A/N: Yes, dear reader's this is the last chapter in this series. I now add this installment with a satisfied smile at completing one series and move to get myself back to work on some others. :-P I want to thank very much all the readers and reviewers of this series. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I liked writing it and all your reviews have been greatly appreciated. *hands out credit cards to all reviewers* It's just easier to go with cash for a gift, I think.
WisAthena, if you're still curious, Brian Braddock aka Captain Britain's powers are: Superhuman strength, speed, endurance, reflexes, and invulnerability, flight, ethereal energy-channeling costume generates energy in the form of a force field for additional protection or released as a strike of physical energy, carries the Sword of Might and the Amulet of Right.
Information courtesy of my #1 resource for researching X-Men characters, UncannyXMen.net – url
It was a familiar ruckus woke Rogue from her much needed afternoon nap. With a yawn and stretch, she rolled from the bed she shared with her husband and stood.
The persistent ache in her lower back at the movement caused her to frown as she rubbed at it and waddled to the window.
Outside on the front lawn of institute she saw her little hoodlums chasing one another while poor Kitty, who'd volunteered to watch them today, tried to keep up.
There goes another babysitter, she thought with a laugh as she watched Kitty finally give up the chase and just flopped down on the ground.
A pair of arms slid around her waist from behind to pull her gently back against the chest of her beloved spouse, who she hadn't even known was back yet.
"Logan," she exclaimed with surprised delight as she turned in those arms to hug and kiss him.
He returned the embrace and a few long, lingering kisses before tucking her head against his shoulder and looking out the window at his sons who were now circling Kitty outside and preparing to pounce on the woman.
"Looks like they're being a handful," he chuckled against his wife's hair.
"Just needin' their daddy," she said as she tipped her head back, "Much lahke their mama needs daddy."
"Don'tcha worry, darlin', the Prof. ain't sending me on any more missions until after this one's born," he said as his hand dropped to massage her stomach, which held their third child.
"How'd y'all do on this one?"
"Trask got away again, but we took out his base and the Sentinels he'd gotten built there. Betsy, Scott and Warren are still trying to find him, but I doubt they'll have any luck."
She simply moaned contentedly as his massaging hands moved to her aching back while he spoke.
"The little Logan's wearing ya out, darlin'?" he asked with some concern at how lethargic she seemed.
"More lahke our lil Rogue," she snuggled against his chest. "This gal's a kickah."
Kissing the top of her head, he continued to massage her body as she grew sleepy against him.
"Sorry I've not been here as much this time around."
Chuckling as she remembered how attentive and protective he'd been during her first pregnancy with the twins, she couldn't help but be a little happy that Charles had found other things to keep her spouse occupied this time around. The three long days and two lonely nights she'd spent without her husband while he was on this last mission was a bit much though.
"Don't ya worry 'bout that, shuga, you're always here when Ah need ya and everyone's been babyin' me while you were away," she tipped her head up to kiss his chin, "Plus, you're here now fer tha most important tahme."
"Ya decided on a name for this one?"
"Ah'm leanin' toward Kathryn Elizabeth for Kitty and Betts."
"I think we can all live with that."
Shouting and running feet in the hallway heading towards their bedroom broke up the cuddling.
Logan released his wife just as the door was flung open and his six year old sons came bounding into the room.
"Daddy's home!" they cried at a level that made said daddy's sensitive ears ring.
He barely had a second to crouch down and brace himself before the twins flung themselves against him for hugs.
"D'ya bring us anything?" Logan Charles, the older of the pair by two minutes asked of his father.
"Yeah, yeah, did ya daddy? Did ya?" James Kurt demanded as he bounced on his dad's knee.
Looking back over his shoulder, Logan exchanged a loving glance with his wife at their children's spoiled antics before grabbing a boy under each arm and walking them over to the foot of the bed where he'd put his gear. After depositing the kids on the bed, he bent to pick up his duffel bag and remove from it the souvenirs he'd brought back from the mission for his sons.
"Now, before I give ya these, you've both gotta promise you'll not be using them as weapons. They're not even toys, they're just something for ya both to have. Got it?" he gave them his sternest look.
"Yes, daddy, we get it," they both said.
"No hittin' tha other kids with it, I promise," James added.
The child who had a tendency to play rather roughly with others squirmed under his father's skeptical gaze.
"I promise," he repeated.
"Ok, but if either of ya break that promise, I take 'em away from ya both."
With that, Logan presented the boys with what he'd gotten them.
"Logan," Rogue said with a touch of disapproval as she saw that her boys now had the heavy metal hands of a Sentinel robot to play with.
