You Got It All
Written by Darkstorm5000
The Xavier Institute, in the time since its original founding as a place of learning and a home to the now dozens of current and former inhabitants who have walked its halls, has also seen more than its fair share of life-changing events. Which have run the gamut from the mundane, to the highly uncanny, to even at times the tragic.
But what most of those residents tend to reflect upon in their moments of individual and shared recollections about this place are the happy times, those occasions that have brought them together here for joyous reasons as the tightly-knit family that this varied assemblage of personalities have become.
Most especially when the event being mutually celebrated happens to be the marriage of two of their own...
As Katherine Anne Pryde sat alone up in her bedroom at the Institute, she had been contemplatively reflecting on the road that had brought her to this day. And how it was a road that Kitty at one point in her life had convinced herself that she would never be traveling down at all. All of this, while the names from a guest list that had continued to change on a minute-by-minute basis seemingly up to the very last minute, were now gathering just outside of her window down on the grounds of the Institute.
But even taking into account the extensive training and abilities afforded to this seasoned X-Man and Institute guidance advisor, there were still moments when Kitty could be caught unawares, especially while lost in such an introspective moment.
"So, I've been going down this list. We're covered as far as it goes for something old, something new, something borrowed, but I'm not sure about something blue. Do you think these bridesmaids dresses would count?"
In less than the blink of an eye, the occupancy of Kitty's bedroom suddenly increased by one with the voice and presence that suddenly appeared right behind her, startling the bride-to-be out of her reflective state, which caused her to jump up slightly in her seat.
"Gawd! How many times do I have to tell you that I hate it when you just pop up behind me like that!" Kitty immediately and loudly responded, placing a hand over her chest to feel a heart rate that was now a bit more rapid than normal, all as she twisted her torso a quarter of the way around in the seat that she had been sitting in, which was in front of the desk mirror that she had been staring at herself in to triple-check every minute detail of her makeup before she had become lost in her thoughts.
The party that Kitty was now semi-shouting at had still managed to arrive and appear just out of the line of sight of said mirror, further convincing Kitty that it had been done intentionally just to elicit the reaction out of her that she had just conveyed.
"Um, like every time I do it." The other party replied to Kitty's inquiry regarding abrupt appearances behind her, doing so with a wicked grin on her face after her sudden manifestation that was literally from out of nowhere.
Now standing left of center behind Kitty dressed in her powder-blue bridesmaid dress was one Illyana Rasputin. Who, by the end of this day would at last be able to officially call Kitty her sister-in-law, another title to add to the other current designation of Kitty also being one of her legal guardians.
"And yet, you still keep on doing it?" Kitty pointed out in an exasperated tone, slowly turning back around to her previous seated position facing her mirror.
"I'm going to cut you some slack, since I'm sure you've got all kinds of wedding day jitters running through you. And not point out the irony of the girl who became infamous around here for walking through walls, doors, and popping up in rooms like a phantom herself, now lecturing me on respecting other people's boundary issues." Illyana said with an almost devilish giggle, before continuing, "The reason I came back up here was to get your last minute opinion on a couple of things, before we're up to our eyeballs in RSVPs."
"Is everything alright? Are the seating arrangements-" Kitty now started to ask, turning back around again with concern in her voice.
"Everything's fine, I have things under control. And your Mom is running backup, so we're good." Illyana crossed her arms in front of her and reassured Kitty, "So don't worry, at least not any more than you usually do."
Which Kitty had confidence in being the truth, as Illyana had helped her with planning everything right down to the smallest of details of this day. Some might think it could've been a result of the teen over-compensating, to prove that despite the relatively youthful age of this almost young adult that she was more than capable of handling the responsibilities of being Kitty's maid of honor. But Kitty saw how it had become something of an obsession for her fiance's little sister, acting more like the perfectionist with this project that some had occasionally accused Kitty herself of at times being.
In fact, choosing Illyana as her maid of honor hadn't really been a choice at all for Kitty. Rather, once Kitty had announced to the other girls in their group that she and Piotr were officially engaged, it was Illyana who automatically "claimed" the role from the get-go, excitedly starting to do research on everything from caterers, to flower-arrangers, to dress designers, so that she could give Kitty every bit of information to make as precise of a decision on every piece of decor and accoutrement as possible. It was a duty that Illyana had secretly dreamed about having since she was a little girl, going back to the first time when even she would notice how Kitty and her brother seemed to always look at each other differently, always staring for a second or two longer at one another than most people normally did.
It also had Rogue privately joking to the other girls that given Illyana's instant enthusiasm and excitement about the pending nuptials (which was also notable for a number of reasons), that if any of them had even thought of actually bringing up the subject to Kitty of picking someone else as her maid of honor, it would've probably escalated into 'yana challenging one or all of them to some kind of battle to the death in an alternate hell-dimension for the position.
"Well, to answer your question, I'm sure the dresses qualify. Besides, what's the deal with you and all of these wedding superstitions anyways?" Kitty told her, as she now nervously played with one of the unhinged latches on one of the makeup cases on her desk in front of her, looking up and angling her viewpoint to see Illyana in the reflection of her mirror.
"Really? You're asking me, of all people, that question?" Illyana replied with a raised eyebrow, "Besides, you're just crabby because I made you and Piotr take a night off."
