A Little Romance

by Katya Jade

Background: In my stories (mostly) Jubilee is an adult who has returned to the X-Mansion from college. She・s in her mid-twenties.

Standard disclaimers apply: Don・t own the X-Men. Ain・t makin・ no money off ・em neither. So there.

Single quotes are thoughts.

Part 1

Jubilee stood in the middle of the kitchen with her hands on her hips, planning her attack. She had become obsessed with cooking shows over the last few months and was finally feeling brave enough to try her hand at one of the concoctions they made on the show.

It wasn・t like she was a bad cook, she just needed some practice. After all, it was about time she stopped relying on her teammates to ensure that she actually ate healthy meals. She was a competent, independent, intelligent woman. She could do this. She had mastered making macaroni and cheese without looking at the instructions on the box a long time ago and that, in itself, was a big accomplishment. Her confidence intact, she felt it was time to tackle a more ambitious project.

She decided that her first effort would be Chile Crusted Chorizo Quiche. Sounded good. Looked good. How much could she screw up eggs in a pie pan?

Jubilee picked up the recipe and began running through her checklist. "Butter. Check. Chilies. Check. Chorizo. Check. Eggs. Check. Cilantro. Check・"

She had everything she needed to create her incredible culinary delight. She dumped the Chorizo into the frying pan and began to brown the meat. She was actually getting the hang of it. Jubilee smiled and congratulated herself on an auspicious beginning.

"Okay, very cool. Meat is browning. Nothing・s burning at this point. We・re on a roll."

Gambit strolled into the kitchen looking for a much-needed snack and a beer, provided Wolverine hadn・t taken them all. He was taken aback at the sight of Jubilee at the stove actually cooking. She never cooked. In fact, in the years since she had been living at the mansion, she always managed to disappear when the meal preparation assignments were distributed.

He headed for the refrigerator and pulled out the last beer. He smiled. ・Wolverine gonna kick my butt for takin・ de last beer. Dat oughta be fun.・

"Chere, what you doin・ in de kitchen dis afternoon? Playin・ Julia Child?"

She had hoped that she would be able to cook without the distraction of her teammates, but in a mansion filled to the brim with mutant upon mutant, she realized that there wasn・t much chance of that.

"Hey, Remy. Yes, I am trying my hand at the culinary arts, so keep your smart-ass remarks to yourself."

He sidled up next to her and bumped her on the shoulder with his fist. "What, you tryin・ ta catch a husband ・r sometin・?"

She shot him a ・drop dead・ look and returned to her pan. "For your information, I don・t need to learn how to cook if I want a husband. I have plenty of other talents."

He looked at her up and down, admiring how she had become such a beautiful and strong woman. "I don・ doubt that, chere." He turned around and jumped up to sit on the counter and glanced at her recipe.

"Ooh, dat sound good, Jubilee. You know how dis Cajun boy like spicy food."

"Well, don・t flatter yourself, Remy, I・m making it because it didn・t look too difficult, not because I thought you・d like it."

Okay, well that wasn・t completely true. She and Gambit had long been friends. But in the years she had been at the mansion since college, Gambit had become more than a friend to her. Since his relationship with Rogue ended, he had been in need of someone to talk to and she had filled that position gladly. At first, she truly felt she was simply helping a friend. Later, as he shared more with her and, eventually, she with him, Jubilee began to realize that her feelings for the handsome Cajun were much stronger that she had ever anticipated. So, when she decided to make this particular dish, she thought it might be a chance to show him that she actually could cook edible food.

Gambit laughed. "I don・ know, chere. Mebbe, deep in your mind, you tink Remy husband material an・ you wanna learn ta cook for him."

Jubilee laughed out loud. She took the pan off the stove and moved to the sink to drain the fat. "Oh, you should be so lucky."

・Yeah, I should be so lucky.・ Gambit thought to himself. She had grown from an obnoxious mall rat into a beautiful, self-possessed, intelligent woman. He never thought that he would be able to move beyond his feelings for Rogue and love another woman, but Jubilee had changed all that. He would never forget the day Rogue left him in the garden after telling him they were over. He felt as if he was sinking into a bottomless pit. He was mired in grief and anger when Jubilee wandered through later that same night and began talking to him. He surprised himself by telling her things of his past that were very painful and difficult for him to share. At first, he was glad to just have a friend. He sometimes felt that the others on the team were wary of him for various reasons. But Jubilee accepted him for who he was and never judged him or his actions.

Over the past few months, they had begun to spend more time together. It was during this time that Gambit realized his feelings for Jubilee encompassed much more than simple friendship. He only hoped that one day, she might feel the same for him.

Jubilee finished draining the fat from the pan and put it back on the burner. Before she could react, grease from the bottom of the pan bubbled and shot up, landing on her hand.

"CRAP!" Jubilee grabbed her hand and turned for the sink.

Remy leapt from the counter and, in one fluid motion, took her by the hand, turned on the cold water and put her hand under the cool flow.

"You okay, chere? It get you anywhere else?" He searched her other hand and arm to make sure she had not been burned.

Jubilee sighed and shook her head. "No, Remy, I・m fine. Just stupid of me not to turn down the burner before I took the pan off. Dang, that smarts."

She kept her hand under the cold water for a few minutes while Remy turned down the stove and covered the frying pan.

"Since you injured now, Remy gonna half to help you wit・ yer cookin・."

She smiled and removed her hand from the water. She took a towel from the counter and gently patted it dry. "Jeez, Remy, it was a little burn, not an incapacitating injury. See?"

He took her hand and examined the burned area no bigger than a nickel. "Mmm. I not so sure. Mebbe you need to see Hank ・bout a skin graft ・r sometin・."

"Funny. Now let go and let me get back to my quiche." Jubilee began to pull away, but Gambit held her hand.

"I help it heal much faster wit・ my tried n・ true home remedy."

She smiled warily, not sure what he was going to do next. "Oh, really? This ought to be good."

"I tink so, chere." He held her eyes and pulled her hand up to his face. Slowly and gently, he placed a kiss on her burnt hand. He held the kiss for a moment and when he finished, placed his other hand over hers and searched her eyes for a reaction.

"Dat betta, Jubilee?"

She was stunned. That wasn・t a friendly little kiss. That was・something.

