A/N Almost done.

"Do we believe him?" Logan asked. They'd dragged John into the next room where the rest of the X-Men were assembled. "Could be a trap."

"I believe him," Rogue said. "He wouldn't risk coming here if it was a trap, he knows we wouldn't take that well."

"I agree," Storm said. "Jubilee, you're in charge of evacuating the students."

"Me?" she asked. "J-Just me?"

"You can do this. Load everyone up in the school cars, oldest kids driving. There are GPS units in each car with a preprogrammed safe house destination. Get there, hole up, keep everyone safe. We'll contact you when it's safe here," Storm ordered.

"We?" Jubilee asked. "You guys are staying?"

"Gambit's made security upgrades that will slow them down. We make a stand here on our turf where we have the advantage," Logan said.

"Rogue should go wit' Jubilee and de students. Emma too," Gambit added as an afterthought.

"What? Why?" Rogue asked.

"Yo' two are de ones dey want out of de picture most desperately, de rest of us are just consolation prizes."

"Because we're strong," Emma said defiantly. "We're staying. You need us."

"I'll leave it up to you both," Storm said. "Jubilee, go!"

"Going!" Jubilee said. She ran out of the room to round up the kids.

"John, how much time do we have?" Storm asked.

"An hour, maybe less," John said.

Jubilee set out with the students in less than fifteen minutes. Gambit gave everyone an overview of his upgrades and told people where to stand if they didn't want to be caught in the crossfire. He pulled Rogue aside as everyone broke into teams.

"Rogue please just stay in the middle of de mansion," Gambit said.

"What? No, why would I do that?"

"I don't want yo' t' get hurt."

Rogue's face was beginning to get tight wit hanger. "Remy. Don't you dare start this overprotective I'm-a-man-you're-a-woman crap with me," she said in a tone that would have made Logan proud.

"Rogue, yo' don't have an active power. Yo' would have t' get closer t' enemies for yo' t' absorb dem."

"Well you'll just have to let me borrow your powers then," Rogue said. "We've been practicing, I've used your powers for up to three hours now." Gambit sighed. "If you want to protect me, that's the only way you can."

"Yo' are a very stubborn woman," he said. He leaned in and kissed her neck. "Guess dat's part of why I care about yo' so much." He took her hand she absorbed his energy and power.

He was laying on his bed, Rogue curled into his side. She'd been asleep for about an hour and a half now. This was the first time she'd let her guard down around him enough to fall asleep. Usually she was so nervous about accidentally absorbing him that she didn't really relax all the way. Today was different. She collapsed into him for once and let him take on the worry she so often dealt with. He smiled down and kissed the top of her head. He would stay like this forever if she'd agree.

"De accent is still off a bit, but overall yo have good pronunciation, good job," Gambit said to the boy who had just recited a poem in French. "Remember, I don't want t' hear of yo' boys using your newfound power of de language of love t' get yourself girlfriends," he warned in his mock serious voice. The class laughed, most of the girls rolling their eyes.

"Is that how you got Ms. Rogue?" and eager boy asked.

"It takes a lot more dan pretty words t' get a lady of class," Gambit said. "A worthwhile woman is more interested in your character dan de pretty words yo' spew at dem. And if yo' think dey can't see through phony personality yo' are sadly mistaken." The class nodded, boys intrigued and girls nodding sagely. "A woman on caliber like Ms. Rogue is rare."

Rogue's lips were moving against his. Every nerve ending was on fire. He ran his hands over her sides, up to her neck. He was touching her, he was finally touching the elusive Rogue. She felt amazing in his hands.

The memories were coming rushing back, slamming into him like a tank engine. Flash after flash. Emma Frost…Rogue…eliminated. No, Rogue!

He gasped as she let go and staggered against the wall. He shook his head and leaned heavily before standing straight.

"You okay?" she asked softly. She knew she hadn't held on for too long but she was always still nervous that her touch would have lasting effects.

"I'm fine," he promised. He took the two steps to her and pulled her into him, wrapping his arms around her until she was engulfed in him. "Chère, promise me yo' will be careful." He whispered in her ear. The serious desperation in his voice gave him pause. "I don't know what I would do if something happed t' yo'. Yo' have taken up permanent residence in my life and in my heart. Please, try t' stay safe." He kissed her softly, ignoring the uncomfortable looks they were getting from some of the other X-Men.

"I will," she promised. "You better, too. Don't make me bury you, Remy LeBeau."

"No, but dere are other things you can do t' me," he said with a wiggle of his eyebrows. Rogue smiled. Klaxons and red, flashing lights blared to life in the silence.

"Dat's de perimeter alarm," Gambit said. "Dey're here."

The X-Men split up, all running to their prearranged positions. Storm and Emma had the honors of taking the roof. Storm called down strong winds, not quite hurricane force (she didn't want to blow away any neighbors) but strong enough to make moving difficult. The winds made it harder for them to cross the ground, but not impossible.

Emma reached out with her power and touched the minds of the mutants that were most vulnerable. With a mental squeeze, they dropped, trapped in their own minds. Interesting, Emma thought. I wonder how many I could incapacitate if I practiced this. She could tell three was the limit she could hold onto before her concentration on her surroundings failed.