Illyana was referring to the fact that she had been adamant about them observing some of the pre-wedding formalities, despite Kitty and Piotr deciding to eschew a number of pre-matrimonial traditions, such as the wild bachelor/bachelorette party. Especially when considering how some of their friends' own pre-wedding stag affairs in recent years had escalated into out of control events that seemed to end with either city, county, or even state law enforcement having to intervene in them.
But Illyana had insisted on Kitty and Piotr observing the custom of the bride and groom not seeing each other the night before or the day of the wedding prior to the ceremony.
Since they, in Illyana's own words, "...should be able to give it a rest for at least one night, and save something for the honeymoon."
"Right..." Kitty now said in response to Illyana's understandable pre-occupation with myths and the power that she believed that they held in a very real sense, all the while looking down as her fingers still nervously fidgeted with the case and unlocked latch directly in front of her.
Which Illyana now also took closer notice of.
"You look absolutely fabulous, by the way." Illyana said, as she came over and gave Kitty a gentle but firm and lengthy hug from behind, having finally realized that Kitty had gotten all of those makeup accessories back out that she and her friends had originally finished using to get Kitty ready and had put up more than an hour ago.
Which caused Kitty to smile, both from the warm and thoughtful gesture, and from the veiled reference to one of Illyana's favorite programs that she and Kitty would binge-watch together. And if nothing else, Kitty found a small bit of humor just at hearing a rather lacking imitation of a British accent through the younger girl's own still somewhat noticeable Russian-tinged pronunciation.
"Well, let's leave Katty here to finish getting her mind right." Illyana suddenly called out, as she stood up from her embrace with this young woman who had also become something of a mother-figure to her, and now seemed to speak out to no one in particular.
But Illyana's words were meant for someone else who thus far had remained inconspicuous during these recent conversational exchanges. An unseen party who wouldn't appear from thin-air like she had, but instead from a small cradle of a bed that had been sitting on the floor pretty much out of sight from where they were, over on the other side of this room.
As the miniature purple winged dragon that had served as pet, partner, and at times silent confidante to Kitty slowly flapped it's wings and now hovered still over on that other side of the bedroom, almost glowering in both ladies direction, Illyana gestured to him with a serious facial expression of her own as her eyes now briefly and inexplicably glowed a deep shade of blood-red, before she spoke again.
"Alright Mr. Lockheed, it's game-time!"
With that pronouncement made, Lockheed's countenance quickly changed and almost magically on cue he darted through the air and landed over on Illyana's shoulder. All while Illyana committed what would seem to be another complete defiance of nature and this time of physiology, by plunging her own hand and most of her arm deep into her own chest, only to pull it back out holding a large broadsword of a very arcane design.
Meanwhile, as the pair quickly disappeared together into another one of Magik's stepping discs, Kitty's thoughts at the moment were less on the fantastic display of power that had just been demonstrated before her, and more on the "Katty" nickname that Illyana sometimes used to refer to her. Which to Kitty sounded less like the Kitty/Katya amalgamation that Illyana had explained it to be, and how it always reminded her of the fact that it seemed to so easily rhyme with "bratty", and always made Kitty skeptical as to whether that had been the true, but hidden sentiment behind it all along? Especially coming from this dark child, whose notoriously biting wit was a tremendous thing to behold, and had certainly sharpened after she had become a teenager.
Which despite the fact that Illyana looked to be on the verge of being of legal age in a biological sense and was now closer in age to both Kitty and Piotr, had only been a pre-teen just a few short years ago. From Illyana's perspective, it had been a length of time chronologically that was twice that amount, and may as well have been an entire lifetime ago.
Kitty's self-observations also touched on hearing Illyana once again call Lockheed by her "Mr. Lockheed" appellation, which Kitty also noted how it seemed to harken back to Illyana's younger years, to her innocence before it was stolen and Illyana was forced to grow up much too soon. Almost as if she were still trying to hold onto that one last, small piece of it from her childhood by reliving those hide and seek days spent chasing a purple dragon with her plastic sword.
But with the welcome distraction from the appearance of her surrogate sister, and now Illyana's departure along with their pint-sized purple partner, Kitty's thoughts once again drifted back to the subject that had been her focus several minutes before. On love, and how that road had wound its way to where she now found herself. Beginning with several years spent in an up and down relationship with Lance, one that did have it's good moments and that she thought while traveling down it would be forever, but ended in such a shocking and unexpected collision that Kitty believed for some time afterwards it would be her first and last experience on such a ride.
And how her reluctance in allowing herself to open up like that again to anyone had kept her in denial of what she knew deep down she had felt for quite a while for a certain Russian acquaintance, ally and friend. Whom Kitty secretly toyed in the back of her mind with the idea of wanting to be more with, but much like him thought it best, thought it easier, to not risk such a change in their relationship.
Until she finally got fed up with being a scaredy-cat (pun mentally noted and intended), and finally allowed herself to feel those feelings again. And how it exploded that one summer night when it was just her and Piotr alone together, when she fully threw caution to the wind by out of the blue bluntly asking him what his feelings towards her really were?
