(I'm making a bit of time pass between this chapter and the last. Again, so sorry for the complete lack of updates for so long, I hope you all enjoy this)
She was craving coffee. Oh, God, she really, really wanted some coffee. It didn't help that everyone else in the house was drinking that good ol' Louisiana chicory… dammit. Closing her eyes, she breathed in the rich, heady aroma that wafted up from the rooms below and scowled at the floor as though she could see through the polished mahogany boards at the offending members of her husband's family as they drank up that precious drink that she could almost taste. She could almost feel the warm liquid rolling over her tongue, caressing its way down her throat and warming her insides pleasantly. It was now November, Thanksgiving Day to be exact and in was quite chilly; the temperature had dropped down to around 55 degrees and Rogue had to settle for peppermint tea instead of that delicious smelling coffee. Eyeing the dark brown liquid in her mug, her lip curled in disgust as she set the offensive drink down on the table in their cozy living room and glared at the mantle, suddenly angry that the fire Remy had built an hour ago had dared to sputter out. At just over five months pregnant, it wasn't as though she could just bend over and put more wood on the damn thing. As much as she preferred warm weather, she was grateful that the cooler temperature allowed her to be a little more comfortable while all covered up to prevent any accidental exposure. She wasn't too cold, though it was an older house, it was well insulated and her plum colored sweater dress was warm enough for the moment, her grey silk gloves and woolen tights were thick enough to keep the rest of her warm; the crackling fire however had been relaxing. Now that there was no cheery fire going to liven up the quaint, little apartment that Jean Luc had created for them in the west wing of the house, the room was getting gloomier by the second. Her hair was also beginning to bother her so she swept it up into a ponytail and turned to gaze out of their big, bay window, only to heave another loud sigh. It was grey outside and dull, the fall sunshine fighting to make its way out from behind the dark clouds that had rudely sauntered into the New Orleans sky overnight. Turning away from the window, her disappointment with the sun evident on her face, she checked her appearance in an ornate full length mirror to make sure she was wearing matching shoes before venturing out into the main house to seek out her husband. Last week she had worn two different shoes because she couldn't really see her feet but having made sure each foot was encased in the deep grey Mary Janes, she felt a little better.
Earlier that morning, Tante Mattie had sent Remy out to find an open grocery store to pick up a few, last minute items she would need for dinner. She had heard someone murmur that Remy could use a break and she had huffed back up to their apartment without a word. As if she wouldn't like a break from carrying around that extra weight, swollen ankles, odd cravings and morning sickness. She was grateful that the morning sickness (obviously named that by some liar as she had it all day at times) had subsided for the most part. What really annoyed her were the whispers about mood swings. What the hell?! She didn't have any mood swings! Was it her fault that everyone and everything decided to annoy her at once? Was it her fault that everyone seemed to be breathing down her neck from across the room? And no, she didn't know why she felt the need to cry at times but couldn't they have the courtesy to allow her to sob in peace instead of constantly asking her what was wrong? Holding onto the banister, Rogue made her way down the stairs. In all actuality, she wasn't very large at all; in fact, if viewed from behind, no one would ever guess that she was pregnant until she turned around to reveal the small bump. Most people wouldn't even guess that she was nearly six months along. There was also that pregnancy glow that radiated from her and made her look absolutely breathtaking. It was something everyone kept insisting on but Rogue didn't feel as though she were glowing. She felt as big as a house. Grumbling to herself about the stairs, Rogue suddenly stopped short when she felt something glorious; like a cricket skittering across her belly. It was her baby making its opinion known.
"Ya tellin' me ta stop mah gripin', shugah?" Rogue whispered in awe. She closed her eyes as she placed her hand over her abdomen and felt another movement. A kick. "Sorry, forgot that it can't be that great in there with nothin' t' do but lie around all day."
She was still standing there on the stairs, her eyes closed, one hand holding onto the banister and the other placed on her belly when her husband returned from his errand. Seeing her standing like that, not moving, holding her stomach, apprehension seized him and he set down the bag of groceries on the sofa before moving swiftly to her side.
"Anna?" He was sure his heart stopped and he placed a hand on her arm. "Y' alright, chere? Is it the bébé? Are y' in pain?"
Rogue opened her eyes, those emeralds glittering with unshed tears that made his heart squeeze with fear… until she smiled. She gripped his hand and pressed it flat against her belly; he still looked a little fearful and confused until he felt it. He stared up at her in joyous wonder: "C'est notre bébé ?"
"Yup," Rogue nodded, tears escaping her eyes. "That's our baby." The little person inside her womb had made its presence known awhile ago but now it was kicking up a storm, it wanted attention and to let it's parents know in no uncertain terms that it was there.
"Feisty peu de chose. Wow, je l'ai fait." (Feisty little thing. Wow, I did that.)
"We did," Rogue chuckled.
"Feisty comme sa mama." (Feisty like her mama)
"Juste une intuition, cher."
"What's going on?" Emil came out of the kitchen to see them standing on the stairs holding Rogue's swollen belly. "Le bébé?"