"Actually, yes. It feels a lot better." She paused and a worried look crossed her face. "But・I think・" She placed a hand on her lips. "Yes・I think a little grease landed on my lip. It hurts a little."

"Oh, well, den, Remy betta fix dat one, too."

Placing his hands on either side of her face, Gambit lowered his lips to hers in a soft, sweet kiss. Her arms came up to circle his neck. A minute later, Gambit and Jubilee slowly ended their embrace and looked into each other・s eyes.

"I think I・m much better now. In fact, I think that kiss may have actually cured a hangnail I・ve had for a week now."

"Tol・ you dat Remy・s special medicine do de trick."

"I・ll say." Jubilee smiled and continued looking into Gambit・s amazing eyes. "So, Cajun, where do we go from here?"

"Chere, you lead, Gambit follow. You ain・ figure dat out by now?"

"Guess I・m a little slow." She motioned with her head to the stove. "Should we finish making this masterpiece? I・m dying to know how it turns out."

"Trust me, chere. It gonna work out fine."


Part 2

Jubilee was gloating. Not just a little self congratulation, but a full-on, smiling like a Cheshire Cat, hands behind the head, gloat. She wasn・t sure about trying her hand at cooking, especially with Gambit watching her the entire time, but it had turned out great. She was a little nervous waiting for Remy to try the first bite, silently praying that he wouldn・t run gagging to the bathroom. But when she saw him smile, she knew she had earned her apron.

They were out on the patio, enjoying the late afternoon sun and savoring the wine Remy had opened for this very special occasion.

"So, do I look like a total idiot, grinning like I just won the lottery, when all I did was cook something?" She shrugged her shoulders. "I mean, millions of people all over the world can cook. It・s really not that significant."

Remy turned toward Jubilee and smiled. God, she was beautiful. He still couldn・t believe she had responded to him in the kitchen by initiating a kiss. That kiss. During the past few months, he had begun to realize his feelings for Jubilee were developing into much more than friendship, but that kiss sealed it. He didn・t want to let her go.

Jubilee studied Gambit for a moment. He didn・t look right. She sat up on the lounge chair and turned toward him quickly. "Remy? You okay? You feel sick? Oh, crap, is the quiche turning on you?!"

He laughed gently and shook his head. "No, chere, don・ worry. De meal was wonderful. Il était magnifique."

She looked into his red on black eyes. He wasn・t just talking about the quiche. At least, she hoped he wasn・t just talking about the quiche.

"I don・t think I would classify it in the magnificent range, but it was pretty good."

She sat back against the chair and sipped her wine. Oh, God, she hoped he wasn・t just flirting with her. But, that kiss・that didn・t feel like just flirting.

She took a deep breath. "Remy. What・s going on, here? I mean, with us?"

"Wit us, chere?"

He didn・t seem to understand her question. She needed to calm down. Her heart was beating fast enough to explode.

"Remy, we・ve been friends for a long time now and you know I care about you. I just want to know if, well, based on the intensity level of that kiss a little while ago, that・um・we might have something else starting here."

Gambit paused and sat up in his chair. "Jubilee・you n・ I have become good friends over de past coupla months..."

Jubilee winced as she anticipated the ・Let・s Just Be Friends・ speech.

"An・ I・m grateful for evert・ing you done fer me. You are a very special woman, chere, n・ more den anyt・ing I wan・ te see you happy. I jes don・ wan・ you te regret gettin・ tangled up wit・ me n・ my shady past. I tol・ you a lot, chere, but dere・s more skeletons in de closet, I sorry te say. Dere are some people dat couldn・t handle hearin・ ・bout dem." He sighed. "An・ I don・ wan・ to lose you, too."

She smiled as she turned sideways on her lounge chair. He was sitting with his head down, looking like he had that night she found him in the gardens after Rogue left him.

"Remy, I know you don・t exactly have a fairy tale past. Hearing what you・ve told me over the last few months has been a little difficult. But・and I want you to really hear me on this, Remy・it hasn・t been difficult because I・m judging you on what you may have done. It・s been tough because I know you must be going through hell trying to live down everything that・s happened to you and the ones you love."

He looked up at her expectantly.

"I・m not Rogue, Remy. I don・t judge people for things they・ve done in their past. Look at my best friend, for pity・s sake. Wolvie hasn・t exactly been a saint, but I know where his heart is now and that・s what・s important."

She moved toward him until they were knee to knee sitting on the side of their chairs. She took his large hands in hers and looked into his eyes.

"I want to be with you, LeBeau. There・s no need to rush anything, but I just want to know how you feel about me. I don・t like playing games."

That was it. She was amazing. He smiled at her and shook his head. "Jubilation, you are de last one I play games wit・." He looked her in the eyes and winked. "Unless, of course, you wan・ Remy too."

She laughed and rolled her eyes. "God, LeBeau, you are such a flirt."

"Oui. You t・ink you kin handle it?"

"I can handle a lot more than that, ya big galoot."

He stroked the side of her face and smiled as she returned his gaze. Moving close to Jubilee, Remy kissed her again. He reminded himself that he・d have to do this more often.


From inside the mansion, Rogue watched as Remy and Jubilee kissed. She had been about to go onto the patio do to some reading when she noticed them. Together. She was shocked and generally pissed off that Jubilee would dare move in on Gambit. Her fists clenched and unclenched as she tried to think of what to do. She wanted to fly through the sliding glass doors, grab Jubilee and drop her from a thousand feet in the sky. She had to remain calm.

・Breathe・, Rogue spoke to herself, ・jes breathe.・

"Heya, Rogue. Whatcha doin・?"

Wolverine noticed Rogue standing in front of the patio doors as he strolled through the kitchen to get a beer. A nice, cold beer after a workout was his daily routine. Opening the refrigerator, he searched high and low for a cold, frosty one.

He muttered under his breath when his search came up empty. "Gumbo, ya son of a・had ta take the last beer, huh?" He smirked as he imagined what he would do to Gambit later. "Yer ass is mine, bub."

He grabbed a soda instead and walked over to where Rogue stood. "What・s yer problem, Rogue? Why ・r ya just standin・.." Then he noticed it. Noticed them. They. Were. Kissing.

"What the hell does he think he・s doin・?"

"Sugah, the betta question is what the hell does she think she・s doin・?"

