DISCLAIMER: Only the story is mine.

V-Day - Day Three - 12:00 Hours - Mansion

Kyle was giving Illyana a piggyback ride down the stairs when he heard yelling outside, and he managed to manoeuvre the wriggling Russian doll off his back and set her down on the floor without issue, although she protested forcefully in her mother tongue. He caught some of it, although not nearly as proficient as Laura was, and while most of it seemed a bit strong for a dainty little girl her age, he applauded her candour nonetheless. There was nothing wrong with raising children to be straight shooters, both in the figurative and the literal sense.

"See you later sweets, I have to go and do something for Laura, okay?" he said kindly, and she pouted, crossing her arms, and then looked up at him with big blue eyes.

"Kitty has time later?" He had to smile at that one. The child had been oddly attached to the notion that he was to be played with ever since he'd moved in – something he didn't pretend to understand at all – and like Torpid she had decided that he was huggable, climb-on-able, and a good ally in the face of the other grown ups who liked rules. She also insisted that he was 'Kitty', and that Kitty was 'Katerina', something that annoyed the brunette phaser considerably. Kyle found it hilarious. He ruffled her hair and grinned at her.

"If Laura says I can, I'll come and play with you lot later. I have to go now." The little girl giggled.

"Laura be cross if Kitty stays?" He nodded, pretending to grimace at the notion, and she giggled again and waved at him.

"I tells Laura you be's good, Kitty!" she called, and he grinned even wider. He'd only ever admit it to Laura herself, but he had a real soft spot for those kids. Not quite Daddy-dearest like Logan was to the girls, but he definitely liked that they were so guilelessly innocent around him, so totally accepting and unafraid. Children were truly marvellous creatures.

Walking through the doors, he narrowly missed being a target for Amara's somewhat ah – fiery – outburst, but he ducked in time and she gave him an apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry Kyle, won't happen again!" she called, then rounded on Bobby again, arms flaring up as he constructed a shield with his own powers and prepared to grovel.

"Honey I didn't mean it like th – " he tried, sensing the lapse in her attentions might be beneficial to his cause, but she took aim coldly and fired at will. Kyle leant against the wall, crossed his arms, and bore witness to the hilarity and the justice that all men feel when witnessing other men get it in the arse from their respective women. It's a special feeling.

"I told you how important it was to me – I told you specifically, Bobby!" she screeched, and Kyle bit back a snigger as Drake hit the ground to avoid getting badly singed. Amara's precision was always off when she was emotional, something that Bobby usually used to his advantage.

"But baby, it was just a – "

"I don't care! I don't care if you hardly even breathed on her while it went down! How could you do this to me? And now of all times!" Kyle had to raise an eyebrow at that one. Amara was known for being hysterically possessive of the ice-wielding coward she called her significant other, but this all sounded suspiciously like a real transgression.

"What in de hell, mes amis?" Remy yelled from the balcony of his and Rogue's room above and to the right of them, a towel around his middle and his upper body bared to the bitter winds.

"Lover's tiff," Kyle yelled back, and Remy threw his hands up in the air and muttered something about crazy shit going down before noon.

"It is noon, you bloody Cajun," Kyle shouted at him with a laugh, and Remy pointed at him with a loud but sulky,

"Don' y' lis'en in on Remy's mutterin', y' hear? Ain' none o' your – " A pale arm reached out past the scrolled brickwork of their balcony's opening from Rogue's room, and Remy was suddenly distracted. Kyle rolled his eyes and tuned back in to the adolescents who were still fighting over something trivial as Remy disappeared once more into his and Rogue's room. Oh well. He couldn't begrudge the Cajun a little private time with his chere. He could only imagine how rough it had to have been not being able to touch her for so long, and even now her control still slipped at times.

