AN: Lots of references to a particular book of Arthurian legend are soon to come. Most of you will be familiar enough with the tale to follow. If you've ever seen Excalibur, Camelot, or even the dreadful First Knight, or read any number of books on the subject, what follows immediately will not be necessary. For those of you who are totally unfamiliar with the tale, however, let me present...

Idiot's Guide to Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

Or, when Pietro gets a hold of it, Le Morte d'Pietro

Characters:

King Arthur: King of England, husband to *Guenevere, friend to *Lancelot, Uncle to *Gawain, *Agravaine, *Gaheris, and *Gareth, father of *Mordred (Played by Pietro)

Sir Mordred: Illegitimate son of *Arthur and his half-sister, friend to *Agravaine (Played by Todd)

Queen Guenevere: Queen of England, wife to *Arthur, lover of *Lancelot (Played by Rogue)

Sir Lancelot: Greatest knight in England, son of a French king, Friend to *Arthur, lover of *Guenevere, Mentor to *Gareth (Played by Jean-Paul)

Sir Bors: Cousin and friend to *Lancelot (Played by Jeanne-Marie)

Sir Gawain: Prince of Orkney, nephew and friend to *Arthur, Oldest brother of *Agravaine, *Gaheris, and *Gareth (Played by Scott)

Sir Agravaine: Nephew to *Arthur, 2nd brother of *Gawain, *Gaheris, and *Gareth, friend to *Mordred (Played by Lance)

Sir Gaheris: Nephew to *Arthur, 3rd brother of *Gawain, *Agravaine, and *Gareth, Friend to *Lancelot (Played by Wanda)

Sir Gareth: Nephew to *Arthur, youngest brother of *Gawain, *Agravaine, and *Gaheris. *Lancelot is his mentor/living god (Played by Alex)

The Story (only read this if you have NO CLUE about Arthurian legend, but are still going to read this story):

Arthur was the greatest King England had ever seen. His queen, Guenevere, fell in love with his greatest knight and right hand man, Sir Lancelot. Lancelot was a good knight, had lots of great adventures, and loved the fellowship of the Round Table, but eventually, after rescuing the queen (he did that a lot,) he finally ended up sleeping with her. Mind you, lots of other things are going on at the time, but that's enough for now. Arthur figured it was going on, but he couldn't stand to expose them. He was a bit too nice about it, you might say. And everything was perfect in Camelot, so why would stir up trouble? However, his bastard son Mordred and his nephew Agravaine finally forced him to take notice one day, publicly. The queen and Lancelot were caught in her chamber together by the two conspirators, along with several other knights and witnesses, and Lancelot refused arrest, escaping and leaving the queen there with them, at her own request. This left A! rthur with two choices– Forgive his queen and break his own laws, thereby proving that they meant nothing, or burn his queen and uphold the law. Adultery against the king, after all, is treason. He chose the latter, having no other choice, assuming that Lancelot would come to save her, but not knowing what else to do. Lancelot did not disappoint, he came rushing in with his kinsmen and mowed down Arthur's men, stealing the queen away to his own castle at Joyous Gard. In the process, Lancelot himself killed two of Arthur's knights who were very close to Lancelot personally, the king's nephews Gaheris and Gareth. The young brothers had refused to bear arms against him, and went without helmets or armor to the burning, because they loved him so much, but Arthur had requested their presence there. Their oldest brother, Gawain, had the will power to refuse their uncle the king, and wasn't there at all. Gawain was originally opposed to the idea ! of war with Lancelot, but when he found out that his two gentle brothers had been killed by Lancelot, albeit by accident in the heat of battle, he insisted that Arthur sweep in and wipe Lancelot and his faction out entirely, reclaim the queen, and kill the French knight in the process. Arthur was in too deep to say no, and was swept along with his kinsman. Mordred declared himself king, and eventually Arthur found himself at war with his son, rather than with Lancelot and Guenevere, who both entered religious orders, and spent none of their "free" time together. At one point, they finally managed to negotiate a peace of sorts, after Gawain died in battle and came to Arthur in a dream, begging him to make the peace that he had not been for in life. But an accident started the war all over again, and it eventually destroyed the perfection that was Camelot. Mordred and Arthur ultimately ended one another, in the final battle.

A whole damn lot more happens in the book, and everything I've just said is really about fifty times more complicated. But that's all you need to know, for now. Research is a bitch, isn't it?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Le Morte d'Pietro

Wherein Pietro finds that it's good to be the king

Telltale Quote: You don't sleep with your best friend's wife, even if you're in love with the guy and can't have him –Pietro Maximoff


Jean-Paul rubbed sullenly at his bruised arm as he reached the top of the stairs and started down the hall toward his room. Dieu, how he hated Mr. Logan's Danger Room sessions. Talk about a world of pain... that pendulum had clipped Jeanne-Marie on the arm and sent her spinning hard, right into him. That was definitely going to leave a mark. And the look she'd given him when he'd tried to help her up afterwards probably burned right through his forehead. She was still angry about his joyful reaction to her and DaCosta's recent breakup, and hadn't spoken two words to him in three days.

Small price to pay, for her to be free of that dodgy prick, as far as Jean-Paul was concerned. But he'd be lying to himself if he tried to pretend he didn't miss their talks, even in such a short period of time without speaking.

Kurt waved at him wordlessly, looking just as beat down as Jean-Paul felt, as he turned off into is own room, and Jean-Paul nodded, also silent. He just wanted to go back, lay down, and sleep for an eternity. Emotionally, physically, exhausted. His muscles felt like gelatin... burning gelatin, in fact.

He pushed the door open and staggered inside, pulling his shirt over his head at a perfectly normal speed, for once. Get clothes off, go to bed. Shower later, eat after. Sleep now.

"There you are!"

Jean-Paul froze, shirt still over his face, arms in the air.

"Jesus man, I've been here over an hour!"

He sighed and pulled the shirt off, dropping it unceremoniously to the floor, and stood staring at the beautiful silver-haired boy sprawled on his bed, looking at him over the top of an open, red-leather bound book.

"Pietro, what the hell are you doing?"

"Speed reading. This book is good. I buy great presents."

Jean-Paul sighed, wondering why he was at all surprised by anything Pietro did anymore, then threw himself onto the bed on his stomach, next to his friend, face half-buried in his pillow as he turned it to the side. "You're not supposed to be in here without one of us. How'd you get in?"

"Window."

"You've learned to fly?" Jean-Paul snorted.

"Run fast enough, and gravity really doesn't count for much. It's all about inertia. Or something. I let myself in. I'm sure old Chuck knows, and he didn't kick me out."

Jean-Paul considered this, and decided that it was probably fairly accurate (once he realized who the hell "old Chuck" was supposed to be, of course.) Xavier had to know who was in his own house. And, he grimaced at the thought, what they were up to.

Certainly hope baldy enjoys the show...

But he decided not to bring that up, and instead commented, "You'd make a wonderful thief, Pietro."

Pietro slid downward a bit, so that he was level with Jean-Paul, and closed the book he was holding, the copy of Le Morte d'Arthur he'd bought Jean-Paul for his birthday. "Yeah, I did. Only got caught twice... well, pretty much."

Jean-Paul raised one eyebrow at his friend. Now there was some information he hadn't been privy to before. "You were a thief?"

