Henry watched as Riptide and Afterburn put their cleaning supplies away with a satisfied nod. "Please remember, in the future that complicity will condemn you to help with the clean up of the crime."
They nodded watching Dr. McCoy finish washing his hands and leave the kitchen. Riptide turned to Afterburn quickly. "I remember that girl." He told Afterburn quickly.
"Rayne? Gambit’s sister?" She watched him curiously. "I vaguely remember seeing her." Afterburn had been considered a valuable mutant as did Jason and they had been kept as Adams ‘controlled’ guard dogs because of it. "They held her mostly in the testing lab area." She shrugged. "Wasn't she considered a failed project?"
"Then why isn't she dead?" Jason was a little puzzled. Failed projects didn’t last long around the labs and to his recollection; he had seen her there for quite a long time. “I wonder about her.”
"Who knows what those maniacs were up to," Afterburn stretched as they made their way out of the kitchen. "She seems all right now." She turned to see his face. "Why?" It was easy enough to see what was going on by the expression on his face and she laughed, "Oh."
Riptide was taken back, "What?"
"Her brother's a big guy," She teased him. “He would take you out so bad it’d make your great grandparents groan in pain in their graves.”
"That’s disgusting!" Jason held his hands up, "Anyway, I never said anything about liking her." He turned his head to hide his blushing.
"Right." She laughed.
"Ok, so she's cute," He admitted readily.
Her smile grew, "I knew it." She took pride in reading men. With her own red hair and voluptuous build, she claimed to know the male ego pretty well. She loved the fact that her own flaming eyes kept men from seeing her own emotions. She felt Riptide grab her arm and point to a very upset looking Bonsai and Joshua.
They saw the duo and moved to them quickly. "Pack your shit." Bonsai ordered quickly.
"If I thought you were Tyler before, I know better now," Jason joked lightly as he watched a nervous Josh light a cigarette.
"Why are we leaving?" Afterburn moved back slightly as the seemingly hostile men advanced.
"Time to go," Josh took a deep breath not mentioning his involvement with Xavier and the long stare he had gotten from Wolverine, or the threats.
"They don't care about us," Bonsai quipped moving as the duo moved back more. Intimidation might work to get their way and Bonsai was certainly intimidating.
Jason and Afterburn traded a guarded look and stood shoulder-to-shoulder pushing back slowly, "I don't see that, amigo."
Bonsai grabbed Jason by the collar as he pulled the green haired mutant off his feet. "You will, AMIGO." He hissed at him until he felt Afterburn's heat turning up. He dropped Jason against her, knocking Afterburn down with one swift blow. "Back off, Fire Witch." he wiped the sweat from his brow. Suddenly he felt Jason's water attack pushing him back away from them.
Other students began to gather in a circle anticipating a fight or some sort of action. "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" They began to chant over Jason's water and Bonsai's ranting.
Kamikaze and Aubrey wandered up to the crowd hand in hand. Ty glanced back at Aubrey worried about who it was and only to find out his fears were justified, there stood his twin. He dropped Aubrey's hand as he heard the crowd chanting the Jason and Bonsai and he dove at Bonsai angrily.
"Are you drunk? Or just plain stupid," Kamikaze yelled from atop his brother's back.
Bonsai tossed him off, "We’re leaving get your shit together." He pointed his finger in the direction of the rooms.
Kamikaze snapped up, "I'm not going anywhere."
Bonsai narrowed the same eyes the identical stranger. He was his twin all right and as much as they looked alike was about as different as their personalities were. He had thought his brother would go with him to the ends of the earth with him. Weren’t they that much alike? He and his brother began to circle each other waiting for the other to make a move. Neither noticed Afterburn get up or Joshua disappear from the agitating atmosphere. Jason made weak attempts to separate them as Aubrey shouted at Tyler to stop but the crowd's chant overshadowed her.
Scott sat in the library with a cup of coffee wondering how long the Adams would stay now. The Professor had told him they had made plans to leave and go their own ways. Scott let stirred his coffee nervously, he would still feel better if would he would know for sure about Hayley's baby. Was it truly his? Or would she forever live with Sabretooth's bastard? He felt badly at the idea not only that they could have a lunatic like Sabretooth running around but that she and Remy could live at the mansion with that child.
Scott jumped as something landed on his hand and he looked to see the small fairy Minnie standing there with frantic expression.
She choked to catch her breath, "They are fighting."
Scott jumped up moving to the door, "who?"
"Bonsai and Kamikaze," Minnie said in between breaths and as Scott opened the door further he heard the crowd cheering. She watched the leader of the X-men run out into the hall and she hoped he would stop the brothers from doing something they would both regret.
Rayne watched Justice fussing over Alex and Remy's loving gaze at Hayley and sighed hard at the stagnant and chemical smelling air in the environment. She wanted to get out into the air and sunshine.
Alex touched Justice's arm, "Why don't you get out of here for a while?" She gestured to Rayne with her eyes and they both knew the Cajuns and Adams spent way too much time there.
Justice chuckled lightly and winked. He kissed Alex's head lightly and turned to Rayne, "If your brother isn't smart enough to show you off around here," He crossed his arms playfully at Remy. "Then I will take you out for a while."
