TITLE: Security Systems, Flirtations and Betting Pools
SERIES: Criminal Minds (story 2)
SEQUEL TO: Dollar Signs, Deceptions and Business Deals

note--yes! this story arc now has a "series" name; "Criminal Minds". ::scorpio does the happy dance and frightens her dog::

AUTHOR: Scorpio
ARCHIVE: Want. Take. Have.
CONTINUITY: Bwa-hahaha! ::falls off of chair laughing:: Hahahahaha! ::small children and furry animals run in fear:: Oh Gods! That's so funny! Teh-hehehe...
PAIRING: None really. Iceman, Gambit. (cameos by); Phoenix, Wolverine and The White Queen.
RATING: PG-13 (adult situations)
WARNING: If you like your Iceman sweet and fluffy than you might want to look someplace else. ::wicked grin::
DISCLAIMER: Not my characters, so I'm not making any kind of profit (unlike the characters in the story). Also, I claim a vast ignorance of criminal activity, so I don't know if this is very realistic, but I thought it sounded good. ::shrugs:: 
SUMMARY: Gambit makes good on his promise to Iceman and ups the security on his teammate's office. While doing so, he overhears a telephone conversation.

Security Systems, Flirtations and Betting Pools
by Scorpio

Gambit walked around the corner towards Bobby's office and nearly stumbled from surprise. Of all the people he had expected to find waiting for him, Jean Grey Summers hadn't even made the list.

He had promised Bobby that he would upgrade his office security since his teammate no longer felt that his reputation as a slacker would prevent people from discovering the truth about him. That only made sense since Remy himself had already come to that very conclusion. Of course, for Gambit, that only meant that he had discovered a new partner in crime. However, that inadvertent discovery, as much as it was beneficial to Remy, was not something that either of them wanted the other's to find out about. So, Gambit was planning on spending the day working on Bobby's security system.

When he had told his partner that that necessary supplies had come in, he had briefly mentioned that an extra set of hands would be needed. Specifically, to hold heavy stuff while Gambit hooked it into place. Bobby had grinned his boyish smile and nodded absently while babbling on and on about this crazy idea to manufacture and market a series of X-Men action figure dolls. Gambit had shuddered internally at the very thought and was pathetically grateful that the professor had adamantly rejected the idea. Now, however, he wondered if he shouldn't have tried a little harder to get Bobby to stop babbling and listen to him.

Flashing a charming smile at Jean while hoping he didn't look as ticked off as he felt, Gambit sidled up alongside her right by the Iceman's office door.

"Mornin' Jeannie."

What might have been a soft giggle escaped her lips as she smiled winsomely at him.

"Good morning, Remy. Ready to get to work?"

One auburn eyebrow raised up over the sunglasses that he habitually wore even as he tried to figure out how to back out of whatever plans she might have wanted to drag him into the middle of so that he could get to work on the security system for Bobby.

"Uh ... Gambit'd love t' help y' chere, but he told de Iceman dat he'd be doin' som't'in' fo' him t'day."

It was definitely a giggle that time. Remy was certain of it. With her eyes sparkling with inner laughter, Jean gestured to Bobby's office.

"I know that silly. Bobby asked me to help you. He said that you needed my TK to hold stuff and carry stuff. He promised me something shiny in return."

A thoughtful look crossed her elfin features.

"I'm hoping that my new shiny comes in candy apple red with a convertible top."

Gambit blinked at her for a brief moment and then burst out into deeply amused chuckles.

"Gambit be sure t' mention dat t' Bobby fo' y', chere."

Reaching for the doorknob, Remy found it locked. With a sigh and a slightly apologetic shrug to Jean, he knelt down and picked the lock open. Swinging the door wide, Remy bowed low and made a dramatically sweeping gesture to Jean indicating that she could now enter. With another giggle and a graceful curtsey, she swept inside. Grinning, Remy followed.