" – that's not the point, Bobby! Everyone saw you together – everyone! You didn't even have the decency to ask the others to go with you so you two wouldn't be alone and I know she's had a crush on you for, like, a year!" Amara was sobbing now, and Bobby seemed at a loss for words, reduced to repeating,

"But baby, I didn't mean it!" and Kyle felt a little sorry for them. Until Laura linked her arm through his and jostled him.

"Amara found out?" she asked, sounding excited, and he looked down at her, taking in the way she looked overly pleased with the train wreck that was Bobby's explanation, and the way her eyes shone with excitement.

"Laura Howlett, you clever little minx – you knew this would happen, didn't you?"

She looked up at him with a coy smile.

"Maybe I did... While you were playing with the children I was busy ensuring our future victory."

He smirked.

"And this was done how exactly?" he asked, letting her lean into him as she trained her eyes on the angry Amara once more.

"Oh, I did nothing. I merely drove Amara to the store, past the diner where Bobby and that Tammy girl were reviewing their notes for Drama as per their agreement."

Kyle nodded.

"An agreement, you say? Of what nature?"

Laura gave him a quick little laugh and squeezed his arm.

"An agreement I suggested he establish so as to practice their roles for classes on Wednesday – Tammy was most amenable to the suggestion and they arranged a meeting," she said lightly, and he grinned.

"And Amara just happened to need a lift?" Laura looked up at him reproachfully.

"Indeed she did. She is ovulating and needed to purchase some personal articles. That was an opportune and fortuitous coincidence. However, she didn't know that the main road isn't closed for road-work..." He kissed her forehead lovingly.

"You," he said happily,

"Are a tactical genius. I am a lucky, lucky son of a bitch."

Laura laughed.

"Oh, there is more. I accidentally pointed her attention towards Bobby and Tammy while we drove past and so when we returned she was livid and asked me if I had Tammy's number," she said deviously, and he had to laugh.

"Which you did. And of course any woman looking to steal another woman's man is going to play up the meeting as though they did it in the damn booth," he said matter-of-factly, to which Laura nodded.

"Precisely. Humans are so easily misled into anger..." she looked out over the lawn where Amara was chasing Bobby towards the gates.

"It is sad really that there is so little trust..." she sighed, and he nodded, curving his arms around her waist as they watched the other couple racing across the grounds.

"Is it dreadfully wrong that I feel very, very close to you right now?" she asked, and he chuckled.

"You mean united as we are in the destruction of this entire holiday as they know it and closing in on our inevitable victory?" he asked lightly, and she looked up at him.

"Yes. Is that wrong?" He mulled it over briefly.

"Certainly not." She seemed pleased with the promptness of the reply and smiled at him.

"Now that they are out of the way, what say you to moving on to our next target? I shall need you for this one to work..." she said, with a quirk of her eyebrow that he knew very well. He suddenly felt very human himself.

"I am yours to command..."

Kurt was in the kitchen, writing furiously on a pad, when John strolled in, teabag dangling from his finger as was his customary mode of kitchen-entry. Kurt knew this well, and so didn't take much notice when John boiled the kettle and made himself a cup of Tetley's before sauntering over to look at the blue mutant's hopeless attempts at sonnet-writing.

"Well well, somethin' for the Sheila, am I right?" he asked, and Kurt sighed, nodding.

"Ja... I just vant it to be perfect for Amanda and it won't come out the way I want it to... I don't think I am cut out for romance," he lamented, and John patted his back and then gave him a gentle shove.

"Scoot over mate, let me show ya how it's done," he said cheerily, and Kurt brightened instantly.

"Really? You'd do zat for me?" he asked, relinquishing his seat to the wordsmithying Aussie, who grinned and tipped him a wink.

"If there's one thing I know, my furry friend, it's how ta win the Sheila's over with a few adjectives an' sincere handwritin' – it's me job!" he said magnanimously, picking up the pen and sipping his tea while Kurt arranged himself on a stool next to him.

"So; how d' ya want ta start?"

" – and you helped him? That's not part of the deal!" Rogue yelled, poking John in the chest repeatedly to really get the point across. John winced with every sharp-nailed contact.

