There was once a King who had twelve daughters. Every night when these beautiful princesses retired to their rooms, their wing of the palace was locked and shut up completely, yet every morning their shoes were worn down to their soles.

Greatly perplexed by this mystery, King Magneto -


"Hold it," objected Professor Xavier. "How is it Magneto gets to be the king? I should be the king! I'm the leader of the X-men!"

Excuse me? Who's telling this story? Me, that's who. And I'll cast Magneto as the king if I want to. Besides you don't really want to be king anyway Charles. I mean, have you even read the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses?

"Well, no..."

Then don't interrupt.


Greatly perplexed by this mystery, King Magneto announced that he wished to learn the secret of where his twelve daughters disappeared during the night. He declared that anyone who learnt the secret who have the daughter he liked best for his wife and would inherit the throne. But anyone who failed after three days and nights would be executed.


"Executed? Isn't that a mite harsh?" Professor Xavier asked.

See? I told you that you didn't want to be king.

"Are you sure that's in the story?"

Clearly you haven't read very many fairy tales. Proper ones, not fluffy children's versions.

"Well, Marvel did just get bought up by Disney so..."

Minor detail. Besides, he is making it perfectly clear that they face execution if they fail so it's not like they don't know what they're getting into.

"Charles! Stop interrupting," Magneto demanded. "You're ruining the flow of the story."


The first person to volunteer was Prince Todd.


"Yes! I'm a prince!" Toad said, doing a little happy dance. "I'm so gonna win this thing, and then I'm gonna pick Wanda to be my bride! Hi sugerplum."

"Eww," Wanda said, turning up her nose. "Do I have to be one of the princesses?"

"Yeah c'mon," Rogue added. "This is seriously dark ages. I mean, we're basically being sold off here."

"Yeah like chattel," Jean nodded. "Don't we get a say in this?"

"Girls, girls, you were the ones who decided to go off dancing at night. If the consequence of your actions is that one of you has to marry a complete stranger, then you brought it on yourself," said Magneto.

"And how is it that you're our father anyway?" asked Tabitha. "Because my father showed up one episode. He's a complete jerk, but y'know, so are you."

"Maybe we've all be adopted," Kitty suggested.

"Well, we'd have to be," said Jubilee.

"Hey can we get on with this?" asked Blob. "My scene's next!"


That night, Prince Todd began his vigil in the Princess' wing.

"Hop, two, seven, ten," he chanted to himself as he bounded up and down the hallway. "Hop, two, seven, ten. I'm sooo gonna win this thing, and then I'll have Princess Wanda all to myself and I'll be king! Yay me! Hop, two, seven, ten."

It wasn't long, however, before Prince Todd, despite his efforts otherwise, fell asleep. In the morning, the princesses shoes were worn out as usual. This continued for the second and third nights, and as a result of his failure, Prince Todd was -


"Nooooooooo! You can't execute me! You can't!" Toad wailed. "I'm too young to die!"

"Live with it bub," said Logan. "Oh wait..."

Toad proceeded to sob uncontrollably.


And as a result of his failure, Prince Todd was executed by the royal executioner, Wolverine.


"Wait, what? How come Wolverine gets to be the executioner?" Sabretooth complained.

"Yeah, since when am I working for Magneto?" Logan added.

Do not question the narrator! All will become clear.

"I don't like it."

"Neither do I."

"Hey," said Gambit quietly to the princesses. "Did Logan and Sabretooth just agree on something?"

The princesses giggled.

"Remy, what are you doing over there?" asked Storm. "You just can't stay away from the girls, can you?"

"They're all such belle femmes, cherie," Gambit nodded, then wrapped his arm around Rogue. "Especially this one, no?"

"Get your arm off me, swamp rat," Rogue said.


The next person to try was Duke Fred.


"I like the play on his name. Duke Fred instead of Fred Dukes," Lance said. "Funny."

"Oh goody," said Blob, rubbing his hands together. "I'm gonna find out where the princesses go, and then I'm going to pick Jean."

"Kill me. Kill me now," said Jean.

"I swear, if you lay one finger on her -" Scott began.

Oh stop with the macho and the melodramatics already.

"Yeah," Gambit agreed. "Besides we all know he's going to fail too."

"I am not!" Blob objected.

"Of course you're going to lose, mon ami. For one thing, it's too early in the story for a winner, and for another thing, we all know the hero is gonna be me."

"Is not!"

"Haven't you see the poster?" Gambit asked, pointing to a poster on the wall. "The X-men present The Twelve Dancing Princesses starring Gambit."

"Aww... why do you get to be the hero?" Blob complained. "I wanna be the hero. I never get to be the hero."


Like Prince Todd before him, Duke Fred spent three nights in the Princesses wing of the palace. And every night he fell asleep. After the three days, he too was executed for his failure.

