” Remy asked, sounding amused.

“No one else.”

“Good to hear it.”

“I’ll repeat it whenever you like.”

Remy was silent for a moment before raising his eyes to meet Logan’s. “Gon’ hold you to dat, Lapin.”

“Works both ways, Gumbo.”

“Ain’ married no mo’.”

“Which means we can do this, and I’m not sharin’. Yer all mine now, Rem.”

“You complainin’ abou’ dat – and de same’s true fo’ you.”

Logan nodded. “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Good t’ hear.”

“I think that makes us next thing to married,” Logan said dryly, looking amused.

Remy snickered at that. “You wearin’ de dress?”

“You’re the one who’s got the figure for it.”

“Yeah, but yo’ chest is bigger.”

Logan’s jaw actually dropped as he stared at the apparently suicidal Cajun. “You did not just imply I have man-boobs!”

Remy stared at him at that, his mouth twitching, then he began to howl with laughter. Logan watched him for several seconds before poking him with one finger.

“Try not to choke to death,” he said dryly, shaking his head. “Even if you are nuts, I’ve kinda gotten used to you.”

“Jes - jes picturin’ you in one o’ dose Victoria’s Secret push up numbers,” Remy got out between gasps for breath.

Logan gawked again before giving up and embracing the insanity. “But you’re the one with the legs for fishnets and a thong.”

“Wit an ‘X’ over de pouch?” Remy snickered, wiping the tears of mirth from his eyes. “See, Lapin? Remy tol’ you he liven de place up.”

Logan was still chuckling when he tilted Remy’s head up to brush a kiss over the upturned lips. “I shudder to imagine what the next generation’s gonna turn out like now,” he informed Remy with a grin. “We’ll have to keep a close eye on any suggested uniform redesigns.”

“Nah, I tink we stay wit de bondage gear; it make a statement,” Remy murmured.

“Wouldn’t want to mess with your fetish,” Logan snorted.

“Remy didn’ design ‘em,” he pointed out logically, though he was still snickering.

“No, but you’re the only one who looks at ‘em and thinks ‘bondage’,” Logan retorted, his grin widening.

“What can I say, got good taste.” As he spoke, Remy ran a finger down Logan’s chest.

“Obviously,” Logan replied with a self-satisfied smirk. “And so do I.”

“Guess we both smar’ men.” Remy leaned in to lick along the path his finger had just taken. “Tasty too.”

“I’ve known that about you for years... Gumbo.”

“Crazy man. Why de hell Remy miss you?”

“Good taste,” Logan reminded him, only to have Remy bite down on his chest in retaliation. “You sure you’re up to starting something again so soon, at your age?” Logan teased.

“Nah, guess you jes better bring out de wheelchair an’ roll Remy off to de old folks home.”

Logan laughed. “That’ll be the day. If you ever ended up in one, you’d be stealing their false teeth.”

Remy shuddered at the thought. “Now dat be disgustin’, never know where dose tings been.”

Snickering, Logan pulled him closer and kissed him again. “You really are one crazy Cajun.”

“’Splains why I’m here wit you, don’ it?” Remy asked, sounding very self-satisfied with the situation.

“And I’m saving the rest of the world from what you’d get up to on your own,” Logan replied.

“You sayin’ you a martyr?”

“Hmm.” Logan pretended to ponder it. “Naw, having too much fun for it to be a sacrifice.”

Remy shook his head at that and stretched, rubbing his body along Logan’s. “So glad to hear it – next time, don’ tink so long.”

Logan laughed. “But then I wouldn’t get to watch your face.”

“Careful, Lapin, o’ yo ass is gonna be hit wit a card next time you turn aroun’.”

“Kinky.”

Remy began to laugh again with that, resting his head against Logan’s shoulder as his body shook. “Only you, Logan, only you.”

“See, we’re perfect for each other.”

“Known dat fo’ a long time,” Remy murmured.

Logan stroked his back, inhaling the faintly spicy scent that said “Remy” to him. “Yeah, and the timing’s finally right to do something about it.” He snickered suddenly. “I guess that’s gonna make us the staid, married couple.”

“Ain’t havin’ dat conversation ‘bout dresses again,” Remy said mildly before lifting his head from Logan’s shoulder to kiss him tenderly.

“Thank God. I’m not ready to discuss flowers and colors,” Logan murmured against Remy’s lips after the kiss ended. “Be nice if we could stay here all day,” he said with a sigh, “but someone’s gonna come lookin’ for us eventually.”

“Mmm, an’ knowin’ our luck, it would be dat Kitty, and she would get a hell o’ an eyeful if she walk trough de door.”

Logan shrugged easily. “I’m not ashamed of this, Rem, or tryin’ to hide it.”

“I know, I know, jes tryin’ to wrap my head aroun’ it,” Remy sighed. “Not gon’ end like last time, ain’ hiding another fiancée anywhere.”

“Good!” Logan replied with a hint of a growl. “’Cause this time you’re mine.”

“No wife either,” Remy continued, wondering if he should be concerned at how that side of Logan’s nature had always turned him on.

“Gonna stay that way too,” Logan stated emphatically, his arms tightening around Remy possessively.

“Dis where Remy should say, ‘yes, dear’?”

“Only if you really like getting your ass smacked?”

“Mmm, kinky, love dat abou’ you, Lapin,” Remy purred, kissing Logan again before sliding off him and out of the bed.

Logan laughed before stretching hugely and then getting to his feet. “I think we need a shower before we even think of heading back up to the mansion.”

“Aww, you don’ wan’ go back smellin’ like Remy?”

“I kinda like it,” Logan admitted almost sheepishly, “but I think that might be a little much for the kids.”

“Fine, fine,” Remy sighed, picking up the damp towel he’d used on them earlier and carrying it into the bathroom, knowing Logan would be following behind.

“You can get me smellin’ like you again tonight,” Logan offered, crowding up behind Remy to reach for the shower faucet himself.

“And dis time we even have sheets – if we make it dat far,” Remy chuckled, leaning back against Logan as the water sheeted down around them.

Logan laughed. “Yeah, we’ll have to get a few things for this place. We can either go shopping ourselves or send some of the girls.”

“You really wan’ de girls picking out tings fo’ us?” Remy asked, sounding horrified, making Logan snicker against the back of his neck.

“What, you don’t want pretty, pink, floral sheets and dishes?”

“Gon’ throw up on you if you keep it up,” Remy warned, knocking Logan in the ribs with an elbow and wincing at the contact.

Logan snickered. “So that means we don’t mention a word about needin’ anything till we have time to go into town and get it ourselves, or we won’t have a choice about it.”

“Good plan,” Remy shuddered. “Now les get dis shower done so we can get back to de big house an’ get de cooin’ over wit.”

Pressing up against Remy’s back, Logan ran his hands over the Cajun’s chest and belly, sluicing him clean. “Tonight we can take a longer shower, with actual soap.”

“Den you won’ smell like me,” Remy pointed out with what he thought was astute logic.

“Then you can come on me again afterward. Or in me.”

“Dat plan sound good.” Remy twisted within the circle of Logan’s arms and returned the favor of rinsing him off.

“I’m pretty good at ‘em,” Logan agreed.

“Pretty good when you don’ have ‘em as well,” Remy nodded.

“Aw shucks, you’re going to give me a swelled head.”

“Mebbe later,” Remy laughed. “Got to clean up now.”

Logan laughed as well. “Looks like we’re trying to make up for fifteen years in one day.”

“Gon’ take a hell o’ a lot more dan one day fo’ dat.”

“But it’s sure fun trying.”

“Damn straight, now come on, rinse off den we head back,” Remy laughed as he backed away from Logan, who quickly did as ordered and then dried off before padding naked out of the bathroom to go find his clothes.

The walk back to the mansion passed in companionable silence, and they actually made it into the main hall before they were caught.

“Logan!” Jubilee exclaimed, darting forward to peer up into his face. “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you for hours.”

Logan’s eyebrows rose even as he gave her a quick hug. “Didn’t know I needed to check in with you, kid. I was giving Gambit here a quick tour of his new home. He’s gonna be taking over the boathouse.”

“You aren’t staying in the main house anymore?” she asked, sounding disappointed.

“Jes need a little breadin’ space, petite,” Remy assured her with an easy smile. “Takes a while to get used t’ livin’ wit all o’ you here.”

“And we’ll still spend some nights up here,” Logan added.

“We?” Jubilee’s dark gaze darted from Logan to Remy then back again. “The two of you? Together? Ohmygod!”

Logan winced slightly from the pitch of that last exclamation. “Yup, together,” was all he said though.

Remy took a step back as the slight teen threw herself forward to hug Logan, then found himself caught in the same embrace. “Easy girl,” he laughed.

“I knew it,” she exclaimed. “I could just see it when you got here. Oh, this is so cool. Ha, Bobby owes me an ice cream,” she crowed, and Logan had to laugh.

“You were betting on me?”

“Just an ice cream,” she grinned. “He said you were still hung up on–“ The sentence died away, and her eyes widened as she realized what she had been about to say.

“Shoulda bet more,” Remy interjected easily.

“What can I say, I’ve always had a thing for redheads,” Logan said before glancing at Remy out the corner of his eye and adding, “but Remy here was the first.”

Jubilee’s eyes widened at that information, and Remy shrugged.

“Tol’ you we known each other a long time, petite, an’ Logan is very memorable.”

That made her laugh while Logan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s ever forgotten him,” she agreed, giggling.

“Mus’ be de hair,” Remy said with a wink, and Jubilee laughed again.

“Must be,” she agreed. “There’s nothing else memorable about him.”

“I can see I’m going to regret introducing you two,” Logan said wryly.

“Aww, you love us both an’ you know it,” Remy grinned.

“I’m pleading the Fifth.”

“That just means you do,” Jubilee giggled.

“Can’t prove it by me,” Logan retorted though the fond smile he gave her belied the words.

“Don’t have to when you know it’s true,” she retorted pertly, and Remy chuckled.

Petite has you der, mon ami.”

“I think it’s time for a strategic retreat and a meal,” Logan decided, herding them both toward the dining room.

“So you don’t mind if I tell people?” she asked, glancing over at Logan.

“Not at all. We’re not planning to climb up on a table and make an announcement, but we’re not hidin’ it either,” Logan assured her.

“An’ it seems dat mos’ o’ you kids be smar’ enough t’ figure it out witout us sayin’ anyting,” Remy added.

Jubilee gave him a “well, duh” look. “Logan hugged you. He doesn’t hug anyone except me and sometimes the really little kids.”

“She a smart one,” Remy mused, cutting a look toward Logan. “Guess I don’ need to get you a little heart-shaped pendant.”

Logan’s eyes narrowed, and Jubilee suddenly spun around, her shoulders shaking as muffled snickers escaped the hands clamped over her mouth.

“Gonna have to take you in for obedience training,” Logan informed Remy.

“Gonna get me a collar?” Remy shot back, making Jubilee laugh even harder.

“It’d look real pretty on you.”

“Den buy away,” Remy said mildly as they headed into the dining room.

Jubilee’s eyes darted from one to the other, as she clearly enjoyed the exchange. “Things are going to be a lot more interesting around here now, huh?”

“Dat what Remy been sayin’ all along.”

~*~*~

Logan shut the door to his room behind them and turned the lock with a sigh of relief. “Alone at last.”