Gambit watched as Jean walked over to the overstuffed guest chair, grabbed up the dyed blue teddy bear in the white lab coat and sat down with it cradled on her lap. He grinned at her as she automatically hugged the fluffy "Hankmiester" and briefly remembered doing the same thing when he and Bobby had originally struck their deal. Remy had the brief thought that it was because Hank was so cuddly and furry, but hugging the stuffings out of the real thing might not be as welcome as it would appear, so hugging the stuffings out of the blue teddy bear was a favorite substitute.

"So, what did you need me to do?"

Jean's voice effectively yanked Remy out of his mental wandering and he gestured to the door.

"Need y' t' get a good grip on de door while Remy take de hinges off. De new replacement door is in de garage. Need t' get dat one in here an' put de new hinges on. Afta dat, Gambit can take care o' everyt'in' else. Jus' wirin' an' stuff."

Jean smiled.

"Okay. Sounds simple enough."

Her brow dipped slightly for a second and her eyes went unfocused. Then, she blinked and her features smoothed out into her normal cheerful smile once again.

"Got it. Do what you gotta do and then let me know when you're ready to have me cart it off to the garage."

Gambit flashed her a charming smile and nodded.

"Oui. Merci, Jeannie."

It was merely the matter of a few moments to get the thick metal pins out of the hinges. Once that was done, a quick tug with Jean's TK pulled the hinges apart and she was able to glide it out of the doorway and down the hall. While she was doing that, Remy removed the old hinge pieces bolted into the door frame as well as the old locking mechanism.

It was while he was down on his knees, screwdriver in hand and the old lock halfway out that Gambit heard Bobby and Logan chatting as they walked down the hallway. Logan sounded particularly grumpy and was gesturing to a piece of paper while Bobby was trying to explain something without going into any type of technical detail.

"Trust me, Logan. It's nothing to worry about. It's just a notice to say that the tax laws in that particular area have been changed. I knew that. Hell, I knew it was gonna be changed before it became mandated. The only reason that the tone of the letter is so stuffy is because you're dealing with a bureaucratic office that handles money. They have to be all stuffy and formal. The moon would explode if they were friendly."

Logan glared daggers of suspicion at Bobby and chewed on the end of his cigar ruthlessly.

"Ya better be telling the truth here kid. All this mumbo-jumbo had best not be IRS speak for 'we're taking your land and giving it to a lazy good-for-nothing Senator' or you're gonna find yourself in a world of hurt."

Bobby sighed and Gambit could hear undertones of eroding patience and annoyance. He couldn't help the smirk that made it's way onto his face.

"Listen Logan, I've never let yours, or anybody else's, taxes slide. Not even a day. You are not gonna lose your island. Honest. I mean, you've worked too damn hard to earn it and I'm not going to sit back and watch it be taken away just out of some sense of slackerdom. Besides, you'd skewer me on your claws if I did. And even if you did that in a nonfatal way, it'd still hurt enough to make me cry. I don't like crying it public, it's unmanly."

Gambit almost swallowed his tongue trying not to laugh at that comment. Logan just glared at him before a look of true curiosity washed away his irritation.

"Wha'cha doing down there, Gumbo?"

His smirk grew larger.

"Huntin' mice. Wha's it look like Gambit be doin', homme?"

Logan snorted and Bobby chuckled.

"Don't mind the Cajun. He's just pissed cause he has to replace my door. That'll teach him to watch where he tosses those cards of his."

Logan just grunted in acknowledgment at that statement, but Gambit almost dropped his screwdriver at the ease and speed of Bobby's lie. Not only that, but the fact that the walking mutant lie-detector that was Wolverine didn't catch him at it gave Remy pause. Almost against his will, Gambit was once again impressed with Robert Drake. He was even better at this game than Remy had thought.

Logan thrust the paper into Bobby's hand at that point.

"Well, just make sure this gets taken care of. Don't make me ventilate your insides. You won't enjoy that half as much as I will."

Bobby nodded.

"True. But feel free to go ventilate Graydon Creed anytime you feel the urge. I'd enjoy that lots and lots."

