Chapter 56 – Introducing…
Within the next twenty-four hours of their birth, the twins were placed into the intensive care unit in the safety of separate incubators that helped them retain temperature and in their little boy's case, manage his Apnea that made it difficult for him to breath. To both Rogue and Remy's surprise, they didn't have to beg to be allowed to sneak into the NICU after hours. Exhausted from the labour, and practically waddling between the short distances between the bed and the small attached bathroom, Rogue was anxious to be near her children but saw her physical state as more of an annoyance than a real impediment. She would have 'waddled like a duck down the corridor' if she had her way. Thankfully, Remy charmed nurse Danvers into procuring a wheelchair to get her to the NICU instead. However 'charmed' wasn't exactly correct, as nurse Danvers was still a stubborn task-master and promised to get the wheelchair only after Rogue (and Remy) had at least a day's sleep. Raven, for once, was in complete agreement with this plan and to ease the anxiety of all involved, promised to keep vigil of the twins until the new parents had rested.
While Rogue grumbled and pouted over accepting a wheelchair escort and being sent to bed like an over-tired child, the fourteen hours of labour caught up quickly and within an hour of being 'sent to bed', she was fast asleep. That evening, she woke to find Remy sleeping in an armchair and a gentle alarm blaring from her phone. A minute or two later, on schedule, a disturbingly cheery Nurse Danvers snuck into the room with, as promised, a wheelchair. After a few gentle nudges and bouts with consciousness, Rogue managed to wake Remy and wearily, he helped her waddle into the wheelchair and pushed her down the corridor. By the time they arrived in the ward, they were both anxious to see their babies and any talk of sleep or grumbling over wheelchairs was forgotten.
"Dieu, dey are so small… I can't get my head around how small dey are…"
Remy's quiet murmur of amazement reflected in Rogue's thoughts as she was wheeled in to sit between her two children's incubator cribs. Her eyes shifted between the two, tracing every soft curve and little fingers, each heartbeat and breath passed between them. While the little girl wore a green beanie, her son wore a yellow beanie, reflecting the blankets they had been burrowed in at their birth. A small chortle escaped her, remembering the pile of white baby clothes waiting at home. Somehow, these colours seemed to suit each of her babies.
A gentle hand at her shoulder nearly made her jump but the familiar, sleepy chuckle of a her mother's voice eased her reaction as she turned to face her. She looked exhausted, dressed in the same clothes she had arrived in but happy in a way that she had never seen before. It was almost startling to witness such happiness in her mother's eyes, but when her mother turned her gaze back to her children, she began to understand the source. Gently, Raven reached forward and opened one of the round doors on the isolette of her son's incubator. Her fingers gently stroked down his little back, as he lay snuggled into the bed on his front with his head turned towards them. He twitched a little under her touch, and the movement sent butterflies in Rogue's belly.
"He's a quiet little fighter, this little man. Jean- Doctor Grey, would like for them to stay here a few days, just so she can keep an eye on his Apnea and keep watch of his sister, and see if she develops the condition as well."
At Rogue's worried gaze, her mother gentled her voice again and removed her hand from the incubator to touch her cheek. She stroked it, much like she used when she was little.
"It's not uncommon darling, they were born a little early and premature babies can have trouble remembering to breathe. They learn to control it soon enough, they just need a little help now…"
A shuddering sob of emotion rattled through her chest as Rogue wiped away new tears. She had discovered shortly after birth that when she wasn't nearly comatose with exhaustion, she was fighting swells of tears and sobbing that needed only a little trigger to set her off. She felt Remy shift to bend beside her, his lips finding her ear and whispering comforting words. When the tears finally subsided a few moments later, Rogue managed to speak though her voice rasped with lingering exhaustion.
"Ah've never been scared about something as much as ah was when he- he didn't cry."
Gently, with shaking hands, Rogue wheeled the chair a little closer to her son's crib and reached into the round isolette door and reached inside. The feel of her son's petal-soft skin was wondrous and baffling all at once, knowing she had help create such a beautiful little person and that he was here, with them, the both of them. A happy, gentle sob escaped her lips as she leant her head against the plastic barrier, and stroked her son's cheek. As if he knew who she was, he snuggled closer to her touch and let out a little sigh.
"Ah'm so glad you're okay little man, ah was scared for ya, y'know? Don't do that to Momma again…"
A low chuckle rumbled beside her as Remy reached into the other door and stroked one of his son's little feet, causing him to fidget and kick. Chuckles erupted around them, causing the dimly lit room to warm with the love and joy burning between them until Nurse Danvers offered something, trade free.
