OK, me and giveGodtheGlory have once again collaborated for the first few chappies of this story, the rest was written by me, it's a DIRECT SEQUAL to "Two Kids and a Grouch", taking place a few years later. Unlike the previous stories the few chappies in front were written in an rp so instead of one of us being responsible for one chapter we're responsible for about one or two paragraphs at a time.
Obviously everything but our OC's belong to Marvel, but I'm working on that. :P
Anyway... so yeah, please review, this is an AWSOME story and thanks to Tam it's actually edited, big plus for anyone who's read my older fics, lol.
Oh yeah, and tell us all what you're thinking if ya want!
The ancient mansion stood serenely, basking in the sunlight that painted its granite flanks and lit up the small party of people on the front lawn. Bobby Drake stared deeply into his new wife's eyes as he bent to kiss her, only to stop and look down as his nine-year-old sister in law dropped her flower basket and whimpered, black eyes full of confusion as she looked around at the rest of the wedding group.
"Oh darn." He exchanged a glance with Rogue and went to one knee. "Ruhko? Can you hear me? This is Rogue's wedding- your dad's right over there."
Ruhko stared at him blankly and backed away, her nose starting to wrinkle into a snarl.
Bobby backed off, turning to the bridesmaid who stood on Rogue's other side and speaking softly. "Steph, quick, see if she remembers you this time."
Steph picked up her skirt and walked towards her sister, smiling assuringly. "Hey Ruk, ya know I'd like ya t' growl at Bobby sometimes t' keep him in line, but this's his wedding day."
The slender child looked at her puzzledly, backing away slowly as she advanced, then whirled and streaked away toward the woods.
"Ruhko, wait!" called the other little flower girl, then glanced up at Steph, blue eyes full of hurt. "Did she forget us again?"
Steph sighed, looking over her shoulder as Logan rushed off after Ruhko, she could see Xavier frowning and a few other X Men turning and watching.
"Ruhko? Ruhko!" Logan called, not reaching her before she reached the tree line but following her scent through the trees.
Bobby turned back toward Rogue, his face full of sadness, then gasped and threw his hands up as she grabbed him by the front of his tux and gave him a firm peck on the mouth before gathering up her full white skirts and heading toward the trees herself.
Steph watched, looking down at Bucky, who was glomped onto her skirt, crying softly, not glancing up as the best man came up behind her and put one big blue paw on her shoulder.
"Charles?" asked Hank softly.
"She doesn't remember anything this time," said the Professor in a distracted voice, his eyes unfocused as he tried to contact and comfort the confused child.
Steph blinked back a tear and picked up Bucky, knowing that her father would take care of Ruhko but the girl in her arms now also needed to be counseled, she took it especially hard whenever Ruhko forgot them.
Holding Bucky close Steph looked at Hank. "Why?" She asked, the one word question almost tearing her own heart out.
"All things are possible when mankind loses sight of its own humanity," he murmured, tears making dark tracks in his facial fur. "Anything is possible if the desire for gain is great enough, even the molding of an infant into a tool."
There was a scream from the trees, followed by snarling and spitting, then a whoop and a full-chested roar.
"Sabertooth!" Bobby iced up, totally forgetting his tux.
The erstwhile Brotherhood member came out of the forest, face a mask of grim suffering as he held the squirming, clawing Ruhko to his chest, both her hands held in one of his. "Where do you want me to put her, runt?" he asked Logan, who was walking beside him anxiously.
Logan looked at his daughter with pain-filled eyes. "My room," he said. "Maybe my n' her's scent'll calm her down." Creed nodded as the two men passed out of sight, and Rogue stopped next to her other sisters and her new husband. "Steph, you wanna just slap that 'just married' sticker yoh was hidin' on Bobby's back 'n git it ovah with? I don' really feel like dancin' or nuthin' any moah."
Steph hugged her sister and pulled out the sticker, looking at Bobby. "Turn around," she instructed, putting the sticker on his back and then looked down.