With a dark and slightly morbid chuckle, Logan wandered away down the hallway. Bobby looked down at where Remy was working and winked at him. Gambit flashed him a charming smile with more than a hint of conspiracy in it.

"Gambit get de feelin' dat y' like leadin' people in endless circles, mon ami."

Bobby shrugged and smiled a surprisingly boyish grin.

"What can I say, it gives me warm fuzzies."

Stepping around him, Bobby made his way over to his desk and sat down. He turned on his computer and his printer. He pulled out a binder from the shelf behind him and flipped through it for a moment. Then, he walked over to the filing cabinet, unlocked it, and pulled out what Gambit assumed was Logan's financial records. Sitting back down, Bobby got to work. Remy was tempted to make small talk with him to see if he could pry more information out of him, but just then Jean returned from the garage with the new door.

The door looked wood, and it was in fact sheathed with wood on the outside. However, the inner part of the door was metal. Once this door was locked, it would take a great deal of skill to open the lock or a great deal of force to break the door down. In fact, it would probably be easier to just go through the wall once he was done with this security system.

It took a little longer to get the new hinge plates on the door frame then it had been to remove the old ones. There were more of them, for one thing, and they were of a slightly better make, for another. Jeannie was more than willing to patiently hold the door in place, however, and Gambit was forced to admit that she really was the best choice for an assistant for this sort of work. Her TK held the door steadier than any muscles could have. It didn't take him very long to get the hinges lined up and all of the new heavy metal pins in place. He tested to door once or twice to make sure it swung open and closed smoothly and that everything met up where it was supposed to. Finally, he turned to grin at Jean.

"T'ank y', Jeannie. Gambit couldn' a done dat wit'out y' help. Y' definitely earned y' new shiny."

"You're done?"

Gambit's head swiveled around on his neck to glance over at Bobby. The expression on his face was what Remy had come to think of as "The Iceman", all ruthless business with no room for jokes and games.

"Gambit not done, but Jeannie is. Still need t' install de lockin' mechanism, but I don' need de lovely femme's help fo' dat."

Iceman nodded his head, clearly hearing all that Gambit didn't say. His icy gaze shifted from Remy over to Jean and Gambit was certain he saw Bobby's eyes soften and melt just a bit for her.

"Thanks Jean. I owe you for this."

Jean's eyes sparkled with inner laughter and Remy's smirk grew wider as he recalled what she had said earlier.

"Oui. Y' owe Jeannie a candy apple red shiny wit' a convertible top."

Iceman's one eyebrow raised up slightly in what Remy would have considered amused confusion just several weeks ago but now knew was just an expression to cover the fact that the man was thinking. Finally, Bobby's smile widened and he nodded.

"No problem. I'll stop by the Toys R Us and grab you up a brand new matchbox car later on today. Sound good Jean?"

Jean shook her head and rolled her eyes as she turned and walked out in what could have been exasperation, but the silvery peals of laughter that she left in her wake said differently. Remy smiled fondly down the hall at her as she wandered off for a brief moment before turning back to face his partner. Then, he picked up a box and placed it on the small side table and opened it up. Careful of the dangling wires, Remy lifted the metal and plastic unit out.

"Dis is de new lock fo' y' door. Y' gonna hafta t'ink o' a eight digit numerical code t' program int' it. Y' can set it t' stay de same code, or t' need t' be updated on a regular basis. However y' wan' it."

Bobby nodded at him even as he eyed the unit with all it's dangling wires and connections. Then, another of those boyish grins crossed his face again.

"It's probably a good thing that it's a number code and not words or I'd be tempted to have the entry password be something like 'Scott is a doody head' and then I'd get in trouble for being a brat."

Gambit stood there blinking for half a second and then he burst out in gales of laughter.

"Oui. Dat's true. O' course, if y' wan' t' test de system an' make sure it works den wait till Remy's done an' tell Jeannie dat's de new code. Tell her y' used de letters on de phone like a secret decoder ring t' create de number code. Bet y' five dollars dat Scott try it out jus' t' see if dat's de real code."

