A/N; Sorry it's taking so long, but I've got a lot going on right now, but please don't worry, I still intent to keep on writing, just going to take longer between updates than what I had originally started with. Enjoy!
When the little family, along with their friend, left after the third full moon, everyone commented on how quiet it had suddenly become in the Manor. It even got to the point where the tricksters were able to convince the goody-two-shoes to join in a little mayhem.
The Danger Room punishment that followed had the elder kids all back into order while the little ones went back to their routines. Towards the end of the month, Teddy started to get edgy, pouting while his hair went a dull orange color.
"What's up, Teddy-Bear?" John eventually asked, being himself ignored by Bobby and Rogue.
"The birthdays are starting," grumbled the child.
That sure caught Rogue's attention.
"Everyone's!" Teddy exclaimed moodily, tears going into his eyes.
Not knowing what else to do, the teenagers left to go seek council.
"Tedrick says everyone's birthday is coming up," Bobby told the gathered adults in the kitchen. "I think he's getting homesick again."
"When does Teddy turn eight?" Logan asked, raising a brow.
"April first," Charles replied with a small smile.
The teens all perked up at that.
"April Fool's baby? Sweet!" cackled John.
"Depends on the person," Jean scolded. "Some don't enjoy being pranked over and over again on their date of birth. It makes them feel belittled."
Properly chastised, Pyro looked away.
"That still don't tell us who's else birthday Teddy's missin'. The littlest one's in November, but we don't know the others'," rationally put it Marie, arms crossed.
"Have you tried to just ask him?" Scott asked, rubbing at his temples.
"He kinda… snapped at us," John grumbled.
"Ah," Charles wisely sounded. "Then you did the correct thing in coming to us. I will speak with young Mr. Potter, and if all else fails, his father will give us the answers. Now, have you all completed your homework? Exams are soon in coming."
The teenagers made a hasty retreat, not wanting to be scheduled in to extra study sessions.
Charles, after witnessing Teddy's somber mood, decided to skip a step and immediately contact Harry, hoping to possibly give the child a little surprise.
/Hull?/ was drunkenly answered.
It gave the elder telepath a pause.
/Nope!/ the person answered, popping his 'p's sound. /Gonna get ch'him fo' ya! Yo Pthead! Som'dy he'e fo' ye on da box-thingie!/
Charles winced as he heard multiple bottles being knocked around and he desperately hoped they were empty.
/Gimme that, ya lout! Shouldn't be touchin' my stuff 'nyways!/ came Harry's less than sober voice. /Hello? Who's there?/
"Mr. Potter, this is Charles Xavier. I was wondering if we could have a word, but it seems I've caught you at a most importune of times. Would you prefer I call back tomorrow or the day after?"
The line was silent for a few seconds and Charles almost feared the young father had lost the phone.
/Oh hi, Mr. Xavier! No, no, everything's peachy, no need to call later! My friends're just making me try this new brand of alcohol. So far, so good! So, what is it you need to talk about?"/
/Har-ry! Don't go, please!/ whined a voice over the line.
/Shut ya gap, mate! You'se embarrassin'!/ scolded a second.
"Mr. Potter, I can call back at a later time," Charles insisted.
/No way, you called for a reason and I wanna know! S'it 'bout Ted?/
Sighing, the elderly telepath decided not to argue with the Feral.
"Yes, it is about young Tedrick. He seems a bit under the weather and it was mentioned in passing that someone's birthday was coming up. I was curious as to whom it might be."
Leaning back in his chair, Charles waited patiently as once again silence overtook the line.
/Oh, yeah, that would sure get him grumpy! So first up is Scorpius' birthday, then there'll be the twins', Ted's next following by Rafael's. May just happens to hold Victoire's birthday – who is kinda like his cousin – and it's Lily's sixth birthday in June, along with Draco's. And I myself a, born in July at the end of the month./
Charles blinked as he realized Bobby's rendition of 'everyone's birthday' was not an exaggeration from Teddy.
"Well, that sure makes a lot of cake in five months," he let out with a chuckle. "Is there any solution you can propose in attempting to cheer young Tedrick?"
There was noise in the background on the other side and it made the telepath wonder just what exactly was going on.
/I can send you some money, maybe have Mrs. Jean and Miss Marie go with him to buy some gifts? Dunno if it'll cure his full broodiness, but it should keep him occupied for a little while. Finding eight gifts isn't as easy as it sounds, even for us adults./
/Can we pitch in that piggy bank?/ giggled the whiny voice from before.
/Get a job to start with then we'll talk about ya giving money away!/ chided a voice Charles knew belonged to one Draco Malfoy.
/Mind ya own business ya poof! I'm busy raising a kid!/ the Irish lilt clear now, opposed to the British accents.
/More like getting a private tasting every single day, wanker! Is there a vintage you haven't tried yet?/
/Guys, keep it down! I'm on the phone,/ Harry eventually hissed. /Was there anything else you needed, Professor?/
Charles took only a second before asking his next question, knowing the other mutant would not take great offence.
"Where would the children be, Mr. Potter? Surely Mr. Creed is not missing out on your beverage tasting to tire them out?"
/Oh no, definitely not!/ laughs the younger mutant. /Lily's off for a sleepover with a few classmates of hers, Caleb and Tyler are at a playdate, Mr. Lebeau kidnapped Caiden to go woe some of the ladies at the malls and we've sold Scorpius to his grand-mother and her band of harpies./
/Oi! My mother does not have a band of Harpies!/ exclaimed Draco.
