The Ice Capades
The jeep was quiet on the way to the airport, the only sound
coming from the constant movement of the windshield wipers.
Both men smoked in silence, each wrapped in their own thoughts.
Gambit was still puzzled by the whole thing. He didn't think
there'd be any immediate danger on the trip, and even if there
was, dere ain't no one I'd want coverin' my back more den
Wolverine. He let out a deep sigh and blew out a smoke
ring. Least he ain't gonna run out on me if dere trouble.
He sneered at that thought, roll down his window, and angrily
tossed the butt out into the rain.
Still, He and Logan never really socialized before. Strange
time to start too, if ya ask me, but he trusted the older
man's judgement. Wolverine had been around the track a time
or two more than Gambit had. If he thought there was a reason
to go, so be it. Guess I jes' take it at face value, and
go wit' de flow. Trust de man eh homme?
Trust. Now that was a fairly new word to Gambit. No matter
how much he really wanted, he never fully trusted anyone in
the Guild, not down deep at least.
Whole t'ing was too political. Some dem boy's cut ya as
soon as shake y'hand.
He never fully understood the meaning of the word until he
encountered the child Storm. Most of what he knew of trust
he learned from her. The foundation of that special bond was
laid between them in Egypt, and she was still the only person
he shared it with. She used to be one of two, but now Rogue...
When Rogue re-entered his thoughts, if she ever really did
leave, his mood took a self-pitying turn for the worse. He
snatched another cigarette from his pack, and lit it with
the tip of his finger.
Chere, I'm sorry for de man I was. But I can't change
de past. All I c'n say is dat I changed. Ain't Remy LeBeau
't'ief' no more. Now I'm Remy LeBeau 'Gambit de X-Man'. Can't
change what I did chere. Neither c'n you. C'n only make amends
f'it. Wish you'd seen dat in my mind wit da rest a dat shit
For his part Logan was mainly trying to keep the jeep on
the road, the rain was coming down a little heavier now, and
it was beginning to freeze. If they made it to the airport
in time to catch the flight, it would be a miracle.
He grunted. If this trip works, it'd be a miracle.
Shaking his head, he squinted at the on coming headlights.
He flashed his own high beams with a silent curse. Oughta
run that SOB off the road fer not turnin' his brights down,
he snarled to himself. He let the vehicle creep over towards
the oncoming traffic, yet let the offending driver pass without
This whole scheme was, for lack of a better word, bizarre.
Chuck had come to him with this idea to help 'bring Gambit
back to us'. Logan wasn't convinced that, number 1, Gambit
had gone anywhere; just look on the roof. He was always sittin'
there pining fer Rogue. Number 2, he didn't think that, even
if the Cajun had 'wandered off somewhere', that this was the
way to bring him back. He voiced his opinions to Xavier, who
Logan recalled the argument clearly. The veins were actually
sticking out on Charlie's forehead. The mental picture made
him laugh. Gambit cast him a sidelong glance, but didn't say
"Puttin' the Cajun on a plane and sending him somewhere
he wouldn't want ta go ain't gonna make him feel all better.
There's only one thing that's gonna wipe that frown off his
mug, and she ain't here!"
He was so emphatic on that point he actually slammed his
hand on the professor's desk. But Charles was as unfazed by
the outburst as he was unmoving in his decision. The professor
was usually a man of reason, but not on this subject. That
still bothered the Canadian.
"I've given this a lot of thought Logan, and I disagree.
What Gambit needs is time, and space," he added. I shudder
to think what would happen if Rogue returned while he's in
his current state of mind. Remy needs time away from the mansion.
Time away from reminders of Rogue. Time away from his duties
as an X-Man," here the Professor stopped and looked pointedly
at Wolverine, "and frankly, you do too." This caused
a sharp intake in Logan's breath.
"Before you get all riled up, let me explain."
Wolverine hadn't said a word, so Charles continued. "You've
suffered some serious trauma recently, the loss of your adamantium,
your exposure to the crimson dawn. These things are taking
their toll on you."
"I'm fine Chuck. Got everything under control."
He really didn't like the direction this was taking, but he
stayed. "I know I need ta get away, that's why I've been
roughin' it. Keeps me sane."
The Professor just ignored him and continued. "This
is the perfect opportunity for you two to get away. Take some
down time." His expression softened here. "You can't
be on duty 24 hours a day Logan. Look what it's doing to you."
Logan didn't say a word. This whole thing stunk, every fiber
in body told him so, but he couldn't put his finger on why.
He sat and thought, the professor giving him the time he needed.
