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Notes: (after GlamBeau’s "Following Through" (that means "unofficial sequel) and yes, I ripped off the TV show "Vegas", the movies "Honeymoon in Vegas", all the "Godfather" movies, "Casino", "The Green Felt Jungle" "National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation", and "National Velvet"). There be SLASH in here, kiddies, (Eeeek!) so watch out!

Iceman's Vegas Vacation
By A. Lias

The last thing Bobby Drake wanted to watch on the pay-per-view television channel at the Giza Hotel in Las Vegas was an adult movie of two women romping around a ranch famous for breeding prize bulls. At least they seemed more interested in each other than they were in the prize bulls. This was certainly NOT what he’d had in mind when he’d booked this vacation in Las Vegas for himself and Remy LeBeau. He wanted to be alone with Remy--AWAY from Rogue and the rest of the X-Men. Ever since that night in the snow, the wreck, the realization that he was hopelessly in love (and lust) with the Cajun--Bobby’s life had become a welter of frustration. Remy hadn’t helped matters: He’d gone right about working on winning back Rogue’s affections and ignoring Bobby. Mr. Drake had other ideas and wasn’t ABOUT to be left out in the dark. Therefore, he decided to whisk LeBeau away and go someplace where he could have the Cajun all to himself.


"I can’t believe we’re watching this."

"D’accord." Remy crawled closer to the foot of the bed, all the better to watch the nasty movie with. "Ooh, look at de femmes now! Dis’s great!"

Bobby took advantage of Remy’s sphinx-like position to slip his pajama bottoms down and play with his lovely bare ass--which he found infinitely more interesting than the TV porn. He was absolutely certain that Remy had donned the pajamas for the sole purpose of tormenting him.

"But de redhead ‘as such big--"

"You have NO hips, LeBeau," said Bobby, slipping a hand between and under Remy’s legs. Unlike his Cajun lover, he couldn’t care less about women, and the naked antics of this busty pair left him cold. What he REALLY wanted was to get Remy’s attention off the skin flick and onto some serious lovemaking. He found just what he was looking for: The Acadian was already aroused from watching the movie. Well, at least his $8.99 had spared them a few seconds’ worth of time. He straddled Remy’s slim hips, still stroking his erection, and leaned down to nibble the Cajun’s left ear lobe.


"Ah, but you look so very fuckable tonight, my darling," Bobby whispered.

Remy only moaned for an answer.

"Does that mean you’re ready for a little intermission in your movie?"

He got a nod for an answer, and lost no time. Remy was a charming and subtly relentless lover with women, but quite passive when it came to men. Unlike Bobby, he enjoyed sex with women. Actually, he just liked sex--period. Being abandoned as a child was a likely reason that he craved affection now, and it worried Bobby. He loved Remy desperately, he tried to be understanding, he tried to accept the fact that he loved Remy more than Remy loved him--always had and always would--and just be grateful for what the Cajun was willing to give him. And Remy WAS generous with him, he had to admit, giving himself to Bobby without reservation, faithful in his own faithless way.

Bobby pulled Remy closer, wrapping his arms around him, content for the moment just to hold him. "I won’t rush you, love," he whispered in the Cajun’s ear. "We’ve got all night."

"Got longer dan dat . . . "

"Now who’s in a hurry?" Bobby chided gently, shifting Remy in his arms so that he was lying in his lap. He folded the Acadian against his breast, stroking all that auburn hair, and held him for some time, summoning his courage, savoring the object of his obsession. When he sat Remy up, the Cajun was nearly asleep, but the red eyes opened and there was so much warmth in them that it could have melted an iceberg. At this moment Bobby would have gotten into the ring with Galactus himself if he’d dared try come between him and Remy.

"I’ll take that kiss now," Bobby pushed Remy’s hair aside and nipped on his ear lobe. The handsome head was resting against his arm, and it turned toward him. Bobby stared at him, still unable to believe that this beautiful man was willing to let him touch him. Remy’s body was so warm, smelled so good; he seemed almost drowsy. Bobby cupped his chin, leaned closer, took a deep breath, then closed his mouth over Remy’s lips.

The kiss was gentle at first--but those delicious lips parted as he thrust his tongue between Remy’s teeth, plundering his mouth. He had never in his life imagined that anything in the world could possibly taste as sweet as Remy’s mouth did. He expected the Acadian to struggle, and he did, though not seriously. For answer, Bobby pulled him tight against his chest--not hard enough to hurt him, but tightly enough to let him know they were not--under ANY circumstances--resuming watching the movie, $8.99 down the drain or not.

"Y’ no’ gropin’ up a femme here," Remy sighed, and Bobby realized that he had slid a hand into the Cajun’s shirt and was stroking that smooth chest.

Bobby gulped. "Sorry," he stammered. "I won’t do that anymore."

"S’okay, feels nice."

Well, if Remy was going to give his blessing, Bobby sure wasn’t going to stop fondling him. "Would you get too cold if I took your shirt off?" he asked the Acadian, suddenly worried about the room’s hyperactive air-conditioners and his own lack of body heat.

"No’ s’long as you don’ start coolin’ down. P’haps if y’ took yours off, too."

Bobby grinned. "Gotcha, love."

He lowered Remy back onto the bed and slowly unbuttoned his pajama shirt, laying it by his sides as carefully as if he was folding laundry, until he was bare to the waist. Remy lay still, allowing Bobby to undress him. "Let me look at you," Bobby breathed. "Just let me look at you."

Remy’s chest was utterly smooth but for the twin white buds, and he was so beautiful Bobby just wanted to sit there and stare at him forever. That pale, translucent skin that seemed lit from within, those hard muscles stretched over long slender bones--such an awesome body. And that gentle insolence in those red eyes--gawd--

Bobby was so glad he had had the foresight to bring back a bottle of bubbly with him. He uncorked the bottle and dipped his finger in it, wet both Remy’s nipples, then bent down and ravenously sucked the champagne from them. He repeated the act again and again, enjoying the tremors passing through Remy’s body.

"Y’ shirt--y’ promised . . . " Remy moaned.

Bobby shrugged his own shirt off and shoved it into a heap on the floor. He leaned over to enfold Remy in his arms, shocked by the feel of their bare skin in contact, so aroused by that it took all his willpower to go about this slowly. He kissed Remy again, more gently this time, then propped himself up on his elbows to look at him. "I love you," he whispered. "You have no idea how much I love you."

That got him a flashing grin. "Talk’s cheap, mon amour."

"Oh, I’ll show you, too, darling," Bobby stole another kiss. "Take your pants off."

"Do it y’self." His Acadian had suddenly gotten stubborn. The Iceman had to put a stop to this little rebellion, oh yes.

Bobby slipped a hand into the crotch of the pajama bottoms and began to stroke Remy, making him ready for love. The Cajun didn’t need any coaxing; he was already half-crazy with anticipation, and fully aroused. Bobby slipped the pants away from him. "My, but Nature certainly has been KIND to you, boy."

Remy started to sit up, but Bobby was suddenly spread-eagled on top of him, pinning him down. Although he was shorter than Remy, he was stockier and a bit heavier. All the better to keep you right where I want you, my dear. "Oh, no, you don’t, Cajun. You’re mine."

"Where all dat angstin’ y’ use-ta do?"

"Oh, I was just having a psychotic episode when I said that. I’m all better now--thanks to

you--and I am never going to let you go. You’re MY love slave, LeBeau."

"Well, since you put it dat way . . . " Remy sighed happily and looped his arms around Bobby’s neck. "I not scared a’ you."

"You SHOULD be. Be afraid, pretty boy. Be very afraid."

Remy laughed. " ‘Fraid a’ what?"

"Me and my jealous rages."

"What if I no’ give you a reason t’ be jealous?"

"I’ll always be jealous of you, Remy. And right now, just to keep you from getting any ideas, I am going to fuck you better than you’ve ever been fucked in your life." His breath was coming in staccato gulps by now.

"How you know how good I been fucked?"

" ‘Cause nobody else ever loved you like I do. Nobody will ever fuck you like a man who loves you that much." He got to his knees beside the bed, touching Remy with a degree of skill and confidence he’d never guessed he could possibly possess. Remy folded his hands behind his neck and let Bobby touch him; all those kisses were making him tremble and Bobby’s slick tongue darting over his chest and abdomen made him writhe. He closed those exotic red eyes, causing Bobby to wonder what he was thinking.

"Dream of the pleasure I’m going to give you, sweetheart," Drake muttered.

Remy nodded, overwhelmed and still somewhat surprised by Bobby’s passion for him. And more, Drake was a natural in spite of his age and relative lack of experience, as if he’d been born to do this. He took Remy in his arms, he kissed him over and over, he cried that he loved him, this charming thief who had stolen his heart and soul. They lavished caresses on each other, they tumbled across the bed locked together as if the two of them could miraculously be merged into one, their pleasure in each other riveting.

"I t’ink I corruptin’ you!" Remy moaned.

"Corrupt me!" Bobby kissed him wildly on the neck, the mouth, the ears. "Oh, yes, please do corrupt me, swamp boy!" He began to spread kisses over Remy’s shoulders and chest. Bobby was in a frenzy, mesmerized by Remy as if the Cajun were the most intoxicating drug in the world. He flipped Remy over onto his stomach, and keeping one hand locked around Remy’s neck, began trailing his mouth across and down LeBeau’s spine, exploring him and preparing him with his mouth.

"I want you," Drake hissed. "All of you. Right here. Right now. I swear I won’t hurt you, Remy. I swear I’ll never hurt you. I love you more than anything in the world. Do you believe me?"

"Oui . . ." This a gasp.

Carefully, Bobby lowered himself over Remy’s body, sliding a hand under the Cajun’s body to stroke and caress him, ignoring the tremors passing through both their bodies as he entered him, thinking only of how he’d been obsessed by this for years, to give Remy as much as he took from him.

Remy cried out, but Bobby put his hand over his mouth to quiet him. "Shhhhh, love, shhhhhhh. We don’t want the maids running in here. Just you and me."

The Cajun moaned a little under his hand.

"I know, darling," Bobby soothed him. "I know. Just relax."

And Bobby was as good as his word. For Remy he was unbelievably tender, opening the gates between them and creating rivulets of pleasure.

Remy felt it all. His mind reeled, he twisted beneath Bobby, helpless. They were completely open to each other then, both of them dazed and dazzled beyond words.

