(Westchester, New York)
The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning is having a rare moment of peace. Students mill about the grounds, whilst Hank McCoy sheds a tear reading ‘Five folks you meet in Heaven.’ Kitty Pryde, meanwhile, is altogether less peaceful. She is chastising three pupils who have been caught trying to break into the headmaster’s study to steal a copy of today’s computer science test. Standing beside her is Gambit, who Kitty wants the kids to meet. The boys are Quill, Eugene and Winston.
She asks Remy to have a word with them. Clearly, Remy has a great deal of experience in the theft department, but he tries his best to worm his way out of it. All he can utter is, “Stealing is very bad.” Kitty motions to him, and explains to the kids that he used to be a criminal; a low life all-round scoundrel. Now, he’s turned himself around and worked hard at becoming a super hero - an invaluable member of the X-Men. Remy covers his face with his hand, embarrassed at Kitty having to deliver these lines.
She tells Remy that the boys aren’t bad - they’re just lazy and totally uninterested in learning anything new. They could use him as a role model. He could spend time with them and help them get their priorities straight. Remy doesn’t like the idea. He has plans, but Kitty phases through the door before she can hear his objections. The boys look at him, and ask, “Now what?” Remy replies that it’s time they got a real education.
Before long, they are scaling the mansion’s walls. Remy has discovered that Ginny has sent Rogue a surveillance video of himself and Lili Penrose. The boys don’t think that mentoring is supposed to include breaking into a locked room to keep his girlfriend from seeing the dirty movie he starred in. Remy replies that it isn’t a dirty movie; it’s a surveillance video and it just happened to catch a very mixed-up woman who was… determined to compromise his integrity. As such, he doesn’t want it falling into the wrong hands; or anybody’s for that matter.
Two of the boys still think it was a dirty movie, and wonder if she was hot. “Hotter than Rogue,” one of them replies. ”Get real dude.” He asks what’s up there anyway. Remy tells them it’s a quick way in to avoid a lot of nosy people and stupid questions. He adds that, if they’re caught, he’ll explain it away as a training exercise or something like that.
He helps the boys up over the edge, only to find their faces light up. Behind Remy is Ororo, and she’s wearing only bikini bottoms. She sits upright and covers herself up. Remy asks what she’s doing there. She replies that she was sunbathing away from the prying eyes of students… or so she thought. She slips her bikini top on, and asks what they’re doing up there.
As promised, Remy replies that it’s a training exercise. He volunteered to help mentor this trio of screw-ups; a big brother kinda thing. He holds them and smiles. “Don’tcha just love kids?” Ororo is skeptical, and asks how that’s going. Quill grins like a Cheshire cat, and tells Ororo it’s been real educational so far. A total eye-opener, adds his friend. Ororo takes to the air, and one of the kids says he’s so joining the meteorology club.
Remy looks for the way in he’s used before but it’s no longer there. He figures the mansion’s been demolished and rebuilt a couple times since then. So what now? asks Quill. Gambit decides a real training exercise is in order. As the Danger Room is out of commission, they head into the grounds and he activates some of the defense systems he’s brought with him. The boys remind Remy that they aren’t allowed near the real Danger Room, and certainly not allowed in its spare parts room; much less steal from the spare parts room. Remy figures Rogue won’t be back for a while, so the surveillance tape can wait.
He sets the machines to target himself only, and shows the boys how the X-Men do things. Heavy training allows him to think. Quill asks him, as he leaps between assaults, whether he has something planned for the person who sent Rogue the tape. Remy replies that Ginny is just a gal with a schoolgirl crush, who doesn’t quite know how to handle rejection. Fortunately, for whatever reason, she had a change of heart.
Under pressure from Madame Camille, Ginny had phoned Remy to inform him that she had posted Rogue the disc. Unbeknownst to both Madame Camille and Remy, she burned a back up disc.
Remy is asked if he doesn’t have a key to Rogue’s room. He replies that the school gets attacked nearly every other month, and they upgrade the security systems at least twice as often, so he doesn’t currently have access. He also isn’t one to pay attention to internal memos.
The training exercise is nearing its conclusion, with Remy destroying more of the machinery. Quill has an idea. He wonders if Gambit could just lie to someone with access to the security system, and get them to open the door. With a final flourish, Remy slices the final machine in two, and replies that would be too easy. Suddenly, a missile whizzes past and explodes near the kids. Remy is horrified, but the kids love the rush it gives them. If this is what it’s like to train as an X-Man, then it’s awesome.
Gambit tells the boys that if one wants to put one over on the X-Men, it ain’t the big guys they need to be afraid of, or the ones with the freaky powers. They pass Piotr in the corridor carrying a sketchbook, and Kurt in the games room, playing himself at table tennis. They then pass Hank McCoy. He’s been working on the tarot cards Remy gave him, and is astonished at their molecular composition. Remy tells the kids that it isn’t even the eggheads they have to be afraid of. It’s a completely different sort of brain power that’ll really trip you up.
They enter a room where Rachel is reading on the couch, and Emma Frost is leafing through the bookshelves. The ones they need to be wary of, he explains, are the mutant minds that can peak in your head just like they were opening a curtain, and seeing every last little thing inside. Rachel smiles and says hi. Remy adds that some of them, like Rachel, have enough manners to respect a person’s privacy. Others; they’ve got their own secrets. They have so much baggage from their own sordid past that they aren’t going to snoop around too much. Emma looks over at them, and tells Remy, with a hint of sarcasm, that him mentoring is a supremely noble act.