"You better not be thinkin・ that my Jubilee started that."

"Logan, your Jubilee is kissin・ mah Remy!"

Wolverine paused and looked at Rogue to see if she was serious. He cocked his head and scratched his chin. "Uh, correct me if I・m wrong here. Ain・t you the one who dumped Gumbo a coupla months ago? Seems ta me that he・s got every right ta look fer someone else. ・Course, I don・t think he understands that Jubilee・s off limits."

He・d make the Cajun understand all right. Understand enough that he・d need stitches. Lotsa stitches.

"You don・t understand, Logan. You just don・t under・." Rogue stood for a moment staring outside at Gambit and Jubilee. As she watched the two of them holding each other・s hands, she began to cry. Turning suddenly, she bolted for the stairs and the safety of her room.

Wolverine watched as Rogue disappeared into the hallway. Taking a swig of his soda, he returned his attention to the scene outside. He was gonna have a little talk with the Cajun later, he・d make sure of that.

Part 3

The morning after he saw Jubilee and Gambit on the patio, a concerned Wolverine began knocking at Jubilee・s bedroom door. He hadn・t slept all night thinking about what he had witnessed. Watching LeBeau touch her, he・d wanted to tear the Cajun・s heart out through his nose. There was no way he would allow Gambit to become involved with the girl・woman he considered his daughter. He knew about Gambit・s past and, while Wolverine・s own personal history wasn・t exactly a child・s bedtime story, he didn・t want Jubilee hurt by the things she would find out. Logan・s instinct to protect the ones he loved was working overtime.

He continued knocking until he heard Jubilee yell.

"I・m coming already! Keep your shorts on!"

As he waited for her to open the door, Logan smiled to himself at the memory of having to drag Jubilee out of bed almost every morning to get her downstairs. Now, of course, she was up at 6:00am every morning to work out before the rest of the team. All grown up now. It was moments like these that he wished she was still a young girl. It was easier to handle teen angst than having to deal with a full grown woman. A woman, he reminded himself, who took after Logan in the stubbornness and attitude department. He snorted. She may be an adult, but he sure as hell wasn・t going to let her carry on with Remy LeBeau. She deserved better and he would make sure she knew it.

A minute later, Jubilee opened the door to find her best friend staring back at her - arms crossed and looking very cranky.

"Wolvie, it・s 6:00am. Don・t you think you should wait until at least 10:00 to put on the attitude?"

He walked past her without saying a word. Gathering his thoughts, he turned around and put one hand on his hip and pointed the other at her like an accusatory schoolmaster.

"Jubes. I saw you n・ Gumbo out on the patio yesterday. He was practically maulin・ ya."

She gave him a lopsided smile and blushed slightly. She closed the door behind her and crossed to her bed to start putting on her socks and athletic shoes.

"Oh. We didn・t know anyone saw that. We・re trying to take things slow and didn・t want to make a big deal out of it. I was going to tell you. Don・t be so upset, Wolvie, you・re the first to know."

He thought to himself, ・Wrong, darlin・, I・m the second, but that・s a whole ・nother issue.・

He sat next to her. "Jubes, I ain・t mad that ya didn・t tell me. I・m mad ・cause ya don・t know what yer getting・ in to with Gambit. I don・t want ya・uh・involved with him. He ain・t right fer ya. He ain・t good enough." He crossed his arms.

"I won・t allow it."

She stopped midway through lacing her left shoe and turned her head slowly to look at Logan. Her eyebrows raised as she replied, not quite believing what she had just heard.

"You what?"

"Ya heard me, Jubes. I don・t want ya seein・ him anymore. Bein・ friends with Gambit is one thing, but bein・ his・girlfriend." He shook his head. "Well, I ain・t havin・ it."

She took a deep breath and sat upright. Her voice was low and calm. "Logan, let me set you straight on a couple of things. First, I love you. You are, and will always be, my best friend and one of the most important people in my life. I・ve always looked up to you and always will."

Jubilee turned sideways on the edge of the bed to face Wolverine. "Second, I am an adult and fully capable of making my own decisions. I know you think of me as a daughter, but, as every father knows, at some point you have to let go and let me live my own life. That includes making my own mistakes."

She turned back to finish lacing up her shoes. "And third, you・re acting like a overprotective jackass."

"I am not actin・ like a jackass! I know the Cajun and he・s not good enough for ya! You・ll only get hurt!"

She stood up, walked into her bathroom and took a towel from the rack. "Logan, I know this is strange for you. You・ve never seen me in any kind of adult relationship. You・ve gotten used to the fact that I don・t really have a social life because of my commitments here. So, I can imagine that it・s gotta be weird for you. But I・m putting my foot down on this one, Wolvie. Gambit and I have decided that we want to pursue a relationship. We・re not getting married or anything, for pete・s sake, we just want to see where it goes. And if it doesn・t work out, that・s fine."
He would try the calm, fatherly approach. "Jubilee・Darlin・. I know that yer a big girl an・ ya can make yer own decisions. But I・ve known Gambit a long time and know a lot about him. He・s got a lot of stuff in his past that ya might not be prepared for. I don・t want ya ta fool yerself here."
"Wolvie, I・m not fooling myself. You・d be surprised at how much I・ve found out about Remy over the past few months. I know a lot more about his past that you think and it doesn・t bother me to know about it. I know that you just want me to be safe and happy and I love you for that. But I won・t stop seeing Remy and you・re going to have to accept that sooner or later. It・d be much easier if it was sooner, Wolvie."

She stood and looked at Wolverine, waiting for his reply. He sat there for what seemed to be an eternity, staring at the wall. She may not have been his biological daughter, but she did take after him. This was one he realized he wasn・t going to win. And if he tried, he might lose one of the few people he loved most in the world.

He crossed his arms again and looked at Jubilee in the eyes. "If he hurts you・"
She smiled. "He won’t, Wolvie. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I’ll be fine." She crossed over to him and leaned down to put her arms around his neck. She placed a soft kiss on his cheek.
"Don・t worry, Wolvie, you・ll always be my guy."
He smiled and hugged her back. "An you・ll always be my gal."


An hour later, Jubilee was finishing up her workout when Rogue walked in to the exercise room. Not having slept all night meant that she was at least ten degrees higher on the pissed off scale than Wolverine was when he knocked on Jubilee・s door earlier that morning. Rogue approached the weight area and stood, watching Jubilee finish her last set of repetitions on the shoulder press machine.

