A/N: I've decided Remy has an accent when he thinks to himself. Oh, and hi. :-)
Bobby Drake strode down the darkened corridor. He'd been back at the mansion on Greymalkin Lane no less than 24 hours, yet he found that he was still very familiar with the twists and turns of the old building. His old haunt for making phone calls – previously chosen for its spectacular cell phone service back in the days when such a thing was hard to come by – was a little balcony at the end of a hall. One had to crawl out the window and into a tasteful collection of potted plants, but after that it was really an optimal place for privacy that the house, despite its size, seriously lacked.
This morning he had placed a call to his girlfriend back in Hartford. When he'd received Professor Xavier's letter those months ago, it had been the hardest conversation he'd ever had, telling her about his past. His mutation. His secret life. How could he keep it from her like that for so long? She had taken the deception well, acknowledging the seriousness and gravity of the story, but ultimately was still a little hurt. He had gone back to New York and was attempting to balance accounting for his Connecticut based clients and maintain his relationship with Becky. He had been relieved to find Kitty Pryde absent at the table the night before.
He was on his way to the communal breakfast and briefing that was supposed to start at nine. Rogue and her party had arrived earlier in the evening, but the mood among the four had been sour and they had stopped to talk to no one on the way to their lodgings.
Bobby turned past the master suite – Jean and Scott's old apartment, he thought with a tinge of pain at his lost friend – and would have been home free to a continental breakfast, except…
Bobby stopped dead in his tracks and listened again. Sure enough, the peal of a baby's laughter wafted from an open door. His was mind reeling at whose kids these possibly were. No one, surprisingly, had shown up to the mansion with a family in tow, and he had thought everyone had arrived. He gently pushed the door further open and peeked through the crack. A dark-haired boy, about five or six, stood at a playpen, his back to the door. Inside, a chubby baby babbled happily and pointed towards Bobby. The boy whirled around and marched to the door to peer up at new adult.
Bobby smiled at him. "Hey kiddo. Who're you?"
The boy sized him up and down and gave him a quizzical look. "I don't talk to strangers."
"Well, that's too bad. Cause I'm going to be living here, too. Neighbors aren't strangers, are they?"
The boy shrugged. "Our neighbors in Beirut ratted us out to Hamas and Mossad."
Taken aback, Bobby scanned the room quickly to figure out whose children these were. There were a few nondescript suitcases, more moving boxes that had arrived previously, a baby carrier, a stained New Orleans Saints' sweatshirt, a little girl's pink backpack…
Oh my fucking God, Bobby thought. Gambit had kids?! Trying not to sound completely shocked, he blurted out. "Your dad's Gambit?"
The boy returned a look that was just as confused. "Who's Gambit?"
Bobby gulped and thought as quickly as he possibly could. "Huh. Wow. I mean…well, I'm going to breakfast. You want to come?"
"I dunno if Papa would want me to…"
A muffled voice rose from the disheveled bed. "Take de kid and de baby, Iceman. Malachi, dat's Bobby. He's cool."
"Okay!" the little boy exclaimed. "Good. I was getting hungry."
"We'll be down in a few minutes," Gambit mumbled from the heap.
His mind reeling, Bobby gingerly stepped towards the playpen where the chirping little girl still stood, rocking back and forth on her heels, reveling in her recent bipedal abilities. He picked her up and held her out at arm's distance as both man and baby inspected each other.
"She don't bite," Malachi reassured him, then reconsidered. "Well, just don't put your finger in her mouth."
Bobby pulled the baby into one arm and nodded, grinning at how this was going to spice up the breakfast table. "Duly noted." He took the baby's small hand and shook it formally. "Good to meet you. Are you ready for your close up, Miss LeBeau?"
"What does that mean?" Malachi asked as the trio made their way down to the dining room. "And why'd you call Papa Gambit?"