Gambit watched as Bobby's boyish grin melted into a smirk. He reached behind him and into a pocket. Pulling out his wallet, Bobby calmly removed five dollars and then stood up and walked around his desk. Smiling, he tucked the money into the pocket on the blue teddy bear's lab coat.

"You're on. My five dollars says that I'll get a lecture without ol' Fearless bothering to check it out first. My reputation will be all the excuse he needs to assume it's true."

Chuckling, Gambit pulled a billfold out of an inner pocket in his ever-present trenchcoat. He peeled off a five and tucked it down into "Hankmiester's" pocket for safe keeping.


They shook on it.

Shaking his head slightly in amusement, Gambit picked up the locking mechanism and carried it over to the doorway and out into the hall. He held it up against the wall right next to the door and carefully lined it up with the recessed bolt hole carved into the solid metal of the door. Then, grabbing a soft lead pencil, he traced the unit so that he would know where to cut.

Standing up, Remy took the unit with him and walked back into his partner's office. He placed it back on the side table and then walked over to the tool chest to grab up the power drill and the small handheld reciprocating saw. Hearing Bobby's voice, he glanced up to see him on the telephone.

"...the paint must be candy apple red. With extra gloss. The woman wants shiny, you will give her shiny. The interior? Hmmm ... she didn't say."

Bobby's hand gesturing him over stopped Remy from getting right back to work. Quickly, Bobby covered the mouthpiece with one hand.

"Did Jean say anything about what she wanted in the interior of her new shiny?"

Gambit blinked. He didn't actually believe that Bobby was going to buy her a car just for helping with the door, so he was actually a little surprised by the fact that he was on the telephone custom ordering her one. Mind whirling, he answered by rote.

"Non, she only said dat she wants de top t' be a convertible an' about de color."

Bobby frowned, muttering softly to himself.

"White would stain real easy, but black would get burning hot in the sun."

"Have dem make it medium gray wit' white an' red trim."

Gambit watched as Bobby considered this for a long moment before he smiled, nodded and then went back to chatting with the person on the telephone. Tuning out the conversation about colors, sound systems and warrantees, he went back to work on the lock. Even as he carved out a space in the wall for the locking mechanism to sit, his mind played over the fact that Bobby was buying a car for Jean.

It took a little while, but he finally came to the conclusion that the car wasn't a gift or a bribe for the help here today. It was just a coincidence and Jeannie had been teasing him. He knew that the Summers' were without a car now because of a misunderstanding that happened during a trip into the city. One of their enemies' lackeys had recognized them and tried to make a name for themselves. It hadn't taken them very long to subdue their attacker, but their car had suffered a tragic demise during the fight. That fact combined with the knowledge that all purchases by or for the X-Men went through Bobby's office for financing made him think that this was something that had been planned earlier. That thought made him feel better, if for no other reason than because Bobby hadn't promised him a new shiny too.

Pushing away the distractions of wanting a new car, Remy quickly cleared up the small mess in the hallway and went to go get the keypad and locking mechanism so that he could finish the installation process. Soon, Gambit found himself caught up in the wiring of the lock and hooking up all of the various connections. It was curiously relaxing and enjoyable all at once. In a strange way, it was the reverse process of what he had been trained to do. There was a subtle simplicity of genius that spoke to him on a deep level whenever he dealt with high-tech security systems. A sleek grace and hidden danger that defied him to find it's inner secrets and dismantle them.

For someone like Gambit, who honed his skills against the greatest and tightest security systems this world had to offer, this particular door and lock stood no real challenge. And any thief who could break into the mansion passed Cerebro, not to mention all of the psi-talent, deserved to have access to it if they wanted. It wasn't too much of a worry for Gambit, however. He could only think of a handful of people who could pull it off to begin with and two of them were already on the team and another was his father. The other's with the talent to do so were watched and monitored as closely as possible.

