DISCLAIMER: I do not own marvel or X-Men.

Author's Note: This takes place after the whole Apocalypse thing, but Gambit has never met the X-Men and Cajun Spice never happened. Magneto had his Acolytes but Gambit was never part of them.


Chapter 21: Frenemies II

Gambit rubbed at his bruised jaw and cringed.

Man, Wolverine really liked that bike. Gambit chuckled remembering the look on Wolverine's face when he had vaguely told him what had happened to it, it was almost worth Wolverine's steely fist.

That guy needed anger management.

Gambit looked around the room and sighed. They had gone their separate ways after that. Wolverine had given him the perfect excuse to get out of town, and away from the idea of this school and Xavier.

Yet he had come back. He felt foolish, like he should know better by now, but there was just something about this place.

He couldn't help but think that maybe if he had found this place long ago, then maybe things would have been different for him. Maybe he wouldn't be in the mess he was in now. He wondered if it could have been a sanctuary from his Guild or even, better yet, Essex. Gambit sighed shaking his head at the thought. That was just wishful thinking, his Guild had needed him back then, he single handedly brought in clients from all other the world, he had mastered all of their training, and gave them the world class reputation they have today. There was no way in hell his father would have let him go, not until he was finished with him. And as far as Essex went, well he honestly didn't know how that scenario could have gone, it was much better not to think about it.

He closed his eyes and bit his lip, tired of staring at his computer screen.

He sat on the floor leaning against the four poster bed facing the door of the bedroom Xavier had provided him with. He was going through the files he had stolen from William Stryker's base computer. He had already gone through it a couple of times back at his apartment. He knew that the files Stryker had on each mutant did not specifically state where they were being kept specifically, but Gambit did remember something when he had last looked at them.

He browsed through the information until he came on to an untitled file that read: Facility Structure Undisclosed Destination.

It was a reference to blueprints for a facility somewhere in Siberia.

Gambit read carefully and pierced his lips together when he realized that he could only get access through a remote computer.

This had to be the place, Gambit just knew Stryker was keeping those mutants there…..he huffed and narrowed his eyes. He needed to find that facility, but without the exact coordinates it could be near impossible to find anything in that winter wasteland. Gambit took out a flash disk and quickly made a copy of the information from his computer before pocketing it. He got up and stretched before closing his laptop and putting in under the bed.

He looked at the clock on the nightstand, now 5 a.m. He wondered if anyone would be up at around this time. He slipped on his trench coat and stepped out into the hall and headed for the elevator. The mansion had such a warm elegance; it reminded Gambit of the house he grew up in which seemed like such a life time ago.

He made his way down to the lower levels and was met by a long descending hall that branched into three metal corridors. He took the one on the right and walked until he reached the Cerebro chamber.

He looked to the large metal door and wondered if he should knock. The Professor had told him how he had built a machine that amplified his powers tenfold.

He said he would be here if Gambit needed anything. Gambit looked at the door a moment longer before there was a sudden unlocking swoosh, Gambit stepped back as the door suddenly slid open revealing a long ramp that stretched out to a large circular room. The Professor wheeled himself toward him, a look of delight on his face.

"Good morning Gambit," he said in a bright tone. "Did you sleep well?"

"Not really," replied Gambit honestly in a low voice.

"What brings you down here?"

"Stole dis from Stryker's base when I was in Seattle," he said holding up the flash before handing it to the Professor.

The Professor took the disk and looked at it a moment before looking back up at Gambit, his face serious. "Does this mean that you have decided to help us Gambit?"

Gambit was quiet before answering. "Let's just get one thing straight homme, dis is pure business. I help you find yo' people and you help me wid…." Gambit stopped not quite ready to tell the Professor more about himself or his problems just yet.

After a moment of silence the Professor spoke. "Gambit," he began gently. "Whatever it is that you're going through just know that you can be safe here, and I'm here when you're ready to talk."

Gambit looked to the ground before looking to the Professor with a dark expression. "He got a secluded base somewhere in Siberia," began Gambit changing the subject and pointing to the disk in the Professor's hand. "Problem is, dere aint any specific coordinates to the base."

The Professor looked deep in thought a moment, absorbing all the information Gambit was giving him. "Gambit, would you mind continuing this conversation in my office; I'd like you to meet the others," said the Professor as he wheeled himself toward the elevator.

Gambit sighed before following.

They arrived to the Professor's office, and Gambit was surprised to see people already waiting for them.

Wolverine stood by the desk with his arms folded, next to him stood a beautiful dark skinned woman with ivory hair; both of them starred daggers at him.

Gambit resisted the urge to smile in their direction. Seated by the desk was Jean and a tall clean cut man in red shaded sun glasses, it was strange but neither of them were as hostile towards him as their friends seemed to be; though a bit guarded.

"Gambit, this is Storm, and Scott Summers," he said gesturing toward each of them. "And I believe you met Jean and Logan."

The Professor wheeled himself to his desk while Gambit stayed toward the back of the room. "Gambit has agreed to stay and help, I believe his skills would be invaluable to us." began the Professor with confidence before putting the flash disk Gambit had given to him onto his desk. "Our young friend has already found that Stryker has a base in Siberia."

All eyes turned to look at Gambit before looking back at the Professor; Gambit was hit with a mixture of shock and hope from the group. He hadn't realized exactly how badly these people had wanted to find their friends. He supposed it made sense since they all lived here, but the feelings of loyalty and caring he felt couldn't help but make him a little envious.

"Are you serious," asked Scott standing up from his chair.

"What the hell are we waiting for?" demanded Wolverine unfolding his arms.

"The problem, Logan, is that we are not sure of its exact location," answered the Professor.