Jubilee stood up and took her towel to dry off. She smiled and approached her teammate.

"Hey, Rogue. You・re up early this morning. Looks like it・s going to be a great day. Want to get some coffee?"

It took every ounce of strength Rogue had not to attack Jubilee where she stood. The picture of her and Remy together still flashed through her mind. She wanted to rage out against the woman who was trying to steal the man she still loved and ached for. Rogue had long been doubting her decision to leave Remy all those months ago. At the time, she was overwhelmed with the memories she absorbed from Remy when she kissed him at the trial. She wasn・t able to let go of those images and couldn・t forgive him for what he had done. But she had begun to realize that his past was exactly that; the past. If the rest of the team could forgive him, then maybe she could too.

But now the stakes had been raised. Her neglect of Remy had led to him seeking refuge in someone else. Jubilee was her teammate and her friend, but she couldn・t allow Remy to be taken from her.

Jubilee was concerned. Rogue was normally a pretty happy person, even when she was troubled by something. But this morning, she didn・t look herself. Moving closer, Jubilee put out her hand to touch her arm.

"Rogue. What・s wrong? You don・t look so good. Should I get Hank?"

Stepping back, Rogue held up her hand towards Jubilee. "Jubilee, ah like ya. We・ve been through a lot togetha. But, ya gotta understand that Remy・s off limits, ya hear? Ah don・t know what yer thinkin・, but he n・ ah still got somethin・ an・ ah cain・t let ya mess that up."

For the second time that morning, Jubilee was taken aback.

"Rogue, if I・m not mistaken, you were the one that dumped Remy quite a while ago. It・s taken him a long time to get over that・"

Her hands on her hips, Rogue leaned toward Jubilee. "Didn・t take ya long ta worm yer way in between us, though, huh?"

Jubilee told herself to calm down. "Rogue, I・m really not going to get into this with you. I don・t know how you found out about Remy and me・"

"There is no Remy an・ you, Jubilee. Ah know he still loves me, he・s always gonna love me. He・s jes confused right now an・ ah・m gonna make sure ah set it right."

Either Rogue was seriously deluded, or seriously right. Were Remy・s feeling for her sincere or was he still pining for Rogue? No. She knew his feelings for her weren・t just confusion. He may have been hurt and still longing for Rogue in the beginning, but she knew he was very much over her. It was apparent, though, that Rogue was not over him.

Jubilee slung her towel around her neck. "Rogue, I don・t think you・re in the best mood to talk about this. It doesn・t sound like I・m the one you should be talking to anyway. If you want Remy back, go tell him. I・m not going to get into a catfight to win him like he・s a trophy. If he still loves you, then bless you both."

Jubilee moved two steps closer to Rogue and looked her in the eyes. "But if he tells you it・s over, then back off and let him live his life. I don・t want us to become enemies over this, Rogue, but I won・t let you bully me."

Rogue watched, hands on her hips, as Jubilee turned on her heel and headed out the door.

"Oh, sugah, bullyin・ is the last thing y・all gotta worry about."


Gambit was in an especially good mood when he woke up and he knew exactly who to thank for that. He planned on making some coffee and fresh pancakes before Jubilee came downstairs for breakfast. Sauntering into the kitchen, he noticed Logan sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper. He and Jubilee had agreed to take things slowly. He wasn・t sure if telling Logan they were involved was the best idea. Calm reactions were not a Wolverine trademark.

"Mornin・, Logan."

"Mornin・, Gumbo."

Wolverine was less angry now, but he still wanted to beat Gambit to a pulp. How dare he put the moves on his little girl. Gambit was a notorious flirt and had more girlfriends than he could count. Why did he have to pick Jubilee? He paused for a moment. Well, he knew why. She was intelligent, beautiful, funny and loving. Any man would be lucky to win her affections. Logan decided that since she was intent on pursuing this thing with Gambit, he would make sure the swamprat knew the score.

Wolverine put his paper down and looked up at Gambit. "So, Gumbo, you n・ Jubilee are an item now, huh?"

Remy froze just as he began to pour himself a cup of coffee. This may not be good. Nope. May not be good at all.

"What make you say dat, mon ami?"

"Don・t play coy with me, Cajun. I saw you n・ her on the patio yesterday and I talked with her this mornin・. She told me that you two got a relationship."

He needed to remain calm. If Wolverine intended to kill him for this, the Canadian would have already pinned him to the ground in an attempt at slicing his heart out.

Remy finished pouring his coffee and leaned against the counter. Better to keep some distance between the two of them just in case.

"Well, Logan, it true. I care a lot ・bout Jubilee. She been a good frien・ to me over de years an・ I realize dat she sometin・ special."

"I hope ya also realize that if ya hurt her in any way, I・m gonna gut you fer dinner."

"Remy don・ have any intention on hurtin・ de petite." He paused and smiled. "Te be honest, I t・ink it me dat at risk of gettin・ hurt. She quite a woman, Logan. It would take a lot te get me te give her up."

Remy smiled softly as he thought to himself how stupid he had been to overlook what an incredible woman Jubilee was. Jubilee had been in front of him the whole time and he had been too depressed over Rogue・s rejection to realize that she was perfect for him. Rogue had been a great love of his life and he would always cherish the time they had spent together. But Jubilee wasn・t afraid to get close to him emotionally. Rogue always kept herself at a distance and it had been a source of friction between them for a long time. And when she had told him she couldn・t forgive him for the sins of his past, he knew in his heart that they were never meant to be together.

But Jubilee・She was different. She was fearless. He admired that about her. He could tell her anything and not worry that she would look at him with disappointment in her eyes. He respected the hell out her. And, as an added bonus, she had great legs.

Logan・s eyes squinted as he surveyed Remy for any sign of insincerity. His senses told him that the minute Remy began speaking of Jubilee, his heartbeat sped up. He also got that look in his eyes. Damn. The Cajun was hit alright. He hadn・t seen him this happy in a long time. Wolverine put his coffee on the table and stood up.

Remy instinctively tensed as he anticipated Wolverine・s very unpleasant reaction. In a few, slow steps, Logan was standing directly in front of the Cajun.

