A/N: Hey! First of all, a big THANKS for all the wonderful reviews! Both anonymous and signed! They're always inspiring to receive and fun to read ^_^ Second of all, thank you to all those for adding this story to your favorite story and alert list :-) Thirdly….err….thank you for your patience. Real-life has sadly made me bad at updating sooner :-(
But wow. So many people wanting to smack Remy? Lol. Poor Remy. I hope you guys don't plan to kill him after reading this chapter, which is lengthy by the way, to make up for my usual and…..possibly future lateness :-)
Most of this chapter is Scott's POV, which is equally important as Rogue's POV, so don't skip directly to Rogue's scene :-)
Hope you enjoy!
Who was the luckiest man in Bayville?
If the question had been raised before the young mutants of the Xavier Institute, the possible replies received would have been:
"Hmph. Who do you think? Customized uniform, secret missions with villains in lingerie, women worshiping everything he touches, knows every sneaky trick there is to know…."
"…..has a face and body God took his sweet time to perfect…."
"The only one who can blow up Wolverine's bike and not get killed. He can also get away with not following Scott's orders. Forget that! He can get away for getting away with things! God, he's awesome!"
"He's the guy who can steal anything. Absolutely anything! I dared him to steal Alison Blaire's bra. And he did. He stole a mega-famous singer's fifteen million dollar bra!"
"Any guy who can get Rogue to loosen up without getting killed is lucky in my books."
"The guy who has an exciting night life, an obsessive hot ex-wife, knows a million and one ways to please women rather than a hundred and one—"
"Who else, but—"
"Gambit. Damn if that sexy piece of man wasn't committed to Rogue, I would've chained him to my bed, cherry-bombed his clothes and—"
But if the same question had been posed to the grown-ups or a Brotherhood member or even Remy himself, the answer would've been quite different:
"Zhe Fuzzy dude's first and oldest friend. Ja….it's shocking. An adorable fun-loving blue fuzzball and zhe stiff and all-serious—"
"Itch in Remy's tush—"
"The man who has the guts ta propose ta his girlfriend. Unlike—"
"My faithful, loyal, devoted best friend and husband."
"Our fearless leader."
"Scott Summers without a doubt."
"Gumbo? The luckiest man? Are you nuts?"
"Identity confirmed. Welcome Scott Summers."
Scott removed his thumb from the fingerprint recognition device as the gates slowly opened. Entering the driveway of the Xavier estate, he drove his red convertible in a leisurely fashion, enjoying the sights and sounds around him.
From Ororo's serene and graceful movements as she created a miniature rain-cloud to water the plants, to Logan's low growling as he tenderly cleaned his motorcycle, to the girls tittering as they gossiped about clothes—Scott relished every single moment.
Even Rogue scowling at two lovebirds making a nest made him smile.
'Home sweet home,' he thought blissfully, feeling like the luckiest man in the world.
And just what exactly made Scott Summers so lucky that even a scoundrel like Remy agreed?
A simple guess might be that he was the only one with a tragic past who had a fairytale ending—fairy tale ending applicable in today's world. Kitty Pryde, once upon a boring afternoon, identified the seven ingredients which made up his fairy-tale ending:
1) An honest and legal job to make a genuine difference in the world—training and leading a team of super-powered individuals—a role he was practically born for.
2) The privilege of being the heir to everything Professor Xavier owned—a great honor, considering Xavier already had Lucas, his real son. Psychotic, but still his like, flesh and blood.
3) Teammates who trusted and respected him as their leader….
Scott slowed down the car as Ray Crisp jogged over.
"You're back! What happened? How's Alex?"
"Hey Ray. He's fine now." Scott appreciated the concern. "Thanks for asking."
"Good to know. I told you had nothing to worry about." The spiky-haired mutant leaned against his car. "Surfing during a storm to impress a girl isn't as scary as it sounds." He shrugged. "Well, if your power has nothing to do with electric manipulation."
"Uh-huh…" Scott muttered uncertainly. "I've got nothing to worry about."
"So…..since you're back, I was wondering, do you have any plans tonight?" He eyed the car admiringly. "Family outing or something?"
"No. Not tonight."
"Then, it would be perfectly ok for someone to…..you know….borrow your car? To take a girl to the movies? Right?"
"I don't think so."
"Aww….c'mon!" Berzerker pleaded. "I promise I'll be careful this time. No lava or scorch marks. You have my word."
"I'll….have to think about it."
Ray grinned before he shouted at the group of gossiping girls: "Magma, it's a yes! I'll pick you up at eight!"
"Ok!" came her reply.
Scott sighed wearily, but hid a smile as he drove forward.
…but treated him more like their big brother. Which he didn't mind.
4) Respect of womenfolk for being different than the typical male. Not only a gentleman in his actions and words, but in his intentions and thoughts as well. This not only attracted the opposite sex to trust him willingly….
Scott stomped down on the brakes before he mowed down one of the female residents.
"Tabitha…" He mumbled as the blonde danced infront of him, completely oblivious to everything except the music from her headphones. "Tabitha!" He finally pressed on the horn to get her attention.
She stopped her dance number and removed the headphones. Her face split into a huge grin. "Fearless leader!"
He flustered at her enthusiasm. "Uh…Hey Tabitha."
She plopped down on the hood of his car. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually missed your training sessions."
"But….you hate my training sessions," he said confused.
"True. But if I had to choose between she-Logan's survival exercises, yours and Remy's—well, I would choose Gambit's," she stated as if it was the most obvious thing. "But since he's been preoccupied being Mrs. Doubtfire, I would pick you." She traced circles on the windshield. "Getting killed is much slower. And besides….." A sly smile formed on her lips, "watching you giving orders in a spandex makes survival…hmm…interesting….." She winked.
"Can you please get off the hood so I can park the car?" Scott requested in one breath, clutching the steering wheel.
"Sure." She obeyed. "Will be looking forward to tomorrow's Danger Room session, Scott Summers…" She blew him a kiss before sauntering off.
…but also unfortunately brought unwanted attention his way. Other times, he found himself thrust in the midst of drama…..
Scott released the breath he had been holding and resumed his journey to the garage. Unfortunately for him, the journey time just got longer.
"Hey Scott." Like a phantom, the floating figure appeared out of nowhere.
He slammed down on the brakes before the car met its demise instead of the person who hovered in its path. The vehicle screeched to a halt, just mere inches away from one of the female residents, who wasn't Tabitha this time.
"R-Rogue," Scott shakily greeted the former untouchable and now invulnerable teammate and faintly wondered why women were trying to get themselves killed by him today. "H-Hey."
"A-Ah'm sorry," she apologized, equally shaken up. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah." He took a deep breath to calm himself.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah." He managed to muster a smile to assure her. "I'm okay Rogue."
She smiled back sheepishly. "Uh…so…w-where…." She lowered herself to the ground. "Where are you goin'?"
"To park the car."
"And after that?"
Scott quirked an eyebrow at his colleague's sudden interest in his activities. "Uh…. Well, then to the War Room to update myself to the happenings of the past three days. And then home."
"So….first you're goin' ta go read a sixty page print-out of what's been goin' on here for the past three days? Then go home?"
"And also watch surveillance and Danger Room footage of the training sessions that took place." He didn't miss the sarcasm in Rogue's query. But being the leader, he had certain responsibilities he couldn't avoid. "I need to make notes in order to plan for tomorrow's Danger Room session."
"These notes?" Rogue handed him some neatly filed papers.
He quickly skimmed through them, baffled. "These are dated today." And in his handwriting. "B-But I never….I wasn't here….how…..?"
"Meh. With a little help from your psyche actually," she revealed shyly. "Ah hope it's okay."
Scott gawked at her.
Okay? She just saved him from hours' worth of work!
"Ah can also summarize everythin' for you so you can go home….quickly," she offered. "If you want."
"Alright…" he agreed, stunned by her sudden generosity. "Go ahead."
Rogue cleared her throat before announcing: "Nothin' happened."
It took a minute to register her reply. "That's…..just not possible. There's always something happening—"
"Scott," she interrupted him. "Laura was acting as your sub. Everyone pretty much passed out after her trainin' sessions. You don't have ta worry about any damages outside the Danger Room that need repairin'."
That strangely made sense. "Okay….."
"And you already know about Kitty, Forge and Mr. McCoy workin' on some….computer-science project. Somethin' about makin' holograms more smarter and safer."
"And if you're interested in miscellaneous news, then Betsy's out showcasin' some designer's spring collection and Emma went in for surgery yesterday—"
"What for?" he asked alarmed. "Is she alright?"
Rogue rolled her eyes. "Nose job. And…other body parts that needed tweakin'."
Scott regretted inquiring. "Oh."
"It's not too late ta disassociate ourselves from her Massachusetts Academy you know."
"No. That's everythin'…...work-related."
"Wow," he breathed, still amazed. He touched the notes Rogue probably had spent hours preparing. "I don't think…..thank you would be enough. I don't know if I could ever repay you—"
"Ah'm…..pretty sure you'll think of somethin'." She gave him a small smile. "When you get home," she added as an afterthought. "You'll get a lot of ideas."
Scott chuckled. "I really hope so." He surprised himself by what he said next: "You know, if you want, you can skip tomorrow's Danger Room session."
"That's sweet. But Ah'll be much happier if you go home. Ta your family. Now." Impatience all of a sudden, replaced her reserved, but friendly demeanor.
Scott frowned, but didn't contemplate over the Southern's…..odd behavior, especially if that odd behavior saved him from so much work. "Okay then. I'll see you later. Thanks again."
"No problem." She stepped away from the path of his car. "Bye Scott."
With a smile plastered on his face, Scott finally reached the garage and parked his vehicle. He then headed for the boathouse.
...But lucky for Scott Summers, he remained completely unaware of a woman's true intentions….well…until it was too late that is.
5) A cozy and quiet house away from the hustle and bustle of the X-mansion on the estate by the lake to go home to.
Scott's smile widened when the boathouse entered his rosy-colored vision. Whistling, he climbed the porch steps and…..waited. After a millisecond, the door flew open and he found himself reveling in Jean's loving embrace and kisses.
6) A beautiful, strong, supportive, loving and caring wife to come home to.