The room was silent and motionless, except for the pendulum
on Xavier's clock slowly swinging as Wolverine worked it through.
I ain't that close to losin' it. I know that. Chuck should
know it too. That gave him pause for a second. Wonder
why he don't. After all the skull sessions we've had. Still,
if this would put everyone's mind to rest about him. Why not?
A little down time wouldn't hurt. Can't remember the last
time I caught some puck...
"Okay, ya got me, Chuck" he said finally. "I'll
baby sit the boy."
The smile on Xavier's face was broad.
"I still don't think this is gonna work, but if you
"Oh I do Logan. I've already taken the liberty of booking
you a flight, unfortunately, all I could get you was the 'red
eye'. It leaves tomorrow morning at 2:18am. Make sure you
and Remy are on it."
The tone of last sentence caused Wolverine to jump out of
his chair, the tips of his claws pushing at their thin skin
covering. "That sounds like an ultimatum Chuck,"
he snarled. I don't like those."
"You seem to forget who you're talking to, Logan."
Xavier's tone was cold, his face stern. A moment passed, then
he softened a bit. "My apologies Wolverine, I didn't
mean for it to be. All I meant was the tickets were non-refundable."
Wolverine relaxed a bit, although his claws where still dangerously
close to emerging.
"Why are we flyin' commercial anyway?"
"Scott and I talked it over. We felt it would be better
"For many reasons that aren't important now." Xavier
smiled again, but this time it seemed forced. "Your other
tickets will be waiting for you at 'will call'. Please, go
and have fun", he had emphasized the word fun. "Come
back to us rested and whole. We need both of you that way."
With that, the Professor had turned his attention back to
his computer. Logan could still see the black and white 'cow
box' it came in sitting in the corner. Prof. had gotten a
kick out of that and kept it around.
After a minute, Logan turned and left. He hadn't tried to
find Summers to see what was up, he had some things to take
care of before he left.
Thinking back on it now, the whole think was odd, but who
knows, maybe its just how it appears; ole Chuck trying to
'save' two birds with one stone. He was always big on salvation
jobs. Could be that this little exercise was just what he
said it was.
Don't know. Might be able to bring Gumbo back, but
as far as re-injecting some of Wolverine's own lost humanity?
He wasn't convinced it was lost at all: Can't lose what
ya ain't got.
He looked over at the Cajun, suddenly alarmed at what he
saw. Gambit was retreating into his self-pity again. His jaw
was set, and his eyes had a semi glazed look.
"Want to talk about it?" The Cajun stirred, but
didn't look at the Canadian.
How you gonna un'erstan' what I'm goin' t'rough?
"Ain't nuthin' ta talk 'bout."
"That right?" He cast a quick glance at his companion.
The Cajun was staring out the window, probably wanting to
be left alone so he could wallow. Not tonight pal,
Wolverine pressed on.
"I think there is Cajun," he started slowly, "I
think there's a lot to talk about." No reply, so he continued.
"Let's start with Rogue." At her name Remy started,
almost as if he'd been hit, but didn't turn, or say a word.
Boy's got it bad, Logan thought to himself. This
might have to get a little nasty.
"Listen bub, everyone knows you're hurtin', but ya can't
keep this up, ya gotta move on with your life."
"What d'hell you know 'bout it?" Gambit turned
on Logan, who continued to drive in silence. A little anger
might do the boy some good.
"What 'sperience you got wit' a woman you can't touch?
She jes come in, mess wit you, den leave? Or stay. Hell, it
don' matter what she do 'cause you hooked, but she don' even
wan' talk wit' 'cha."
Worse than I thought. Wolverine decided there to throw
a little gasoline on the fire.
"There's more to a woman then touching her, Gumbo."
The flare was quick, and bright.
"Screw you li'l man. How long did I stay wit' her, WIT'
OUT touchin' her? I'd be wit her still, but SHE lef' ME. He
turned away, adding quietly, "don't got nuthin' ta prove
Wolverine smiled. The Cajun was beginning to really get worked
up; he was shifting in his seat, and his hands were starting
to glow. Time to dump the tanker.
"Yeah, she left ya alright, cause she saw what a screwed
up little maggot ya were, and it made her sick."
The self-loathing, hurt, anger, and frustration Gambit had
been feeling since he returned from Seattle came to a head.
With a shout he lashed out and struck the windshield of the
jeep, charging the glass with kinetic energy. The safety glass
blew out in startling display of a thousand tiny lights. It
would have been quite beautiful, if the jeep hadn't been moving
at the time.