"Oui," Remy gave Anna a wink. "Elle kicking une tempête. Peu acrobat."
"Remy has a hunch," Rogue said with a grin.
"Puis-je?" Emil looked up at Rogue. With her nod, Emil placed a tentative hand on Anna's stomach and after a moment, his eyes widened as he felt the tiny movement.
Within the next few moments, most of the household was standing around Rogue on the stairs trying to feel the tiny movements of the newest addition to their family. Delighted, these big bad thieves were at feeling those tiny kicks. Tante Mattie stood in the entrance of the dining room watching them, a grin twitching the corners of her mouth upward. She gave it another few moments before she spoke up loudly: "Look at you, crowding around that way. Give the poor girl some air. Of course the chile is kickin' It prolly hungry. Can smell that turkey simmerin' but can't let anyone know. Y'all let her come down now, dinners almost ready… 'cept for the things I needed that are in that bag over there."
The crowd chuckled and began to disperse. "How the baby smell the turkey, Tante?" Lapin asked the older woman cheekily.
"Boy," Tante swatted at the young man. "You get in the dinin' room an' set de table."
By the time they sat down to dinner, Rogue was in a considerably better mood. She was surrounded by the people she had grown to love and the warmth from the good food and the company diminished the earlier chill she felt, almost completely. She felt a little twinge of regret that Raven and Irene weren't there to share this time with her but she knew her foster mother wouldn't have enjoyed herself. Pushing the thought from her mind, she helped herself to more turkey and hot rolls; fully intent on stuffing herself silly. A few more kicks to her abdomen told her that her little one was enjoying the afternoon as well. Forcing down a little desert, Rogue turned to Remy who was joking with his brother and cousins; she felt a fierce swell of love for him rise up so swiftly that it brought tears to her eyes. As though feeling her gaze, he turned toward her.
"Chère?" He leaned in close and whispered. "Y' alright?"
"Ah'm perfect," she whispered back. "Ah'm so happy Ah feel like Ah could burst."
"Please darlin'," Remy grinned and eyed her belly. "Don' burst jus' yet. Dat bun got a lil' more time in de oven yet, neh?"
"Hey," Emil shot up from his seat and moved over to the television that was playing in the living room by itself. He turned up the volume as the pictures began to flash across the screen and the caption read: Mutants Battle In Mid-Town Manhattan. The shaky camera made it hard to see just what was happening but soon they saw mutants in costumes battling with one another. Rogue could distinctly make out Pyro and Avalanche taking on Colossus and Nightcrawler. Rogue stood and watched the news coverage, nervously chewing her bottom lip as she swore she saw Toad hopping away from Wolverine in the background. At one point, a few innocent bystanders were attempting to flee the scene as police swarmed onto the scene, sticking close to the buildings. As the people tried to run, Nightcrawler teleported to assist them and protect them from Pyro's stray bursts. It was obvious the little blue elf was attempting to help, leaving himself exposed to get the people to safety but there were faint shouts on the camera to the contrary: "That mutie's going after those people! Someone do something!"
"No!" Rogue whispered, gripping Remy's hand as he stood beside her watching the screen, horror on his face. They could all see it coming. Shots rang out and Nightcrawler went down as a scream tore itself from Rogue's throat: "NOOOOOO!"
Anna's knees nearly gave out from under her and Remy had to support her to keep her from falling. "He was trying to help!" Mercy cried her eyes on the screen as though they could hear her. "He was trying to help!"
Still watching the screen, Rogue's heart wrenched as she saw a flash of blue and white close to the screen; Mystique was there. She was directing the Brotherhood to draw the police's fire?
"Wait," Emil said. "Weren't they just fighting?"
They all watched as the police targeted the Brotherhood, allowing Colossus to reach his fallen teammate and deflect any stray bullets. Rogue didn't realize she was holding her breath until she saw Nightcrawler on his feet, gripping his shoulder. She let out that breath as she watched the two X-Men make their way into the alley between the buildings. Suddenly a gale force wind accompanied by lightening and hailstones assaulted the police, forcing them to withdraw and allowing the X-Men as well as the Brotherhood to flee the scene.
With her family and the other mutants out of the line of fire, Rogue allowed the tears to fall. Remembering how Nightcrawler had helped her and her hand went to her belly as she cried harder.
"Chère," Remy looked a little panicked as he wrapped his arms around his wife. "It be ok, did y' see? Dey all got out ok."
"No," she shook her head. "No, they'll hate her too."
"Who darlin'? The other mutants?"
Remy froze as the horrible realization of what she was saying came to him.
"They already hate her for what she'll be. She's not even born yet an' they hate her," Rogue buried her face into his chest as she wept. "They'll hate her just for being born, for being alive. She's just a baby… how can we protect her from that?!"
Remy wrapped Rogue up in his arms tightly, fighting the tears that threatened to spill from his own dark eyes as fear enveloped him. She was right, their child would almost definitely be a mutant too, born into a world that hated and feared her. How would they be able to protect her from hate?
(A/N: What did ya think? Love it? Hate it? Please review!)