"I take it you missed me."
"Of course I missed you," Jean smiled brightly at him. "I need someone to take out the garbage, do the dishes, clean the roof, fix the disposal—" she paused to sigh dramatically. "What will I ever do without you?"
Scott smirked. "I love you too, Red."
7) And last, but not least, what made his happily ever after complete and life more worthy of living and fighting for was a little, sweetest, smartest, cutest, beautiful baby girl…..his daughter.
"Playing with her favorite babysitter."
"Hmm…." Scott wondered which one was her favorite. Kitty and Kurt both made her laugh, although Kurt had saved Rachel many times from Kitty's muffins and a few other monstrous creations.
"Actually…..her new favorite babysitter."
"New babysitter?" The additional piece of information made him lift his eyebrow.
Jean nodded, quite excited. "I never expected him as the type to enjoy hanging around babies, let alone take care of one on his own. Did he surprise me."
The faces of possible mutants that fit Jean's description flickered through his mind.
"He's always been so irresponsible, reckless…..always getting himself into trouble or creating it. You always told him to grow-up…..be more responsible…try to do something meaningful with the time he wasted.….."
The face of Bobby Drake popped up.
"Well….your lectures finally seem to have gotten through to him. What could be more responsible than taking care of a baby?" She sighed contentedly. "I think—no, I'm certain, he's going to make a wonderful father someday."
Scott was stunned.
A wonderful father?
He impressed Jean to the point that he could be given the title of a wonderful father? Now Scott was more eager than curious to see the prankster turned responsible adult.
"So….can you please promise me that you'll be nice to him?"
"Of course." He couldn't understand why she believed he wouldn't be nice to Bobby for finally maturing. "I was thinking of throwing a celebration for him."
"A celebration…for him….." She seemed to be at a loss of words, "that's very….uh….noble of you, Scott. But why don't you hold that thought for later? Right now just promise you'll be nice to him."
Comprehension finally dawned upon him. Bobby must've accidentally broken something important of his. It didn't matter. He was in too a good mood. "Fine, I promise. I'll be very nice to him. Extra nice." He grinned and added jokingly: "How about I won't yell or harm him in anyway? Is that ok?"
Jean's eyes twinkled enigmatically. "Perfect." She linked her arm around his and led him into the living room.
Scott eagerly and fully expected to see Iceman, making jokes or perhaps, narrating his version of some classic fairytale to Rachel. No amount of training and life and death encounters prepared his destructive laser eyes for the sight they met in the living room.
"Isn't it the most amazing thing you've ever seen?" Jean whispered in an awestruck voice.
Scott's mouth opened and closed like a fish…..a now suffocating fish, after being viciously snatched out of the sea by a feathered predator.
Amazing would not accurately describe it. Unbelievable…..shocking …impossible….. terrifying, frightening, unreal, insane would all best describe the emotions that churned within him at the sight of Rachel's babysitter.
'He's an excellent fighter on the battlefield,' Jean continued the discussion through their psychic link, 'a chef in the kitchen, a maid—' She paused to rephrase to a more appropriate term. '—a professional cleaner in the living room and…..we've all heard rumors of what's he's like in the bedroom.' She stifled a giggle. 'And he can take care of a baby! All by himself. He's like the….perfect househusband or stay-at-home Dad!'
Or Mrs. Doubtfire, according to Tabitha.
'My God, the way that man cleans up a mess, it's like no one ever touched the room.'
That would probably be because he had been skilled in the craft of never leaving a trace of his presence. His profession required it—the one outside of the X-men, most commonly known as, thief.
And he was in his home.
He was the responsible adult Jean had been praising, the supposedly amazing babysitter, the one Scott had unknowingly promised Jean not to inflict harm upon, the one who was occupied in a card game with his baby daughter. The one known as…..
"Y' got nothin' t' bet."
Rachel glanced at her cards worriedly before she held up her milk bottle.
Distressed, she frantically looked about before brightening. She spread her arms jubilantly.
"De house?" His eyes widened before he whistled. "Y're one smart baby Rachel."
Scott's hands twitched.
'Dinner won't cook by itself so would you be good to the baby-sitter?' His spouse requested sweetly.
'Our daughter just bet our house.' His hands itched to slip off his glasses and glare at the babysitter.
'You promised,' Jean reminded before heading into the kitchen.
Yes, and he also naively promised not to yell or inflict harm upon him.
"Oh Bon jour!" The thief baby-sitter finally noticed him. "Welcome home."
Scott cringed. "Yeah, hey Remy."
And did he also agree to throw a celebration? For him?
"Bonjo!" The voice of the most cherished person in the world pulled him out of his disorderly thoughts.
Gambling with the baby-sitter or betting the house away, Scott suddenly didn't care anymore. He rushed towards Rachel and whisked her into his arms, showering her with kisses. "Did you miss me?" he asked, embracing her dearly.
"Oui!" The infant laughed gleefully and patted his face. Fascination besieged her innocent features before her chubby fingers reached for his ruby shades.
"No. Rachel." Scott halted her attempt. "What did Daddy tell you about removing his glasses?"
She giggled. "Non!"
"Right." Scott just couldn't bring himself to be annoyed, let alone mad at her risky behavior. "Non." It was then something occurred to him. 'Non?' "Did you…..just speak in French?"
"Oui!" Rachel repeated mirthfully. "Wench!"
Scott didn't hear Remy's snort at Rachel's mispronunciation. His mind was still registering the simple fact: Rachel spoke in French. She spoke in French with a hint of Cajun accent—Remy's accent. Excluding Rogue—after having absorbed Remy's personality—no one here could speak like Remy.
Except for Rachel.
"That's….." He was surprised to find himself struggling with words. He never had trouble expressing joy and pride when Rachel had learned to crawl or sat up on her own. Or for the matter, he never had encountered difficulty in conjuring the emotions of joy and pride for his daughter. They just came naturally. "Well…it's…."
Except right now.
"T-That's…..very….uh…good, honey," he quickly spoke when her smile started to falter. "Knowing French will….it'll really help you in school."
Remy cleared his throat, reminding him about the unwelcome guest in his house.
Rachel let out a delighted noise and pointed at Remy before shifting her big green eyes to him. They seemed to ask: can I keep him? As if Remy was some stray kitten she had found and wanted to adopt.
"Uh….I'll get you a real kitten when you're older," he told her, suddenly wishing Remy was a cat so that he could be thrown out more quickly. He turned to face him. "Thank you, for looking after Rachel," he tried to sound as thankful as humanely possible towards someone like Gambit, "now shouldn't you be—don't you have to go now?"
It was impolite. He knew that. But this was Remy, the guy who had stolen his precious car uncountable times, left no opportunity to embarrass him and made a habit of getting on his nerves. They might be teammates, but outside the X-men, he was an uninvited and unwanted guest.
"You obviously must have a lot of things to do than be here."
Remy pondered for a second before shaking his head. "Non."
Scott scowled. "Really? No Danger Room session with the kids?"
"Date with Rogue?"
"Poker with Wolverine?"
Scott gritted his teeth. "Steal my car or Logan's motorbike and blow them up?"
"Non!" Rachel intervened, making Remy chuckle.
Scott fumed, hoping Remy wasn't expecting a payment for his baby-sitting service. Or…perhaps he already took his payment by illegal means. Why would a man like him come to his house without an ulterior motive?
'Jean!' Scott called through their link. 'Is your grandmother's pearl necklace still there?'
'Scott! I can't believe you—'
'Check Rachel's college fund too.'
Still no response.
He groaned. Jean's trusting nature just got them robbed of….something.
"Y' still keep dis?"
Remy's voice brought his attention back. He glanced over to where his teammate was standing, holding up a framed sonogram.
"Yeah," Scott said boldly and waited for a joke, lewd remark, that insufferable smirk for still keeping the sonogram. Waited…..and waited. And….
Remy placed the sonogram back.
"Good," the Cajun remarked instead. "Dat's good."
Scott's eyes widened behind his crimson shades. His shocked mind tried to generate an explanation for Remy's….unusual behavior.
"Y' know….." Remy began, his voice contemplative and unsure. "I've been…..away a lot an'….never really got de time t' give Rachel a welcome-t'-dis-world present. Or anythin' else t' make her feel welcome."
Ah! 'Of course….' Scott clicked, an explanation materializing. Either Rogue or Logan had threatened Remy or Ororo had pushed him to contribute since he had been ignoring Rachel since her birth. It was just plain rude of him, avoiding a baby like she was something….terrifying.
"So, I was t'inkin' of takin' her gift shoppin' tomorrow. She can pick whatever she likes. If it's ok wit' de parents of course." Remy and Rachel both looked expectedly at him. "So, is it?"
Scott went pale. Suddenly Remy ignoring Rachel's existence didn't appear rude at all.
"Of course, it's alright." Jean conveniently chose that moment to join them. Scott wondered if some alien took over his wife's body…..again. "Right, Scott?"
Scott stared at her incredulously.
Shopping with Remy?
The man whose ex-wife was an assassin and had almost every super-villain after him?
His little baby daughter going shopping with the person who was considered to be the most dangerous man in the world?
"I don't think it's a good idea." Scott's hold instinctively tightened around the most precious thing in the whole universe. "You can get her anything. She won't mind."
"Scott!" Jean hissed.
"Gah!" Rachel also protested, squirming in her father's arms. "Gah!"
Scott blinked. How long had he been gone? Just three days? And Remy had already turned his wife and daughter against him? "I-I just don't feel….comfortable with my baby riding on a motorcycle."
"Motorcycle?" Remy's eyes grew round. The expression of sheer horror on his face was so damn convincing. "Mon ami…I'll be takin' de car. A baby on a motorcycle?" He shook his head as if greatly disappointed at what Scott had just said. "Dat's very dangerous."
Scott gawked at him. Wasn't this the man who didn't know the meaning of danger? "But still…..handling a baby in a crowded mall. It's a difficult task," he indicated. 'Especially when you're on the wanted list of every supervillain in the world!'
"Non. It won't be so bad," Remy said overconfidently. "De other femme will be dere. Dey're goin' shoppin' t'."
