Interlude: Phone Calls
by L.M Griffin
Logan wasn't sure what was more disturbing: the fact he was pulled out of a sound sleep, or that he had been in such a deep dream that it took a ringing phone to wake him up. He growled low in his throat, shoving aside the covers to grab the phone off the cradle. Running his fingers through his already pointed hair, he snapped into the phone, "Yeah?"
The accented voice on the other end was quietly wry. "Gee, Logan...ya almost sound like ya ain't glad ta hear from an ole friend."
Logan's bushy eyebrows raised to the ceiling. "LeBeau?"
A bitter chuckle filled the phone. "Congrats, Wolverine. Got it right on de first guess. Gambit should give ya a box o' cigars."
"Where are ya, kid?" Logan asked warily, even though the question more on his mind was, 'How in the hell did you get out of Anarctica?' No-one had seen or heard from the thief since Rogue had...left him stranded at Magneto's base. Not that Logan could blame the kid. If the team had left him in the middle of nowhere with no food or water, and no concievable way of getting back to civilization, he'd be a little 'miffed' too. Might not want to get all 'chummy-chummy' again with the old gang.
He was Wolverine, however. He would have found his way back. Apparently, so had Gambit. A fact which heightened the Canadian's opinion of Gambit considerably.
Logan noted the coldness flickering through the younger man's voice as LeBeau said, "T'aint none of yer bus'ness, Logan. Jest called ta ask ya to do somethin' for me..."
Logan felt his bushy eyebrows raise again. "Oh, and what's that?"
"I'm gonna give ya a phone number. Want ya ta pass it on to Jubilee. Don't let anyone else have it, or Gambit be plenty sore with one Canucklehead," came the terse reply. Yet even with the shortness of it, Logan noted a deeper edge of emotion.
Logan's smile became almost feral as he answered. "Me 'n the kid been talkin' more lately, 'cept she ain't sayin' much. She don't open up to me if she thinks it's gonna worry me." He smirked. "Can't say I blame the pun'kin. When I worry, I tend to rip into furniture. She brought your name up a few times, said she missed ya. I figured out, what between what 'Ro was tellin' me, 'n the fact the kid's been worried about ya, that you two have gotten closer over the past year 'n a half. Kinda wonderin' how close m'self, actually."
The temperature in LeBeau's voice dropped again, as Logan was rather happy to note. "We made a pact. Her for me, me for her. We watch each others backs. Nothin' else." There was another pause. "What did every'ne tell her 'bout me?"
Logan took a moment to process the information before he carefully chose what he was going to say. LeBeau didn't know what had happened to Jubilee. For that matter, no-one did. When Logan had found her in the desert, she had looked beaten six ways 'till Sunday, but she had insisted that it had all came from escaping Bastion's citadel. He didn't believe that for a red-hot minute, but when he had pushed her for more information when they had all gotten back to civilization...she just clammed up. Insisted she was fine.
After all she had been through, no one wanted to tell her that Remy was gone, what his 'crime towards all mutants' was. Logan himself had done it for a different reason. If the kid talked to Remy, she'd open up to him again. Logan didn't know what Jubilee would think of Remy's past, but he knew the girl trusted the thief. That, in itself, was good enough for Logan.
"We told her you had family business to take care of. That you'd get in touch when you could." Logan fibbed. Truth of the matter, no-one had told Jubilee anything, which, he had argued about with Chuck, wasn't going to cut it. The kid kept on asking, and everyone just kept on...changing the subject. Jubilee wasn't going to wait much longer until she took the initiative and went to find Remy on her own.
The answer he gave, however, seemed to satisfy LeBeau. "Bien. Take this number down...'n remember, Jubilee. No one else." the thief said quickly.
Logan cleared his throat. "Not Rogue."
LeBeau's voice sounded choked. "Non."
"I told ya, Logan...dere is nothin'. She is just a ch'ld."
"..she's not gonna be a 'ch'ld' forever..."
"Quoi? Speak up dere, Logan. I can't hear you."
"Nothin' important. What was the number?"
LeBeau gave the number, then promptly hung up.