She now also recalled, with a more than modest smile, at how this generally stoic-mannered man who could communicate so effectively without words through his sketches and canvas works, was able to give her an answer equally as clear and again without words about his feelings towards her, as they gave into their moonlight desires and no further talk on the subject was needed.
It also reminded Kitty that despite the fact that she had long been prepared to have such an experience, that there was no pre-planning needed this time as all of this seemed to just happen naturally. And that with all of the difficulties that life seemed to bring the both of them in the time since then, there had yet to ever be a time when she doubted or regretted being by and having Piotr Rasputin at her side. Which was all of the convincing that she knew she'd ever need regarding this man and about her having a future with him.
And further explained why Kitty during this last recollection had put all of her cosmetic accessories back into their assigned holders and over in their storage location within her bedroom, as she was now focused on placing her veil upon her head, so that she could soon grab her bouquet and exit her bedroom to once again put action behind what she knew to be true.
At that same moment in another room at the Institute, which for decades had served as the study of this institution's original owner and founder, but now was the permanent work space of its current headmistress, Piotr Rasputin was here in this temporarily borrowed space as he waited to exchange vows with the woman currently one floor above whom he had asked to become his wife several months ago.
And much like her, he had been using this solitary moment to think about the chain of circumstances that had brought him to this day. A day, which he certainly never saw happening for him in the not too distant past, and certainly not with this young lady whom had granted him the honor of joining together in matrimony with him.
But as seemed to be the order of the day, Piotr's introspection was also interrupted by an individual gifted with the ability to appear out of nowhere, with that nowhere technically being an extra-dimensional passing point.
"Just came to make sure that your feet haven't gotten cold? Even if they may or may not be solid steel at the moment."
With those words spoken, Piotr's response was not of an animated or even surprised nature, but one of simple and calm acknowledgement.
"I assure you, neither is the case at the moment." Piotr said with a blank expression on his face, doing so without even immediately turning to speak to the party now standing behind him.
Instead, he continued to look at the large framed artwork hanging on the wall in front of him, a painting that Piotr had been mentally dissecting for the past two hours after changing into his tuxedo and having been left with little else to do other than wait in this study.
But, Piotr's observation of the painting did not continue for much longer, as he soon did turn around to speak face-to-face to his best-man, someone in the last few years that he had become very good friends with and very close to.
As reflected in Piotr's next statement to him.
"Have I told you how unnerving it is when you suddenly appear behind me in such a manner, little Tovarisch?"
"Only every time that I do it."
Now replying to Piotr with an impish grin was Kurt Wagner, standing there also dressed in a tuxedo similar to Piotr's. Whose only response to Kurt's admission was a simple half-nod of his head in acknowledgement.
"Your concern is appreciated, but I am fine. Any anxiety I may be experiencing is anticipation, more than anything."
With those words spoken, Piotr had hoped to assuage Kurt's inquiry, but instead received only a silent response from him as Kurt's grin now turned into a more serious expression. Which caused Piotr to finally stand up and walk over to him.
Placing one of his comparatively gargantuan hands upon Kurt's left shoulder, Piotr then spoke again.
"You have nothing to be concerned about." Piotr now said, this time allowing his priorly stone-faced expression to chip away into a brief smile as he looked down at the smaller man before him. And it was also relayed with a tonal inflection meant to convince Kurt that he fully intended to live up to the promise he had made to him.
It was a promise originally made earlier in the week when he, Kurt, Bobby and a few other of the male members of their circle of immediate friends gathered at a nearby bar and grill, in lieu of the full bachelor party that more than a few had suggested to take place at a local gentleman's club, but that Piotr had quashed without a second thought. And that none in the group was going to press the issue on, given the conviction with which Piotr had voiced his opposition to it with. It was also a decision that Kurt had silently been in favor of, and was glad to see Piotr decide for the group without him needing to even intervene about.
But Kurt had pulled Piotr aside later that night, after most of their friends had already departed for home, or for the aforementioned club, and it was just the two of them that remained. Which gave Kurt the perfect opportunity to express his own lingering concerns with Piotr about his pending nuptials to Kitty. Concerns, born of the aftermath of having watched and having to help pick up the pieces following the highly emotional ending of relationships involving two of the ladies closest to him.
And with one of those ladies happening to have been Kitty, Kurt did not want to see that level of emotional trauma visited upon her again with history repeating itself.
Piotr did listen to everything that Kurt expressed to him in what was an unusually frank and serious manner from the German-born native, fully knowing and understanding that Kurt's concern was both as someone who at one time harbored his own romantic feelings for Kitty in their youth, but that had morphed into his caring for her that was just as strong, even if those feelings were far more platonic now.
Which is why when Piotr swore a personal oath to him that he would always protect and care for Kitty, just as Kurt would have, Kurt knew that they had reached an understanding on the subject. And marked an end to their conversation that culminated in the two men teleporting back to the Institute together, after Kurt closed out their tab at the establishment.
"I'm going to head outside to check with Illyana and make sure that everything is running smoothly." Kurt said, staring out of the first floor window as his body language finally relayed his acceptance of this final 'gut-check' and he returned to his generally easy-going demeanor, before looking up again at Piotr.
"You will know where to find me." Piotr replied, partial smile still present on his face.