"She ain’t going no where, homme," Remy looked at Hayley helplessly. "She needs to stay here where she's safe."
Justice scoffed, "I meant around the house."
Rayne giggle at how he referred to this mansion as a house all the time, surely it was the grandest place she had lived yet.
"As long as she promises not to bite me," He joked at her lightly, "We'll be okay." He watched her smile and then tossed an arm around her shoulders as Alex laughed.
"Storm may get jealous," Alex teased.
Rayne cocked an eyebrow, "Not so chere, dey had sex dis mornin’. It should hold ‘em for a while." Rayne spat out before she could stop herself. She had noticed the smells on him earlier and hadn't meant to bring them up at such an inappropriate time. She almost enjoyed Justice turning a little pink at her words though.
"What were you doing?" Justice finally laughed at her, "Eaves dropping?" He enjoyed Rayne's little blush.
"Wasn't dat a silly." she sighed, "Ah smelled… mmmmfffff," Justice covered her mouth quickly so she couldn't give her sisters anymore to laugh at.
Remy nodded his head with a coy grin. It was funnier to him to see her do that to someone else then to himself. "Ah’ll catch yo’ both later." This was a fortuitous happenstance as he wanted to speak to Hayley alone for a while anyway.
Justice bent his mouth to Rayne's ear with a whisper, "don't give my sisters anymore to pick on me about, ok?"
Remy's head perked up at the private message between friends, "Yo' just remember she not Storm, Homme." Remy gave him a little threatening look but deep down he trusted the gentle man.
Once outside the med labs Justice could hear what had already perked Rayne's ears up. A crowd and it sounded like the students chanting, 'fight.'
He gave Rayne a sidelong glance with a sigh, "you going with me?"
"Oui," she nodded and she knew he would be running at top speed but something had changed between the two and she almost jumped into his arms as he hefted her off her feet. She took a deep breath.
Justice smiled, "Don't worry the ride won't be as bad now that we're both feeling better."
Rayne shifted in his arms lightly grabbing a hold of his neck, "'least one of us is, mon ami."
Justice ran off in the direction of the fight finding a large crowd. He put Rayne down only to see Joshua sneaking past them.
Rayne could feel he had done something wrong as soon as he came closer to them and glared at the poisonous young man.
Justice stepped in front of Joshua's exit, "You're right little one," Justice crossed his arms at Josh. "Have you been up to no good again?" Justice leered at him.
"Look man, just because your ex screwed you over because you left her, isn't my fault," Josh spat at him.
Justice hadn't been expecting his words to be so venomous and dropped his arms to his side. He came to his senses after a moment when he saw Rayne approach Joshua on his behalf, "No man, it is your fault that you helped her poison me!" Justice grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled Joshua to him as he pushed his own head against Joshua's, hard. “I don’t believe your cock-and-bull story about how she tricked you.”
Rayne watched Justice head butt the younger man and nodded, "He gon' feel dat in de mornin’." She winced a little as Justice rubbed his head lightly.
"Adams!" Scott yelled at Justice, "What are you doing?"
"Attempting to get through this crowd," Justice met his eyes.
"I meant head butting a student," Scott grabbed Joshua and checked him for a pulse, "You could have killed him with the strength you have."
Justice didn't hear him as he began to move into the crowd.
Rayne shrugged at Scott, "Don't think he cares 'bout dat right now. Not after what he did to him."
Scott narrowed his eyes, "He's too much like Hayley sometimes."
Rayne snarled at the comment, "Dat ain’t true. He’s nothin’ like her."
Scott rolled his eyes trying to revive Josh.
Justice watched the twins and had to make a quick decision on who was who. He watched the eyes but as he moved, he felt a hand on his forearm.
"Don't, you could stop the wrong one," Aubrey warned.
Justice went to open his mouth but Aubrey beat him to the punch and everyone went down under her auditory attack. The shrill of Rayne's scream was heard even above Aubrey's deafening scream. Justice covered his ears and tried to crawl over to help his little friend whose heightened sense of hearing must be causing her terrible pain.
Rayne was sure she would explode from the inside out unless the blue haired girl shut up. She wanted to make her stop and tried in vain to move.
She saw Justice crawling towards her with his own hands clamped tightly around his ears. She could hear him in her mind and he was in pain too. Was he trying to comfort her? Or was his telepathy out of control, again?
She felt his arms around her trying to help shield her ears and under different circumstances, she would have laughed but she could hardly think straight.
Finally Aubrey stopped and there was a collective sigh of relief, followed by many groans.
Professor Xavier had been leisurely reading a favorite book when the screaming started. He recognized Aubrey’s auditory defense attack and quickly found her mind and lulled her into a deep sleep as he wheeled himself to find the commotion. He found Justice, Scott and Rayne among many of the students as they all began to get to their feet.
Charles cleared his throat loudly gathering the attention of his nephew but Scott was by his side quickly. "This campus is not a brawling grounds." his sight fell on the twins who stood slowly from the center of the crowd. "I take it that you both started this."
Bonsai narrowed his eyes at the bald man, "you take it wrong, man." He hissed.
Kamikaze bent down to Aubrey and pulled her into his lap while several others complained on how she had them all on their knees. Above the din of people’s complaints was a miffed voice cursing in French.