Logan left the number folded beside the phone as he flopped back down on his bed. He folded his arms above his head, and proceeded to meditate the rest of the night. The next morning he walked into the kitchen, scratching his head. Ororo and Rogue were already awake, and he noted that, yet again, both women looked like they hadn't slept well. They greeted him quietly, as he grunted in response to them. He was never pleasant until the caffeine kicked in all the way. He walked over to the coffee pot, pouring himself a large cup.
"Yah were gettin' a call purty late last night, Logan..." Rogue murmered behind him, lifting a forkful of eggs towards her mouth. She frowned at it, but ate it anyways. Sleep deprivation was one thing. Food was something else.
Logan turned, lifting one eyebrow, as Ororo added, "Was it something important, Logan?"
Logan looked at the two women before him, his blue eyes reading them. What was going to be best for everyone involved here? That he break his promise to LeBeau, and tell the two women the young man had considered his closest companions that Gambit was alive and well, but just didn't want to see them?
Tell them that Remy only trusted one person in the entire world completely, and she was a fifteen year old girl?
"Just an old friend, gals...catchin' up on old times. He fergot about the time difference." Logan shrugged. The two women nodded their heads, then moved their conversation on to more trivial topics. Logan drank his coffee, saying nothing. For better or for worse, Gambit was going to have to come back on his own. How he dealt with all his 'family' then...well...
Only time would tell. Right now, time seemed to be the only thing alloted to them.
The cellphone rang in the fancy penthouse suite in Chicago. Once. Twice. Remy LeBeau opened his left eye, the red glowing with irritation. Maybe if he just ignored it....
The phone kept ringing. With annoying persistance. He sighed, and groped over to the nightstand, picking up the phone and speaking groggily into it, "Halo? LeBeau here. Dis bettah be good, or som'one's dead."
There was a rustling, and something close to quiet sniffling. A young female voice whispered, "Remy? I'm sorry...I'm just so scared...and I needed to talk to someone...and Wolverine just gets all snarly when I bring up stuff like this..."
Remy sat upright in bed, now fully awake. It was Jubilee, and she needed him. "What is it, p'tite? Gambit's here." he soothed, checking the clock. 2:00 A.M. He could probably make it to Masschusetts in a few hours, if he broke every concievable speeding law that had ever existed.
There was a quiet sigh, and Jubilee sniffled again. "You're gonna think it's stupid."
Hm. Maybe he wouldn't have to drive to Masschusetts. Well, all the better. "I'm not gonna know till ya tell me, Jubilee..." he said calmly, running his fingers through his tangled auburn hair.
"I had a nightmare...a nightmare that Bastion had me again..." Jubilee said into the phone, as if she were saying she had wet her bed, or something equally humiliating. Sitting in the closet in the downstairs front hall of the Academy, she felt terribly young and afraid. She couldn't talk to anyone here...and Wolverine was already upset about what little she had told him about the entire experience with Bastion. She didn't want to disturb him any further...so...she called in the other front runner.
Anyone else would have been annoyed and told her to go back to sleep, it was just a dream. Remy, on the other hand, felt his mind sharpen. Jubilee didn't just call up someone about nightmares. She was obviously upset, and afraid. Besides, he had only heard brief snatches of what happened to the girl through old 'friends'. He hadn't known she was actually captured by Bastion. He leaned back on his pillow, keeping his tone neutral. "Do ya want to talk 'bout it?"
Jubilee closed her eyes, gripping the phone tightly in her small hand. She took a deep breath, and started speaking, her voice getting higher and higher as she went on. "Yeah, I do. It started out in the chair that Bastion strapped me to..."
...She was back in Bastion's stronghold, and he was ramming mental attack after attack to her head, trying to force her to give him the information he wanted on the X-Men . She screamed, the pain ripping her brain apart. She tried to keep silent, tried to tell him nothing about the X-Men, but the pain was too much. In her dreams, she told Bastion everything she knew...
...Suddenly, she was free of Bastion's citadel, and running through the woods outside the Mansion. What she was running from, she could only imagine, but she knew if she got to the Mansion she would be safe. Wolverine would be there, and he always protected her. Or Gambit. Gambit would keep her safe, it was part of their deal. The creature following her couldn't stop two of the most dangerous X-Men ever known. As she ran, she noticed a fog moving through the trees. As she neared the Mansion, the fog grew thicker. So thick she started choking on it...