"Not like, professionally," the other speedster laid the closed book on his stomach now, and put his hands up, behind his head, stretching out like a long, lean cat, surprisingly slowly. Jean-Paul knew, of course, that Pietro probably did that so that he could get a good look at him. Pietro did so love to be admired.

But really, that was one thing Jean-Paul didn't mind obliging someone about– admiring Pietro.

"I had to steal sometimes, back home in Transia. And then I just did it for fun. And I lived off it while I was back here in the States, living in the city."

Jean-Paul simply stared, for a moment, rather impressed. He'd had a vague inkling that his friend was not American born for a long time now, though he wasn't quite sure how he knew it, or who'd told him. Probably Pietro, really, but Maximoff said about as much about his past as Jean-Paul did. Which was not enough to speak of. And he knew for certain that he'd not heard the name of that country before...

"What?" Pietro asked with a laugh, clearly misinterpreting the stare. "Don't tell me you're disappointed in me, JP."

"No," he answered, finally, "Just that I used to do the same. Back in Montreal. Before I made it skiing."

"What a pair of delinquents," Pietro mused, staring up at the ceiling and grinning.

Indeed. Certainly made sense though. At least, it might explain why they both enjoyed the same kind of trouble so very much. And account for the similarities in their attitudes, in certain circumstances. Interesting, anyhow. "Where the fuck is Transia?"

Pietro's brow furrowed in annoyance, "Near Romania."

"Oh, that's helpful," Jean-Paul pretended to scoff, too tired to bother with real sarcasm.

"Uneducated prick."

"Says the boy who's just read his first book."

Pietro gave him a half-hearted smack on his bare back, "Fuck you, dude. So listen, I read the book, and it's bad ass. I think Lancelot is gay."

Jean-Paul pushed himself up on his elbows, and stared at his best friend for a moment longer, just blinking. "You're sure you read that book?"

"Yeah, Sir Thomas Malory," Pietro tapped long fingers on the cover of the book on his stomach. "Lancelot– gay."

Jean-Paul knew that his friend could speed read and retain a great deal of information, but he also knew that the guy could lose an awful lot too, if he wasn't careful. And Pietro was hardly the sort to be a careful reader. And anyhow, what the fuck... "I think you missed the bit where he started banging Guenevere, Pietro. How fast did you read it?"

"I read it twice," he sniffed in reply, "And it took me a half hour. And I'm telling you, he's gay. Look at this...," he trailed off and picked up the volume resting on his belly, and flipped about a hundred pages in, lightning fast.

Jean-Paul just watched, honestly amazed. First off, he'd never expected Pietro to take an interest in anything literary, let alone to want to hold a conversation about it. After all, a conversation about literature had nothing to do with Pietro Maximoff, and was therefore not a conversation worth having.

Hrm. Perhaps he'd been unfair to his dear friend once again.

And second, watching Pietro flip through a book like that, even if Jean-Paul knew he wasn't exactly reading it at the moment, was pretty goddamn brilliant. Not for the first time, he was struck by the fact that Pietro was lucky to be as good a guy as he was. Sure, it wasn't saying much, but that a guy like him, whose mind went so fast, who could process and react at such a speed, could hold still at all living at a normal pace... it was a real fucking miracle. Jean-Paul had trouble himself, and he had a hard enough time not making trouble or a mess or... well, something awful at least once a day.

Bit Pietro, having found the passage he was after, was talking at him again, and pointing at the page with one hand. "Right here. Page ninety-seven. These four queens are trying to make him pick out one of them to screw. He's all no way dude!"

"It's called chivalry, fuckwit," Jean-Paul collapsed back onto his chest, face first into the pillow.

"It's called he's a queer. And look, he's even caught kissing this dude in bed a few pages later–," Pietro sat up straight now, obviously, if mysteriously, excited about the idea of proving his point to the Canadian boy. He pulled his legs up under him, Indian-style, and leaned against the headboard.

Sighing, Jean-Paul pushed himself up again, and situated himself upright, though his body protested immediately at the treatment. He threw his right leg over Pietro's left, and pulled his own left leg up, knee almost to his chest, then folded his arms on it. "Ok, ok, I'm looking."

He was tired as hell, of course. But he couldn't help but be interested. Pietro, excited over a book. His favorite book, nonetheless. It was a day he'd not expected to see in his life, that was for certain.

"Look at that," Pietro stabbed his finger into the page, right where there was a lengthy explanation of Lancelot climbing into an unknown party's bed, exhausted after his escape from the four queens.

He remembered the story as soon as he saw what Pietro meant, of course. When the knight who owned the tent and the bed came in, he started kissing Lancelot, thinking it was his lady. Lancelot jumped out of bed, confused and afraid, and the two fought, and the other knight was badly wounded. Lancelot felt bad, of course, but that didn't mean he'd enjoyed making out with some random knight.

Jean-Paul had thought it was pretty funny, actually, the first time he'd read it. Alright, he had the second time, last month, as well. But honestly, Pietro had it all wrong. The X-Man took one arm from his knee and gave his friend a smack on the arm. "He tries to kill the other man after that! Anyhow, it was an accident."

"Oh sure, and by the way, my apologies about that blow job last night. That was totally an accident." Pietro smirked, rolling dark blue eyes and then flipping through the book again. "Anyhow, the fact that Malory even put that scene in here is really suggestive enough. I mean, this whole book is about how much women suck. They're all either evil sorceresses or temptress-demoness things. If Lancelot isn't gay, then Malory had to be. Wait, wait, here it is..."

Jean-Paul just shook his head, completely in shock now. "You really did read this, didn't you?" Even if he didn't agree with Pietro's assessment... it seemed that his silver-haired friend had really given it some thought. More, even, than he had, it seemed.

Pietro glared at him out of the corner of his eye, then looked back down to the book he now held propped against Jean-Paul's right knee, over his lap. "Of course I fucking did."

"No, I mean you read it. Really closely. I mean, you have theories on it."

"I'm a juvenile delinquent, not an idiot," Pietro mumbled, flipping backwards now, obviously having missed his mark and irritated about it. "Every time you like something about me you act all shocked. Honestly, Jean-Paul, sometimes, I think you're just using me for my amazingly hot body."

"That's because I am," The Canadian boy quipped, immediately. God forbid he should admit to being totally fascinated by what Pietro was saying at the moment. Not to mention that he was amazed by the fact that the other speedster was astute enough to notice a pattern like that in Jean-Paul's reactions to him.

Once again, he'd underestimated Pietro.

Or, he'd simply never wanted to admit to the fact that his friend was amazingly clever and actually sensitive at times.

That would make him so much more than a good lay, after all.

"Show me what you're on about," Jean-Paul shook his head a bit, physically trying to clear out the mental cobwebs that were diverting his attention from the discussion.

Having settled on a page, finally, and obviously content with Jean-Paul's joke rather than a real answer or insight, Pietro pointed to a line. "Look, right here. He's going on and on about how sex basically emasculates you because it interferes with your relationship with other men. Page one-hundred-and-eight!"

Jean-Paul skimmed the lines quickly... and had to admit, he might've had a point. "Well, I suppose that is a bit..."

"Gay? Yeah, I know, dickhead."

Jean-Paul took the book from him, now totally engrossed in this quest, and re-read the section a few times, more carefully. "I don't know, though. Maybe we're just putting a modern spin on things."