When Bobby entered in the dining area, a baby on one arm and leading a six-year-old, the din of the room quickly was hushed. Charles, who had joined the group for breakfast that morning, smiled at the children and wheeled over to greet them.
"Ah, you must be Malachi." He offered a hand to the boy. "I've heard you like to climb trees. I've got many for you to try."
Uneasy with being the center of attention, Malachi squirmed and whispered, "This Bobby said there was breakfast and Papa wouldn't mind if I had some."
Ororo smiled in and swept down to his eye level. "Papa won't mind at all."
He nodded and looked at the choices with his dark, serious eyes. He looked at the counter full of food and back at Ororo. Slyly, he said, "You know, Papa usually lets me have Sugar Bombs." His try fooled no one, and he grudgingly accepted a bowl of cornflakes while the grown-ups around him had a good laugh.
"What's your sister's name, Malachi?"
"That's Sophie," he said between bites. "She's real little yet. I got another sister but she's still asleep. She's Nora."
"No brothers?" Hank asked.
Malachi shook his head remorsefully. "No brothers."
"That's rough," Bobby sympathized.
"It's the worst," Malachi corrected.
Warren went ahead and voiced the question everyone was wondering. "No mother either?"
The spoon clattered as it hit the bowl. Malachi stopped mid-chew and stared at Warren with an intensely dark expression that spoke volumes. Behind Malachi and out of his field of vision, Ororo angrily shook her head No! at him. The other adults looked around awkwardly, waiting for an out.
"Good mornin', everyone!" Rogue's cheerful salutation cut through the tension. She bounded through the dining room and beelined to the coffee pot. She greeted her mother and Kurt, oblivious to their sudden realization of the next awkward moment. She grabbed a banana muffin and plopped down next to Erik. She peeled the wrapper and looked around the room. "Why so quiet, gang?"
"Didn't you used to be a grouch in the morning?" Bobby asked playfully. His grin was not so much for her habits, but of the impending shock she was about to receive.
She returned the banter. "Turned over a new leaf a few years back. The day goes so much nicer if you greet the morning with splendor."
"'Greet the morning with splendor'?" Logan repeated.
"Her therapist's phrase," Raven supplied tonelessly behind the sales papers. She peered at her daughter over her reading glasses, another new addition to the mutant's previously perfect vision. "Bullshit, if you ask me."
"No one did," Rogue replied. Her eyes scanned the room, searching for someone to make small talk with, when her eyes landed on the little boy. "Who's the small fry?"
"Uhh," Bobby began lamely. "That's…"
The small fry in question wiped his mouth on his arm and spoke up. "I'm Malachi LeBeau. Are you from the South? 'Cause you talk like my auntie's hairdresser."
Betsy laughed out loud before stopping herself while the rest of the adults suppressed their snickers, on edge at how this would continue. Rogue did not answer the boy's question, but instead gaped open mouthed at him across the table. Malachi, evidently, was waiting.
"You must be from Mississippi then. Papa says they're slow."
No longer able to contain their mirth at this nearly perfect situation of poor timing, the room burst out laughing while the young boy looked around, perplexed. He pouted to the Professor. "I said something mean, didn't I?"
Charles chuckled as he searched for the words to explain. "Malachi, this is Anna. She's another lady who lives her. She used to know your father when he lived here, too. She's just surprised because she didn't know he had children."
Rogue's mind raced as she realized her former game plan about acting cool and indifferent around Remy obviously wasn't going to work out. "Children?" she sputtered.
"Ah, this one, and there's another little girl upstairs, we're told," Jean explained, holding up the baby, who grinned good-naturedly.
"You've got to be kidding me." She blinked and looked around at nothing in particular. Suddenly her appetite was gone, but she couldn't just up and leave now that the group, with one notable exception, was assembled. The room continued its conversations - the men about business, the woman now coddling the baby. Magneto scooted over to quiz the second grader.
They left her to her thoughts. Anna, Rogue, whoever was inside, was trying to make sense of the route her former lover's life had taken. Three children?