"If you n・ her are that set on startin・ somethin・, then I guess I・ll have ta give ya my blessin・." He extended his right hand. "Congratulations, Gumbo. Ya got yerself one helluva woman."

Remy smiled as he put his coffee on the counter and extended his hand to shake Wolverine・s. "You don・ have te worry, mon ami. I take good care of her."

Wolverine smirked as he turned back to his coffee. "Bet on it, bub."

Part 4

Remy was humming to himself as he finished making the first batch of his famous strawberry pancakes. Well, famous in the X-Men household at least. Bobby always raved about them and Beast begged Gambit to make them at least twice a month. With the last pancake on the plate, he garnished his masterpiece with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and fresh strawberries.

"Mmmm. I t・ink de petite neva gonna leave Remy afta she taste de best crepes in de world."

Gambit stood, holding the plate of warm pancakes like it was a trophy and turned around to display his masterpiece to Wolverine.

Wolverine looked up from his paper; none too impressed.

"Cripes, Gumbo, anyone can make pancakes, fer cryin・ out loud. I seriously doubt Jubes is gonna leap fer joy at a bunch a Bisquick flapjacks."

Gambit was genuinely appalled. Never in his life had he used packaged mixes to cook. To do so would be an affront to the culinary arts and, quite frankly, hurt his reputation with the ladies. He discovered early on that women found something very sexy about men who knew their way around a kitchen. Besides, he looked darn good in an apron.

"Logan, I will ignore dat grievous insult due te de fact dat you have no idea how a proper meal is prepared." He huffed. "Mon Dieu! You t・ink Harry・s Bar is a fine dining establishment!"

He paused again and held up the plate as if it was a priceless statue. "Dis is a creation, mon ami. A work of art. Jubilee appreciates dat."

Remy strolled up to Wolverine, stopped and smirked. "Sides, you don・ know what I put in ・em te make ・em special."

Wolverine slapped his paper on the table, raised his fist and popped his claws. "Now, just what did ya put in them flapjacks, Gumbo? Better not be nuthin・ illegal."

"I jokin・, Logan. All de ingredients pure n・ natural." He smirked and cocked his head. "Jes like Remy."

Wolverine shook his head and retracted his claws. "Gumbo, I hate ta be the one ta break it to ya, but yer not funny."

"Jes yer opinion, mon ami. Moi, I t・ink I a bundle o・ laughs."

Wolverine snorted. "Yeah, in more ways than one, swamprat."

As Remy was arranging a tray to take up to Jubilee・s room, Rogue quietly entered the kitchen. She watched as Remy carefully arranged the plates, silverware and a champagne glass on the tray. Her heart pounded in her chest as she thought about the fact that he was planning on taking his wonderful food up to her.

Rogue smiled to herself. ・By the time ah・m through with ya, sugah, you gonna be eatin・ that meal in mah bed.・

Wolverine sensed Rogue as she came into the room. He stole a glance in her direction. Oh, boy. ・I hope yer prepared for this one, Cajun. I was a pussycat compared to what she・s gonna do to ya.・

"Uh, Gumbo. I think ya got a visitor." Logan folded his paper, took his coffee and turned to Gambit and whispered. "Good luck, bub. Yer gonna need it."

He sidled his way out to the patio to finish his morning coffee and maybe listen in on the festivities. It was already shaping up to be a very memorable day.

Gambit looked up and saw Rogue standing just inside the doorway. "Bonjour, chere. A lil・ early for you, no?"

Rogue slowly approached the handsome Cajun. She had forgotten just how beautiful he was. God, how she missed him.

"Ah didn・t sleep that well last night. Was thinkin・ ・bout some things." She reached the table where Remy was putting the finishing touches on Jubilee・s breakfast tray.

"What troublin・ you, Rogue?"

It was difficult for him to be sociable with her. A few months ago he would have killed for a kind word ・any word ・from Rogue. But she had made the decision to punish him for what she had seen when she absorbed his memories. She had all but told him he was no better than a monster. He had tried to make her understand that all the crimes he・d committed and the horrible things he・d done were in the past.

No matter how much he wished he could take them back or how often he castigated himself, he couldn・t change what he had done. It had taken years, but he had finally come to terms with it. Her rejection was one of the most painful things he had ever endured.

She was playing with the buttons on her blouse as she always did when she was nervous. "Remy, ah・" She paused and brought her head up to meet Gambit・s eyes. Oh, those eyes. They could always make her forget her problems. How she wanted those radiant eyes to look at her with love again.

"Ah think we made a mistake. No, ah think ah made a mistake. Ah reacted badly when ah saw all those things y・oud done. Ah treated ya like mah family treated me when they found out ah was a mutant. Ah was wrong, Remy. Ah・m askin・ fer yer forgiveness."

He stood there, looking into the face of the woman who had once filled him with so much love.

"What makin・ ya say dis now, chere? What change yer mind?"

Rogue moved around the table, closer to where Gambit stood. Her arms were behind her back now, making her look like a lost little girl. It reminded Remy of how scared and alone she・d looked when she・d admitted her feelings for him. It all seemed so long ago.

She was directly in front of him now. Rogue brought her hands around and began fiddling with her shirt buttons again.

"Ah・ve been stubborn, Remy. Stubborn n・ prideful. Ah didn・t know how ta deal with all the things ah saw in mah head. Ah was so confused." She was within a few inches from him now. She could smell him. That clean scent of soap, shampoo and the special French cologne he used. She missed that smell.

Rogue moved her arms away from the front of her blouse and ran them up Remy・s chest. She draped them around his shoulders and looked into his eyes.

"But ah・m not confused no more, sugah."


Jubilee had stopped just outside the kitchen when she heard Rogue and Remy・s voices. She couldn・t quite make out what they were saying, but it sounded serious. She peeked around the corner when she heard a pause in the conversation and saw Rogue with her arms around Remy・s neck.

Her heart pounded and she froze where she stood. The possibilities flew through her mind.

・Oh, God. Please, not this.・


"Rogue. Chere. What you doin・?"

"Ah tol・ you, Remy. Ah realized that we・re meant ta be together. You n・ ah have somethin・ special, darlin・. We・ve been through a lot togetha and we belong with one anotha." She smiled that soft, beguiling smile only Rogue could master.

