Unseen Fortunes and Pitfalls

Disclaimer: How much of Marvel or the X-Men's asses do you really think I own?

Author's Note

Yes, this might look familiar to some people (a rare few though I'd imagine); it is the complete revamp (very much for the better) of one of my favourite stories, Unseen Fortunes and Pitfalls, which leads onto my Childhood series (taken down also for revamps).

Warning: it is very out of synch now with what is happening right now in the comics, almost AU in fact, but not quite. When I first wrote this Jean and Scott were still together, Rogue and Remy were thinking about it, Ororo was Ororo, Logan just Logan and the institute housed a bare minimum of a dozen at a time (I am talking from about the '98 period, when the art wade rich). Then I picked up Uncanny X-Men #444 the other day and almost lost my head. Before that I had read 'Storm: The Arena' and before that I kinda stopped reading Uncanny and New and only occasionally flicked through X-Treme. I suppose it's my fault that I don't know where Jean is or why Scott's in the shadows with Emma in a random office, but I've fallen out with the writers now (it wont be for long though, don't worry) and I also don't care how out of canon this story is.

A long A.N, I know, so I think it's to the story now.

(Oh, and if anyone could tell me where Jean is and why Scott and Emma are as they are, that be appreciated. Now to the story.)


-Chapter One – Silver Lining-

A pathetic whisper of a footfall trying desperately to run on a flourish of hot white pain through a limp and a stumble moved across the wet winds of a night soaked in ebony shadows and dark, sickening despair. There might have been a cry and a sob to follow the hobble if the throat that belonged to the body in distress could bring herself at all to speak, even to whimper or utter a call of much needed help, but she simply couldn't.

So she just ran. She forced herself on through tearing agony, not feeling the physical pain that shot decisively through her body but instead only the mental torture that marked the beginning of a nightmare long to be dreamt for months to come.

She eventually, in the midst of exhaustion and drainage of will, fell prey to the scars of the pavements as her toe stubbed into a pothole long abandoned to be fixed and her entire supple, battered body crashed heavily into the rain soaked ground below.

Her chin was the unfortunate body part that took the brunt of the trip, splitting open without any hesitation as dark, frozen skin met the face of merciless grey concrete.

She was now not inches from the putrid aging curb of the sidewalk and only a foot away from a swelling sewer-drain, clogged with years of neglect to clean. The brown, soiled water of the filter accumulated fast in the treacherous downpour and found itself quickly climbing the step up to the pavement, where it created offspring of many deep, wading puddles.

One puddle found itself lined with a generous spill of fresh, warm blood, and the murky water soon found itself then drawn to the chin from which the waterfall of crimson poured.

It slipped into her mouth, found a right of passage through her flared nostrils and with ease began a slow suffocation of drowning on the pathetic figure of a woman just violated. Only a twitch of her swollen fingers and a flicker from her bruised ankles showed any signs of her fighting the rushing darkness, before she evaluated a final decease as the 'perfect end' to the 'perfect night'.

There were those who would disagree however.

The steady, soothing drum of the mild storm against a sleek black road was cut through ruthlessly as rubber and engine tore recklessly in a haste of terror to the street where the woman had given up her fight. The old, battered jeep had hardly the time to break when its driver abandoned his post at the wheel and landed forcefully in the drenched lands of inner city New York.

Through every impossible odd she was still alive enough to sense the fresh touch of skin on her face once again as rough hands pulled her from the drowning puddle and forced her against every fibre of her will to breath again.

She battled with searing pain as she filled her soaked lungs with clammy air once again and summoned the strength to fight off the touch, one that almost frightened her into the doorway of death again.

"It's okay darlin', ah got you."

She fought through the swirling mess of water in her ears and the dark, dirty haze that shivered over her mind simply to hear those words, and to confirm that they were genuine from the actual person they claimed to be. She could only prey however in the end that he was. She was in no state to determine anything with sound clarity.