The third to try was Prince Victor -


"You have to be kidding me? I get stuck working for Magneto as an executioner," Logan said. "And Sabretooth gets to be a prince?"

"Hmm... which princess do I want?" Sabretooth considered, looking over at the twelve beautifully dressed girls.

"Hey stop looking at us we're cans of beans!" Rogue objected.

"No, I was thinking something more along the lines of prime rump roast."

"How would you like me to absorb you and never let go?"

"Shh, don't give him ideas, chere," Gambit said.


Prince Victor failed as well after three days, and was executed by Wolverine.


"Hey there is a bright side to all of this," Logan said.

See? I knew you'd like it.

"I don't like it," Sabretooth complained. "Why couldn't I have been the executioner?"

Because Logan has a faster healing factor and an adamantium skeleton. Plus he's way cooler than you.

"Is not."

Is too.

"Is not."

Is too.

"Is not!"

I'm the narrator. It's my story and I'll tell it any way I want.

"Oh yeah? What are you gonna do? Kill me? You've already had me executed. What's the worst you can do?"

I can think of a few things, actually. Don't tempt me.

Sabretooth chuckled.

"I should have been the executioner, not Wolverine! And this is a stupid, girly story and -"


However, Prince Victor had a healing factor which sadly made killing him a little difficult. Sadly for Prince Victor, that is. Wolverine had gotten rather bored after killing Prince Todd and Duke Fred. They'd been so easy to put to death it was almost embarrassing. Prince Victor, on the other hand, had a much higher survival factor, and thus finding new, creative and painful ways to deal death to the bad loser soon became Wolverine's favourite hobby.


"Damn you," Sabretooth muttered.

Logan laughed at him.


It happened that there was a thief by the name of Remy, who was travelling to King Magneto's land. In the coach with him were two older women. Irene was blind and travelling with her companion, Agatha.


"Just one moment Chellerbelle," Beast interrupted.

Oh come on! We finally get past the introduction of this story and you people still want to interrupt me?

"My apologies, but I have just be reading The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brother Grimm, and I feel the need to point out that the hero of the story is not a thief, but an old solider. And what's more, he only met with one woman, not two."

If Disney can give The Little Mermaid a happy ending, I can make a few minor changes to suit my mutant cast. I suppose next you're going to complain that there weren't actually any names named, that the executioner never actually made an appearance, and about the fact that I'm replacing the cloak with Remy's trench coat? It's called creative license!

"My apologies."


Remy, charming fellow that he was, engaged the women in conversation and inevitably the topic of King Magento's daughters came up.

"It is curious that so many have been failing," said Remy.

"Is it?" Agatha asked.

"I'm almost tempted to try myself. I always did like a good challenge."

Irene drew in her breath sharply.

"You will go," she informed him. "One of the princesses will give you a glass of wine. Do not drink it."

Remy paused.

"Okay then."

"You should take her warning seriously, young man," said Agatha.

"I will."

"Here," Agatha went on. "I shall enchant your trench coat. When all the buttons are done up, it will render you invisible."

Remy might have been inclined to put Agatha into the 'crazy' category, if it weren't for the magic show that followed. This conversation haunted him and thus when they arrived in King Magneto's land, Remy approached the palace and asked to have his chance. Remy was welcomed into the palace, met King Magneto himself and was introduced to his wayward daughters:

"Princess Jean."

The red-headed princess eyed Remy off lazily.

"Princess Kitty."

Kitty looked him over and giggled.

"Princess Wanda."

Wanda sighed.

"Princess Tabitha."

Tabitha blew him a saucy kiss.


"Yeah! Go me!"

"Quiet Tabitha," Storm scolded.


"Princess Jubilee. Princess Laura."


"Wait, who's Laura?" asked Kitty.

"That would be me," said X-23.

"But... your name is X-23, not Laura."

"Shows what you know."


"Princess Rahne. Princess Amara. Princess Amanda. Princess Risty."


"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Rogue said. "Hold the phone here. Mystique is a princess?"

"Risty is a princess," Mystique corrected.

"But you are Risty!"

"Your point?"

"Okay, am I the only one who thinks it's just a bit creepy that my foster mother is playing my sister?"

"Well, I was your best friend at school for awhile there."

"Yeah, and that was wrong too."


"Princess Lorna."


"Lorna? What?" Jean questioned. "She never even showed up in X-men Evolution."

Lorna looked around nervously.

"Umm, hi?"

Jean, be nice. And I was kinda grasping at straws for princesses okay? I don't know if you've noticed this, but there are more male characters than female.

"Well, what about Storm?"

Storm declined the role.

"Why would I want to be a princess when I've been a goddess, child?" Storm said.

"Okay well, I can't argue with that. What about Taryn?"

