In Love and War
"Raz de Marée au thé Dans la Cuisine"
DAY FOUR: MONDAY
All's fair in love and war.
Raz de Marée au thé Dans la Cuisine - A Tempest in the Kitchen Teapot
(lit. Tea Tidal Wave in the Kitchen)
Day Four, 11th Hour, 5th Minute
Remy woke up with a pounding headache. Hangover. Had to be a hangover. The light was too bright. Had he gotten drunk? He couldn't remember. He couldn't think. "Dieu!" he muttered to himself.
"Delayed reaction?" an angelic voice asked.
"Quoi?" It wasn't smooth like he would have wanted but at least it was words coming out of his mouth.
The angel giggled.
He squinted in her direction, but too bright! "Close the window, sil vous plait." He waved in the direction of the offensively open blinds.
sil vous plait - please
"You'd think you'd been in a car accident, not stolen yourself a little kiss." But the blinds were shut and he sighed blissfully.
Remy opened his eyes and looked over to see Rogue leaning onto his bed. Concern flitted across her face and she reached out one gloved hand to brush the hair back from his eyes. It shocked him to silence.
"Did I hurt you that bad?"
That was his cue. He pasted on an easy grin. "Ain't nothing I can't handle, chérie."
She whopped his shoulder. "That's for making me worry." Then she glared at him.
He rubbed at the injured appendage. "Beginning to think you aren't the angel I thought you were."
"You're just now figuring that out?" Rogue sighed in exasperation. "Up. Up. Emma wants to borrow you for the rest of the day."
"It's a holiday!" he protested.
"You said you only need four hours of sleep and I gave you four and a half." She grinned at him before plunking her elbows down on his chest. "Look on the bright side. Logan wanted to borrow you and I said no."
Remy grumbled as he clambered up out of the bed. "You're a cruel, cruel woman."
She just laughed angelically and glided toward the door. "Nonsense. I saved you, didn't I?"
"Says the married woman," he muttered darkly, reaching for a shirt.
Rogue jerked her head toward him, clearly startled. "Don't you dare mention that to anyone."
"But we're supposed to 'assume' the relationship, isn't that what you said?" He shucked the shirt from yesterday.
Rogue sputtered. "I wasn't being serious. I was making a getaway. Just keep your trap shut." She glared at him. "That's an order."
"Oui, ma maitresse," he replied with a wicked grin. He reached for a pair of pants.
ma maitresse - my mistress
Rogue blanched and squeaked.
He raised an eyebrow, but she was already rushing past him toward the door.
"Shave," she called over her shoulder and slammed it shut behind her.
"What's with this shaving fetish?" he muttered, exasperated. But then he thought of her face and chuckled. He could use that ammunition for a very long time.
Day Four, 11th Hour, 13th Minute
Rogue slammed her back into her bedroom door, breathing hard after her mad dash from Remy's room. He had just pulled off his shirt in front of her without so much as batting an eye, revealing way too appealing lean, hard muscles and...
Stop thinking about it, she told herself firmly and then blushed again. He had gone for his pants—his pants!—while she was in the room.
She did not like Remy. Not at all. Not even a little bit. No, she most certainly did not.
Someone tingled through her and Rogue shrieked as she scrambled away from the door.
Kitty looked at her oddly. "You okay?"
"Yeah," Rogue replied. Too quickly. She plopped down onto her bed. "I'm fine." Her breath was normalizing. She was definitely not thinking about any hot guys that she had almost married. A hot flush worked its way up her cheeks. Then, she frowned. Her hand felt the pillow carefully.
"Sure." Kitty looked thoroughly amused. Then she thrust a squirming cloth bag with several holes in it into Rogue's hands, catching her entire attention again. "Take the cat, please."
"Scratch!" Rogue glared at Kitty and let the grey kitten roll out onto her bedspread to sprawl with all four paws up in the air, mewing helplessly. "It's all right. I'm here." She cuddled her pet with gloved hands.
Kitty cast an irritated glance in their direction. "If you knew the things I went through for that cat," she muttered darkly. "Well, anyway. On a brighter note, Scratch is potty-trained."
Rogue's head popped up from the kitten. "Excuse me?" She did continue tickling Scratch's tummy while he batted at her fingers.
Kitty grinned with positive triumph. "I trained him to use the toilet."
Rogue blinked. She sat up. Scratch meowed plaintively at the abandonment, but she ignored him. "You what?"