Normally, Scott would've sent a respectful glance Remy's way for being brave enough to willingly tag along with the womenfolk for shopping. But Rachel's safety due to his presence overwhelmed him. "But still, I believe Rachel will feel more comfortable in the presence of a family member."
"I'm going too," Jean revealed.
Scott couldn't help but wonder if God held some type of grudge against him today.
"Oh. Then…..there's absolutely no reason for….not letting Rachel go." He turned to the child in his arms. "Unless you don't want to go. And stay here with Daddy instead. Danger Room has holograms I can program—"
His daughter shot him a dangerous glare, frighteningly the exact replica of her mother's.
"Uh….Y' sure, y' don' want t' reconsider mon ami?" Remy asked in a hushed voice. "Y're comin' between a fille an' shoppin'. Dat's like….denyin' a homme access t' de sports channel."
Under the baby's firm glare, the leader of the X-men was forced to reconsider his hasty decision.
What could be the worst thing that might happen if Remy went shopping? The women were going too—mutant women who possessed powers to destroy ten city blocks and trained by him and Logan for every possible life-threatening situation. Trying anything remotely funny on Remy's or anyone else's part would be the death of them.
"Alright." He made his final verdict. "You can go." His ears weren't prepared for the ear-piercing shriek of joy that followed.
"Heh….well…..Au Revoir Rachel." Remy bid farewell, finally about to depart. "See y' tomorrow den. Okay?"
"Aww Wah!" Rachel spoke her version of Au Revoir as Remy began to walk away. "Emy!"
Remy froze in his tracks.
Jean gasped, her hands flying to her mouth. "Oh my God…."
Scott gave them both a baffled look. "What?"
"She said Remy!"
"Emy…" Rachel crooned.
"She….said…..my name?" Remy whispered in an awe-filled voice.
Scott honestly couldn't remember the last time the Louisiana-born had been genuinely awed by something so….simple. Shiny and expensive objects were only worthy of his attention. And of course, women.
"No. She didn't say Remy," he denied, slowly backing away, clutching Rachel protectively for reasons he couldn't grasp. "She said Amy. Amy is a girl's name."
"Rrrahemy…Remy!" Rachel cried, stretching her arms towards the Cajun. "Remy!"
Remy grinned and a familiar expression engulfed his features; the one Scott had been forced to summon after learning Rachel could speak French. "Hmm…..doesn't sound like a girl's name anymore."
The baby was telekinetically snatched from Scott's arms and practically smothered by Jean's kisses—a normal reaction from the telekinetic whenever a new word was spoken or action performed.
"Remy!" Rachel called him from her mother's arms.
"I'm right here." Remy took her small hand. She impulsively wrapped her fingers around his larger ones. "Good job petite."
"Merci," she chirped angelically.
"Isn't it great Scott?" His emotionally overwhelmed wife asked him.
His daughter was speaking French and suddenly learned to say Remy before...something important.
"Sure….." Scott managed to choke out, forcing himself to share the joy and ignore the growing ache in his chest. "Great…."
Five agonizing joy-filled minutes later, he found himself escorting Remy to the front door, his family in tow.
"Keep practicin', ok Rachel?" Remy snubbed Rachel's nose, who giggled. He stepped outside. "Well…." He bowed gracefully. "Bonne nuit."
The door slammed shut a second later.
"Scott!" Jean exclaimed. "What are you doing?"
"Saving our valuables," he simply replied. "Or whatever is left of them."
"Remy didn't steal anything."
"He's a professional thief." Scott took a peek outside the window. He narrowed his eyes at the disappearing figure in a trench coat. "We'll know what's missing when it's too late."
Jean gave him an annoyed look. "Remy has been nothing, but helpful these past three days and—"
"What!" Scott whirled to face her. "H-He was here yesterday? A-And before that?" he squeaked. Finding him today was shocking enough, but finding out he had been here before—'Oh God…..We're financially ruined…...'
Rachel burst into giggles.
"Make that sound again," Jean smiled down at laughing baby. "Rachel likes it."
Scott took a deep breath to regain the normal pitch of his vocal chords. "W-Why….would you voluntarily let a thief into our home?"
"To babysit?" Jean provided sarcastically.
"Babysit for three days?" Realization struck him. "He lost a bet, didn't he?" A smug smile appeared on his face. "That's why he's stuck babysitting and buying a gift for Rachel, isn't it?"
It made sense now. Poor Remy must also have been forced to act like he enjoyed it. And what a great actor he was…..
"No." Jean's voice pulled him out of his gleeful thoughts at Remy silently suffering.
She rolled her eyes. "No he didn't lose a bet, Scott."
Scott frowned. "Rogue forced him?"
"Logan threatened to kill him if he wouldn't spend time with Rachel?"
"Oh for God sakes no!" Jean burst, exasperated. "He volunteered."
That was impossible. "Gambit would never volunteer for anything unless it involved—" He switched to the telepathic link to save his daughter's innocent ears, '—infiltrating a strip club or recruiting a mutant porn star!'
"Actually….." Jean lowered her gaze to look lovingly at Rachel. "This young lady here convinced him to volunteer."
"Rachel?" Scott sputtered, gaping at his offspring.
"Remy," Rachel cooed.
The familiar twinge of pain accosted him again. This time, Jean sensed his feelings through their psychic link.
"What?" He turned away, not liking anyone seeing him so…..insecure. It wasn't appropriate for a leader to be insecure about anything.
"She'll learn to say it," she told him softly.
"I know that." He quickly wore a smile, wanting to dodge the subject. "She said Remy. How hard is Dad or Daddy? You know, if Mommy started calling Daddy, Daddy instead of Scott, then she might learn faster."
Jean laughed. "Sorry Slim. It's already taken."
Scott glowered. Yes, taken by his father-in-law, Jonathan Grey. "Can't you call your Dad…..father or something?"
"If he wore a cape and a helmet," Jean giggled, "and threatened to take over the world." She gave him a reassuring hug with one arm. "Don't worry. She'll learn. Won't you Rachel?"
Rachel yawned widely and rubbed her eyes groggily.
"Sure she will," Scott mumbled at her daughter's enthusiasm.
"It's just past her bed-time." Jean transferred the infant to him. She pressed a kiss to her cheek. "Goodnight sweetheart."
"Aww Wah, Mama," came the drowsy response.
"How about just goodnight Mama? Huh Rach?" Scott suggested. "You can speak French in school."
"Scott…..." Jean's tone left no room for argument.
"Fine," Scott sighed and carried the half-asleep Rachel to the nursery. "Hey….." A piece of paper with scribbles caught his attention. He secured Rachel with one arm and picked it up from the floor. "What's this?" His eyes widened in recognition. "Y-You drew this, Rachel?"
Rachel nodded tiredly. "Oui."
Scott couldn't help but feel proud. Eight-month olds couldn't even hold a crayon properly. And she was already forming human shapes and coloring! Well she was the child of two mutant parents. But still. He felt fiercely proud.
He just couldn't wait for the day when she started drawing battle plans and strategies…and programming Danger Room programs…..and piloting the Blackbird.
Sighing wistfully, Scott returned his focus on his daughter's work of art: a family portrait. "Wow…..that's you and that must be Mommy and….look there's me!" he chuckled amused. "Strong and brave."
Rachel giggled, shook her tiny head and corrected: "Remy."
Pride, joy, his elevated mood—all abruptly vanished. "Oh." He did another quick scan of the male figure. "I thought those were shades. But they're…eyes a-and that looks like a p-playing card." He gulped. "Is Daddy anywhere in this picture, honey?"
Or even existed?
Rachel scanned the drawing with a frown before pointing at something.
"Oh. Daddy…..is a spot?" A spot which would require a microscope to be noticed while Remy was a round ball of…..doddle thingy!
Scott carefully put his daughter's masterpiece away before it was accidentally crumpled. He then gently placed her into the crib.
"You want me to tell you a story?" A bed-time story would be good. Stories with him as the hero always did a great job of lifting his spirits…especially if they could have Gambit as a meaningless background character.
The tiny redhead shook her head before selecting her sleeping companion for tonight: a stuffed toy of a Cyclops.
Scott felt a rush of love and affection
The honor and pleasure of this beautiful sight was much better than any bed-time story with Gambit as his forgettable sidekick.
He bent his head and placed a tender kiss on Rachel's small forehead. "Good night Rachel."
Rachel stirred drowsily. "Aww Wah."
"Hmm…." He glowered before a realization suddenly crossed his mind. He chuckled.
Rachel was just a baby. And babies forgot things, places….people. People like Gambit never kept promises, changed their minds after every second, made excuses and ultimately made themselves more unreliable and untrustworthy.
By tomorrow, it wouldn't be a surprise if Rachel forgot a man named Remy LeBeau ever existed on this planet.
"Remy! Remy! Remy!"
"Yes sweetie," Jean laughed as she unsuccessfully attempted to brush the elated Rachel's hair. "Remy will be here any minute."
Scott's hands tightened around his strategic battle plans, on the verge of ripping them. He was thankful Rachel couldn't walk yet or else, she would've broken loose from Jean's grasp long ago and rushed off in the direction of the mansion in her underwear.
"Can we please use a sentence which doesn't contain Remy?" It was a miracle he retained his sanity. Hearing Remy's name for six hours straight would drive even the most serene person to madness. "How about Gambit? Or better yet, Dad?"
"Remy!" Rachel persisted, determined to set the Guinness Record for the chanting Remy's name non-stop.
"There. All set," Jean stated triumphantly and placed the lively baby in the playpen. "Now it's Mommy's turn to get ready. Scott can you—?"
"Sure," Scott answered indifferently, keeping Rachel in peripheral view.
"Scott…." Jean sighed understandingly. "I know you're upset."
"Upset?" He didn't look up from his work. "What….what makes you think I'm upset?"
'You're making battle strategies against the Brotherhood,' she pointed out, telepathically. 'They work for Shield now.'
'They still act like lunatics,' Scott mumbled, sketching and making notes on the paper titled, Blob.
'And you always forget to shave when you're upset.'
'As the team leader, it's important I arrive on time for practice. That way I can lecture those who don't. Today I was going to be late. Not shaving was a necessary sacrifice.'