Her arms jerked and every vain in them coursed with pain until she found a neck to wrap them round and a torso to lean her battered head into. And how she savoured the warmth of both. She had only been left to run and then drown in the cold of the rains for a half hour now, but her mind could not fully comprehend what it was like to be warm anymore. She couldn't comprehend what it felt to be safe anymore. Although she fully understood what it was to be violated now.

The backs of her knees flared with agony as he tried with all amount of delicacy not to provoke any further hurt in her, a wholly impossible task as very little of her had been left untouched.

The jeep rested stationary only a couple tens of yards away. It became a marathon to reach it as she began to squirm and protest with the unintentional pain he caused in his stubbornly protective grip. She was down, and out, but she would always be as strong as any man and willing to fight so.

"C'mon darlin', work with me a little here eh?"

His plead fell useless on a set of deaf, waterlogged ears. She kicked and wrestled pathetically through the journey, but although she had the body to posses enough strength, even beaten like this, to challenge any man to a fair duel, Logan was hardly the averagely built man; too short, too stout and too strong for the appearance of himself.

He only held her tighter as he went, burning the bruises on her ribs and setting her kneecaps on fire, but she stopped her hapless struggles in the end.

In the back of the jeep sat a haphazard pile of blankets that he had throw across the leather seats in haste before he had gone out on this horrific search. He had known with a grudging instinct that he'd need them when he eventually found what he went out looking for. As Ororo almost fitted in the shivers that flowed through her blue tinted body he blessed every one of them.

The back door was opened with great difficulty, but opened nonetheless. His mercilessly tight grip began to loosen. She hadn't the fight left in her to seize the opportunity to struggle in her agonising blindness again. Very carefully with gentleness so rarely seen in him Logan put her down in the back and made swift work of smothering her in a pile of three thick, woollen blankets. It took off the biting edges of her frozen body, but did nothing else to help. Whatever else she needed would have to be received back at the mansion.

His hand lingered on her jaw line, caressing it with all scowling sympathy. Down the right hand side of her face was a bruise so harsh it boasted a streak of black and crimson down the middle of a dark, shimmering indigo swell. Droplets of blood spat from tiny pinpricks where the anonymous force had been dealt the hardest across her cheekbone and he let some of it smear onto his fingertips before he pulled himself with great difficulty away from her.

"Just hang on 'Ro, I'll get you back soon as ah can."

She knew all of this was happening, somewhere, but it seemed to be at such a distance it frightened her that she would never be able to return back to where the voice was coming from. His entire being and the black night that surrounded him in the background was slurry, the icy, mocking rain numb against her bare arms and face, and painful everywhere to the touch.

The only thing that ran clear through her senses was His face scarred deep into her memory, His voice as He cried out in some manner of twisted triumph and the cold hard abusing touch that partnered with it. All off this vivid in her mind as she passed through into an unwanted veil of suffocating darkness.

. . . . . . .

A terror of lightening with a volley of shaken thunder abused the old, gracious mansion and its vast sweeping grounds. The black rains drenched the tenderly cared for lawns and flowerbeds, stems of thick, rich green and petals of all exotic shades now dead and drowned in the ungodly downpour. The rooftops swelled to unthinkable temperatures as the threat of a lightning strike missed the mossy top of the house by mere inches. No spread of silvery moonlight was left anymore in what had been a cool, pleasant night now turned into a victim of a horrendous turn of the weather.

It played on the overcast atmosphere of the mansion, and the dark, itchy moods of the current occupants. Each flash of pale blue lit up a dangerous glint of apprehension in several sets of reddened eyes, staring at nothing and waiting impatiently for all possible outcomes. They gathered in the cold living room and ignored the goose bumps that taunted every inch of their vulnerably exposed skin.

The entrance hall almost shook away several layers of plaster as in the next heard of thunder the front door was hammered upon with more force than was entirely necessary. The sole of a heavy boot clad foot continued to kick hard on its varnished pine shell before one of the apprehensive crowd in the living room, Rogue, went forward to open it.

She was given no time to even draw breath to speak before Logan came in, as wet as the lawns with a face as haunted in shadows as the small growth of forestry outside. In his arms was Ororo, as limp and pale looking as if she were dead. Only the pulsing trickles of blood that dripped ceaselessly from under the ankles of her white flares and the tangle of her thick, stark white hair proved that theory wrong.