Meanwhile, the boys were exclaiming their delight over the gifts and demanding to know if they were from real robots.
"Sure are. Cut 'em off the thing myself for ya," their proud papa stated.
"Cool!" they both shouted before hugging the items to their chests and running from the room to show them off to their friends at the school.
There was a shriek seconds after the twins raced into the hallway followed by Kitty phasing through their bedroom wall in an obvious attempt to avoid further contact with the little terrors.
Rogue forgot about lecturing Logan for his choice in gifts for their children in favor of laughing at her rumpled and exhausted looking friend.
With a near growl Shadowcat pushed back her long brown hair, which fallen from it's usual ponytail to cover her face in a tangled mass.
"I love you guys and I love those kids, but I. Will. NEVER. Watch. Them. Again," the woman stated as she glared at them.
"Ain't that what ya said last time?" Logan asked with a smirk.
"This time, I like totally mean it. They put a snake down my shirt!" she shrieked.
Imagining that Kitty's reaction to her sons' doing that was what woke her from her nap, Rogue bit her lip firmly to keep from laughing. Her husband felt no need for such restraint and threw his dark head back to laugh aloud at the news.
"Ugh. You're just as bad as they are," Kitty said angrily in their father's direction. "Next time you go out of town, leave them with Bobby. At least he deserves whatever tortures the hoodlums can come up with!"
When the woman turned and stormed from the room, with a crashing slam of the door behind her, Rogue laughingly turned to smack Logan's shoulder.
"Ow," he pretended the blow hurt and pouted at her.
Rolling her eyes at his actions, she moved to kiss the spot she'd hit before wrapping her arms around his neck and smiling up into his face as he slid his arms around her waist.
"Ah don't believe Ah welcomed ya home yet, shuga."
"No ya didn't, darlin'," he kissed her lips quickly, "but you're tired so I'll forgive ya."
"You're so generous," she smirked sarcastically, "Ah missed ya though."
"Missed you, too," he said as he scooped her up and laid her gently on the bed.
Sleepily, she watched him unlace and remove his shoes before sliding up the mattress to lay behind her and pull her body back against his.
Neither of them was able to really rest when they were apart, so they had two nights of much needed sleep to catch up on. Snuggling into the warmth of his chest, she laced her fingers through his as they curled protectively over her stomach. His lips brushed the nape of her neck through the veil of her hair and then they closed their eyes to sleep.
Two weeks later Logan held his wife on his lap as she cradled their newborn daughter against her chest.
On the sofa, the twins were pressed on either side of them to get a good look at their baby sister, each of them occasionally reaching out to touch the soft hair on little Kathryn's head or to marvel at how tiny her hands were.
"We were that small?" little Logan asked his parents as his wide brown eyes watched the squirming bundle in his mother's arms.
"Sure were, squirt," his father replied with a smile and ruffle of the boy's hair.
"Ok, enough family time, let me hold my little goddaughter," Tabitha demanded.
"She's, like, my goddaughter too and they even named her after me, so I get to hold her," Kitty said as she stepped past the blonde.
"Well now, luvs, she's my goddaughter and named after me as well," Betsy stepped away from her fiance Warren Worthington, "I think I should hold her next."
"I'm her uncle, I should get her next," Kurt leap forward to say.
The others all laughed at their antics, especially Rogue who showed no signs yet of being ready to surrender her precious bundle to anyone.
His chuckles fading into a wicked smile, Logan bent to whisper something in the ear of first one twin then the other. Giggling, the boys looked at their father to make sure they'd heard right and once they got a nod of reassurance they leapt off the couch to throw themselves at the adults standing before them.
James grabbed on to Kitty and Tabitha while little Logan snagged Betsy and Kurt by the hand.
Instantly both boys began jumping up and down against the people they'd chosen, offering themselves up to be held if their godparents were wanting to hold a kid.
Kitty, Kurt and Tabitha all backed away in horror, but little Logan had Betsy's long purple hair tangled around his fingers, so she accepted her fate and lifted him up on to her hip.
"When are these little scamps to outgrow all this, luv?" she asked Rogue as she freed her hair and tickled the boy she held.
Smiling, the proud mother turned her head a bit to kiss her husband's lips then answered her friend's question.
"Ah'm still waitin' fer this one ta grow out of it."
Her spouse growled at that and nuzzled her neck until she giggled like a teenager.
Standing apart from the rowdy group, Jean turned in her husband's embrace and looked up into his ruby red shades.
"You really want a boy like one of those?" she asked with a look over her shoulder at the twins who were now climbing over their laughing 'uncle' Hank.