"And Stryker knows how to hide himself from us, without a location it'd be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, literally," added Jean.

"Then what do you suggest?" questioned Storm anxiously.

The Professor was silent indicating that he didn't know.

"De files on dat disk are classified to a remote computer," spoke up Gambit suddenly pointing to the disk as he took a few paces forward until he was in front of the Professor's desk. "Just need access ta a government computer and I can hack in, easy," he explained in a casual manner as if talking about the weather.

Everyone was silent staring at him in astonishment.

"You sure about that Gumbo," asked Wolverine with a harsh glare.

Gambit only gave him a sideways smirk.

"Logan get Nick Fury on the phone," said the Professor quickly.

Logan grunted and glared at Gambit before rushing out of the room.

Gambit resisted the urge to groan. So, they knew Nick Fury, that wasn't good. When he had broken into S.H.I.E.L.D he found that Nick Fury had been keeping tabs on his Guild, and he wouldn't be surprised if Fury knew all about him. He wasn't worried, his father had always known that the government had been on to them but he knew how to deal with it. A few favors and bribes and you'd be surprised of the things you could get away with, and as far as Gambit was concerned his father had made the Guild untouchable. Now finding out that Xavier knew Fury, Gambit couldn't help but wondered if Xavier had anything to do with helping Fury against Apocalypse.

Storm walked over to Gambit, shaking him out of his thoughts, looking at him carefully. "And how exactly do you know so much," she questioned, every word laced with accusation.

It took Gambit a moment to answer, but when he did he gave her a dazzling smile. "What can I say chere, it's in the job description," he said winking at her.

She looked taken aback a moment before giving him a glare. "I see."

"What Storm means," began Scott looking over at Storm irritated. "Is that we're glad to have you on the team and we're grateful for your help."

"Storm, may I have a word," asked the Professor as he and Storm went over to a corner of the room and began speaking in low voices. Gambit didn't bother to make out what they were saying.

"How are you feeling Gambit," asked Jean suddenly from where she sat. "I'd like to examine you again, if you don't mind," she requested kindly.

"You did a fine job fixin me up chere, dere aint no need ta bother yo'self," he stated in his most charming voice. He smirked at her flattered expression.

She nodded her head silently and dropped it; she knew when to take a hint.

Gambit looked over to Scott who wasn't paying any attention to their conversation; he seemed transfixed watching the Professor and Storm on the other side of the room. He took notice of the strange sunglasses he wore. He was itching to go through the archives of the mutants that lived in the mansion, that he was more than sure Xavier had locked away somewhere. But he had to wait, he couldn't go lurking around the place especially with Wolverine watching him like a hawk, he'd have to wait until they trusted him more.

Wolverine dashed into the room looking frustrated. "Fury said he'd meet us tonight," he began looking to the Professor. "Said he'd meet in the woods, I know the spot."

"Why can't he come now," questioned Storm irritably rubbing her forehead.

"The man's in China dealing with God knows what; said he'd be here first chance he got," he answered folding his arms to his chest.

"That's good news Logan," stated the Professor more to reassure him.

Gambit thought a moment then headed for the door.

"Where you goin, bub," demanded Wolverine crudely.

"A walk," he said casually without looking back as he exited the room.

"I hate that cocky bastard," grumbled Logan to no one in particular. "We leave at five," he said to the room as he headed out himself, again grumbling under his breath.

The Professor massaged his temples as he felt a headache coming on. "Jean would you join me in Cerebro," he asked in which she nodded before following him out the door.

That left Storm and Scott alone.

She looked at him a moment before turning to leave, he was out of his seat and in front of her in an instant. "Hang on a sec," he said closing the door so she couldn't leave. "What were you guys talking about," he asked looking curious.

Storm sighed. "Get out of my way Cyclops," she said simply in a cold voice.

Scott looked taken aback a moment at her coldness. "I'm…..I'm sorry about earlier, I was out of line. I just want you to know that if there is anything going on that I'm here for you…always."

Storm closed her eyes, his kind words seemed to melt her cold demeanor. She was silent for a long moment; she seemed to struggle with her words before she spoke. "It's…..it's Evan's parents," she said in a low voice covering her face with her hands before putting them through her hair in frustration. "I told them the truth and now my sister blames me for what happened to Evan, they refuse to speak to me," she said looking angry and sad at the same time.

Scott looked at her a moment before looking down feeling like the world's biggest jerk. "You should have told me," he said keeping his eyes on the floor.

"It does not matter," she said shaking her head. "Let us concentrate on what is important," she stated in a firm voice.

He nodded before turning to leave but she caught his arm. "I did not mean what I said before," she began in a sad voice. "I know you care, I was just….angry."

"Storm you don't have to apologize, I understand," he gave her hand a squeeze before giving her a tight smile then left the room.

Gambit rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Where 'xactly you takin me again," asked Gambit as he followed Wolverine down the corridor of the mansion's lower levels.

Wolverine didn't answer as he came to a stop before a giant sealed door. Gambit watched with mild interest as Wolverine turned his back to the Cajun and inserted a code into a control panel on the near side wall. Instantly the double doors swooshed open to reveal a gigantic empty room that, to Gambit, looked like an enormous metal box.

Gambit raised an eyebrow at Wolverine recognizing the room instantly. "Dis a torture chamber or somethin," he asked in a condescending tone.

"Maybe," answered Wolverine unsheilding his claws.

"Not exactly," corrected Jean from where she stood waiting for them. "This is the danger room, it's a training facility the Professor built to help us hone our mutant abilities," she explained in a gentle voice as she led Gambit to the middle of the room where a bunch of teens stood, all their attention focused on the two of them. "Everyone this is Gambit," she said with a smile looking to the teens.