"Would you like to hold them?"
The two parents needed no persuading. A few minutes later, another nurse appeared and helped carefully remove the twins from their incubators. While the other nurse placed their daughter into Remy's waiting arms, nurse Danvers placed the little boy into Rogue's. His ventilator remained in place but didn't distract from the miracle bundled in her arms. Rogue felt like she was hypnotised by the steady beating of his heart, and the shudder of his breathing. It was an hour before Rogue turned to see Remy sitting in the chair beside her, with their daughter sleeping fitfully in his arms. She grumbled in her sleep, with her brow creasing grumpily every now and again. Rogue uttered a low chuckle at the sight, which caused her boyfriend to turn his gaze back to hers in a questioning frown.
"Ah think we might have another Logan-type on our hands. She grizzles like a bear, totally a trait of mah side of the family."
Remy had the decency to not hide his look of mild horror. Raven however, gave a low chuckle and subtly snapped a quick photo at the precise moment of his reaction on her phone. For prosperity, she would later defend.
The next morning, Rogue and Remy managed to convince Doctor Grey to allow a few visitors into the NICU, provided it was only two at a time and not for too long. The first to be admitted were Jean-Luc and Logan. Jean-Luc had been delayed from arrival from poor weather and a few cancelled flights, so Logan and Ororo had kindly offered to put him up until he could see his grandchildren. The two grandfathers made their way into the NICU, both a little nervous, but keen enough that their excitement was palpable when they arrived in Rogue's hospital room. Between them, they carried a pair of vases full of Ororo's own flowers from her shop and a pair of yellow and green plush-toy dinosaurs for the babies. Before they left for the NICU, Logan handed Rogue a colourful hand-drawn card from Sahirah and the promise that she would be babysitting as soon as the babies were old enough if not sooner if she could weasel her way, which made her laugh.
When they finally made their way to NICU, Doctor Grey was present at the twins incubator and promptly introduced herself to the 'two grandfathers she had heard so much about.' A few minutes later, both grandfathers were seated in a chair and handed a grandchild each. Though she was still weak from the labour, and waddled her way from the incubator with the help of Doctor Grey, Rogue made a point of handing her son into her father's arms. A tearful smile spread across her lips as she introduced him officially.
"Daddy, ah want ya to meet your first grandson. This is James Luc LeBeau. But we'll call him Jamie for short."
Logan's blue eyes sparked with surprise but suddenly he had a tiny infant in his arms and his surprise was overshadowed by a sense of awe and love that clicked into place like a missing puzzle piece. Rogue had to rely on Doctor Grey's hold on her waist to keep herself upright as she witnessed the first moments of her child's bonding to his grandfather. When he stopped grizzling like a baby bear, the little boy settled into Logan's arms and fell back asleep. When he was calm, Logan reached a gentle hand to stroke the side of his cheek.
"He looks like you, Stripes. That little frown especially."
A small chuckle escaped him as he adjusted him into the crook of his arm, and turned to face his daughter. A warm smile spread across his features.
"You did amazing, kid."
The pair shared a loving smile before their attention was taken away by the sudden shriek of little lungs hollering from across the room. A low chuckle escaped Logan as he watched Remy hush and rock his daughter in his arms as he made his way towards Jean-Luc. Logan grinned from ear to ear as he told the room.
"Now that, is definitely your kid, Stripes. Same pair of lungs."
Rogue was certain she would have elbowed him in the ribs if he wasn't carrying her newborn son but she didn't linger on the idea long, for the sight of her daughter settling in Remy's arms acted as a balm. A few moments of gentle hushing and soothing his daughter finally saw her quiet though her little eyes were open and watchful of the world around her. A warmth Remy didn't know was possible to feel burned in his chest, as he lovingly pressed a kiss to his daughter's head.
"Come on petit Papillion (little butterfly) it is time t' meet y' grand-pere…"
And with that, he placed her into his father's arms. Jean-Luc uttered a small sob that everyone heard and felt with pained joy within the room. He settled her carefully in his arms, soothing every hint of a cry about to rise from her little lips until she settled.
"Bonjour ma petite Papillion… y' are such a blessing t' dis famille, y' et y' frère. Y' have no idea yet… mais y' will know how much we love y'…oui y' will…"
Remy locked eyes with Rogue and a watery smile spread across his lips before he knelt in front of his father and gently introduced her officially.