The conversation broke again when the dining room door flew open and Remy strode in. A cascade of hair seemed to hug his chest, and indeed, Remy refused to carry his five-and-a-half-year-old but allowed her to ride barnacle-style, mainly because he was impressed with her tenacity. The baby held out her arms and babbled distressingly until he picked her up. "Down, Nora." The other girl complied and stomped over to where her brother sat, not looking up. Returning the baby's jibberish with his Cajun patois, Remy went into the kitchen without a word to the crowd.
Malachi waited until his sister sat until he addressed her. She put her elbows on the table and leaned her face into her hands, her long dark hair obscuring her expression. A wicked smile grew on her brother's lips. "You want some breakfast? My first bowl was Sugar Bombs."
It did the trick. Her head shot up in rage. "It was NOT!" Nora screeched. "Pa-PA!"
"Mon Bon Dieu, will you keep it down?" came the voice from the kitchen. Remy came out balancing the baby and a bottle on one arm and a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee in the other.
"He didn't have Sugar Bombs," Jean supplied.
"Thank you," he said sincerely. "And for you, mam'zelle, Cheerios with some blueberries." He placed the bowl in front of Nora, whose expression changed to a pleased smile as she murmured her thanks. "Mon fils, did you thank whoever helped you get breakfast?"
"I helped myself."
"Malachi." Remy's voice was firm and short.
"Thank you, Miss Stormy."
"You're very welcome."
The room was quiet except for the loud slurping of three children eating. The baby sat on her father's lap and stared wide-eyed at the crowd, downing her bottle at the same time. Remy looked bemusedly at the rapt crowd. "Aw, c'mon. Has no one seen a kid before?"
"Is that why they're looking at us?" Nora exclaimed with a mouthful of cereal. "Oh wow!"
Malachi wasted no time with this crowd of greenhorns. "You know, kids usually can stay up very late. Not a lot of people know that. If you baby-sit us, that is."
The group snickered and Remy rolled his eyes.
"It was very rude of us to stare," Professor Xavier admitted. "Where are our manners?"
"We're just not used to children around here, love," Betsy explained as she got up to refill her tea cup. "And we've never seen your father with children, so we're a little curious."
The children's interest was piqued by this. "Why?"
Remy rolled his eyes and inquired about the schedule. "Chuck, my apologies for sleepin' in. We had a long day. You'll have to excuse me. But you wanted to talk shop at ten this morning?"
The professor raised his hand non-confrontationally. "No hurry. We'll let you finish breakfast and get ready. I daresay we'd all like to get to know your little family a bit better!"
Remy made light chatter with Charles, Erik, and Raven, all of whom seemed to adopt grandparent-like personas around the children. The children, who delighted in their own grand-pére and were sad to be far from the sprawling Guild/Assassin family, responded to their doddering famously. Jean, mesmerized by the copper curls on the baby's head, took Sophie again to tickle and show off with Betsy and Ororo. Remy scanned the room as the chatter returned to its normal din and finally noticed Rogue in the corner, talking with a wheelchair-bound Logan and Bobby. She caught his eye and quickly averted her eyes, a familiar annoyed look clouding the features on her face.
He sighed at this intersection of his many lives. Remy the Father and Gambit the X-Man had never crossed wires before and he wasn't sure he was up for this long term. He noted Hank's absence to himself and hoped it meant the doctor was already at work in the lab. He'd talked to the Professor before he made the decision to return, having his own reasons for needing to get involved with High Evolutionary, and Hank's research was chief among them. He appreciated the concern for mutants worldwide, but to be honest, he was now preoccupied with how those changes affected the three people he loved the most in this world.
After Sophie was born and the weirdness with Meg happened, he realized how stupid they'd all been. It was a natural thing they were suppressing, a natural fact of life his own children had never had to face. Three babies in this world and Remy didn't have a clue how or what their mutations should have been.