A few hello's and hi's could be heard from the bunch most of which not exactly friendly. Gambit guessed he couldn't blame them, if he was in their place he wouldn't be excited to see him neither. He noticed that they all wore various forms of a black uniform with an 'X' logo located on either the sleeve or chest…'X-Men'…that's what Xavier had called his students.

A blue boy that Gambit recognized walked straight up to them with a fanged smile. "Guten Tag," he said politely. "Please forgive ze rude introduction from earlier. My name iz Kurt Vagner," he said shaking Gambit's hand with a tight three fingered grip.

Gambit was a little taken aback by the sincerity behind the boy's words. He studied the profile of the furry blue mutant and couldn't help but be a little blown away. He had never met a mutant with physical features like that of Kurt who wasn't a bitter lunatic, dead set on hating the human race. Kurt had a deep kindness that radiated off him so strongly that Gambit couldn't help but like him.

"I'll be his sparring partner," cried out Tabitha raising her hand excitedly before waving flirtatiously at Gambit.

"Sorry blondy but you'll have ta wait yer turn," insisted Wolverine giving Gambit a death glare.

"Dat a challenge," questioned Gambit looking mildly interested.

"Gambit," began Jean in a firm voice. "You're supposed to be resting, you're in no condition to…" tried Jean but Gambit put a hand on her shoulder.

"Don't worry chérie, me and him, we only gonna have a little friendly brawl. Ain't dat right mon ami," he asked looking to Wolverine with a lazy expression, head cocked to one side.

"Sure," replied Wolverine in a dangerous voice as he took a threatening step towards him.

"Hang on guys," echoed a voice suddenly from the other side of the room.

Scott Summer came towards them carrying a long metal bo staff. He wore a black uniform and a red shaded visor that went around his head. Gambit wondered a moment where he had come from then looked up to see an observation room near the top of the metal ceiling complete with a built in elevator.

"Here, you'll probably need this," he said handing Gambit the staff. "Stand clear everyone," he called out ushering everyone away from the two.

"Not you too," huffed Jean, hands on her hips.

Scott shrugged looking at her apoplectically. "Let them sort it out, better we're here to play referee," he responded folding his arms and watching the two.

"Fine," she sighed. "But as soon as it gets too rough, you call it off," she demanded furrowing her eyebrows.

"Scouts honor," he promised.

"Ya know the way y'all described him, I woulda thought him bigger," commented Sam looking to Ray and Bobby, echoing the thoughts of the other teens who had not witnessed Gambit fight before. They didn't believe for one second that the tall and lean Gambit could stand a chance against the bulk and strength that was Wolverine.

"You will eat your words Guthrie," said Bobby confidently folding his arms.

Gambit looked to his staff and repressed a smile as he gripped it with both hands, glad to have it back. He watched Wolverine move to the middle of the room and followed. They circled each other a few times keeping their distance before standing still staring each other down.

"You ready Gumbo, cuz I can't wait ta wipe the floor with ya," said Wolverine crudely rubbing his adamantium claws together causing them to spark.

Gambit didn't say anything only smirking in response, knowing that it would aggravate Wolverine.

Wolverine growled before charging towards him, claws outstretched ready to strike.

Gambit flipped backwards before jumping up and ramming the end of his staff into Wolverine's face, then flipped over him with graceful ease before kicking him from behind and tripping him.

Wolverine fell forward before somersaulting on the ground and turning to face Gambit in a fighting stance, shoulders hunched and knees bent.

He leaped forward; claws outstretched, but Gambit swiftly blocked him. Wolverine arms swung at Gambit in a frenzy each time blocked by Gambit's staff.

Wolverine side kicked at Gambit, but Gambit blocked it before using his staff to holist himself up and rammed both feet into Wolverine's chest causing him to stagger backwards.

"You got skills kid, I'll give you that," said Wolverine with narrowed eyes.

Gambit stood back and cocked a head to one side. "You holdin back," it was a statement not a question.

Wolverine growled, and looked at the battered state Gambit seemed to be in. His face was badly bruised, and he could smell the blood coming from his chest wound, arm, and neck; yet he fought at full speed and strength…..that means he knew how to block out pain, something that even the greatest of soldiers would need years of pained practice to learn. This intrigued Wolverine, this meant that Gambit wasn't just one of the Thieves Guild's thugs, he had some serious training. He should have seen it before back in the alley, he thought maybe the Cajun had just been desperate to escape, but this guy was one of the best fighters Wolverine had ever seen. He just wanted to take the stupid smirk off the guy's face he didn't think the Cajun would be up to a full on fight. He seriously misjudged the jerk.

He decided that the Cajun could handle it. "You want a real fight Gumbo, you got it," growled Wolverine as he came full speed towards Gambit. Gambit nearly missed blocking him and gritted his teeth at the sheer force of Wolverine's strike. Wolverine came at him again harder and faster, Gambit dodged and rolled on the ground before twirling the staff above his head and striking at Wolverine.

Wolverine blocked the strike aimed at his chest but growled as it hit him in the ribs hard. Gambit brought up a fist and punched Wolverine across the face.

Gambit growled at the pain in his hand and flipped backwards to get some distance from Wolverine, looking at him intently, eyes blazing. He needed to remember that punching Wolverine was like punching a metal wall.

Everyone in the room was dead silent, looking on in shock and amazement.

"Whoa!" whispered Tabitha her eyes wide. "You weren't kidding you guys," she said looking to Ray, Bobby, and Kurt.

"That was so….it….wow that guy is fast," mumbled Jubilee twirling her hair nervously.

"Best. danger room. session. ever," stated Jamie in awe.