"Pere, I would like y' t' meet y' granddaughter… Aveline Raven LeBeau. Mais, we would love t' call her Evie for short. Wit' y' blessing of course."
Though the shortened name was chosen to ease the pain Jean-Luc might feel at calling his granddaughter by his wife's name, it was met with only love and acceptance from the widower. The name struck Jean-Luc, to be sure, but it was only a moment of sadness followed by a wave of joy that settled on his face in a gentle, loving smile. He nodded his head in approval and softly stroked the side of Evie's face before locking his gaze with his own son.
"Mon fils… dat is a wonderful name. Et I know y' Mere would be proud t' give her name t' y' little one. Just as I am."
"This is for both of you. There's no returns and no take-backs," Logan said as he handed a document-size envelope to Remy with his free hand while he held his granddaughter in the crook of his other arm. His broad shoulders and muscled arms kept her little body secure and safe, but the hold still made Remy uneasy and watchful as stood beside him.
"And no objections, though we anticipated dem so dey won't be taken seriously," added Jean-Luc with a knowing smile that was all charm and much more like his old self. He had settled comfortably into the role of grandfather, now holding his newly introduced grandson who slept soundly in his arms.
His wife's passing had hit him harder than he let on, and though everyone knew it, it wasn't ever discussed. He would reach out in his own way, and it was here that Remy realised this was his way of reaching out. Turning to Rogue for confirmation, he waited for her nod before opening the envelope. After a few charged moments of anticipation, and Remy had re-read the document at least twice, he turned to Rogue. A stunned stutter escaped his lips before he spoke.
"Dey- dey gave us de deed t' de house… mon famille home…it's in our names, chère. Et dey set up a trust, for our kids…"
Rogue felt her mouth drop open but couldn't consciously close it for some time until Remy was beside her and taking her hand, placing the legal document in her hands.
"Wh-what does this mean? Jean-Luc, ah don't understand. This is your home, ya and Tante Mattie and Ave-"
Her voice caught on the name, causing a new swell of tears to burn. Gently, Jean-Luc knelt in front of her in her wheelchair and took one of her free hands. His warm, fatherly smile that had comforted her when her own father hadn't been around to comfort her, shined with fresh tears glossing his brown eyes.
"Ma petite chère, dat house cared and sheltered mon famille for over forty years. Its de place ma chère Aveline et I raised our boys… et y', for a time. What I offer y' both, is a choice. Y' can live dere whenever y' wish, et Mattie et I will either live wit' y' or move into one of de smaller town house dat suits our needs. Even if dat is now, six months from now, when de twins are older or maybe later when y' both retire, mais it will have y' name on it until y' decide et it will be yours when I am gone. Dat part is non-negotiable. Et so is de trust fund Logan et I established. We can talk dis through later..."
Rogue and Remy could only manage small, still quite uncertain nods before the two grandfathers were ushered away by a freshly rested Nurse Danvers who insisted on a rest for them all. Even after they were left alone with the twins, the two barely managed to utter a word on the topic until Rogue finally snapped out of the stupor and began to calculate the revelation.
"What do ya think about this? Moving t' a new house was big enough of a shift, having these guys was life changing… but moving to New Orleans someday… to move into your family home… What are they thinking…?"
Remy gently rocked Jamie in his arms, hushing his grizzling noises as he watched Nurse Danvers placed Evie back into her incubator in a fitful sleep. She twitched and kicked but settled once she was placed inside the warmth of the incubator.
"He's doing what he t'inks is right. I know him chère, he doesn't do anyt'ing unless he's certain of himself. Et he said it was our choice. Mais we don't need to make dat choice, now, oui?"
Rogue gave a low sigh and reached out to stroke her son's cheek. He slept soundly now, his little chest rising and falling in smooth slumbering breaths. The sigh eased her anxiety over him a little more as she rest her head on Remy's shoulder and continued to watch him.
"Ah guess so. But ah don't want him t' feel like he has to move out of that house if we say so. It's his home, your childhood home. Hell, we don't know how Henri and Mercy feel about this. Ah don't want them to feel overlooked-"
"He wouldn't do this without running it past them. Et dey have ma Mere's parents place now. Dey are happy dere."
Rogue uttered a sigh and shook her head.
"Lets just leave it for now, oui?"
Rogue nodded against his shoulder and tucked her finger between Jamie's who held it tightly in his little fist.
"We've got plenty on our plates now, right little Jamie boy?"
Phew! More to come, just a little more and I think we're done.