The two oldest chattering and the baby taken care of (Jean had asked shyly - "She needs to be changed – do you mind if I…" "Jeanne, you go knock yourself out there."), he cleared the breakfast plates accrued by his children and went into the kitchen to collect his thoughts. The mansion would have its advantages, he thought. The change of scenery, a place where he wasn't constantly reminded of her, was going to be good for all of them. He hadn't expected a house full of childless adults , but that seemed to imply a person or two to take the childcare burden off himself every now and then. He was far from his father's meddling grasp but, he thought sadly, now far from Belle and her husband, Sebastian, and their growing brood. Give and take, he supposed.
But this minute or two of having his thoughts to himself was unprecedented in the past few years. God, he thought ruefully, thinking back to all the mourning and separation literature that Mercy had pawned on him when his wife left, dis ain't dat healin' shit dey keep talkin' 'bout, is it? He gazed out the window over the sink, staring at nothing in particular. Just thinking. It had been a long time.
"Jesus, broodin' already, Gumbo?"
Remy whirled around to face Logan, who had wheeled himself in without him noticed. He grinned good-naturedly and returned the banter. "Y'know, you can just call me Jesus. Addin' 'Gumbo' just be redundant."
Logan snickered and ably put away his dishes in the washer. "Those are some cute kids you got there."
"Merci. I take it you baby-sit?"
The other man chuckled. "Your oldest already asked if I give rides."
"Jesus. I'm sorry, he really…"
"Naw, it's fine. He was very polite about it. I told him later this afternoon." He looked over his shoulder on his way out the door. "Oh, and calling me Jesus isn't necessary. I prefer be addressed as 'My Lord and Savior'."
"Har har," Remy retorted. "You're looking good, Wolvie. Stormy was worried about you for a bit there."
Almost out the door, Logan stopped and considered the statement. "I'll be honest. If I wasn't 100% confident that Hank was on to something and we didn't have a chance of turning this shit around, I wouldn't be here."
"You and me both, homme."
His eldest children cajoled into clean clothes, Remy impressed the house again by brushing and braiding his oldest daughter's long hair into plaits.
"Seriously you guys, it's just part of the routine," he said nonchalantly, two barrettes and a hair band in his mouth as he braided.
"Yes, but it's your routine!" Jean exclaimed.
"Otherwise I get rat's nests!" Nora piped up from her place at her father's knee.
"So?" her father countered to the Phoenix.
"Oh c'mon. If someone told you eight years ago this would be your future, would you believe them?"
"Of course." He finished and patted her head. "Off you go. Mal's already outside. Don't go beyond the white fence. Stay away from the lake. You can tattle on him if he goes near."
"I can tattle?!"
"Today, and just for that."
Betsy cocked an eyebrow towards the Cajun. " 'Off you go'? Remy LeBeau, did you marry a Brit?"
His brow furrowed momentarily, but it was Nora who replied. "Mama grew up half in Beirut and half in Chicago."
Remy's smile was tight and more a grimace. "She had an international education."
"Mama and Papa met in Sev…Sevs.."
"Sevstipool." She repeated firmly. "And again in Monte Carlo and again in Dublin!"
Jean and Betsy's wide eyes took this all in as Remy steered her towards her door. "Yup, that's your family history. Very important."
"It's how we remember people who aren't here," she said, reciting from her grand-pere's tutelage.
"Go play, Nora." He closed the door as the little girl ran towards the back of the Xavier property, where her brother played in the distance. He turned back to the ladies. "Who has Sophie?"
"Raven took her downstairs earlier. Should we make our way down?"
"Sure. So…" Betsy couldn't help herself, piecing together what she knew so far. "Your wife is an international…terrorist?"
He whirled around, his accent getting the better of him. "Non! Who de fuck told you dat?"