Kamikaze caught the professor's look but Jason pushed forward, "Ty didn't start it," Riptide pointed at the twins, "He did." His finger pointed to Bonsai.
Afterburn looked around, "Josh started it too, Kamikaze was just trying to stop them."
"Indeed," Charles looked for Josh. It would be the second time Joshua was brought to his attention for misbehaving today.
Kamikaze looked around, "Where is he?"
Justice let his glare fall on Scott as he helped Rayne to her feet, "gone huh?"
"He does seem to have a talent for trouble today," Charles sighed.
Scott was taken back looking at the professor, "this is a second offense?" He noticed the slight nod Charles gave him and then looked at Justice almost apologetically. Justice took a deep breath and walked in the opposite direction. Rayne crossed her arms and gave Scott a stern look before she turned on her heel and followed Justice.
Charles eyed Scott warily, "What was that about?" He cocked a brow at his trusted friend.
"I think I might owe them an apology," Scott let his breath go but he knew he did.
Storm got out of the shower and looked out the window as the air conditioner hummed. This Indian summer was hard at the school, especially now that the pool was closed. She ran her fingers along the windowsill watching a football game and noticed Bobby sat on the sidelines looking forlorn. She noticed he looked tired as well, but he wore another expression she was familiar with, he looked hurt. Not hurt due to cuts or scrapes but hurt due to matters of the heart.
She wondered if things were as healed between her and Justice as she thought it was or did he need more time? He had been so happy at first when he thought she was pregnant, but now he was extremely cautious and didn’t want to take any chances. Storm wasn’t quite sure what to make of that. Not that she herself was ready to have any children, but his demeanor now was a bit hurtful. His ex wife was presumably pregnant with his child. Would he go back to her for the sake of that child and leave her behind?
She watched Justice walking out on the school lawn with Rayne and she tilted her head in wonder. They seemed unlikely friends but at the same time, they seemed very comfortable with each other. She laughed, watching Justice's animated gesticulations for Rayne's amusement. Ororo knew that she would have to lighten up greatly when her and Justice moved in together. She rested her hand on her chin and watched the man she loved with his new found friend, and thought of the future.
Justice grabbed Rayne's hand and pulled her along the lawn. After a short distance, Rayne stopped. “Your legs are longer den mine, ya gangly legged rascal.”
Justice looked indignant, “Who’s gangly legged?” He lifted a pants leg. “I think they are quite muscular and well formed.”
She sniggered. “Do yo’ wear contacts?”
Rayne put her hands on her hips. “’Cause Ah’m not seein’ de same t’ing your talkin’ about.”
“Maybe there is something wrong with your eyes!” He pulled her into a headlock and rubbed his knuckles against her head lightly. “I’ll have you know that I once won first place in a Mr. Legs contest in college.”
Rayne squirmed from his grasp and taunted, “Dey all had ta be drunk, chere.”
Justice grabbed his chest in mock pain. “Oh, I’m hurt! Your sharp tongue has pierced my heart.”
"Your one crazy homme, yo' know dat?" She laughed as he staggered over to her and leaned gently on her shoulders. “You’ll have to carry me the rest of the way, chere. I don’t think these gangly legs will carry me any further.” She held onto him trying to keep him from both loosing his balance and knocking her over. Finally, he regained his footing and stood upright.
Rayne stood quietly in thought. She was surprised that she didn’t feel the customary anxiety associated with being in close contact with males. The exception, being her brother and father of course. She silently wondered if she had overcome that problem, or was it simply that Justice had earned her trust enough to make her feel comfortable around him. She felt him ruffle her hair and she turned and smiled at him. It felt good to have a friend after being alone for so long. But this feeling scared her as well. How long would this friendship last? Would it have a tragic ending like so many other good things before?
"Why that far away look?" Justice looked from her to the football game with a sigh.
She shook her head somberly, "S’ nothin’."
Justice looked to the clouds in the sky, "Rayne, you can trust me. I won’t hurt you, ok? However, if you just don't feel like talking, then just tell me to mind my own business."
"Ah’m jus’ worried s’all.” Her hands reflexively fidgeted with her shirt.
“What about? Can I help?”
Rayne looked him in the eye, “Hayley’s gon’ break Remy’s heart, an’ dat breaks ma heart. Ah, don’t ever wanna see him hurt, ever.”
Justice cleared his throat. He wasn’t sure how to respond. His sister seemed to be happy with Gambit, but she could also be very flighty. “Well, sometimes you just have to try and see if things will work out. I’d give them a chance.”
Rayne looked close to tears, “But Ah’m afraid for him.”
Justice put his arm around her shoulder and held her close to him. “I know it’s hard, but Remy has to find out things for himself.”
“Hey,” Justice turned her to face him. “I’m here for you, ok?” He smiled at her and wiped away a tear that trailed down her cheek. “I know it’s not easy seeing a sibling get into a potentially hurtful situation. That’s when you need friends to keep your mind on something else. Will you let me be your friend?”
Rayne’s emotions were a jumble of fear and joy. Joy of the thought of having a friend, and fear at the thought of losing that friendship.