“Dose kids much too interested in us fo’ my peace o’ mind,” Remy chuckled, dropping his change of clothes on the small desk in the corner before turning back to Logan, a predatory smile on his face.

Logan laughed. “With Cyke and Jean gone and Rogue ‘cured’, we’re the only couple around here, and the place is full of teenage girls. Get used to it. We’ll have to give Kurt a push toward doing something about him and Storm to get the attention off us.”

“Have to have Kurt get dat disapprovin’ look off his face too,” Remy sighed before pulling Logan in for a kiss. “’Cause Remy sho as hell ain’ givin’ dis up ‘cause he don’ agree wit it.”

“Fuck no,” Logan agreed. “He can go be a monk someplace else if it bothers him that much.”

“Any reason we talkin’ ‘bout Kurt when we should be gettin’ naked?” Remy asked, his lips moving along Logan’s jaw to brush against the spot under his earlobe.

“Building the anticipation?” Logan suggested even as his hands moved between them to tug Remy’s shirt free of his pants.

“Kurt’s a nice enough guy, but tinkin’ ‘bout him don’ get Remy anticipatin’ notin’.” Agile fingers grasped Logan’s t-shirt and pulled it up over his head.

“Then maybe you should just think about me.” Remy’s shirt followed Logan’s, and then a mouth was fastened onto one of Remy’s nipples.

“Dat got Remy anticipatin’ a whole lotta tings,” he gasped, one hand sliding through Logan’s hair while the other cupped his ass.

“Let me know if I miss any,” Logan murmured as he released one nipple and moved to the other. “Don’t want to leave you wantin’.”

“Mmm, give me ‘bout fifty or so years more an’ we migh’ get through de list,” Remy assured him as his back arched into the mouth on his chest.

Logan chuckled without letting go, and he reached for the fastenings on Remy’s pants, intent on getting him bare. Remy’s hands slid down and around his body to mirror his actions, his fingers pushing inside the worn denim and closing around Logan’s cock, feeling it pulse within his grasp.

Logan groaned, and fabric tore audibly as he ripped Remy’s remaining garments from his body and then sank to his knees, sliding from Remy’s fist, to nuzzle Remy’s groin.

“You damn hard on my wardrobe, Lapin,” Remy gasped, his hands moving to Logan’s hair again, carding through the rough strands as he felt Logan’s lips rub over his shaft.

“You complainin’?” Logan asked, his fingers toying with Remy’s balls an instant before his lips closed over the tip of the hard shaft.

“Not wit’ dis as de outcome.” Remy’s hips rocked forward as he spoke, his cock sliding deeper into Logan’s mouth as he tilted his head to allow Remy to drive his full length forward. One of Logan’s hands teased at Remy’s balls, and the other slid over his ass to allow fingertips to feather over the sensitive hole.

“You gon let me touch you too?” Remy gasped, tightening his hold on Logan’s hair just enough to pull his head back.

“You have the best ideas,” Logan told him, standing up and pushing Remy down onto the bed, then following him down as soon as he’d stripped off his own remaining garments.

The moment Logan was on the bed beside him, Remy darted into action, his hands and mouth on every bit of bare flesh he could reach. Enjoying every second of it, Logan lay back and enjoyed, though his hands were busy running over every accessible inch of Remy too.

They finally ended up with Remy on top of Logan again, grinding down against him, the moves designed to tease both of them, not bring them off. “Wan’ to be in you, Logan,” he murmured as he brushed biting kisses along the other man’s throat.

“So what’re you waitin’ for?” Logan asked, thrusting up against Remy as he pressed downward. “Get in me, Gumbo.”

Remy lifted his head, beaming a smile as he rolled half off Logan to grab in the drawer of the bedside table, pulling out a half-used bottle of lube and spilling most of the contents out into his palm. After slicking himself up, he pressed two fingers into Logan’s ass, giving him a cursory stretching before slowly sheathing himself in the clutching heat, groaning as he finally bottomed out.

Logan moaned gutturally, his back arching and his legs rising to wrap around Remy’s hips. “Damn, you’re the best at everything you do,” he gasped, heavy-lidded eyes watching Remy over him.

“Which is why I’m here wit you,” Remy panted as he began to move, Logan’s shaft brushing against his groin as he pressed inward. Logan could only moan and hitch his legs higher to allow Remy to sink deeper inside him. Remy sighed and kissed him again as they moved together, his tongue gliding against Logan’s, his mouth swallowing the noises that the other man made.

Logan arched up to meet every thrust, his hands moving over Remy, fingertips tracing every ridge and hollow of Remy’s back. Remy worked his hand between them, closing it around Logan’s cock and stroking it in time with his thrusts.

“Fuck, Rem, not goin’ to last long,” Logan panted, writhing under Remy’s weight from the sheer pleasure.

“S’kay, dere’s plenty o’ time,” Remy murmured, rubbing his thumb over the head of Logan’s cock as he aimed his next thrust at his prostate.

Logan cried out and arched up, shuddering as his body tightened, so close he knew it would only take a tiny bit more to send him over the edge.

“Oh yeah, let me feel you,” Remy whispered, rocking his hips shallowly so that he continued to rub over Logan’s prostate. Logan shivered and moaned until his whole body tightened, his fingers gripping Remy’s arms hard enough to bruise, and he cried out sharply and came, waves of pleasure shuddering through him.

Remy gasped as his cock was gripped with the same force as his arms, and he groaned as he followed Logan over, gouting deep within the body that still clenched around him.

Logan sprawled on his back, Remy draped over him, and he grinned, his eyes closed. “You can do that again anytime you like.”

“You sayin’ you turned into a big ol’ bottom dese past years?” Remy chuckled.

Logan’s eyes flew open so he could stare incredulously at the Cajun. “You’re just tryin’ to drive me nuts today, right? There’s no other explanation for the craziness you keep saying.”

“An’ what craziness is dat?” Remy asked incredulously before laughing and kissing Logan’s still open mouth. “Remy only speak de trut’.”

“Ha!” Logan snorted when he could speak again. “Innocence really doesn’t work for you, Remy.”

“Aww, you hurtin’ Remy’s feelin’s,” the younger man sighed though he was grinning.

Logan laughed at him. “You’d be insulted if I said you did look innocent.”

“Good point,” Remy said, kissing him again. “An’ glad you recognize it.”

“Figured that out that first day I met you. Well, all right not that first time I remember, but the next time a few years later. You’re a lotta things, Remy, but innocent is not one of them.”

“Mo’ fun dis way, isn’t it?”

“Damn straight,” Logan agreed. “I’d hate to be in bed with a monk.”

“Der you go talkin’ ‘bout Kurt again,” Remy chuckled, pushing back onto his knees and running his hands down Logan’s body as he did so, dragging a finger through the come smeared on Logan’s stomach and bringing it up to his lips.

“Mmm.” Logan felt a flash of arousal go through him at the sight, and he squirmed slightly, his hands coming to rest on Remy’s thighs as the Cajun knelt astride him.

“Was jes abou’ to say dat myself,” Remy murmured as he licked his finger clean.

Logan chuckled. “Lots more where that came from.”

Remy leaned in and licked a swipe up Logan’s stomach, laughing when his cock twitched in response. “Same ol’ Lapin.”

“Lucky you,” Logan retorted, folding his arms behind his head as he let Remy do whatever he wished.

“True, dat,” Remy nodded, scooting back a bit and cleaning every bit of semen from Logan’s front while Logan shivered at the sensation of Remy’s warm tongue dragging over him.

“And lucky me too,” he whispered.

Remy started to reply, but that was forestalled when he felt the metal of the ring he wore on the chain around his neck press against his face. Without looking, he reached up and undid the clasp on the chain, letting both the chain and ring fall to the floor beside the bed.

Logan watched, and his eyes searched Remy’s when they rose again from following the fall of the ring and the chain to the floor. What he saw made him smile and pull Remy down to kiss him.

“Been a long time since Remy was married,” the younger man murmured against Logan’s lips.

“Good,” Logan rasped, holding him tightly.

“Been longer since I was in love with someone.”

Logan looked at him searchingly. “Been a while since I was really in love myself.”

“It’s a pretty good ting, hmm?”

“Yeah, it is. And I’m gonna hold onto it.”

“Like dat idea.” Remy started to move and settled himself half on Logan before he chuckled and glanced down the length of the other man’s body. “You wan’ some help wit dat ting?”

“Thing?” Logan repeated, eyebrows rising as he tried not to laugh. “All depends what you have in mind.”

“Jes dis,” Remy laughed as he curved downward, swallowing Logan’s cock down as he petted his thighs.

“Yeah, that’s good,” Logan gasped, his hands moving to rest on Remy’s shoulders, the muscles tightening there as Remy bobbed up and down, his tongue swirling over Logan’s length. Logan stared down at the auburn head, his eyes half closed as the pleasure mounted again, Remy knowing exactly what he liked.

As he felt Logan’s body tense, Remy pulled back, his breath gusting over the damp flesh before him, and he licked the head of Logan’s cock, humming with pleasure at the taste of precome.

“God, don’t stop,” Logan moaned, and Remy smiled before he dove back in, using every bit of skill he possessed to bring Logan off. It wasn’t long before Logan was tensing under him and then erupting again, his fingers fisted in the sheets at his sides as he came.

“Mmm, sweet,” Remy purred as he pulled back after swallowing down Logan’s seed and licking him clean. “Tink you can sleep now?”

“Long as you get up here with me.”

Remy straightened up and settled himself in his original position half-sprawled across Logan’s body. “De lights still on,” he commented wryly.

Logan groaned and opened one eye to glare at the ceiling light, which didn’t oblige him by dying. “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back,” he instructed, shifting Remy to the side as he sat up.

“Remy be here an’ waitin’,” Remy murmured, watching Logan through half-lidded eyes as the other man got out of bed to turn off the light. “Damn fine ass.”

Logan chuckled. “You don’t really want to get me thinking about that ass of yours right now, do you?”

“Talkin’ ‘bout yours, and you can tink ‘bout Remy’s in de mornin’.”

Still snickering, Logan climbed back into bed and pulled Remy back on top of him. “Go to sleep, Rem. I don’t want to wear you out.”

“You too sweet, Lapin,” Remy chuckled, grabbing the sheet and pulling it up over them. “In case someone decide to take a peek,” he explained before yawning.

“People don’t come into my room without an invitation,” Logan assured, settling himself comfortably and closing his eyes. “But the sheet’s fine.”

“Big tough Lapin,” Remy murmured, closing his eyes and tightening the arm he had around Logan’s waist.

~*~*~

Time passed as they both settled into the routine of day-to-day life at the Xavier School for Gifted Children and everyone there grew used to seeing them together.

“So,” Logan said one morning as they enjoyed their coffee outside the boathouse, “are you ever going to tell me what the Professor had you bring back here?”

“Din’ know you wanted to know,” Remy shrugged, crossing his feet on the railing that ran around the porch. “No’ sure jes what it is, de Professor asked Remy to see if he could take dis statue from de National Museum of Iraq. Was pretty much candy, ‘specially since dey was lootin’ de place at de time. ‘Course when Remy got out of de Middle East, had a message from Stormy sayin’ de Professor was dead.”

“So you don’t have any idea what he wanted it for?” Logan looked even more intrigued now.

Non. De Professor wanted it, an’ Remy figure he mus’a had a good reason fo’ dat. Look like a man, supposed to be a Persian god called Ahura Mazda, dey god o’ creation. Heavy ting, lot heavier dan it should have been.”