"Bullshit!" Pietro stole the book back and flipped a few more pages ahead. "And he does it again later. Look, right here," he pointed, "Hallewes the Sorceress. She totally wants on him, living or dead. And he doesn't even screw her."

"Well, true," Jean-Paul consented, "but I don't know that I'd want to sleep with someone who wanted me living or dead, either. However, it does back your claim that our author hates women. But... Pietro, you're totally ignoring the fact that Lancelot was banging the Queen."

"That's 'cause he was in love with Arthur."

Jean-Paul closed his eyes and gave a rather confused, helpless laugh, at that. "Where did that come from?"

"Dude, all he talks about is all that brotherhood shit with Arthur. Fucking a guy would've been considered a sin, especially by someone as freaky and religious as Lancelot, so he transferred that to Guenevere. I mean, since she wanted on him anyhow–,"

"That's insane. Adultery is sin too, so if he was going to sin anyhow–,"

"No way! Being gay was considered even more evil then than it is now, don't be an idiot," Pietro argued. "He had to get off somehow, so he took the lesser evil, as he saw it, of the two choices offered to him!"

Jean-Paul held up a hand, now laughing outright, and unwilling to fight about it. He didn't give a fuck either way, anyhow. "Ok, fine, he's gay. So you liked the book?"

"Yeah, but Arthur got the shaft man. Thanks to his Queen and that asshole Lancelot."

"Pietro, They were in love," He countered. He felt ridiculous after he said it, of course, but he'd always considered the two lovers as having been put in a rather difficult position by fate. And yes, they screwed and it made the perfect kingdom fall down, but still. They always say that love does strange things, who was he to argue? And anyhow, as a kid, he'd liked the idea of the tragic sort of romance...

God. Enough of that.

Pietro, apparently, agreed. "Fuck that! Lancelot was a fucker!" He exclaimed, pointing one finger at Jean-Paul's face menacingly, nearly touching his nose. "You don't sleep with your best friend's wife, even if you're in love with the guy and can't have him."

Jean-Paul sighed heavily, "Arthur loved him too, and for a reason. Their friendship was that important to him, that he let it go. Lancelot was a good knight, and his friend, and he looked the other way because he loved them both. And there would've been peace, if not for Gawain–,"

"Can'tblamehim!" Pietro cut him off, leaning back and crossing his arms over his chest, as if it settled the matter. "Gawain did what I woulda done. Ok, ok, let me try and explain my point to you about Lancelot with the story, alright?"

Jean-Paul simply raised an eyebrow at his friend. This should be interesting.

"Say, I'm King Arthur, right? And Rogue... Rogue is my queen. But you're an old school knight, you're Lancelot, so even though you want to fuck me, you can't. You're too repressed."

The Canadian held back the snort that such an ironic statement immediately made him want to let out. Because he honestly did want to hear how Pietro would convince him. If he could at all.

Part of him really wanted to be impressed by this conversation.

And part of him, of course, wanted to write it off entirely, because it was just a little too scary to think of Pietro... this way.

But the Brotherhood speedster was already beginning his tale, "Ok so Rogue is your girl..."


*********

Rogue is sitting alone in her dark room in the castle, on a huge canopied bed, hung with red and black translucent drapes–

Much to Pietro's irritation, Jean-Paul cut into his story with a sarcastic, "Pietro, you're awfully interested in her decorating."

"Hey, who's telling the story here?" Pietro held up a hand, looking down his nose at his friend as best he could, considering that they were sitting at eye level with one another, in supreme annoyance.

"Excusez-moi." JP rolled his electric blue eyes to the ceiling. "By all means, continue."

Damn. If he was going to be interrupting all the time, Pietro didn't think he'd ever get to finish. "Don't mind if I do. Now shut the hell up and listen."

She sighs to herself, wistfully. Her heart has been heavy lately. Though she is married to the greatest king England has ever seen, the man who has managed to unite the country, bring peace and prosperity to it's people, loved and adored by all, King Pietro–,"

Jean-Paul, obviously unable to control himself any longer, let out a sarcastic snort this time.

Pietro narrowed his eyes at the other boy. Goddammit, he was trying to make a very important point here! "My story. Anyhow, that's all true of Arthur!"

"Arthur, yes. But you said Pietro–,"

"The role of King Arthur is being played by Pietro Maximoff today. You'll get your shot when the annoying French asshole comes into the story, ok?"

Jean-Paul rolled his eyes once more, but the pummeling Pietro expected was not forthcoming. JP simply sat, staring at him expectantly.

Satisfied, he carried on. Because this was one battle he knew he could win. This was so that asshole Lancelot's fault!

She loves her husband dearly– he is a brilliant leader, a gentleman, and, of course, stunningly handsome. But lately, despite King Pietro's looks, wit, and prowess in bed, she has been confused. She loves him, without question, but she can't help but notice the way her heart skips a beat every time Sir Jean-Paul enters the room.

Jean-Paul is handsome, of course, noble and the best knight in Pietro's brotherhood of the Round Table. And despite the way her kingly husband rocks her world at night–

"Ok, if you're going to tell the story, at least tell it right. And knock it off about how brilliant you are in bed," JP interrupted once again, with that typical fucking sexy sneer he had.

Pietro pointed at him accusingly, "First of all, it's my story. Second, I am amazing."

Jean-Paul raised an eyebrow at him, but kept quiet.

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

"Fuck you, Pietro," JP laughed, rolling his eyes again and giving Pietro a half-hearted thump to the chest.

"That's the idea," Pietro grinned back. Not that he wanted to get sidetracked while he was on a roll, but he couldn't help himself... and it was JP's own damn fault that he'd taken that shirt off. That multiplied the turn-on factor exponentially.

"Seriously," his friend gestured for him to continue, "finish your story. Just lay off the bullshit, sil vous plait. It's getting deep in here."

"Fine, you just shut up and let me work then."

Despite the way the King is considerate of her every need, she can't help but swoon just a little when her eyes meet Jean-Paul's. And lately, the looks they've been sharing have become so intense, she finds herself hopelessly, helplessly attracted to him. She knows, in her head, how very wrong her need for the young knight is, but her heart is traitorous, and won't forget him.

She thinks of him all the time now, how he carries her favor to every tournament, how many times he has championed her. At first, she'd thought he did those things out of his undying devotion to Pietro. But since they've begun sharing those heated looks, she's been finding reasons to speak to Jean-Paul, small tasks for him, that are well beneath his station. He does anything she asks, however. Almost as if he wants a reason to speak with her too.

And on nights like these, when her valiant king is out hunting with his knights, she finds it almost impossible not to wish for him. She loves her husband, but she wonders if she might not also be in love with Jean-Paul.

Pietro stopped, his mind racing from trying to come up with flowery medieval romance sounding crap (not that it was so difficult after reading that book twice, but still, it sounded freaking stupid), and examined Jean-Paul's face for a moment. The Canadian X-Man was chewing his lip thoughtfully, obviously considering the plight of Guenevere.

Sweet. JP would eat this up, and soon he would agree that Pietro knew everything, and Lancelot was a dick.

Well, at least, that Pietro knew everything about Lancelot being a dick. Which was enough, really.

This was some really cool shit though, Pietro had to admit. Ultimately depressing as fuck, but not exactly a heavy read. Just some romance, fantasy, tragedy... hell, even a bit of comedy thrown in. JP had good taste in books, apparently. In everything, really. And Pietro knew him well enough that he could practically see the thought process in his friend's head, at the moment, could see JP considering things from every angle, before measuring out a response to him.