"Alright, alright, ya got me fellas," drawled out Sam hands raised peacefully as he noticed the smug looks on Ray and Bobby.

Wolverine looked unfazed by Gambit's blow and again charged at him, shielding his claws as he brought a fist into Gambits face only to miss as Gambit bent backwards, kicking upwards into Wolverine's jaw as he balanced himself on one hand before bringing his staff down on Wolverine getting in three perfect jabs before Wolverine grabbed onto the staff and tried twisting it away from Gambit. Gambit let go and brought a knee into Wolverines gut before spin kicking him down to the floor. Wolverine let the staff fall to the floor then sprang up and pounced on Gambit knocking him to the ground and punching him in the face, Gambit got his feet under Wolverine before kicking him up and over his head then slid across the floor and grabbed his staff, twirling it over his head then stood holding the staff downwards against the back of his arm and shoulder.

"Oooooo fancy," mocked Wolverine before bringing his claws down onto the staff, Gambit blocked but Wolverine came at him with everything he had, clawing at him left and right with a force that'd break a weaker man's wrists. Gambit blocked each blow but knew he couldn't keep it up for long, sweat dripped down his face and he was panting, Wolverine on the other hand looked like he could keep this up all day. He side kicked at Wolverine but Wolverine grabbed onto his boot, Gambit used the leverage to boost himself up and ram his other boot into Wolverine's chin, Wolverine growled in frustration holding his chin before he crouched down and jumped up and over Gambit getting him in a choke hold.

"Think you lost kid," growled out Wolverine holding a clawed hand up to Gambit's face threateningly.

Gambit gritted his teeth knowing that Wolverine was putting more pressure on him than necessary, if Wolverine used all of his strength he could probably crush his skull easily, Gambit quickly pushed the thought aside as he grabbed onto one of Wolverine's lethal claws, drawing blood as soon as he wrapped his fingers tightly around it.

"Not just yet, homme," replied Gambit breathlessly as Wolverine's claw turned into a bright violet then slowly into a dangerous hot red. His skin near the knuckles began to burn and blister. Wolverine growled holding the Cajun even tighter.

"What'd ya say we call it a draw," wheezed out Gambit in a cocky tone. Wolverine growled and clenched his jaw in both pain and irritation before slowly releasing his grip on Gambit's throat. Gambit coughed and gasped air before slowly retracting his kinetic charge from Wolverine's claw, then let go. He stepped away slightly not letting his guard down, blood still dripping from his finger tips.

Jean looked to Scott with pleading eyes before he nodded. She then rushed out to the middle of the floor.

"All right that's enough," she called out as she got in between the two. "Gambit, you seriously shouldn't exert yourself like this," she said worriedly checking his pulse before placing a hand on his forehead.

"Yo' right chere, as usual, I'll just go rest up a bit, don't yo' go worryin about me," he said in his most charming voice before taking her hand and giving it a light kiss. He then saluted Wolverine before heading for the exit.

Jean shook her head at his antics.

"I never hated Jean Grey more, than I do at this moment," mumbled Tabitha to Jubilee.

"I heard that," said Jean looking irritated, without turning to look at her.

"Sorry," she said sweetly with a laugh. "Does this mean I don't get a turn?"

Gambit tired to take a nap but realized it was futile. He sat up and put a hand through his hair in frustration. He went to the bathroom and cleaned himself up before putting on the same clothes, realizing that he was going to have to get some new ones. He laced up his boots and put on his trench coat, then headed out into the hall. He was starving and couldn't remember the last time he ate.

He made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen where he was met with four very familiar teenagers. They all stopped what they were doing and stared at him.

"Hello my friend," said Kurt cheerfully from where he sat at the table next to Jamie, they were both eating various forms of junk food. "Please have a seat," he said gesturing to the chair across from him.

"Nice job in the danger room," complemented Bobby with a thumbs up from where he stood leaning against the kitchen island. "You gotta teach me how to show up Wolverine like that, that was too cool."

"Yeah, like that'd happen," commented Kitty from where she looked to be making something on the stove. Bobby gave her a glare.

"So what ya'll cookin," asked Gambit looking questioningly at all the junk food in front of Kurt and Jamie.

"Well they're cooking," began Jamie pointing towards Bobby and Kitty. "Kurt and I value our lives too much to risk anything Kitty cooks." "And don't say you're supervising her Bobby," he added quickly when he saw Bobby ready to argue.

"She'll be fine. Won't you Kitty," insisted Bobby looking confident.

"That's right," sang Kitty happily.

"I'm not eating any more crap, I need real food you guys."

"Then you should be the one cooking Bobby," retorted Jamie. Kurt nodded in agreement.

Bobby looked to Kitty who was busy stir frying before getting closer to the boys then whispered. "What was I supposed to do, she begged me to give her a chance."

Both Kurt and Jamie shrugged before stuffing their faces with more junk.

Bobby rolled his eyes before going back to the stove in time to watch Kitty grab a bottle of peanut oil and pour it into her stir fry. "Kitty! Don't do that, you'll cause a grease fire," he yelled as Kitty put too much oil and it ran over the sides of the pan, but as soon as he did, the pan went up in flames. She screamed and jumped back before Bobby reached out a hand and frosted the pan and stove.

The kitchen was completely silent everyone staring at Kitty.

"Were we right or were we right," whispered Jamie to Gambit with a mouthful of chips.

Kitty giggled sheepishly. "Whoops," she said coughing a bit from the smoke.

"Great, there goes lunch," huffed Bobby as he grabbed the iced pan and threw it in the sink. "Jeez Kitty, kill us why don't you," said Bobby looking at her irritated.