"I do believe ours will be a little more controlled," Scott said with a laugh at the childrens' antics.
"Uh-huh," his wife arched a skeptical red brow, "as if you and Alex were perfect little angels growing up?"
"Alex was a bit hyper, but you know me," he bent to kiss her lips, "always perfect."
The Professor, who couldn't help overhearing that comment, threw back his head to laugh out loud at it.
Pulling away from her husband, Jean joined the other man in his amusement.
"Okie dokie," Rogue suddenly said as she rose to her feet. "Ah'm ready ta share now."
With a gentle smile, she crossed the room to stand before the laughing redhead.
Jean's green eyes widened in surprise as she realized the younger woman was going to allow her to be the first to hold the infant other than it's proud parents.
"For practice," Rogue explained while placing her yawning daughter in the other woman's arms.
"Oohing" and "ahhing" at the little girl now in her arms, Jean didn't really hear the words.
Scott came up behind her to lovingly rub her upper arms and kissed the back of her head as his wife began speaking gibberish to the infant.
"Your little bundle will be arriving in November, right?" Betsy asked as she snuggled up against Warren and watched the couple admiring their goddaughter.
"Beginning of or late October," Scott answered.
"Vill it be a boy or girl?" Kurt asked as he was waved forward by Rogue to next hold her baby.
"We want to be surprised," Jean said while placing the child in the blue man's arms.
"Bettah be careful sayin' that," Rogue warned, "Ah think Ah said something along those lahnes seven years ago and look at tha surprise Ah got."
Everyone turned to laugh at the twins who had tackled Hank to the floor where all three were now wrestling.
"I think we'll make sure there's only one," Scott smiled, "we just don't want to know the gender."
While watching the newest addition to their family get passed gently around the room so that all her friends could fuss over the little baby, Rogue moved back into her husband's arms to smile and reflect upon all the blessings she now had in her life.
For nearly ten years she'd had the friends who gathered around her now as family.
For the past eight years she'd had and returned the love of the wonderful man holding her, seven of those years as his wife.
For a little over six years she'd had two little carbon copies of her beloved husband who showed every sign of having their father's mutation as well as his dark good looks.
Now she had a little daughter that may turn out to be a little image of herself, though she hoped if Kathryn had the X-gene it developed in a nicer way.
She looked around at her friends and reflected upon the goodness in their lives.
Kurt had married his high school sweetheart, Amanda, shortly after Logan and Rogue had wed.
Hank and Ororo had finally stopped sneaking around the mansion in the middle of the night for not-so-secret trysts and tied the knot three years ago. Though the couple both loved children, they'd yet to have any and had no plans to try.
Jean and Scott had been married for two years now and, as the group had discussed, were expecting their first child in a few months.
Betsy, after a youthful romance with Pietro, was preparing to marry the love of her life Warren Worthington aka Angel.
Seven years ago, Brian had returned to England to get his college education at Oxford and just a few months ago the team had been informed through Betsy that he was engaged to be married as well.
It had taken Tabitha two years to fully recover from her first true love's decision to leave her behind to pursue his education, but Ray had been there for her and the two had been together for five years now. They had no plans yet to legalize it, but everyone knew they were fully committed to each other.
Kitty's relationship with Lance had run it's course and the Shadowcat had been deeply in love with Piotr Rasputin for all the four years he'd been with the X-Men.
Amara and Jamie had both left the team after they'd completed college.
Bobby, Remy - who had joined the team at the same time as Piotr, Roberto, and Sam remained as the resident bachelors that all the new female recruits dreamed about.
Then there was Charles, the creator and overseer of this wonderful sanctuary that had brought them all together. He'd surprised them all a few years back by becoming involved in a romance with the single mother of one of the new recruits, but sadly it lasted only a year before the couple parted. Even though he remained alone in that regard, he was a very happy man. The with which his mansion always buzzed anymore gave him constant hope for the future and made him proud of how well they had thrived.
And thrive they had, she thought as her baby girl was again placed in her arms by Piotr, the last of the team to hold little Kathryn.
As she again sat on the sofa in Logan's loving embrace with her two sons on either side of their parents and the newest addition to their family held to her heart, Rogue looked around the room at all her loved ones and thanked whatever fate had seen to it that they all came together in this life.
Author Speaking: I know it was a little corny at the very end, but I couldn't resist. *sniffles* It just … *sniffles* just seemed the way to go. At this time there are no planned sequels to this series. That may at some time change, but it will be some time before it happens if it does. Thank you once again to all who've enjoyed and wish for an encore. :-)