'Scott...c'mon,' Jean coaxed. 'Just because Rachel wants to go shopping instead of spend time in the Danger Room with you, it doesn't mean she doesn't love you anymore.'
'And I'm sure you've noticed Remy hasn't damaged anything or annoyed anyone in the past twelve hours. He's finally doing something…..productive.'
'And what if she learned to say Remy first?' Jean planted a kiss on top of his head. 'She'll learn to say Dad soon.'
Jean frowned at his automatic reply. 'And I was thinking we could invite Remy and Rogue over tomorrow night and have a foursome. Heck, why not make it a fivesome and invite Emma from Massachusetts too?'
'Hmm…sure….sounds good,' he murmured absentmindedly before her words finally sunk in. "WHAT!" He screeched out loud.
Rachel burst into uncontrollable laughter at the sound of her father's squeaky voice.
Jean rolled her eyes. "Just checking if you were paying attention…..and not obsessing over ridiculous thoughts like Remy kidnapping our baby for ransom."
"I don't have time to think about those things." Scott glared at her. "I have overdue tests to grade, Danger Room simulations to test, new passwords to program, security updates to perform, equipment to double check—" He stopped to catch his breath. "The last thing on my mind is Gambit."
"Hmm….." she studied him carefully. "So you have no plans whatsoever to stalk us right now?"
"Stalk!" he sputtered. "Jean, I'm the leader of the X-men. There are protocols I have to adhere to. How would stalking female members of the team look like?"
Jean stared at him wryly. "Protocols didn't stop you from stalking the Bayville Sirens."
"That wasn't stalking!" Scott defended. "It was…..following you incase you needed back-up."
"Very sweet of you," she remarked dryly. "But can you please promise not to do anything which might ruin Rachel's shopping trip?"
"But I'm not planning on doing anything!" he insisted.
"Then promise. She's really looking forward to going with Remy and it would be a crime if something or someone ruined it."
"Alright," he conceded. "I promise. I won't go stalking."
"Good." Satisfied with the answer, Jean kissed him. "Because I was also afraid you were also going to ruin the surprise I planned for you."
"Surprise?" Scott repeated blankly.
He received mental images in response.
The papers dropped from his hands. "Oh my God."
'If you keep your promise and don't spy on Remy, then this might become a reality…this Saturday maybe…..'
"W-What kind of a leader would I be if I can't trust Gambit, my teammate?" Scott stammered, trying to maintain his objectivity.
Jean smiled seductively and stroked his chin. "A very bad one…"
Scott gulped, tugging on the collar of his shirt.
'Oh and if you're interested….you're welcome to take a peek through the psychic link….while I shower….'
"Ok," Scott managed to whimper.
Giving him one last alluring glance, Jean sauntered out of the living room.
Scott quickly focused his rational brain to switch to strategy 911, the one he had been forced to devise against telepaths. Strikingly beautiful drop-dead gorgeous women telepaths to be precise.
'Naked Blob. Naked Blob. Naked Wolverine. Naked Gamb—where the hell did he come from?' He realized something. 'Oh wait…..' Resentment at the Cajun was slowly cleansing his mind off a lingerie-clad Jean. 'You're not a sex addict like Gambit. You can survive without physical affection for a year. Two years.' And thoughts of him better than Gambit were a big help too. 'Three.'
Good thing he had a strategy for everything…
"Now Rachel," He turned to the apple of his eye. "Think happy thoughts. Wait, you don't need to do that. You're already the happiest and sunniest baby in the world. Send some happy thoughts Mommy's way, ok? Daddy needs to do some….thinking."
Rachel gurgled, making him smile.
…everything from women telepaths, adorable babies and conceited, arrogant, backstabbing thieves.
Normally, being a superb strategist and tactician, Scott would never use his skills against teammates outside the Danger Room. Nor would he ever disobey his wife. Alright so there were some things he just wouldn't do.
But after a disturbing nightmare of an alternate reality where Gambit was a househusband and had a French speaking wife named Jean and a red-on-black eyed baby daughter named Rachel, his sleep and peace of mind were disturbed all together.
Instead of utilizing his insomnia by doing something constructive, like checking the boathouse's security system, he had found himself thinking about Gambit. Or rather, what the hell was Gambit up to this time?
If no one had forced him to babysit Rachel and he wasn't in his house to steal everything valuable in sight in the guise of babysitter, then what was it that he wanted from his daughter?
Being unable to find the answer led him to replay the events of the previous evening(especially the part where Rachel pronounced Remy and her happy family artwork), which led to the Remy-going-shopping decision a very bad idea which ultimately led to planning and plotting against Remy since it was too late to persuade his wife.
Besides, if he had shared his uneasiness with her, she would've concluded he was being…paranoid.
Which he wasn't.
He was being…..cautious.
Remy had a history of betraying, deceiving and hurting people. Even people he claimed to care for. No matter how many times Jean tried to convince him he had magically changed, the parent in him would never accept it.
Aside from Remy's history, Scott had a history of losing or almost losing people close to him. First his parents perish in a plane crash. Shortly afterwards, his little brother's parachute catches fire and for ten years Scott believed him dead. And finally, Jean gets possessed by a cosmic entity and almost sacrifices herself to save the world.
And now a man with a shady past and a hazardous mutant power suddenly starts to show interest in Rachel.
No. It was simply Rachel's turn for curse that seem to come with being a Summers. This time, the curse took the shape of Remy LeBeau.
Super-powered women or not on the shopping trip, one thing Remy possessed was charm. He could easily make people believe the earth was flat instead of round. And Scott hated to be bias, but women were more prone to fall for his….charm power.
And he was expected to sit back and watch helplessly while the most cunning and manipulative man carried his only child away?
Not a chance!
But he had promised Jean he wouldn't try anything. Well, he would stay true to it. Since whatever he needed to do had already been done.
Scott relaxed back in his chair, his thoughts drifting to the morning's Danger Room session.
It didn't take much effort to prevent Remy from coming. All Scott had to do was provide constructive criticism concerning Remy's performance in the form of a challenge and the guy was ready and willing to overcome his weaknesses with extra sessions.
Even if it took him all day in the Danger Room.
Scott chuckled, very pleased.
By the time Remy accomplished that feat, he would be too exhausted to do anything, let alone buy Rachel a gift. That depended ofcourse, he didn't forget first.
And in case Remy somehow did manage to finish off everything and still not collapse from exhaustion, Scott had a contingency plan for it: The Tower of London—a simulation designed by Shadowcat, but not yet tested. The objective: Steal the Crown Jewels.
He smiled triumphantly.
What thief could resist the temptation? The sight of sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, pearls and rubies would have Remy drooling and kissing Scott's feet in the next DR session.
Pulling out the car keys from his pocket, Scott jingled them.
And when he doesn't show up today, Scott would personally make sure his daughter had the best shopping experience and received whatever toy she pointed at. Cost being no option.
And Remy LeBeau would be no more than a distant memory.
An amused giggle drew him out of his plot-filled thoughts. He shifted his attention to the small person, who had somehow gotten her tiny hands on his battle plans and was happily chewing on them.
"Rachel….." Scott sighed, carefully reclaiming his plans from her mouth.
Rachel laughed, absolutely ecstatic.
He sighed wistfully.
Such a happy and sunny child he had been blessed with.
Guilt arrested him for a second.
And very sad child she would be when Remy didn't turn up…But better to be safe than sorry. And technically her happiness would be restored once he, her father, took her shopping.
"Are you hungry?"
Rachel threw her hands up in the air. "Ice!"
Hungry for ice cream.
He chuckled affectionately. "I'll buy you a whole bucket of ice cream." After Remy doesn't turn up. "And a happy meal."
"Ice!" she pouted. "Now!"
"Rachel, you know Mommy won't like it if you have one now and another later at the mall," he reasoned. "Only one ice cream per day."
Instead of throwing a tantrum like an average baby, a sly smile slowly spread across the infant's face. She held up one chubby finger to her lips. We won't let her know then, the expression clearly communicated.
For a brief and frightening moment, the face of his adorable eight-month old baby was replaced by that of a man with red-on-black eyes.
Suddenly, Rachel's security didn't hold top priority anymore. Her future did. A very disturbing future if Remy kept hanging around her.
"I-I'll…..get that ice cream." Scott scurried into the kitchen, trying to collect his rattled thoughts. 'Get a grip Summers!' he ordered himself.
Remy wasn't coming today. So the future—every father's worst nightmare—wouldn't happen.
He breathed a sigh of relief.
His daughter was safe. Her future was safe. He had absolutely nothing to worry about. 'Oh thank God.'
"Hey Cyke. Got anythin' t' eat?"
But ofcourse, the Lord had his own plans for the future.
'It can't be…..'
It just wasn't possible.
It had to be a trick. Perhaps Rachel learned to mimic his voice. Or one of Mastermind's illusions. Or some ghost—a poltergeist.
Scott slowly turned around, desperately praying he had imagined the voice.
"Uh…..Scott? Y' alright?" The trench-coat-wearing poltergeist inquired, waving a hand infront of his face. "Anybody home?"
Remy shouldn't be here! He was supposed to be indulging himself in his fantasy in the Danger Room!
Scott's plan had been perfect!
It had been tailored according to Remy's tastes, preferences—the heart's desire of a thief! Stealing the Crown Jewels of England! And with an added bonus of Rogue's hologram in lingerie at the end—information Kitty should've kept to herself.
But with such features, the plan had a certainty of success.
How then did it manage to fail? His plans were always a success! He was the leader and strategist of the X-men for God sakes!
Gradually recovering from the crushing blow to his ego, Scott addressed his teammate: "You…..you were supposed to be practicing."
Dressed and ready to go out in public, Remy lowered his sunglasses as he quirked a curious eyebrow at him. His appearance showed no signs of fatigue. "Uh-huh…..An' now I'm done."
"But…..the Crown Jewels…." Scott croaked. "All those jewels….."
"Ah! Yes." Remy broke into a huge grin. "Dat was an amazin' program! I'll have t' t'ank Kitty later for it. It's t' bad I couldn't finish it." He pushed up his sunglasses. "Promised a little femme dat I'll take her gift shoppin' t'day. Where she be?"