Jean laughed, half amused, attemping to diffuse the situation. "Sorry, Remy. It just made sense with the Mossad and Hamas connections before…"
"What de hell!? Who told…" He caught himself as he realized the mole. "Little pitchers…" He cleared his throat. "They have big ears, for sure."
Assembled together for the first time in years, the former X-Men gathered in the bowels of the mansion, receiving updates from anyone who had something to share related to High Evolutionary. True to Remy's hunch, Hank had spent the bulk of his time back at the mansion underneath it. The laboratories were full functioning, but Cerebro was still under construction. Uneasy with hiring construction companies to do the work without having the ability to wipe their minds, Charles had been waiting for able hands to resume the work.
The available X-Men circled themselves around the new Cerebro. Hank was on a mechanic's creeper beneath the behemoth of a screen, adjusting wires. They could hear him talk from inside. "The nice thing, Professor, about waiting all these years to rebuild, is that the technology is so much smaller now! Most of the space we need is for the monitor." He rolled out from underneath and noted the crowd. "Oh! Good morning, everyone."
Everyone else returned the greeting and the Professor looked around. "Why don't we get started? There's a lot to cover."
In a conference room adjacent to the Cerebro server, they all sat and updated each other about their lives. Jean had been a school psychologist in upstate New York for many years, even remarrying temporarily. The marriage had fallen apart almost a year ago. She was a little older for wear, her smile sad, but she seemed in good spirits otherwise.
Betsy and Warren split their time between New York and London, mostly dealing with their multiple business ventures. They spent their free time traveling to wineries around the world, with a particular affinity for Argentina.
"No kids?" Logan wheezed from across the room, causing Storm to adjust one of his tubes.
Besty smiled ruefully and Warren averted his eyes. "No. We were still…apprehensive."
Everyone nodded their understanding. Remy glanced at the security screen, which Hank had rigged to show the backyard. He closed in to his daughter perched in a tree and his son on braches above her.
"I didn't think the new security system would be used for that," Hank mused when he caught Remy's eye. "But it seems to do the job."
"It's great," Remy agreed. To the imploring female eyes, he supplied. "They're fine. They're looking at clouds."
"How do you know?" Betsy inquired. "You can't hear them."
Remy shrugged. "It's what they do. "
They continued to go around the room, Bobby talking about his CPA practice, Erik/Magneto waxing poetic about Key Largo, Kurt on seminary, Raven briefly mentioning her incarceration. "It would have been quicker if my daughter the lawyer would have intervened on my behalf."
"Oh Momma, not this again."
"You spend how many years on that worthless degree and what to show for it?"
Rogue smiled at the crowd and pretended like she hadn't heard. "Hi, everyone. I go by Anna now, 'cause think you're a daughter of a stripper if you say your name is Rogue. I got my law degree at Emory three years ago and I was in my third year of makin' partner at a firm that deals in intellectual property and identify theft," she said, enunciating in her mother's direction. "I am not a defense attorney and I cannot defend you within the confines of the Federal prison system."
"Sounds like a good fit," Bobby remarked.
"It's been fun," she replied pleasantly.
Next were Ororo and Logan. They looked at each other and she nodded, beginning to speak. "We've been living in Egypt. I still have a house and connections there, and the climate's good for Logan's rehabilitation."
"Could you…go over what happened, Logan?" Jean asked. "I think it'd be easier for all of us if we knew where you were with your treatment."
Logan sighed heavily and shifted in his seat, sitting up straighter. The effort made him cough, but he caught himself and spoke in his gravelly voice. "After the…incident, as you know, the adamantium started to eat me up, basically. It took two years to figure out how to stop it from slowly killing me, and I've been on a pretty strict pill diet ever since."
The room was hushed, excepting the sounds of a nine-month-old baby chewing on her teething ring.
"So you won't get better?" Warren asked quietly.
"I wouldn't say that," Ororo supplied. "He was nearly a quadriplegic when we finally got the medicines figured out. He's regained full use of his upper body and has made great lengths with his legs."