Finally, everything was in place and ready. All Iceman had to do was set the code, but that could be done later. It was set with the preprogrammed "default" code for right now. Quickly, Gambit cleaned up the tools he had used and the bits and pieces of peeled and spliced wire littering the floor. Once that was done, he shut the door and tested the default code just to make sure that it worked and all of the connections were hooked up properly. Punching in the code, Gambit watched as the red light above the keypad winked out and the green one blinked on. A soft metallic click sound was heard from behind the wall and then he turned the doorknob and walked in, a self-satisfied smirk on his face.

"Well, de door is done. Jus' needs y' t' set de new code. It's default is 2-4-5-5-9-0-5-2 an' it will automatically flip t' default if de power is ever cut an' den restored. Gambit gonna start on de window now. Got a motion sensor fo' it. De sensor will be set on de window itself, not de grounds. Don' need y' security goin' off jus' cause Bishop decided t' take a midnight stroll an' indulge his paranoia. Dat be a good way t' get y' office shot up by all dose futuristic toys he carries."

Bobby's face took on a distant faraway look for a brief moment and then it melted into a sneaky grin.

"True. It'd be funny though. The look on his face if he suddenly found himself trapped in a bright white spotlight with a blaring siren and a prerecorded voice yelling, 'Halt Intruder! Put down your weapons and put up your hands. You are to be detained for questioning and an immediate audit of all your financial records.' I mean, when under attack he always gets that split second flash of anger mixed with a good dose of I-knew-it-see-I'm-not-paranoid."

Gambit chuckled in amusement and nodded.

"Oui, de homme almost seems t' take it as a personal insult if t'ings don' erupt int' a fight. However, I t'ink y' be better off not playin' wit' dat particular tiger. An' don' try an' tell me dat y' not. I can hear y' plannin' y' next practical joke from here an' as funny as it might be t' watch Bishop freak out, it won' be so funny when y' find y'self starin' down de barrel o' one o' his guns."

A wistful and calculating look crossed Bobby's face and Remy had the sinking feeling that he'd inadvertently given his teammate fodder for his next prank. He wasn't sure if he'd want to be there to see it happen or if he'd want to be elsewhere at the time.

"Yeah, but..."

Bobby was cut off by the telephone ringing. Gambit sighed a quiet sigh of relief and hoped that whoever it was, that it would be enough to distract Bobby from his chosen path to suicide via a pissed off Bishop. Shamelessly listening in on his partner's conversation, Remy began to work on the motion sensor.

"Robert Drake."

Bobby chuckled softly.

"Oh, hi Emma. How's tricks?"

Gambit nearly dropped his tool. The only Emma that he knew that Bobby knew was Emma Frost and the thought of anyone saying How's tricks to the White Queen was for some reason terribly funny to him. With a slight shrug, Remy figured that it was probably a good thing that Bobby said it to her over the phone instead of in person. She'd probably cane him into a bloody pulp if it had said it to her face. One eyebrow arched up, Remy tuned back into the one sided conversation.

"...replacing the locks with better security."

A pause and then...

"Yeah, yeah. I know you've been telling me that for a while now, but honestly, Em, until Gambit broke into my office like the sneaky thief that he is no one figured it out."

Another pause.

"No. No one else realizes. Gambit didn't tell anyone and he won't tell anyone. In this sort of situation I'd trust Gambit's discretion over that of a priest sworn to secrecy by religious vows."

Another one of those pauses. Gambit wished that he could hear what Emma was saying since it was obvious that she not only knew about Bobby's financial skills, but more than likely knew about his criminal connections and high stakes white collar crime as well.

"What? Oh that. I did."

"Huh? Oh, well ... Scott picked Logan to figure it out first. He said that Wolverine's experience in covert-ops and his connections with the alphabet organizations would clue him in to things going on in the shadowier aspects of things. That would have been true if I messed up. Which I didn't.

Jean picked Betsy to figure it out. She figured that Psylocke would pick it up from my brain through telepathy by accident from me projecting. Warren was a little upset by that, but he chose Storm. And Hank figured it would be Jubilee.