Justice saw the turmoil on her face and was puzzled. “You don’t want me as a friend?” He was worried that she wouldn’t be able to trust him after him taking a memory of hers. How could he ever repair that damage? His heart sank, then his eyes twinkled with mischief. "If you’ll be my friend, I’ll have you over from time to time to get you away from Hayley."
"Dat an invitaion?" Rayne cocked an eyebrow at him as she watched him wander closer to the football game, and to her astonishment, he didn't join the game but sank onto the deep early fall grass.
"Of course it is," he patted the ground for her to join him.
"Let’s see now. You an' Storm gon' move in together for the first time ever, an' your invitin’ me along?" She eyed him suspiciously, "Dere somethin’ wrong between you an' Storm?”
Justice was taken back at her saying it aloud and verbalizing the issue he had been trying to avoid, "No, nothing," he mumbled. Now he now knew why Gambit would get exasperated with her uncanny intuition.
Rayne scoffed, "if yo' say so." She didn't want to pry but it didn't take a genius to see he was with her now, instead of Storm. She watched him sink back resting his weight on his flat palms. She watched his intense stare at the game. "Why don' you go join dem?
Justice sighed, "I'm twice their size." He let the rest of his body hit the ground as his back and head hit the dirt, "besides, I'm older too."
Rayne laughed and fell to the ground beside him and rested the back of her head again his abs. "Yo' make a lumpy pillow." She teased and looked up to the smile forming on his lips.
"You saying Gambit's flabby in the stomach?" Justice turned the corner of his mouth up.
Before Rayne could answer, she heard somebody coming towards them and looked up to see the green haired mutant Jason and the girl with fire for eyes, eyes that reminded her of Remy. She remembered how they crawled under the table in the kitchen to avoid becoming entangled in the food fight. She thought maybe they were coming out to yell at her because Beast made them help clean up the mess.
Afterburn stood by Jason with a smile and Justice wondered if the two had a private joke. He tried to read their intent on their features, but Afterburn's fiery eyes showed no emotions and Jason looked a bit dodgy. Justice noted how the fire mutant had the sockets for eyes but no discernable eyeball. Just flames where everything else would be, it was almost spooky to look at.
Afterbun winked at Jason and wandered to the game as she mumbled something about them taking girls on.
Justice picked his head up with his interest piqued, "What was that all about?"
"Bonsai, es loco en su cabeza," Jason mumbled as he pointed to Bonsai who was dancing in the end zone after making a touchdown. "He's one crazy hombre'."
Justice noted how Jason kept looking at Rayne and he felt uncomfortable. At first, he thought to take his leave not wanting to be a third wheel, but something made him stay. Suddenly, he felt anxiety over leaving her alone with the young man.
"I was hoping to talk to Rayne," Jason shrugged but when Justice made no move to leave, "Solamente…." He stressed in Spanish.
Justice felt like touching Rayne's mind to see if it was ok to leave her, but thought better of it, not wanting to go down that road again. "Ah…” He looked at Rayne, saw that she too looked as uncomfortable as he felt, and shrugged, "We were discussing some things of import, Jason."
Rayne settled her head against Justice again, she wasn't sure if she wanted Jason to think them a couple so Jason would leave or if he was her lifeline from this situation. She tried to meet Justice's eye hoping her eyes would show him her truth but she didn't need to.
Justice cleared his throat loudly, "Have you talked to her brother?"
Jason nodded, “I know of Gambit, but I have not talked to him." Jason mumbled then in Spanish taken back by Justice's protectiveness of the girl and Rayne’s unwillingness to converse with him. "solamente, por un momento, por favor?" He repeated in English figuring that Rayne might not be understanding him. “I’d like to speak with her alone, for a minute.” He smiled.
"She's not my sister," Justice smiled, "You might want to talk to Remy first."
Jason tossed his hands up, "No estoy pidiendo su mano en la union."
Justice laughed heartily, "Not yet?" he pressed his lips together, "Like I said, 'she's not my sister'."
Rayne wondered what he was chattering about in Spanish but she kept her wonders to herself feeling safe as Justice spoke for her.
"Never mind, Gracious," Jason slumped his shoulders and wandered away slowly.
Justice stifled a laugh, "Da nada."
"Wha's dat homme want wit' me?" Rayne asked once he was out of earshot.
Justice smiled, "Well, he said he doesn't want to marry you." He watched Rayne relax a bit, "yet." Justice added with a chuckle.
Rayne's eyes widened with horror until she saw him smirk as he stifled a laugh. She tossed her head and arms back against him for the chide, then heard him groan in pain, and turned to see him grabbing his groin, trying to catch his breath. Her hand flew to her mouth mortified because she hadn't meant to hit him there.
Justice rolled to the side trying to breath, if he could, he would have laughed. She had hit him in the nuts and she looked to be in more pain then he was. "I….." he began and noticed his voice was a much higher pitch and so he tried again, "I- I didn't say those words," Justice started to laugh letting his manhood go despite to no matter how it smart because he was sure holding himself made her more uncomfortable. "He did!"
"Mon Dieu Justice! Are you alright?" Rayne sat there shaking and her face had turned pale.
"Bury me," Justice mumbled.
Rayne knelt beside him and pushed some loose tendrils of his hair away from his face gently, "Ah am so sorry. Please forgive me." She whispered. “Ah’ll never do that again, please don’t be mad at me.”