"I trained him to use the toilet so he'd be less conspicuous," Kitty said as she gathered up some things from the closet. Gloves. Broom. Bucket.
"What are you doing?"
Kitty glared at Scratch again. "I'm going to clean up the boathouse." She sniffed disdainfully. "That cat is a threat to decent society."
"He's mine." Rogue reached for him defiantly.
"I know, I know." Kitty waved her off absently, then vanished through the floor with her supplies.
"You're mine," Rogue whispered to the purring kitten in her hand. Curiously, her gaze fell to her pillow. With her free hand, she lifted it cautiously and set it aside, then stared at the heart-shaped box of chocolate caramels.
Her brain refused to compute.
Her favorite indulgence.
She stared at Scratch. "Well, would you look at that?"
Scratch meowed plaintively, unimpressed. That is, until he was dumped unceremoniously back on the spread, paws flailing, while his mistress opened the box of treats, searching furiously for any sign of who the gift was from. After a few minutes, Rogue gave up. There was no tag or label, just twenty-four luxurious sweets.
Her gaze wandered over to the long-stemmed, red roses blushing on her dresser, then back to Scratch, who was grooming himself with an injured expression, then back to the chocolate caramels again. If she didn't know any better...
No. It couldn't be.
Day Four, 11th Hour, 33rd Minute
Rogue forgot what a nightmare preparing for Kitty's birthday party was going to be. She was the designated party room decorator, and Storm, Emma, and Jubilee had all locked themselves in an out of the way conference room to transform it into the perfect concoction for Wednesday night's celebration.
"I think pink is the perfect color," Emma said, laying out roll after roll of disgustingly pink streamers.
Rogue poked doubtfully at the decorations as Emma started on laying out balloons. "I think we need a little variety."
"Pish posh. This is Kitty's party," Emma said.
Storm interjected, "But we put Rogue in charge as best friend and roommate."
"Variety is the spice of life!" Jubilee grinned in perfect agreement as she dumped bag after bag of blindingly bright balloons in a zillion colors on top of the pink streamers and reached into yet another shopping bag for ribbon and streamers of her own.
"What are those?" Rogue demanded.
"I think we'll be permanently blinded," Emma remarked dryly.
Storm shot her a quick glare, then said gently to Jubilee, "Those are just a little...bright."
"Disgusting!" Rogue corrected her. "No. None of this will do," she continued emphatically and started toward the door. "I'll just be a minute."
Don't you dare go get Remy to run any errands for you, Emma's mental voice sounded off in Rogue's head, stopping her cold. You lent him to me, remember?
Rogue crossed her arms and glared. This is an atrocity! I need more materials.
"I think I might have some things in storage," Storm said doubtfully. "If you want them, that is." An aplogetic smile at Rogue.
Jubilee muttered something about taste and no one appreciating her sense of style.
Rogue sighed. "Lead on."
Day Four, 12th Hour, 47th Minute
It took over an hour for Storm and Rogue to go through the heaps and piles of decorative materials the school kept on hand for various celebrations. Rogue snorted in some surprise at the retro colors that Storm blushingly admitted were from her own school days.
"Didn't even know these were still down here." The weather goddess shook her head at the mess and stuffed crepe paper back into boxes. She pulled forward another and opened the top. "Ah. Here's something."
Rogue peered between the flaps. "Now, that just might work."
The women shared a grin.
They carried their prize between them through the kitchen, only to run smack dab into a highly irritated Cajun wearing little more than jeans and an apron.
"You mind, chère?" he demanded harshly, carrying a pot that looked very heavy.
"Uh, no." Rogue scooted backward a step, flustered.
Storm gave her a funny look.
Remy merely poured off the excess water from his noodles into the colander in the sink.
Storm glanced appreciatively over Remy's impeccable upper body. Rogue tried desperately to ignore it.
"Let's get these back to the conference room."
"Certainly," Storm agreed.
Day Four, 13th Hour, 1st Minute
There were five reasons that the entire day reeked with awfulness in Remy's mind.
Item One: He felt as hung over as if he'd gone out last night on a drinking binge/competition with Logan where neither hauled their sorry carcasses out of the bar until the bartender kicked them out personally. The light hurt his eyes. His head pounded. He'd only recently stopped seeing double.