Logan frowned. “God of creation? Maybe we should take a look at this thing. It might be more than it seems, especially if the Professor was interested in it.”

“If you wan’,” Remy replied easily. “Lots o’ information on de web abou’ him, looked it up when I was doin’ research fo’ de job.” He glanced at his watch and gulped the rest of his coffee when he saw the time. “But dat gon’ have to be late;, Remy gets to play teacher now, work on control wit de babies.”

Logan nodded. “I have them for self defense and fighting after lunch. For now, I think I’ll go talk to Storm and see if she knows anything about this statue of yours.”

“Dat soun’ good. We can all talk abou’ it after supper unless somethin’ come up.” Remy stood as he spoke and leaned in to brush a kiss over Logan’s lips. “Don’ rough de babies up too much.”

“Less than the bad guys will.” Logan admired the view till Remy was out of sight, then finished his own coffee and cleaned up before heading over to the main building in search of Ororo. He found her in the office that had been the Professor’s and was now hers as the head of the school.

Dropping into a visitor’s chair, he gave her a quick rundown on what Remy had told him about the statuette and the Professor’s interest in it, concluding, “Did he ever mention anything to you?”

“Not directly, but I believe in the weeks before his death, he was researching reincarnation.” As she spoke, Ororo typed a few commands into the computer on her desk and brought up a series of screens. “Yes, he was doing quite a bit of work regarding the subject, and there are a number of entries regarding Persian mythology.”

“Reincarnation? I can think of quite a few people I’d hate to see come back,” Logan mused, moving to stand behind Storm so he could see the monitor.

“I have to agree with that. The dead are best left dead.” Storm frowned as she scrolled back through the entries until she reached the first one, then looked up at Logan. “Notice the date.”

Logan glanced at it and froze, his eyes narrowing. “That’s less than a month after Jean ‘died’. You think he had some idea that she wasn’t really dead?”

“It’s possible; otherwise it’s a very odd coincidence, and I think we’ve both learned there’s no such thing as coincidence, at least not where the Professor was concerned.”

“Okay, so this thing in the safe, is it likely to assist or hinder reincarnation?” Logan wondered, casting a wary glance at the wall that hid the safe.

Ororo brought up a different screen and swiftly read the contents. “Ahura Mazda was the guardian of mankind, the active principle of the act of creation, so I would lean toward assistance. I cannot believe he would have tried to – what? Resurrect Jean?”

“I wouldn’t have thought it either, but he sent Remy to get the damn thing. Can you think of any other explanation?”

“No,” she sighed. “I do think that we shouldn’t touch that statue until we know more about it.”

“Remy already did,” Logan pointed out. “As far as I know, it hasn’t brought anyone back to life...” He paused and frowned. “Jean came back; we need to find out exactly when Remy touched the damn thing.”

“But the Professor believed it was her inhibited powers that did that,” Ororo began before frowning and glancing toward the time display on the monitor. “His class should be over with soon; we can speak to him then.”

“It has to be more than just someone touching the thing,” Logan said, still considering it. “Otherwise every time they dusted the damn thing, someone would come back from the dead.”

“Perhaps it has to be a mutant – or perhaps the two weren’t involved at all. We need more facts before we can decide one way or the other.”

Logan nodded. “Yeah. In the meantime, I’m glad it’s locked up where it can’t do any harm. Hell, there are a hell of a lot of people who died recently that I don’t want to see again.”

“Though there are some I would be pleased to welcome back,” Storm said quietly. “I’ll look through this information and see if I can distill it down so we can have some more background when we meet again. Hopefully Remy will know more than he’s told you as well.”

“I think he’d have told me if he did. Though he did mention that he did a lot of research when he was preparing to get it, so he might know more about what it’s supposed to do. I’ll go wait for him and bring him back here after his class is done. I have a while before I’m due in my next one.” Logan started for the door.

“Just be careful what you say in the halls,” Storm cautioned as he left.

Logan paused in the doorway, looking back over his shoulder. “I’m always careful.”

“When you aren’t being reckless,” she countered with a small smile.

He chuckled. “Who me?” He waved as he headed down the hall, an unlit cigar clamped between his teeth.

~*~*~

“All righ’, remember, we goin’ fo’ precision here, so I wan’ you to take yo’ time and get de smallest grouping you can, all righ’?” Remy looked around the small group of teens, those of the students who manifested mutations involving projectiles of any sort, and nodded when he saw their eager expressions.

Bobby Drake went first, the Iceman showing his experience as he speared the target with a thin, needle-like icicle.

Bien, bien. Next?” The students took turns aiming at their targets, some more successful than others, but none of the blocks were totally destroyed, and he counted that as a positive sign.

“All righ’, jes keep thinkin’ abou’ control. No good blowing up somethin’ you wan’ to save, is der?” he asked, grinning at the group.

Jubilee sighed, eyeing her scorched target. “That’s about all I’m good for.” Despite her words, her control was improving as evidenced by the fact that only her target was scorched.

“Practice makes perfect, kid,” Logan told her, coming around the corner to join them since the class was nearly over.

“’Zactly,” Remy chuckled, winking at the teenagers and flicking a card to detonate on the target Bobby had impaled, the new crater barely larger than the hole the icicle had put in the target.

“Just don’t ever play cards with him,” Logan advised the students. “He’s just as good with them in other ways.” He waited till the teens left for their next class before moving closer to Remy. “We need to meet Storm in her office; we have an idea of what that statue is for, but we need to work out the details.”

“Why don’ you look very happy abou’ dat?” Remy asked.

“Because if we’re right, it’s related to reincarnation,” Logan informed him. “Possibly the reason why Jean came back.”

Remy cursed under his breath at that. “Dat one really fucked up ting if dat be de case.”

“Yeah, it would be, but we need to know one way or the other. If that’s what happened, we sure as hell don’t want you touching the damn thing again. None of us want Jeannie back the way she was at the end.”

Remy reached up and squeezed Logan’s shoulder at that and nodded. “So Remy keep his hands to himself and tell you an’ Stormy what he know den we go from dere.”

“Well, I only like that if the keeping your hands to yourself part doesn’t apply to me,” Logan tried to joke, and Remy reached around behind him to grope his ass to lighten the mood.

“Never, enjoy touchin’ you too much fo’ dat to happen.”

“Good thing or I’d have to chain you to the bed, and that’s hard to do with a thief,” Logan replied in kind, hugging Remy to him for a moment.

“Well, not if de thief gave you permission fo’ it,” Remy smirked, keeping his arm around Logan’s waist as they headed out of the classroom and toward Storm’s office.

“Hmm, want to explore bondage games, do you? I could get behind that idea.” Despite the teasing quality of their conversation, both men’s eyes were serious when they met.

“Tought dat might be de case.”

“We have all kinds of things around here that we could play with,” Logan informed him just before opening the door to Storm’s office.

Remy’s expression promised a later reexamination of the subject but turned serious as he took a seat across the desk from Ororo. “So Logan tellin’ me dat de statue Remy brought here might have had sometin’ to do wit Jeannie comin’ back from de dead?”

“It is one possibility that we’re considering,” Storm agreed cautiously. “We really don’t know enough about it yet, but considering the timing, we have to accept that it is possible. Do you remember exactly when you first touched the statue with your bare skin, date and time if possible?”

Remy raked a hand through his hair, considering the question. “Think it was aroun’ de twelfth. Time... can’ say exactly, but it was early morning in Iraq.”

“And Alkali Lake is ten hours behind,” Storm said before Logan could comment, though he nodded.

“Which fits with the time we think Jean came back... and killed Cyke,” Logan added. “So whether that’s the whole cause or not, we’re going to have to move the idea that the damn statue was involved to the probable column.”

“We can’t forget the Professor’s theory that it was Jean’s own blocked powers that shielded her,” Storm nodded, “but the effects could have been cumulative. We should take the statue and scan it.”

“I’m still havin’ a hard time wrappin’ my head aroun’ de idea of a statue reanimatin’ de dead – why de hell didn’ it do dis befo’?” Remy asked.

“Maybe no other mutant ever touched it before,” Logan suggested. “All these objects of power around the world related to different mythologies that supposedly did all kinds of stuff; who’s to say the reason they didn’t work afterward was that it takes a mutant to power ‘em, and until recently, we were incredibly rare, only a handful in the entire world at any given time.”

Merde...” Remy whistled under his breath while Storm’s expression grew even more grave.

“We had better hope that isn’t the case, or we could find ourselves with more problems than we can handle at the current time.”

Logan nodded his agreement. “Yeah, let’s just keep that theory to ourselves, shall we? We don’t need mutant treasure hunts around the globe. It’d be worse than frickin’ Hitler and his stupid staff or whatever it was he was after.”

“Remy tink dat was a movie,” the Cajun pointed out with a low chuckle. “So it sound like we be needin’ to be like Rogue an’ wear gloves to touch dat statue if we wan’ to get it scanned – and we better damn well hope it don’ jes get turned on by bein’ around us.”

Ororo gave them both a wry look. “I think only you two have that problem.”

“You jes watch it, Stormy, o’ Remy gon’ play matchmaker fo’ you.”

Even with her coloring, a faint flush was visible on Ororo’s cheeks.

“Then again, maybe you might like some help moving things along on that front,” Logan teased.

“Remy know jes where to look, too...”

“I think I can manage my own affairs.”

“Yeah, but can anyone convince him he’s not a monk?” Logan asked before looking at Storm. “Then again, if you can’t, no one can.”

“Put on a bikini and get some sun; we can make sure he get an eyeful,” Remy suggested.

Ororo gave the two men a repressive frown. “Keep your antics to yourselves, or you might find a lightning bolt setting fire to your bed.”

“Aww now dat ain’ nice, Stormy, Remy jes lookin’ out fo’ his little sister...”

Storm rolled her eyes. “Behave.” She glanced toward the safe. “A telekinetic would be useful now; however, we shall have to make do without.”

“So we jes use gloves an’ be damn careful about it – besides, don’ you tink using powers on it might cause de same issue?” Remy asked seriously.

“Good point, Gumbo. We don’t know that it would, but we don’t know that it wouldn’t,” Logan mused. “So yeah, big rubber gloves. A hazmat suit might not be out of order.”

“So, we scan de ting an’ see if we can find any more information ‘bout it,” Remy mused.

“And we hope no more dead people show up.” Logan shrugged at the look Storm gave him. “Well, it’s true. Although if the Professor came back as himself, not an evil alternate, that’d be good.”

“I don’t believe that we want to touch it to test that hypothesis,” Storm mused.

“No,” Logan agreed. “Do we have anyone around here who knows anything about ancient artifacts or science to test the damn statue?”

“You think Hank might know something about it?” Remy asked.

Logan shrugged. “Probably not; his specialty is medicine and genetics, particularly of mutants. I really don’t know of mutant scientists.”

“Den seems like we all get to see wha’ we can do on our own.”

“We’ll just pray we don’t cause problems by doing this,” Storm sighed.

“We can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away,” Logan said with a shrug. “We have to do something or for all we know, it’ll come to life and bust out of the safe on its own.”

“Oh, now dat be comfortin,” Remy groaned. “So, we have any o’ dem gloves here, o’ does Remy need to go get us some?”