"She'll be alright Rogue," Steph said, not completely sure she could convince herself the same thing. "Soon, we'll figure out how to reverse that crap and Ruhko'll be back to the way she was before...." Steph trailed off as Ororo also came forth and attempted a smile.
"Congratulations," she said to Rogue and Bobby, and the others repeated the words.
The other X-Men filed up to add their congratulations and wishes to those of Ororo, and the party effectively disbanded itself in a few minutes, leaving only Steph and Hank standing on the lawn in front of the white arch.
Steph looked up at Hank, then leaned on his shoulder, looking tired. "Well," she said at last. "The Ice cube is officially my brother-in-law. Someone give me a tissue, my cry's been delayed for a while."
Her best friend wrapped an arm around her, resting his cheek against hers, his brown eyes staring into space. "I am exceeding glad that I am not a superstitious man."
Steph looked around as her sister and slightly tipsy new brother talked to Hank and Ororo. As she looked around, trying to ignore Kitty's incessant giggling and Peter's bragging about how much wine he could drink, she noticed Creed sitting off to one side, drinking from a bottle of Xavier's special scotch with his chair propped up against the wall. Walking over to the large man she sat down, looking at him thoughtfully until he snapped at her.
"Yeah?" he said, "Whaddya want?"
"Why were you in the woods today?" Steph asked. "I'm glad you were, but why?"
He stared at her, his strange black eyes hard as his face worked for a few moments. "None of your $# business," he said at last.
Steph shrugged, straightening her dress. "Was jus' wondering, watching Bobby n' Rogue getting married?"
His shrug mirrored hers as he turned to watch Peter looking under the table in surprise at the passed out Jubilee. After a few minutes she realized that he was trying to ignore her into going away.
Steph smiled. No one had yet been able to beat her at that game. Crossing her arms, she leaned against the wall and stared at him unblinkingly for as long as she needed to.
It took less than fifteen minutes. The black eyes swung back to her with a low growl and a baring of teeth. "Get lost, skirt."
"Make me," Steph replied evenly, noticing out of the corner of her eye Hank watching them carefully. Creed surged to his feet with a roar, lunging toward her.
Steph didn't flinch as Creed stopped, his glittering eyes an inch away from hers and bad breath sweeping over her as he panted, then turned around in a temper and sat back down on his seat, growling.
"You can't win that way, Fluffy," Steph said.
There was a sigh from behind her, then the distinct sound of Hank's grimace as he down half a bottle of wine in one gulp and slammed it back to the table. "Steph, don't DO that!"
Creed had gone back to ignoring her again, his face set in a scowl as he sipped the old whisky right from the bottle. "Maybe I just felt like bein' there."
Steph smiled sweetly at Hank. "Careful," she said. "Wine doesn't agree with you." Then she looked at Creed again.
"Then maybe I jus' feel like being here for th' rest of the night," she said sincerely.
His second roar caught her off guard, but she managed to dodge the claws that would have ripped out her guts. Jumping back, she stepped on the hem of her dress and fell back onto her butt, looking up in consternation as Hank bounded over her and placed himself between her and Creed, who had a haunted, desperate look on his lean face.
Steph's jaw dropped at the sudden change as Rogue hurried over and helped her up, glaring at Creed. But before she could say anything Steph shook her head. "I- alright, alright, I'm sorry, keep yer shorts on Fluffy I'm leavin'."
Creed turned around and stalked out of the room, the other X Men getting out of his way quickly, staring.
"Don't ever do that again," Hank said through gritted teeth, turning and looking worriedly at Steph. "He is not one to be tempered with."
Steph looked over at Hank, smiling shakily. "Don't plan on it," she said. His expression softened and his hand took its accustomed place on her shoulder, but before he could speak Logan charged into the ballroom, claws out and face grim.
The short Canadian stopped and glanced around, sniffing, then let the adamantium blades retract. "What the heck was that?"
"Your daughter, picking a fight with Sabertooth," said Madilyn Summers languidly from where she sat at the bar in her short leather skirt.
Steph bristled as Logan turned to glare at her. "I didn't pick a fight with no one!" she said loudly. "I asked him what he was doin' in the woods and he went nuts!" She growled at Madilyn as Logan blinked and looked over at his daughter, then sighed, turned on his heel, and went back upstairs.