He looked into her eyes. She was so beautiful. Capable of so much love. He remembered the times they had spent together. So many wonderful memories. They had been through hell and back for each other and, at one time, he・d truly felt as if she would be the only woman he・d ever love.

He took his hands and placed them around her waist.



She saw Remy take Rogue into his arms. Jubilee pulled back from the doorway and turned around to press her back against the corridor wall. Her eyes slowly filled with hot, stinging tears.

She closed her eyes and began to weep softly.

"Why, Remy? Why weren・t you honest with me? With yourself? I just wanted to love you."

Jubilee・s tears came harder and she began to walk quickly toward the front door. "Be happy, Remy."


Gambit looked into the eyes of the woman who was once one of the great passions of his life and realized that the love he had once felt for her was gone. He would always cherish the memories of her, but their time had passed.

Rogue looked into Remy・s eyes expectantly. He would see how much they belonged together. When she got him back, she would never let him go again.

"Chere. I sorry. I can・ return your feelin・s fer me. What we had was wonderful, Rogue. It was hard at times, oui, but it very special."

He gently took her gloved hands from his neck and held them in his.

"Rogue, you will always have a place in dis Cajun boy・s heart, but what we had is over."

Rogue shook her head and smiled softly. "No, Remy. You・re just hurt because of what ah said to ya all those months ago. Ah was upset n・ angry. Ah realize that now. Think about it a minute an・ you・ll see. You gotta understand that we・re good togetha, darlin・."

Even though she had wounded him deeply, Gambit couldn・t bear seeing Rogue in pain. "Rogue, I so sorry dis hurt you. I neva mean to cause you any grief, but I moved on, chere. Dere・s someone else in my life now. Someone I care ・bout very much."

Rogue backed away from Gambit, her pain and anger evident in her face. "Why, Remy? Why are ya doin・ this do me? Ta punish me fer what ah said?"

He wanted to make her understand. Help ease her pain. "No, chere. When you left Remy, I t・ink I gonna die. I neva hurt so bad in my life. But I know dat you have a tough time wit・ de t・ings I done in de past. I forgave ya, Rogue. Long time ago. But, you didn・ trust me. Couldn・ forgive me. At one time, I wan・ you back more den any・ting. But, I don・ love you no more, chere. Not like in de past. You n・ me jes・not meant te be."

"No, Remy. Ya love me. Ah love you. We・re a team. We gotta be togetha."

"Rogue. Stop. I still care for you, but it over."

She stood there for what seemed like an eternity. Wishing that he・d smile that devilish smile and take her in his arms. But he wasn・t moving. And he had that look in his eyes. That look where you try to console someone who・s gone over the edge. His face was filled with pity and sadness.

He was telling the truth. He really didn・t want her. Rogue stumbled backwards and struck a dining chair. She staggered to regain her balance.

"Oh, God. Ah・m so stupid."

Gambit moved forward. He wanted to console her. "No, chere. No. Don・ say dat."

She held her hand up. "Stop, Remy. Jes stop. Ah・.Ah neva shoulda come to ya. Ah・m sorry."

"Rogue, ya got nuthin・ te be sorry ・bout. I still care ・bout ya, chere. Ya still my frien・."

She looked up at him and snorted a bitter laugh. "Yeah. Yer friend. Neva thought ya・d give me that speech." She straightened herself up and looked Gambit in the eyes.

"Ah did・Ah do love ya, Remy. Ah ain・t gonna lie ・bout the fact that ah think ya・d be betta off with me. But ah sure as hell ain・t gonna beg. Ah got more pride than that. Ah hope yer gonna be happy, Remy. You deserve it. Ah・m jes sorry that mah stubbornness finally cost me the most important thing in mah life."

Rogue turned around to leave the kitchen, arms crossed in front of her.

"Chere, I・"

She stopped, keeping her back to the man she had so wished could love her again.

"Don・t, Remy. Y・all are gonna be fine. Don・ worry ・bout lil・ ol・ Rogue."

As she left Gambit alone, he eased himself down to sit in one of the kitchen chairs. He shook his head in disbelief at the events that had transpired over the last twenty-four hours. Any doubt he・d had about his feelings for Rogue had been eliminated the minute she'd put her arms around his neck. In that instant, all he could think about was that, more than anything, he wished it was Jubilee, and not Rogue, who was standing there, holding him close to her.

He stood up, gathered the tray of food he・d prepared and set off for Jubilee・s room. At this moment, he wanted nothing more in the world than to see Jubilee・s face. And tell her he loved her.

Part 5

Jubilee sat outside the mansion in her favorite spot among the lush trees. She often came here to think or be alone when the world felt as if it was crashing down around her. And what she saw this morning certainly qualified under that category.

She didn・t want to believe it when she saw Gambit put his arms around Rogue. But the look in his eyes and the tone of his voice told her all she needed to know. He was still in love with Rogue. She wanted to be angry with him. Maybe it would make her feel better to find Gambit and beat on him until she couldn・t feel anything anymore. But she wasn・t angry. Hurt, yes, but she couldn・t hate him for listening to his heart. She just wished that his heart had led him back to her.

Jubilee lay back on the grass, watching the trees sway in the gentle breeze. Maybe she just wasn・t meant to find love. She was always working, anyway. She didn・t have time for a serious relationship. It was just as well that Gambit was out of her life. She would be fine. Just fine.

Jubilee rolled on her stomach and buried her face in her arms. She could lie to herself all she wanted but she wouldn・t be fine. Not yet, anyway. It would take a long time to get over someone like Remy LeBeau. Someone she had grown to love more than anyone in her life.

・If Rogue is who you want, then be happy. That・s all I want for you, Remy. You deserve it.・

As she thought of Gambit, the tears came harder and the loneliness she felt overwhelmed her.


Gambit knocked on Jubilee・s door. He was trying to be quiet, but he was too excited. He couldn・t wait to see her face and tell her how he felt. How he felt? He felt like an idiot. His heart was racing, palms sweating, mouth dry and he had this stupid grin on his face. Frankly, he looked psychotic. Somewhere between Hannibal Lechter and Howdy Doody. Lovely. When Jubilee answered the door, she・d probably slam it back in his face from fright.