"Well," she began turning red from embarrassment. "If you had been watching me more closely, then nothing would have happened. You know I'm not allowed to use the stove."

Bobby crinkled his nose at her logic. "Well, if you hadn't begged me to let you use it, in the first place," he said pointing a finger in her face accusingly.

"Don't point your finger at me," she yelled grabbing his finger and twisting it.

"Ow! Owwww!"

"Please my friends," be began Kurt as he tried getting in between the two.

Jamie on the other hand sat back in his chair and rolled his eyes at the scene; he looked to Gambit with an indifferent expression. "Nachos," he asked offering the bag towards him. Gambit gave a crooked smile then reached over and grabbed a handful.

"Just make sure you do exactly as I say, and keep your damn mouth shut," ordered Wolverine getting in Gambit's face. "Got it?"

"Whose helpin who here," challenged Gambit looking at ease with his hands in his pockets.

"Alright, enough, both of you," ordered Scott looking serious. They were in a small clearing in the middle of the woods that resided not too far from Westchester County. Scott, Storm, and Wolverine were to take Gambit to meet Nick Fury. Fury promised them access to government database so that Gambit could get into a remote computer that may lead to the whereabouts of Stryker and his base.

But between Storm not talking to him and Wolverine constantly at Gambit's throat, Scott felt more like a babysitter than anything else.

The sun had just set revealing an absolutely freezing night and the four of them waited impatiently for Fury to show up. They had taken the Blackbird and Scott sat on the open ramp with his chin resting on his fist. Wolverine paced back and forth on the snowy ground, and Storm kept a look out keeping her distance from Gambit. Gambit on the other hand seemed to be the only one at ease, looking like he could have been having an afternoon lunch.

Scott wasn't sure what to think about the guy, only what the Professor told him. Despite the fact that the he was a thief and could potentially be working for Stryker, the Professor backed him up one-hundred percent. And although Scott couldn't help but be a little apprehensive, he wasn't about to condemn the guy, he had Storm and Wolverine for that. He just knew that the Professor trusted him and that was good enough for him…he hoped.

Suddenly Wolverine stopped pacing and sniffed the air. "They're here," he said in a low voice and began walking east.

Storm, Scott, followed with Gambit trailing behind.

Wolverine came to a stop after a few meters of walking, before sniffing the air again. "Come on out Fury," he yelled into the darkness.

The four of them stood absolutely silent before they heard a rustling of bushes. The first thing they saw was a light of a cigar before the silhouette of a figure was clear.

A bald black man stood in front of them wearing a long leather coat over a padded uniform and an eye patch over his left eye, where a deep scar was embedded across his face. He looked very military from the way he walked to the way he stood, straight with both hands behind his back.

He took a puff of his cigar before speaking. "See you're still sniffing around, nice ta see you Wolverine," he began before looking to the others. "Summers, Storm," he acknowledged to each with a nod, eyeing Gambit for a moment before adding. "You say you have a lead on Stryker, do tell." He was straight forward with his speech; quickly getting to the point. He had an air of honor and intellect about him, but was laid back with his speech and body movement. Gambit knew that Fury commanded S.H.I.E.L.D., was a top C.I.A agent, a former paratrooper, and one of the best field operatives they probably ever had; and from his position, Gambit judged that he was carrying at least four handguns, maybe five.

"The guy's got a base in Siberia," said Wolverine folding his arms.

"And how do you know this," asked Fury with a raised eyebrow.

"Why don't you ask the Cajun," replied Wolverine gesturing towards Gambit.

"Colonel Fury, this is Gambit," introduced Scott.

Nick Fury was silent for a moment taking a good look at him. "Well if it isn't Remy Lebeau," he stated taking a few steps closer. "Thought you fell off the face of the earth and here you are with Xavier."

"Didn't know S.H.I.E.L.D was keepin tabs on an ol' crook like me," replied Gambit in a cool voice.

Fury chuckled under his breath. "An old crook that broke into S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters," he countered.

"What makes you think dat was me," questioned Gambit unfazed.

"Oh come on Lebeau, I can count the number of people capable of such a thing on one hand. You're the only one unaccounted for," he stated narrowing his good eye at him.

"Does Xavier know the company you keep these days, before he took you in," at Gambit's fiery glare he continued. "Cause there have been rumors. Should I mention names," his tone was threatening.

"Colonel Fury, please, we do not have time for this," began Storm in a firm voice. "Gambit can help get us to Stryker, and that is our main priority."

"And you need me to do it," concluded Fury a little begrudgingly. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he huffed before he began walking back the way he came. "This way," he called out to them.

Scott and Wolverine looked at each other a moment before following, Storm and Gambit behind them.

A few yards away was the helicopter Fury had arrived in along with several of his armed men. A satellite computer had been set up on the ground, already on the S.H.I.E.L.D access login page.

"Have at it," he said to Gambit gesturing towards the computer. Gambit walked forward and kneeled down onto one knee so he was level with the computer, he stared at it for a few seconds rubbing at his chin before his fingers began working furiously across the keyboard.

"I'm curious Fury, why'd you even agree to this," began Wolverine taking Fury to the side so they weren't over heard. "Once I told you where Stryker was, you shoulda been all over it. You tryin to tell me that you needed this punk ass to hack into your database to find Stryker. What, your agents don't cut it or somethin?"

"That punk stole information from our headquarters, and God knows who he gave it to. I know one person who could hack into a government database the way your friend could and she's currently working for HYDRA, trust me, it's not as easy as it looks." Fury paused a moment and shook his head while chuckling. "You have no idea who that is do you, man, I swear Xavier would take in a rabid dog….that's the son of the headmaster of the New Orleans Thieves Guild. One of the best thieves on the planet, this guy is a living legend in the underground crime world. "

Wolverine let that sink in a moment. "So why not arrest him?"