Scott stared at him in disbelief.
He didn't forget. He quit his fantasy for reality. The two top buttons of his shirt weren't unbuttoned as usual. And he arrived on time…..just as Jean had told him. The man, who always arrived late for everything came on time!
Something occurred to Scott and he fumed.
And how did he get in here?
"How the hell did you get in here?"
"De backdoor….." he casually replied.
"It was locked."
"Was." He murmured, studying his reflection in the microwave. "Jean said it was ok t' lock-pick, as long as I don't break or blow up de lock."
"Well I say you knock and wait for someone to answer like everyone else!"
His lips curved into an amused smile. "Jean is de lady of de house."
"I'm the man of this house!" Scott emphasized.
"I know." Remy smirked. "Which makes Jean, de boss."
"That is not true!"
"What's not true?" a new voice asked.
"Hey Jeannie," Remy greeted the redhead charmingly. "Are de ladies of de house ready t' go?"
Luckily for Scott, Jean was occupied in running last minute errands to interrogate. "Uh-huh. Five minutes."
"Dat usually means fifteen," Remy groaned for Scott's ears to hear.
"Well, why don't you go away for fifteen minutes?" Scott suggested. It would give him enough time to plan something else to get rid of him.
"Non…..I'll just keep Rachel company till den," he decided.
A child's peal of laughter broke out.
"Hmm…." Remy took a peek in the living room and his face lit up. "Looks like she woke up." His foot didn't even get a chance to touch the living room floor when Rachel erupted into an ear-shattering scream, reminding Scott of crazed fan girls at concerts.
"Remy!" Rachel rattled the playpen like a caged animal. "Remy!"
Remy laughed heartily. "Easy petite. I'll get y' out of dere." He carefully scooped her out of the playpen. "Dere y' go." Kneeling infront of the sofa, he gently placed her on it.
Delight and gratitude sparkled in her tiny green eyes. Unexpectedly, she leaned forward, wrapped her small arms around his neck and snuggled her face into his shoulder.
The sunglasses slid down Remy's nose, revealing his startled eyes. Very slowly, he enfolded his arms around her, cradling her against himself with such tenderness and care, that Scott almost believed it was genuine.
But it wasn't.
It was an act which wouldn't….couldn't last for long.
And something which shouldn't bother him at all. Safety and bad influence issues should matter. Not Rachel cuddled against Remy, staring at him as if he was the greatest hero on the planet. Neither Rachel's family art …..or her French…or Remy's name…..
Remy withdrew from the infant's embrace, grinning as if he won a lottery—no, stole something priceless. "So….Comment vas-tu?"
"Bein," Rachel replied in a polite and very ladylike tone. "Merci."
"Prêt à faire des courses?"
A squeal emitted from her mouth. She flailed her arms wildly and bounced on the sofa. "Oui! Oui!"
Scott mutely watched, feeling like a stranger in his own home at the exchange of words in a language alien to him.
"Non Rachel. We're goin' t' de mall," Remy chided her softly when she ruffled his hair playfully. "All de femme are goin' t' be watchin' Remy dere. So he has t' look perfect."
Rachel stopped and her pudgy hands reached for his sunglasses instead.
"Non." He chuckled, moving his face away. "Remy don't want t' attract attention t' himself."
Scott rolled his eyes.
"Hmm….Don' t'ink I'm goin' t' be turnin' heads at de mall t'day. Y' look like a little movie star, petite," he complimented with a wink. "How 'bout an autograph?"
Cyclops could've sworn the baby blushed.
"Hmm….But y' can't walk down de red carpet wit' only one shoe." Remy gestured at her right foot, missing a shoe. "Any ideas where it ran off too?"
"Non…." Rachel giggled mischievously.
Scott did a quick scan of the room and located it, under the coffee table. "Here it is." He retrieved it quickly, finding it as a very good excuse to end the disgustingly cute display and pull Rachel away from Remy…..very far away.
He was about to place the shoe in its rightful place, and stealthily whisk Rachel away in the process. The only problem with his plan was the shoe: it disappeared.
"T'anks homme." Remy who had snatched the shoe God only knew when, was now fixing it back on Rachel's foot. "Dere!" He tested her foot to see if it stayed. "It won't be comin' off now."
Rachel clapped happily.
Scott felt like someone ripped his still beating heart out of his chest and was now forcing him to watch it.
"Anythin' else which needs fixin' before we go?"
"Course y' can have ice cream." Remy smiled at her. "We'll make a detour at de ice cream shop at de mall."
Rachel pouted. "Now!"
"Petite. If you have ice cream now, den de shop won't let y' buy deirs. Some policy of one ice cream per day for babies," he cunningly weaved an excuse which Scott failed to do. "If I was de owner, I would change dat. Ice cream for babies all de time," he announced passionately. "An' not just all de time, but free ice cream all de time. But…." He sighed sadly. "Since I'm not de owner…"
Rachel finally surrendered her sweet tooth's craving. Unfortunately, her happy mood also went down.
"Aww…c'mon. Don' be like dat." Remy looked distressed to see her gloomy. "Not bein' de owner doesn't mean I won't let y' have ice cream twice a day. Would need permission from your Mama first. But if y' were my real dau—niece, den I wouldn't need it."
All the while, Scott stood rooted in the same spot since the shoe incident. Remy's little slip of tongue paralyzed him all over again.
What else would Remy do if Rachel was his real dau—niece? Walk with her on her first day to school? Walk her down the aisle?
Scott blenched at the thought.
"Cheer up, ok? Tell me what y' want for a gift." Remy changed the subject and settled down on the sofa next to her. "A doll? Action figure? A pet?"
The answer devastated the already miserable Scott. "Remy!"
Remy laughed. "Cute petite. But I don' t'ink dey're sellin' Remy nowadays."
Rachel preoccupied herself in rummaging inside his trench coat to hear. She pulled out his wallet.
"Don' lose dat. We'll need it t' buy t'ings." He then added airily: "'Corse I don' usually have t' pay for t'ings. Femme are always nice enough t' give me t'ings for free or at a ninety-nine percent discount." He pouted unhappily. "But some people t'ink it's…..bad."
"It's against…..the law," Scott remarked dryly, slowly rousing from his stupor.
"Oui. Dat also." He made a hundred dollar bill appear out of nowhere from his hands. Rachel went insane at the trick. "So t'day, we'll be usin' dis green piece of paper t' buy' y' dat gift," he explained to the baby. "Anythin an' everythin' y' want….." He tapped the bill, "de almost bald homme will get y'."
Everything? Rachel frowned as if inquiring.
"Uh…..Maybe not…everythin'," Remy said slowly, as if realizing something. The look on his face was impossible to decipher, but his next one wasn't. "Dat's why we have dis." He whipped out his credit card. "Next t' diamonds, dis is a femme's best friend. A homme's credit card."
"Ooh…." Spellbound, Rachel slowly took the plastic card.
"Until y're eighteen, your best friend will be your Papa's credit card," he informed." But don' max it out." He sent a humored glance Scott's way. "He'll probably make y' watch an educational program or somethin' in de Danger Room instead of groundin' y'. Trust me, it's torture." He seemed like he remembered something. "Y' know petite…..maybe y' can help me buy somethin' for Rogue—"
"No. I won't," Scott spoke up against the propaganda.
"I won't punish her for using up my credit card. And certainly not in the Danger Room."
Remy arched an eyebrow, clearly not believing him. "Uh-huh…..whatever y' say."
"If dat's true den….y' have t' be…de best Dad in de world."
With Remy's strange tone of voice, it was hard to decide whether to take the comment as a compliment or find it offensive.
Rachel graced Scott with a sunny smile, which made which him choose the former.
Remy then spoke something in French and Rachel's smile crumpled.
"What did you say to her?" Scott demanded, ready to unleash the full force of his optic blast upon him.
Remy didn't seem fazed by the threatening stance. "Oh? Just tellin' Rach she's lucky t' have such nice parents. An' dey deserve an ice cream also."
He didn't believe a word. "Then why does she look upset?"
"Well….Remy livin' in a cardboard box in his childhood might've accidentally slipped."
Upon closer inspection, Scott discovered Rachel was indeed upset, but for Remy. She clung to his hand as if he deserved all the love in the world.
Scott stiffened. "You know Rachel…..I….Daddy….spend his childhood in an orphanage. That's a very sad thing too."
He didn't know why he blurted out his past like that, and infront of Remy of all people. It just seemed wrong that his daughter displayed compassion for the tragic life of a stranger and not her own father.
And more tragically, even after the heartbreaking revelation, Remy living in a cardboard box held more sympathy. Rachel didn't stir an inch.
"Sometimes, we were sent to bed without dinner," Scott continued.
Rachel peeked from under her lashes.
"We didn't have a bed," Remy interjected, prompting her to glance his way. "It was a miracle t' have even one meal a day. Hard t' find somethin' decent t' eat from de garbage." His gaze remained on Scott as he spoke. "Den dere were all de wild animals we had t' fight off….."
Scott gritted his teeth and clenched his fists.
Was Remy challenging him? To see who had a harder life?
He stared at him evenly.
If yes, then challenge accepted.
"Daddy had to jump off a burning aero-plane when he was eight. He also had to watch God take Grandpa and Grandma away….to heaven."
"Mob wanted t' lynch Remy for stealin' bread when he was eight. Never knew who my real parents were."
"Daddy had to fight the evil villain, Apocalypse when he was only nineteen. It was very scary."
"Y're Papa's lucky." Remy let out a deep mournful sigh. "When Remy was nineteen, he had t'…he had t'…." he paused dramatically, making Rachel wriggle in anticipation, "stand at the altar. In a tux."
Rachel gasped, shocked at the horror Remy had to endure. In the dramatic way he spoke, even words as simple as I woke up would be taken as dreadful.
"Did I mention we had to go against Aunt Ororo and Grandpa Xavier?" Scott added, through clenched teeth. "Evil Apocalypse turned them bad too."
Rachel's interest didn't waver from Remy.
"Everythin's ok now," Remy assured her. "Everythin' workout out ok. An' den I found Rogue. My…..true love. But….."
Rachel whimpered, and gently placed her hand on his arm.