・Calm down, Cajun. You n・ de petite got all de time in de world. No need to rush now.・

He took several deep breaths and continued knocking. Why wasn・t she answering Was she still asleep? No, Jubilee always got up early. She was religious about it. She must be in the shower. He listened closely, but heard nothing coming from her room. Just silence.

As Gambit ran through the possibilities in his head, Hank McCoy emerged from his room and surveyed the scene in front of him. Gambit with a tray of food. No, not just food ・pancakes and champagne. Gambit・s special strawberry pancakes and champagne. On a tray which also held a single red rose. Outside Jubilee・s door. You didn・t need special powers to figure out that something was up.

"Bonjour, monsieur LeBeau. What brings you to our side of the mansion this morning?"

Gambit turned around to see Beast smiling that inquisitive, questioning smile he got when trying obtain information while thinking he was acting subtly. Remy didn・t have the heart to tell the good doctor that everyone in the house was already on to him.

"Bonjour, mon ami. I jes lookin・ for Jubilee." He looked at the tray and realized that if Jubilee and he were going to keep their relationship low-key, standing outside her door holding a tray with a rose, champagne and a home cooked meal weren・t going to do it.

"I sure dis look kinda strange, no?"

Beast smiled and approached his friend. "Gambit, whatever your relationship with Ms. Lee, I am the last person to pass judgement. However, let it be known that Jubilation is very dear to me and to see her upset or hurt in any way would cause me great distress. Distress that might exhibit itself physically, if you get my meaning."

Great. He didn・t know Jubilee had so many concerned ・fathers・ in the mansion. Talk about pressure. He couldn・t imagine what her first boyfriends went through.

"I git yer meanin・ loud n・ clear, Dr. McCoy. You don・ have te worry. I care ・bout Jubilee very much. So much, in fact, I tryin・ to find her and present her wit・ dis incredible breakfast."

Hank suddenly realized he was very hungry. "Well, far be it for me to deprive the young lady of such an exceptional feast. But, I would have thought you・d seen her by now. I was on my way up from the lab to change just a little while ago when I saw Jubilation exiting her room. She said she was on her way down to the kitchen to prepare you a special treat."

Gambit was confused. Jubilee hadn・t come down to the kitchen. He hadn・t seen her all morning.

"When you say you see Jubilee?"

"Oh, about 20 minutes ago. We chatted for few moments and she seemed quite on ・Cloud Nine・ as they say." He winked and smiled. "Now I can see why."

"Twenty minute ago? Dat strange. She neva come te de・." And suddenly it struck him. Oh, God. Rogue. She had come into the kitchen a few minutes before Jubilee left her room, if Hank was right. What if she・d seen him and Rogue together? Rogue had her arms around his neck. If Jubilee had seen・

Gambit shook his head. "Oh, no. Oh, NO."

"Remy? What・s wrong, my friend?"

"Hank. I gotta find Jubilee." He thrust the tray at his blue friend. "Here. Enjoy."

Hank was confused and delighted at the same time. He took the tray happily. "Anything I can do to help, my friend?"

Gambit didn・t hear him. He was too busy leaping down the stairs and hoping to God that Jubilee hadn・t seen him and Rogue together and drawn the wrong assumption.

With Gambit・s silence, Hank turned to return to the solitude of his room to enjoy the culinary delights in front of him.

"Far be it for me to look a gift horse・or gift Cajun in this case・in the mouth."


At the same time Remy was heading up to Jubilee・s room, Rogue wandered on to the patio in a daze. She had no one to blame but herself for losing Remy. She had been selfish and full of anger when she left him in the gardens. She knew in her heart that his past was ancient history and he was a different person from the thief he used to be. But when she had kissed him at the trial, seeing those scenes just brought back the memories of her own mistakes. All those things she had done that she wished she could take back. She didn・t know how to deal with it and, so, it had been easier to heap the blame on Remy.

But she was wrong. Oh, how she was wrong. Now, it was too late. She may have been able to fix it months ago, but not now. He had found someone else to love, and who could love him back the way he needed. It hurt, but she understood it. She couldn・t blame him. She just wished she hadn・t deluded herself into thinking that he・d never get over her.

He had though, and he was happy. Happy without her. Rogue crumpled into one of the chairs and began to cry. Hard. She cried for the loss of Remy and she cried for the pain of her own past. She had to forgive herself and move on or she would never be able to let anyone in again.

"Rogue? Ya okay, darlin・?"

Wolverine approached her carefully. He hadn・t listened in on Remy and Rogue・s conversation, but he knew that Rogue didn・t react like he・d expected her to. Logan had waited for the sounds of breaking glass and furniture, but there hadn・t been any of that. And now, seeing her like this, he realized that she was much more hurt than angry. He was surprised.

She sniffed and looked up at her teammate. Her friend. "Yeah, sugah. Ah・m okay. Jes feelin・ a little sad today."

He sat next to her on the lounge chair. "I・m sorry, darlin・. I know it・s not how ya would have liked it ta turn out."

She smiled a weak but genuine smile. "Nope, it sure ain・t." She paused.

"Ah loved him, Logan. But ah blew it. Ah thought that he・d wait fer me til ah got my stuff togetha. It wasn・t right fer me ta think that, and he did what anyone would do. He moved on. Ah don・t blame him, but, dang, it hurts."

He held out his arms and Rogue gladly fell into them and resumed crying. "I know, Rogue. It does hurt. An・ I won・t say you・ll get over it, cause ya never truly do. They・ll always be a part of ya that loves Gambit. An・ they・ll always be a part o・ Gambit that loves ya too. Yer both jus・ in different places now, ya know?"

Rogue slowly stopped crying and released herself from his arms. She laughed softly. "Fer a canucklehead, ya sure do philosophize real good."

"Yeah. It・s one o・ my secret talents." He smiled and brushed her hair away from her face. Man, she was a strikingly beautiful woman.

"Ya wanna get somethin・ ta eat?"

"Ah・d love to, sugah." They both got up from the lounge chair and began walking toward the sliding doors. She stopped and put her strong, gloved hand on Wolverine・s shoulder.

"Logan. Thanks."

"Fer what, darlin・?"

"Jes fer bein・ you, sugah."

He smiled and took her by the hand. "Well, then. Yer welcome."


Gambit made it down to the stairway landing when he bumped into Storm. Literally.

