"Any luck finding them?" Bobby asked.
"Cerebro was not able to detect either Rogue and Storm or Gambit and Jubilee. Wherever they are, they are heavily shielded from psi-scans. Whoever planned this sure thought of everything." Warren informed him.
"If they are still alive." Psylocke chipped in.
Wolverine growled. "The Cajun had better be. I need him alive and kicking so I can make mincemeat outta him for dragging Jubilee into this mess."
"I'm sure they're still alive. X-men don't die easy."
"That's easy for you to say, Mrs Summers. After all, who's the one who dies multiple deaths and always manages to come back to life still looking as fresh as a daisy?" Drake joked.
"Can it, Drake, it's hardly amusing." Cyclops commanded. "We've traced Gambit's destination from the trajectory of the minijet. Jean, you head the team, Archangel, Iceman and Wolverine will go with you to France, Paris."
"Paris? Are we up against Candra?" Bobby queried.
"We're not sure at the moment, Bobby. We'll find out when we get there." Jean answered.
"Meanwhile, Psylocke, Bishop and I will remain in New York as backup. We'll let you know of any new developments in our search for the missing X-men. Watch your backs, people. We don't know how powerful an enemy we'll be going up against. Radio in for help at the first sign of trouble. "
"I'm sorry I freaked out on you last night. I mean, that was totally uncool." Jubilee smiled sheepishly.
"Dat's okay, petite. Everyone has dem traumatic evenin' episodes once in a while, non?" Gambit winked.
"Don' mind if Gambit ask y' a rather personal question...how would y' feel if y' suddenly discovered one day dat you had a sister?"
"Huh? A sister? Geez. I never really thought about that."
"So? How would y' feel?"
"Dunno. Happy, I suppose. Radical. Why are you asking me such a weird question out of the blue?"
"Hey, Gumbo. You're talking to Jubilation Lee here. Fellow accomplice to the thief known as Gambit. You'll probably be stuck with me for the next couple of months when we wash the mansion's toilets together. Spit it out. What is it you're not telling me?"
Gambit looked innocent.
"I hate you." Jubilee sulked.
"Ready t' go, petite?"
"Yup." Jubilee's mood brightened considerably at the thought of the adventure awaiting them that night.
Just then, there was a hard rap on the door, followed by a muffled giggle.
"I'll get it." Jubilee announced.
"Of course y'll get it. Did y' expect little ole moi t' get de door?" Gambit said in mock surprise.
"Twerp." Jubilee sent a shower of cushions over at Gambit. He artfully dodged every single one of them.
Several sharper, more insistent knocks sounded.
"Who's there?" Jubilee called out.
"Don' y' watch de movies? Y' should never say 'who's dere?'. It's a death wish." Gambit chided.
"Gambit. I suggest you get your pretty little auburn head out of 'Scream' and back into the here and now."
"Will someone just open the door?! Or do I have to knock it down?" came an impatient voice from the other side of the door.
"Who..." Jubilee started to ask. Gambit went over and swung the door open.
"REMY!" came a squeal. "REMY! REMY! REMY!" Someone flung herself into Gambit's arms.
"Stormy? Chere?" Remy was stunned. Storm never acted like this before. Never.
"Remy, I need to talk to you," came an urgent voice.
"Who..." Jubilee began.
"Sapphire. Chere's a friend o' Gambit."
Gambit then turned to Sapphire, "Come in."
Jubilee frowned. "Whoa. Wait a minute. How did Storm come to be with you? And what happened to her?"
"If you'll hush for one second, I'd tell you."
Jubilee looked as though she was about to argue. Gambit shot her a warning look. She bit down her angry words and looked over at Storm. Storm was quietly playing with a pack of cards, arranging them in two neat rows by colour.
"Remy. Listen. As you already know, I'm working for Miss Darceneaux. She captured Storm so that she can be used as bait to lure you to her. We didn't know that Storm was claustrophobic...as soon as I found out, I took her away from Miss Darceneaux."
"Why..." Jubilee began.
"I owe him, Jubilation." Sapphire then turned to Gambit again, "Miss Darceneaux won't be pleased that I help Storm escape."
"LOOK! REMY, LOOK! I GOT AN ACE. I GOT AN ACE OF SPADE!"
Gambit turned and faked a smile, "Dat's nice, chere. Jubes, y' watch over Stormy."
"Try t' contact de X-men if y' can. Tell dem, I'll take a few more days off. Meanwhile, y' wait 'ere for dem t' come an' bring y' an' Stormy home. Comprendre?"
"Gambit? Where do you think you're going?" Jubilee asked irritated.
"Remy's going away?" Storm asked scared. "Remy, no go! Remy, stay!"
Gambit gripped Storm's shoulders firmly but gently. "Stormy? Gambit's just goin' out for a little while t' get y' some food. Y' won' even miss me. Now try t' get some sleep. I'll be back before y' wake up. 'Kay?" Storm nodded and obediently crawled into bed, closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. Remy leaned over and lightly brushed her forehead with his lips. She smiled covertly.
"Gambit," hissed Jubilee. "Don't even think about leaving us behind and running off to play the big hero."
"I'll refrain from saying 'Are too'. So, what exactly are you up to?" Jubilee whispered.
"I 'ave t' go an' see Geneviere, t' apologise. I owe her dat much at least."
"No, you don't. I told you before, she's not human."
"A hologram, child. Nothing more, nothing less. What you saw yesterday was merely a hologram. I set it up myself." Sapphire informed them.
"Hush!" Gambit said severely. "Y' take good care of Stormy, petite. It is likely dat Geneviere will try t' go after her again, t' get t' me."
"I don't care much for the idea of being a sitting duck in here."
"Neither does Gambit, petite, but dat's de only way. I 'ave t' go see what Geneviere wants wit' me 'fore she's tries out anymore of her crazy acts."
"Crazy is right," Jubilee muttered.
"Jubilation, I'll take care of Remy, don't you worry. Just contact the X-men and have them come for you. I don't want you hurt in any way." Sapphire told her in an almost loving tone. Much to Jubilee's surprise, Sapphire touched her cheek and smiled. She slipped something into the pocket of Jubilee's coat. "The keys to unlock the collar." Sapphire glanced over to the blinking Genoshan collar fasten around Storm's neck. "I suggest you leave it on for the time being, in her current state..."
Jubilee nodded. She felt a strange sense of closeness to this Sapphire. An indescribable bond had formed between them within these few minutes. It felt like...like...family. The thought crossed her mind as if it was the most natural thing in the world. It felt so right. She wondered why Sapphire had such a profound effect on her. She barely managed a 'Good Luck!'.
Gambit slipped out of the door. Sapphire followed suit. Just before the door closed, Jubilee heard a soft, "Take care of yourself, little sister."
End of Part 13