Just in case they get any ideas about reading his mind, Remy concentrates, and the image inside his mind is powerful enough to repulse both women, who take their leave. Quill asks how he did that. Remy grins, and tells them that if they walk away from this, he’ll let them in on his secret. Quill asks Remy if he’s not scared of the X-Men; is there anything he’s worried about? He replies that there’s only one thing to worry about; the thing that’ll trip you up no matter how much planning and precaution you put into anything. He’s asked what that is, but before he can answer, Cyclops appears and informs him that some freaks are tearing up Manhattan. Nobody else seems to be around, so they need to put a stop to it.
“The unexpected,” is the answer to the kids’ question. Remy tells Scott that he needs to stick around the mansion. It’s important. Scott asks with a hint of sarcasm if it’s so he can get a jump on writing all the condolence letters to the families of the people they didn’t save today. It isn’t a request. Remy gets the picture, and waves the kid’s goodbye as he heads to the jet. He’s asked if he is still gonna see the kids when he gets back. He tells them that if Rogue gets home and finds the disc before he can get to it, the only thing he’s gonna be seeing is the ceiling of the intensive care unit!
A team of X-Men comprising Cyclops, Gambit, Havok, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler and Polaris, battle a group of giant stone monsters in the city. They are incredibly strong and breathe fire, but the combined efforts of the X-Men prevail in the end. Remy’s heart isn’t in the fight. His mind is on the clock, and saving himself from some severe bruising.
Back at the mansion, Emma informs him that Rogue came home early. She’s upstairs in her room, broadcasting thoughts loud enough to give every telepath on the Eastern Seaboard a migraine. She found her little surprise, and she’s on her way to talk with him about it. Remy is concerned, and asks Emma if she was punching walls or anything like that. Emma replies that it’s between the two of them, and smiles as she adds that she’d hate to get a reputation for interfering in the relationships of her teammates.
Gambit takes off his overcoat and sits on a bench awaiting the inevitable, when suddenly the three boys come rushing over to him. Quill is holding the disc, and hands it to him. They had to hack into the school’s computer and break the algorithmic code behind the security system. Then, they planted a self-replicating virus that caused it to default into a manual override mode. After memorizing the blueprints to the mansion, they sneaked through the heating ducts and then picked the lock to “Miss Rogue’s” room.
Remy grins, and doesn’t know what to say, except to offer them something in return. He informs them that he has the answers to the next three quizzes that Kitty Pryde is going to spring on them. He explains that he took them from a locked drawer in Kitty’s desk, about the time she asked him to baby-sit. He thought he might need some leverage to deal with a bunch of snot-nosed troublemakers, but as it turned out, he says they are all right. Quill doesn’t understand one thing. He thought adults were supposed to set a good example. How come Gambit’s so different? How come he helps them to bend the rules?
Remy asks them to think for a minute. How much work did they put into getting him that disc? A lot longer than if they’d just studied in the first place, he’d bet. He has no problem with them swindling their way through some of their classes, as long as they’re learning something along the way. He is asked about the thing with the mind-readers. He promised to reveal his secret. Remy remembers, and spills the beans.
It happened a few years back. The X-Men were fighting the Brotherhood, back when they were still the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He was tussling with the Blob, whilst the others occupied Pyro, the Toad and Avalanche. He doesn’t know if the Blob was trying on a new kind of costume, but he got between one of Pyro’s blasts at the same time Storm plowed him with a gale-force wind. His costume burnt off, leaving him utterly naked. It was a sight none of the X-Men are ever gonna forget.
Remy says he keeps that mental snapshot at the forefront of his brain whenever he has something on his mind and doesn’t want any nearby telepaths seeing. Luckily for him, those gals haven’t come close to figuring it out yet, though consequently they’re convinced he’s something of a weirdo. He is asked if he isn’t worried about Miss Frost or Miss Summers looking into their heads and finding out what they did. He replies that as a fourteen years old, with the complexion of a deep-dish pizza and the social skills of motel wallpaper, hormones coursing through his system that give him an R-rated idea every 14.2 seconds, he’s guessing the last thing they want to do is take a peak inside their heads. He asks them not to sweat it too much, though. Being a nerd ain’t gonna last forever. After that, they can trust him that things are gonna get better.
Rogue approaches, wearing a tight bodice and elbow-length white gloves. “Heya, sugah. You miss me?” Remy puts his overcoat around her shoulders, and she thanks him for the chocolates and flowers. She asks how he got into her room anyway - he didn’t even know she’d be there today. Remy smiles, and tells her he’s just full of surprises. He climbs onto his bike, and Rogue gets on behind him. The kids are more than impressed with his coolness. They want to follow in his footsteps.
As the two X-Men roar off into the evening, Rogue asks what brings him to the mansion anyway. She thought he had business in New Orleans. Same old, same old, replies Remy. Rogue then notices something in his inside pocket, and asks what it is. Some sort of mini-disc? “Uh-oh,” thinks Remy.
(epilogue - New Orleans)
A Porsche 911 pulls up at a large house, late at night. Her boyfriend enters the building and finds Belladonna watching television. He’s come with a decent haul for a night’s work, and asks what she’s watching. Since when do they have Sinmax? She replies that it’s not Sinmax. Somebody left it in their mailbox, with no return address. She has no idea who. She doesn’t know who the girl on the disc is, but the guy is Remy LeBeau, Gambit… her ex-husband.