Storm opened a desk drawer and withdrew a pair of gloves that she gave to Remy. In response to Logan’s expression, she explained, “You’ve clearly never seen some of the science experiments the students can cook up.”

Remy took the gloves, tucking them under one arm as he stood. “So Remy be takin’ dis to de medical labs, den?” he asked as he crossed over to the paneled wall and pressed a particular spot, causing the wood to slide open, revealing the safe behind it.

Storm sighed. “Should I even bother to tell you the combination?”

“Got it open befo’, didn’ I?” Remy chuckled.

She just shook her head while Logan snickered despite his concern about what Remy was about to do. The safe was open in a matter of seconds, and Remy slipped the gloves on before reaching in to remove the satchel he’d placed in there weeks before when he’d arrived. Turning, he carefully held the satchel in both hands and looked toward the door.

“Someone want to make sho de kiddies ain’t runnin’ ‘round de halls?”

“I’ll take care of that,” Logan offered, getting to his feet and walking over to the door. “They don’t argue with me. You two follow along behind.”

They made it to the med labs without incident, the students wisely scattering when they saw Wolverine stalking toward them. “It gon’ matter if I leave it in de bag or no’?” Remy asked.

“Might as well take it out,” Logan said, glancing over at Storm for confirmation. “I for one would like to get a good look at it.”

Moving carefully, Remy opened the satchel and pulled out the statue, a foot-tall form made out of dark stone and carved into the shape of a featureless man. He set the statue in the scanner, then stepped back, stripping off the gloves and leaning against the nearest counter to watch.

“So far it seems nothing more than simple limestone of the type native to the region of Ancient Persia,” Storm said, reading the display.

“No anomalous energy readings?” Logan asked.

“Nothing yet,” she answered, studying the scans.

“What if it don’ show anythin’ unless someone touches it?” Remy asked.

“Then we won’t see anything,” Ororo said firmly. “We certainly are not experimenting with the chance of Jean coming back as she did last time.”

“No,” Remy said quickly, glancing over at Logan, “don’ wan’ dat. But if we can’t get any information from de scans, might be best to lock it away again.”

“This doesn’t seem to have told us much of anything,” Logan observed. “Looks like we’d need a conversation with Ahura Mazda himself to find anything out.”

“You are not trying to waken an ancient Persian god,” Storm stated.

Logan stared at her. “I don’t even believe in ancient Persian gods.”

“So seems like mo’ research is all we can do fo’ de moment.” Remy slipped the gloves on again, and at a nod from Ororo he pulled the statue from the scanner.

“Seems like,” Logan agreed. “At least that doesn’t seem likely to do anything on its own.”

“Which is for the best,” Storm pointed out as Remy placed the statue back in the satchel and picked it up. They discussed what their next option was, with little in the way of new ideas, as they walked back to Storm’s office until Kitty suddenly phased through the wall next to them and stumbled to halt as she collided with Remy.

Merde!” he exclaimed, fumbling for the bag which flipped open, the statue falling from it only to be caught in Kitty’s bare hands.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! But see, I caught it, nothing broke, right?” she asked, looking anxiously around the stunned half-circle of adults.

After a moment’s horrified silence, Logan breathed, “Oh fuck.”

Storm nodded slowly. “I am forced to agree.”

Kitty looked from one to the other, still holding the statue up toward Remy. “But I caught it,” she repeated with growing nervousness.

“S’all righ’, petite, you did what you thought was righ’,” Remy sighed, taking the statue with his gloved hands and placing it back in the bag.

“I really, really hope we’re completely barkin’ up the wrong tree,” Logan said, reaching an arm for Kitty and giving her a quick, comforting hug. “And you, get back to your class. And next time, look both ways before you cross a wall,” he tried to joke.

“Yessir. I’m really, really sorry,” she said again before hurrying down the hall, this time sticking to the corridor.

“So what now? We see if dead people start appearin’?” Remy asked, only half-kidding.

“First we lock that away,” Logan stated.

“And then I think we should visit Jean’s grave,” Storm said softly. “Of our recent losses, she is the only one resting here.”

“We hope,” Logan muttered.

“Don’ really know where the Professor and Scotty ended up,” Remy nodded. “How ‘bout you two go check on de graves, an’ Remy put dis away.”

“I will ask Kurt if he can visit Alkali Lake and Jean’s parents.”

Logan nodded. “Sounds good. You come join us as soon as you get that damn thing where it’s safe.” Once Remy nodded his agreement, Logan and Storm headed to the area of the gardens where Jean’s remains had been buried, Logan lost in thought.

“If she is as she was at the end...” Storm began, voicing her main fear.

Logan flinched, but his voice was steady as he replied, “Then we stop her, just like Magneto or Creed or any other dangerous mutant.”

She placed a hand on his arm and tightened her fingers as they rounded the wall that enclosed the small cemetery, drawing in a swift breath at the sight of someone standing at the graves.

“Oh fuck,” Logan said again, and the figure turned, dark eyes meeting Logan’s.

“Logan? What happened? How did I get here? The last thing I remember is... the water.”

Logan opened his mouth, but he couldn’t force anything out.

“Why is there a grave with my name on it? And Scott’s, and the Professor’s? What happened, and why don’t I remember it?”

“Jean,” Storm’s tone was gentle as she stepped forward, though she was tensed for battle if it came to that, “why don’t we go inside, and we can try to explain.”

“Tell me!” Jean nearly screamed, her eyes going back the headstone with Scott’s name on it.

“You died. Twice.” Logan’s blunt statement silenced them all, and Jean stared at him in shock before her eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed to the ground.

“We need to get her into the infirmary,” Storm said, her eyes going back to their normal blue.

“Yeah, she seems like herself, not the psycho bitch from hell version,” Logan said, striding forward to pick Jean up. “But I’ll still be happier once Hank takes a look at her.”

“All righ’, de statue is locked–“ Remy said as he rounded the wall, only to fall silent at the sight of the limp woman in Logan’s arms. “Mon Dieu, dat ting brough’ her back.”

“So it seems,” Storm nodded. “Remy, go tell the teachers to hold classes over as long as possible.”

“We’ll be in the infirmary when you’re done,” Logan added, his eyes searching Remy’s. “And it should be safe enough; she doesn’t seem to remember anything after Alkali Lake.”

“Be dat as it may, don’ mean it’s safe,” Remy replied easily. “Be der in de infirmary soon as I can.”

Logan nodded. “I think if she was going to attack, she would have when she freaked out over Scott’s grave, but yeah, we’ll take precautions.” He hesitated for a moment, then added, “Love ya.”

Remy looked almost surprised at the vocal admission but nodded. “You too. Be careful, de bot’ of you.” With a final glance at Logan, he was gone, hopping the wall and heading back for the house.

“It was well done of you,” Storm said softly, smiling gently at Logan before becoming all business again. “And now we must get Jean into restraints until we are sure of her mental state.”

Logan nodded, hefting the slender redhead somewhat higher in his arms. “After you.”

In a short time, they had Jean settled, scanning leads attached to her head and an anesthetic IV drip in her arm. “Tol’ de folks to keep de kids busy,” Remy said as he came into the lab, brushing up against Logan’s side as he stopped beside the examination table where Jean lay. “Also called Hank, he be here as soon as he can.”

“We’ll keep her sedated until then,” Storm replied. “Her brain scans look like they did before Alkali Lake.”

“Which is a lot better than the sorta apocalyptic version that came afterward.” Logan eyed Remy. “If that’s an effect of the person who touches the damn statue, you and I have a lot to talk about.” More relaxed now, he achieved the teasing tone he’d been aiming for.

“Oh, now dat’s jes’ mean,” Remy growled. “You sayin’ Remy’s touch makes tings go bad?”

Logan laughed, and Storm looked away to hide a smile. “I think I’m proof that isn’t the case. Guess you’d just better stick to touchin’ me.”

“If you lucky.”

Even Ororo snickered at that. “Yes, getting back to Jean,” she said. “I cannot see any difference in these scans compared to those we have from before her first death, but I will feel more comfortable once Hank has reviewed them.”

“If she really de same as befo’, gon’ be hard fo’ her,” Remy mused, looking down at the unconscious woman on the table. “Gon’ need a lot o’ support.”

“We are all her friends; we’ll be there for her,” Storm said, looking up from the monitors.

Logan looked over at Remy, imagining what it would be like to wake and be told that not only was he dead but Logan himself had killed him, and he shuddered. “Not sure there’s any amount of support that can help with it, but yeah, we’ll all do what we can.”

A long-fingered hand stroked over Logan’s back before resting on his shoulder and Remy sighed. “Wasn’ her fault, wasn’ nobody’s fault.”

“No, but I don’t think that’s going to help, at least not at first.”

“No,” Storm agreed, looking sadly at Jean, who seemed so fragile in her unconscious state.

They stood around the table, a silent guard for an unconscious woman for an undeterminable time, and all three started in surprise when Kurt appeared in the room next to Ororo, his expression sorrowful as he looked down at Jean. “It’s getting late; we’re going to have to let the children out of the classrooms eventually.”

Storm sighed. “Yes, and we are all in need of dinner. Logan, if you would stand watch, I will go make what explanations I can to the students and return after I have eaten.”

Logan nodded. “Yeah, we shouldn’t leave her alone.” He was grateful no one made mention of him being the one to wake her the last time and that they were willing to trust him.

Kurt’s tail curved around Ororo’s shoulder before darting away, and Remy smiled slightly. “Wan’ me to talk to Kitty an’ de older ones? You know dey gonna tie dis in to her runnin’ into me.”

Storm and Logan both nodded. “Yes, she will realize it if she hasn’t already,” Storm agreed. “I would be grateful if you would speak to her. I will see her later, after I take my turn watching Jean.”

“I’m fine here if you want to do it sooner,” Logan told her.

“I too will take my time with her,” Kurt added.

“All righ’ seems we all have tings to do, best go do ‘em.” Remy brushed his hand over Logan’s back again as he spoke.

“Make sure you take time to get yourself something to eat, Gumbo,” Logan ordered.

“How ‘bout I bring you sometin’ after I talk to the kids an’ we can bot eat?”

“Sure,” Logan agreed after a moment’s thought. That way he could make sure that the Cajun ate a decent meal too.

“I will gather the children except for the oldest ones in the main hall so that you can talk to them,” Kurt told Storm, his tail dropping to her shoulder before he vanished, leaving wisps of blue smoke and the faint scent of brimstone in his wake.

“Sometime, Remy wish he could get aroun’ dat easy.”

Logan and Storm both stared at him, then looked at each other and simultaneously, and emphatically, said, “No!”

Remy snickered at their reaction before heading out of the lab and off to the classrooms.

Storm shuddered lightly and shook her head. “That idea is extremely scary.”

Logan nodded vigorously. “Bad enough as it is. The only way to keep something safe from him is to not lock it up. Then it’s too boring for him.”

“Except for you.”

Logan smirked. “I’m a special case.”

Storm had to laugh at that statement. “That’s very true, Logan. If you need anything, call; we’ll be back soon.”

Logan just nodded, and once Storm was gone, he pulled a chair over and sat down, regarding Jean pensively. “This is getting’ to be a habit, Jeannie,” he murmured. “I hope it turns out better this time ‘round.”

~*~*~

“Dey had dat baked chicken you go crazy fo’,” Remy announced as he entered the lab several hours later carrying a tray of food. “Almos’ tore my arm off puttin’ food on de plate when I said it was for you.” He set the on the desk near Logan and leaned in to brush a kiss over the other man’s temple. “How she doin’?”