Then a shudder rippled through Remy’s prone body. He groaned, gasping for air. Bobby’s hand was back over his mouth, cutting off his words, as Drake finally gave in to his own cry of release.

Bobby fell asleep, buried deep in Remy’s arms.



"Wake up, sexy."

Remy cracked open one red eye, then the other.

No, he hadn’t been dreaming. He was with Bobby Drake, and both of them were still sprawled nude in a Las Vegas hotel bed that looked like a tornado had swept through it.

"How long I been ‘sleep?"

"Just a couple of hours. Thought you might like something to eat."

"No’ very hungry--"

"But you ARE, sweetheart. You just don’t know it yet." Bobby’s words dripped with sudden sensuality. "I have plans for you--and you’ll need nourishment. I’ve called for room service."

Remy glanced around the room. "I better get dressed."

"Over my dead body. If I see any clothes on you while we’re in this room, I’ll rip them right off." He kissed Remy. "I love you, my pet, and I especially love you when you’re naked."

"Can’ stay nekkid all de time."

"I’ll be the judge of that. Now you just stay bundled up in these nice warm blankets while I meet room service at the door." Bobby bounded out of bed and began to dress himself. When he finished, he came back to sit down on the edge of the bed and smoothed Remy’s hair back. "How do you feel?" he asked.


"Sleepy, I t’ink."

Bobby frowned, appraising him. "Just need some rest?"


"You can doze till the food gets here." He kissed Remy again. "I love you. You know that, don’t you?"

Remy nodded, already more than half-asleep. He snuggled into Bobby’s arms and went back to sleep, leaving his lover to stew over whether his feelings were returned or not. The Cajun was just too damned noncommital and enigmatic for his own good--or for Robert Drake’s.




Bobby awoke with a start the following morning--alone in the vast satin-draped bed. He was seized with sudden panic and terror: What if Remy had abandoned him, gone back to New York, gone back to New Orleans, gone heaven only knew where and he would never lay eyes or hands on the Cajun again? What if someone had come into their room and spirited Remy away? Hey, they were X-Men; the unexpected happened frequently in their chaotic lives.

But as he hastily dressed, he saw a note stuck to the mirror with a bit of well-masticated bubble gum. "Gambit, you pig," he muttered as he pulled the paper off the mirror surface and read:

"Gone to take a dip in the swimming pool. Come join me. --R."

Bobby didn’t want to do the breast stroke in some crowded hotel pool with hordes of bikini-clad women rafting by on inflatable buoys. He wanted to be ALONE with Remy, to see those red eyes focussed only on him and not darting about at all the female temptation. And women weren’t his only worry: Remy was as attractive to men as he was to women; they hit on him constantly--usually LeBeau just used one of his graceful rebuffs and declined the invitations. But what if he happened upon someone else he found more interesting or amusing than Bobby Drake?




Remy wasn’t hard to find at the pool complex. All Bobby had to do was look for the largest congregation of women and Remy would be bound to be in the center of it.


Sure enough, the rascal was lying on a float in the deep-water section of the pool, happily sunning himself like a (lounge) lizard on a rock. He wore only the briefest of Speedos and a pair of sunglasses, and there were enough women hanging on to the edges of the float to sink it if they stopped paddling their legs. He was jolted out of his apparent nap when people in the pool began screaming.

"EEEEEK!!!!!!! The water’s FREEZING!!!!!!!"

Remy’s eyes snapped open and he scanned the pool area.

Of course there was Drake, sitting at poolside with his toe stuck in the water, a big

shit-eating grin on his face, and a thin sheen of ice spreading over the surface of the pool.

LeBeau shot him a furious glare, then slid off the float and into the water.

Bobby quickly withdrew his toe: The last thing HE wanted was for Remy to catch cold in the water with the humans, and curse the Cajun, he knew it, too. The water was suddenly agitated, frothing and waving. This had to be Remy’s doing; he’d coaxed the slightest kinetic charge into the water molecules, sending them colliding into each other

And warming the water by their potential energy, now made kinetic.

The other people in the pool attributed the roiling of the water to their own spashing.

LeBeau began to swim toward the bank.




"Whattaya MEAN--you’ll talk to me when you’ve finished reading???!!!!! Remy, that’s a fucking copy of fucking "War and Peace" you’ve fucking got there! I can’t fucking STAND this! We’ve got to fucking talk NOW!" They were back in their room now, and the cold was deeper and more penetrating than anything Iceman could dredge up.

The Cajun, curled lazily like a sleek cat against the headboard of the bed, didn’t even look up at Bobby over the pages of his thick book. Where in fucking hell he had managed to steal a hardbound edition of Tolstoy’s "War and Peace" in Las Vegas, Bobby had no earthly idea--but he was cradling the tome on his lovely lap, which Bobby wanted desperately to occupy.

"Why don’tcha go write a Hollywood screenplay, Drake?" Remy sighed, still not bothering to break his gaze from the printed page. "Y’ got the F word down pat. Oughta make ya a million dollars."

"I don’t WANT a million dollars! I just want things to be RIGHT between us!"

Another sigh, this one tired. "Why y’ always gotta be t’inking somet’ing be wrong ‘tween us, Drake? Why y’ gotta go borrowing trouble, hah? Why can’t we jus’ ENJOY our vacation an’ each ot’er? Non, y’ got t’ be impatient, make demands on me I no’ ready t’ ‘gree to jus’ yet. I ASKED y’ t’ come swimming wit’ me! Who care if ot’er people be in de pool? Den you go almos’ freeze de water! Dere were ELDERLY people in dat pool, Bobby! What if de ice water ‘ad been too much f’ dere hearts?!"

"Uh . . . I didn’t think about that."

"You didn’t t’ink. Dat be y’ problem, Bobby. Y’ go runnin’ ‘round like de poulet wit’ its ‘ead pulled off, y’ see me wit’ anyone else f’ whatever reason, an’ y’ go crazy. Why you so jealous?"

"I dunno. I guess I’m scared you’ll leave me."

"I will if you keep dis behavior up. Now, I wan’ be ‘lone f’ while. You go see if y’ can learn how to t’ink like de adult instead of de infant an’ come back here when y’ do."

"Can’t I stay? I’ll be good. I’ll be really quiet. I’ll take a nap. I’ll go over in the corner and sculpt an ice statue of Rogue for you. I won’t say a word, I’ll just play with your body while you read. Please don’t make me leave. I want to be with you--why can’t you see that?"

Remy still hadn’t looked at him, just kept reading. He made a dismissive gesture with one elegant hand. "You need t’ settle y’self down firs’, cher. See y’ at dinner."




Tossed out on his ear.

Just like that.

The Cajun had thrown him out and not even spared a glance for him.

Bobby sat outside the door to their suite for almost an hour, hoping that Remy would invite him back in, but he didn’t, and the Iceman finally felt like an idiot for sitting alone in the hall. Fortunately, no one had come down the corridor to see him, but that wasn’t going to last all day.

He took the elevator down the casino level of the hotel, got change for a c-note, then played the dollar slot machines for the half-hour it took him to lose the money. He left the one-armed bandit section of the football field-sized casino and drifted over to the table games. None of them seemed interesting. Frankly, Robert Drake didn’t have a gambler’s temperament. Heck, he was a Certified Public Accountant, not a cardshark!

The bells, whistles, whooping, and rattling in the casino finally got on his nerves like biting on tinfoil. Damnit, he didn’t want to be here! Even Remy hadn’t set foot in the casino since their arrival and no wonder--it was even more boring than one of Apocalpyse’s monologues!


Bobby wandered into the cavernous hotel bar, also known as Cleopatra’s Barge--a wondrous structure that floated in its own indoor mini-lake. But Bobby found Remy LeBeau’s bone structure much more fascinating than the hotel’s architectural excesses, and would have much preferred to be upstaires nibbling the Cajun’s toes or something--anything but being kicked out like this.

He sat down at the bar and ordered a triple Scotch straight up.

The bartender’s only comment was to ask him for his identification.

Even the hotel staff was treating him like a child!

Bobby shoved his wallet back into his pocket when the bartender was satisfied that he was over the drinking age, then ordered another triple Scotch. "Johnny Walker Black," he specified this time, even if his voice was already slurring.

He couldn’t even drink like a man.

But he wasn’t so slushy that he didn’t hear another person sitting down beside him at the bar. Bobby glanced over to see a tall, middle-aged man at his left, then returned to nursing his drink and thinking about all the wonderful things he could be doing with Remy LeBeau right now if he hadn’t been booted out of their room.

"Having problems with your young man?" asked the stranger in a genial tone.

Bobby started. "Y-you know?!" he sputtered, spraying Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch all over the gleaming granite surface of the bar.


The man shrugged and said, matter-of-factly: "One notices such a handsome couple."

"Look, I--"

"You needn’t try to explain or deny anything to me, my friend. I’ve always prided myself on being rather open-minded."

Great. Now this old fogey was hitting on him.

"Thanks, but no thanks." Bobby tried not to look at the stranger.

"I apologize if you’ve misinterpretted my meaning, sir. Believe me, I am not propositioning you. You seemed distressed and I opted to attempt to make conversation."

Bobby scowled. He couldn’t even get picked up. "I just need to take my mind off some things, that’s all."

"Well, I for one have always found that a friendly poker game tends to occupy my attention when I wish to be distracted."

"I can’t stand the casino. Sounds like a million beepers going off at once."

"Oh, certainly not there. We have a room just off the playing field beyond the marble columns. The game’s been going on for a couple of days, but there’s always an extra chair or two for latecomers. Just tell the attendant at the entrance that Samuel Southingdale has invited you to his card room."

"Dunno if I’ll show up or not," Bobby muttered. "I’m kinda busy right now."

"Of course you are," Southingdale said. "The invitation is only for those who have the time and inclination to enjoy a civilized game of poker." With that, he finished off his drink and left the bar.

Bobby sat where he was for a couple of hours, wondering if he should attempt to go back up to his room with flowers, chocolates, top-heavy hookers, whatever it took--and attempt to woo Remy into a better mood. But the remembered set of Remy’s jaw told him to keep his distance: He’d just be disappointed and turned out again if he showed his icicle-ringed face before their eight o’clock dinner reservations.

Naturally, there was no clock in the bar--or anywhere else in the casino. Nobody seemed to be wearing a watch, either; Bobby had left his wristwatch back in his room, and he didn’t have the gall to go up there to retrieve it. He could just hear himself now: "Hello there, love of my life! I just forgot my watch while I was counting the seconds until you’ll let me kneel at your feet again." Yeah, that’d go over REAL well.