Item Two: Trying to catch Jubilee at any point when the little firecracker was wired for sound, squealing (making him wince—oh, the pain!), and plotting gifts he was pretty sure Kitty wouldn't even want was a nightmare. Project: Secret Admirer was still in effect and all he wanted to do was get a hold of the framed admirers and let them know once and for all that Rogue was now effectively taken.
No man in his right mind would let a girl like Rogue get away from him after she'd proposed and been accepted.
Item Three: Emma was playing taskmaster.
Item Four: Kitty was playing taskmaster.
Item Five: Laura I-can-kill-you-with-a-look X-23 was playing taskmaster!
And not a single one of those three (sometimes) estimable females knew anything about cooking.
"Non!" Remy rushed to wave Kitty away from the pots on the stove. "What are you trying to do?" he demanded.
Kitty crossed both arms and glared at him. "I thought I smelled meat."
"There is no meat in this pot. Now, shoo." He stood in between her and the stove while she merely rolled her eyes, unimpressed.
I think a nice light salad should go well with our menu as well, Emma interjected mentally, as usual, oblivious to the fact that he was otherwise occupied rescuing said menu.
This ain't the meal for a 'light' salad, chère, Remy retorted mentally while tossing out verbally, "Back away from the cooking, Chaton."
She sniffed disdainfully, then suddenly popped both eyes opened wide and fled through the wall.
Remy turned and groaned at the sight of Laura entering the kitchen with two more grocery bags.
"We need more protein," she stated and began pulling out some definitely nonvegetarian items.
"Dieu, grant me patience." He rolled his eyes upward. "This is Kitty's birthday party, X,"—a dangerously raised eyebrow from Laura—"and she's vegetarian."
Laura sniffed disdainfully.
Were you proposing a heavy salad? Emma thought disdainfully. Because— What in the world is that? Her mental voice suddenly went dead and he figured she was dealing with an in-person catastrophe.
Remy counted to three.
Laura opened his pot lid.
Remy exploded. "Are you crazy?"
Remy. What's going on down there? Emma's voice came in sharply.
He was too busy to listen.
Day Four, 13th Hour, 28th Minute
It wasn't supposed to get violent. It wasn't. All he had to do was keep Laura out of the pots of jambalaya and gumbo and away from the cutting board full of vegetables and out of the kitchen, but no. The former military experiment had other ideas and implemented them with full military assault.
Lucky for Remy, he knew how to deal with military assault.
When Laura employed claws to get him out of the way, he charged those claws and sent her flying. She didn't even bat an eye, but went hard for the pot. Needless to say, it went way downhill from there.
Naturally with the crashes and the thuds and the sound of at least one cabinet door being sliced clean off its hinges, it was only a matter of time before people were pouring into the area in a jumble of noise and motion. Remy registered it as he did all moving targets, but his focus remained on staying alive as Laura took another swipe with her claw.
He shoved his gumbo out of her line of fire—noting quickly that the lid was still on it and nothing could've "fallen" in—then promptly found himself suspended by the front of his shirt against a higher cupboard.
He blinked. "Logan?"
Logan grunted in acknowledgement. Remy realized suddenly that Laura was growling furiously from behind Logan's other fist.
"Now, you two want to explain what you're doing?" Logan asked, barely restrained impatience in his voice.
"She started it!"
"He cannot cook!" she retorted heatedly. "The nutrient content is insufficient!"
"It's a birthday dinner, pour le Christ!"
pour le Christ - for Christ's sake
"Stop! Both of you!" Ororo's forceful, authoritative tones silenced them.
Remy managed to look slightly sheepish, but Laura simply glared back at Logan.
Remy glanced around. The kitchen was trashed. If it wasn't food, it wasn't spared. And right now, Kitty, the guest of honor herself and supposedly unaware that all this food was for her, was staring wide-eyed at the wreckage.
Logan set them both down. "Gumbo, how about you clean this up?"
He stared at Logan. "Me? It was her fault!"
"But you could have stopped it." Logan pointed at Laura. "You, come with me. Now."
He stalked away toward the elevator and Laura muttered and growled after him. None of the students had any doubt whether the Danger Room would be well occupied for the next so long.
Remy muttered in the middle of his kitchen.
Rogue wrinkled her nose. "Is something burning?"
Day Four, 14th Hour, 5th Minute
He cursed and muttered, but really there was one definite reason his day was now looking up. Remy might have been stuck cleaning up a kitchen and repairing a cabinet door that Laura had trashed while his ruined jambalaya smoked from the sink, but he was doing so in the shy, friendly company of Rogue—who was never shy and friendly.