With that, Kurt disappeared in his customary cloud of sulfur-tinged smoke, leaving Piotr once again in this solitary space of waiting as he turned back around to the painting that he had been studying. Standing there and noting those things that he would have done differently, as well as those things that he could learn something from and add to his own artistic repertoire.
As the bride and groom patiently and somewhat impatiently awaited the start of today's ceremony, those gathering outside and those already present inside were involved with a multitude of activities both directly related and indirectly unrelated to the day's celebration. Such as in the Institute's spacious living room...
"(...speaking of which, I need to get a move on myself. Talk to you again later. Love you too, Honey.)"
As the disconnect button was pressed on this mobile phone, ending a conversation in Japanese between two individuals currently half a world apart, Mariko Yashida now sat in one of the wingback chairs within to give herself a quick moment to compose herself before heading outside to assist with making sure that everyone was heading where they needed to be.
But in that same moment, another presence made herself known, although this time it was in a more traditional manner as she descended down the lengthy staircase close by.
"I trust that everything is okay?"
Mariko looked over to see Ororo Munroe now coming down to join her, as the occasional bustle of individuals heading through this interior commons area to all points in other parts of the estate continued.
"Yeah, Aiko was filling me in on the latest from home. She and the rest of the team just got back from assignment, and she called me now that she finally had some time to talk. But I told her that foot-traffic was starting to pick up around here and I would call her again after the wedding." Mariko told Ororo, as she put her phone in her orangish-red handbag that matched her dress, "And since the subject of weddings came up, she also asked about you and the longest engagement this side of Hollywood? I told her the streak is still unbroken and going strong."
Ororo's only reply was a slightly stern smile and a sarcastic roll of her eyes towards her long-time friend and teammate's remark, as she then did a quick and final check of the skirt and sleeve hems to her own white and black-trimmed skirt set, before heading out to begin greeting and mingling with the arriving guests to her school.
Outdoors in the garden area, which thanks to the wedding venue setup and adjoining reception tent looked nowhere near as open as usual, numerous conversations had sprung up between strangers who were here as a result of their mutual acquaintances that had invited them here on this day.
But equally as numerous, were conversations taking place between attendees who were far from being strangers to one another.
"So, I think I might actually end up using all of my fingers on one of my hands?"
These words were now being spoken by Angelica Jones, one of this Institute's alums, as she came up to the girl that she had spent a good majority of that time with as her roommate during those years lived here.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Was the response to Angelica's statement by Laura Logan, as she came over after spotting the redhead arrive a short time ago.
"I'm talking about counting the number of times that I've seen you wearing a dress. Keep it up, and I might end up running out of hands." Angelica ribbingly told her.
"Keep it up, and I can help you run out of fingers and hands a whole lot faster than that." Laura smiled while semi-threatening her former roommate, as she gave an earnest hug to Angelica, both of them wearing identical powder-blue bridesmaid dresses.
"And here I always thought you reserved those threats of violence just for yours truly?" Another alum came up and said to Laura, having stopped to briefly talk to a few other recently arrived classmates that he hadn't seen in a while before coming over.
"You should know you always have a standing reservation with me." Laura told him, as she now gave Bobby Drake a brief hug as well.
"But I guess I should be saving all of that up, in case I need to use it on any paparazzi that decided to tail Spider-Man's Amazing Friends all the way out here to Bayville?" Laura now wise-cracked back at the two of them, referring to the couple's chronicled exploits with New York's famous wall-crawler. She used the phrase that was the most popular trending tag referencing them, which seemed to pop up online on an almost regular basis.
"That's just coincidence." Angelica now told Laura, trying to play off their association with him and the semi-routine nature of how they seemed to be in photographs with the masked hero.
"Yeah, it's not like we live with the guy, or anything?" Bobby added, which drew an instant and not-so happy glare from Angelica towards Bobby, as Bobby shot a quick and coy glance back at Angelica.
Bobby's statement also caught the attention of another couple close by, whom Angelica and Bobby had brought as their shared "+1's" to this event, and both of whom happened to be their current roommates that they shared a house in the Big Apple with.
One roommate being a freelance photographer, who with camera in hand was snapping a few photos of the wedding party, floral decorations, and guests mingling close by, which he intended to give to the happy couple free of charge as his show of appreciation for the invite to their nuptials.
And the other being his girlfriend and other roommate in this quartet, who herself was an aspiring model, actress and singer. Who herself had red hair like Angelica, even if it was of a darker shade, and many of the guests who didn't know either of them likely assumed that they were sisters. But unlike Angelica, she couldn't help but let out a small laugh at Bobby's remark when she saw the reaction that it drew from her boyfriend as he almost dropped his camera upon hearing it, and whom she knew was likely the true intended audience for it.
"Besides, if paparazzi were going to crash this thing, it would be to get photos of Alison and the rest of Dazzler once the bar opens for the reception." Bobby now told Laura, as he moved the conversation quickly over to a new focus, as he pointed over to the sound equipment being carted into the reception tent close by, and made a subtle reference to Dazzler's post-concert reputation.
Just then, Laura, Bobby, and Angelica turned their attention from Dazzler's road crew, as a former teacher of theirs had arrived and was passing by.