Me, I said that they were all wrong. That Gambit would be the one to do it. So, I won."

Remy started a bit and turned to stare over at Bobby as he lounged back in his chair, his feet up on the desk with a smug smile on his face. They had placed a betting pool on who would figure out Bobby's secret? Whether that secret was the fact that he handled all of the finances or whether it was through the use of illegal means, Remy wasn't sure. But there it was, complete with a list of all of the people who had and did know. All of the originals plus Emma and himself.

Although, at first surprising that people he tended to think of as very straight laced and ultra conservative being aware of Bobby's criminal activity, it did make sense if you thought about it. They knew him when he was just a boy. A boy learning how to do what he did now. And that thought put things into a whole new perspective for Remy. When he, or for that matter, when anyone first heard that the Iceman went to college for accounting their immediate response was to snort in derision. It seemed like such a ... well, a wimpy occupation for a supposed superhero. And that concept stuck until you realized just how much he did for the teams, not to mention the methods he used to do it. It was a calculated deviousness set at a master level of ingenious. Gambit figured that the entire setup here had been planned out long ago by the Professor when Bobby had been a young boy just starting to show his potential genius with numbers and money.

Looking around for the next part he needed, Gambit's thoughts carried him even further into this whole concept. The professor had taken his original students and forged them into a backbone structure that could hold together any team, no matter how large it grew as long as those pieces were in place to begin with. Scott, trained to be the leader and tactician. Jean, trained as a mind-spy and as a surgical nurse. Hank, the doctor and medical-scientific specialist. Warren was the poster boy and media angle combined with financial resources to get things going. Bobby was trained to keep the money flowing and well hidden all at once. And they were all top-notch fighters.

What's more, if Gambit had his X history correct, the original team had left the X-Men and started up both X-Force and X-Factor. They got them up and running before leaving trained replacements to take over the reigns and coming back home to the X-Men. Blinking, Gambit was almost ashamed of himself when he realized that he had bought into the whole little-boy song and dance that Robert Drake sold to everyone. When he sat down and thought about it, he came to the conclusion that Bobby never really had a childhood. The Iceman had been facing off against the likes of Magneto before he had even been old enough to shave.  

Shaking his head to clear it, Gambit finally spotted what he needed to finish the job and bent over to pick it up off of the floor. He tuned back into Bobby's conversation with Emma.

"...and the view could be better, I guess. I mean, like I really want to stare at that."

Blushing bright red, Gambit realized that his ass was sticking up in the air facing Bobby as he bent over to pick up the sensor plate. He was both mortified and a bit upset that Bobby found the view, of what he considered an excellent example of fine Cajun buttocks, to be offensive. With an undignified snort, Gambit stood up fast and angry ... only to bash the back of his head against the window sill. Sparkles danced before his eyes. Wincing and glaring, Remy turned around to be confronted with a helplessly giggling Bobby.

"No, no Emma. I'm not laughing at you. Honest. It's ... it's Gambit. I think he thought I was talking about his ass or something."

A brief pause and then Bobby laughed even harder. Gambit's glare got even more evil looking as he imagined just what the White Queen could be saying about him to make Bobby chortle like that.

"Oh, okay Em. I'll talk to you later then. Bye."

With that, Bobby hung up the phone and continued snickering at Remy. For a brief moment, Gambit wondered what was worse, overhearing his butt was ugly or being laughed at to his face.

"An' just wha' view is it dat's so horrible, eh homme?"

Remy almost winced at the tone of his voice. Defensive much, Gambit? Unfortunately, it only sent Bobby off into more snickering and chuckling. To show that he was not amused at all, Gambit tipped his head down and glared at his partner over the tops of his sunglasses so that the flaring glow of his red eyes could be seen. That tactic had always subdued the "old" Bobby, but it failed to intimidate the real Iceman. Still, Bobby knew it meant that Remy was pissed.