He asked the pit bosses what time it was--which got him some exceedingly dirty looks, so he wandered deeper into the casino. There wasn’t even a clock in the cashier’s cage. The pretty girl with fishnet tights on and a tiny round tray in her hand couldn’t help him with the time of day, but she could offer to bring him a drink. Bobby took her up on the drink offer--only a double Scotch this time, since he judged that Gambit would be displeased if he’d been drinking TOO much.

In his quest to determine the hour of the day, Bobby found himself standing smack dab in front of a pair of glorious white marble columns at the entryway of the High Limit gambling area. Well, he’d put away two triples and a double Scotch and he was still walking, wasn’t he? If that wasn’t a high limit, Bobby didn’t know what was.

The man in the red-liveried uniform looked like the Avengers’ butler. Bobby swaggered up to him (or so he thought--stagger was a better word for it than swagger), and said, "Hi, Jarvis."

Jarvis looked at him as though he’d been wallowing in skunk piss, wrinkling his long thin nose. "This is the High Limit area, sir."

"Aw, don’t be so stuffy, Jarvis! I’m a in-vited guest at uh, whatzisname’s--uh, Sam Southingdale’s card game in de back." Bobby giggled; he’d said "the" just the way Remy did, and referring to Southingdale as his buddy Sam was sure to show this constipated old vulture guarding the gate that he was in with the in crowd.

Jarvis stood aside to reveal a hallway leading even deeper into the recesses of the High Limit exclusive corral. "Mr. Southingdale’s card room is the last door on the right, sir. Is there anything else you require?"

"Not a thing, Jarvis," Bobby chortled, tossing the gatekeeper a quarter and reeling down the corridor toward the inner sanctum. Maybe if he was lucky, ol’ Sam was REALLY holding an orgy back there, and he’d go back to Remy so oversexed that the Cajun would be begging HIM for some attention. Ah, life was good.

But Southingdale was only running a poker game back there, holding court in a surprisingly plain room. Well, it could have been a bit more posh; Bobby couldn’t tell for sure because of the

low-lying smoke cloud hanging over the room. He coughed in spite of himself.

Samuel saw Bobby standing in the doorway, and beckoned him to come join the game. Six or seven men and women sat around the table, all well-dressed, all smoking like chimneys, and all fiercely guarding their cards. Bobby stumbled over and seated himself in an empty chair across from Southingdale. He was dealt a hand of poker--a rather promising hand, in fact.

As the game continued, Bobby noticed that there were no chips on the table. Rather, each player had a pencil and a small note pad beside him or her. That was fine with Bobby; all accountants are great at adding and subtracting.

And for the very first time that day, Fortune smiled instead of shat upon the head of Robert Drake. He won several hands, racked up an impressive tally of numbers for himself, and saw several players begin to bow out of the game--until only he and Southingdale were left. He’d been playing with some rich people, and beat the crap out them (wait--the crap game was going on in the Low Limit area where the plebians were milling about and playing nickel slots). Bobby suppressed his grin. In an hour or two, he’d collect all this money he was winning and squire Remy to the best and most expensive restaurant in Vegas, buy him enough champagne to get him tipsy and in a sweet mood--then take him back to their room and ravish him until he begged Bobby for mercy or more, whichever came last.

"I’ll see your bet and raise you ten," Southingdale said calmly, completely unaware that Bobby Drake was getting ready to raid his bank account but GOOD.

Bobby had a great hand, a straight flush. "See ya and raise ya a hundred."

His opponent laid his cards on the table. "Do you hold more than this, Mr. Drake?"


Southingdale had a fucking royal flush.

Double shit.

"I guess this means I owe you, uh, "Bobby consulted his note pad. "About twelve hundred dollars."

"We have been playing in demoninations of a thousand dollars," Samuel said. "I believe that the amount in question is actually twelve hundred thousand dollars."

Bobby almost fainted.

Southingdale looked at him sadly, and asked if those former participants in the game who had stayed to view its outcome would please excuse him and Mr. Drake. When the room was empty, he asked, in an almost kindly voice, "Didn’t you know the amount of our wagers, Robert?"

Bobby was still stunned beyond belief. "Uh, no . . . ."

"That is a pity. It still doesn’t change the table stakes. I gather that you can’t cover your losses."

What could he do? Call Warren and ask for a loan? Confess to Professor X that he was indeed a moron and would he please let him borrow him a sum of money with a bunch of zeroes in it? Go upstairs and ask Remy to make Bobby’s bet right because he’d gotten in over his head?

"I could do your taxes for the next thousand years," he said lamely.

"A man in my position doesn’t pay taxes, my friend."

Bobby started to say something really doofussed like, "Uh, how’s this: If you’ll forget this, I won’t tell the IRS you haven’t been paying your taxes"--but suddenly sober, thought better of it.

"I believe we can settle this like gentlemen, Robert," Southingdale was saying somewhere in the distance. "Perhaps your young man would have dinner with me tonight."

Bobby’s head shot up. "What?"

"Your friend is stunning, Robert. I would enjoy his company at a meal this evening." He went on, as if he hadn’t just asked Bobby to cut out his own heart and eat it in front of him. "It’s nothing to alarm yourself over; I certainly can’t see myself as serious competition for him, or even begin to hope that I could lure him away from a much younger, handsomer man such as yourself, no matter that you and he seem have had a small disagreement at the moment."


"I couldn’t--"

"Only a few minutes of his time--that is all I ask, Robert. Here in the Giza dining room. I assure you that I will be a gentleman. I have no doubt that you can persuade him."




Bobby knocked on the door of his hotel room. There was no answer so he let himself in with his cardswipe key. He didn’t see Remy at first, but a pair of hands suddenly covered his eyes from behind.

"Who dat?"

Drake chuckled. "You’re going to have to do some real work on that Cajun accent if you plan to fool people with this little materialization trick of yours."

Remy stepped in front of him.

He was completely, gloriously nude.

Bobby let his eyes travel down over the Acadian, heaven walking around on two legs.

Remy grinned, a blatant invitation in those red eyes if there ever was one.

Bobby wished he hadn’t. He wished Remy was still mad at him; it’d make this easier. Trying to steady himself, he rested his hands on Remy’s hips. He only wanted to do one thing right now and breaking bad news wasn’t it.

LeBeau stepped into the circle of Bobby’s arms, planted his hands on his lover’s shoulders, and quickly kissed the tip of Drake’s nose. "Sorry I such a goon earlier," he whispered in that low purring-tomcat voice of his. "Shouldn’t a’ got dat mad atchoo, Bobby. F’give me?"

"Yeah. Sure."

He disengaged himself from Remy and went over to the wet bar, pouring himself a stiff drink.

" ‘Aven’t you already ‘ad ‘nough t’ drink, homme? I smell it on y’ before y’ even got de door open." Remy was puzzled. For once, he was in the mood and Bobby wasn’t. "We got a few hours yet b’fore dinner, Bobby. . . "

Yeah, like he’d have his wicked way with Remy, THEN say, "Oops--forgot to mention--I’ve lined up a dinner date for you. Hope you like him." He felt lower than a snake’s belly as it was. "I need you to do me a favor, Rem. A big one."

"Wha’ever y’ wan’, Bobby--jus’ name it." Remy had come around in front of him again, still naked and smiling like an angel.

"Look." Bobby caught him by the arms and pushed him onto the edge of the bed. "I did some gambling today."

"Dat no big deal." Remy shrugged. Of course he had no idea what it was like to lose at a game of chance. "How much y’ win?"

"I didn’t win. I lost. Big time."

"How big?"

"Six figures."

Remy whistled under his breath. "Y’ don’ have dat kinda money, Bobby."

"Tell me about it."

The Cajun brightened, still ignorant of exactly what had passed hands in that poker game. "It okay," Remy said. "Jus’ tell me how much y’ need an’ I make arrangements t’ pay off y’ hand. I got a couple million or so in play money here in de First National a’ Las Vegas."

"I couldn’t ask you to do that."

"It nothing, Bobby. I ‘ave plenty a’ money. Or if you point out de homme dat fleeced you,

ol’ Remy sit down wit’ him an’ win back de pot."

"He doesn’t want to play poker with you, Remy. He wants you to have dinner with him."

The Acadian wore this bewildered look that made Bobby feel like dirt. "Why I sudd’nly in dis equation, Drake? You de one who los’ de money. Why dis homme wan’ eat wit’ me?"


"He told me that he’d forget what I owe him if you’ll have dinner with him tonight"

For once, Bobby was glad that he didn’t understand French. He was certain that LeBeau was cursing him to high heaven, judging by the expression on Remy’s face, the fact that he was shouting (in French), and stalking about the room waving his hands. He caught a few "merdes", but the rest of it, he was sure he was better off not understanding the meaning of.

After an hour of swearing mightily (in French), LeBeau stamped off to the bathroom, and Drake heard the shower running.




Bobby sat miserably on the edge of the bathtub, watching Remy slip on a black dinner jacket and adjust his necktie. He looked breathtaking: Freshly shaven, his thick auburn hair pulled into a loose ponytail that spilled down his back, and wearing a crisp white shirt with silver cufflinks. Bobby wanted to throw him onto the bed, but he knew better than to approach him now.

"You don’t HAVE to go down there looking so good," Bobby whined.

Remy turned on him sharply. "Oh, yes, I do, M’sieu Drake," he hissed. "My pimp ‘as sold me for a great deal of money. We mustn’t disappoint de paying customer, non?"

"It’s just DINNER, for crying out loud!"

Remy didn’t answer him, only continued to dress immaculately as if he was on his way to get married or baptized.

"It’s not like he’s going to fuck you right there in the hotel dining room. He just wants to eat dinner with you--sheesh, you’re acting like I’ve put you on the auction block at the slave market!"

"You ‘AVE!" Remy suddenly shouted at him. "I don’ know dis Southingdale! Maybe I no’ wan’ t’ ‘ave t’ look at him while I trying t’ eat! Why you no’ jus’ ask me for de money? I’d a’ given it t’ you b’fore I do dis!"

"Sorry," Bobby muttered. "It was just a matter of pride. I couldn’t ask you for that much money."