...It wasn't until she cleared the trees when she realized the fog was actually smoke. Her eyes widened in horror as she saw the Mansion ablaze, Sentinals crawling all over the grounds, or what was left of them. She could see something lying on the ground, and she cautiously moved forward to see better. The stench of something dead filled her nose, and as she stepped over the object, she understood where the smell had come from. All around lay the X-Men, lying in various broken poses. Dead, to the last one. She moved through their bodies, face frozen in shock and horror...
The only thought that would come to her was, 'It's all my fault. All my fault.'
...She knelt between the two broken bodies of her Logan and Remy, tears flowing down her cheeks freely. She sobbed, resting her head againist the blood soaked grass. "I'm so sorry...I didn't mean to...I'm sorry.."
Then she heard Bastion's voice above her, "I'm afraid my dear, that sorry just won't cut it this time, now will it?" She raised her head in horror, as he brought down a huge hunting knife towards her chest...
"...and then I woke up. Screaming." Jubilee finished. She could feel sweat on her brow, as she rested her head againist her knees. She felt slightly nauseous.
Remy, on the other hand, felt fully sick to his stomach. If he hadn't been completely sure that Bastion had gotten his, he would have gone out and hunted the twisted madman down himself. Rage was literally filling his veins. Jubilee had been tortured and beaten, and her very sense of self was shaken to the core. No wonder her voice sounded so bruised, so lost. He was on the killing edge just imagining what she had to have gone through.
He took a deep, calming breath. Jubilee didn't need his anger, she needed his support. "P'tite...it wasn't your fault Bastion captured you...'n if you had given him anythin', it would've been under extreme duress."
"Yeah, but I would have betrayed the team...it could've ended up with all o' you dead..." Jubilee said quietly, moving her dark hair away from her red-rimmed blue eyes.
Remy sighed softly. "Som'times, p'tite...things happen dat be outta our control. Som'times...ya don't mean to end up hurtin' da ones you love, or even innocent strangers. But somethin', or som'one, took yer fate outta yer hands, 'n ya end up doing things dat end up...leadin' to people gettin' hurt..." There was a long pause from Remy, as he closed his eyes, trying to fight back the pain that was welling up in his own chest. Memories of dark tunnels, of screams of terror, of death...
"Yeah...I guess so. I guess that means that...it wouldn't have been my fault. 'Cuz was just a...a stupid mistake." Jubilee felt slightly better, as she added, "People can't hate you for a mistake. They might not forgive you right away, but everyone makes stupid mistakes, so sooner or later they should. Right Remy?"
She frowned into the phone, because the silence was lengthening. Something prickled at the back of her neck, as she spoke into the phone, a bit louder, "Yo Gumbo? Still breathin'?"
"Hm? Oh yes, Jubilee, jest takin' ta heart what you said. You speakin' a few truths dat I be thinkin'...be thinkin' some people would benefit from." Remy felt a bitter smile touch his lips.
The prickling was creeping all down Jubilee's spine. Something was wrong. Very wrong. She wasn't sure what it was, but everyone had been avoiding her questions about Remy lately, and now here he was on the phone. Sounding...soul weary. She felt the muscles in her cheeks tighten. "Remy, you okay?" her voice had dropped low again.
Remy felt something crack inside of his chest, and he closed his eyes tightly. "Who me? Nevah been better, p'tite. Why ya ask?"
"No reason...you just seem tired, is all." Jubilee frowned, tugging on a lock of dark hair for a moment. Oh-kay, this was bad. She knew Remy was lying to her.
"Well p'tite...ya called Gambit at 2:00 A.M. He's not 'xacly in his best form, non?" Remy forced cheer into his voice.
"Oh...all right. Then I guess I should let you go then, so you can get some sleep." Jubilee said slowly. And with complete disbelief.
Remy winced slightly. She knew something was wrong, that he was hiding something from her. He nearly told her everything then, about his own crimes, and the trial with Eric the Red. Being left by the woman he thought he loved in the middle of the frozen wastelands of Anaractica to die. He couldn't though. He couldn't bear it if Jubilee turned away from him too, for what he had done. After everything else he had lost...she was the only good thing he had left.
"Yah, gotta catch a flight ta Korea tomorrow." he said slowly. "Gambit got somethin' ta do overseas, but he'll call ya when he can get a chance. Good eno'gh?"