Logan carried himself and his deadweight bundle to the medical bay before Remy, Scott and Jean had a second to emerge themselves from the living room to catch a glimpse of what state he had brought home with him. Hank was the only person he would tolerate to speak to right now, all else would be ran down before he was stopped. He disappeared in the next second down the corridors of the left wing of the mansion.

The three turned to Rogue. Her pale face and wan eyes should have been enough to tell them what they had realistically expected and wholly dreaded since what Jean had picked up telepathically an hour ago. However they urged her to talk as she stared wistfully down the white tilled corridors

She distantly registered the tentative touch of Remy's large, cool palm on her bare shoulder and found it enough to help her make tear rimmed eye contact with him. She managed a half-shrug on the side as she uttered a broken string of faintly whispered words.

"Ah guess we'll just have to wait till she tells us what happened."

. . . . . . .

Daylight broke. Timidly the sun began to hail in the grey skies again that still shook in the aftermath of the storm of the night before. The rays of pale yellows and oranges that dared to show once again seemed almost frightened to do so and the autumn day was a weak one.

It soon became noon, just shy of twelve hours since Logan had returned home with his messy bundle in arm. Neither Ororo nor Hank had resurfaced from the bay of the main medical room since.

What had been edgy apprehension laced tight and thick in the group of residents was now an exhausted worry and sickening fear for the worst.

Rogue lay in a wavering sleep across the plush red couch of the living room, next to the slow dying crimson embers of a fire that had barely made the night. Over her slim physique was a blanket that Remy had draped over her before he left her side and took a seat beside Jean instead just outside the blue door to the room that held the doctor and his patient.

Scott had paced and cursed and whispered to himself for several tedious hours before Jean had pointed him down the corridor and gently chided him to go back to bed. Grudgingly he had.

Logan was silent against the wall across from where Remy and Jean sat. He held a slight scent of dampness and still donned patches of lingering rain in the creases of his unchanged clothes. No one was in the mood to persuade him to freshen up.

Midday began its trek into early afternoon as the hands of the clock sauntered over to five minutes past. Remy slouched down on his black plastic chair in discomfort and understandable impatience.

"Wot be takin' so long, eh? You wanna find out for us Jeannie?"

It was evident in Jean's shadowy green eyes that she did not. She moved to sit up slightly to ease the ache in her back and crossed her arms indefinitely. "Give them time Remy. It's obvious enough that they need it."

Only a slight comfort came to him from the empty promise that Jean would have reacted in some way perhaps if Ororo had come to an end in death overnight. Logan had nothing to say and no movement to make. He kept his head craned down and allowed a short fringe of almost black hair to cover any expression or flicker in his eyes. His lips remained dry and closed.

The seal of the heavy steel door to the room Ororo had disappeared behind twelve hours ago finally opened. The action stabbed a release of tension through the small gathering outside but built up bricks of anxiety as the comfortingly familiar blue face of Hank appeared in the opening. His amazing gold eyes were sombre and uncharacteristically quiet, there were no jokes to be spilled or general good news to be shared, but he did wear a very slight smile and waved the three in. Logan was content to stand his position however, despite the questioning tilt of Jean's head.

"Two's company, three's a nuisance, y' know. I'll catch up with her later."

Remy and Jean could only shrug in their urge to see Ororo and he took off down the corridor to fulfil his promise later.

Hank left them to wonder in and find the bed that their friend occupied on their own, he contenting himself with 'work' instead in the secluded space of his tiny office up the back.

A quiver of weakening sickness ran down the spine of Jean as she spotted the patient sitting solo on a bed fairly near the back itself. Her palms pressed into the side of the mattress with her head low and much of her features hidden in a tumble of tangled, dirty white hair. She sported a thin, cool green gown now, her mauled clothes lying abandoned to the spotless floor under the bed instead. Her so often flourishing spread of dark evenly toned skin was now marked heavily with blotches of unsightly blue as she continued to suffer from a vicious chill. With this was the occasional sign of a bruise or light gash.