"…a long time ago, evil witch placed a curse on her. Wasn't able t' kiss an' hug her for years wit'out endin' up in a coma."
"You know," Scott cleared his throat loudly. "The same evil witch put a curse on Daddy too. He can't look at Mommy without putting her in a coma. And I still can't."
Rachel remained captivated by Remy's sad life story.
"But still….I t'ink y're Mama an' Papa are more lucky. Livin' happily ever after. No one t' ruin deir love." He sighed dejectedly. "Everythin' is always goin' wrong wit' me an' Rogue. Sometimes…..it feels like we'll never get our happily ever after like your Papa an' Mama. Dey're….what's de word? Oui, perfect."
Desperate and determined to win back his daughter's love and…..sympathy, Scott retorted: "That's not true Rachel. Mommy and Daddy have also faced….obstacles. You would never have been born if Aunt Emma or Aunt Betsy managed to—"
'SCOTT!' The most unholy scream blasted through his skull. He clutched his head in pain as the angry voice of his beloved echoed again: 'Can I see you in the kitchen? Now!'
He winced. 'Sure honey.' He turned to Rachel. "I'll continue the story later, ok Rachel?" he told her gently and ignored the snicker from Remy's direction.
"Aww Wah!" Rachel waved at him as he unhurriedly moved toward the kitchen. Entering, he was faced by a not-at-all happy looking Jean.
"Before you overreact," Scott hedged before she could open her mouth or her telepathic mouth. "Remy started it."
"And thank God I finished it!" She hissed. "What were you thinking?"
He really hadn't been thinking anything. The only excuse he could use to justify his actions was: "Remy was lying to our daughter. He said our relationship was…perfect."
"So you were going to prove him wrong by telling an eight month old baby about women who tried to seduce you?" she snapped.
"I was going to…..filter out those things."
Jean folded her arms, irately. "I thought you were okay with Rachel going."
"Of course I'm okay with Rachel going. As long as it doesn't involve Remy, I'm ok with Rachel doing anything."
Jean groaned. "Scott, for the millionth time, he won't kidnap Rachel for ransom."
It wasn't just safety concerns anymore. The consequences of Remy's influence on his daughter also came into play. She was displaying quite a few aspects of Remy's personality: speaking French, gambling, and keeping mum about ice cream.
If Remy continued to hang around her then the result could be…..
The dreaded image came up before Scott could organize and shield his thoughts.
Jean scowled at him. "Scott, stop that."
"W-What image?" He failed to act naïve.
"The image of me—no….Rachel as a hooker and smoking! Where in the world did that come from?"
"I-I'm….I'm just afraid…." He trailed off, switching to their link to save himself from being the bad guy incase Remy overheard them. 'Remy being Remy…..could…you know….corrupt her,' he expressed his anxiety, desperately hoping she understood and stopped Remy. 'Of course she'll understand.' She was his best friend, his wife, the woman who supported him through better and worst. People wrote poetries about the kind of love they shared. So of course Jean would support him…..
The lights flickered crazily.
….or maybe not.
'Scott. Honey.' Jean began with composed fury and cupped his face, staring directly into his covered eyes. 'One little shopping trip with Remy won't turn Rachel into a chain-smoking, bank-robbing French prostitute.'
Hearing it out loud made the threat more real.
'W-What about the future?' Severing all ties now would be the best way to prevent it. 'Remy has a way of easily influencing people. Just look what he did to Rogue!'
Jean slowly released his face, puzzled. 'What did he do to Rogue?'
'He transformed her into—'
'Into what? Dressing up nicely? Looking beautiful?'
'Yes! Kitty couldn't convince her since she joined and he just sputtered a few French words, annoyed her for a year and her clothes came off.' He didn't want to imagine how quick Rachel's young and impressionable mind would be poisoned by his evil presence.
'Uh-huh…...' Jean arched an eyebrow. 'Strange you happen to notice Rogue's clothes coming off.'
Scott blushed, but quickly regained his composure. 'And I've lost count of how many times Remy's secrets have hurt Rogue. I don't want him hurting Rachel like that.'
Jean rolled her eyes. 'Yes….I'm sure Rachel will be devastated when we tell her Remy was married before.'
'And do you remember the time when Remy brought here one of his…his….'
'Hoes?' Jean provided sarcastically.
'I was going to say lady of the evening,' Scott chastised, frowning upon Jean's choice of word. 'And a man who is with a different woman every night, what does that make him?'
'Womanizer,' Scott corrected, too much of a gentleman. 'Is that the kind of man who should he be anywhere near a baby?'
'Ah!' Finally they were on the same page. 'There you see—'
'But I wouldn't mind an ex-womanizer, who not only proved he can commit himself to one woman, but also love her without the need to touch.'
'B-But most of the time he still acts like such a—'
'A big flirt! Would you please stop using that word?' he requested.
'If you can stop thinking of Remy as a slut then I would!' she snapped.
'Alright fine!' He fumed. 'But still, don't you find a strange man in a trench coat with an accent hanging around our daughter a little…..creepy?'
Jean rolled her eyes. 'If that's the case, then I should find the feral man who spoils Rachel rotten also dangerous since he has blades coming out of his hands or find her blue and furry babysitter who resembles a demon, frightening. I should even find myself creepy, dangerous and frightening since I almost destroyed this planet. What am I doing hanging around a baby?'
She made a very good point….except neither she, Logan nor Kurt made him feel as if….as if he was losing Rachel.
But he didn't convey it out loud. It would mean he was…..insecure. And a leader should never be insecure about anything. So he moved to another question:
'What do you think Remy wants with Rachel?'
'For starters, she doesn't care what he did, is doing, or might do. She isn't always judging him.'
Scott ignored the comment obviously directed at him. 'And?'
'Isn't it obvious?'
What? That he was up to something sinister? Yes that was very obvious. But the, why wasn't. 'No it isn't.' And why was Jean suddenly smiling? What was so funny?
Jean grinned from ear to ear, so excited that she forgot to use their telepathic link: "I think he's finally ready to start a family!"
Scott was glad she couldn't see his eyes or else she would've seen them rolling.
Clearly, her judgment was based on women's intuition rather than facts. Two years ago, she had claimed Remy was ready to tie the knot after catching him loitering around a jewelry store. It always surprised him why it never crossed her mind that he might be planning to rob the store.
"Really? If he's ready to start a family then why doesn't he go make his own baby instead of hanging around ours?"
He earned a wry look. "That has to be the most mature thing you've said all day, Scott."
"So? Why doesn't he?" he asked impatiently.
Jean rubbed her temples and sighed tiredly. "You can't expect someone who's been through a lot to just throw caution to the winds and leap into something so big."
"He would gladly jump off a building if someone dared him too." Scott suddenly had a very interesting idea of daring Remy to marry Rogue and produce a baby.
'Don't even think about it.' Jean's warning made Scott curse the psychic link. 'You want to scare him away?'
That was the plan.
'He's had a bad experience with marriage. He didn't even reach the legal drinking age and was thrust into one. And his first marriage was arranged to bring peace to the Guilds. No wonder it ended disastrously. His ex-wife made it impossible for him to move on by trying to kill Rogue now and then. Then Rogue's mutation was an obstacle to a normal healthy and secure relationship.…'
Scott cringed uncontrollably as Jean went into detail about the Cajun's disastrous life—or rather his disastrous love life. As the team leader, he was used to hearing and overseeing details concerning everything.
'…..Carol prancing around in her body.…throwing herself at every guy here like some sex-starved…'
As a man, he still couldn't understand why women chose to make a simple issue so complicated. Gambit and women equals to headache and heartaches would've been a sufficient explanation. If a bit more detail was required then:
Gambit plus unknown women equals to nothing going wrong. But Gambit plus meaningful women equals to heartaches, fights, curses, break-ups and make-ups—the whole natural order of things falling into chaos.
'Hmm…..' Something occurred to him.
The ladies man.
God's gift to women.
Scott suppressed a chuckle.
Majority of his troubles arose due to…..well women. Behind every one of Remy's misfortune lay a woman. The guy was cursed when it came to maintaining a good and healthy relationship.
Especially with Rogue.
Well it was mostly his fault for keeping so many secrets and—now that Scott really thought about it—also somewhat due to Rogue's petulant and distrusting nature. Those were two qualities even he had an unpleasant experience with when she was a Brotherhood member.
Scott gazed lovingly at Jean, who remained oblivious her husband wasn't paying attention to a word she was saying.
He felt utterly grateful to have found a woman who trusted him. Even with her infamous fiery temper—dangerous if combined with her telekinesis—and a tendency to get jealous of single women within a five feet radius of him, she always listened first and accused later.
If she never listened and shunned him away every time an attractive woman flirted with him, then he would've been…so miserable and lost.
'…..being around Rachel might finally open his eyes…..make him realize marriage isn't a scary thing…..neither is having a baby…..'
And if he and Jean fought as often as the Southern couple, he would've had second thoughts about…..having second thoughts about everything! Marriage would be…..a question which would need careful consideration.
And kids? With a woman who started a quarrel over something as simple as a pair of socks?
As much as he would want children, he just wouldn't be able to bring himself to have his own until things were peaceful. If not, then it was safe to say it would be better to go raise someone else's child or….
Every cell in Scott's body froze as he received an epiphany.
…..steal someone else's baby.
"Everythin' always seems t' go wrong wit' me an' Rogue…" Remy's previous word's echoed in his head like a mantra. "Sometimes…..it feel like we'll never get our happily ever after like your Papa an'—"
"Mama!" The impatient yell of the little redhead almost made Scott scream out loud.
"Hey Jeannie?" Remy walked in, holding a very miffed Rachel in his arms. "Y' mind if I steal Rach away?"
Scott had to grab on to the refrigerator to stop himself from fainting.
"It's ok if we catch de first car? It leaves in four minutes. De petite is gettin' very impatient."
"Wah!" Rachel cried to prove his point.
"You sure you won't be scared?" Jean asked Rachel apprehensively. "Auntie Ororo…Amara….they will all be there, but Mommy will join twenty minutes later."
"Oui!" The eight month old replied in a very grown-up tone. "Go!"