"Gonna have to be, fer now," Jubilee paused for a moment, as she leaned back againist the wall. "Hey, Remy?"
"Yah Jubilee?" Remy covered his eyes with his hand. He had a feeling he wouldn't be sleeping anymore tonight. The nightmares would be just too vivid.
"I miss ya...take care of yerself. Don't get into any jams where I can't get to ya to pull yer troublesome hide out of." Jubilee's voice was soft, that note of complete caring there. She did care about Remy. Heck, she loved him as much as she could. At least as much as she loved Logan. Now there was a shocker.
Remy wiped at his face, not surprised to find a small tear trickling down his cheek. His voice was a bit rough around the edges when he replied, "I miss you too, p'tite...don't worry about dis ole thief. He's gotta come back in one piece. He made a promise to a spec'al lady he would be dere for her, no matter what."
"Darned skippy....one more thing, Gumbo..," Jubilee's lips quirked. "Don't call me p'tite."
Remy laughed softly into the phone before adding with a smirk, "But of course...p'tite." He clicked off the cellphone, still smiling. Surprisingly enough, he managed to drop off to sleep with little trouble, comforting images of laughing blue eyes in a china doll face following him into the dream world.
Jubilee put the phone back on the cradle, her blue eyes narrowed with thought. Something was up. Something with Remy. Something...horrible. 'Cuz he wasn't back at the Mansion (it was 1 A.M on the East Coast...), no one wanted to talk about him ("Where's Remy, 'Ro?" "...how are classes going, Jubilee?"), and most importantly...Remy hadn't mentioned Rogue. Once. With all the trouble lately with the 'kiss' and Joseph, Remy couldn't have one conversation without worrying about her. Jubilee, frankly, had gotten just a little tired of it. It was like listening to Paige wail on and on about Jono. Yet, he hadn't brought her up. At all.
Jubilee added up what she knew. Remy wasn't at the Mansion, and the other X-Men didn't seem to want to talk about him. Meaning it was big, as in team encompassing. On Remy's part it somehow involved Rogue. In a bad, bad way. No wonder Wolvie had given her the phone number under the strict instructions that she not give it out to anyone. Hm. All right. It was about time she got some real answers on what was going on down there in Salem. She yawned for a moment, crawling out of the closet and putting the phone back where it belonged. She plotted as she made her way back to her room. Oh, she'd get to the bottom of this. And with the recent news from Logan, she knew just who to crack for information...
Ring. Ring. Click. "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngters. Salem Center." Kitty Pryde said, brushing brown curls from her face. She was slightly out of breath, having forgotten just how big the Mansion was in her absence. She had literally had to run from one end of the house to the other, just to find a phone.
"Pryde! Just the person I wanted to talk to," Jubilee purred softly. She leaned her feet againist the headboard of her bed, preparing herself. Katherine Pryde was an 'old school' X-Man. As long as she had been with the X-Men, she had heard just how 'smart' and how 'wonderful' Kitty Pryde was. Jubilee took it all with a grain of salt and a roll of the eyes. Pryde might have been all that and a bag of chips, but the fact that her own team Excalibur had broken up, and that she couldn't handle her relationship with Pete Wisdom, led Jubilee to stamp one mental word on Kitty's forehead. Wuss.
Kitty raised an eyebrow. Jubilee. Wanted to talk. To her. She felt the word 'Meep' rise in her throat, but she pushed it back down. Whatever Jubilee wanted, it couldn't be that bad. "Hey Jubilee...what can I do for you? " she said, keeping a wary note to her tone.
Jubilee smirked. Oh this was going to be TOO much fun. She let her voice slip into a little girl tone, the 'sympathy squeezer' tone. "I was just wonderin'...if you could pass a message along to Remy for me? I mean...I'd talk to Logan about it...but he's been so busy makin' sure you're okay..."
Kitty winced slightly. She realized that Logan divided his time between his two 'surrogate' daughters, and right now she was taking up the lion's share of that attention. It was a fact that she wasn't really proud of. Guilt laced through her voice as she said, "Well...I'd tell Remy but..."
"Please, Pryde? It's really important. I know he must be busy lately, 'cuz no-one can ever find him...but he's the only one I can really talk to about the whole thing with Bastion." Jubilee squeezed her fingernails into the palm of her hand. It hurt to use the memories of what Bastion did to her like this, but hey, that s.o.b tried to use torture to get information about the X-Men out of her. Might as well return the favor. Sorta.