He loved to try and guess what it would be. He was on about fifty percent of the time. But when dealing with a loose cannon like Jean-Paul Beaubier, those were really damn good odds. So he wasn't about to complain.

"Read a lot of romance novels?" The shirtless boy finally asked him, in an extremely neutral, conversational tone. But with his trademark smirk firmly in place.

Oddly enough, it only made Pietro want to kiss him. It was a mildly inexplicable sensation, other than the shirtless thing. But then, JP was at his best when being snarky.

But no. Distractions were bad, and would thwart his plan. He had a point to prove, and Jean-Paul obviously wasn't going to get it without having it spelled out for him like this. And Pietro, if he was anything, was always right.

At least, he figured he was. And he figured it was about time Jean-Paul should know, because the guy was stuck with him for a good while now.

"Yeah, actually," Pietro stopped that train of thought immediately, and admitted the truth to his friend, feeling a grin appear on his own face. "John always had them laying around, when I was with Magneto's crew. He writes the shit, I think, but he won't admit to it. Takes me about five minutes to read one, so I'd pick them up now and then."

"John?"

"Pyro. Totally fruity Australian guy, laughs all the damn time, likes to chase people around with horses made of fire. A real weird-o."

JP raised his eyebrows. "I see."

Pietro didn't much want to think about Magneto or his little cronies at the moment either. The little walk down memory lane to Transia a few minutes ago had been more than enough for him. "Anyhow, the point is, she loves me, you love me, but you two get it on eventually, and repeatedly. Does that make sense?"

"Pietro... Rogue can't stand you."

Pietro rolled his eyes at his irritatingly obstinate friend. "Don't be a fuck, you know what I mean. And say some pals of mine... Agravaine is Lance and... Mordred is Todd–,"

"You realize," Jean-Paul started laughing instantly, "That this makes Todd your son?"

Gross.

But actually, it worked, for the purposes of the story. Mordred was pretty much a slimy bitch, after all. That suited Toad. Well, ok, so Todd was actually kind of alright sometimes, once you got past the smell... but still. It'd do. "Yeah, but with some looney half-sister who doesn't exist in our little world here, unless Magneto has been busier than we know, so forget that part. He's a dodgy guy, and he's Brotherhood. Whatever, right? So Lance and Todd come to me..."

Lance and Todd enter the room, and it's as if a dark cloud has descended over the King's head. They are dark-faced and whispering like conspirators will– and Pietro has a feeling that he knows what those whispers are about. The King is not blind and deaf, he sees and hears the rumblings of the court over his wife's possible indiscretions with his own best friend and right hand, Sir Jean-Paul. And though it bothered him, at one time, his great love for both his Queen and his friend quickly eclipsed any pain he may have felt. He loves them both far too much to deny them their happiness, even if it means he must turn a blind eye to their activities– activities which, in his country of England, condemn them both as traitors to the Crown.

An offense punishable by death.

And now here come Pietro's kinsmen, and the two biggest trouble-makers of the Round Table, his cousin Lance and his misbegotten son Todd, the product of witchcraft and evil deception, in his younger days. And the King knows, somehow, that this time he won't be allowed to turn a deaf ear.

Todd creeps up on him in his own personal sitting room, bringing the smell of the moat with him. "Sire, you know we don't like to give you trouble, yo–,"

"Wait, wait," Jean-Paul was laughing, "is it me, or did Mordred just say yo?"

"Well... it's Toad," Pietro shrugged.

"But... it's not."

"No... but it's my story, so shut it, flyboy."

Jean-Paul simply kept laughing, quietly. But he did, in fact, shut it.

"–but we have lately been hearing some disturbing news, and felt obligated to let you know what we've found."

King Pietro looks at his son for a moment, then closes his eyes, with a sigh. "What is it you want to speak to me of, Sir Todd, Sir Lance?"

Lance stares at his king for a moment, grinning evilly, obviously enjoying the news he has to impart to Pietro. "There is talk of your queen committing treason, milord. And we think we can prove it to you. We hate to see you, the greatest king the country has ever known, made a fool of by a woman cheating on you. It is an insult to you, the Table, our family, and our country."

"You have proof that the queen is untrue?" Pietro raises one eyebrow at his nephew, praying that it's not true.

Lance nods at him, however, slowly, "Aye. Proof. Or rather, we know how to get it."

"Sire, just give us tonight to prove it," Todd jumps in, obviously unable to contain his excitement at the prospect of ruining his father's marriage– the marriage that keeps him from being the heir to the crown. "Go out hunting with your boys, and you'll see. She'll call Sir Jean-Paul into her room, and we'll catch them goin' at–,"

Lance smacks the younger knight, to shut him up, sending Todd hurtling across the room. And the dark-haired nephew of the king smiles sweetly, once that task is accomplished. "The entire court knows about them, sire. If you allow this to continue, people will say you are weak. It will lessen your hold on the kingdom, it will be your downfall. But if you allow us to stop this, right now, prove it out in public, your kingdom will flourish."

Pietro is silent, for a moment. Because, to be perfectly honest, the kingdom means very little to him without the fellowship of his knights, without the love of the people who have made the kingdom what it is. He loves to see his people happy, growing strong under the ideals his Round Table has upheld... it's his duty. He is king. They depend on him.

What can he do, but pray that she will not choose tonight to call to Jean-Paul?

"I will go hunting," he finally sighs, "But I want you to know that I trust and love my wife. She is no traitor. And if you're wrong... it's going to be your heads, you realize."

Todd has hopped back over to them as Pietro spoke, and now stands looking at the king. "Yo, um... you mean that literally?"

King Pietro nods at them. Determined and resigned all at once.

He is king. And he has to be in control. His options are to kill them here, or to do as they ask, really.

So, he went hunting, with a heavy heart.

"Ok," Pietro held out his hands now, "So I'm against the wall here, right?

Jean-Paul shook his head, "No. Arthur didn't have to agree to Agravaine and Mordred's plan to send him off hunting, to trap the Queen. He could've said screw off, I trust my wife."

"He knew they were right," Pietro insisted, flipping quickly to the section he had just been re-telling to his friend, eyes flying over the pages with inhuman quickness, until he found the passage he wanted. "Says right here– For the king had a deeming of it, but he would not hear thereof. Hello, Arthur loved them too much and they took advantage of it! That's ok, when the entire kingdom doesn't know. But if Agravaine and Mordred saw, and he'd heard about it before, he had to know that soon everyone would see. And rather than deal with the unrest a weak king would cause, Arthur has to hope that the bitch will control herself for one night, and the asshole will stay away. Which, of course, he does not, even when Sir Bors warns him. Say that's JM, right?"

The Canadian X-Man cocked his head, reminding Pietro quite a bit of a curious cat. "Jeanne-Marie... is Bors?"

"Yeah, right," He nodded.

"Cousin," Sir Jeanne-Marie begs Jean-Paul, her close friend and confidante, as well as her kinsman,"I ask you not to go to the queen tonight. I will make no judgment on what it is you and she do when you're alone, but I have a bad feeling– if you go, something will happen."