Steph glared at the woman, fists clenched as she opened her mouth to say more, but Hank stepped into her line of view, his face grim. "I would not try and get into a fight with Mrs. Summers," he said gently.
Steph still glared, but then saw Scott and her face softened slightly. "Stupid twit," she said under her breath. "She doesn't deserve him."
Hank followed her gaze, ignoring Madilyn as she smirked at them. "Aye, poor Scott," he replied in the same tone. Then he offered her his arm. "The music begins to crash within my skull, fair warrior, whilt thou accompany me whilst I take a turn in the garden?"
Rogue smirked at Steph but the younger woman immediately set her heel in the bride's foot, then nodded at Hank. "Sure," she said.
They were silent as they exited the noisy ballroom through the open French doors and strolled up and down the paved paths of the formal garden, both of them automatically compensating stride to match the other, not even needing to think of it any longer.
Then Hank broke the comfortable silence. "Eight years," he said softly, looking at his other hand in the moonlight.
Steph looked over at him, nodding. "Since you ate that stupid Twinkie," she said, a small smile on her face. "And yet you still eat them in countless numbers."
He smiled, canines gleaming in the moonlight, and she was struck by the contrast between his white tux and the darkness of his fur. "If I could choose but one Twinkie to consume in my lifetime, it would be that one."
Steph laughed, squeezing his arm lightly. "Accourse ya would, ya enjoy all th' attention being the biggest teddy bear in th' world brings ya," she teased.
His smile went tender. "That is not the reason, fair sister-at-arms."
Steph looked thoughtful for a moment. "Then it's cause ya like not needin' a blanket at night?" she guessed.
He shook his head, patting her hand where it lay on his arm. "No. 'Tis for the honor of hearing your voice. I near thought myself in company of angels while you sang at the ceremony."
Steph blushed. "Well I thought about doin' an imitation of a banshee, like I usually sound, but Rogue heard me talkin' t' Kitty about it n' threatened t' skin me alive if I did, so I had to learn to sing better... thanks Hank." Steph blushed again and looked down, smiling.
"A banshee is the furthest thing from my mind when I hear your voice," he said softly, staring up at the stars. "You have always been blessed with winsome tones, my Stephanie. Never let another tell you differently." He chuckled. "Logan would gut them."
Steph's smile widened and she chuckled as well. "I'd gut them," she replied. "Dad would jus' finish them off. Before my mutation manifestered I was lined up by my mother to become a singer, had it all planned out she did. It was annoying, and accourse, impossible as soon as I nearly wiped out our town with the first few notes in Church," she trailed off, remembering the past.
He patted her hand again, brown eyes dark with sympathy, then stopped and sank beside her onto a bench. "Hast heard the gossip surrounding us?" he asked, as she leaned against his shoulder.
Steph groaned jokingly. "How can anyone miss it? Every time Kitty comes up to me it's to ask if we've hooked up yet. It just because when I was younger I-" Steph broke off, blushing again.
"Spent an inordinate amount of time seeking contact with my fur?" He laughed. "If that be the reason then surely I'm betrothed to every maid and matron in the mansion."
Steph chuckled nervously. "Yeah," she said, coughing slightly. "But comes with the territory, you have to admit, it is very, very special fur, with a nice color too."
Hank looked down at his hand again, smiling, then glanced up as Kurt suddenly appeared on the edge of the roof for a few minutes before teleporting away again. "It seems that the party is growing a trifle wild." He glanced down at Steph as she shivered and tucked his arm over her shoulders, pulling her against his side.
Steph smiled. "Told ya wine never works with you," she teased. "Specially when you drink it that fast." Hank nodded as they sat down, yawning as Steph put her head on his shoulder, watching jokingly as Kitty and Peter stumbled through the garden path a ways from them, making their way home.
Steph smiled as she heard a soft snore come from Hank, and she closed her eyes, too comfortable to bother waking him up. Soon both were fast asleep with the moonlight falling down on their shoulders.