She staggered sideways and caught her balance. Gambit wasn・t so lucky, he fell backwards, landing on the last stair.

"By the goddess, Remy! Watch where you・re going!"

"Oh, Stormy. I sorry." He began to dart off towards the lower level stairway when Ororo stopped him.

"Remy, what is wrong? Why are you in such a rush?"

"Stormy, I don・ got time te explain. I jes gotta find Jubilee." He waved her off began to head toward the stairs once more.

Storm put her hands on her hips and smiled. "Well, why didn・t you simply ask? She・s outside. I saw her a few minutes ago and she said she was going for a walk. I asked if I could join her but she seemed to want to be alone."

She looked at Gambit suspiciously. "It seems by your impatience that you might know why she wanted to walk by herself." She stepped closer to him. "What might you have done, this time, LeBeau? And, so help me, if you・ve hurt that child, I・ll send down a lightning storm on your head so intense you・ll be grateful for a simple headache again."

He rushed to Storm・s side and gave her a kiss on her cheek. "T・anks, Stormy. I gotta find her. Remy tell you all ・bout it lata." And, with that, Gambit ran out the front door, knowing exactly where Jubilee would be.

Ororo watched the Cajun as he ran out the door. She smirked. "And don・t call me Stormy."


Remy approached the small clearing quietly. She came here when she wanted to be alone. It was a special place to her. One in which they had talked often. He realized that it was a special place for him, too. It was their place now.

He didn・t want her to run off, or worse, launch a full out attack on him. He rounded one of the larger trees and saw her lying on the ground. She was on her side, one hand under her head, fast asleep.

As he softly moved towards her his heart fell into his stomach when he looked at her beautiful face. From the tear stains on her cheeks, it was evident that she had been crying. It hurt him more than he ever could have imagined knowing that she was in pain. He never wanted to see her hurt again.

As he sat beside her, he gave a silent word of thanks that they had been brought together. That they had been given the opportunity to get to know one another more and more over the last few months. He never knew what an incredible person Jubilation Lee was until he was in the midst of his own pain and torment. She had been able to pull him out of his grief and guilt the way no one else ever could. He could honestly say that she was his best friend and even more than that, his soul mate.

Despite all the hours they had spent talking, laughing and crying, he hadn・t truly realized until this morning・s interchange with Rogue that he loved Jubilee more than anything in the world. He never wanted to be without her again.

Remy gently caressed her face and Jubilee awoke suddenly at his touch. Her eyes flew open and rested on the face of the man whom she had grown to love.

She sat up and shifted backward. "Remy. What are you doing here? I thought you were・"

"Shhh, petite. Remy know what you saw." He smiled softly and took her hand in his.

She looked away from him and lowered her head. "You don・t have to humor me, Gambit. I know you and Rogue are back together now. Don・t worry. I won・t stand in your way."

"You don・ have te stand in de way of nuthin・, petite. Seein・ as how Rogue n・ I are jes friends. What you saw in de kitchen was me tellin・ Rogue dat I care ・bout her very much. Always will. But, my heart somewhere else, now."

Jubilee was a little more than confused. "But, I saw you and Rogue. The way you were looking at her. And you had your arms around each other."

"Chere, you must not have stayed very long. Right after dat, I tell Rogue dat dere another woman in my life." Remy took her face in his hands.

"You hearin・ Remy, petite? Rogue n・ I don・ have anyt・ing but friendship now." He paused and smiled that dazzlingly charming Cajun smile. "You de only woman in Remy・s life now, chere. Jes you."

She looked into Remy LeBeau・s eyes. He may be a flirt and enjoy a good teasing session, but there was one thing she knew. Remy LeBeau didn・t lie. At least, not to her.

She flung herself into his arms and began to cry. "Shhh, petite. Gambit not gonna leave you again. I love you, chere."

Jubilee stopped crying and slowly pulled herself away from Gambit・s arms. A soft smile formed on her lips.

"Did I just hear you, right, Remy?"

Gambit stroked Jubilee・s delicate face. "Oui, Jubilee. You heard Remy, right. I love you. Je vous aime."

Jubilee took Gambit・s hand in hers and kissed his palm. "I love you, too, Remy LeBeau. More than anything."

Gently, Gambit brought Jubilee・s face to his and kissed her with a kiss both delicate and so full of passion that it took Jubilee・s breath away. She slowly pulled away and smiled at Remy.

"You sure know how to win a gal, LeBeau. Between the Cajun charm and your kissing abilities, I don・t stand a chance."

Remy pulled Jubilee close to him and she sank into his arms, feeling safe and secure. "Yer one te talk, chere. Remy don・ stand a chance ・round you, neitha."

She smiled. "Well, then, I guess there・s no one else who could handle us, huh? We・re stuck with each other."

"Fer betta, fer worse, chere." He turned her head up to face him. "You want to start dis day again n・ let Remy make you some breakfast?"

"I couldn・t think of anything more perfect, but, are you sure you don・t want me to cook for you? After all, I・m an expert now."

Gambit laughed. "I t・ink we have enough adventure fer today, chere. Jes let Remy make you his special breakfast."

"Ooohh! The pancakes?!"


"The strawberry pancakes?!"


Jubilee leapt up and grabbed Gambit by the arms. "Well, what are you waiting for, Gumbo? Get in the kitchen and make me some breakfast!"

"Oh, Remy get it. Dis how it gonna be? Jubilee go off and work all day, n・ Remy in de kitchen makin・ de meals?"

She put her hands on her hips and cocked her head playfully. "Got a problem with that LeBeau?"

"Non, jes checkin・." He paused and looked solidly into her eyes. "Anyt・ing te make you happy, petite."

She realized that he wasn・t just teasing her. She moved toward him and placed her hands around his neck.

"As long as I・m with you, I・m happy, Remy. Always."

"Always a long time, chere."

"Yeah, it is. But I・m ready for it. Are you?"

"Oui, chere. Remy ready for anyt・ing wit・ you."

She smiled. "Is this where we ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after?"

"Dis it, chere."

"Alright then. Nothing better to start the happily ever after than a batch of your famous pancakes."

Gambit smiled and held Jubilee closer. "Yer my kinda woman, Jubilation Lee."

Jubilee returned Gambit・s embrace and laughed. "Don・t you forget it, Remy LeBeau."


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