Perhaps all she could account for herself now was that she was alive and relatively safe. It was what Hank had tried in vain hope to assure her of over the course of the night when she had be resurrected to her senses again, but she only barely believed it.

Jean was quick on her heal in the next second and the rush of bare feet across the cold lino alerted Ororo to her company. It seemed for the first few seconds as she raised her head that maybe she would never dare to curl her lips into a genuine smile again, but in placing her somewhat drained blue eyes on Jean's eternally relieved green ones she managed with all success to do so very slightly.

"I'm so sorry!"

It was all Jean managed to utter before she wrapped her arms around Ororo so tightly and securely that it hurt slightly across her bruised ribs, although she didn't dare show it as she cradles Jean's face in her shoulder. There was some trail of a weak sob from the redhead but Jean hushed it enough in her throat to stop herself short of breaking down at what would be such a wrong moment.

Remy came up slowly and carefully from behind and offered Ororo a wavering smile with lack of any better vocal response. She only nodded and kept her own smile as she ran her hand up and down Jean's shivering back a few times before she tentatively pried her away, still keeping a hold of her but managing to make eye contact now.

"Don't be."

It was enough to send Jean to the floor with tears again but she kept her legs under her and forced upon her own pale lips some sort of smile of remorse.

"But I am."

"I know."

It didn't take any level of telepathy to be able to tell there was far more to be said, and it also didn't take any psychiatrist to know not to push.

Jean put herself on the bed and slipped her fingers into Ororo's swollen and scarped ones. Very carefully she took her free hand and ran it over the chilled back of the one of Ororo's she held, before moving her slim fingers up to her friend's mane of unkempt hair and delicately fondled it behind her chafed ears.

"How are you?"

The three small words were barely a whisper on the exhale of breath they rode on but they were enough to prod Ororo slightly to tell them what had kept her here for twelve hours now. Slowly her head bobbed up and down before she pursed her lips and lifted her tired eyes once again to the couple with her, a tight, confused smile playing on her cracked lips as she did so.

"I'm pregnant."
The news simply did not register for the first few minutes, and even as the reality seemed to take hold somewhat Remy and Jean rushed through their minds to think of some way that this could all be a sick joke or even on a stretch just a horrific, evil spirited dream or some sort of illusion at least.

"Y' can't be, y can't tell… dis soon."

It took so much will power to stop Remy from tearing his lips to pieces for what he had just said. Ororo seemed to smile next for his comfort.

"I can, and I am. Hank has his ways of finding out this soon. His tests wouldn't lie."

She said this with so much confidence only because she herself had sat in doubt and disbelief for nine hours before finally out of exhaustion and collapse of will alone she had forced herself to accept this bitter twist of fate.

There was one question that needn't have been asked, by Hank, Jean or Remy, and none of them dared to. The answer was as obvious as the state Ororo was in; she was to keep the baby and any other option out of this would never be spoken of or at all considered if it involved ending the life inside of her when it hadn't even begun.

Remy gave himself up for an embrace into Ororo's scratched and bruised arms and in his powerful, lean grip was where she allowed a spill of angry, bitter, shaken and frightened tears to emerge from her own pupils as they had done for most of the night and morning now.

"Y' know y' aint alone in dis one chere."
She nodded against his shoulder and he pulled away to sit on the other side of Ororo so she sat in consoling warmth between the two, which slowly faded the blue chills across her bare skin, leaving only the marks of bruising and fading scratches now.

"An' y' know y' gonna be a better mum dan any of dem out der."

She let herself utter a weak, choked laugh. "We'll see about that Remy."

"An' yo' kids a' gonna grow up wit' de best Aunts an' Uncles in New York."

She let herself agree on this one with a small nod and smile.

"And you wont ever be a single mum. Hell I bet even Logan would make a good babysitter."

Again she laughed a little more clearly and easily this time round. Although she wouldn't be fooled at all into thinking this would ever be easy, or how she ever imagined eventually becoming a mum, she would never consider herself to be luckier than to be in this situation with these people.