Logan shrugged, leaning back in the chair to look up at Remy. “No change. She’s shifted position a little, and you can see she’s in REM sleep, but it’s as boring as being a night watchman at a milk processing plant.”

“No’ going to complain abou’ dat. Got tings settled wit de little ones; Kitty’s upset, but handlin’ it.”

“That’s good. And thanks for the food,” Logan added as he moved his chair closer to the table so he could start eating. “’s good.”

Remy dropped into a chair and pulled his own plate closer so that he could eat as well. “Yeah, it’s good,” he nodded, both of them working through their meal before he finally looked up again. “How you doin’, mon ami?”

Logan shrugged. “It’s weird seeing her again,” he admitted. “But mostly I feel sorry for her.”

“Gon’ be a lot to absorb, she’s gon’ need her friends,” Remy nodded.

“Yeah, too bad the ones she’s really going to want are the ones who are dead.”

“Not much we can do about dat.”

“No. All we can do is be her friends.” Logan paused then and regarded Remy. “Maybe you can steal her car this time.”

“Der we go,” Remy chuckled, “give her something else to think about. Wonder...”

“I get very nervous when you say that.”

“Probably should, was jes wonderin’ what happen now if someone touch dat ting.”

“I really don’t want to know!”

“Probably for de best,” Remy nodded, “don’ wan’ to be starrin’ in a zombie uprisin’ movie.”

“That is a truly disgustin’ thought for dinner.”

“Remy make it up to you later, promise,” the other man chuckled.

Logan made a face at him. “I’m going to hold you to that. And I don’t know about you, but I’m really glad all fallen X-Men aren’t buried here on the grounds.”

“Scotty an’ de Professor ain’ buried anywhere at all,” Remy pointed out before eating his last bite of chicken.

“Neither was Jean last time, not exactly.”

“True, wish we knew mo’ ‘bout what de hell dat damn ting do,” Remy sighed. “Hard to examine it when we can’t touch it.”

“Yeah. If we could be sure touching it again would bring the Professor or Scott back, sane, that would be one thing, but we have no fucking idea, and it’s not really a good area for experimentation. I was kidding earlier, but I really wish we could talk to the guy who made it, Persian god or not.”

Jean shifted on the examination table, and both men looked over at her before relaxing when she settled. “So we wait,” Remy murmured. “Wait fo’ Hank to get here an’ see what he say, den wait to wake Jeannie up again an’ see how dat goes.”

“Damn lot of waiting,” Logan grumbled.

“Remy really hate it.”

Logan nodded sharply. “Me too. But I don’t see any other options here, do you?”

“Could always make out like de teenagers,” Remy suggested. “Dat pass de time.”

Logan tilted his head to one side as he considered Remy, and the next thing the Cajun knew, he’d been yanked onto Logan’s lap.

“Knew you were a smar’ man, Lapin,” Remy murmured before catching Logan’s mouth in a devouring kiss. Logan wrapped an arm securely around Remy’s waist, keeping him close, and met the kiss with equal fervor, only the tiniest part of his senses remaining attuned to Jean to warn him if she should move.

“We gon’ have to move up here for a while,” Remy said as he pulled back to breathe. “Too far away down at de lake.”

Logan sighed and nodded. “Got kind of used to having some space,” he said regretfully. “Well, it’s not for forever.”

“Guess it was de honeymoon, now we back to real life.” Remy’s hand stroked over Logan’s hair as he spoke, a fingertip brushing over his ear before his fingers tightened and he dove in for another kiss.

After the kiss, Logan gave Remy a tender smile that was reserved exclusively for him. “The honeymoon’s never going to be over, Rem. And if you ever tell anyone I said that, we’ll have a lovely joint funeral.”

“Remy can see how he’d die at dat point, but wha’ gon’ kill you, Lapin? Embarrassmen’?”

“Hell yes! I’d have to kill myself then.”

“Too damn sweet,” Remy chuckled, leaning in to rest their foreheads together. “Don’ worry, Remy not gon’ tell anyone about yo’ sweet self.”

Logan shuddered. “And you’re going to steal the security tapes.”

“So we can watch dem later? Remy can do dat.”

“We are not screwing next to Jean’s unconscious body so you can have a homemade porno!”

The door slid open as Logan spoke, and both men twisted to stare toward the opening at the sound of a gargled gasp. If a blush could have been seen beneath his blue fur, Hank McCoy would have definitely been bright red, and Remy smiled easily as he slid off of Logan’s lap to greet the mutant physician and diplomat.

Bien, now we gon’ get some better answers abou’ Jeannie.”

“Ya made good time,” Logan said, pretending that he wasn’t blushing fiercely and hoping that if he ignored it, everyone else would too.

“This might be a matter of national security, so other problems can wait,” Hank replied, stepping into the room and walking over to the monitors to study the readouts. “Has she shown any sign of waking?”

Logan shook his head. “She’s moved around a little, but nothing that looked like she was waking up.”

“That’s good,” Hank nodded absently as he studied the notes Storm had made. “That means she isn’t fighting the sedatives.”

“You tink we should wake her up?” Remy asked.

Hank studied the readings for a time before he answered. “Yes, I think we need to. We cannot keep her unconscious indefinitely, and if she truly is the Jean Grey we remember, there is no need to.”

Remy glanced over at Logan and rested a hand on his shoulder. “Best get Stormy den.”

“And warn Kurt,” Logan added. “He can be on watch and pull any kids in immediate danger out of here if need be.”

“Why don’t you two go do that? I’ll stay here with Jean, and it would give you a chance to,” Hank cleared his throat, “straighten up.”

Logan glared at him. “I’m perfectly straight!”

Remy glanced over at him at that and started to snicker.

Realizing what he had said, Logan groaned and blushed again. “I’m going to get Storm,” he growled, stomping away and leaving Remy still laughing. “And I’ll talk to Kurt. Be careful, Hank.”

“I always am,” Beast replied with a slight smile.

They reconvened in the infirmary a short while later, and the four mutants stood around Jean, looking down at her.

“All right, I’ve stopped the sedative, and I’m going to administer a stimulant in a moment,” Hank told them. “Wolverine, if she shows any sign of attacking us, you will have to hold her down while you, Gambit, inject her with the sedative. Storm, you will prevent her from getting out of this room and assist Logan if necessary.” He waited for their nods of agreement before sliding the needle into Jean’s arm and injecting her with the stimulant, then stepped back to wait.

Jean lay still before raising a hand to her face, groaning softly as she opened her eyes, blinking to focus on the people standing around her. “What happened? I remember being outside then –“ Her eyes widened, and she tried to sit up. “Scott!”

“You need to stay calm,” Hank said in that infuriating fashion of doctors everywhere, and Logan rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen,” he scoffed. “But you do need to lie still for a little while, Jean. The drugs are going to make you a little light-headed for a bit. And no, I’m sorry, it wasn’t a nightmare. Scott’s dead, and so is the Professor.”

“What? How?” Jean gasped, tears filling her eyes to leak down her face and Storm gently brushed a hand over her hair.

“You were dead, Jeannie,” Remy said before Logan had to. “Den you came back, but you weren’ yo’self, you were angry. Scotty an’ de Professor, dey got hit by dat anger.”

Jean’s eyes widened in horror as she understood what Remy was telling her. “No!”

“I’m sorry, Jean, but what Remy says is the truth.” Ororo’s tone was steady, as was the hand she had on Jean’s hair.

“Scott can’t be dead,” Jean whispered, her voice breaking, and she covered her face with her hands, trying to muffle the sobs that shook her.

Remy stayed back, letting Ororo and Logan comfort the distraught woman while Hank studied the readouts from the leads still attached to her scalp. After a short time, Logan stepped back, letting Storm draw Jean fully into her arms, and he moved to Remy’s side.

“Looks like it’s really her,” he said softly.

“Better fo’ us, but worse fo’ her,” Remy sighed, and Logan nodded.

“I can’t even imagine what she’s going through.”

“Don’ want to eider.” Remy slid his arm around Logan’s waist as they watched the two women, then continued. “Gon’ have to fix her up somewhere to stay.”

Logan shrugged. “No one’s taken her and Cyke’s room. She can have it back unless she wants someplace without memories.”

“Suppose dat be up to her.”

“Yeah, it’s not like we’re short of space here,” Logan said with another shrug, his arm around Remy’s waist as well. “I just hope she’s okay with staying here ‘cause I don’t think we can let her head off on her own just yet.”

Non, we need to be sure. Jes because she like dis now, don’ mean she stay dat way.”

“Yes,” Hank agreed, joining the conversation while Ororo simply held Jean as she wept. “Though from what we’ve been able to piece together of the timeline—Storm and I discussed it while I was travelling back here,” he added in explanation, “she killed Scott almost immediately upon her resurrection last time, so the outcome looks favorable this time.”

“Why did I come back?” Jean gasped, having heard that even through her tears. “Why did you bring me back when I did that?”

There was a long silence before Logan admitted, “It wasn’t exactly intentional.”

“The Professor had Remy looking for an artifact,” Ororo began, “and we think that it may have had something to do with your first resurrection.”

“Not dat we knew dat was the case,” Remy cut in. “Den today we were looking at it an’ one of de children ran into it, seems to have activated it.”

“’Ran into it,’” Jean repeated, her tone eloquent of her opinion of their safety precautions.

“Kitty ran through a wall unexpectedly,” Ororo explained, and Jean’s expression cleared as she nodded.

“Ah yes, I can see where that would be difficult to plan for.” Despite her attempt to sound her normal self, the anguish in her dark eyes was plain to see.

“As is much in our lives,” Hank nodded. “We can move you to somewhere more comfortable, Jean, but I’d like to keep you under observation at least overnight.”

“To make sure that I don’t revert.”

“Yes.”

“We can bring you clean clothes,” Ororo added, “and something to eat.”

“I’d appreciate that,” Jean replied gratefully, her gaze moving to Remy and Logan and pausing when she noticed how they stood with arms around each other. A genuine smile touched her lips. “I really hope you’re not leaving them on guard duty.”

“Not together,” Storm promised, a relieved smile curving her lips.

Hank coughed. “Perhaps it would be best for someone else to watch over Jean. I would be happy to take the first shift.”

Logan muffled a groan and shook his head. “This is all your fault,” he informed Remy.

“Oh sho’, blame Remy, he has big shoulders to take de load,” the other man sighed.

“And he’s so often guilty,” Logan said wryly, earning himself an elbow in the side and Remy what he knew would be a large bruise considering the ache that spread through his arm at the contact.

“I think Ororo and I can help Jean get settled in a more comfortable room,” Hank interjected. “Why don’t you two let the others know about the situation?”

“I think they’re sending us to our room,” Logan observed to Remy as they started for the exit.

“An’ are you complainin’?”

“Does it look like it?” Logan grinned at him. “Let’s find Kurt so we can pass the news on and then go to our room for dessert.”

“Gonna be wearin’ sweats tomorrow unless we go to de boathouse,” Remy commented, apparently not bothered by the idea.

Logan snorted. “You go to the door in sweats and any of the girls and half the boys will be willing to run down to the boathouse for you or do anything else you want ‘em to.”

Remy started laughing at that. “Tol’ you, ain’ no sugar daddy.”