The shock from the blast caused Logan to lose control of
the vehicle. It slid to the left, hit the berm, and rolled
once, before coming to rest on it's wheels. Gambit blew off
his seatbelt buckle with a minor kinetic explosion, and was
on top of Wolverine in an instance. He started beating the
smaller man. Curses in a mixture of English and French flew
as fast and as hard as the punches.
For his part, Logan was unable to unbuckle himself, and was
content to merely cover himself, letting the Cajun use him
as a punching bag to work out his frustration. Finally, the
Cajun's blows began to slow down, and eventually they stopped.
Gambit sat back in his seat.
Cold rain flew into the open windshield of the jeep as the
two men regarded each other; Gambit was breathing hard, Wolverine
was hardly breathing.
"You done Gumbo?"
"You did dat on purpose." It was a statement, not
"Yeah. How ya feel?"
Gambit sat back for a moment thinking. The sudden physical
release had somehow freed him, for the moment anyway. He felt
better than he had in months, and he said so.
"Good, now maybe I don't have to spend the rest of this
trip staring at your sour puss." The words were harsh,
but their tone, surprisingly gentle. Logan smiled. "C'mon,
let's take a look at the damage, then figure out what we're
gonna to next."
With that both men exited the jeep. Aside from the windshield,
the passenger seat belt, a few dents and some scratched paint,
it was in good shape. Together they pushed it out of the median,
and onto the shoulder of the road. Logan pulled out a cigar
and looked at LeBeau. With a smile, the Cajun lit it, then
a cigarette for himself.
The rain had started to die down a bit, but the wind was
picking up. "De rest of d'trip gonna be chilly, non?"
He looked at the hole where the windshield had been.
Wolverine smiled grimly. "Yeah. We better get moving."
With that, they got in the jeep, started it, and were off.
Fortunately, they were just about at the airport.
Wolverine looked over at the Cajun. He seemed to be a little
more aware of his surroundings. Looks like he might have done
"Ya know LeBeau, ya ain't that bad off." The Cajun
didn't say anything. Wolverine tried again..."Sorry I
was so rough on ya back there. I wanted ta see how'd ya react."
Gambit just grunted and pulled his overcoat closer to his
body and took a drag off his cigarette.
Still, Wolverine was encouraged. Ain't there yet, but
we're closer than we were. They drove the rest of the
way in silence. Fortunately, they were almost to the airport.
"Okay Gumbo, better toke up, we're almost there."
To emphasize the point, Wolverine took one last long pull
on his stogie and, with a sigh, stubbed it out in the ash
"Wolverine, tell me again why we be doin' dis?"
Gambit looked at Wolverine, his face unreadable.
"Alright Cajun. Truth is, Prof. thought it'd be a good
idea if we had some down time. Since he thinks we both need
time off, he thought it'd be a good idea if we took it together.
And here we are" Logan brusquely concluded as he pulled
into short-term parking.
"Better fin' a place in de tower, Logan. We ain't 'zactly
water proof eh?"
It took a little longer, but they found a covered spot, and
parked. Wolverine put the ticket under the floor mat, and
they secured the vehicle as best they could. He'd call the
mansion as soon as he got the chance and have someone pick
up the jeep.
They made their way into the terminal, found the ticket counter,
and learned their flight had been delayed until 2:45. They
had just enough time for Gambit to hit the men's room to try
and re-arrange himself. Wolverine found a pay phone, and dialed
Great. Summers had to answer the phone. Into the phone
he said "Slim, I need your help."
"Logan? Is that you?"
"Is there a problem?
"Not really. I just need someone to pick the jeep up
from short-term parking."
"Had a little accident. Nothin' major, but its not secure.
Send Storm or Guthrie out ta pick it up."
Wolverine heaved a disgusted sigh. Geez, this guy gets
on my nerves.
"Minor. Windshield's gone so have 'em dress warm."
"How'd that happen?"
"Cyclops I gotta run, our plane's taking off in ten
minutes. By the way, thanks for asking if we're okay."
He couldn't resist the jab.
"Well...er...I just assumed..."
"Can it boss man. We're fine." Cyclops could really
be a weasel at times. "Gotta go." He told Summers
how to find the jeep, and then added "say 'hi' to Jeannie
for me," before he hung up.
"Uhhh... sure Logan. Goodbye."
Logan shook his head. What 'sperience you got wit' a woman
you can't touch. If the Cajun only knew. He looked up,
Gambit was watching him, his face unreadable.
"C'mon, mon ami, our plane takes off in five minutes.
We gotta move."
And so, twenty minutes later, the two X-Men found themselves,
on the 'red eye' to Detroit, waiting for clearance to take
Continued in Chapter
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