"I know. Thank you."

. . . . . . .

-One Month Later-

Autumn was making no hesitation of becoming winter this year as a particularly cold September began the month with lashings of icy rain and grimy sleet. Today though, on the fourth, it had decided to ease the slightly premature chill somewhat and allowed a cool early-winter sun to hold the grey tinted skies for a few hours of a dull afternoon.

The mansion was quiet and mostly asleep in the late morning that was soon to become this mild afternoon. For a few years now the mansion had seen little action beyond what would be considered 'exciting' in a normal running day – mail from long distant family and friends, birthdays and Christmases being the mainstream of highlights, along of course, with the unexpected pregnancy.

Logan had kept this as his home for most of these dormant days. A few times now he had taken off in spans as long as several months on trips he never talked about and no one ever asked about. With Ororo pregnant now though, he would be going nowhere for a long time.

Quietly he sauntered his way down the first floor hallway, intending to do no more this morning than eat breakfast and take his Harley on a ride across the drying roads.

Suddenly from inside the bathroom he now stood just outside of a loud retching noise erupted with great volume, accompanied soon after by the sickly sweet smell of half digested food. It was the third time this morning that he had come across that scent. Rather bravely he decided to knock on the bathroom door this time around, to settle his edgy curiosity.

"'Ro, that you in there?"

Another loud stress of the sound of heaving escaped the bathroom.


A southern accent came drifting out from behind the door to answer instead.

"She's fine, just a little mornin' sickness is all."

"In the afternoon?"

"It happens."

Curiosity satisfied he shrugged and walked on by, intending on letting Rogue handle this herself, feeling he for now would just be incompetent and in the way as a man.

There was a small spluttering coughs and a long drawn groan that singled the end of the exhausting emptying of Ororo's stomach before the bathroom door opened and the two women stepped out into the refreshing cool air of the hallway again.

"And I have another eight months of this?"


"You don't suppose it happens quicker with mutant mothers?"

"Nope. But at least the cravens haven't started yet."

Ororo began to feel a spill of delicate green rush across her hot cheeks and nose. Both made haste to run back into the bathroom again thereafter.

. . . . . . .

Remy was Ororo's next hapless victim. He wasn't to know it and it was easy to tell he was naïve to the impending doom as he strolled languidly into the kitchen in search of a simple bacon roll, a tall glass of flavoured water and nothing else. He had fitted into a simple mode today, to relax and speak little but watch T.V much.

"Hey der Stormy."

He stilled himself for a moment as he sensed a slight chill and a subtle growl run through the kitchen as rapidly as it seemed to evaporate again. Respectfully he nodded and corrected himself in smiling and uttering a quick "Ororo."

She stood at the back of the kitchen, her waist leant against the marble cupboard units as she contemplated her mood, which turned soon to be one of self-pity and aching confusion.

Sat in her line of view, just out of reach on the large oak table where they dined together most nights was a plate, and on that plate was a rather soggy and very badly made chicken sandwich with a dash of lettuce and no sparing amount of mayonnaise, and some other ingredients Remy could neither nor wanted to distinguish.

"Wot up?"

He began to forage rather thoroughly in the cupboards for his roll, his bacon and his butter.

"It's chicken."

Briefly he perked his attentive head up to the plate again where the smell of her choice of sauce was becoming blatant in the air. "Yup, ah see dat 'Ro. An wot be wrong wit' your… aw."
It only reiterated itself in his memory now that she was a strict vegetarian kept that way by the searing guilt of ever eating a murdered creature, no matter how ugly and unfortunate they may be.

"I can't eat that chicken. It never hurt anyone." She actually looked on the verge of tears. Her emotional reaction was beyond the Cajun, who tried and failed rather miserably (soon at his own cost) to reason with her remorse.

"'Roro, it's just a chicken."

She began to whimper. "I know! That's what makes it so bad! But all I seem to be able to eat is this poor chicken with the lettuce and the mayonnaise and the damn chocolate spread—"

"Aw, non, please be kiddin'."

"And some pickles…" She trailed off meekly.

Remy winced and she lowered her head in shame.