"Non, but y’ COULD ask me t’ be a whore! Dat de kinda pride you ‘ave, Drake? One minute y’ tell me y’ love me more dan anyt’ing in de world, de next you han’ me over t’ a STRANGER!!!!! Why you no’ come up here first an’ tell me wha’ you done before you sell me? You could ‘ave at least given me a CHOICE!"

"Look, I’ll go downstairs and try to talk to Sam again--"

"So you on a firs’-name basis wit’ de john, hah? No, you done ‘NUFF talking today, Bobby! The trick paid too much f’ Remy LeBeau t’ come t’ him looking like a bum! He gonna get his money’s worth!"

"I told him you’d ONLY have dinner with him!"

"Only dinner? Remy been sold f’ de entire night f’ less change dan dat, b’lieve me! But when I a chile on de streets, selling myself an’ bein’ sold, at least none a’ my whoremasters ever claimed t’ love me!"




Bobby’s misery only compounded like interest as dinner went on. He sat across the room from Remy and his dinner date, where he could see them, but (he hoped) they couldn’t see him. To keep the maitre d’ happy, he’d ordered dinner for himself, but didn’t feel like eating. At least it was a slow night in the Giza dining room, so he hadn’t been rushed or bothered by the waiter asking him any questions.

If Remy was equally miserable (and Bobby sincerely hoped he was), he gave no sign of it. He sat opposite Samuel Southingdale at the best table in the house--smiling, charming, and so drop-dead gorgeous that if Southingdale had left him alone for a second, he would have had no shortage of other offers.

Dinner was a slow affair, with a few hundred courses, an incredible dessert cart, and coffee afterwards. Of course, Remy and his companion put away plenty of fine wine.

‘As long as it’s not champagne,’ Bobby told himsef. ‘He can’t get drunk on anything except champagne.’

As the waiter passed him on the way to the cellar to exchange the Southingdale party’s empty wine bottle for a full one, Bobby snagged his glance and said, "I’ll have a bottle of the same wine they’re drinking."

The waiter gave him a snooty look and said, "Mr. Southingdale and his guest are having Dom Perignon, sir."

"Err--is that champagne?"

"Yes, sir. The best."

Black Burning Hell!


"Oh. In that case, I’d like just a glass of it, please."


Bobby was more than ready when Remy and Samuel pushed their chairs away from the table and stood up. He all but ran over to the pair, grabbed LeBeau’s arm, and said, "Okay, Sam, you’ve collected your bet. Time for us to turn in now, right, Remy?"

The Cajun abrupty gave him a curt shove. "No’ so fast, Drake. M’Sieu Southingdale invite me up f’ after-dinner drink. See y’ later. Maybe."

At the risk of provoking a scene, Bobby raised his voice as much as he dared. "I thought you didn’t like this guy, Remy!"

"I said I didn’t KNOW y’ friend. Now dat I do, I t’ink I take him up on his offer f’ a nightcap. Don’ wait up."




"Nice digs," Remy said, looking around him as Samuel ushered him into his splendid suite of rooms at the Giza Hotel. If this wasn’t the Presidential Suite, it had to be the Absolute Dictator For Life Of The Whole Planet Suite. Yet, Remy felt badly: He could only torture Bobby for a very brief period of time before he would inevitably begin feeling guilty for it.

"I require the best," Southingdale said simply. "I suppose you wish to return to your friend now."

Remy nodded. "I sorry, M’Sieu. T’ank you for de nice dinner."

"Not at all. You were very kind to me, Mr. LeBeau. I had no right to ask this of you, and I hope you’ll forgive me."

"F’get it," Remy said, turning toward the door. "I better go now." He figured that Bobby had learned his lesson by now, and simmered in his own juices quite long enough.

"Please show me one more kindness," Southingdale said. "Share a last drink with me."

Remy felt even guiltier. Samuel had treated him to an excellent dinner, and deserved better than being a pawn in a point he was trying to make to Bobby.

"I suppose I’m correct in assuming that we won’t see each other again?"

Remy sat down on the couch and held out his hand for the drink Southingdale proffered. Sipping it, he said, "I hate doing dis t’ you, M’Sieu--hope I didn’t lead y’ on."

"Not at all, my boy. Obviously, you care a great deal for our impetuous Mr. Drake. I confess I have wondered why you are with him."

Remy felt a flash of anger that Southingdale was making conjectures on something as personal as his relationship with Bobby. Their dinner conversation had consisted of light superficial small talk, and he had no desire to deepen it now--or ever.

"I ‘ave to leave," he said, setting his drink down on the side table.

"I don’t think so," Southingdale answered as his face began to change shape.

Remy blinked. Was he more intoxicated than he thought? He could swear that he was looking at a different man from the one he’d accompanied back to his hotel suite. This man was no less tall and powerfully-built than Samuel, but now he was bald on top, with grizzly salt-and-pepper curls on the sides, muttonchop sideburns, and a short ponytail in back, his face more handsome, far more cruel.

And was it his imagination, or was the room FALLING?

The man who used to be Samuel Southingdale crossed to the couch, slid a muscular arm around Remy’s shoulders and held the wine glass to his mouth, bruising his lips and forcing him to drink more of the wine. "Drink it all, dear boy. You should be a great deal more sedated than you are."

Remy tried to move, tried to strike out at the man he now knew to be an enemy, but a heavy torpor was creeping over his limbs; he couldn’t even block the drugged wine flowing over his tongue or the strong hands that stroked his throat to make him swallow.

"Who?" he croaked, almost choking on the liquid being pushed on him.

"Hush, don’t struggle so; you might get hurt and neither of us want that, do we?" the man said. "This entire room is in actuality an elevator. When I built the new tower additions to the Giza pyramid, I had prepared for just such a serendipitous capture as this. We’re on our way to the underground complex, one of our newest bases of operation."

Remy squirmed in his arms, trying to look more closely at his face. Southingdale let him push himself up with his elbows on the older man’s chest to look him in the eye. "You really should read the X-Men files more attentively, Gambit. Now that I’ve switched off my image transducer, I expected that you’d recognize me immediately. Professor Xavier would be very peeved with you for playing hooky and not studying your lessons. I’m certain that there must be a dossier on me somewhere at your little haven in Westchester."

The man knew who he was?! Remy felt his heart sinking, along with Samuel’s hotel room.

"Do the names Sebastian Shaw and the Hellfire Club ring any bells?"




As he feared, Remy didn’t come back to him.

Bobby spent a couple of hours beating himself up, then decided to go have it out with Remy. Even if the Cajun left him for good, at least he would be out of limbo; he’d know one way or the other how Remy felt about him. Once he got out in the hallway, he renewed his self-immolation: He didn’t even know where Southingdale’s room was!

So Bobby went to the registration desk, smiled winningly at the pretty desk clerk, and asked her what Samuel Southingdale’s room number was.

Well, ordinarily they didn’t give out that kind of information but just this once, just for him ‘cause he was such a nice guy, she checked the computer.

There was no Samuel Southingdale registered at the Giza Hotel.




Remy awakened only slowly. He didn’t particularly want to wake up; he vaguely remembered that he was a prisoner, and those scenarios were rarely pleasant. He was having a much better time in his dream: In the dreamscape, he was rolling in bed with someone he cared deeply for--Rogue, Bobby, Bella Donna? He couldn’t see the dream lover that clearly: He tried to reach out to him or her, but couldn’t move his hands. Something cold touched his chest, must be Bobby . . .


And then the blindfold was removed from his eyes, and he was suddenly wide awake.

The woman standing over him gave him an indifferent appraisal as she tightened his restraints.


"Isn’t he ready yet?" A man’s voice, impatient and distantly familiar.

Remy looked up at the woman, trying to reach her with his charm power. It’d only take him two seconds to melt any woman into mush; she’d be his accomplice and helpmate--

"Not quite. I’m making the final adjustments to the EKG."

(Somet’ing wrong. She not fazed by de charm power!)

EKG? That was that machine Hank McCoy used when he wanted to check someone’s heart. Remy managed to turn his head enough to see a similar device beside the bed to which he was cuffed.

The woman opened the silk gown he was wearing

(Had she undressed him?)

and began to attach more electrodes at various points along his chest, and another to his left foot to ground him.

(She kinda cute.)

Remy shivered when the cool room air met his bare chest and abdomen, not to mention the cold gel that made the electrodes stick to his skin.

"I don’t want too many of those electrodes cluttering the bed. I want to look at him."

(Hey! I don’ mind HER lookin’ at me--YOU de one who can get lost, Shaw!)

"Sir." The woman picked up her notebook. "You ordered him monitored for this. Do you have your earpiece in?"

Sebastian Shaw walked around into Remy’s line of vision. He was wearing a cashmere robe and carrying a snifter of what smelled like some excellent brady, a cigar in his other hand. Setting down the cigar in a gold ashtray

(Whoa--I can steal dat ashtray on my way out!)

He checked his left ear. "Yes, Prima, my earpiece is in and functioning perfectly."

"Very good, sir. We will notify you from the laboratory if his heart becomes erratic or weakened and you must cease your activities in order to preserve the subject’s life."

"Can he speak?" Shaw demanded. "Can he scream?"

"I assume he can, sir. The sedatives do have a propensity for causing dryness of the mouth and throat, so it is probably painful for him to attempt to speak now. I expect that will improve if you would give him something to drink."

"Good idea." Shaw leaned against the antique table, gazing at Remy over the rim of the glass. The Cajun was still befuddled from the sedatives, pulling weakly at the padded restraints holding his wrists apart and looking around him, trying to get his bearings. A very attractive mutant, certainly. And powerful, that strong young body just brimming with power. Cunning, too, by all the reports Shaw had read. But not cunning enough to best Sebastian Shaw’s careful planning of his capture and imprisonment. He’d spun a tempting web to attract his flies: Where better than in Las Vegas? Even mutants need vacations. The Hellfire Club had drones in many travel agencies; it was only a matter of time before one or more of the X-Men would venture to the Nevada desert, and those agencies (which Shaw jokingly called Fly Hellfire) would offer tempting trip packages to the Giza Hotel. Shaw missed London, but he was glad he’d been in Vegas just in time to give this prize catch his undivided attention. Of course he would return to London later, and take Gambit with him. But they had immediate business with each other just now.

"You may leave, Prima," Shaw said. "I will call for you later; the boy will undoubtedly require care."