Justice saw how terrified she looked and he sat up. “It’s ok Rayne. It’s not that bad. I was just having some fun.” He got to his feet and hopped about as best he could without cringing. “See, I’m fine.” But his attempt at levity failed. Rayne had drawn her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. He was glad he had a high tolerance for pain.
He knelt on the grass next to her and gathered her in his arms. “I’ll have none of this, young lady.” He smoothed a lock of hair back from her face. “You didn’t hurt me, ‘much’ and I’m not mad at you.” He felt a shudder run through her body. “We’re friends remember? What’s a little punch in the nuts from a friend?”
Rayne snorted at that and laughed. The very idea of friends hitting each other’s privates was so ludicrous that she had to laugh.
Justice was so happy at her laugh that he rolled belly up on the lawn and begged her to do it again.
Catching on, Rayne popped up and playfully acted like she was going to hit him again.
“NO!” Justice curled in a ball. “Did I also happen to mention that friends don’t, um…well, don’t have to do things like that to be friends? Know what I mean? Chere?”
When all he heard was silence he peeped out from between his fingers and saw Rayne standing there looking at him. He unfurled himself and stood up. “Are you ok?”
“You’re about de silliest person Ah’ve ever known.” She laughed. “Sides Remy.”
Justice was intrigued, “Gambit’s silly?”
Rayne nodded her head. “Dere’s a lot ta Remy most people don’t know.”
“Obviously,” Justice was astounded at the enigma that where Remy and Rayne.
Hayley felt stronger as she stayed in Remy's arms after he had pulled the curtain around the bed for their privacy. She watched him enclosed her face with her hands and kiss her very sweetly. Hayley had never felt as close to another man and wasn't sure how to show him she loved him but she knew he didn't always need sex. What they had was deeper.
Remy loved that he could touch her with out fear of being shocked and planted little kisses along her face and neckline. He willed his powers of restraint being so close the vixen that held his heart. He smiled at her, "Hayley, Ah'm gonna pack our stuff tonight."
Hayley smiled, "all right." She would be glad to be alone with him, even if Rayne would be along but she bit her lip at the thought of missing her sisters and Justice.
Remy put his hand under her chin, tilted her face to him, and kissed her sweetly. He hoped he could kiss away whatever it was that made her frown. He pulled back and met her eyes, "Yo' all right?"
Hayley nodded, "We will just have to have my family over a lot."
Remy nodded, "Dey won't be far." He smiled at the idea of family, hearth and home. He watched Hayley's face and knew she trusted him and he touched her stomach. "Gonna be a lot a chirrens around too."
Hayley hugged him pulling his ear to her mouth, "I love you, Remy." She whispered.
Remy winked at her pulling away slowly, "Ah know," he wasn't sure he wanted to tell her he loved her right then, he still hurt. He wasn't sure he could tell her he loved her anytime soon. He watched as Hayley narrowed her eyes in wonder at him. He quickly kissed her head hoping to dismiss any doubt in her mind. He did love her but she had taken him back earlier with her actions.
"Ah got to get us packed," he started away. He wanted to find Rayne and get the three of them together to leave the next day.
"Will I have to keep this bracelet on?" Hayley pushed it around her wrist and furrowed her brow.
"Justice has dat fixed so de baby won't shock us," Remy smiled.
Hayley smiled thinking of the child and then she worried a little more. "So, we are leaving very soon."
Remy winked, "tomorrow." He rolled his eyes in the direction of the curtain he knew Beast was, "Ah hope." He pulled the curtain back and found Beast tapping at the computer dutifully.
Beast looked at the couple expectantly and smiled at the hopeful stares.
"Can we leave tomorrow?" Remy moved to Beast slowly.
"To the Adams's house?" Beast began to think about the scenario. "They do live reasonably close." He mused aloud. "I was going to suggest that she sleep in her own bed tonight." He enjoyed the smiles on their faces and Remy began to move to take Hayley out of there. "No, I would like to release her properly, Sir." He scolded him with a look at the now sleeping Alex.
Hayley tilted her head, "What about you and Alex?"
"Oui, will yo' be living here?" Remy folded his arms as Beast gathered his clipboard and stethoscope.
"Yes," He sighed. "I doubt I would find solace many other places than this due to my appearance."
Hayley looked at her sheets sadly, they didn't see him as anything more than Hank and it hurt to think of the public who wouldn't see him as more than 'Beast'.
"Ain’t always gon' be lik' dis," Remy assured him. He knew that because his eyes were different that he was never completely anonymous and most didn't accept him. Many feared him, but others held him in awe. Hayley was one of the few who had accepted him without a second thought. He was sure there would be a time when normal people would accept mutants. At least he hoped so.
"Alas," He took a deep breath looking at his blue fur hand, "I do believe that it is my lot and luck in life."
"Well," Hayley smiled, "I think it's a gift."
"Not all do, my dear." He pushed Remy gently. "Let me examine her without prying eyes."
Remy looked a little hurt, "Ah'll be back soon." He smiled and kissed Hayley's hand. He gave her a dazzling roguish smile and ran out of the room.
"I think he is eagerly anticipating your moving," Beast chuckled.