"Bu' I was jus' – "

"When Wanda get's wind of this – "

"Oh Lord no, please don' tell Wanda, she'll do terrible things to me, y' don' know the half of it – "

"Chere, perhaps we can all calm down a li'l, non? After all, Kurt's yo' brother, an' we like him an' Amanda, don' we? Can' we make allowances jus' this once?" Rogue shot Remy a dirty look and he flinched and returned to his hair-towelling.

"If Ah hadn' found you in that there kitchen there's no tellin' how much damage ya could'a done! You do realise that?" she asked John, who looked wretched and wrung his hands.

"He's ya brother, I thought you wouldn' mind me givin' the bloke a little help with that stupid bloody note," John tried to defend his treachery, and Rogue's eyes narrowed to slits.

"Let me explain this to you real slowly so even your Australian-wired brain can figure it out raght," she began, but was rudely interrupted by Wanda entering the room with a big smile on her face, humming a little tune. Her large stormy eyes widened at the sight of her boyfriend in the clutches of an angry Rogue with a downcast Remy idly rubbing a towel over his hair in the corner and the air of conflict thick and heavy around them. She seemed to understand the situation with no more prompting than that.

"John, what have you done?" she asked in a defeated sort of tone, putting her hands on her hips and levelling a stare at the Aussie who deflated completely.

"Wanda love, I swear, I thought it was alrigh' but Roguey doesn' agree an' I'm sorry an' it won' happen again an' – "

Wanda waved his excuses off and said,

"Rogue, what was it?"

"He was writin' a love letter for Amanda for mah stupid brother because Kurt ain' exactly the world's greatest ladies man an' John does that thang with the words an' that stuff. Johnny forgot our deal," Rogue said honestly, and Wanda sighed and shook her head.

"Is Kurt even in the running here? I mean, Amanda's not a mutant and they keep it really quiet between them – do they count at all?" she asked, looking at Rogue with a confused wrinkle between her brows. Rogue looked a little startled at the question, clearly having not considered this obvious obstacle in the path of Kurt's placement in the V-Day proceedings.

"Ah – y' know Ah jus' hadn' thought o' that sugah? Hell if Ah know! What do you think?"

Wanda scrunched up her nose and mused for a few seconds.

"I'm not sure... I don't think it counts when she's not really one of us. I don't think you can bring in outsiders... Maybe we should ask Laura's opinion on this one? I think it's only fair. I don't want her getting all upset again because we've left her out of things..."

Rogue nodded sagely and then smiled at John and winked at Remy.

"You two wait here, we're jus' gonna go see if Laura agrees an' then we'll be back. Ah gotta know if you've had it yet," she said casually, and John gave Remy a worried look to which he responded with one of utter sympathy. The girls left, discussing the matter, and Remy apprached John and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"They're really takin' this t' the nex' level, aren' they?" John asked, still somewhat shaken by Rogue's initial reaction to what she deemed high treason.

"Oh, yeah, mon ami, dis is serious business f' sure. Won' surprise Remy none, dem filles end up killin' us all 'fore dis is done wit'."

John heaved a great sigh.

"That's what I was afraid of, mate…"

They were mid-knock when Laura unlocked and yanked open the door to her room standing in the minimal gap between frame and door she had left, glaring at them.

"What?" she demanded, and Rogue, a little taken aback, looked to Wanda for the answer. The witch took over, delicately ignoring Laura's extremely messy hair.

"Well, John helped Kurt write a love letter to Amanda and that started a discussion about whether or not she and Kurt count as a couple around here, since she's not one of us," she said tactfully, and Laura levelled a look at Rogue.

"You shouted at him?" she asked, and Rogue made a face.

"Of course Ah did."

"In that case, I think we should discount Kurt and Amanda. They are an unassuming, part-mutant couple who prefer to keep their relationship low profile. I do not think they would wish to be a part of this."

"Sure, makes sense," Rogue said reasonably, and Wanda nodded.