When the woman had gone, Shaw walked to the bed, lifted the Cajun’s head, and held his glass of brandy for Remy to sip. The Cajun sniffed cautiously at the glass, which made Sebastian smile. "You needn’t fear drugs again, LeBeau. Now that I have your power-dampening restraints locked in place, there is no further need to sedate you, unless I choose to for my own pleasure. The restraints are also designed to keep you slightly off-balance mentally. Even if the locks could be picked, you won’t be able to summon the focus or coordination to do it."


Sebastian wasn’t bothered in the least that Remy didn’t speak to him then. He just went on with his welcome speech, permitting Remy to take small sips of his brandy. "Clever of you to try to use your charm power on Prima. Another of your many little tricks that I know exactly how to circumvent. She’s an android, LeBeau--just like all my ‘employees’ at this site; the charm will have no effect on any of them. It has, however, sharpened MY interest in you quite considerably."

He sat down beside Remy, still nursing his drink, and pulled the blankets over the younger man’s body. "Cold is only one weapon I can use against you, child. I know how you fear it. There are many, many more unpleasant things I can to do to you, and I hope you’ll be sensible and give me no reason to explore other such options. For now, I’d like to make you a very lucrative proposal."

"I list’nin’," Remy whispered.

"As I hope you’ve recalled by this time, I’m the Black King of the Hellfire Club, quite possibly the oldest secret society in the world. Your fellow X-Men Warren Worthington and Elizabeth Braddock are also members of the Hellfire Club, but they are not members of the Inner Circle. To be chosen as a member of Hellfire requires a great deal of wealth and breeding--the latter of which an orphan of the gutter such as yourself can never aspire to, no matter how much money you manage to steal. I’m offering you a great honor, Remy LeBeau. I’m offering you the right to stand beside me as the White King--next to myself, the most powerful member of the Hellfire Club."

"Dat mighty gen’rous a’ y’, Shaw," Remy rasped. "But it make ol’ Gambit wonder jus’ dis: What in it f’ YOU?"

"Ever trying to figure out the angle, aren’t you, Gambit? Very astute. Of course I want something from you; I admit it freely. Your mutant power is that of generating kinetic energy within your body and charging other objects with that energy. MY mutant power is that of absorbing kinetic energy, and using it to make myself stronger."

"I can’ charge anyt’ing living."

"I don’t have to be ‘charged’, as you so simply put it, to absorb your power, LeBeau. I only need take it from you. Your restraints will prevent your willful use of those kinetic energies; they serve the function of ‘uncoupling’ those energies from your conscious mind. That doesn’t mean you’ve lost your powers, merely that they will not obey you. They will obey ME, however, once I take them from you and absorb them into myself. All I have to do is be CLOSE to you. The closer I can bring your body to mine, the more intimate the contact between us, the more of your energy I can absorb."

"Y’ wan’ me t’ screw y’?"

"Don’t be ridiculous, boy. I have in mind just the opposite activity."

"So de Black King wan’ fuck de White King t’ get all his power?"

"How much closer than that could we possibly be, you and I?"

Remy shook his head. "Right offhand, I can’ t’ink a’ anyt’ing else dat fit de bill if it be as you say; tell y’ what: I ponder ‘bout it an’ sen’ you a letter one a’ dese days. But de offer no’ very temptin’; de White King sound more like de White Catamite."

"It doesn’t have to be that way. I might just prefer to take you as a lover does, not as a rapist. To have you willing. To have you enjoy it also, to give me your kinetic power of your own choice." He leaned closer. "What is your answer?"

Remy spat in his face. "DAT my answer, you bloodsucker! You t’ink I let you fuck me like de spoils a’ war?!" He suddenly kicked out with his long legs, which weren’t restrained, pulling the ground electrode off and catching Shaw square in the midriff. Would have kicked him lower, if Shaw had been leaning just a little more closer.

"You let me loose or I bring dis place down ‘round y’ ears, Shaw!"

The Black King grunted, clutching his gut, but recovered quickly and pounced on Remy, grabbing his ankles and easily separating them. "Hit me all you like, Gambit," he growled. "Please do hit me--I’ll only get stronger for it!" Kneeling between Remy’s thrashing legs, he slid a thick pillow under Remy’s hips and pulled the gown completely open before untying the sash of his own robe. "I knew all along you wouldn’t accept me--I’d even hoped for your refusal--because I’ll enjoy having you THIS way so much more than if you’d cooperated. Scream as much as you can, child--I love seeing and hearing some spirit in my conquests!"

Keeping Remy pinned under his weight, Shaw slid a heavy hand over the smooth chest, lingering at the nipples. He smiled as they stiffened under his touch, then he bent to take one of those exquisite little bumps gently between his teeth, rolling his tongue around it, sucking carefully to make the nipple fully erect. Sebastian toyed briefly with the idea of biting into the nipple, then decided against it: This captive was too valuable to maim. It was such a pity to have to keep him bound; Shaw yearned to feel those sinewy arms wrapped around him--but it was only prudent to tie the prisoner until he yielded.


And Sebastian was certain that he would yield. Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow night, but there WOULD come a night when Remy LeBeau would be drunk with ecstasy--not with alcohol or drugs or biogradient fields, but with the skill and power of Sebastian Shaw: He would become the Black King’s ardent lover.


And power supply.

Shaw had studied the young Cajun quite extensively. He doubted that the child had any idea how powerful he really was, or just how much kinetic energy he was capable of producing. Shaw knew, if one can in any way quantify "limitless". Of course, the Acadian couldn’t summon all that power at once; he would need rest to keep himself recharged, but once a brief refractory period was over, he could expend even more biocharges. Shaw’s own mutant power was considerable; he felt he could absorb and store up all the kinetic energy Gambit could release--but there was no sense in risking an overload. No, he would take this process gradually. LeBeau wouldn’t give him the power willingly just yet, but his restraints coupled the kinetic energy to his sexual energy rather than his conscious mind: To bring the young man to sexual release would also cause the release of those kinetic energies Shaw coveted. And what a pleasant means of attaining such power.

Remy moaned in spite of his determination not to: Shaw was damned good at this. The man had moved his head lower, licking his way across Remy’s stomach and into his groin, taking Remy’s cock into his mouth and sucking it with such force and finesse that it hardened almost instantly into a full erection. Remy didn’t WANT to be aroused by his kidnapper, didn’t WANT to give Shaw the satisfaction of knowing that his attentions had caused his penis to become so engorged that he was reduced to trying to recall all the ingredients in Tante Mattie’s best gumbo to prevent himself from ejaculating like Mount Saint Helens.

But Shaw was tireless and Remy wasn’t.


The younger mutant was panting raggedly when the Black King’s face covered his own and Remy tasted the salt of his own tears and semen as Shaw’s tongue pushed its way between his teeth. Remy tried to bite, but a huge hand suddenly cupped his chin and forced his jaws apart so that Shaw was able to violate his mouth without fear of having his tongue bitten off. But even as Shaw leisurely kissed Remy, his other hand was slipping a cock ring over Remy’s penis and his knee was firmly lodged between the prisoner’s thighs to keep his legs separated.


And keeping those long legs apart was even easier than it had been an hour ago: Sebastian’s body fairly glowed with the infusion of kinetic energy he had absorbed from the Cajun. He felt radiant, strong, as if he could uproot a tree with his bare hands. It made the captive even easier to handle, too. Shaw inserted one well-lubricated finger into the young man; ah, he was tight, but so hot it was all Sebastian could manage to refrain from shoving his own cock into Remy right then with no preparation. But he held himself back, well aware that he could kill the child if he didn’t stretch and lubricate him first, given that the Acadian was resisting his advancing fingers.


So he continued to fingerfuck Remy until he was certain that the Cajun could withstand his size. LeBeau was hung like a stallion and still hard as a rock (painfully so) thanks to the cock ring, but he had the tightest, sweetest little ass Shaw had ever had the pleasure of exploring.


"Let me ask you: How long do you intend to keep resisting me?" Shaw muttered.



Then Shaw was inside him, his cock huge and pumping like a piston engine. He massaged Remy as he pounded into him, utterly relentless, seeking his captive’s release as well as his own. It went on forever, and the X-Man was enveloped by the Black King’s lust and greed.


Remy cried out even as Shaw grunted and his heavy body collapsed over the younger mutant’s slim frame.

And while Shaw settled from his last shudders of passion and began to show signs of starting all over again, Remy turned his head to the side, the tears he had tried to block spilled over his cheekbones, and he silently thought, "THIS--wasted on HIM."




Bobby Drake was quickly becoming desperate. He had tried to have patience, had waited over an hour more for Remy to show his face, but there was no sign of him. He went to the Registration Desk again--to ask if his companion had left a message for him, and received the answer:

"Companion? According to the computer, you checked in alone, Mr. Drake."

Bobby felt the blood draining out of his head and chest. There had to be a logical explanation. "May I have an itemized print-out of my account, please?"

Walking a few steps from the concierge desk, Bobby studied his hotel bill so far. The room occupancy was for one adult--in spite of the fact that he and Remy had checked in together for one room with a king-sized bed. Each charge for meals in the restaurant or from room service was for one person only. Even the stupid movie with the two women and their prize bull was missing from the tab; Remy had ordered it with his guest card number.

It was as if someone was trying to erase all record of Remy’s presence from Las Vegas.




"Mr. Shaw, the subject’s heart rate has become irregular and he is in atrial flutter. If his blood pressure drops much more, he will go into shock and atrial fibrillation. I suggest that you cease your activities for now."

"Shut up, Prima!"

Sebastian pulled out his earpiece and threw it across the room. He had raped LeBeau dozens of times already, using the kinetic energy to sustain his own sexual energy, and his heavy body was glowing like a halogen lamp. But the more energy he absorbed, the more he wanted, so he continued to brutally take the prisoner, mainlining on him. The Cajun had long ago lost all consciousness, but Sebastian didn’t stop just because of that: his prisoner’s body was young and just bursting with hormones; it never failed to come to orgasm, all of its own accord, and release all that wonderful cum and kinetic energy.


Shaw made a mental note to have Prima dismantled. She was in the room with them now, and his own erection faded at the sight of the mechanical watchdog. He had had the thing built before he realized how horny the prisoner made him, and now resented any inhibition of his enjoyment.


"Sir, you have programmed us to protect the subject’s life. It is imperative that you feed and rest him now."

That made Sebastian laugh. "Feed and rest him?! Bloody Hell, Prima, you make him sound like a pet pony!" He put his ear to the young man’s chest, listening to his heart. "All right, you rusty bag of bolts, I’ll feed my little pony and then I’ll ride him to my heart’s content!"