But Jean-Paul is helpless and he knows it. Anything Rogue asks of him, he must do instantly. It is bred into him as a chivalrous knight, sworn to be her champion, and yes, as her lover. Though it torments his mind daily, though he knows it condemns him to hell, his need for the queen, after he gave in to it once on that fateful night where the wounds from his hands left blood on her sheets, where he had championed her even though she was as guilty as sin, defended her honor even though he had taken it himself, at her pleading invitation...

Ever since, he hasn't been able to say no. Night and day it torments him, but each time she calls, he comes to her.

"I must go, Jeanne-Marie," The good knight tells his cousin, though he knows she can see perfectly clearly what is happening between himself and the queen. "Nothing will happen, she likely needs me for some small task. I will return soon, and you'll see."

"No," Jeanne-Marie shakes her head, and takes her cousin by the arm, unwilling to let him go. "Our King Pietro is out for the night, and this smells of deceit. Do not go to her, she will be the end of you. I know that love has taken you, but please, trust my instinct."

But Jean-Paul can only shake his head at her, as he turns to walk away. "I must, cousin. I have no choice."

"You were awfully nice to Lancelot there," Jean-Paul pointed out, shifting on the bed to re-situate himself. He took his leg off of Pietro's lap, and slid down onto his back, head on his pillow, arms underneath it, cradling his head. He stretched out his long legs, still clad in warm-up pants, and crossed one ankle over the other. Obviously settling in for the rest of the story.

Good. Pietro did love to have a captive audience. He slid down to his side, and propped his head up with one hand, elbow in the bed, laying the book on Jean-Paul's bare stomach, just in case he needed it. "Well, I was going for his point of view. Really, I think he's a weak son of a bitch and should've just jumped into bed with me."

"With Arthur," Jean-Paul corrected, raising his eyebrows quickly.

"When you're Lancelot and I'm Arthur, I'm going with the idea that you should be in bed with me."

Jean-Paul actually grinned at that, rather than rolling his eyes. Pietro couldn't quite decide why it made his stomach jump, but he definitely decided that he didn't want to think about that too much. "Lucky you, you have me where you want me. Anyhow, just because we're screwing around, and happen to be taking on the roles of Lancelot and Arthur, that really doesn't mean that those two particular characters have to be screwing around. I mean, fantasy is all well and good, but you have to observe the line, in order to make any kind of believable argument."

"You have it backwards," Pietro insisted, "I cast the story that way because we happen to be prime contenders for the roles, considering. I didn't change the story with us in mind, I'm using us to tell the story."

"In that case, carry on."

Oh, he was so buying into this.

Jean-Paul enters the queen's chambers with a soft knock, and she looks up from her bed, hopefully. Seeing her lover there, she smiles at him hugely, and runs to his arms.

The knight finds himself smiling back, and puts his arms around her, holding her close for just a moment before asking, "What is it you needed, my lady?"

Rogue looks up at him, green eyes flashing, and smiles, "Do you even have to ask me, Jean-Paul?"

And he feels his heart tear in two, as he always does when he comes to her. He wants to tell her no, wants to say it's wrong, wants to say that their love for Pietro should keep them from this, even though he knows deep down that his own love for the king is the very thing that drives him to this–

"Pietro... that's not in the book," Jean-Paul sighed, tapping a finger on the red leather of the book on his stomach.

Pietro rolled his eyes, annoyed, "Try and keep up with me here, JP. My story, remember?"

Jean-Paul actually laughed, making the book bounce so much that it slid off his stomach, and onto the bed between them. "Fine, go, tell the story."

"Stop interrupting. It's rude."

"Fine. I'll stop interrupting when you stop chewing with your mouth open at the table."

"Christ, what are you, my mother?"

"See, now you're really getting us confused with European royalty– the family tree that never branches."

Pietro just rolled his eyes once again, and carried on.

Really. Some people.

But before he can speak another word to her, a tapestry on the far wall falls to the ground, and four knights spring out from behind it. He can recognize them clearly enough– Sir Todd, Sir Lance, Sir Kitty, and Sir Fred! Jeanne-Marie, he now realizes, was right.

He's caught, like a rat in a trap.

He spins the queen around and puts her behind him, following his first instinct to protect her with his life, and pulls out his sword, belted at his waist. They are all in full armor, and advancing on him quickly, and he is wearing only his tunic, which puts him at a sore disadvantage. But he prepares to fight anyhow, as his stomach turns to stone, knowing that his life, and the lives of those he loves, will never be the same.

"Give it up, Sir Jean-Paul," Lance sneers at him, drawing his own sword and stepping out in front of the lot of them. "You're caught– red handed! You and the queen must be tried for this treason!"

"She did nothing!" Jean-Paul insists, although he knows he is lying. It's a lie he's told for her more than once. A lie he's certain condemns him to hell, but which he cannot stop telling. "She is innocent. I came to speak with her, and she has done no wrong. Let her go and I will come with you."

But Todd is laughing now, maniacally, "Forget it, yo! We know what we saw, and soon King Pietro will too. You and Rogue are going to burn for this."

The others with them simply laugh and keep coming forward, swords in hand, glaring threateningly.

"Jean-Paul!" Rogue pulls at his sleeve now, "You must go, or they will kill you. They will not kill me. I will speak to Pietro, and perhaps he will–,"

"No," the knight insists, his eyes never leaving his opponents, "I won't leave you to them."

"You must," She returned, now near to tears. "They will not kill me. They are jealous of the favor you carry with my husband, they will never let you leave here alive."

Jean-Paul realizes the truth of her statement, but cannot justify leaving her to their mercy, so he leaps forward and takes out Kitty with one swipe of his blade. He arms himself as best he can in her armor, as she lays on the floor bleeding, and fights the other three, and then the five or six more who come to join them, obviously their back-up. But it becomes clear, before long, that even the great Sir Jean-Paul cannot fight the entire castle, and that it will probably come to that if he remains.

When next Rogue entreats him to run away, he finally agrees, heart heavy and eyes burning. But he knows that she is right. The knights will not kill her, their queen. And he will have his chance to rescue her soon enough.

But god. What will Pietro do when he finds out? What will he think of his best friend, of his beloved wife, and how they'd betrayed him for so long?

At the thought, he almost wants to go back, so that they can kill him. If he wasn't responsible for the safety of Rogue now, for the position she was in because of his weakness... he would.

"You're good at this," Jean-Paul commented, "That was quite moving."

Pietro examined his friend's face for any sign of sarcasm. Not finding any, he simply said, "I know."

"What about Wanda? Why wasn't she with them?"

Man. JP was damn smart, but sometimes he really did miss the obvious. "No way. Wanda is like... Gaheris right? She wouldn't be in on any plot against you, because she loves you."

Jean-Paul sighed, "Ok, I see where you're taking this, and it's wrong, because Gawain–,"

"Scott."

The X-Man stopped, and furrowed his brow at his friend, flipping over onto his side now, to match Pietro. "... What? Why?"

"Scott would be Gawain," Pietro explained, trying to be patient. Cyke was the obvious choice here though, considering that he and JP had some kind of weird, inexplicable friendship. "Gareth can be Alex, his youngest brother. You and Alex get along, say Alex really looked up to you, thought you were god-like or something. Well, Wanda and Alex, they wouldn't have any part of this shit. Neither would Scott. So Scott, as my servant and kinsman, along with Wanda and Alex, comes to me..."