An appreciative murmur went through the room.
"So that's it? That's been the past seven years for the two of you?" Bobby said out loud. "You trying to stay alive, and you trying to keep him alive? I think you get the perseverance award."
The two of them laughed and their hands found each other and grasped. "Only half the time, kid."
"We've been fortunate to work on behalf of the wheelchair bound population in Egypt. They've quite taken to Logan. Otherwise…we paint. We cook. We entertain friends. We just live."
Hank was next. He sighed deeply. "As you know, I've been doing research at Cornell and teaching. Same as the rest of you…all work, little play. I contacted the professor a little over a year ago about the results of some illegally obtained data that one of my graduate students had been collecting.
"The research was of birth defects and deaths at birthing centers nationwide post-High Evolutionary. To be blunt, it seems that the longer the natural mutations carried by homo sapiens is repressed, the higher the number of newborn deaths when the child's mutation is muted too quickly by the gene shield put into place seven years ago. It seems the mother's womb acts protects the child from the gene shield, but shortly after birth, their little bodies can't seem to cope with the changes so rapidly. That's usually the case with physical mutations. We've seen children born with fur or wings or something similar, and the gene shield enacts itself within a minute of birth. The more severe the mutation, the likelier the chance of death."
Most eyes had wandered to the baby sitting contentedly on her father's lap. Sophie LeBeau was nine months old and the daughter of an extremely powerful former mutant. Remy's now-brown eyes started fiercely into the distance. Hank continued on.
"It is my hypothesis, and the professor and a number of other concerned scientists and mutant activists around the world, that this needs to change, or we will continue to see a rapid rise in infant mortality." He paused for a moment and added, "And deaths or illness at the onset of puberty. Many times, the surge of hormones that triggers an active mutant gene wreaks havoc on growing bodies."
"And what do our friends in power say about this?" Warren asked with a forced grin on his face. "I can't imagine they're any more for removing the gene shield than they were years ago."
Hank grimaced. "You're right, I'm afraid. As you know, the arguments against letting mutations continue were legion. The social costs of a society of freaks, as they put it, were not worth letting nature and evolution take its course. They've made a scientific process into a social and economic burden."
"So what's the solution?"
Hank sighed. "Trash the satellite and ruin the data they have to replicate it? That's my best guess. The problem now is that we've been complacent for far too long and it's now an international issue. We'd have to go through the United Nations to get anything even remotely started."
A couple of quickly-muted guffaws from those around the table showed their faith in such an effort.
The Professor spoke up. "We envisioned a two-pronged approach. One would be a blunt seek-and-destroy mission, where we do the dirty work necessary to prevent replication of the gene shield, operating under the assumption that it will be taken down."
"It also has a space life of ten years," Hank supplied. "So we're coming on to the time where they'd replace it."
"Which is why we may be in the right place to launch a campaign. We need to sway public support in the direction of natural events, not this suppression."
"Who would possibly support it?" Betsy countered. "No mother wants to see her child develop scales or gills or, heaven forbid, learn how to read her mind when they come of age!"
"Nor do they want to see them die in their arms minutes after being born. Effectively, we need to prove that this is an ethical issue, and that Operation: Zero Tolerance actually is a forced, worldwide eugenics program."
The room was silent. Remy watched the security camera pan out and follow his children as they rolled down a hill towards the English garden, happy and oblivious to the burden just laid before the former X-Men.
"And we need to do this covertly, I'm guessing," Ororo said.
"Yes," the Professor replied.
"And your funds are largely cut off."
"They were used to pay my supposed crimes against humanity," he confirmed.
"So it's just us, who need to keep our day jobs and normal lives, and do this on the side."
"I'm afraid so."
Warren turned to Remy. "I can guess why you're here, then," he said, gesturing to the baby.