He gave some orders, then went to shower and shave. While he was in the bathroom, Shaw stepped on his scale to weigh, and was most pleased to see that he had gained nearly a hundred pounds and was now three inches taller: The kinetic energy had stimulated his muscles to bulk out and become even denser. He was a powerfully-built man to begin with, and now more than ever. But not as powerful yet as he was going to be.

Rewrapping his robe, Shaw ambled into the dining room of his underground lair. The androids didn’t require food, but they could certainly be programmed to prepare it. His robotic chef Pierre was waiting to escort him to his table. "What are the specials for the night, Maestro?" Sebastian asked.

"Escargot in puff pastry for starters, sir. For the main course I have a very nice glazed swordfish with saffron rice, asparagus almondine with bernaise sauce, mushroom and brie pate’, and for desert, I’ve made creme brulee’ with fresh raspberries. I have prepared a wine list for your perusal with my recommendations."

"Very good, Pierre. But I think I’ll skip the creme brulee’--just send a small basket of those berries with perhaps some lemon sauce."

Shaw sat down at the mahogany table. It was a magnificent piece, hand-carved from a giant solid block of wood, with chairs to match. His unwilling guest sat beside him, shackled to his chair by the special restraints that kept his kinetic powers uncoupled and his wrists and ankles bound to the arms and legs of the chair. He had been bathed and dressed in a fresh nightshirt and robe: Shaw liked the look of ivory-hued silk against Remy’s pale skin, auburn hair, and exotic eyes. The young man was beautiful enough to make him briefly consider cannabalism; he looked that delicious.

Sebastian also congratulated himself on his design for the restraints. There was no accessible locking mechanism; it was all remote computer-controlled so that the talented thief couldn’t pick his way out of his bonds. He had prepared for everything.

The Acadian dropped his head as Shaw’s hand closed over his long, elegant fingers, letting a fanfall of auburn hair hide his face. "Now, now," Sebastian chided, smoothing Remy’s hair away from his face. "We’ll have none of that." He suddenly grabbed the Cajun’s chin and tilted his head up to face him. "I enjoy looking upon you, beautiful one. And YOU will have to learn not to deny me."

Remy pulled his head away from Shaw’s grasp, only to yelp in pain as his captor’s strong hand embedded itself in his crown of thick soft hair and yanked his head back where it was. "I’ve ordered an excellent dinner for us, Remy. Come now, let’s be more positive about our relationship."

"WHAT relationship? I wan’ not’ing t’ do wit you."

"We have a relationship, LeBeau. We just haven’t finished defining it yet."

"You open dese cuffs, I define t’ings ‘tween us right now."

Shaw smiled. "I’ll determine when you can be freed of your bonds. And sadly, it’s not going to be for quite some time, given your recalcitrant attitude."

"Wha’ you ‘spect? Dat I jus’ roll over an’ let you fuck me any ol’ time you wan’, dat what you t’ink I gon’ do?" Remy’s entire body was trembling with anger, and Sebastian felt himself beginning to stir again. "At firs’ I t’ink maybe I play ‘long wit’ you, getcha t’ let down y’ guard ‘round me an’ get careless. But de price of even dat much cooperation wit’ de likes a’ you be too high t’ pay. ‘Sides, I don’ t’ink I can kiss you wit’out barfing."

"Let’s be civilized at the dinner table, LeBeau. I think you’ll enjoy the menu." Shaw gestured for Pierre to bring the dinner on. It brought several platters of very fine food from the kitchen, which it set before the Black King.

"I no’ hungry." Again, the dark hair slid over the handsome face to hide it from Shaw’s eyes.

"Don’t eat as a favor to me, boy. Do it to keep your strength up. Believe me, I have no qualms about having you force-fed."

He appreciated the sudden flicker of fear in those red eyes. "Ah, you’ve been force-fed before, haven’t you? Your friend Nathaniel Essex, I presume? Then you know exactly how unpleasant it can be."

When Remy didn’t answer him, he went on. "I can arrange for intravenous feeding for you, too."

The Cajun blanched at that one. "Okay, I eat. Tell y’ robots t’ bring me a plate an’ a knife an’ fork, den you loose me from de chair."

"That won’t be necessary." Sebastian lifted a pastry-coated escargot from its ramekin and held it to Remy’s mouth, the rich melted garlic butter dribbling from his fingers. "Open wide like a good boy."

"Dis’s silly--"

Shaw slapped him. "You’ll eat from my hand or through your veins."

Remy closed his eyes as Shaw placed the morsel into his mouth. "That’s it, darling," the Black King crooned. He slid his fingers into Remy’s mouth after the Cajun swallowed the food. "Taste the garlic butter--it’s delicious."

The Acadian tried to pull away. "Can’ I hold de fork m’self--"

"No." Shaw slapped him again. "Hand-feeding is our rule, remember? I want you to suck my fingers clean after every bite, do you understand?"


Another slap, just for good measure.

Remy didn’t answer him, nor did he lick Sebastian’s fingers.

Shaw decided to let him get away with it--just this once.

After an extremely torturous dinner for the Acadian, Sebastian amused himself by feeding Remy the fresh berries. "I ad’ ‘nough--" Remy had tried to say.

To which Shaw answered, "I will decide when you’ve had enough. In EVERY respect of our life together. Is that clear?"


Remy opened his mouth for the raspberries, fed to him one at a time.


Sebastian drank his after-dinner brandy while Remy sat quietly. The Black King knew that he was studying the special cuffs that disconnected his powers from him and kept him fettered. Fine. Let him. Not that it’d do him any good. Finishing his drink, Shaw said conversationally, "Did you notice that I didn’t share the raspberries with you, dear boy?"

No answer.

"I always have dessert, you know," Sebastian continued. "I enjoy something sweet to close my dinner. My chef android Pierre asked if I would have a creme brulee’ as my dessert, but I chose to refrain, even though he is unrivalled as a pastry and dessert chef." He walked around the table to stand behind Remy’s chair, his hands massaging the Cajun’s shoulders. "Your muscles are too tight, child," he said. "One might think you were stressed by your circumstances. Anyway, I was discussing my sweet tooth, wasn’t I?" He pulled Remy’s chair away from the table and stood before it, slowly unbelting the robe. Then he unfastened the silk ties of the nightshirt, one by one, teasing himself by revealing Remy’s body only a little at a time, until the gown and robe were opened and the young mutant’s chest, abdomen, and thighs were bared to Shaw’s appraisal.

"Lovely," Sebastian muttered thickly as he trailed his hand from Remy’s throat to his crotch. "You have the softest skin; it feels unusual--this skin over muscles like yours," The hand lingered over Remy’s pectoral muscles, then his navel--a nice little innie belly button set like a jewel in that washboard abdomen. He knelt in front of the younger man, running his tongue along the same path that his hands took, then wrapped his arms around Remy’s thighs.


Oh, no. Not IT again.

"Sir. My programing has recognized a element you may wish to concern yourself with."


Shaw ignored Prima’s nagging.

He wanted his dessert.


"Damn you--what is it THIS time?!"

"Gambit was accompanied to Las Vegas by his X-Men teammate, The Iceman, who remains at large above us in the Giza Hotel."

"Forget him," Shaw grunted. "He’s a buffoon."

Remy laughed. "Maybe so, but he MY buffoon an’ he still a t’ousan’ times de man YOU are!"

"You don’t say?" Sebastian lifted his head from Remy’s lap to look into the dancing crimson eyes above him. "I’ve been meaning to ask you: Why were you wasting your time and your body on that simpleton? He’s a joke."

"Den why I rather be in his bed dan yours?"

"It’s a moot question, LeBeau--seeing as how I intend to hold you for the rest of your life."

"An’ askin’ why I wan’ be wit’ Bob Drake ‘stead a’ you be a moot question, too!"


Shaw slapped him, the hardest open-handed blow yet. "In case you haven’t figured it out for yourself by now, boy: I’ll strike you whenever you say anything I do not wish to hear."

"Nex’ you be rubbing my nose in it an’ pop me ‘tween de ears wit’a rolled-up newspaper, eh?"

"You are beginning to annoy me considerably with your needling. You should be taking your captivity more seriously."

"Y’ c’n dish it out but y’ can’ take it, c’n y’, Blackie? If I so much touble, how ‘bout callin’ upstairs an’ invitin’ Drake down here t’ take me off y’ hands?"


Sebastian was gritting his teeth together so hard that his jaws hurt. The wretched child was laughing at him! Furious, he pulled the tablecloth off the table, scattering food, tableware, and silver setting pieces all over the room.

"Ooooh, he havin’ a fit now," Remy chortled.


Snarling, Shaw opened the hasps that kept the special restraints bolted to the massive chair and grabbed LeBeau by the arms. The Cajun threw back his beautiful head and laughed and laughed. Well, let’s see him laugh now! Sebastian picked him up, flung him onto the top of the table, then leapt aboard, raped him like no tomorrow and sucked his cock until Remy was ejaculating blood.




Interesting that nobody in the Giza Hotel could remember seeing a tall, handsome, auburn-haired man who wore mirrored sunglasses even in the darkeness of the casino. Bobby had described Remy to what seemed like hundreds of people, asking if they had seen him and where. Everyone agreed that they would certainly remember someone who looked like that, but couldn’t recall that they had. Bobby hadn’t started to doubt his own sanity yet, though; HE remembered seeing LeBeau very well, and was looking to attract attention to himself in order to get an idea where and with whom to find Remy. He was certain of foul play by now: Remy wouldn’t have just LEFT him without at least a parting jab.

He was stalking around in the casino, checking the entrances and exits, looking for suspicious individuals and any sort of clues he could pick up, when he distinctly heard his own name amid the chaos of the gambling arena: "Mr. Drake."

Bobby whirled in the direction of the well-modulated voice. It belonged to a young man about his own age, maybe a little older, who sat alone at a closed blackjack table. And a very good-looking young man at that. Clearly Eurasian, with pale skin and deep almond-shaped green eyes. He was tall and slim, with an easy elegance that reminded Bobby of Remy, dressed in an expensive, perfectly tailored suit. His long black hair was an unruly cockscomb that seemed an odd contrast with his impeccable suit. Seeing that he had Bobby’s attention, the stranger steepled his slender fingers, rested his chin on them, and smiled. That was where the attraction stalled: The smile, while gorgeous, was icier than Bobby’s powers. "Have a seat." He gestured to the chair across the table from him. "You seem to be looking for someone."