Scott shakes his head at Pietro, trying to explain his feelings about the horror that his own brother Lance and Sir Todd had caused the evening before. He has known about the queen and Sir Jean-Paul, or at least has had an idea, and his brother Lance had wanted his help in the matter of exposing them, but he would not hear of it. And now look at the mess it was causing. "Sire, uncle, please go light on the queen. My brother and your son, they have contrived to make things seem worse than they are, perhaps. Jean-Paul is our best knight, a good man, friend to both of us, ever true to our fellowship. Surely, there is an explanation."

Scott's two other siblings, Wanda and Alex, the two youngest, stand with him in the king's chamber, also shaking their heads sadly. The news of Jean-Paul's near capture last night had hit them both hard, particularly Alex, who had been knighted by Jean-Paul because he would have no other, his love for the older knight had always been so great. Scott is not the most articulate of men, nor the best with emotion. He knows only what he feels, and is not good at expressing himself. But he can't stand seeing his family torn apart like this, particularly the gentle Gaheris and Gareth, who are good men and kind, or seeing the avarice and treachery that is fast taking over his beloved court.

But Pietro has been listless all day, and is only shaking his head, sadly. "I wish I could do as you ask me, Sir Scott. But they were caught, and there were witnesses. He was in the queen's chamber, his arms around her. The buzz of the court is against them, and now it only grows worse. She has been proven untrue, as has Jean-Paul. If I go lightly on them, if I change the law, the law I made myself for the sake of peace and justice in the kingdom... what does that say? That I am above it. My entire rule has been based on the exact opposite principle, that I rule for them. How can I betray my country?"

Scott puts a hand on his uncle's shoulder, understanding well enough what he means, but still unwilling to accept that his good friend Jean-Paul and the good queen Rogue can truly be at fault here. He is as loyal as a dog, and sometimes as stubborn. "I still wish you would change your mind. You know well enough that he will come for her. He won't see her burned for his sake."

"I need you there, Scott. And you two, Wanda, Alex," Pietro shakes his head sadly, staring at the floor. "We must carry out the law. Even if it ruins me. I must do for my people what I can, even if it kills me."

Scott understands, but he cannot fight his feelings on the matter. "I cannot be there, milord." He looks to his younger siblings, and sees their troubled looks, but knows that they will be unable to fight their king and uncle on this. They are too young, too untried, while Scott is almost as old as the king himself, and holds much sway over him. "My brothers will go, but not willingly. Only because they haven't the heart to fight you."

Pietro looks up then, finally, at the younger knights. "I will need you beside me. He will come for her. And I need all of us to be there."

"We will go," Alex says, slowly, "But I will not bear arms against Jean-Paul. I will not wear my armor or sword."

"I am with you, brother," Wanda affirms. "I will be there, for your sake, uncle, but I will not make war with him whom I love so well."


"In the meantime," Pietro broke out of the story, which was actually getting quite engrossing, really, "You and your mates are getting ready to save Rogue. I don't want to burn her, but she's been proven a traitor, so what can I do?" Man, it really sucked how Arthur got shafted like that... that was really fucking sad.

Jean-Paul sighed, and put his head down on the pillow, looking rather upset by the whole thing. "I still don't think it's Lancelot's fault. What was he supposed to do?"

"It is his fault!"

Jean-Paul came riding in hard in the grey morning, on his white charger, unflinching determination in his eyes. His life was changed forever, but he would not see hers ended. Not for him. Part of him knew that Pietro would want him to do this very thing– the king has always loved Rogue. And part of him thought that he should simply give up and die next to her, for what they'd done to the king.

But his kinsmen and nearly a fourth of Pietro's knights, knights who did not believe that Jean-Paul had done wrong, rode with him this morning. To save Rogue from the fire. From her own husband. From the justice that she and Jean-Paul both deserved.

The battle that soon rages around him makes it too difficult to see, exactly. But the smoking pyre that the queen is to be burned at is clear enough, and he hacks his way through the melee expertly, single-mindedly, knowing only that Rogue must not die for him. The din of battle rings in his ears, he's heard it so many times before. But he is undeterred, he races to her side, cuts her free, and pulls her up behind him on his horse, then races hard and fast away from the castle without a word to her. His only concern is to get her to freedom.

Little does he realize that two of the knights he rode down in his quest for the queen were two of his beloved friends, the noble Wanda and the young and gentle Alex.

All he knows is that his world has come crashing in, and the battle in the courtyard, friend against friend, factions that should be one now split down the middle, is all that is left of it.

And he is to blame.

Jean-Paul looked positively depressed by the time Pietro had finished, his sharp, normally wicked face drawn and his eyes far away.

Normally, Pietro would've gloated about that. But to be honest, he was feeling pretty goddamn depressed himself, and didn't have the heart, really.

"I would never–," The darker boy began to protest, albeit halfheartedly.

Pietro was quick to note that it was the first time Jean-Paul had referred to himself as Lancelot. He was pleased that his story had taken in his friend, as he had planned, but he was so taken in himself that he couldn't even manage a smirk. He just lay his head down on his own pillow, and held one hand out in front of him, telling JP to stop talking. "You're Lancelot, shut it. That's the way the story goes. He didn't mean to kill them, yeah, but he did. And that's where he really lost the battle."

Scott is positively livid. "What do you mean they're dead?! Wanda and Alex loved him, how could he do this to them?"

Pietro can only shake his head, and try to put a comforting hand on his nephew's shoulder, but Scott quickly shakes him off and begins pacing the length of the room, in fits.

"It was accidental, Scott. The battle was loud and dusty, he couldn't see who he was riding down as he charged to save Rogue," He tries to comfort his kinsman, but finds that his heart is so broken, he cannot even do that much properly. The battle that had raged under his window, that he'd rushed to join just a little too late, had killed something in him. It had been like watching brother against brother, his knights fighting Jean-Paul's.

Scott will not be comforted, however. It's too late. He is angry. And when Scott is angry, Pietro knows, he rarely forgets until he's been satisfied. "They were unarmed! He rode down two unarmed knights?! They loved him, Pietro. And this is how he repays that love, the love that made them put away their swords and armor for him? He will pay for this, sire. We must ride to war, immediately."

Pietro shakes his head, "Scott... it may not be necessary. Perhaps we can talk to Jean-Paul, make some kind of peace..." The king does not have the will to go to war with his best knight, with his best friend. He can only hope that Jean-Paul will be willing to reason with him, to accept some kind of banishment from the kingdom instead of a fight.

But Scott does not seem as if he will accept such a thing, let alone Jean-Paul. "No. There will be no talking. He has killed my good brothers, who loved him, who worshiped him as a god. And he will die for it. Him and all those who would oppose you, Pietro. We will end him. He must pay.

The king has no answer for his nephew. He too is saddened by the deaths of Wanda and Alex, two of his best, most noble knights, not to mention his family, his friends. But Scott is enraged. And Pietro knows that he will not stop until Jean-Paul is dead, now.

And he will not allow Pietro to, either.

"Now you and me," Pietro broke off again, "we're best friends, so of course we could've talked it out. But I have nephew Gawain breathing down my neck, and an entire empire to maintain control of. We just want to keep living, but now you've killed half my family, on top of stealing my queen–,"

"Whom I...," JP stopped and furrowed his brow quickly, then slid both hands up under the pillow under his cheek, and pulled his knees up to his chest as he thought through what he wanted to say.