Today, she stared mostly at the plate of veggies he had set in front of her and offered sympathies to the broccoli instead of to him. It was almost...cute.
"Why did she do that?" she asked, then took a bite, still staring at the vegetables.
Remy chuckled a little to himself and started sweeping. "Think she preferred her menu to mine."
"Imagine that," Rogue drawled and he glanced up at the normal way it sounded.
But she still wasn't looking at him.
"I swear, that food ain't a work of art."
Her head popped up, surprise in the green eyes.
"Didn't take even a moment to make it look pretty." He grinned at her.
Her eyes wandered below his chin and his grin grew wider.
"Toss me that shirt, chère."
Her eyes dropped to the plate again. Her cheeks flushed brightly. "What shirt?"
"The one in the seat next to you." Remy watched her with growing amusement and began plotting the sabotage of the plan he had assigned to Jubilee.
Rogue looked over and tossed the shirt—without looking. It went sailing right over his head and toward the stove.
"Not in the gumbo!"
Perhaps we should do spaghetti instead, Emma offered.
Rogue grimaced. "Oops."
Day Four, 18th Hour, 7th Minute
The rest of the day went by in a blur for Rogue. Hanging decorations, twisting streamers across bowers of princess-style white and little pink rosebuds, filling vases with the silk flowers, clearing out all the usual chairs in favor of some of the nicest from the formal dining room (a room the students rarely saw the inside of—at least some of the mansion's beauty should be preserved), until finally she collapsed in a heap on the divan in one corner. Jubilee was already sprawled across the floor in front, and Storm was leaning heavily against the back of one of those chairs. Emma alone remained standing in the very center of the room, looking every bit the unruffled queen she claimed to be, and surveyed the scene with a critical eye.
"It looks nice," she finally conceded, a tad ungraciously.
Rogue managed to look smug. "I like it."
Emma's look soured, but Storm smiled broadly in weary satisfaction. "And now I suppose we can get a bite of supper before gift-wrapping."
Jubilee leaned back her head and whimpered.
"It's not that bad," Emma told the girl unsympathetically. "We've put in only a few hours work and come out with something we're mostly satisfied with that Kitty will like."
Rogue squinted up at Emma. "What about the divan?"
"The what?" Emma cast her a curious glance.
Jubilee gasped. "Wait a second! There's no way we can get it out now!"
"Get it out?" Emma's eyes finally fell to the culprit Rogue was sitting on.
The divan, a fat, monstrous, ugly blue thing tolerated primarily because there wasn't a more comfortable piece of furniture in the entire house—barring perhaps Remy's bed, as he'd traded out the one his room came with for one more suited to his King-sized, Egyptian cotton taste. Despite this point in its favor, the divan was truly ugly and would ruin the look of all their hard work. Worse, no one had thought of it before they packed in chairs and vases and decorations so that barely a person could squeeze through to the backmost corner, and the divan could certainly not be squeezed out of it.
"Kitty could phase it," Jubilee suggested, eyeing the furniture dubiously.
"Certainly not." Emma glared imperiously. "It's her party."
Storm looked regretful but nodded her agreement. "It would spoil the surprise of the room."
Rogue groaned and curled up on the couch. As if they hadn't already put in enough work. "Throw a sheet over it."
"Rogue!" Storm sounded shocked. "No. We must find a way to get rid of it."
"Have Remy blow it up!"
Jubilee screeched. "Not the divan!" She wrapped her arms protectively about a bit of its cushioned back. "It's the most comfortable seat in the house!"
Long sighs filled the room.
Emma, being of a practical bent, finally said what they all knew. "We must move all the chairs back out. And the table to the side."
Four weary females viewed the task with some chagrin.
Rogue grumbled but pried herself up. "Let's get on it then."
Day Four, 18th Hour, 42nd Minute
For the first time in her life, Rogue cussed a solid blue streak, including quite a few ephithets against their resident telekinetic for having the nerve to die on them before Kitty's it-must-be-perfect eighteenth birthday.
Jubilee stared at her in horror. No one else batted an eye, still groaning under the various corners and edges of their burden.
So maybe it wasn't the first time Rogue had ever cussed like that (thank Logan, seriously), but it was certainly the first time she'd broken that cardinal rule of etiquette: Thou shalt not speak ill of the dead.