"Well it's either that or cereal with coffee."

He shrugged as he forced himself to now ignore the smell of the sandwich and go on hunting for his lunch. "Dat's aint so bad."

"Sorry, cereal in coffee."


Her eyes fell to hurt again as she adjusted their focus back onto the sandwich and felt her scarred knuckles twitch hungrily with temptation to be over with the ordeal, take the greasy lump and push it to her anticipating jaw.

He thought for a moment as he allowed himself to be distracted from his search to watch her in curiosity instead. His back leant up against the kitchen units, mimicking her own stance as he crossed his arms and tilted his head to his shoulder, allowing his devilish eyes to glint brightly as they scrutinised her carefully.

"How 'bout that tofu stuff y' always keep in de fridge den?"

She began to look very slightly green again across the nose.

"Or not… Okay you eat de chicken an' ah eat de tofu instead of ma bacon. How 'bout that?"

Although the sandwich continued to insist on having her full attention, with something of a grudging pull she placed her steady gaze on Remy instead.

"What were you going to have for lunch?"

Unsure he shrugged again. "Well ah can't find ma roll or any bacon, so ah suppose ah might just go out an' 'ave a McDonalds or somethin'—"

Her face burst into a gleam of delight and her eyes dared to widen as far as the restriction of her lids would allow before she grabbed his arm and began pulling him eagerly out of the kitchen.

"Lets do that, that sounds good."

Needless to say he looked slightly taken aback, his surprise no secrete in the confusion of his gaze.

"But you hate dat place, wit' a passion, always have, wit' all the poor chickens an' cows—"

He lit a flame of raw lustful anger in his friend's azure stare that he couldn't deny didn't scare him more than slightly.

"Stuff the damn farm animals Remy. I'm pregnant and I want to eat a processed cow, okay with you mon ami?"

He threw his flat palm up and drew it back and forth in quick succession showing swiftly his utter 'agreement' on the matter. No one in the mansion had dared challenge her mood swings yet and he was not, on any person he cared for deeply's grave, going to be the first one to do so.

She smiled sweetly and thanked him generously before they took off into town in the dull shimmer of the afternoon weather.

. . . . . . .

The place reeked shamelessly with the fresh and old scents of grease piled on fat piled on salt piled on things that should never even be considered for ingredients in a burger. Not a person didn't sit without their fingertips gleaming after dipping into a healthy sized bag of dire looking chips or their lips littered with mounts of runny sauce and a smile with the satisfaction of downing a good meal at its worst.

In very different ways it became a haven for both Remy and Ororo as they ordered their lunches and found a relatively peaceful booth located at a car park view window. As Ororo's teeth for the first time sank into the savoury taste of a freshly burnt cheeseburger her flaring mood swings came to a slow burn and Remy could finally safely unwind his nerves and reward himself for getting through the ordeal with his own bacon roll and lemonade.

She mused tenderly over the burger with her silent thoughts as she ate away at its crispy edges, all the while subconsciously picking at Remy's chips as well.

"Why did I ever become a vegetarian Remy?"

He smiled fondly, watching his chips disappear before he had the chance at them himself. "'Cause y' got more decency an' respect for life dan Missouri Rolf Harris petite."

She nodded in whole agreement. "That would be it then."

They lapsed into an easy silence for a moment with only the familiar sounds of furiously protesting children and harried parents trying in all lost hope to serve their needs without being triumphed over by their infants. Ororo watched, both nervously and with curiosity.

"So how you holdin' up den, one month in?"

She tore her attention away from a lone mother and her toddler in another corner and back to her lunch partner again, only just absorbing what he had asked. Rather weakly but with a genuine hopeful glimmer in her gaze she smiled.

"Good. This was, never how I expected things to be, but… no, I'm good."
Remy nodded with his own warm smile and affectionate tint in his black eyes. Lightly he touched on Ororo's smooth jaw line, almost with pride in the movement of his fingertips. His eyes lingered on the remaining dashes of purple across her fine cheekbone that indicated the last dying remnants of that horrific bruise, but only for a brief second.