"You think I have a shred of proof against this guy. If anything I'd try to recruit him, imagine the things he could do for us as an agent," replied Fury. "The offer still stands for you too, Wolverine," he added puffing on his cigar.

"No thanks," mumbled Wolverine distastefully. "What were you talking about before, who the hell is this kid working for."

"That's the million dollar question isn't it," began Fury as he and Wolverine watched Gambit type furiously into the computer, engrossed in whatever he was doing. "Why?"

Wolverine narrowed his eyes as Fury dodged his question but continued. "Is he workin for Stryker?"

"Don't think so, he's been free lance ever since his Guild kicked him out."

"What do ya mean kicked him out," questioned Wolverine.

"I mean that they….banished him, you could say…..he can't go back to Louisiana." "Unless he's got a death wish," he added a little amused at the thought.

"And what exactly did he do?"

"What else….." he paused taking another puff of his cigar. "Murder," stated Fury flatly before walking over to Gambit when he saw that Gambit had stopped typing and was fixedly reading the computer screen.

Suddenly he stood and looked to Fury with mild interest.

"Well?" asked Fury annoyed.

"I got it," replied Gambit coolly.

Fury looked taken aback a moment. That was fast, he thought before bending down and looking to the screen. "Well, I'll be damned," he said under his breath before standing up. "The entire set of blueprints." "You got a location," he asked looking to Gambit.

Gambit shook his head looking neutral. "Stryker was smart enough to leave dat part out."

Wolverine, Scott, and Storm looked taken aback. "What'd ya mean," asked Wolverine looking furious.

"It means dere aint no location, or dat too hard fo' you ta understand," stated Gambit in a light tone.

"Why you….." began Wolverine looking ready to gut Gambit.

"Hang on, Wolverine," said Scott putting up a hand. "We got the blueprints, it's a big start."

"It certainly is, for S.H.I.E.L.D," sated Fury before turning to his men. "Alright people, lets wrap it up," he called out.

"Excuse us," asked Storm looking confused.

"Look, you guys have no right snooping around S.H.E.I.L.D related business, which includes Stryker. You're a school filled with underage minors; I don't need you going around playing hero. Thanks for your help," he said bluntly and firmly before turning his back on them.

"Wait just a damn minuet," growled out Wolverine taking a few paces toward Fury.

Fury turned, looking anything less than intimidated. "My people will look into this, you have my word, but you need to stay out of it from here on out," he said in a voice that was more threatening than anything else. "I'll be in touch," he said as he headed for his chopper.

As Wolverine looked ready to pounce on Stryker Storm put a hand on his shoulder and shook her head. All they could do was look on in shock and anger.

"What the hell just happened," asked Scott looking to Storm and Wolverine, clenching his jaw.

"Fury just screwed us, that's what," stated Wolverine anger laced in every syllable.

"Let us just get back," said Storm in a low voice.

The four of them made it silently to the Blackbird jet.

They didn't leave but sat in silence, Scott and Storm looking disheartened and defeated. While Wolverine paced back and forth looking furious, Gambit sat back watching the three of them.

"We walked right into that one, didn't we," commented Scott rubbing his temple.

"We were such fools," said Storm shaking her head.

"I'm goin back," announced Wolverine heading for the exit. "I'm gonna catch em before he leaves, then give em a piece of my mind," he said extending his claws for emphases.

"Dat aint necessary homme," said Gambit getting in front of Wolverine before he could leave.

Wolverine narrowed his eyes at him. "And why not?"

Gambit suppressed a smile before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a flash disk, holding it up for everyone to see.

Scott raised his eyebrows. "Is that….." he paused, his mouth hanging open.

"You copied the blueprints," asked Storm astonishingly.

"You gotta be kiddin me," said Wolverine as Gambit handed him the flash.

"No need ta thank me homme," said Gambit putting his hands up for dramatic effect, pushing past him back towards his seat. "Got his wallet too," he bragged holding a very expensive leather wallet with Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D badge hanging out of it.

For the first time Wolverine looked to Gambit not with loathing but respect. "I hate ta say it, believe me, but you did good Gumbo," stated Wolverine, with a ghost of a smile.

"Gambit, I don't know what to say," began Scott gratefully. "But when did you do it? Storm and I were watching you the whole time," he asked shaking his head.

"What's dat ol' sayin? Appearances can be deceivin."

"Gambit," began Storm as she stood up, looking intimidating and serious. "I do believe that I owe you an apology," she stated in a soft sincere voice.

"Dat aint necessary chere," he began before breaking out into a devilish smile. "But a kiss would do just fine," he said with a wink.

She raised an eyebrow at him before Wolverine sat next to him and elbowed him in the gut. "Cut the crap Cajun," he said but in a light manner. "Let's get out of here Cyke."

It snowed heavily, and although it was the middle of the day there wasn't a trace of sunshine, only an array of thick grey clouds.

He walked down a busy street in the middle of the city in slow strides, growling at anyone who dared to gawk at him. He stood at 6'6, wearing a long bloodstained coat. Long dirty hair hung in clumps around fierce eyes and a gruesome catlike face. Yellow fangs dripped with drool that he wiped away with a sleeve every so often.

"Ay, Sabertooth," called out a red headed teenager with an Australian accent. "Where ya goin mate," he asked as he rushed up next to him a little out of breath. "Say didn't the boss man say ta keep outta site, ya know since ya all creepy lookin," he stated bluntly, scratching his head.

Sabertooth only growled, ignoring the boy and kept on walking.

