Arthur's Note: I've actually been sitting on this one for. . uh. . . a couple years. Sigh. Mostly. Some edits. Still. I'm trying for two a week, ok? Alright.

Bobby manages to snag the phone before Kitty, earning the kind of crossed armed glare and foot tap only a teenage girl can deliver. Grinning, he repeats the trained greeting.

"Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters, Bobby speaking, can I help you?"

"Bobby! I am so waiting on a call!"


"Rogue?" Waving a distracted hand in Kitty's direction, indicating as best he can that this isn't the call she's waiting on and she can now kindly phase somewhere else, Bobby's grin breaks into a full smile. "How's New Orleans? Tried a Hurricane yet?"

"It's. . . interestin'." Repressed laughter on the other line. "An' I ain't old 'nuff t'drink."

"Unhuh. You're with Gambit, so I'm sure you're obeying all laws and city ordinances." His eye roll can be heard through the phone line, he's sure.

"Ain' old nuff, Bobby, an' that's all m'sayin on the matter." Huff of breath, but Bobby knows Rogue's never been a good liar. She tends to rely on misdirection than straight untruths. "How's everyone at th'school?"

"Everyone's good, things here are pretty quiet. And you totally did – I bet you got wasted and started flashing people on Bourbon Street – you'd better bring me some beads!"

"Bobby Drake, I never!" She's trying for outraged shock, but what he hears through the phone line is poorly hidden laughter.

Bobby leaves the kitchen, cordless phone against his head and starts wandering towards the garage. Much fun as it is to talk with her himself, he knows who she'll ask for soon enough.

"At least bring me a mask, alright? Can't run off to New Orleans without bringing back either beads or masks."

"This ain't exactly a pleasure jaunt, Bobby." A murmured, accented male voice in the background, which Rogue appears to be ignoring. "But I'll see what I kin come up with."

He's made it to the entrance of the garage, can see Logan working on one of the motorcycles, but pauses, biting his lip before retreating a few steps, out of super sensitive hearing range.

"Hey Rogue? I know you want to talk to Logan, but is Gambit around? Just for a minute?"

The beat of silence on the other end is unnerving. Bobby wishes he'd kept his mouth shut, and is about to tell her to forget it when she finally answers.

"Judgin' by th' look on his face, I don't wanna know what y'all're up to. Just make sure I talk t'Logan when you're through. Bye, Bobby."

"Thanks, Rogue."

Muffled sounds, and what Bobby thinks is a 'merci, chere' before the aggravating and nightly mocking Cajun voice is on the phone.

"An' wha're y'wantin, mon ami?"

"I'm stuck." Bobby takes a deep breath, checks the hallway and mentally calculates one more time that he's out of Logan's hearing range. "I can get through the maze alright in the dark. But there's this locked door on my way back out."

"Y'got th'far already? C'est bien." More muffled background talk before Remy's attention returns. "D'accord, what've y'tried?"

Bobby fidgets, but then, Gambit set up the sim, right? He can't get in trouble for breaking rules from the man who set up the situation to break rules, right? Yeah, maybe.

"Tried opening it, obviously didn't work. Tried looking for a route around it, but all the other paths close up when I get to the door." His voice drops, defeated, before he continues. "Tried freezing and smashing it, but the sim shut down entirely."

A sharp bark of laughter echoes through the phone, and Bobby's face heats. He was trying, dammit. Figured out the timing and the wardrobe before even starting, that first night.

"Y'gotta pick th' lock, fou."

"Pick the lock? How am I supposed to pick the lock?"

"Gen'rlly, wit'a set o'lock picks." There's still amusement in that voice, and a part of Bobby wants to hit the man. "O'ter equipment can work, but f'r now, let's keep't basic."

Slumping against a wall, Bobby creates a ball of ice in his free hand, fidgeting with it to keep his voice calm.

"And I can just go into town, walk into 'Thieves R Us' at the mall and pick out my own set, right?"

"Could try, don't t'ink dey'd be in th' directory – or y'can grab th' extra set in m'room."

"Your room?" There's a whole range of possibilities in that idea. "Where in your room?"

"Ah, c'est le problem, oui? T'ink o'it as anot'er test."

"You're just as obnoxious in person as your hologram." Bobby grumbles.

"C'est part o'm'charm."

"You call that charming?"

Bobby can hear the smirk across the phone line, hear the careless shrug before the man speaks.

"Y'ex seems t't'ink so."

There's a thump, an exclamation, and the other phone clatters. Muffled noises and scolding southern voices before the phone's picked up again. By then, Bobby's grinning.

"Sorry 'bout that Bobby. Some people don't understand how t'act like civilized people."

He's not sure, but in the background, Bobby thinks he hears a rather dirty retort to Rogue's apology. He turns back to the garage, heading towards Logan and the ever-more-customized bike. Mr. Summer's was bad enough, but somehow Forge had been involved in some of the additions to this one. The positive side is that Logan has largely stopped trying to steal the first one.

"S'alright, Rogue. He's right, you are my ex and you do find him charming. Personally, I think the whole Sinister thing traumatized your brain or something, but, hey, there's no accounting for taste, right?"

"Bobby. . ." He has to laugh at her exasperation. "We cain't all fall madly f'a baseline."

"Hey, Opal's good people, and at least she's my own age."

Logan's attention focuses on him, a this-better-be-good scowl for the disruption. Exaggerating, he mouths the caller's name, and the man's face softens, hints of a smile tugging his mouth.

"Don't worry about it, here's Logan. Remember, beads or a mask!"

Handing off the phone, Bobby doesn't wait for her response. Nearly at the door, he does hear Logan's.

"If it's beads, you tell that Cajun I want to see a receipt where you bought them in a store, kid."