"Oh calm down. I was talking about the view out my window. I was telling Emma that you were hooking up a motion sensor and then she started going on about the view from her office. And she's right, hers is better than mine. She's got fountains and gardens to look at and I've got the back of the garage."

Gambit wasn't sure what to say to that. Part of him felt a little silly that he'd jumped to the wrong conclusion, but it wasn't arrogance. Not really, he was just used to people treating him like a sex object. Not that it wasn't fun at times, but it did get wearing after a while. On the other hand, he was slightly insulted that Bobby didn't notice his body. Strange thought that it was, Gambit new better than to even try and psychoanalyze where it had come from.

"If it makes you feel better, I think you have a lovely behind, Remy."

Bobby fluttered his eyelashes outrageously and Gambit snorted in amusement. Oddly enough, it did make him feel better, but once again, he wasn't going to even try to figure out why. Instead, he just let the subject drop.

"So, how long y' been friends wit' de White Queen? I didn't t'ink y' two got along."

Then it was Bobby's turn to let out an inelegant snort. Picking his feet up off of his desk and swiveling his chair around, Bobby pulled another book off of his shelves.

"We didn't. Not for a long time. When she did the whole invasion of the body snatchers thing to me, she learned all of my secrets. Which was a scary thought, but I also know all of hers. I had instant access to every part of her mind, her every memory."

Gambit thought about that. He didn't think he liked the idea of the White Queen knowing all of the secrets of the X-Men that Bobby knew, but he understood exactly what Bobby was saying without words. He had enough on her to blackmail her into silence. The X-Men could disappear like smoke in the wind, Emma Frost of Frost International could not.

"Okay. Dat explain's y' workin' relationship wit' her, but y' gotta admit, dat phone call didn' sound like anyt'ing ot'er den two friends catchin' up."

Bobby shrugged and began to pull up some stuff on his computer even as Remy continued to install the last components of the sensor plate.

"That incident changed how we saw each other. I guess you could say that we gained a ... new respect for one another. Both for our mutant powers and for our business practices. It took a little while for us to get over the whole thing though. I was pissed off at her and she was feeling a little guilty I guess. Plus we've both got so much wrapped up in our reputations and the way we let other's view us, that it was difficult to ... connect in any real way."

Gambit finished up and set the alarm to go off if the window itself moved. Then he began to clean up his tools and the remains of the boxes.

"We began having to work together, in a purely business way, to deal with all the money the teams and the school needed and or used. We pretty much divided it into two separate groups. She takes care of the things that are on the level and could be considered legit. I handle everything else. After a while, it became easier to get along and be friends. We have a lot in common and yet there are enough differences to make it interesting."

Bobby paused a moment, a thoughtful look crossing his face.

"It helps that the majority of our contact is over the phone though."

Gambit couldn't help the snort of laughter that trailed off into chuckles at that. Emma Frost was a beautiful and dangerous woman who's stock in trade was to take powerful men and crumble them up into discarded balls of pain and woe. He didn't blame Bobby for enjoying the fact that they dealt with each other via the phone or email. He didn't envy Banshee for having to face her every day.

"Although ... the few times we do get together in person, it's always exciting and ... educational."

Remy glanced over and smirked at the look of pure lust that flickered over Bobby's face.

"Gambit don' doubt dat fo' a moment, mon ami."

Gathering up the last of his things, Remy nodded good-bye to his partner and wandered off down the hall to get rid of the trash and put the tools away. He was halfway there when he began to wonder just how close the Iceman and the White Queen might have gotten during their face-to-face meetings. From the expression Bobby was wearing, it was either sexual or Bobby wanted it to be sexual. Not that he could blame the man, Emma was one fine looking woman.

However, that didn't explain the sudden rush of jealousy that swept over him at the thought of Emma and Bobby in bed together. Nor did it tell him just who he was feeling jealous of. Emma or Bobby...

END: Security Systems, Flirtations and Betting Pools

continued in: "Brief Meetings, Odd Jobs and Money Deals" >>

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