Jean laughed and kissed her on both cheeks. "That's my brave little girl." She turned to Scott to provide Rachel some support too. "Isn't she, Scott?"
He needed to be brave.
He needed to keep this seemingly insane discovery a secret. He needed to act normal so not to arise any suspicion from Remy. He needed to stop thinking and shield his thoughts before Jean sensed everything and Remy found out through her.
Remy couldn't read minds, but he definitely could read body language.
With calmness that astounded him, Scott turned to his sweet child, nestled comfortably in Remy's arms. "Yes….you are, Rachel." He forced his lips to stretch into a smile. "Have fun." He then valiantly watched as Remy carried her away(who was screaming what he guessed was shopping in French) out the kitchen door….into the woods….out of his line of sight…..
"I'm so proud of you, Scott." Jean said, deeply touched. "I really thought you were going to.…..do something crazy and stupid," she confessed, ashamed. "But you didn't."
"Because….He's not...going to let anything happen to her." The father part of him still desired nothing more to than to beat Remy to a pulp, but the analytical part of him knew Remy would take good care of Rachel. Incidents, where people stole infants….and got caught, the recovered babies were almost always well cared for.
His throated tightened.
Rachel would be alright. She would be okay.
"And what about Remy being a bad influence?" Jean probed cautiously.
"It's just one shopping trip," he replied weakly. Though definitely not the last.
Jean beamed. "So you finally see what Remy wants?"
"Yeah….." He could clearly see what Remy wanted now. He wanted a peaceful happily ever after. He wanted to steal his happily ever after. "I can't believe I couldn't see if before…"
Jean placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "It's ok."
But to pull off something so…..suicidal, Remy would need a very good opportunity. A shopping trip just didn't seem like an appropriate one.
In fact, he couldn't see any opportunity favored towards Remy. All ended up hurting them and inviting the wrath of the other X-men.
So….perhaps his worries were…..unnecessary…..paranoia….
Jean sighed distantly. "You know, if something ever happened to us, it's assuring to know Rachel will be in good hands."
Sudden, unexpected death.
A risk which would always be a part of the X-men. He was the leader. He would be the first to go down if a mission went horribly wrong.
"I always had a hard-time imagining Rogue as a housewife. And Remy working behind a desk eight hours a day, five days a week," Jean murmured, absorbed in expressing her thoughts vocally. "But if you reverse those roles, they make the perfect married couple. And parents."
And after his untimely demise and the psychic link he shared severely cut-off, poor widowed Jean might lose her sanity and die of grief later. And then Rachel would to be an orphan—just the opportunity Remy would need to adopt her…and….and—
Scott whirled toward the picture of Rachel on the refrigerator, playing in her crib.
—his sweet and innocent baby was going to turn into…a….a…
An image of a teenaged Jean in a hooker outfit popped into his head. The only difference this time was she was riding a motorcycle recklessly and stealing priceless artifacts with her telekinesis. Remy, all the while, looked on proudly. He then congratulated her and then she calls him….Dad.
'Oh dear God….' Scott gulped and felt a sharp pain in his chest. 'This is what a stroke feels like.'
Rachel Summers would be Rachel LeBeau. She would forget she ever had a Dad named Scott Summers. Remy would make sure of it. Her real father would be no more than a name inscribed on a gravestone.
And the worst part was, Rachel already considered Remy as family, while he, Scott Summers, was just a lonely spot in the background…..
Scott forced away such thoughts.
He won't let it happen. He will stop it. He had to stop it. He had to get out of here and save his daughter's future!
"You know…..I really feel like we should be paying Remy." Jean chuckled. "He can babysit, cook, clean….and he does need an honest job. Heh, maybe we should hire him as a nanny." She giggled. "What do you think Scott?"
Silence met her.
"Scott?" She gazed around in confusion on finding him missing. 'Scott?' She did a casual telepathic scan, but fumed when her attempt was blocked. A bit more concentration would mean prying….and unethical. "Oh!" She gave up. "You better not try stalking us, Scott Summers!"
Why do people hate mutant superheroes, but adore humans who possess superhuman powers and protect the world?
Why was Kurt related to Mystique, but not Beast? He was also blue and furry.
How did Jean's hair remain perfect? How did she maintain her figure after giving birth? And why does every creepy villain scientist have a morbid fascination with her?
Why do mutants from the future bother trying to change the past when they only succeed in screwing up their future even more?
Why do women telepaths always fall for Scott and try to wreck his relationship with Jean?
Why do people say she possessed invulnerability when adamantium could hurt her?
Rogue suddenly had all the answers. Everything made perfect sense to her now. Why her powers always went out of control….why her life mostly sucked…..why everyone was against Remy dating her—she now knew everything.
Including the reason why Remy never proposed to her and his attachment to Rachel.
Sighing, Rogue took another gulp from the bottle of champagne.
For the past half an hour, she had explored all the likely theories which might explain why her boyfriend had uncharacteristically became close to Scott and Jean's child. From Rachel possessing powers to hypnotize people to Remy being Rachel's real father—she had sifted through every ridiculous possibility.
Her new best friend, Alcohol had been helpful in the investigation…..and quite supportive after it too.
Rogue stared adoringly at the quarter-full bottle before emptying it.
So exactly why had the love of her life suddenly grown fond of someone else's baby and never popped the question to her?
He never wanted to get married. And she had foolishly shut her eyes to all the signs:
Poker game—Remy shocks the male residents by declining. The reason? He had already accepted Rachel's invitation to play an imaginary game involving stuffed toys.
Job offer—Remy finds reading a bed-time story to Rachel far more fascinating than heisting a collection of rare jewels from a museum.
Psi-shielding—Remy bribes Forge with promises of being his test subject, if the mutant genius installs psi-shielding in the nursery in a few hours rather than days. No doubt to avoid anyone's nightmare being accidentally projected to Rachel.
Coffee—Remy is unable to join her in their weekly tradition due Rachel's appointment with the good Dr. McCoy. His excuse? The baby would need courage and support before, during and after her immunization shot.
Evening walk— Remy doesn't miss their routine to spend some quality time together…..and neither does Rachel for the past three days.
Anniversary dinner at gazebo—Remy forgets, but remembers his promise to take Rachel to the mall.
It took three bottles of champagne—one bottle costing about twenty thousand dollars—from Professor Xavier's not-so-secret wine cellar for her to acknowledge the inevitable fact.
Remy didn't want to marry her. Didn't want a family of his own.
He was a thrill-seeker. A risk-taker. He craved excitement, thrills….adrenaline rush. The X-men partially satisfied his hunger. It wasn't everyday they had to fight against villains for real. Simulated? Yes. So thievery provided him a full satisfying real life-experience.
Unbelievingly, even she had unknowingly delivered intense excitement, action, suspense and drama over the years with her dangerous mutation and the custom of it going haywire.
And then there was Belladonna. Ex-wife vs. Girlfriend—a battle which would keep any guy thrilled. And also serve as a very nice fantasy.
But what does the King of Thieves do when he suddenly gets a taste of a stable life? A boring, routine life? A family life? And surprisingly enjoys it?
Instead of embracing it, he finds a way around it.
And what an ingenious way!
Playing Dad to someone else's baby! Simple, easy, hassle-free and when he got tired, he wouldn't have to be stuck in the father's role.
Rogue chuckled bitterly.
It was the best channel to maintain a balance between an exhilarating life and a stable one. And so much better than being stuck with a Southern wife and a wailing baby.
She understood Remy completely.
Honestly, what was more tempting?
A life filled with adventure, excitement and mystery everyday? Or one filled with the hassles of an everyday ordinary life? A vicious never-ending cycle of work, home…kids.
Rogue squeezed her eyes shut as pain pierced her heart.
All they—she would be giving up would be never walking down the aisle; never knowing what being someone's wife would be like; never experiencing the pain and joy of giving birth…..or knowing what motherhood would feel like…..
She didn't need go through those things. She had already experienced everything through Jean's absorbed memories. And Scott's.
Rogue's thoughts drifted away from Remy and towards her leader.
She had really believed he could do something. Like perhaps kick Remy out of his home, yell and threaten him; just about do anything in his power to keep him away from Rachel. But alas, there was Jean. And everyone knew Scott Summers was whipped by Jean Grey.
It wouldn't be surprising if Scott started to warm up to the new and more responsible Remy.
She just had to face it. Her happily ever after excluded marriage and kids. With Remy, it would be just thrills and excitement forever. Only Remy and Anna, forever.
Gambit and Rogue.
Or till death do them apart.
Rogue swallowed the lump in her throat as her eyes welled up with tears.
And death didn't even apply to the X-men.
Rogue's misty eyes wandered over to the sharp-edged metal blade—a knife— normally used for cutting things…separating them…splitting them into two pieces.
What if…. hypothetically, she and Remy…. parted ways?
There would be other guys for her out there, right?
Someone who wanted a meaningful future like she did; someone whose profession and skills wouldn't be considered illegal, like an accountant or doctor; someone with the most common name like David….James…..Joseph…..Taylor. And an unusual last name like…Hector….Kitsch….Birch. Or something embarrassing like….Privates... Seamen…..Dick …..
Rogue cupped her mouth to stifle a wretched sob.
Anna Marie Wiener.
She grabbed a napkin and blew her nose in it. She sniffled, visualizing her alternate future, but resigned from her imagining quickly.
Even if she became Anna Marie…..Taylor…Kitsch…..Joseph or anyone else less embarrassing, it could never compare to LeBeau.
Anna Marie LeBeau.
So full of life, happiness….love.
A bittersweet smile twisted her lips.
Rogue and Gambit were so perfect.
Her smile dissolved into a snarl.
And they would still be perfect if Remy LeBeau would just marry to her! But no. Now that he had both a woman and a baby by his side, he saw no need.
She gasped through her tears at the male voice.
Or it could also be possible that she was completely wrong about everything and only jumped to such preposterous conclusions because of her insecure nature. And alcohol mixed with her emotional state made things worst.
Pulling out a compact mirror, Rogue quickly straightened her messy appearance. And just a second before her beau arrived.
"Rogue?" Scott Summers and not her beau approached her.
"Scott!" She hurriedly disposed of the empty champagne bottles. "Uh….w-what are you doin' here?" Her hand went to her hair consciously.