"Oy, I'm talkin to you," shouted Pyro getting in front of Sabertooth demandingly.

Sabertooth glared before simply grabbing Pyro by the collar of his jacket and tossing him aside like a rag doll. People stopped and stared in horror before running in different directions.

Pyro flew across the pavement and rolled a few times before coming to a stop.

"Stop right there," yelled out a nearby police officer with his gun aimed at Sabertooth.

Before the officer even knew what hit him Sabertooth was on him quicker than lightening, instantly breaking his neck.

Pyro rubbed his head and groaned before he picked himself off the floor and dusted himself off. "Ya oversized good for nothin….." he mumbled before noticing all the commotion. He looked over to see four police officers aiming their guns at Sabertooth.

Pyro grinned like the Cheshire Cat before laughing excitedly. "Come on now, that stinkin furball is a buddy of mine," he said flicking oven his Zippo lighter. "No need ta get crazy," he said in a dangerous voice before the flame from his lighter grew to life and shot out wildly in their direction.

Sabertooth ducked and growled as the fire storm almost hit him, then he grabbed one of the officers and took a bite out of his neck. Two of the officer's caught fire and began rolling on the ground in agony while the last one opened fire on Sabertooth; but Sabertooth looked unfazed as he threw the limp body in his arms at him before spitting the piece of flesh in his mouth onto the ground.

Pryo began laughing maniacally before blasting out fireballs left and right. He aimed for a nearby shop window and blasted it, where shards of glass exploded onto the side walk. People were everywhere screaming and terrified, but Pyro couldn't hear them. He had an obsession with fire and once he started getting out of control it was almost impossible for him to stop. He began aiming for parked cars that exploded on impact.

"Come on baby, let it burn," he laughed dancing and jumping around in uncontrollable excitement.

"What are we doing again," asked Jubilee as she sipped from her hot chocolate.

"Waiting," replied Bobby as he stuffed another spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.


"The signal," he said with a mouthful.

"What signal," she said getting irritated as she put her mug down and crossed her arms.

"Well," he began scratching his head. "I'm not sure, but Wolverine said that I'd know it when I see it," he said with a confident grin before returning to his ice cream.

Jubilee shivered just watching him eat it on such a cold day, but she guessed he couldn't help it. They were in the city in a nice little café, waiting in case the others needed back up.

"I can't believe we have to sit here while the others get to meet Magneto with the Professor," she sighed resting her head in her hands.

Bobby shrugged still eating.

"It doesn't bother you at all," she asked with a raised eyebrow.

"A soldiers gotta do what a soldiers gotta do," he said pointing his spoon at her.

She sighed and looked away before noticing something. She narrowed her eyes and smirked. "Hey Bobby, look who's here," she sang motioning behind Bobby.

Bobby turned and nearly choked before going very pale. "Oh man, this isn't good. What do I do, what do I do," he cried quickly ducking under the table.

Jubilee giggled then stuck her head under causing her silky hair to fall around her face. "Why Bobby Drake…are you hiding," she asked with a cheeky smile.

"Hey, it's not funny, this is life and death we're talking about," he stated from underneath the table hugging himself.

"Oh please, get out of there right now or I'm going over there by myself."


"You heard me."

"Please don't do this to me, I'm begging you."

"Then you better get your ice butt out of there."

He did, though a bid begrudgingly. He sat awkward for a moment before grabbing the menu and hiding behind it.

Jubilee couldn't help but laugh at him, he really was adorable. "Bobby, come on," she said grabbing the menu and putting it down.

"NO," he said using one of his hands to cover his face.



Jubilee sat back shaking her head, he was so stubborn.

"Hey you guys," said a voice. Bobby put his hand down and froze with wide eyes. Jubilee gave him a look, but when it didn't seem like he would snap out of it any time soon she kicked him.

"Ow….ahem….I mean hello," he squeaked nervously.

"Do you mind if I sit here for a bit, Shannon is on her cell," she asked pointing to a girl taking very loudly into her cell near the entrance.

"Sure, I'm gonna go order some more drinks," said Jubilee as she slid out of her booth and winked at Bobby.

Bobby smiled nervously as she sat across from him. She was even prettier up close, long braids framed her face, and big almond eyes were coated in silver eye shadow that matched her grey coat. She tapped a manicured finger on the table waiting for him to say something but when he remained silent she took the initiative.

"Sooo," she began trying to get his attention as he seemed lost in thought. "How are you Bobby," she asked narrowing her eyes at the ice cream she saw in front of him.

Bobby swallowed. "Good…fine….how….how about you," he stuttered knowing how stupid he was being but he just couldn't believe she knew his name. In front of him sat Ashley Simmens, the girl he's had a major crush on when he had attended Bayville High. It seemed like decades ago, when Evan had teased him about it, and Bobby sighed at the thought.

"Fine," she said with a smile noticing how nervous she was making him. "What happened to you guys? You just up and vanished. The school's been talking about it forever," she asked suddenly, taking a long look at him.

Bobby squirmed a little looking uncomfortable. "Umm….its kind of a long story."

Ashley raised her eyebrows before looking to where her friend continued to yak into her cell. "I got time," she exclaimed.

Bobby looked around feeling like he was on the spot, and hoped Jubilee would come back already, how dare she leave like this, how dare she. "Erm….well you see," he began searching his mind for a good explanation. He knew that he wasn't exactly acting like himself, with Ashley, he had a bad case of butterflies and he found that he was unable to lie properly. "We got really really….. sick," he tried looking like he was about ready to wet his pants.


"Yeah….really sick…and tired…of erm….Bayville, and soooooo we decided to move…." he explained looking everywhere except at Ashley. "…here," he finished with a forced smile.