There was a pause before he replied. "We're lucky to have Sophie," Remy began cautiously. "She was born with my eyes – my real ones – and they disappeared within five minutes of her opening them up. Then she had what looked like a seizure and spent three weeks in the NICU. They called it an infection, but I knew better." He blinked rapidly and cleared his throat.
"And the other two?"
"Normal, I guess, though I wasn't there when Malachi was born."
"There's been some speculation that the stronger the reaction at birth, the greater powers the child might possess. Nothing that we can prove, of course, but it's a theory nonetheless," Hank said gently as the weight of the information sunk in.
"I understand your interest in the science behind the changes," the Professor said to Remy. "But I'm wondering if we can enlist the help of the Guild for some of these projects."
"Thieves and assassins are always willing to help for a price," Remy agreed. "But you're talkin' to someone currently on the blacklist."
The room turned to look at him in amusement. He sighed and continued, "It's a long story, but let's just say the four of us needed a place to go and Chuck's invite came at exactly the right time."
"What a year you've had!" Jean exclaimed.
"Tell me about it," Remy agreed.
"Lifetime ban?" Raven inquired.
"Nah. Just 'til an issue I have gets cleared up, but that's takin' longer than expected."
"Wait," Rogue reasoned, surprising herself by addressing him. "Don't that mean your funds are cut off?"
"Every bank account I have is frozen, that's true. And what was liquid needs to stay that way, least temporarily."
"So what's the plan? The rest of us all went and got day jobs."
He flashed her his charismatic smile. "What, you don't think you're the only one who can cook up a resume? Chuck hooked me up with a security company over in White Plains. I'm going to be securing banks and museums and places like that."
Betsy turned to Professor Xavier. "On your word? That honestly did not strike you as morally ambiguous?"
"Or at least a conflict of interest," Bobby laughed.
"Hey," Remy defended. "If I don't exist in the eyes of the Guild, then where's the conflict?"
Everyone laughed and the Professor and Erik used the opportunity to launch into a training plan. It was noon by the time they came to a close. Remy shuffled out to retrieve Malachi and Nora from playing, a sleeping Sophie in his arm. The rest of the team lingered, engaging in pairs of small talk until Jean cornered Ororo.
"My curiosity's killing me. Spill."
"Oh…" The former Mistress of Weather shifted uncomfortably from where Betsy and Jean's eyes riveted her in place. "I don't think I should."
"What's this?" Raven inquired, ducking her head towards the other women, jerking Anna's arm with her.
"Ro knows the dirt on Remy's situation," Betsy explained.
"Oh my," Raven said. "That is valuable information!"
"Please, I 'd rather not. It's a sad story and one he hates telling."
"So you should tell it. That way he doesn't have to. Think of it as a favor," Jean reasoned.
"Didn't take you for the gossiping type, Jeannie," Logan rasped, powering his chair over by the group of women.
"A habit I picked up after knowing years of knowing everyone's thoughts," she admitted. "So is she dead? "
"Remy's wife. Or mother of his kids – either way…"
"She was…is his wife, rather."
"So she's not dead?"
Ororo sighed, clearing losing. "She's not dead."
"But she's not in the picture."
"We're just curious, that's all. Why would someone leave a husband and three beautiful children?"
"Did it have to do with the baby's birth?" Rogue guessed. "He said the baby had his eyes – did that make the wife run?"
Ororo sat, defeated. "They don't know a lot about Margaret's direct motives because no one's seen or heard from her since the baby's birth. They've only been able to trace her here and there. But a lot of stuff has popped up in the meantime about her history before she met Remy, and it's offered some plausible explanations why she left."
"He didn't tell her he was a mutant, didn't he?" Bobby guessed.
Ororo nodded sadly. "That seems to be the case."
"I can get being surprised by that," Jean said. "But who would run from their own family, even if they did possess the suppressed mutant gene?"
Ororo's voice shook as she spoke. "Some who grew up in the Friends of Humanity."
To be continued…