"Where's Remy?" he inquired frantically, without sparing her or her surrounding a second glance.
Remembering Scott's apparent indifference to the female species that weren't Jean or half-naked like Emma, Rogue halted her attempt to look extra presentable.
"Rogue, where's Remy?"
The question triggered an inevitable realization: Remy wasn't coming. Neither for dinner nor to marry her.
Her face fell. She stared wistfully at the food she lovingly prepared with her own two hands for her Swamp Rat. "He's gone…"
"With…..Rachel?" Scott asked quietly, acting like as if they had failed to save the world.
She nodded solemnly. "With Rachel."
They shared a moment of silence.
Scott then finally noticed her. "What happened?"
Rogue blushed, looking down at her lap. "Ah….Ah got stood up." No point in hiding the pathetic truth.
"Oh." He tentatively took a seat. "I'm….I'm sorry."
She put on a brave face for him. Breaking down in infront of Scott was the last thing she wanted. "Yeah….well…it was for a good cause." She smiled weakly. "It would be a crime ta break a promise ta a baby." And an equally heinous crime for a baby to endure heartache she was suffering right now. "A-And…..even if Remy didn't forget…." Then he most certainly would be sitting opposite to her with Rachel on his lap. "Ah would've….Ah would've let him go with Rachel anyway."
Scott squared his jaw, seemingly trying to restrain his anger at Remy. "If I knew he had a dinner date with you—"
Scott looked appalled.
"But it's only a First-Time-We-Met anniversary." She instinctively came to Remy's defense. "Not a big deal. Really."
"But…." He frowned confused. "Didn't Remy try to kil—"
"Yeah," she cut him off. "Just somethin'…..silly."
Scott was smart enough to know better. Without a word, he took a plate and started helping himself to her Cajun cuisine.
"Scott, you really shouldn't—"
"It's leftovers night at my house and Bobby's turn to cook at the mansion," he stated simply.
"Ah literally mean you shouldn't. Everythin' is extra spicy." Though she felt ridiculously touched at the gesture.
Scott shrugged off the warning. "I can handle it."
She cast him a doubtful look.
"My father was a pilot. We used to travel a lot," he reminded.
Just in case, she poured him a glass of champagne (another one of Professor's expensive ones). She poured one for herself too.
"Seriously, if I knew about this, I never would've let him take Rachel." Scott took a forkful of jambalaya, swallowed and….remained perfectly fine. "Wow….This is really good."
"Thanks." The compliment made her feel a bit….better. "Rachel would've fussed a lot if you did that."
"Well….then I would've taken her shopping."
"Ah doubt it would've worked." Rogue snorted cynically and took a sip from her glass. "Rachel only wants ta go with Remy." Immediately, she regretted those words.
The formidable leader of the X-men's strong and firm demeanor crumbled away….until he was reduced to a man who had lost everything. Even hope.
"Scott, A-Ah didn't mean ta—"
"No. You're right. Rachel does want Remy." He pushed the shrimps around on his plate. "Why wouldn't she? He's more fun and interesting."
"That's not true!" She denied strongly, desperately wanting to undo the damage she caused. More than accidentally harming someone with her powers, she loathed hurting someone with her spoken words. "You're interestin'…..and fun too."
The interesting part was true. All the girls, including herself had a crush on him once. The fun part, however…
Scott didn't seem to hear her. He entered a dazed like state. "Everyone actually enjoys his training sessions. They look forward to the next one. Kids line-up outside the Danger Room….half an hour before…..waiting for him….."
"Ah like yours betters."
"No." He shook his head dismally. "You don't. Nobody does."
"Yes, Ah really do." Which was the truth. "You're sessions are more…..realistic and serious. But interestin' serious." And Scott didn't try to grope her every chance he got during the session.
Her words had no affect on him. "Everyone still likes him…They still find him interesting….."
"Uh…no. Not everyone. He's not exactly Logan's favorite person. Neither Kurt's." Rogue then went for the direct ego boost. "And you know, Emma and Betsy? Two of the wealthiest, most intelligent and powerful telepaths? They didn't find Gambit interesting….at all."
She caught a glimpse of awareness on his face and continued.
"They loathed him. Very much." Besides not being able to read his mind, there was another reason for their hatred…
"Mr. LeBeau, let me make this as perfectly clear as your primitive brain could follow: You steal from me again, I will have Psylocke permanently dismantle that miniature stick you carry around in your pants. And no, I'm not referring to your bo-staff."
"No idea why." She shrugged innocently. "But they liked you. Very much." To the point of trying to seduce a married man. "Ah'm sure you've….noticed."
The blush which crept across his cheeks confirmed her statement.
She toyed with the rim of her glass. "And Emma mentioned somethin' about….Frost Enterprises…..that no man in the world could ever come close ta leadin' her company ta its full potential success. Except for Scott Summers."
The beginning of a smile formed his lips.
"And if Professor X chose a leader based on…..popularity and who the kids loved most, then honestly, the X-men would be buried six feet underground right now."
Scott frowned deeply, as if reflecting over the dreaded possibility.
"Can you imagine what would happen if…..Remy was placed in charge?" She could. First, the X-men would be changed to Gambit and the X-men or even Sex-men. Second, her uniform would be altered to match the one in his fantasies. And finally, daily visits to his office after class for some private discussion…...
She quickly halted the wayward direction of her thoughts.
"I don't want to think about it. Honestly."
Rogue smiled in amusement, glad at hearing the normal, optimistic sound of his voice. Strangely, she also felt better. 'Hmm…' Guess the saying was true. Make others happy and be happy yourself…..or something like that.
What was she thinking anyway before Scott interrupted?
A wave of guilt engulfed her. She glared at her glass, which contained her best friend turned enemy, Alcohol. It made her say hurtful things to Scott and think about….other men…..after she had left Remy.
She stole a glance her cellphone's way, displaying her Cajun man, smiling at the camera; smiling at her. Worshipping and loving her with those pair of intense, beautiful crimson on black velvet eyes, while holding a playing card close to his heart. A Queen of Hearts—his lucky lady.
She was his lucky lady.
He loved her.
Rogue's heart wrenched.
How could she even consider such a horrible thing? She loved Remy. He had always been there for her. For better and worst. And even more than worst. Yes, he lied about a few things like…..being married. But his heart had always belonged to her.
He didn't want to make it official by marrying her. But surely he would….someday.
She gripped the glass and took a delicate sip.
And if he didn't, it would be….very wrong to leave the love of her life because of that. Wouldn't it?
A feminine scream jolted Rogue out of her inner thoughts.
"It's Kitty!" Scott shot up from his chair, ready to rush off in the direction of the cry.
"It's okay." Rogue recognized the type of scream. Not of fear, but joy. "She does that sometimes."
Scott gave her a blank look.
Rogue sighed. "Keepin' secrets is a struggle for her. So she screams them out here." Secrets like her first night with Piotr and….how colossal a certain part of the Russian's anatomy was…..
Rogue blushed and prayed Kitty didn't shriek out something similar while she was in the company of Scott.
After another round of squeals, Kitty finally announced: "He's like finally going to propose! PROPOSE!"
"Wow…." Smiling cheerfully, Scott slowly sat down. "Piotr is finally going to ask Kitty. That's great."
Her best friend was going to….get married.
It shouldn't be shocking.
When two people deeply love each other, marriage is the next logical step for them. Settling down and having a family was the next rational step. Asking your longtime girlfriend to spend the rest of her life with you was the next most important step in a man's life!
The champagne glass shattered in Rogue's hands, making Scott almost topple off his seat.
"Rogue?" He was at her side instantly. "Rogue, are you alright?"
No. She wasn't.
It was happening all over again. First Jean and now Kitty. Amara would soon follow after. The future queen of Nova Roma would require a king at her side. If Tabitha didn't scoff at the whole idea of holy matrimony, then she would be next. Then Jubilee….Rahne….Laura…..One by one, everyone's time will come.
Everyone except Anna Marie. She would always be watching…..waiting….waiting for her turn…..waiting…..
"Rogue? C'mon. Answer me!"
Would it be wrong to leave a man who loved her, but never wanted to marry her?
Would it be wrong to give that man a last chance to come to his sense before deciding to move out of his life?
But in order for Remy to come to his senses, distractions needed to be removed so he could focus. Distractions like baby Rachel needed to be gotten rid of. For him to realize he could have a family of his own, he had to be kept far away from Rachel.
"Rogue!" Scott shook her by the shoulders. "C'mon! Snap out of it!"
But how could she do that without appearing like a clingy possessive girlfriend to Remy and an evil Aunt to Rachel?
Help. She would need help for sure.
But who would be willing to help her with something so…crazy?
"Alright. That's it! We're going to the infirmary right now!" Scott announced resolutely.
And she got her answer.
"Scott….." Her voice provided him relief, but her question elevated his worries. "You…. love Rachel right?"
"Yes. I do." He gently took her hand. "And you know what else I would love right now? If you would come with me to the infirmary to see Hank."
"You would…..do anythin' for her right?"
Scott nodded, now gravely concerned about her mental well-being. He tried to pull her to her feet, to get her moving, but the task proved impossible. "Rogue, you're in some kind of shock. Let's go, alright?"
"If…..someone was tryin' ta steal her away from you….you would want ta stop that from happenin'? Right?"
The word steal hit a chord. He lost his grip on her hand, staring at her in silent shock.
"Right?" she asked again.
"Yes," he whispered softly.
She gazed at him with hope-filled eyes. "Ah would do the exact thing for Remy."
For the first time in Scott Summers life, a woman's intentions became as clear as the source code of the Danger Room combat programs. In the same instant, he realized the special ingredient which had been missing…..the thing which always made his plans a guaranteed success.
A/N: Athazagoraphobia is the fear of being forgotten or ignored or forgetting. Err…..so how was it? Worth the third and perhaps final chapter? If you want Remy to be your househusband then review!
Translations(using an online translator):
Comment vas-tu: How are you
Prêt à faire des courses: Ready to go shopping
I kind of liked it when the review button used to be purple. Purple like movie Gambit's shirt and pimp hat :-) Hehe….Anyways, review please!