Storm counted twenty intruders all together when they hit the first of Gambit's improvements. Four of them stepped on triggers which caused metal cages to spring up from under them and trap them where they stood. One mutant, a snarling woman, teleported out in a snap of blue energy and landed next to Storm. Emma lashed out, attacking the woman's mind.

She shrieked and threw a wild punch at Emma. She dodged and grabbed the woman's arm as it sailed past her head. Emma attacked where she believed the woman's center of power was. She was right, in a shock of blue both women vanished and rematerialized next to where Bobby and Hank were battling a pair of mutants with lightning speed. The teleporter kicked Emma's legs out from under her. Emma kicked up and the teleporter grabbed her leg before her powers went out of her control again. Emma had enough time to see Bobby freeze a mutant to the floor before they teleported to a bedroom, then the school's entrance where Kitty phased a feral mutant unto the wall, then the back of the mansion where she jerked away from Emma and threw her hands to her head, letting loose shriek after shriek. In blue zaps, she disappeared and reappeared several times before with a loud scream, her legs and most of her lower body vanished, leaving just her upper body behind.

"Eurgh!" Emma yelled, backing away from the bloody remnants of the teleporter. The weather was going haywire, switching from lightning, then to snow, then hail. "Oh damn," Emma swore then took off at a run to get back to Storm.

Gambit had been designated one of the back entrances with John, promising to blow him up if he defected back to the Brotherhood. John, however, seemed to take the threat against Rogue personally and was trying extremely hard to prove he'd had a genuine change of heart.

He shot a blast of fire at one mutant, sending him flying right back out the door, sufficiently knocking him out. Three more rushed in and Gambit took two of them while John struggled with one who had a talent for spitting acid.

"Down!" John yelled. Gambit ducked without thinking. John threw his mutant forward and lit a fire under his butt, shocking him into spitting acid all over his comrades. They rolled on the ground, clutching their faces in agony before passing out, burns covering their skin. Gambit gave the acid spitter a quick hit on the head, knocking him out, too.

"Well den," Gambit said, barely out of breath. "Yo' aren't as bad of a fighter as I thought."

"Yeah," John said. Unlike Gambit, he was panting. "You aren't so bad yourself. Rogue's a lucky girl."

"Don't forget it."

Logan and Kitty were very busy. They'd taken up post at the school's entrance, guessing that it was where the majority would flow through. They were right, six mutants flowed through the front doors. Kitty had already phased one through the wall, but that still left five. Neither were particularly worried, between Logan's pure strength and Kitty's intangibility, they figured they had it covered.

Logan was wrestling with three, at least one that had enhanced strength. A girl, barely more than 16 was shooting black goo at Kitty.

"Ugh!" she yelled as the black sticky glob hit her hand. It was surprisingly heavy and she realized the girl was trying to weigh her down so she couldn't move. While dodging the black goo, another mutant started running faster than Kitty could see. He zoomed to the side of her and punched her in the side of her head. He zoomed away before she could react at hit her in the back.

She was hit with two more globs. Fed up, Kitty went intangible. The globs flew right through her and the girl paused, confused. The other didn't notice and ran at her again. He tried to kick her legs out from under her but just kept going, losing his balance and crashing to the ground. She took advantage of his stunned state and sunk him into the floor. She turned to the girl and crossed the room with big strides. The girl's eyes were wide and frightened.

"You have not picked a good life plan," Kitty said. She yanked the girl's hands behind her and phased them into the wall behind her so she couldn't move or run. She turned to see Logan standing, a circle of unconscious mutants around him.

"Good job," Logan complimented. Kitty smiled. Turns out they worked pretty well together.

Bobby and Hank finished their mutants up with a bit of frostbite. Bobby frowned. "That was entirely too easy."


Rogue and Pete didn't have too much trouble either. Pete knocked two out in a half second flat. Rogue threw charged bouncy balls at hers. They exploded, smacking them into the wall. They dragged the four mutants to the main entrance where everyone else was already gathered with their unconscious or frozen mutant attackers.

"What do we do with them?" Kitty asked.

"We'll tie them up and deliver them to the police station," Storm said. "I'm willing to bet most of them have some kind of warrant out."

"About that," Emma said in a voice shaking slightly. "There's half a teleporter our back. Sh-she teleported herself in half."

Silence. Gambit frowned. Emma looked terrified, no, horrified. Emma?

"I was in her mind when it happened. I knew what she thought and f-felt," Emma said. "She was so scared…"

Rogue put her hand on the woman's back, offering what little comfort she could.

"Pyro, come with me," Logan said. John, bewildered, followed the other man out.

"That was too easy," Kitty said. "It took what, fifteen minutes, tops?"

"Agreed," Hank said.

"Dey weren't expecting us t' be prepared," Gambit said. "Dey thought we would be scrambling to protect de students."

"And their attention is elsewhere," Emma said, with a brave attempted to keep her voice steady. "One was projecting too loudly to ignore. I know where they're staging it in Boston, right now. We need to go."