Hayley smiled but her eyes were only on the door that he had walked out of. She loved him but she was afraid she had hurt him greatly when she had been rash. She looked at the door as if it would answer the unanswered questions but knew the move would provide enough answers.
Ally moved to the nursery dressed simply in a lacey skirt and a peasant blouse and hummed a nursery rhyme. She found Aramis gathering the twins things.
She arced an eyebrow, "Did I miss something?"
Aramis gave her a small smile, "Your husband has secured my services and asked me to move with you up north." She motioned to the baby clothing. "I am merely packing the children's things." What she didn't add was that she wanted out of the emotional pit she had fallen into. Being with one family she knew she would be able to distance herself a little, and hopefully, find some peace from all the emotions an empath could be crowded with. She knew they would give her some room and Ally was calm enough.
Ally looked surprised, "Did he say when?"
"He wanted to leave tomorrow," Aramis began to pack some more and looked to the cribs quickly, "The babies had another growth spurt."
Ally almost ran to the cribs and found her twins looking much older than they had, "I am going to have adult children soon." She almost cried, then she turned quickly, "I had better find Logan and get this straightened out."
Aramis shook her head looking at the children and wondered if she was right.
Justice felt as if he could fall into a deep, contented sleep on the football field with Rayne lying across his stomach watching the game. She felt as close as one of his own sisters now. Thoughts of his sisters floated through his mind and he almost felt disloyal to them, but he knew the duo meant something different to all the Adams. The honest and outspoken Cajuns had won their hearts, and there might not be a chance at getting them all back together again, but Justice didn't mind. He wanted to relish the here and now.
He looked down at Rayne who didn't seem to notice him staring and he followed her vacant look to the young men running around in the grass yelling. He thought Rayne was a beautiful young woman. True, she didn’t have the model type beauty that his sisters had, but she had a simple beauty. Furthermore, she was unassuming and kind, almost to the point of being naive, and Justice was sure that was why his liked her.
He felt a strong need to protect her as well. He remembered Jason's stammering and how he seemed to want to ask her out but stumbled over his own words. Justice was keenly aware of how scared Rayne was of a male simply touching her. The memory he had stolen flit along the outskirts of his mind. Rayne had touched his heart and he didn’t want her to get hurt. It dawned on him then and his heart skipped a beat. He loved her.
He was in love with Storm but he loved Rayne too. She had become a confidant and a friend. He was sure she didn't feel as strongly as he did about her. He wondered if she could ever truly love a man. That thought made him sad. Rayne would surely make some lucky man very happy. If only she could learn to be happy herself. He was sure of her basic good nature and wondered about how she used to live. He was told that she started out being an orphan, was taken in by Gambit and then the clans. That must have made a positive impact on her then, as she appeared to genuinely care about everyone.
At that thought he chuckled, 'well, maybe not Hayley.' He amused himself by ruffling her hair. He took a deep breath thinking of Storm and returning to a normal life with his career, his home and now a family. He wouldn't be alone in that apartment anymore. His sisters would all have separate homes. Would there be need for him to go see them now that they all seemed coupled and happy? His role now would be simply outlined now as father and spouse. 'Spouse?' He wondered, 'was that right?.’ Did he want to marry Storm this soon?' What about Chloe and the baby?
Rayne looked up at him, "Don’ think too hard. Somethin’ might rattle loose."
"I’m just hoping to fall asleep, and hoping too the world will forget me," he sighed. "We start normal lives again very soon." He smiled at her surprised look. "Well, as normal as we can."
"You upset about movin’?" Her amber eyes stared him down. She knew him as a kind, silly person, and to see him so pensive and introspective showed her a new side of him. He was a goof upfront to those, around him but deep down he was a complicated man, like Remy.
"Me?" He raised an eyebrow. "No, not really," he laughed lightly. "I am not the one moving in with Hayley after all." He watched her frown a little at his jest. "Hey," He tilted her chin to him so their eyes met. "Remember, I had to grow up with her."
"So," she paused. "Yo' t'ink we’ll kill each other?"
"You just haven't gotten to know her," he wanted to tell her how much like Hayley he saw her as. “She really isn’t all that bad once you get to know her.” He laughed.
Rayne frowned and thought how Remy had told her that too. “Ah don’ have anythin’ against her really, mostly, but Ah don’ wan’ t’ see Remy get hurt. Dat’s what makes me crazy.” She rubbed her forehead vigorously. "Dat homme with de green hair.” She recalled how Riptide was staring at her. “What d’you reckon he’s about?”
"I think he wants to ask you out," Justice squeezed her hand but his eyes went to the figure coming at them. Remy had a curious look seeing the two talking intimately, and became worried when he saw Rayne’s jaw drop open and eyes bug out.
"Rayne," Remy called, "Everyt’ing alright, chere?" Remy felt hurt watching his sister being close with Justice, he felt like he was being replaced and didn’t care for that at all. He had always been the one to take care of his ‘lil’ criquet.’
Rayne shook her head, "Fine Rem, but you chere, got news written all over your face." She pointed at his smirk.