Wonderful, Bobby thought: At least I’m getting hit on by the young guys by now. "Look," he said politely. "Maybe another time, okay?"

"Excuse me?" The young Eurasian seemed puzzled.

"Uh. I’m sorry. I was thinking of something else, okay? I don’t mean to be rude, but--"

The stranger waved a dismissive hand. "I apologize, Mr. Drake. I should have been more forthcoming. You’ve lost your companion Remy LeBeau somewhere in this sprawling hotel. I’m here to help."

"Who are you?" Bobby sat down quickly, his heart racing.


Another smile, just as cold and calcuating as the first. "We’ll save that as a surprise for a later time, shall we? For now, I will tell you that your friend has indeed been carried off by the devil."

Bobby felt the blood draining from his upper body and into his feet. "Mr. Sinister--?"

"Well, not THAT devil. But there are several devils walking to and fro about the Earth, you know." The young man suddenly hissed between his teeth: Bobby had taken his hand in his own, and let his temperature drop.

"I don’t have time to play guessing games with you," he growled at the stranger, amping up the cold just a little. "I just want my friend back. Tell me what you know--right now."

"Again, I apologize." The young man gingerly removed his hand from Bobby’s grip. "I was enjoying the conversation. Your friend was taken by someone with good reason to be very interested in him. I in turn have good reason to ensure this person’s failure in any scheme he undertakes." He leaned back and lit a cigarette for himself. "Your pretty Gambit isn’t far from us, and he’s alive."

Bobby let out a breath in spite of himself.


"Allow me to introduce myself," the young Eurasian said. "I am Shinobi Shaw. My dear old dad Sebastian Shaw--"

"The Black King of the Hellfire Club," Bobby said slowly, all of it suddenly making sense. "His mutant power is to absorb kinetic energy and make himself more powerful. He’s taken Remy to absorb the kinetic energy he produces."

"Sherlock!" Shinobi smiled. "Daddy built this hotel as one of Hellfire’s legitimate businesses. He’s been looking for an opportunity to get his hands on your cute Cajun. It’s why you got such a good deal on your travel package, Drake. He’s got an underground complex beneath the new towers of the Giza Hotel, a nice little nest he’s been wanting to show Gambit for some time--he needs intimate contact with your friend to absorb that kind of power level. I’ll warn you that Dad is a very . . . versatile man. He doesn’t care if he’s bedding a female or male." A dark look passed across Shinobi’s face, and Bobby understood it all instantly.

"You hate your father," he said slowly, feeling very sorry for Shinobi. "You’re helping me to get back at him."

"Of course I hate him!" Shinobi spat. "After my mother died, I was only good for one thing as far as Dad was concerned! I may not be a goody-two-shoes hero like you X-Men, but I’m not going to idly stand by while he does that to someeone else! I’ve killed him before, and someday I WILL kill him thoroughly enough to make sure the old bastard STAYS dead, but I haven’t the power right now to take him upon direct confrontation. However, I think YOU are--if half of what I’ve heard about you is true."

"Fair enough," said Bobby. He leaned over to quickly kiss Shinobi, just because he wanted to, and because this poor creature needed one kind kiss on his lips. "I’m in your debt, Shinobi."




Sebastian Shaw awoke in his bed with his skin crawling, in spite of the fact that he was holding his Cajun prisoner folded against his chest. Gambit was still asleep, his wrists cuffed before him in the uncoupling bands, exhausted from the siege in the dining room. The Cajun’s body was warm and he was breathing, but Shaw’s back was cold. Wrapping Remy snugly in the blankets, Sebastian got up and went to investigate.


"Prima, why is it so cold in here?" he asked the android when he opened the door to his operating center. The metal walls were damp with condensation, frosty at the floors and ceiling. Shaw thought that the air-conditioning system was overworking.

"Cold, sir?" Prima was wearing the same expression she always did, that blank, unblinking gaze. "We are not programmed to feel ambient temperature variances, Mr. Shaw." Sure enough, the other androids in the complex were moving around and working according to their built-in instructions. "However, there have been several calls from the hotel complaining about the air-conditioning being too cold for the employees and guests."

"Why wasn’t I informed of this?" Sebastian demanded, suddenly beginning to smell a chilly little mutant rat running about in the maze above them.

"Your directions were explicit, sir. You are not to be disturbed when you are alone with your guest unless his condition becomes unstable." The android had never looked more like a machine than she did now. Shaw decided to hire humans next time, even if he couldn’t write them off as equipment expenditures.

He dialed the number of the hotel manager, a human--but one who didn’t know that his employer was a mutant well-connected to the infamous Hellfire Club. "Smith, what’s going on up there?"

"We don’t know, Mr. Shaw. Maintenance hasn’t been able to find anything wrong with the

air-conditioning and cooling systems, but pipes are freezing and bursting all over the hotel, the heating systems aren’t responding, guests are checking out to the other hotels, we’ve got ICE forming everywhere and we can’t find out where it’s coming from."

"Listen to me," Sebastian said carefully. "There is a Robert Drake registered in room 2356. Evict him from the hotel--NOW!"

He got a call-back from Smith within minutes. "Mr. Shaw, Drake isn’t in his room and Security hasn’t been able to determine his whereabouts. Do you think he sabotaged our thermostats, sir? The hotel is icing over inside and out, the roofs of both towers and several floors have collapsed under the weight of the ice, so far the main pyramid is holding up but there are GLACIERS on the sides of it, we’re all freezing, nobody has ever seen anything like it, we’ve got damage in the millions, reporters crawling all over the place asking why this is happening--"

Shaw hung up.


He knew damn well why it was happening.

Well, let Drake make an igloo out of the Giza if he wanted: He wasn’t going to take his Cajun playpretty back now or ever. "Prima, have my jet prepared for takeoff and tell my chaffeur to bring bring my car around. I’ve decided to return to London."

She didn’t respond. Sebastian looked over at the android: She was frozen solid, ice glistening on the side of her face. A loud metallic CRACK within her body told Sebasian that her internal works couldn’t withstand the freezing temperature. The rest of the complex would be shutting down shortly; all the androids were already destroyed.

Thank goodness the phone still worked. Shaw got on the horn and called his chaffeur, who was at least human and more than willing to bring the Rolls to the subterranean garage and drive his employer to the Vegas airport. Sebastian went to get LeBeau.

Remy was still in bed, shivering and blue with cold, but Shaw could almost see his smile trying to form under the adhesive tape that covered his mouth (Sebastian had gotten tired of LeBeau’s constant goading and elected to gag the captive until he ceased his backtalking). He held his cuffed wrists out and made a sound in his throat whose meaning couldn’t be mistaken. "Not on your life!" Sebastian snarled, scooping Remy out of the bed and into his arms, blankets and all. "Drake isn’t getting you back--not even if he freezes the entire Mohave Desert into a tundra!"

Shaw carried Remy through the underground complex--which was fast coming to resemble a deep freeze locker. He had to kick out the last door from the complex and into the garage because it would no longer open automatically, but shattering the metal door was no difficulty whatsoever for him: He had absorbed so much kinetic energy from Gambit that he now stood over eight feet tall and weighed nearly half a ton.

He stepped out onto the asphalt drive. Ah, there was his Rolls now, pulling into the underground garage. A few hours--and they would be back in London. Shaw looked down at LeBeau’s face and grinned: In spite of his hatred of his captor, Remy was chilled to the marrow and had nestled close to Sebastian’s chest for warmth. Pragmatic lad, wasn’t he; Shaw looked forward to more cuddlling later.

The Rolls started toward the dock where Shaw was standing, but suddenly spun out of control and almost struck the back wall of the garage before it was able to stop. It wasn’t moving fast enough on impact to cause injury to the driver: The man got out of the car--and slipped on the asphalt drive. "ICE!" The driver pulled himself to his feet. "Fucking ICE in Las Vegas!" He began to awkwardly walk/run out of the garage, sliding off his feet, crawling, walking on his knees, whatever it took to get him OUT of there.

"Hey! Come back here!" Shaw bellowed.


"Yer on yer own, man!"


The driver disappeared behind the exit door.

"He’s right, Shaw. You ARE on your own."

Sebastian looked to his right.

"You’re all alone with ME."

And there, hovering just beyond him on an ice slide, stood Robert Drake, the Iceman, shimmering clear like a man made of brilliant ice in the Arctic dungeon he’d made of the garage. He spread his arms, solid made liquid, liquid made solid, and pure perfect ice crystallized in every corner of the complex. "Your hotel is in ruins," he told Shaw. "As soon as everybody was evacuated, I brought the entire superstructure down under ice."

Shaw snorted in disbelief. "I don’t believe you. You don’t have the power to do that."

Unlike Sebastian and Remy, Iceman’s breath left no frosty fog in the air. He merely pointed to a far section of the garage ceiling--which iced thick and hard as they watched it--and collapsed under the weight of the ice. "I don’t give a damn what you believe, Shaw. But you CAN believe I’ve only just started, and I won’t stop until Remy LeBeau is back with me and safely out of your smarmy clutches for good. I’ve already gotten you in your wallet big time, and I’m ready to start on you in person."

"Then we ARE agreed upon one point, Iceman," Shaw had to fight to keep his teeth from chattering in front of this enemy. "Neither of us wish any harm to come to Gambit, whatever happens between us now. He will freeze to death along with me if you continue to form ice in this winter wonderland you’ve made of my money and engineering."

"Set him down," Drake said. "Carefully. If he’s got one bruise on his body because of you--"

Shaw laughed. "He’s carrying flocks of bruises, ‘Bobby’. Most of them are in the exact shape of my fingertips and my mouth. Are you sure you want him back now, after all the things I’ve done to him? I’ve enjoyed him SO much!"

"You aren’t fit for him to scrape his boots on, Shaw. Now, put him down and step away from him. This is between you and me."

"You think you can best me, whelp?" Sebastian snarled as he placed Remy on the loading dock, pulled the blankets away from his face, and kissed him--just to grate on Iceman’s nerves. "I’ve kicked your little popsicle ass once already."

"Just at cards, ditwad. Let’s see if your mutant powers are a match for mine." Bobby smiled evenly, and it occurred to Sebastian that the Iceman was a magnificent specimen of mutation, with power far beyond what might appear on the surface. Bobby held out both his arms. "I’m absorbing the cold from around Gambit and channelling it toward you. Getting chilly?"