Hell. That was actually kinda cute. Made him look younger, when he wasn't being all sneering and sarcastic. Not that he wasn't beautiful when he was sarcastic, but this was kinda ok too, really.

"Whom Lancelot," the Canadian corrected himself, "was bound by honor to rescue, since she was in that position because of him."

"My point exactly," Pietro conceded, "It was your fault. But it takes two to fuck, so let's not absolve Rogue just yet huh? She invited him in, and he accepted. Bitch of a thing to do, for both of them, but they did, and now we're at war. The war that kills the dream, man. And whose fault is it again?"

Jean-Paul pulled one of his hands out from under his pillow and flipped Pietro the bird quickly, returning to smirking for a moment. "Arthur's for turning a blind eye for so long."

"Bullshit," Pietro laughed, knowing he'd won, "You don't believe that!"

JP rolled his clear blue eyes and sighed, then flipped over onto his back again. And didn't reply.

Pietro- one, Jean-Paul- zero! He knew that JP would see it his way.

"So it's the fault of you and Rogue," he couldn't help but spell it out one last time, just for fun, even though he was still feeling a little beat up from the story, really. "I'm the noble ruler, who's been taken advantage of by his loved ones. Rogue is my queen, who fell for you. And you're my confused, utterly gay best friend who's banging my wife 'cause he can't have me."

"Yeah," JP suddenly smirked again, "And Todd is your son who you got by sleeping with some mysterious half-sister, don't forget. None of it ever would've come to light if that little shit hadn't been in the picture. So as you see, the initial sin of Arthur led to his downfall."

Pietro sat up straight, now, narrowing his eyes and staring down at JP hard, "She put a spell on me!"

Jean-Paul pushed himself up to sitting too, and looked him in the eye, "Rogue put one on me! They said that in the book too, that it was suspected that Guenevere put a spell on Lancelot!"

For a moment, Pietro simply considered his best friend. And then he let his shoulders slump a bit. "Yeah, probably. I mean, he's gay anyhow, that'd make more sense. He's definitely gay."

Jean-Paul suddenly laughed, and Pietro realized that they'd almost gotten into a heated argument over who, exactly, had been subjected to witchcraft in an imaginary medieval world that was entirely in their heads.

"Ok, ok, maybe," JP chuckled.

But Pietro wasn't letting go of it that easily. Imaginary or not, he was right, dammit. "C'mon JP..."

Jean-Paul rolled his eyes and made a gesture with his hand, like he was brushing something away.

It was a concession. JP's way of saying "yeah, ok, you win," without actually having to say it.

Good enough! "You know, all that means is that if Arthur and Lancelot had just gotten it on in the first place, the dream would still be alive today."

Still laughing, just a little, mostly silent but with his shoulders still shaking, Jean-Paul asked, "Since when do you believe in happy endings?"

"Better than death by Toad," Pietro prepared himself mentally for the final, most painful story he had in him.

Really, it was fucking cool that JP could sit here and talk about this shit with him. He'd feel like a real idiot talking about some stupid medieval book with anyone else. And sure, Jean-Paul was a bastard most of the time. But he was always cool when things mattered.

Pietro could appreciate that. Meant a lot to him really. Even if he wasn't quite sure why, or how.

***************

King Pietro cannot understand how things had gotten so far out of hand. The battlefield was quiet all around him, all of his knights, and all of the opposing faction's, Sir Todd's, lay dead or bleeding to death on the field. Of course, Todd's intentions had become clear as soon as Pietro had gone to war with Jean-Paul, the war Todd himself had begun in order to seize the throne. And now they are at war with one another, the king and his traitorous son. Jean-Paul is lost to him, as is his beloved Rogue. And his own son has wiped out all of his good knights, crushed his dreams and his empire. And now, this is all that is left.

A battlefield of dead heroes.

But the king sees the traitorous devil-spawn, not far in the distance, through the murky dawn. Tired, but full of blood lust for the one who has crushed his dreams, taken everything from the people he loves, Pietro runs at him full tilt, shouting, "Traitor! Now your death-day has come!"

Todd narrows amber eyes at his father. But Pietro will not be stopped by looks, and shoves his heavy spear under the traitor's shield, and straight through his belly, instantly, until it bursts out the other side.

Todd looks down, and it becomes clear in his eyes that he knows he is done for. He suddenly pushes himself forward, however, until he is closer to his father, sliding himself up to the hilt of the spear almost, and takes his sword in both hands. Wordlessly, he swings it with all the might left to him, and hits King Pietro so hard on the head it breaks his helmet and cracks his skull with a sickening crunch.

That done, he slumps to the earth in a swoon, and dies almost immediately.

King Pietro reels backwards, clutching his head with one hand, his sword Excalibur with his other, and finally comes to rest under a tree. Bleeding, broken, and lost, he waits for someone. Someone to come and take the sword back to where it's meant to be, before he dies.

Jean-Paul swallowed heavily as Pietro finished his story. He knew he should be feeling stupid for being so into it, especially in front of the silver-haired imp sitting across from him on the bed.

But damn, that was depressing. Kinda funny, if he actually pictured Todd and Pietro doing it. But just the idea of it... what a shitty ending.

And even weirder yet, Pietro seemed to be struck by the gravity of it as well, despite the rather humorous suggestion of Toad being his end. And his son. He must've really been identifying with Arthur, to be that taken in. Which was unexpected. And kind of cool, if a little... scary.

"Yeah," The Canadian speedster managed to choke out, after a moment of blank stares from both of them. "That sucks."

Pietro seemed to come to life, after he spoke, and sighed heavily. "Sucks it like it has the antidote, my friend."

They were quiet a minute longer, and Jean-Paul tried desperately not to be impressed with what had just happened. Sure, it was stupid and silly and childish to get wrapped up in some kind of fantasy like that. But... and he might be mistaken, but it seemed that they had just had an intelligent, thoughtful, and rather fun exchange of ideas.

And it'd been... really fucking cool.

Fuck.

"I'm hungry," he suddenly announced, half because his stomach was roiling impatiently, and half because he didn't want to think anymore.

"Chinese?" Pietro offered, obviously in agreement. It was a rare moment when either of them weren't hungry, really.

"Na. Italian."

Pietro wrinkled up his nose, "Thai."

Jean-Paul nodded, satisfied. "Let me shower fast, then we go. I'm disgusting at the moment."

Pietro picked up the book on the bed, and waved a hand impatiently, "Use some of that inferior speed of yours and get a move on. I'm not going to spend my whole day waiting for you."

Oddly enough, if he'd said that an hour ago, Jean-Paul might've believed him.

But he caught Pietro watching him as he slid out of his warm ups and wrapped his towel around himself on the way out the door. Thoughtfully. And it almost made him wonder.

END

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AN (number TWO!): First of all, I realize that I just way oversimplified, cut, hacked, and slashed Le Morte d'Arthur. I read the book once a year, I've taken a class on it at University, written papers on it, I understand that I did not do it justice, and took out a lot of complications. However, a lot of the issues Pietro brings up here are those I've heard doing academic research type nonsense on the book– Lancelot's (or, for that matter, Malory's) sexuality, what really caused Arthur's downfall, etc. Let's face it, I've made it perfectly clear that they want on each other at all times, JP and Pietro. But isn't it about time they had a real conversation?