Ashley sat back and folded her arms. "So your boarding school decided to relocate because you guys were… sick and tired of Bayville?"

Bobby cringed a little before swallowing, yup that sounded pretty stupid. "Ummm yes, that is correct."

Ashley smiled a little before leaning closer to Bobby causing him to almost pass out as he stopped breathing. "Ya know, I think that you're probably the worst liar that I ever met, well other than my boyfriend that is."

Bobby chuckled a little uncomfortably shaking his head. "I'm not…." He paused as she put a hand over his mouth.

"It's okay I get it," she said putting her hand down and smiling at how bad he was blushing. "You can't say," she concluded. "But you do watch the news, don't you? They say that your school was for…." she paused then pierced her lips together. "You know it doesn't matter," she said liking the crystal sparkle in his blue eyes.

Bobby quickly looked away. "So you have a boyfriend?"

"Ex-boyfriend," she corrected with a smirk.

Bobby repressed a smile.

"I'm back," announced Jubilee looking at the two a little too intently.

"Hey you got me a drink, thanks," said Ashley gratefully as Jubilee handed her a cup.

"Yeah, thanks," said Bobby through gritted teeth as he gave her a glare. He was so going to get her later for leaving him. She knew perfectly well how bad he was at talking to girls; she was going to get it for sure.

"No problem," she said ignoring Bobby's death glare.

Ashley's friend huffed loudly into her cell and flipping it closed. She searched the room and when she spotted Ashley she made a bee line for her then plotted herself next to her. "You would not believe what I just heard," she began angrily ignoring Jubilee and Bobby.

"Shannon," interrupted Ashley a little annoyed with how rude her friend was being.

"Hi," she said brashly to the two before she began yakking away with Ashley about some gossip she had heard.

Jubilee sat in the booth next to Bobby and was about to say something to Ashley's rude friend when something outside the café caught her eye. "Ummm Bobby do you see that?"

Bobby turned his head but before he could react there was a sudden explosion and the windows exploded.

Bobby groaned as he found himself on the ground. He coughed and looked around, shocked to see everything in shambles. His heart beat a mile a minuet and he looked down at himself to make sure he was in one piece; he crawled from under some rubble before getting to his feet.

"Jubilee!" he cried looking around furiously.

"I'm here," she cried from the floor, their table on top of her. Bobby rushed to her and quickly moved it.

"You okay," he asked.

"Yeah," she said coughing and getting to her feet. Ashley and Shannon's booth had been blown backwards and now resided near the entrance.

"A little help," said a voice and both Bobby and Jubilee rushed to get Ashley and Shannon out from underneath.

It was too heavy to move so Bobby got on his hands and knees and looked underneath. "Give me your hand," he said reaching out.

Ashley quickly grabbed it and he pulled her out then pulled out Shannon, who was sobbing uncontrollably. "What happened," asked Ashley, voice shaking.

"I don't know," answered Bobby coughing a bit.

"Bobby, put out the fire," yelled out Jubilee when she saw it getting out of control.

Bobby put out his hands and frosted air began rapidly putting out the fires.

Bobby ignored the awestruck stare from both Ashley and Shannon who's crying had toned down to hiccups. He and Jubilee quickly began helping others who were buried under the ruble; luckily no one seemed too badly injured.

The entrance was blocked by Ashley and Shannon's booth so everyone began to go out the broken windows.

Bobby grabbed a table and placed it under one of the windows then climbed on top of it. "Come on," he said in a low voice reaching out a hand towards Ashley.

She looked to Bobby then his outstretched hand a moment before quickly taking it. He jumped out the window and landed on the pavement then helped her down.

They looked at each other a moment, Bobby's heart sunk wondering what she must think of him.

He quickly went to the window. "Hurry up Jubes!"

Shannon seemed frozen in place and Jubilee grabbed her by the shoulders and helped her onto the table. "Get it together girl," Jubilee huffed as she pushed Shannon in the direction of the window.

Bobby helped them both down, and Shannon ran into Ashley's arms sobbing. Ashley humored her by patting her back but looked annoyed at her friend's hysteria.

Bobby and Jubilee were in shock to find the entire city block a raging inferno and to their surprise, not far down the block was Pyro, throwing out fireballs like a maniac.

"That idiot is gonna kill someone," grumbled Bobby angrily.

"Come on Bobby," said Jubilee gesturing towards the chaos.

"Wait," spoke up Ashley as she got Shannon's grip off of her and walked up to Bobby.

"You're not gonna go fight that guy, are you," she demanded.


She looked at him like he was an idiot. "Of course, why wouldn't I be."

"I just thought that…." despite the danger he was on cloud nine right now.

Ashley shook her head then leaned up and kissed his cheek. "What you just did in there was the coolest thing I've ever seen." "No pun intended," she added with a smile

Jubilee cleared her throat but couldn't hide her smile at the scene. "Come on Bobby, we really need to go."

Bobby gave Ashley an apologetic look before slowly following Jubilee. Ashley gave him a wink and waved good-bye.

Author's Note: Ha ha don't hate on me people…..just had a really hard time with this last part of the chapter…..I wasn't going to include the 2nd half of it and just get to Stryker's base, but I wanted to ease into it, cuz when I started writing it…it seemed really forced….Remy just needed to settle a bit at the mansion….so I know it's been a long wait, and I'm sorry that I keep asking you guys to be patient but I promise you will see what Stryker has done in the next chapter…..it just needs some editing and this chapter is long enough as it is…..thanks to everyone who's stuck with me and this story, your reviews are so wonderful and thoughtful and you have no idea how much they mean to me...

so with no further ado please review