"Hi." Angelica happily waived to Emma Frost, as her former high-school English teacher walked by.
Emma, ever formal and proper in her mannerisms, returned Angelica's greeting simply with a cordial smile and nod to all three of her former students, while a small group of her current students from the Kinross Academy walked behind her.
They, plus a young instructor from the Kinross Academy who was dressed in a tuxedo like Bobby's, and had been busily assisting with seating guests. It was his small way of showing thanks to the bride, and to how she had come to his rescue all of those years ago.
"Hey." Laura now said to this instructor and momentary usher as he passed by, escorting Ms. Frost and company to their seats.
"Hey, yourself." Julian Keller smiled and replied, before he continued on with his duty at hand.
Not much longer afterwards...
Having decided to have a non-traditional wedding that did manage to actually incorporate customs and traditions from the bride's Jewish heritage, the groom's more secular outlook on life, and other Americanized wedding routines, the playing of wedding processional music brought a quieting hush to those in attendance after the groom and groomsmen had already taken their place up at the altar beside the man officiating today's ceremony, a justice of the peace who was from the local area.
As the maid of honor (with purple dragon on her shoulder) and the bridesmaids came down in a single file line as had been rehearsed, they were followed by two flower girls who enthusiastically tried to make sure that flower petals covered every square inch of the aisle that they were walking down, doing so in the cadenced step that they had been practicing together all week.
Finally, the bride herself was escorted down the aisle, with her mother on her left and Dr. Henry McCoy standing in for her on her right.
The instant Piotr saw her, even from a distance, he couldn't believe that his Katya could look so even more incredible to him. He thought to himself as she slowly made her way towards him that this was one sight that no amount of artistic imagination on his part could have ever been able to conjure up on its own.
After the official had spoken his words about the sanctity of the institution that this couple were entering into and the journey that they were embarking on, he then turned the ceremony over to the couple, to allow them to speak the vows that they had prepared for this day.
Kitty went first, reading how she felt about this man before her from an enlarged card that had been transcribed as the final draft from dozens upon dozens of rough drafts. Which her friends had joked that she had written and re-written so many times to ensure that every single word and phrase was perfect, that Kitty had probably used enough paper to end up recycling a small forest by the time that she was done. Still she felt it was worth it, as she expressed everything she wanted this man to know precisely about how he made her feel, how his gentleness that he had only let her truly see in his weakest moments had made her that much stronger, for him and from him. And how she wanted to carry that strength that he gave her for the rest of their lives together.
Piotr on the other hand had also written down his vows, but when the time came for him to read them, he looked down at the paper in hand, uttered two words, then suddenly stopped.
Standing there before this stunning creature before him, Piotr stood and looked off to the side, in complete silence.
Then without warning he aggressively crumbled that piece of paper up in hand, throwing it off to the side.
Which caused a collective but silent gasp to go through the onlooking audience, as thoughts of cold feet, or mind control, immediately raced through the more pessimistically-inclined of them, none moreso than his best-man.
Instead, Piotr took Kitty by both hands, looked directly into her eyes, and told her that his feelings for her did not need to be recited from words clumsily written down in a secondary language for him that did not do them or her justice. That what he felt for her had been painted, had been etched in his heart and on his soul that an eternities worth of canvas could not begin to allow him to capture. That all he could say to one as precious and beautiful as she was to him, and that all she needed to know, was that his love, his life, was wholly her's until the day that he was no more. And that he would spend every moment in the time in between making sure that the proof of his spoken convictions on this day, that her unconditional faith in his redemption were continually proven worthy and true to her without any doubts or regrets.
Kitty's initial and only reaction was one of her jaw-dropping, as she put a single hand up to her mouth. While she certainly knew that Piotr was no mute and had been able to express a level of sensitivity to her that most others had never heard from him, nor would've likely believed, to hear a man, to hear this man be able to speak to her in such a literary fashion, all she could do was look up at him.
And then exclaim...
As this bride started to sob heavily and reached out to wrap her arms tightly around him, her head buried in his sternum, long before that part of the ceremony had arrived.
Which elicited a humorous observation from a certain southern-transplanted attendee:
"Big boy's done it again."
As not only Kitty, but a few other females in attendance were shedding tears to varying degrees along with her.
After a few laughs and some timely tissue had passed and been passed around, the justice then cut in saying that he was going to take that as his cue to take things back over from this young man, or they might be here crying all night.
Later, after Kitty and Piotr were pronounced man and wife and the wedding reception was getting well underway with Alison Blaire and Dazzler now performing...
While food and drink were freely flowing as the guests partook of the ample reception dinner now being served, it was the latter that had gotten the attention of a few of the still underage attendants, as reflected in the conversation amongst a small group of them.
"All you have to do is give me one minute, sixty seconds."
"Yeah, but if you get caught, it won't be just you getting in trouble. Just like when you asked me to use my time-freeze powers to help you sneak out after curfew, then tried to sneak you back in."
"That was just poor planning. This time all I have to do is grab a bottle from the bottom shelf. The bartender won't even notice."
"I don't know..."
"Come on, Eva."
"Yeah, Eva come on..."
As this prodding conversation continued, it did not do so entirely unnoticed.