"Come off it, Jubes," she snapped. "It's not like your mouth's always pure." Rogue stretched a little further, trying to gain some purchase on the back corner of the divan from hell.
Jubilee closed her mouth with an audible clack.
Storm sighed and leaned heavily on the furniture. "This is rather—"
Rogue shrieked as the added weight threw the precariously balanced divan into a dangerous wobble.
"Oh no!" Emma tried to catch it, but it was too late.
It flipped up and fell—on top of Rogue.
She couldn't figure out who to kill first: Jubilee for the distraction, Storm for leaning on the divan, or Emma for failing to catch it.
"Oh dear," was Storm's brilliant addition to the conversation.
Rogue closed her eyes, gritted her teeth, and started counting down from a thousand.
"This is ridiculous!" Emma declared. "I'm calling Remy."
Naturally, this meant an all-out assault on every brain in a fifty-yard radius under her mental shout:
Rogue quit counting and glared. "I hate telepaths!"
Day Four, 19th Hour, 12th Minute
Remy was just wrapping up in the kitchen when he got the mental note from Emma, We need your help in here. Second floor in the fourth conference room.
Coming, chère, he thought it with a sarcastic note.
Don't push it, buddy, was the dark rejoinder.
Remy just chuckled and followed the directions to his next assignment and then promptly stopped cold turkey and burst out laughing.
"Shut up, you swamp rat!" Rogue said belligerently, and belligerent she should be. She was currently pinned beneath the ugly blue divan.
Day Four, 19th Hour, 53rd Minute
It took both Remy and Piotr to lift the doomed piece of furniture off of Rogue.
"Move it outside while you're at it," Storm ordered, less imperious than usual and much more miffed.
Jubilee, Emma, Rogue, and Storm joined in giving it dark glares.
"We ought to burn it," Rogue decided.
Remy raised an eyebrow. "Should we now?"
Jubilee bit her lip. "But it's so comfor—"
"I wouldn't finish that sentence if I were you," Emma said.
The younger girl fell silent and backed away warily, eyes wide.
Rogue collapsed in a weary heap in the nearest chair and waved her hand imperiously. "On your way, Remy, can you pick up my library holds?"
He stared at her as if he could not believe his ears.
"They're just sitting in my box in the library here, for goodness' sake!" She crossed her arms and glared at him. "Are you or are you not my slave?"
It was Piotr's turn to look startled.
Remy's jaw tightened. "Oui."
The other girls just looked blank-faced and innocent until the boys had exited. Emma broke the silence first, giggling like a young schoolgirl, and then it was over. Every last one of them collapsed in peals of laughter until they could barely breathe from the scattered chairs at Kitty's birthday table.
Day Four, 23rd Hour, 16th Minute
Rogue stayed up late working on Kitty's presents, being one of the very few that hadn't begun by buying the exact same pair of shoes everyone else thought of. Being Kitty's roommate could have posed a problem, but she solved it handily by wrapping in the back corner of the library, a place Kitty had sworn off forever after three ranting diatribes about the computer section's inadequate resources for anything.
Her eyelids kept shutting on her, and she had to slap her cheeks to keep herself awake. Only the fact that she was hiding from Kitty kept her quiet through a dozen misapplied pieces of tape, two ruined sheets of wrapping paper, and the tissue paper she had to rescue from Scratch by swatting at his paws.
"You promised to behave!" she hissed.
He mewed and curled up in a ball on her lap to pur throatily.
And there she was, helpless mush again. "Oh all right. You can stay." She cuddled him with one hand and launched her third assault on a pink and white gift bag. Who would have thought it could be so hard to just bag something?
But her eyes continued to droop and her head began to nod, and eventually both girl and kitten lay sleeping on the library floor.
Day Four, 23rd Hour, 52nd Minute
Emma finally released him hours later after dessert (not one cake, but three!—chocolate, double chocolate, and an angel cake for good measure) was safely chilling in one of the forsaken refrigerators in the basement and after a chastened, but glaring Laura returned to the kitchen to apologize—to Emma!—for potentially ruining the dinner. He fumed to himself on the way to the library to pick up some books Rogue had requested and cursed the fates of poker again that Rogue had ever become such a formidable opponent.
And now, finally, he could track down the Firecracker.
A/N: Sorry this took so long. I was going to add more scenes, but I finally just cleaned her up and sent her out.