Shaw shook his fist at Bobby. "You can’t touch me and you know it, Drake! Look at me! I’ve absorbed enough kinetic power from your friend to defeat even the Hulk!"

Suddenly, Shaw gasped as he tried to lower his arm. It was freezing into place. His whole body was freezing.

"I don’t have to touch you," the Iceman said. "You aren’t worth dirtying my hands on. I’m freezing you to death where you stand, lowering your body temperature one degree at a time, o great Black King. Science has never been able to reach Absolute Zero, but I can. Easily. All I have to do is THINK you frozen, and you will be. Your blood is congealing in your veins; ice is forming in the very chambers of your heart because I WILL it to. Even if I stop now and you begin to thaw, you’ll still have to deal with gangrene in your fingers and feet."

"C-c-c-come d-d-own f-f-f-f-fight m-m-m-me like a m-m-m-m-man."

Iceman laughed like Norse god. "You’re not a man, Shaw, you’re nothing but an animal. You think your powers can compare to MINE?! I’M A FORCE OF NATURE ITSELF, AND WHAT ARE YOU BESIDES A MERE MAN? MY POWERS CAN TURN THIS ENTIRE CONTINENT INTO A POLAR ICECAP IF I WANTED!!!!!!!!!!! I COULD BRING THE NEXT GREAT ICE AGE DOWN ON YOUR EARS RIGHT NOW, SHAW!!!!!! And you DARE consider yourself a challenge to ME???!!!!!!!! Be glad that all I want is Gambit, and don’t think for one second that I WON’T kill you if you ever touch him again."

The Iceman angled the miniglacier downward until he was standing directly in front of the Black King. "Well?" he asked Sebastian. "I’m right here, Shaw. I thought you wanted to ‘fight me like a man.’ I’ll tell you something, you pitiful bag of cold meat: You don’t know what being a man is. You have no fucking idea what it is."

Shaw raged at him, but couldn’t move his mouth: His lips had frozen shut. He couldn’t move; his limbs still pulsed with kinetic power, but they wouldn’t obey him. "How do you like this, Sebastian? You taped Remy’s mouth up--don’t you like being gagged, too? I may not have a bottle of drugged wine to pour down your throat or a pair of fancy electronic cuffs to put on you, but you can’t move any more than HE can, can you now? How does it feel to be at someone else’s mercy, Shaw? Do you feel like playing sex games now?" He leaned closer and said in a low voice, "Maybe I do."

A moan made him turn his head. Remy was sitting up, shaking his head frantically.

Bobby resumed his human form, then went to the Cajun, kneeled beside him, and carefully pulled the tape away from his mouth. Only then did he see the tears in Remy’s eyes. He brushed the tears away before they could freeze in Remy’s eye sockets. "Don’ do dis, Bobby," Remy croaked.

"He’s going to suffer for what he did to you."

Remy leaned into his embrace in spite of its coldness. "You’ll suffer more if you become a monster like him. I can’ love a monster. Not him, not you."

Bobby held him close, coming into tears himself. "You’re right, love. Of course you’re right. He’s not worth losing you." He kissed Remy, and felt his body temperature shoot up like a rocket as Remy kissed him back, so hungrily it made his heart soar. "That creep can thaw himself out," Bobby muttered into the auburn hair. "Let’s get you out of here, okay?"




They took the Rolls, and drove west until they crossed the California state line. Bobby did the driving; they hadn’t taken time to work on the restraints because he wanted to get Remy warm and away from the freezer they’d left Shaw in. They couldn’t go back to their room at the Giza, even though Bobby knew that there would be no retribution from the Black King: There was no longer a Giza Hotel in Las Vegas to astound visitors and light up the night sky; the Iceman had made certain of that.


"We can find another room in town, Remy," he’d told his friend.

But LeBeau only wanted to be well out of town, and Bobby didn’t blame him one bit.

Bobby drove with one hand; the other he kept around Remy. The Cajun lay on the front seat of the car with his head pillowed on Bobby’s lap, too weak to even sit up--let alone fight his cuffs. He’d already done plenty of that: Bobby had seen the ugly scrapes and bruises around his wrists. They hadn’t spoken since leaving Las Vegas; Bobby eventually made a brief detour off the main highway and pulled the Rolls over on the side of a lonely stretch of desert road.

Gently, he slid his hand under Remy’s neck to lift his head so that he could look at his face. Those red eyes glinted like live coals in the twilight sky, and there was no telling what was behind them. "I have to know, Remy. What did Shaw do to you?"

Remy didn’t speak for a long time, but when he finally did, it came out as a sob.



"I have to look at you."



This was a scream.


"I no’ wan’ y’ t’ see me!"

Bobby sighed and prayed for strength. They couldn’t let this drop; Remy had to talk about it--for the sake of his sanity, he had to get it out. If he wanted to explode a crater into the desert floor, fine--but Bobby knew him only too well: He’d internalize this if Bobby allowed it.

Drake sat where he was for a long time, a couple of hours, just stroking Remy’s hair and humming softly--no tune in particular, just a soothing, crooning sound in his throat. No cars passed by them, no state troopers stopped to ask why they were parked by the side of the road. When Bobby spoke again, he said, "Why won’t you let me see you, Remy? You know that I love you."

"You won’ if you see wha’ he did!"

Ah. That was it, then. "That isn’t true," Bobby said as tenderly as he could. "I could just stop breathing easier than I could stop loving you. I’m with you for as long as you’ll have me, Remy. And then if you ever dump me, I’ll probably follow you around like a dog and make a nuisance of myself till you charge up something large and heavy and lop my head off with it."

That made Remy almost smile. "Den why you ‘ave t’ look at me now?"

"Because we’re in this TOGETHER. There is no way I am going to let you keep ANY of it to yourself." He started to unfold the blankets he’d left wrapped around Remy to stave off the cool desert night that was coming all too quickly.

"Wha’ you gon’ do--tear de clothes off me? Go ‘head--I can’ stop you."


"No. I would never do anything like that to you unless I was sure that I had your permission, stated or implied. You said it yourself: I’m not a monster like HIM. You know this, Rem. But if I have to prove it to you, then I will. I’ll prove it every day for the rest of my life, if you’ll let me."

When Remy finally answered him, his voice was barely audible.


"Oui . . ."

"Don’t be afraid," Bobby whispered. "I love you more than my own life. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t feel I had to, for both our sakes."

Remy nodded and closed his eyes while Drake unwrapped the blankets and the nightclothes covering his friend’s body. Bobby was very careful to make his touches gentle and clinical, no grabbing, no force. The body he loved so much was badly bruised and mottled with the Black King’s passion. Bobby’s breath hissed between his teeth when he discovered the cock ring; carefully, he removed it, hating the way Remy flinched.


"I can’ even look at m’self in a mirror," Remy murmured. "I a mess."


"Yes, you can. I’m going to see to that right now."

Remy’s laugh was bitter. "Wha’ can you do? I all spotted now."

Bobby let the coldness flow into his index finger and held it in Remy’s line of vision. "I can heal those bruises, love. Will you let me?"

"Please . . . . "

Bobby worked for hours, using his powers more precisely than he ever had in his life, closing blown capillary beds, repairing small and large bleeds, careful not to lower the temperature inside the car. He was so gentle that Remy eventually calmed down and went to sleep. Night fell, but Bobby needed no light. He could sense the injuries by the heat they produced, how deep or wide they were; he sent the purity of his coldness into them like a laser, driving out all imperfection and all pain.

He went to sleep sometime in the dawn hours, sitting on the passenger side and holding Remy cradled on his lap. But he awoke when he felt the Cajun stir in his arms.


"I can’ b’lieve dis!" Remy was looking down at his body.

He wore no trace of the Black King’s assault. He felt better than he could have imagined he would after such an ordeal. "You did dis?!" he asked incredulously. "You heal me?!"

"I want to heal you inside, too," Bobby whispered into the auburn hair. "My ice powers won’t work there, but my love for you can. Let me, Remy. Let me."

"Oui. As you say, we do dis t’gether." And then Remy turned toward him, Bobby could feel his heart beating against his own, and he found himself dumbstruck at his friend’s courage.


Everything was going to be all right now.





Once over the California border, Bobby found a small bed-and-breakfast with a separate cottage on the grounds. When he was sure they weren’t being watched, Bobby lifted Remy out of the car and carried him into the cottage: They still hadn’t taken time to remove the cuffs about his wrists and ankles, and Remy needed a quiet opportunity to study the locks before attempting to open them in case they were bobbytrapped. Bobby laid his friend upon the bed and untangled the blankets so that Remy could work with the cuffs unencumbered with the layers of bedcovers still swaddled around him.

After he finished this , Bobby sat back and looked at Remy. "Man, you look really HOT all tied up. Couldn’t you just stay like that for a few more hours?"

Remy shot him the evil eye. "T’ought you liked my legs spread, homme."

"I do! You’re right again! Uh, couldja just untie your ankles without uncuffing your wrists?"

Gambit grinned wickedly, shaking his head. "Non. Wrists have t’ come firs’ b’fore I can do de feet. Maybe I let you tie me up later, eh? You like dat?"

Bobby was floored. "You’d let me do that to you?"

Remy seemed surprised at his friend’s disbelief. "Why no’?" he asked. "I trus’ you."

Suddenly Bobby was crying like a baby. He wrapped his arms around Remy’s legs and sobbed uncontrollably against his shins.

The Acadian sat up and put his arms around Bobby as best he could with his wrists cuffed together. "Why you cry, Bobby?" he asked. "You took de Black King down a few pegs, you save me like de knight in shining armor, you tore down one a’ de bigges’ hotels in de world an’ trashed ACRES a’ prime Las Vegas property so way cool--why you crying?"

Bobby circled Remy’s waist with his arms and hugged him hard enough to make him gasp. "It’s YOU, you crazy Cajun!" he ranted. "After what I did to you--LOSING you in a stupid fucking poker game! To hear you say you TRUST me! Just hearing you SAY it--can’t you understand how that makes me feel?"

"I dunno--I jus’ say how I felt."

Bobby buried his face in Remy’s hair for a few minutes, and when he broke away, his blue eyes were shining like twin stars. "That’s what makes it beautiful, Remy. Whether you understand it or now, it’s the most beautiful thing anyone ever said to me."

Remy just smiled, and closed his eyes for the kiss that was coming right at him.


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