“I really don’t think they care.”

“How ‘but dis den? Remy in a committed relationship, an’ anyone tryin’ to get in de way is gon’ end up committed – to de hospital.”

Logan snickered. “I love ya, Gumbo, but don’t ever give up your day job—or your night one—to write Hallmark cards.”

“An’ you one to talk,” Remy snorted. “You don’ wan’ Remy in sweats to tantalize de babies, you go run down to de boathouse an’ get us some clothes.”

“You are one bossy bugger,” Logan laughed. “You go find Kurt, and I’ll head down to the boathouse, and we’ll meet in our room.” He gave Remy a quick, hard kiss.

“An’ den we see abou’ dat dessert,” Remy called after him as he headed out.

~*~*~

After Remy and Logan left, followed shortly afterward by Ororo, who promised to return in a few hours to relieve Hank, Jean slumped on the bed. Without looking up, she asked, “How long has it been? Since that day at Alkali Lake, I mean.”

“A little less than two years,” Hank replied.

“Two years?” Jean gasped. “My God.” She lapsed into silence. To her it seemed only moments had passed since the team had rescued the Professor and she had sacrificed herself to save the others. And now Scott was gone. It felt as if someone had ripped her heart out.

“I know it’s a lot to comprehend,” Hank murmured, leaving the desk to go sit beside her bed. “And none of it easy.”

Jean’s eyes flashed up to spear Hank. “Apparently I killed the man I love as well as a dear friend. And I don’t remember anything about it. No, it’s not easy!”

Hank sighed, and his eyes were mournful as he studied her face. “I wasn’t denigrating your pain, Jean.”

She sighed as well and relaxed back against the pillows. “I know, I’m sorry. I’m just having trouble absorbing all of this.”

“It will take time,” Hank nodded, “but we’re here to help. And you certainly don’t need to apologize.”

“What am I supposed to do now?” Jean whispered.

“What we all do, Jean, live.”

She laughed bitterly. “Why?”

“Because you’re here for a reason. We may not know it yet, but we have to believe that.”

“With all we’ve seen, you can believe that? I don’t think I can.”

“I’m very sorry for you then, but hopefully that will change with time.”

Jean sighed, drawing her knees up so she could wrap her arms around her legs. “I’ve never felt this alone.”

“We’re here for you, Jean,” Hank murmured, reaching out to gently rub her shoulder.

~*~*~

A cool breeze blew through the room, cooling the entwined bodies amidst the tangled sheets, the heavy scent of sex slowly dissipating. A strong hand lazily glided over the lean lines of Remy’s back as the two men caught their breath, content to lie together.

“I have a whole new appreciation for dessert,” Logan murmured, a faint smile barely curving his lips.

“It isn’ jes fo’ dessert, you know,” Remy said laughingly, reaching up to tweak Logan’s nose.

“You mean I can have it for breakfast too?”

“Do you remember yesterday morning?”

“With great fondness,” Logan assured him.

“Den dere your answer.”

“Crazy Cajun,” Logan said. The hand running over Remy’s back slid up into the thick auburn hair and clenched, careful not to tug painfully even as he used a fistful to tilt Remy’s face up for a kiss, Remy sighing and melting against him before pulling back, his red-on-black eyes slumberous.

“Keep it up an’ we gon’ go for after-dessert dessert.”

“And what’s wrong with that?” Logan wanted to know.

“Would normally say nothing, but there’s de Jean issue still waiting fo’ us in de morning.”

Logan sighed, letting his head fall back to the pillows as he stared up at the ceiling. “And that’s one hell of an issue. Is she really Jean this time, the way she was before? And if so, is she going to be able to handle knowing what she did the last time she came back as something less—and more—than herself? I have no idea what to do or say to her, Rem.”

“Don’ know what to tell you, Lapin,” Remy murmured. “Guess it be best to treat her like de ol’ Jean – minus de lovelorn looks o’ course. You give her dose an’ Remy gon’ have some serious words fo’ you.”

“You’re kind of hot when you’re jealous,” Logan said, sounding amused. “But don’t worry, I’ll save all my ‘lovelorn’ looks for you.”

“Dat be a good ting,” Remy grinned, “and any other time Remy be showin’ you dat he be hot all de time, but we better be gettin’ up.”

“Okay, hotter than usual,” Logan amended, now grinning as well. He made no attempt to get up, seeming perfectly content right where he was.

“You gon’ lay dere all day?” Remy asked, eyeing Logan’s nude form with unconcealed interest.

“Why not?” Logan wanted to know. “I’m comfortable, and I like the scenery.”

“You gon’ get a reputation fo’ bein’ lazy at this rate,” Remy chuckled.

Logan’s response to that was a laugh. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, Rem.” He sat up. “But we do need to take our turns sitting with Jean, so I guess we do need to get up,” he added regretfully.

“Jeanie gon’ be real tired of folk sittin’ wit her befo’ long,” Remy mused even as he rolled out of bed and stretched.

“It won’t be for long. I think we’re all pretty sure she’s herself and not that angry version of her that came back last time, but with the kids here, we just need to observe her for a day or two to be certain.” Logan’s attention was only half on the conversation, the rest admiring the sight of Remy’s naked body.

“Even witout de kids, we need to make sure she’s herself,” Remy pointed out as he sauntered into the bathroom, well aware of Logan’s gaze on him. “You gon’ join me, Lapin, or is Remy gon’ be showerin’ alone?”

“You really need to ask, Gumbo?” Logan was crowding up behind him before Remy could even turn the water on, causing the Cajun to crow with laughter as he hit the controls, sending water sheeting down around them both.

~*~*~

“How she doin’?” Remy asked as he and Logan walked into the control room where Kurt sat balanced on the back of a chair, watching the consoles in front of him.

“She has been sleeping for perhaps three hours now,” Kurt replied, getting to his feet. “Hopefully she will rest for some while longer.”

Once Kurt had left, Logan frowned as he regarded Jean, seeing the frown and strain that didn’t leave her features even in sleep. “Doesn’t look much like she’s resting to me.”

“Bad dreams,” Remy said sagely. “We all got ‘em.”

“I hope no part of her remembers what happened last time,” Logan said almost soundlessly.

“She knows what she was told happened; not rememberin’ might be worse for her dan rememberin’,” Remy mused, watching Jean sleep.

“No.” Logan’s reply was emphatic. “You weren’t there; you didn’t see... No. Remembering would be worse.”

Bien, you was der, you know best,” Remy said, looking over at Logan and reaching up to rest a hand on his shoulder as he spoke. “Best be careful ‘bout what you tink ‘round Jeanie den.”

“Oh, yeah.” Logan wasn’t used to thinking that way since normally Jean would never dream of delving into a friend’s head uninvited, but who knew how her control was now... and he could understand how much she did want to know. He sighed heavily. “We’re not going to be able to keep it from her, are we?”

“If you knew dat people ‘round you knew about yo past and could find out jes’ what dey knew, what would you do?”

Logan sighed again. “So I might as well just tell her and get it over with is what you’re telling me?”

“Might want to talk it over wit ‘Roro, but yeah, dat be Remy’s recommendation. She know she killed Scott and de Professor already; dat be the biggest shock.”

“I don’t want to hurt her more,” Logan admitted. “She’s lost almost everyone who was close to her. Even me, it’s not the same with us anymore. She’s not first, and she won’t ever be again.”

“She was first for you, but you weren’t first for her,” Remy pointed out, his accent fading as he spoke then growing as he continued. “You’re her friend and that’s what she needs now. If she still got dem stronger powers, we work wit her, teach her how to deal wit dem.”

Logan didn’t look thrilled with that idea. “I really hope she doesn’t. Those other powers...” He trailed off, shaking his head. “Well, we’ll deal with whatever happens. We always do.”

He glanced at the monitor, not surprised to see that Jean was awake and looking at the camera. “We should go in and talk to her.”

Remy nodded, already moving as he did so, smiling as he knocked, then opened the door. “Hey, Jeanie. You feelin’ a little more rested?”

She managed a faint, wry smile for him, nodding at Logan when he followed the Cajun into the room. “I slept for a little while if that’s what you mean.”

“Yeah, dat it,” he nodded, dragging a couple of chairs up by the bed and dropping into one, leaving the one closest to the bed for Logan. “Dis ain’t easy at all, but gotta say dat we’re glad dat yo back, an’ we gonna do our best ta help.”

She laughed bitterly. “I appreciate the sentiment, Remy, but it’s a little hard to get past the fact that I killed the man I love and the one who was like a father to me.”

“Except it wasn’t you, not really,” Logan said, leaning forward to take her hand, knowing that touching her would give her access to all of his memories if she wanted them.

Jean froze at the touch, her eyes widening as her gaze leapt to Logan’s. Seeing the permission there, she pushed, diving into his memories, seeing them as if he was reliving them, her fingers digging into his as she saw what her other self had done.

“No!” Instead of a scream, it was a heartfelt, broken whisper, torn from the depths of her soul, and Jean slumped forward, burying her face in her hands as she sobbed out her pain and horror.

“I’m so sorry, Jeannie,” Logan said, his hand hovering over her shoulder but not touching her.

“I just want them back,” she whispered.

“Dat would be a fine ting,” Remy said gently, “but we can’ do dat.”

“Why not?” she demanded, her head jerking up to fix him with a fierce stare. “You brought me back.”

“But we’re not sure how it works, sweetheart,” Logan said.

“Then figure it out!” she demanded, looking at them through tear-filled eyes.

“Ah, Jeannie, you know it’s not that simple,” Logan sighed. “Don’t you think we want them back too?”

“We didn’t even know what the artifact would do until Kitty ran into it,” Remy continued. “But we’re gon’ study it, see if we can figure out what powers it an’ how it works.”

“And how long is that going to take? How do we know that there isn’t a time limit for how long it will work?” Jean demanded.

“We don’,” Remy said bluntly, “but do you really want to bring Stryker back instead of Scotty o’ de Professor?”

Her mouth already open to continue arguing, Jean subsided at that. “No,” she admitted in a small voice. “But I don’t know if I can go on without them.”

“You can,” Logan said. “Scott did. He hated it, and he missed you every second, but he did go on. Then again, I think hating me helped,” he added, not telling her how poorly Scott had held together.

“Lean on us, Jeanie,” Remy offered, “all of us are here for you.”

“I don’t really have a choice, do I?” she finally said, straightening her back and wiping her cheeks with the backs of her hands. She took a deep breath, gathering her dignity, and sought to change the subject.

“I’m surprised to see you here, Remy. I thought nothing would draw you back to the mansion.”

“Brought something for the Professor,” he offered, wondering what, if any of the story she had picked up from Logan when she rummaged through his memories. “Logan said dey needed some help with de kids an’ we... reconnected.” He gave a sly grin at the last, hoping to cheer her with the innuendo.

She smiled faintly, her eyes going from Remy to Logan. “I always thought I was just a substitute for another redhead for you, Logan.”

“What? No, I never,” Logan sputtered, stopping when Jean laughed. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was the first indication that she was still their Jean and would make it through all this.

“She got you der, Lapin,” Remy snickered. “An’ very well too.”

“Yeah, well, I got you,” Logan retorted, ignoring the laughter from both redheads.

“And one day maybe I’ll hear the story as to why Wolverine is also a rabbit,” Jean commented, reaching out to pat the hand that Remy had on Logan’s thigh.