The first to observe this small group was the X-Men's ruby-quartz donning Operations Commander, a position necessitated with field teams and mission assignments now deployed on a global scale. And as such, he was always surveying any environment that he was in, and seeing five teenagers engaged in a conversation that they were intentionally trying to camouflage as something low-key instead of the dare that it was, was an immediate red flag to him. Which is why with a simple head gesture, one that he had been taught to use in battlefield situations where words could or should not be, was now relayed to the woman who had first taught him how to use it as a tactic.
Now serving as the weather-wielding Headmistress of the Senior Institute here at Xavier's, she was not so far removed from field duty that she didn't instantly recognize the gesture being made to her from the team's Ops Commander, and immediately trailed his gesture over to the group of students next to the bar area. And knowing that they had no legitimate business over there, her next move was to just as quickly communicate that concern to a third party close to this group currently being observed.
Being able to read what was on the Senior Headmistress' mind just by looking into her eyes, the Institute's mountainous Mechanical and Vocational Instructor immediately made his way over to the bar, slipping up next to the group unnoticed and silently gesturing to the bartender for a drink. As he stood and waited, with what this group thought was a distance just out of earshot, he made a statement meant to be a warning for their general benefit.
"I catch the scent of any minors trying to sneak a drink from the bar, and they get to serve detention running supplementary training sessions with Sunfire until she gets tired. Just thought you'd like to know."
Were the words delivered by John Proudstar, as he looked straight ahead, speaking to no one and to everyone there simultaneously, while the bartender brought him his drink and he then turned to walk back over to his table.
It was a warning that those students took to heart, as they had heard horror stories from some of the older students and even a graduate about Miss Yashida's training (or torture methods as some referred to them), particularly for those students being sent to her for disciplinary reasons. And had them all seriously reconsidering their present scheme.
Meanwhile as Storm gave Thunderbird an appreciative high-five that was subtly concealed in their gentle embrace while the couple went out onto the dance floor together, the platinum-blonde Headmistress of the junior school aligned to the Xavier Institute located at the nearby Kinross Academy had also been taking note of all of these happenings.
And while she had initially been tempted to telepathically link minds to Cyclops, Storm, and Thunderbird, Emma Frost instead was content to sit back and enjoy watching these pros go to work.
A little later...
The part of the evening where the friends of the newlyweds came up to toast them to their new life together was well underway. As evidenced at this moment by Kurt Wagner, who was wrapping up with his prepared speech to the happy couple...
"...two of the kindest and most caring people that I know. And with that compassion turned towards each other, I have no doubt that your love will be more than enough to carry you through the months and years to come. I wish you both nothing but happiness and the best of luck in your new life together."
As Kurt raised his champagne glass and handed the microphone to the next speaker while applause bookended the closing of his own speech, up next to the podium was Bobby Drake.
"Alright, I just have a few words, since I haven't hit my two drink minimum yet." Bobby jokingly said, as he lightened the mood a little, "But seriously, I just want to wish Kitty and Pete nothing but the best in their marriage. That, and to let them know that now they're automatically entered into the Institute's official "bundle of joy derby" that seems to have sprung up around here in the last few years. Although, I heard rumors that there might've been some off road stick-shifting already going on between you two."
While Bobby's needling of the happy couple drew several chuckles, the usually more vocal half of this newlywed pair wanted to show that she could just as easily hang with him in that department.
"Don't look at me, Rogue's the backroad speed-demon here 'round these parts." Kitty responded, doing so in a faux Southern imitation of her best-friend's accent.
Not one easily deterred, and certainly not someone who was easily embarrassed, Rogue looked over at Kitty from near the end of their shared main table and offered her a simple snap-back.
"And you know how Ah hate to lose."
Which caused Scott to react by almost spitting out his champagne and let out a few hard coughs thanks to some of his drink that had gone down the wrong way, all while giving his wife right beside him a "What?" look.
In the meantime Rogue had turned back to her left to give Scott a mischievous smirk and a wink of her own in return, as she coolly took another sip of champagne, while the other guests laughed at this latest quip and Bobby continued.
"And we'll be moving on, while we get Scotty over there some much needed medical attention."
But before he could actually move on and wrap up his toast to the couple, a voice from a different table further away loudly spoke to Bobby.
"What about you?"
With that question now being aimed at Bobby, he paused for a moment, squinted his eyes, and then shot a serious expression back at this would-be heckler.
"Man, I don't even get to carry my keys in my own pocket." Bobby replied, while nodding over towards his left.
Which caused all eyes to now focus on Angelica seated at her table, as she embarassedly closed her eyes and shook her head laughing and laughed off this allusion.
Meanwhile, one of the event coordinators came up and happened to catch Bobby while he still had mic in hand, and requested the natural talker make another announcement for her.
"I'm being told that it's time for the newlyweds to head to the floor for the ceremonial dance. So you two grab your best chairs, and get your crowd-surfing cushions out."
In a matter of a few minutes, the newlyweds had made their way down and out to the center of the dance floor surrounded by a number of their friends. As the traditional music marking the Horah dance began, all of the ladies encircled around Kitty and went to pick up the still seated bride, lifting her up in a celebratory manner.
Meanwhile, the guys close by were all gathering around Piotr to do much the same, until those plans were unexpectedly altered by one of the ladies who had been conspicuously absent over by Kitty.