Because I didn't want to use Taryn. Now take a moment to look at Sabretooth and ask yourself: Do I really want to argue with the narrator?

"Fine."

And apologise to Lorna.

"Sorry Lorna."

"Uhh, that's okay."


"And Princess Anna."

Remy's eyes locked with the twelfth and most beautiful of all the princesses.


"Hey!"

"Rogue's the most beautiful? Oh please."

"What about me?"

"Why does Rogue get the special treatment?"

"She can't even touch anyone."

"Actually, dat's not entirely true," Remy cut in. "As of issue #224 of X-men: Legacy, Rogue does, in fact, get her powers under control."

"I do? Really?" Rogue asked excitedly.

"Sure thing. I have it right here, see? That's the Professor and Danger -"

"Who's Danger?"

"Oh turns out the danger room is sentient. Go figure."

"Ooookay."

"Anyway, they finally figure out why you can't control your power, cherie. It's because they didn't have a chance to mature properly before you first used them, and absorbing Cody in your mind caused a partition to form. Kinda like a hard drive. See? There's Danger explaining it. And there's them removing the partitions. And there's you freaking out thinking it hasn't worked and -"

"You're in here too?"

"Of course I am, cherie. See? There I am, worried about your well being and offering to be your test subject. Now if we turn a couple more pages... and ta da! I do get to be your guinea pig after all."

"Wow they have a whole page of us kissing?"

"It's a lovely shot, isn't it Roguey? I'm thinking of having it framed."


That night the girls went to their rooms and Remy stood guard. Princess Jean frowned in anguish as she tried using her telepathy to get Remy to fall asleep, only to be confronted with a static shield. At last she gave up.

"It's no good," she told her sisters. "I can't get in."

"Well, don't look at me," Princess Anna said. "I don't want him in my head."

"Never mind. We've got wine and sleeping draught. That'll put him to sleep."


"Wait a second, you mean the reason why these guys have all be falling asleep is because I've been using my telepathy on them?" Jean objected. "That's... that's... I would never do that! I'm effectively giving them a death sentence!"

I'm sorry, are you objecting to the way I've chosen to write my story? Again?

"I'm not a murderer!"

I'll take that as a yes.


So Princess Jean went out to the hall, wine glass in hand and offered it to Remy.

"Merci," Remy replied.

As soon as he had a moment, Remy discreetly got rid of the wine and returned the glass to the Princess. Being a thief, this was mere childs play. After the princess left, Remy settled himself down and pretended to sleep. Once the princesses thought they were safe, they came out of their rooms, all dressed up and ready to go. They pushed away a large painting at the end of the hall, which revealed a narrow passageway.

Remy did up the buttons on his trench coat and followed the princesses down the passage -


"Just a quick question, if you don't mind cherie..."

What is it?

"Well, I am a master thief. I'm pretty sure I can sneak up on a bunch of silly princesses - and Rogue - without being noticed, without the use of an invisible trench coat. Not that I'm complaining mind you."

"Are you saying I'm not a princess, swamp rat?" Rogue asked.

"No. I'm saying you're not silly, ma chere."

"Oh. Well, that's all right then."

You just feel I'm under appreciating your skills as a thief? Not at all. There are other reasons for the invisibility.

"All right then."

"What?" Jean demanded. "You're not going to tell him off too?"

Remy was making a genuine and not unwarranted inquiry. You were complaining. Now, back to the story:


There were stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. All heading down. As Remy followed the princesses, the staircase lead down through a forest of silver. Discreetly, Remy reached out to one of the trees and broke off a twig.

The staircase went down further still, and the forest of silver merged into a forest of gold, and then a forest of diamonds. Remy broke of a twig from a tree of both.

At last the staircase ended. Remy and the Princesses were on the shore of an underground lake. There were twelve boats, and standing by each were twelve princes who were eagerly awaiting their arrival. Each of the princesses got into a boat with their respective prince, and Remy sneaked into the boat with Rogue. As he was invisible, no one noticed his presence.

Part away across the lake, Prince Scott was huffing and puffing from the effort of rowing.

"I don't know what it is, but the boat seems heavier tonight," he said.

"It's probably just the humidity," Princess Rogue dismissed.


"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Jean exclaimed. "Why is Scott with Rogue?"

Because you got on my nerves.

"So, who am I with? Duncan?"


At long last, they arrived at the other side of the lake and Remy stared at the underground palace before them. He followed the princesses and princes inside. There were already many people there, and Remy noticed a large table that must have been set aside for them. A band was playing and the princes escorted their princesses on the floor for their first dance of the evening.

Princess Kitty danced with Prince Piotr. Princess Tabitha was in the arms of Prince Lance.


"Oh what?" Lance objected. "I wanna be with Kitty! I saw her first."