Justice looked at Remy and got the impression that he wanted him to leave them to talk. But he wanted to know what the ‘news’ was about. He got up reluctantly though and found Rayne standing with him. Maybe she did feel as close to him as he did her. It was hard to tell, and he didn’t dare try to reach into her mind even the tiniest bit. Somehow, he was sure, that she would know the moment he tried and that would be the end of their friendship. Not something he wanted to gamble with.
Remy kept a coy grin as he took his time lighting a cigarette, "We’re leavin’ in de mornin’, chere."
"Hayley was released?" Justice looked a little shocked. He remembered it being a fairly easy procedure to take the control devices out, but he thought for sure that Hank would keep her there a little while longer.
Rayne watched her brother nod with a grin that could take in the world. She wasn’t sure if she should jump for joy or cry, and noted that Justice mirrored her look.
Remy lifted his chin at Justice Adams, "Dat's right homme, Ah’m gon' have mah femmes all ta myself now." He smiled looking at Rayne and hugged her to him. "Beast also said dat Hayley can sleep in her own room tonight." Rayne groaned slightly to which Remy rubbed her hair soothingly, "yo' can stay in mah room, petite." He sighed at the idea of leaving her alone but what could he do? He was just one man. "It's not far from Hayley's."
“Oh yay.” Rayne said dryly.
"Back to normal life," Justice mused as he pushed his hand through his hair at the thought of getting back in the swing of things. "I have to get moving as well." He sighed and looked at the Cajuns standing together. Rayne’s face was so unhappy and worried looking that it broke his heart. "I'm only a phone call away, and a half an hours drive," He bent down to look in her eyes, "ok?" She nodded with a heavy sigh. He looked to Remy, "Storm and I want to have Rayne over when she needs some time away from Hayley."
Remy couldn't help but feel a little jealous of his sister’s attachment to Justice. "If she wants." He finally laughed, "Got a place ta go now so yo’ an Hayley won’t kill each other, hanh?” He watched her blush a little.
Justice brushed the grass from himself, "I’d better get packed then, and ready to go." He squeezed Rayne's shoulder and tapped Remy's back as he walked past, "If you both need anything, just ask." He thought of the two women Gambit would be caring for now and he sighed. Hayley, who in his mind would always be the baby of the family, and Rayne, who would always seem so small and timid in many ways. Justice turned and walked off quickly trying to dismiss the urge to hug Rayne again, she was with her brother now and would be fine.
Remy turned to Rayne, "Looks like yo' made a friend petite." He smiled watching Justice wander off.
"Remy, Ah’m worried ‘bout him," she knew he still ached from his injuries, but worst of all was the emotional healing that had yet to begin.
"Why?" Remy started her to walk slowly, "He’ll have Stormy and Jordan." He smiled at her.
"He’s confused and sad," she bit her lip. She had watched him joke around with everyone to keep them happy when he felt they needed it. However, whenever he talked of work or leaving, he was somber and serious. “He’s gonna miss his sisters. He needs dem.”
Remy sighed, "Sounds like he’s gonna miss you too chere." He hugged her to him, "After we get settled in, you can go and visit him. If yo’ want to." Then he looked at her seriously. "Ah want ta ask you a favor."
Rayne stopped in her tracks at his serious tone, "Sure, anythin’ Rem."
He sighed, "Ah want ta ask Hayley ta marry me," It hurt to tell her this and he felt an ache in his chest.
Rayne considered his words and remembered Justice's words. She grit her teeth and knew that he would do what he wanted no matter what she said anyway. Maybe she should give them a chance. Maybe she had to. "Ok Remy. If dat’s what yo’ want."
Remy steadied her and caught her eye, "Rayne, …" he sighed trying to explain. "It hurts when she ain’t around," he looked dreamy eyed. "Kinda like when you left. Know what I mean?"
“Ah understand Rem.” She looked to her feet and kicked at the grass.
He smiled then, "Ah see myself wit' her a long time. An dere’s gon’ be bebe’s for you ta take care of. You’ll be happy Rayne, you’ll see."
She nodded again and sighed deeply, "Rem, Ah thought she already turned yo' down."
"Ah never really asked," Remy rolled his eyes and silently cursed Justice for telling Rayne. "Ah want your blessing on dis. It means a lot to me. You’re fam’ly." he watched her nod and he took a deep breath, "Also, Ah want yo ta help me pick out a ring."
Her eyes became wide, "What?"
"Ah know Ah could get her any ole’ expensive ring an' she woul' lik' it but," he shrugged. "Ah wan' it ta be somethin’ from de heart and you’d be able to pick out de right one for dat, non?"
"Remy," she watched him, "Are yo' sure about dis?
He loved Rayne for worrying and loving him, "Oui, Ah’m sure. But Ah'm not askin’ her tonight." He wasn't sure if he would even ask anytime soon. "Hayley an' me got ta sort some t’ings out first," he hesitated, not sure how to describe their relationship. He knew it was a mixture of the heart connecting on many levels but it also involved sex. "We need to talk some tonight." He nodded to himself.
“As much as you say your gonna talk, you sure don’t seem ta get much talkin’ done.” Rayne tried hard to stifle her tears, "Ah don't wan' ta lose you, Rem."
He laughed, "Ah’m not goin’ anywhere without yo’ Rayne girl. Ah wan’ yo’ ta be a part of my family." He had such high hopes. "T'ings will work out, you’ll see.” His cocky grin told of hope and happiness.