"Guys, Ah got this."
With those words spoken, Rogue made her way through this crowd of males, letting a single swipe of her overpowered arm easily clear a path through them straight to the seated groom. Walking up to him, Rogue let a huge grin and her next words be both a warning and reminder to Piotr.
"Ah told you Ah'd get you back."
Rogue then cracked her knuckles on both hands, before she quickly knelt down in her bridesmaid dress and picked Piotr up all by herself, as she started to bounce him up and down to the rhythm of Jewish dance song. All the while she also began to float a few feet above the dance floor with Piotr still overhead, which only served to get everyone cheering her on as they clapped and danced along as well.
Seeing the look of trepidation in Piotr's face as he held on for dear life while he was being not-so-gently rocked up and down several feet above the ground by one of her closest friends, who in contrast was all smiles and appeared to be having the time of her life out there, brought Kitty to tears for the second time this day. Although this time they were purely tears of laughter.
As the raucous celebration continued unabated, one member of Kitty's bridal party used this break in the official schedule of activities to make her way over to someone that she had been wanting to talk to all evening.
Coming over now was Lorna Dane, as she approached the table that her older sister was seated at.
"Hey, Lorna." Wanda Maximoff-Wagner replied, as she stood up to exchange a quick kiss on the side of her face with her younger half-sister.
As the pair went to sit back down, their number suddenly increased by two more, as a cloud of black smoke suddenly appeared in a seat right next to Wanda.
"Well, Rogue doesn't look like she'll be slowing down anytime soon." Kurt now smirkingly said to Wanda and Lorna, as they all looked out towards the dance floor.
"Auntie Rogue is having a lot of fun right now." Was the pint-sized observation also made from the person currently on Kurt's lap, whom Kurt had spotted wandering around the various reception tables during his speech and made a quick stop to pick up on his way back over here.
"And did you have fun today?" Lorna now inquired of the little girl on Kurt's lap, who would not be remaining there for long.
"Auntie Lorna!" Was the excited reaction, as TJ Wagner jumped from her father's lap and dashed over to Lorna's.
"You're getting so big. Pretty soon Auntie Lorna won't be strong enough to hold you like this." Lorna feigned, as she pretended to struggle to pull her niece up into her lap.
Who herself looked up at her Mom seated next to Lorna, then back out onto the dance floor where her other Aunt was still giving the groom the ride of his life, bouncing him around like a paddleball.
"Hey Kurt." Lorna now greeted her brother-in-law, as he stood up to lean over and give Lorna a brief peck and hug, before retaking his seat.
And reminded Lorna of another question that had been on her mind.
"So, I haven't seen my big brother running around here, where's he been hiding himself at?" Lorna asked Wanda, as TJ looked back up at Lorna.
"Out of the country, somewhere. He was planning on coming, but he and the rest of Freedom Force got called away on a last minute assignment." Wanda answered, as she took a sip from her water glass in front of her.
"Moments like this, you must be happy that you retired from this full-time superhero gig?" Lorna now remarked, as one of the servers came by and offered her a glass of champagne.
"Being a full-time Mom and part-time X-Men is more than enough for me these days." Wanda replied about what she considered her most important responsibility as she looked down at TJ, and also referred to her reserve status on the X-Men's team roster.
"So, do you regret your decision not to be in the wedding?" Lorna asked her, as TJ played with part of the gathered material on Lorna's powder-blue bridesmaid dress.
"Well, look at it this way. None of the craziness of the last few weddings has happened, so maybe that's a good sign about my non-involvement." Wanda smiled, not necessarily referring to her own sometimes unpredictable mutant powers, but subtlely referencing those actions by her own mother-in-law.
Meanwhile, as the sisters talked, Lorna noticed the look on TJ's face when another guest walked by carrying a piece of cake from the one that the newlywed couple had cut earlier.
"You want to go get some cake, sweetie?" Lorna now asked her niece, whose only response was an excited and affirmative shaking of her head in confirmation.
As Lorna set TJ back down onto her feet, she took her by the hand and spoke again.
"Alright, cake coming up for one of the most awesome-est flower girls today." Lorna played with her, as they started to walk off. But their departure paused when Wanda spoke to them, to TJ specifically, thanks to her maternal instincts pointing out something to her.
Lorna's statement and Wanda's motherly concern had subconsciously reminded her that there were two flower girls present earlier, and with it now becoming early evening, wanted to know where the other half of this pair was at?
"TJ? TJ? Talia Josephine?!" Wanda, in her stern 'Mom' voice said three times in rapid succession, as she struggled to get the young girl's attention back from the faraway table where the large cake with a wax bride and groom on top was sitting, "Where's Rina at?"
"She went to go talk to her Daddy." TJ replied, as she had quickly come back over and hopped up into her own Mommy's lap to answer the question that was so important for some reason to her.
Wanda, Kurt, and Lorna each gave each other confused looks, just as Kurt was about to begin his own chain teleportation search around the Institute grounds for the unaccounted little girl. That is, until another party whose own hyper-sensitive sense of hearing perked up when she heard this particular name mentioned, and now came over to them.
"I know where she is." Laura told the gathered family, as she then turned to walk out of the oversized tent area.