"Kurt's so shy anyway, he'd probably feel out of place with something like this," she concurred.

"Well if that's settled, I think John deserves an apology. If you'll excuse me," Laura said politely, disappearing behind the door again. They heard locks being utilised.

"Well… that was… awkward…" Rogue said as they walked the distance back to her and Remy's room, and Wanda gave her a sunny smile.

"Oh, don't be so silly," she said calmly,

"There's nothing wrong with a nice midday shag."

"… think we need to replace the sheets again…"

"Hmmm? I wasn't listening. What were you saying?" Laura mumbled, stretching languorously, and Kyle looked up from her right foot, which he was rubbing, careful to avoid her unsheathed claw.

"Absolutely nothing of importance. I'll take care of it," he answered, and she smiled, closing her eyes.

"You already took care of everything…" she reminded him, curling her toes with a little gasp as he manipulated the spot where one of the smaller, more delicate bones always shifted to make way for her foot-claw. Healing factor aside, the areas around her various claws always benefited from a little massage.

"Not quite everything," he murmured,

"A victory a day is all well and good, but at this rate, with even the slightest potential for reconciliation between the parties, we might still be pressed for time."

"So what do you suggest? Causing lasting damage?" she asked, a little furrow between her brows appearing and then disappearing as quickly as it had arrived as pressure was applied to a different spot just below and to the right of her ankle.

"Of course not… Simply ensuring that they can't repair the damage caused until our purpose has been fulfilled… Anything beyond that is their responsibility."

"…Mmm…. Isn't that a little unfair? They're only children…"

"Perhaps… That just means they'll learn the valuable lesson of trusting no one but yourself and rectifying your mistakes. It'll build character. Something they can be thankful for later, when they really grow up."

She looked down at him with hooded eyes.

"True… They are allowed far too much egotistical leeway when it comes to their mistakes. What does it matter if the situations aren't created by them? They should be able to handle them regardless. It can hardly hurt for them to be forced to take a look at their own behaviour for once, rather than focusing on everyone else's."

"I keep telling you not to care about their opinions. None of them have the right to judge us," he told her, the slight reproach in his tone mostly drowned in the throaty quality his voice took on, and she grimaced.

"Did I tell you that Tabitha was spreading malicious gossip about me?" she asked, and he made a sound to indicate she had not.

"She told Amara that I was a whore."

He looked up in mild surprise.

"What does that matter? It's a legitimate profession. Anyway, what business is it of hers what you were before you came here?"

Laura shrugged minutely, a look of discontent twisting her lips together.

"I don't know. I believe she was drunk. She implied both that it was due to my emotional difficulties, and that the only reason you did not care was that you were just as damaged as I am and that we were likely both grateful for someone we cannot damage further and who is unlikely to strive for a more… suitable partner."

Kyle gave her a long, steady look.

"So in short, she thinks that you chose that path because it was the only way you could connect carnally with anyone, and that the only reason I can ignore your past is that I'm equally as psychopathic and desperate as you?" he asked, and she nodded.

"That seemed to be all there was to it."

He returned to the business of loosening the kinks in the ball of her foot pensively, and after a moment spoke again.

"In light of that, I believe we ought to impose upon Tabitha the understanding of what it really means to be thought badly of by those who do not know a thing about you, and what it really is to be alone… and desperate."

Laura's eyes lit up, and she retracted the claw of the foot he was working on, slowly.

"Because it will prove beneficial to the mission, you mean?" she asked lightly, and he bowed his head to place a kiss over the rapidly healing skin.

"Among other things," he responded, and she laughed and leant in to kiss him.

"But we shan't cause any lasting damage..?" she asked breathlessly, pulling away for a second to look him in the eyes.

"Of course not… Unless… You want to…"

He pushed her hair to one side and pressed a kiss to her neck, just below her ear, before adding,

"After all… There's a difference between actively trying to bury them… and helping them bury themselves…"