She smiled trying not to extinguish his hopes, "Alright Remy, Ah’ll try chere. Where’re we gon’ hunt for dis ‘ring’?" She wondered what he had in mind.
"N’Awlin’s petite. Back home." Before she could respond, he smiled and held up one of the image inducers. "Dis can change yo'r appearance so no one will recognize you," His smile got brighter, "an' we can visit Poppa chere. You’d like dat, oui?"
Her eyes became as big as half dollars and then her smile followed. She threw her arms around his neck with a squeal. “Remy, Ah’d love ta go back home, even if it’s for just a bit.”
Jason sighed watching Rayne talking with her brother. He wanted to approach them but he wasn't sure how. Finally set his jaw firmly and walked over to them.
'It's now or never,' he told himself and made them aware of his presence quickly by clearing his throat. Remy looked up and pointed him out to Rayne. Jason converged quickly, without giving Remy a chance to speak for her. He would make his intentions known to Rayne this time and without interference.
"Hi, I am Jason," He held his hand out for Remy to shake. "Also known as Riptide." He liked his nom de guerre, he had always thought it was cool name considering his mutant powers. "I wanted to ask Rayne if she would like to join me for a movie on Friday." He held his breath as Remy looked to Rayne. 'There, I said it.' He kept holding his breath hoping this would go ok. His heart felt like it was going to jump clear out of his chest.
“You wan’ go out wit’ ma sister?” He eyed the young man. “Alone?”
“A date is usually a couple doing something together alone. Yeah.”
Gambit pointed his finger at Riptide, “You’ ain’t doin’ nothin’ alone with her, understand?”
Riptide felt like running. He didn’t think it would be this hard to get Rayne to go out with him. He just wanted to take her out. Not get the third degree. “A group of us can go, alright?”
Remy felt a little tease working into his brain, "Yo' got a car? A job. Money?" Remy lit another cigarette and took a long drag.
Jason stammered, "No, but I can get a ride, or we could do something around here."
“We’re leavin’ in the mornin’ homme.” Gambit sized up this would be suitor.
Jason deflated a bit, “Leaving? Where are you going?”
“Can’t say.” Gambit was intentionally being obscure in case this boy’s intentions weren’t good.
Rayne's eyes seemed to look everywhere except at Jason. She looked like she was about to run, but Remy kept an arm around her shoulder to steady her.
Remy took another drag, "What yo' wan' wit' mah sistah, homme?" He let his accent become stronger as Jason seemed to concentrate not letting his English break into Spanish.
Jason met his eyes; "I just wanted to ask her out, amigo." Jason tossed his arms to his side then noticed that Rayne was finally looking at him, "Just thought she might like to..." He met her eyes back, "Would you like to go out with me?"
Rayne didn’t know what to say. It had been a very long time since she was asked to go on a date. She couldn’t say anything, and just leaned against her brother for support.
Remy stroked his chin, "Let me talk it over wit’ Rayne first, homme." He put an arm around her shoulders. "Den you an' her can talk it over."
Jason narrowed his eyes not quite knowing what to make of all these adult males being so protective of her, but he could only accept Gambit’s decision and be content for now, "Gracias amigo." He shook his hand and regarded Rayne. “Hasta luego, senorita.”
Remy smiled and pulled Rayne away as he began to mumble about not enough time for packing. Jason silently walked in the other direction, wondering what he had just gotten himself into.
Alex was close to tears as she moved back to her bed and sat on it. Beast quickly met her side and she smiled despite herself feeling his hand on her back.
"Alex," He said quietly so Hayley would hear. "What is wrong?"
Alex almost laughed, " Well, I am not pregnant." She let her head fall on his shoulder.
Beast almost laughed from relief, he had thought she hurt or she had doubts about him, "Your menstruation?" He sighed a little but he had expected it. "We had known chances of a pregnancy were slight to say the least but there is next month."
"I know," she sighed. "I just wanted not to have this right now." She wanted to share the joy her sisters felt and a baby with Henry would be a beautiful thing.
'PMS,’ Hank thought with a halfhearted grin and hugged her. "As long as we are together," he kissed her head.
Alex felt a little sad having her period and with her sisters and her brother leaving in the morning. They had all said the same thing, ‘Tomorrow.’ She met Hank's eye and kissed him back, "Does tomorrow ever really answer questions?"
"Yes, but we might not always like the answer, dear." He stood. "We may both sleep in our bed tonight."
Alex smiled and almost screamed yes. She knew they would not be able to make love but she wanted to wake up with his arms around her once again.
"I know they are leaving," she stood on her feet feeling energized after the nap but very sad looking at Hayley sleep with the thought she would be gone soon. No more climbing in the same bed in the middle of the night. She wanted to stay with Hank and under he Uncle's roof. "I guess I will be the only one left," she looked to the floor. "If my uncle will let me stay on."
Henry laughed, "Let you stay? I do believe he was afraid you would leave him niece-less."
Alex let him fold her into his arms and sighed, "I wish we didn't always have to grow up."
He pressed his lips together knowing it was not maturity she lacked but she wanted to stay with her sisters as she always had and she lacked the want to be away from them.