"Course y' are. Ah wouldn't let 'y be anythin' else."

As his fingertips left her cool face carefully, she lowered her eyes and tilted her chin down the slightest fraction, still smiling but in a very broken, half-hearted way.

"The situation comes with its prices."
Knowing this far better than he wanted to Remy nodded his understanding.

"Yeah, we know. Y' make lil' mini storms every time y' have a nightmare. Been shakin' up de roof a good lil' bit a few times now lately."

With little less appeal towards it Ororo took her fourth bite into her discovery of meat through her badly produced cheeseburger, which was, however bad it seemed, actually almost gourmet in comparison to usual of late slipping standards.


Remy sat back in his chair, one of the few clean things left in this set-up poising as a restaurant, and waved his hand briefly in dismissal.

"Naw, tis okay, forget 'bout it. If Rogue sleeps through it ah sleep through it, an' she sleeps through most anythin'. Anyway, from you, ah've been on the receivin' end o' much worse dan just a sleepless night."

She lifted her head and smiled at just how true and honest the tail end of his statement was.

"And don't think I wont do worse still if you play up during the cravings. If I want your bacon—"

"Den ma bacon is yours petite, no questions 'bout it."

She nodded decisively. "Good, because there's no argument in it either."

Remy took his chance in their next small silence to down the remainder of his roll as he watched warily the hunger in Ororo's eyes continue to flare even as she viewed with her nervous curiosity the parenting around her.

"So do you come here often, to this McDonalds place?"

She had decided to seek a distraction from the stress and upheaval she was witnessing, and Remy was only too glad to be one.

"No, Rogue does. 'Ow she still got de figure she does is beyond me t'ough."

Ororo laughed lightly. "A women never reveals her secrets Remy."

"Oh ah know. Ah been married t' one long enough to know dat well."

She chided him with a glint of her eye but kept her gentle glimmering smile on her dark lips. The meal was all but done, yet still they lingered in their seats.

"Y' got any names lined up for de bébé?"

Ororo's smile grew and the attentive light in her eyes lifted in a wave of wistful wonderment of the future that the next eight moths would hold. She had her fears, her anxieties and everything else that made her dread what was to come, but she also had her joys to hold onto and the small simple things with the big that would pull her through eventually. Naming her unborn child was just one of a small array of details she so did love pondering over, if nothing else than to ease the overwhelming amount of everything else there was to do.

"Of course I have names. Almost every woman has their names picked out from when they fully understand the concept of having a child."

Remy let himself mimic Ororo's smile as he rested his stubble dashed chin on his coarse hands.

"Uh huh, y' mind sharin'?"

She leant back, turning the select few names in her head and rolling the sounds of them around in her mind.

"I only have three."

"Ah can forgive y' for dat."

"Alright. Well for a boy it's between two, Asya and Zebadic. Asya was meant to be my name if I was to be a boy, and Zebadic was a boy I knew and lost a long time in Cairo, to the police who caught him stealing."

Remy nodded as Ororo remembered before carrying on.

"For a girl I have only one name though – Asher."

Remy raised a brow at this suggestion. "Don' t'ink ah've heard dat one 'afore, not for a girl anyway."

Ororo nodded to be fair in agreement. "It is traditionally a boy's name yes, but I never fancied it as one, although it is the only choice I have for a girl."

Remy could only shrug. "Yo' child 'Ro, aint no one gonna argue 'bout it, or at least ah wont."

"No, you're too afraid."

He shrugged. "Can't admit ah'm not."

She gave his forearm a light, mocking pat of comfort. "You're a wise man Remy."

They rose from their greasy corner, Remy in a dramatised scorn from the insult with a teasing Ororo close at his heal as they made to go to Central Park instead of home for the rest of the mild grey afternoon.

There was no doubt from any of the current occupants, or even Ororo herself, that as long as the friends around her stayed with her and remained as close to rocks as they were now, she would make it through the ill-fated event of one month ago and the next eight months that were still to come.

. . . . . . .

I'm not really one to be too bothered if you don't request this to be continued or not, it will no matter the response.