A short walk later...
"So, what'cha up to, wild-thing?"
Was the question now being asked, as Laura made her way to an area of the Institute grounds that lay several dozen yards from where the wedding reception was currently taking place.
"Just talking to Daddy."
Was the response that Laura received, as both her hunch and keen sense of smell led her out here, verifying that this was indeed the place where she would locate her younger sibling.
Seated down in a green patch of grass was Rina Natchios, who still wearing her flower girl dress was hardly concerned about the possibility of staining on it from the green blades that she had been sitting on and running her fingers through.
And throwing that same lack of concern to the proverbial wind, Laura came up and sat down right beside Rina in her own dress, before looking up at what had brought Rina out here.
In this somewhat secluded part of the estate an area had been set aside as a place to honor the memory of those individuals who had made the ultimate sacrifice, doing so for the very dream and ideals that this Institute had been founded upon. Names plaquered on statues dedicated to those individuals, whom Laura had either known herself or had come to know about by those who did know them:
Moira Kinross MacTaggert
James Howlett Logan
And it was that last name which Laura knew would be the reason why Rina would have traveled all of the way out here.
"So what were you two talking about?" Laura sat and asked her sister, as she followed Rina's actions and ran her hand through the grass between them.
"I was telling him about bein' a flower girl, and how much fun me and TJ had. And how I beat her and spread the most flower-petals first." Rina excitedly revealed.
"You did, did you?" Laura happily told her, as she reached over and gave the girl a congratulatory hug, now keeping her in a loose embrace with her.
"Yeah, and he told me how pretty my dress is. He also says your dress is pretty too." Rina continued reciting for Laura.
Which Laura responded by running her hand through her little sister's hair that had earned her nickname, which Mariko had originally used in a passing reference towards Laura once.
"I also told him about the bad men Mommy beat up, and all the fun you, me, and Abby had at Hoopy-land." Rina was rattling off, which had been almost non-stop, when an interlude in her recitation suddenly popped up.
"I was also telling him how much I miss him."
With that last sentence, Rina's excited clamoring became noticeably more taciturn, which Laura immediately picked up on.
"Yeah, me too." Laura somberly told the younger girl, as she re-affirmed her embrace around her and kissed the younger girl from behind up by her temple, as the two got comfortable and decided to just continue sitting out there together for a little while longer.
And At Last...
Now making their way outside, both to catch their breath and to grab a brief moment of unified solitude (but in one of their cases, it was mainly to catch his breath), Kitty and Piotr walked out alone for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Rasputin.
Together, as one.
"Well...that was interesting." Piotr said, as he and Kitty strolled down one of the nearby bricked trails that encompassed the grounds, still wearing a traumatized expression in his face.
"Yeah, Beast break dancing is always a show-stopper." Kitty quipped, as she walked hand in hand with her husband beside her.
"You know what I meant, Katya." Piotr shook his head, grinning at his seeming clarification for her benefit.
"Yeah, I know. Your pony-ride-gone-wrong." Kitty giggled, as they both stopped on the path for a moment.
"Which I assume is payback for the wedding portrait I gave to her and Scott." Piotr surmised.
"No, it's payback for how you had Rogue crying like she was me at her wedding." Kitty this time clarified for him. Which drew them both back to those memories from some time back.
Where, when his wedding gift to the couple was being worked on and perfected up until the last minute on the morning of their wedding, Piotr had decided to surprise Rogue and Scott with it at their wedding reception.
Which was a portrait depiction of a couple that had traveled a long and winding road apart, but had unexpectedly found each other at its end.
From the groom, Piotr received an appreciative handshake and hug for such a thoughtful present to the couple.
But from the bride, Piotr would receive nothing of the sort.
Instead, he was on the receiving end of a clench-jawed scowl from Rogue, which she was well-known to give to those individuals who had wound up on her bad side. But Piotr could hardly recollect there ever being anything resembling so much as a cross word between the two of them, save for the occasional light-hearted barb traded between them.
As she then floated up in her wedding dress, dropping her bouquet to stare Piotr eye to eye, he was just as shocked when Rogue's angered visage just as quickly turned into joyful tears, as she gave him a forceful kiss to the side of his face and locked him in a bear of a hug, where Rogue first whispered the words that she had reminded him of this night after his own wedding.
"I think she may have even lost money on that pool that got started." Kitty now informed Piotr back in the present, referring to the fact that Rogue had declared weeks before her wedding to Scott that there was no way she was going to turn into one of those weepy, blubbering brides they saw on TV or in the movies.
"After tonight, I believe all debts owed to her have been collected, and in full." Piotr replied to Kitty, as he gingerly rubbed his own derriere.
"Yeah, I'd say so." Kitty smiled in agreement, as she reached over to cop a quick feel of her own at his expense, which felt exhilarating and painful simultaneously to the still tender groom.
"Now there is only one person to whom I truly owe anything." Piotr now looked down and declared to his Katya.
"And you can be sure I'm going to be there to collect everyday." Kitty told him, as her hands once again found their way back around his torso to Piotr's "balance book".
Who himself responded by picking his wife up in kind and kissed her, in much the same manner as when they were first introduced as husband and wife only a few hours prior.