That said, I have got to let everyone know now, that **Here Comes Trouble is officially over!** I know, I know, I said one more chapter after this, but what I wanted to do with the last chapter was basically leading into the sequel. In fact, it was going to be integral to the sequel. And, to be honest, I'm pretty happy with this as an ending. It seems appropriate to me, and seriously, I don't think I've ever had as much fun writing as I just had putting this chapter together. For some reason, making my obsessions collide makes me happy. I can only hope that it was half as interesting to anyone reading as it was to me!

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed and/or read. Thank you a hundred thousand times. I honestly believe that I've become a better writer just doing this, thanks to you all. And I expected it to be silly, ridiculous fluff. But as it turns out, I ended up feeling like it was a lot more, for some reason. Much is set up for the next round, which will be off the ground well before the end of the month, if I have my way, and will be called Thicker than Water. The kids were introduced in Relativity, they had their fun in Here Comes Trouble, and in Thicker than Water, they'll find themselves put to the test, in a big, fat, scary way.

In other words, incoming angst.

And of course there will be the fluff companion to this one, for when Thicker than Water starts to kick my ass, as it inevitably will. Probably called something lame like Here Comes Trouble: The Lost Chapters since I suck with titles and summaries and the like!

And that said, let me go ahead and keep shamelessly plugging myself. Sue Penkivech, who I refer to regularly in my notes as the reason I can't make Bobby gay, and who has Bobby living in her head, incidentally (I'm not joking, she writes the best Iceman ever, in my opinion. And I love Iceman, if you haven't noticed, so I'm picky, dammit), and I have decided to take matters into our own hands and steal our favorite characters from the hopelessly nonsensical Marvelverse, at the moment, and give them the action, credit, and attention to character they deserve. We've started up our own little comic book of sorts, and you can find it, if interested in 616 fic, under the name Fallen X-Angels (just type /~fallenxangels after the ff.net address, it's there!) Our crew, predictably enough, is known as the **Fallen Angels**. So if you're a fan of cannon Northstar, Iceman, Husk, Nightcrawler or Jubilee (and two more to come!) It might be interesting for you. (Unless you're like Caliente, who is too fast for us, and already found it! Go you!) Issue #1 is up and kicking, and we hope to throw out one a month.

Moving on...

S-Star: Thanks so much for the reviews, Sugah. I suppose the last chapter was quite "action packed" as you say! I wanted to have the feeling of a lot going on at once, all centered on one place. It wasn't quite as successful in that sense as I wanted, but hell... I'm so in love with Wanda and Sam, I can't be upset at the moment! Funny, how so few people really felt bad for Berto, though ;)

Krac: I can imagine that your cousin's coming out caused a "fun Christmas at the old homestead." And just so you know, that line had me laughing for about five minute straight haha! I'm glad that the reaction seemed honest. Scott, particularly Evo!Scott, strikes me as a good guy. But awkward. And rigid. Good thing JP is there to loosen him up! (Ok, I didn't mean that how it sounds, but you know what I mean!) As for Alex's fag hag... well Jubes is coming back... mwahaha.

Shaman Dani: You're right, of course. JM does deserve better. I feel kinda bad that I used Berto as a sort of "learning experience" for her. But I know my first few were... hell they all still are. And yeah... I don't feel too bad about it either. I mean, he's cute... and I like Roberto... but... yeah. I'm with you! Thanks for all the reviews, you've been so helpful to me through this.

Risty: I'm actually going to do JP getting them drunk in the weird second part to this fic, HCT. JP is the devil. Isn't he beautiful? I'm glad that my Sam was worthy of your approval, I was a bit worried about doing him so much because he isn't really there so much in Evo. So I just took canon Sam, and made him... well, younger. Less certain. I'm glad it's working, and thank you so much for all the help, and your inspiring stories! Just for you, I think I will be bringing Rahne back!

The M: Holy hell, there you are!! Gods, how I've missed you! I thought of you when I finished Sex and Samosas, and purposely named Dirty Bass for our shared love of that very thing. I had no idea you had an All in the Family experience of your own! My friends and I used to get together and scream that when we were totally pissed up back in my late teenage days. And yes... yes the Malfoy connection is just disturbing. I can't watch Harry Potter now without hearing that snarky little voice going, "Try and keep up!" Miss you, luv, and hope all is well.

Gir: HAHA! You were high, in your underwear, and couldn't use the microwave. Mwahahaha! Oh, oh the memories. Seriously though, I'm so super excited that you've made it this far. I honestly am overwhelmed by you sometimes, and your uncanny ability to just get things that I know none of my other friends ever could. You're the only person I really know, in real life, who has read anything I've done. That's pretty damn huge, to me. Oh and one more thing: Day likes GAY CARTOON PORN!!!

The Rogue Witch: As it turns out, you were right. Only 16 chapters ;) You're absolutely right. Sam/Wanda is insane. But I get so bored of R/R, Jean/Scott, all the things that are supposed to happen. And I guess, as I saw with my own group of friends in the dorms, sometimes, the least likely thing is the thing that ends up working the best. I'm really glad you ended up enjoying that, and I hope you continue to. And although I love coffee (clearly, I have drug issues, caffeine, alcohol, weed, I need to stop writing about putting nastiness in your body, don't I?), I can understand. A French soda for you and JM ;) Remind me, next time we see each other (!?) That I owe you one!

Akuma no Tsubasa: I wish I could take credit for the alien moshing. My friend had a stomach issue during my freshman year of college, and he used to say he thought he had an alien in his stomach. We went to a Rob Zombie concert once and he was laughing that the thing started moshing. Lucky for my friend, the moshing seemed to kill his alien. Looks like Wanda is stuck with hers! And yeah, to be honest Scott/Jean annoys me, and I agree– the whole Emma Frost thing, as gross as it is, served its purpose. Thanks for the help and encouragement on this story, you've been fabulous!

Caliente: You know, it's nuts, but not many people were too upset about Berto getting dumped ;) Wonder why! I really didn't mean to paint him as a bad guy, I like Berto, but I honestly thought she needed to learn before I dumped her into more angst and love and other kinds of crap. And can you send me a picture of your Sam Shrine? I was thinking of erecting one myself!

Rivulet027: Funny you should say that high JP is normal you... cause that's exactly how I am when high haha. We have much in common... if I'm high... which I'm not at the moment. *gasp* *shock*! Glad you caught the thing with Todd choking over Wanda in her bathing suit, I think you were the only one to mention it. Poor Todd is kinda getting the shaft at this point, but it happens, apparently. Poor dude.

Fata Morgana: Ups and downs indeed! I agree, some bits in AF make me want to choke JP, and that's exactly the reaction I was going for with that last bit in JM's journal. While I made him a lot more fun in this fic than he is in 616 (well, he's younger, he's not been through the AF bullshit, etc, I figure it's justified... sorta ;) ), he's still JP. I am really glad you like my JM. I couldn't stand to write such a stupid, flat character as she is in 616, I had to give her something. And while her instability will come back to the forefront before too long, I wanted to use these stories to give her a little... substance. I'm glad that was accomplished, and I'm glad someone like you, with your backlog of AF knowledge, can accept it as an ok risk to take! Thanks for all the help throughout this, darlin.

Ok, I'll stop now. Thanks to everyone, once again. I can't say that enough. Sorry about the plugs before the shout-outs, but I've been a busy little bee, apparently. I do love you all.

This is Beaubier, signing off