"The whole thing with Bastion? What whole thing with Bastion?" Kitty frowned. Logan had brought it up once, while they were talking, just how worried he was about Jubilee after that whole experience. He seemed surly that the young girl wouldn't talk to him about it, but Kitty knew Logan well enough to know why Jubilee probably didn't want to tell him. The Mansion's interior structure probably couldn't handle what her imagination was suddenly concoting. The guilt deepened.
"I...I really don't feel like talkin' about it much, Pryde...let's just say...he tried to break me, and it didn't work." Jubilee let that note of hestitation hang in the air, before she took a deep breath, "I just want to talk to Remy. Remy...can help me..."
Kitty dropped her head. She couldn't do this to Jubilee. She deserved to know what happened to Gambit. "Listen...Jubilee....Remy's not here right now. In fact he...well..." she paused for a moment. Then gathering up her courage, she told the entire tale as she had heard it from the others. The Trial. The memories Rogue had gotten from Gambit, of his own part in the Morlock Massacre. The collapse of the base. Rogue saving Gambit from being executed, only to throw him down into the snow, and flying off alone. The X-Men going back, but finding no trace of him. So they had finally left, certain that the Cajun had met his death there in the middle of a snowfield.
There was a long silence on the other end of the phone, as Jubilee wiped tears from her eyes. Remy had...had...but...there was something missing there. Something important. "Did he know? Did Remy know that Sinister was going to..to kill off the Morlocks?" she whispered. Remy couldn't have known. No. She would never believe that of him.
Kitty took a deep breath, then said, "Ororo said that he didn't know what was going to really happen. So did Rogue. Sinister...Sinister lied to him, fooled him into believing that he didn't mean the Morlocks any harm." That was what Rogue had said. Yet she knew that all of the X-Men acted now as if Gambit had gone down there and slaughtered the Morlocks all on his own.
A burning anger started in Jubilee's stomach, and moved through her entire body. He hadn't known. He hadn't known that the Morlocks were going be murdered by the Marauders. He had made a stupid mistake in judgement, and they had left him to DIE. No, not them. Rogue. Rogue had left him, because she couldn't deal with his guilt. Talk about the pot calling the freakin' kettle black! Jubilee was gripping her hand so tightly that her nails were piercing the skin. A thin trickle of blood slipped between her fingers and dripped onto her leg.
Her face was a tight mask of anger, but she just managed to unclench her grip. She let out a shaky breath as she heard Kitty, as if somewhere out in the distance, calling to her, asking if she was okay. 'Of course I'm NOT okay...' she growled softly to herself, but shook her head. Kitty was many things, including a rival, but at least she hadn't had anything to do with Remy being where he was now. She couldn't take her head off for this. Jubilee took another breath, then answered, "I'm fine, Pryde. Now, I'm gonna ask you a favor. As a fellow X-Man, and as a daughter to Logan."
Kitty blinked with surprise, but something in the back of her mind told her it was the least she could do. "Sure, Jubilee...."
"I want you to call me and tell me the second Gambit gets back to the Mansion," came the flat response.
"Jubilee...I don't think he's going to..." Kitty started to say, before Jubilee cut her off.
"He'll come back. And don't ask me how I know, I just do." Jubilee said, trying not to snap.
Kitty nodded her head slowly, almost in silent agreement. Just listening to the way Jubilee put it, she started believing it herself. "All right...you got it. The second he gets back, I'll call you," she stated firmly.
Jubilee licked her lips, nodding her head in satisfaction. She knew she didn't need to invoke a promise from the older woman. Kitty had been raised by Logan. Upholding honor was just part of the credo he had taught them both.
"Thanks Pryde. I owe you. Talk to you soon." Jubilee clicked off the phone before turning on her stomach. She rested her chin on her folded arms. She knew the other woman would probably be wondering why Jubilee wanted to know the moment Gambit came back. It was simple, really.
When he came back, he was going to need a friend. He was going to need someone he trusted around. Well, it looked like she was the only one left who fit the bill.
"Just hold out Remy...and come back in one piece. I'm here for you...," she whispered softly.
"I'm not gonna leave you alone."