"Be quiet Lance," Kitty cut in. "I hardly got any airtime with Piotr and I got plenty with you. Let me have this moment okay?"

"You like him better than me, don't you?"

"You are such a baby."


Princess Amanda danced with Prince Kurt. Princess Lorna with Prince Alex. Princess Amara was whirled around by Prince Roberto. Princess Risty danced in the arms of Prince Ray.


"Wait what? I'm with Mystique?" Bezerker exclaimed. "Why did you pair me up with Mystique?"

Process of elimination. Besides Risty and Ray both start with R.

"But the name Bezerker and Mystique have nothing in common."

Well, except they both have eight letters.

"... Darn."


Princess Rahne danced with Prince Spyke. Princess Laura danced with Prince Sam. Princess Jubilee danced with Prince Bobby. Princess Wanda was engaged in some kind of fire dance with Prince John.


"All right! Fire dance!" exulted Pyro.

Wanda look at Pyro in horror.

"Why? Why me?"

Aww, you know you love him.

"Lies. All lies."

"I'll dance with you sugerplum!" Toad said excitedly.

"You can't, you've been executed, remember?" Rogue pointed out.

"Aww. but... but..."

"On second thoughts, I'd rather be with Pyro," Wanda decided.

"I knew you were hot for me," Pryo grinned.


Princess Rogue, as we all know, was dancing with Prince Scott. And last, but not least, Princess Jean was dancing with Prince Jamie.


"Yes! I get Jean!" Jamie said excitedly, jumping up and down.

"Chellerbelle, I'm sooooo sorry!" Jean said. "Please, can't you change things and set me up with Scott again? I'll never complain about your story again!"

"Aww," Jamie pouted.

Now see what you've gone and done? You've made poor Jamie sad. How can you do that to him? He's so cute and adorable!

Jamie looked up at Jean with a pathetic expression on his face. Jean sighed.

"Okay, okay," she said resignedly.


As the night went on, Remy found all sorts of ways to annoy the princesses. Like drinking their wine, eating their food. Dancing around them and their partners. At around three in the morning, the princes rowed their princesses back across the lake. As soon as they hit the shore, Remy ran off ahead of them up the stairs and returned to his place in the hallway. The princesses saw him asleep and laughed softly before returning to their bed.

The second night proceeded much the same way and on the following morning, Remy had an unexpected visit from Wolverine.


"That never happened either," Beast pointed out.

What did I say about creative license? Besides, we have to have a Logan threatening Remy scene. It's like an unwritten law or something.


"Last chance, bub," Wolverine said.

"Third and last night," Remy nodded.

Snikt.

"Any last requests?"

"Do you know 'I Just Can't Wait To Be King'?"

Wolverine chuckled.

"Yeah, you and everyone else, Gumbo."


"Is that one of the songs from The Lion King?" asked Kitty.

"Yep!" Jamie replied enthusiastically.


Things proceeded much the same way on the third night, with one exception. Before the left the palace, Remy stole one of the golden cups from the ballroom.

The following morning, Remy was brought before King Magneto to reveal what he had learned. Off to the side, Wolverine leaned against the wall with a smirk, and the princesses waited at their table.

"Your majesty," said Remy. "I have learned that the princesses go through a secret passage every night at the end of the hallway in their wing of the palace. This passage goes through a forest of silver."

He threw down the silver twig.

"A forest of gold."

He threw down the gold twig.

"And a forest of diamond."

He threw down the diamond twig.

"At the end of the stair is a lake. The princesses are escorted across the lake by twelve princes to an underground palace, where they dance the night away."

With these final words, Remy revealed the golden cup. King Magneto looked at his daughters.

"Well?" he asked dangerously.

Reluctantly, Princess Jean stood up.

"Yes father," she said. "It is true."


"Eww, he's not my -" Jean began then glanced nervously skyward. "Uh never mind."


There was applause throughout the hall. And so it was that Remy and Princess Anna were wed. The end.


"What? No happily ever after?" Kitty asked.

The story does not end with the words 'happily ever after'.

"Besides I get stuck in an arranged marriage with this clown," Rogue pointed out, gesturing towards Gambit with her thumb. "That's so not a happy ending."

"Aww, chere, you wound me," Gambit replied, hugging her close. "We both know you love me like crazy."

"You just keep telling yourself that, swamp rat."

"I will, my feisty little river rat, 'cause it's true. Now, how about you and I go back to my place and consummate our marriage? Ow! Hey what was that for?"

"Story's over, rude boy."

I think you should just kiss her, Remy. That'll shut her up.

"Hmmm, good idea."

"What? No! Mmmnnnmmmffff."

"Aww."

"It's about time!"

"Get a room!"

"Does this mean I get Scott back?"

THE END