“Dat be a long story,” Remy cautioned.

“And a very boring one,” Logan added repressively, although seeing Jean smile was worth this torture.

“Remy’s stories ain’t never boring!” the Cajun protested, aiming a wink in Jean’s direction.

“You’re not allowed to talk to Jeannie,” Logan growled.

“Since when does Remy ever do what he’s tol’?”

“You just did that to yourself, Logan,” Jean commented.

“Good thing I have ways to bribe him then,” Logan replied, giving Remy a quick grin.

“Those ways had best be shown in private,” Ororo commented from the doorway before crossing to the bedside and looking down at Jean, relief filling her dark eyes as she saw that at least some of the crippling burden of sorrow had left the other woman.

“We know, no givin’ de kids ideas,” Remy chuckled.

“Never mind that they’re teenagers and have access to cable TV and the internet,” Logan snorted. “They could probably give us lessons. Well, maybe not Remy.”

The Cajun smirked at that, causing both women to smile though Jean’s still wasn’t as full as it had been in the past.

“Be that as it may, you both have lessons of another type starting in fifteen minutes.”

“Hey! We haven’t even had time for breakfast!”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have been late in coming back over to the house?” Ororo offered archly, making Logan give her a dirty look as he grabbed Remy’s hand.

“Come on, Gumbo, breakfast on the run.”

“I’ll tell you that story later this afternoon if you want, Jeanie,” Remy laughed, the sound ending in an ‘oof’ as Logan yanked him out of the room.

“Wonderful,” Logan grumbled at him as they made their way to the kitchen. “I’m going to be what you use to cheer Jean up?”

“It is a funny story,” Remy pouted. “De Wolverine bein’ a bunny... If it make her a little less sad, it be worth it, no?”

Logan growled wordlessly, causing Remy to shimmy bonelessly. “Mmm, no time for dat now, Lapin; a muffin an’ some coffee, an’ we off ta teach de little ones hand to hand.”

Logan’s gaze had heated at Remy’s movement, and now it raked over him possessively. “Better grab a snack, Gumbo, ‘cause I’ve got plans for you at lunchtime that don’t include eating food.”

“Between not getting’ a real breakfast and de workout we’re gon’ get, we may have to stop for a bite before we lock ourselves away.”

“Honeymoon’s over already, huh?”

“Some of us don’ have the same stamina as others, eh, Lapin?” Remy asked, his voice lowering at the last as they walked into the dining hall where some students still gathered.

“You’re the one wanting a food break, Gumbo,” Logan pointed out in an equally low tone.

“Jes’ tryin’ to keep you happy, Logan,” the Cajun chuckled before greeting the head server warmly, the older woman’s smile and flush in response preceding the press of a warm and sticky cinnamon bun into his hand.

“Thank you, chere,” he said, kissing her hand in return. “You have anything fo’ Logan? If we don’ feed him, he gon’ get awful grumpy wit de little ones.”

“I think I’m getting you a ring, Rem,” Logan said, sounding amused despite the possessive hand he placed on Remy’s hip. “A bacon sandwich for me, Helen, if you’ve got it.”

“You gon’ buy Remy a ring?” the question was asked with a quirked eyebrow as Helen hurried off to get Logan his sandwich. “Where it gon’ go?”

“Huh, maybe I should get you two then,” Logan mused.

Remy’s slow smile curved the corners of his mouth before he licked his lower lip. “Yeah, we can do dat,” he murmured.

“We’ll go shopping when we have some free time then.” Logan took his sandwich when Helen brought it back, and then he and Remy left, eating their breakfast as they made their way down to the Danger Room.

“So you takin’ de heavyweights while I have de smaller ones – at least at de start?” Remy asked before licking the frosting off one of his fingers.

“Sure, and then we’ll switch, and I’ll laugh watching them try to keep up with you. Try not to break them, Rem.”

“Jes’ you don’ let any o’ dem speedsters get the drop on you,” Remy laughed.

“I’m used to practicing with someone a lot better than they’ll ever be, so really not a problem,” Logan chuckled.

“Gotta let dem get some shots in, o’ else dey never know what it like,” Remy pointed out as he finished up his pastry, washing it down with a swig of his coffee.

“Yeah, but letting them think they’re better than they are doesn’t help them out.”

“True dat, so we work dem, den dey work on each other.” Remy said as they reached the changing room and stripped down, pulling on their supple leather uniforms.

“That’s the plan. And later we’ll play with each other.” Seeing the students start to trickle into the locker room, Logan sobered and moved over to join the group he would be working with, taking them inside once they were all changed.

“All right, little ones, let’s show dem how it’s really done,” Remy grinned, herding the small group of teens toward the doors and walking into the Danger Room, situating them at the corner opposite from Logan and his group.

~*~*~

“They’re doing better since you got here,” Logan said after the session was over and he and Remy were showering in the instructors’ area. “And Jubilee especially has gained a lot of confidence in her abilities.”

“It help fo’ her to be able to work wit someone wit abilities near to hers, an de others to get der butt whipped by someone who don’ scare dem half to death,” Remy said agreeably as he rinsed the shampoo from his hair. “Though Remy did see you smile at them, non?”

“Yeah, but they usually think it’s a snarl,” Logan chuckled. “They’ll figure it out once they graduate and we work together. And you’re right, but what I meant is that you’re a good teacher, Remy.”

Merci, Logan,” Remy offered. “Jes’ so you know, you are too.” He climbed out of the shower area, patting Logan on the ass as he did so, and started to dry off.

“Lost a lot of students the last few years,” Logan said. “Not sure that makes me a good teacher.”

“Dey lost because o’ Stryker and Magneto and what dey did, not because of what dey didn’ get here,” Remy pointed out, dropping down to a bench and rubbing his knee.

Logan frowned. “What’s wrong with your knee?”

“Jes’ actin’ up some, tink dat Peter tagged me befo’ I took him down.” Remy chuckled and looked up at Logan at that. “Don’ you go all mother-hen, Lapin, Remy be fine; de boy got in a good shot is all.”

“Guess maybe he’ll be taking you down one day soon then,” Logan replied, relaxing when he saw that Remy was telling the truth.

“Ten to one petite blow you down on your back befo’ dat.”

“If it was anyone but you, I’d take that bet without thinking, but you have an annoying habit of winning bets, Gumbo.”

“You sayin’ dat Remy cheat?” he asked as he stood and started dressing.

“You probably would if you needed to, not just for a game, but you don’t. You have uncanny luck.”

Remy only smiled in response and reached out to tousle Logan’s hair. “Guess I do at dat.”

“Looks like I’d better feed you and get you some aspirin rather than anything else at lunch today though. We’ll have to keep those other plans for later.”

“Now dat not good luck at all,” Remy sighed as he pulled on his boots and stood.

“Yeah, well, I’d rather not cripple you. We’ll pamper your knee now so it’ll be good tonight.” Logan leered at him.

“You try and carry me out o’ here and we will be havin’ words, cher,” Remy said mildly.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Logan said with a smirk.

“Frankly my dear, Remy gon’ kick yo’ ass if you ever say dat again.”

Logan laughed. “It was worth it.”

“Fo’ dat, Remy may kick yo’ ass anyway,” the other man sighed as they headed out into the main corridor.

“That could be fun too,” Logan mused, Remy flashing a wide smile at him as he spoke.

“Yeah, could be at dat.”

“Sounds like we’re going to have some fun tonight.”

“Perhaps you should look into soundproofing for your room,” Ororo suggested as she came up behind them.

“Mebbe you shouldn’t be pressin yo’ ear to de door, Stormy,” Remy teased, looking back at her.

“You should talk to Hank about those delusions,” she replied.

“Nah, Remy enjoy dem too much,” he smirked.

“Just remember, Storm, he said it, not me, so watch where you aim those lightning bolts,” Logan put in.

“My aim is very good,” she promised. “I won’t hurt him – much.”

“Stormy, much as I love you, if you hurt him at all, I’m going to have to do something about it.”

“Aw, ‘Roro’s jes’ funning is all,” Remy grinned, hooking an arm around her shoulders. “So if she zings Remy during trainin’, be nice.”

“When am I ever nice?” Logan wanted to know, making Ororo chuckle.

“He has a point, my brother.”

“Oh, Logan can be très nice,” Remy purred, winking at the other man as he spoke.

“Only to you,” Logan assured him.

“You je’s keep tinkin’ dat,” Remy scoffed while Ororo chuckled.

“Quiet, you’re going to ruin my reputation.”

“I believe that reputation has been tarnished already, Logan,” she pointed out while Remy nodded.

“Leave me my delusions,” Logan begged, smiling faintly.

“Sho, dey be cute ones.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “I’m not cute.”

“With Remy, you are,” Ororo assured him.

Taking pity on the other man, Remy cut in. “Jean come out of her room yet?”

“Not yet,” Ororo replied. “She needs some time to herself to adjust to what’s happened. Don’t forget that for her, it’s only been hours since Lake Alkali.”

“How long are we supposed to let her hole up in there?” Logan growled.

“When you hurt real bad, you want to den up, try and recover,” Remy commented as they walked to the dining hall and inside where his eyebrows rose slightly at the sight of Jean sitting with Hank and Kurt. “O’ you push yo’self out.”

“I guess she’s not holing up,” Logan muttered, looking somewhat abashed when Jean looked their way with a wry smile. It only lasted a second, but it showed that she was trying.

“Gon’ have to give Jeanie something to do,” Remy commented, looking over at Ororo. “Mebbe work wit de littlest ones?”

“I intend to speak to her about her schedule today,” Ororo replied with a nod. “She has always been one of our best teachers.”

“It’ll do her good, and the kids’ll be glad to have her back,” Logan added. “Everyone missed her.”

“Still gon’ have to keep an eye on her though, jes’ t’ be safe.”

“Of course,” Ororo agreed, “but I think we would know by now if she was not herself. And though we abide by your obvious desire not to discuss it, you would know, Remy.”

He cut her a sidelong look, then shrugged. “Bien. She feel like Jeanie, but dat don’ mean Remy won’ keep checkin’.”

“I had every confidence that you would,” Ororo assured him.

The conversation turned to the students, Hank and Kurt joining in once they reached the table while Jean listened, learning about the students who had come to the school while she had been absent.

Afternoon lessons passed calmly, and night closed in around the school, the slight chill in the air heralding the approach of autumn. Remy sighed as he leaned against the edge of the balcony and sipped at his beer while he looked out over the still grounds. “Gon’ get cold soon,” he commented without looking at Logan.

“It does every year. Makes it fun to curl up in front of a fire.” Logan came up behind him and slid his arms around Remy’s waist.

“Dat part be fine, goin’ out in it, not so much.” Remy leaned back, then offered Logan the beer.

After a long swallow, Logan handed the bottle back. “I promise I’ll warm you up when you do.”

“Hrmm, suddenly de winter don’ seem so bad.”

Logan chuckled. “I’m so glad I could improve a season for you.”

“You jes’ a regular miracle worker,” Remy snickered.

“It’s my mutant power.”

“Guess we should update yo’ information in de database den.”

Logan snorted. “Smartass.”

“Damn right.” Remy took another drink and shared the bottle with Logan again.

“Good thing I happen to like that.”

“Jes’ shows you have good taste.” Remy turned his head and nipped at Logan’s throat. “Taste good too.”

“And I think we need to take this to our room now,” Logan decided, swinging Remy up into his arms. “And there’s even a staircase along the way,” he chuckled.

“Asshole.” Remy poked an elbow back against Logan’s ribs then muttered a curse when all that managed to do was bruise his arm. Again.

Laughing, Logan dropped Remy back to his feet, keeping one arm around his waist. “You can have that if you want.”

“Nah, you bein’ all macho, you can do de work tonight,” Remy laughed as they headed inside.

“Oh damn, that sounds horrible.”

“Remy know you cryin’ over dat.”

“Oh yeah, I really hate having you.”

“Almos’ as much as Remy hate havin’ you.”

Logan urged Remy to walk faster, both of them ignoring the hastily hidden smiles on the faces of the few people they passed.

“Should it scare me dat dat girl has too much interest in our love life?” Remy asked once the door was closed behind them.

“Just ignore them. They’ll forget about us once the next thing comes along,” Logan said, already nuzzling Remy’s throat and growling softly at taste of him.

“We really got to talk to Kurt,” Remy moaned, shoving his hands under Logan’s wife beater and kneading at his rippled stomach muscles.

“Why the hell are you thinking about Kurt right now?” Logan bit at Remy’s shoulder.

“Well, dat tail o’ his might be interestin’...”

Logan stilled utterly, and an instant later Remy found himself flung onto the bed with Logan’s weight holding him in place. “You sayin’ I’m not enough for you, Gumbo?”

Remy paused to think about it for a split-second, then his arms and legs were wrapped around Logan’s body, pulling him close. “Remy don’ love de Nightcrawler, do he?”

Logan’s mock glare morphed into a smile in the instant before he kissed Remy, his tongue tangling around Remy’s in a blatant show of possession.

“Mmm, an’ dat de reason why,” Remy purred, agilely sliding his hands down into Logan’s jeans to cup and knead his ass.

“Ah, so you only want me for my body?” Logan’s hands moved between them to work at Remy’s jeans, unfastening and tugging them aside until he could get to Remy’s hardening cock.

“An’ everytin’ dat come wit it.” Remy bucked upwards into Logan’s touch, his hands sliding down around the other man’s sides to quickly get his jeans unzipped and shoved downward.

“You do have good taste.” Logan shifted so that they were aligned properly and rocked down, their cocks rubbing together and drawing a moan from him.

Remy groaned his agreement and twisted as he arched up as much as possible under Logan’s weight, biting the spot just beneath Logan’s ear that he knew drove the other man wild.

Logan nearly wrenched the drawer from the nightstand as he grabbed for the lube, barely managing to retrieve it without destroying anything, not that he particularly cared just then. A moment later a slick finger was pressing into Remy, Logan already too impatient for a slow build up.

“Jes’ get in me already,” Remy growled, snatching the lube from Logan’s hand and slicking him up with a single deft movement as he tightened down on the thick finger inside him.

“If you insist.” With no more warning than that Logan’s finger was gone and his cock was driving into Remy, driving a drawn out whine from the Cajun’s throat. His teeth closed on Logan’s shoulder as he clenched down around him, feeling Logan’s body rub against his cock as they lunged together.

Logan drove into him again and again, long, hard strokes that buried him to the hilt and then drew back until he almost withdrew completely. Remy arched up off the bed, yanking on Logan to pull him back inward, their motions slamming the bed against the wall in a rhythmic, aggressive pattern. As they pounded together, Logan mouthed along Remy’s jaw and throat, covering him with bite marks. He was unaware that he was growling with each thrust, his feral side coming to the fore.

Remy shuddered, throwing his head back to expose more of his throat to Logan’s attention and clenched down around him, humping up to rub his cock against Logan’s body. His fingers dragged up Logan’s back, sending minute darts of power down along his skeleton.

Ripples of sensation raced through Logan, making him arch up and slam into Remy, shuddering and moaning. “Fuck!” he rasped, dragging his eyes open to stare down at Remy’s face twisted in pleasure.

“Like dat, do you?” Remy gasped as he trailed his fingers over Logan’s ribs while his cock throbbed between them.

“Duh.” Logan actually rolled his eyes before he kissed Remy, beginning to move more rapidly as his control shredded.

“C’mon, Lapin, let go, Remy can take it.” The words were rasped against Logan’s mouth as Remy jolted him again.

Logan chuckled harshly and took him at his word. The bed slammed against the wall as he pounded into Remy, the next jolt against his spine sending him spinning into orgasm, biting down on Remy’s shoulder as he came.

Pain transmuted into pleasure, and Remy keened as he came as well, his whole body tightening down around Logan’s as if trying to draw the other man farther into him.

Holding onto him, Logan rolled to his back, keeping them joined while allowing himself to collapse without worrying about crushing Remy. “You’re going to regret that tomorrow,” he mumbled, sounding smugly satisfied.

“You worth a few aches an’ pains,” Remy assured him with a low chuckle. “An’ every time Remy feel one o’ dem, he gon’ tink o’ dis.”

“I really don’t think the kids need to see one their teachers walking around with a hard on all day, Rem,” Logan snorted.

“Remy jes’ close his coat den and dey don’ see notin’.”

“I’ll just have to pull you into closets to see for myself.”

“See o’ feel?”

“You need to ask?” Logan responded with a feral grin.

“Jes’ makin’ sure is all.”

“Crazy Cajun,” Logan said fondly.

Remy smiled and shifted, sprawling out on top of Logan’s body. “Love you too, Lapin.”

“You ever think we’d get here, Rem?” Logan asked reflectively, one arm looping around Remy’s waist.

Non,” the Cajun replied, shaking his head and sending his hair spilling across his face. “Might have wished it a time o’ two, but never tought we manage it. Don’ mean Remy not glad o’ it, very glad.”

Logan brushed Remy’s hair back with his free hand, the touch almost tender. “Me too, Gumbo, me too.”

~*~*~

“I don’t think I ever realized how much she loved him,” Logan murmured pensively, watching Jean through the window of the room he shared with Remy as she sat, still and alone, under the night sky. “She looks... broken.”

“You didn’ see it because you was too in love wit de idea of her yo’self,” Remy pointed out, rubbing a hand over Logan’s back. “Made it easier t’ tink dat you an’ she might get togeder if she din’ love Scotty like dat.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Logan admitted, leaning back against Remy, though he still supported his own weight. “I wish there was some way I could make it easier for her.”

“Dat be nice, but is sometin’ she have to deal wit on her own; all we can do is be her friends.” Remy circled his arms around Logan’s waist as he spoke. “You lose someone, it take time to get over it - parts of you never do.”

Logan’s arms rose to cover Remy’s, and he sighed. “Part of me is agreeing with you, but I don’t remember why. But when I imagine losing you...” he trailed off with a faint growl.

Remy turned his head and pressed a kiss against the side of Logan’s neck. “Los’ you once befo’ Remy even knew what you meant. Don’ wan’ to do dat again.”

“Good thing. You’re stuck with me now, Remy. I’m not going anywhere, and if you do, I’ll find you.”

Remy cocked his head to the side and pressed his lips against the side of Logan’s throat, kissing the warm skin there. “Oui, Remy know you would.”

Logan tilted his head back to smile up at him. “You’re stuck with me now, Gumbo,” he repeated.

“You tink dat a problem?” Remy scoffed.

“Well, I don’t, but I wasn’t sure if you might,” Logan said with a shrug. “Figured I could wear you down if you did though.”

“You do have a stubborn streak,” Remy agreed. “Dough havin’ you chase me down might be fun.”

Logan turned in Remy’s embrace to face the Cajun, his eyebrows raised very slightly and an almost feral expression in his eyes. “Be careful what you wish for, Rem.”

“Why? ‘Cause it may come true?”

“Exactly. There’s a reason they call me an animal,” Logan warned in a low rasp.

“Remy know you a big ol’ bunny rabbit.”

“And I know you’re insane.”

“Don’ make me wrong,” Remy shrugged.

“Rem, nobody on the planet would agree that I’m a fluffy anything,” Logan pointed out in a long-suffering tone.

“Guess Remy jes’ unique den,” the Cajun shrugged, sliding one hand downward to pat Logan’s ass.

“That was never in any doubt,” Logan assured him.

“Good point.” They stood there like that, holding each other, for a long while until the peaceful silence was broken by the sound of the alarm.

“You got to be kiddin’ me!”

Logan sighed. “Can’t we ever catch a break?” he grumbled, already heading for the door to find out what was going on.

“Maybe one day, sides, if we don’ go, who will?” Remy asked as he jogged at Logan’s side, nodding at Storm, Kurt and the older students as they all joined them.

“Anyone know what’s happened?” Logan asked, looking at Storm, who shook her head.

“Not yet. I’m receiving no answer from Warren. He was monitoring the security feed.”

“Maybe some little ol’ lady’s cat got stuck in a tree,” Remy mused.

“If so, you can save it,” Logan told him. “You’re the cat burglar.”

“Bah, dat too easy,” Remy snorted.

Bobby looked from Remy to Logan and back again. “I thought you liked easy?”

Logan bared his teeth at the teenager, making him edge behind Kitty.

“You tink Logan is easy, boy?” Remy snorted. “I tink de ice has gone to your brain.”

“I think you’re both easy together,” Bobby explained, now fully behind Kitty, who twisted around to peer at him.

“You’re nuts, Bobby, if you think I’m going to stand between them and you.”

Logan laughed. “Smart girl.”

Bobby made a face and started to edge over behind Peter, at least until Storm sighed.

“Children, behave.” It was plain that the comment was directed at all of them.

“Remy and I will go see what’s going on. Do we at least know which part of the perimeter was breeched?”

“There are multiple breeches,” Warren reported as they all entered the control room, his wings twitching in agitation as he looked over his shoulder at the monitors.

That commented engendered several curses from the others before Storm commandeered the situation.

“All right, no time to suit up, Logan, take Kitty and Bobby; Remy, you go with Peter; I’ll go with Kurt.”

“What about me?” Jean stood at the door, one hand resting on the frame.

After a quick glance at Logan, Storm said, “You stay at the house and protect the students. Make sure nothing gets in here to harm them.”

The auburn-haired woman nodded tightly, Storm meeting her gaze gravely before turning back to the monitor. “Warren, you do reconnaissance; Logan, take the east side; Remy, the south; Kurt and I will go to the west side.”

Everyone scattered, all intent on finding and neutralizing the threat, leaving Jean and Warren alone in the control room. Jean’s eyes ran over the monitors, taking in the information, and she nodded sharply.

“All right, I’m going back upstairs to calm the kids down and keep an eye on things. Call me if anything changes.”

“Of course,” Warren said quickly, flipping his wings back out of the way as he turned in his seat to study the readings again, watching as the blips that were the X-Men converged on the intruders.

~*~*~

“All clear,” Logan said over his radio. “The perimeter’s secure. Heading back to the mansion now.”

“Copy,” Warren answered. “Who were they?”

“Group of teenagers out fo’ what dey thought was a good time,” Remy commented wryly.

“I cured them of that idea,” Logan growled.

“You weren’t the only one,” Kitty giggled.

“They are learning the entirely wrong things from you,” Storm sighed.

“Everyone got to have a little fun now and den,” Remy protested laughingly.

“I am certain that the two of you are not the best role models for impressionable young minds,” Storm retorted.

“We teach them to survive and to live,” Logan said bluntly.

“And to love,” Remy added with smile.