/And my mother's too much of a schemer to just be a follower,/ cackled the person who's accent was not exactly British, but definitely not Irish.
/I beg to differ,/ Draco's drawl came through clearly. /Your beloved mother is simply too occupied with finding her next husband and his untimely death to orchestrate anything pertaining to the Women's World Domination Comity./
/Thank Morgana my mother's still ignorant of what noble Ladies are up to during tea time! I'd never survive it, should my safe Heaven be invaded by their ludicrous ideas!/ laughed the Irish man.
Charles was now intrigued by these Ladies being mentioned.
/You blokes do realize they're corrupting your heirs as we speak, right?/ Harry asked with a very chirper disposition.
A loud 'thump' reached the telepath's ears and he guessed it must have been someone slapping their hands on the table top.
/That's the real reason you've sent little Teddy off to an American boarding school! I knew hiding him with mutants was just an excuse!/
/Finnigan, you lush! Sit your arse down and give me back my glass!/
More noises of rough housing reached him and Charles wasn't too surprised when the telephone connection cut. He was actually quite glad that this conversation not only gave a possible solution to Teddy's bad mood, but it seemed Harry himself was getting back into better spirits.
Not a day later, Charles instructed Jean and Rogue to join him in his office, to explain the situation to them.
"So we get to go shopping?" asked eagerly the teenage girl.
"Within reasons, of course. Mr. Potter mentioned gifts for eight people, two of them being Mr. Potter himself and Mr. Malfoy. I trust both of you to help Tedrick in his choices and his family is not due to visit for a few weeks, in which it gives him time to decide also what to get."
Jean nodded and smiled as Rogue excitedly bounced on her toes.
"Will ya be tellin' him of should I?" the teen asked.
"Please, the honor is all yours. Why don't you go find him right away?" Charles chuckled.
Rogue didn't need to be told twice; she almost slammed the doors open on her way out, making the two adults laugh.
"If she gets this excited, how do you think Teddy will react?" Jean laughed.
"We can only hope it's as enthusiastic. Mr. Potter's monetary advance should arrive tomorrow and I am counting on you to make the budgetary plan."
"You can count on me, Professor! So, other than Harry and Mr. Malfoy, who do we have to buy gifts for?"
Charles rolled back behind his desk, pulling out a sheet of paper he's scribbled notes on while he had been on the phone with Harry.
"In March, Scorpius and Harry's twins were mentioned. Along with Teddy in April is our troublemaking friend with the cooties; Rafael. May holds the place for a young lady in the family, June being Mr. Malfoy's and Liliann's special month. Mr. Potter is the last in July."
Jean nodded, memorizing the order as her mentor talked, a few ideas popping up into her head as to what would possibly be appropriate for gifts.
"Sure makes a lot of people," she hummed out loud to herself.
"Indeed, but they are a large and slightly reconstructed family. Mr. Potter also seemed quite amused at the predicament, but that may have been the alcohol talking," reasoned Charles.
"Alcohol?" Jean asked, blinking a few times in surprise.
"Yes, it seemed he had company at home and they were having a tasting. It is my belief it was a stress relieving experience provided by his peers."
Not wanting to doubt the elder telepath's words, but slightly worried for her new friend, Jean excused herself and left in search of Rogue and Teddy. She wanted to see for herself how the boy would react to being allowed to decide the gifts he would be giving out, even if she and Rogue would be having the final say.
She didn't need to go too far, finding both along with Bobby and John in the main study.
"Why do you get to go shopping with him and we don't?" was arguing Pyro, a pout on his lips that he would deny ever existed should anyone point it out.
"Cause Mr. Potter trusts me with l'tle Teddy, is why!" she countered. "An' ya'd be rubbish at findin' gifts for 'lil girls!"
"Who says there'll be any girls?"
Rogue and John were on their feet, a foot away from each other, facing the other on without any fear, Rogue waving her gloved arms around and John clenching and unclenching his fists at his sides.
Bobby and Teddy were looking on with wide eyes, both too stunned to really intervene, from what Jean deduced.
"Hey, guys?" she called firmly, but without raising her voice.
"What?!" they both snapped at her, turning in unison to glare at her.
Upon seeing who had actually addressed them, Rogue flinched back and curled a bit upon herself while John bit his bottom lip suddenly and looked over Jean's shoulder, avoiding direct eye contact.
"Calm now? Because this is a study hall and other students need to use it for studying. Your screaming match doesn't help them," Jean scolded in her best teacher voice.
"We weren't screaming," counters immediately John.
"Jus' a bit loud," added Rogue.
"In any case, the decision was made by Harry himself; Rogue and I will be the ones to go shop with Tedrick, but that doesn't stop you from giving out inputs. The money for those trips hasn't arrived yet and I for one would like Teddy to already have an idea on what he wants to buy. Is that acceptable?"
Glancing at each other, the arguing teenagers gave a solemn nod, understanding they were being given a privilege that could be revoked at any time should they cause trouble.
"Good!" Jean continued. "Now, the first gifts go to Caleb, Tyler and Scorpius. Make a list of what they could possibly like, keeping in mind their ages and you can even browse the internet for ideas, alright?"
"Yes ma'am," they politely answered.
Proud of herself for keeping the situation under control, Jean nodded and motioned for them to get to it.
They didn't need to be told twice.
Scott felt like groaning when he saw exactly who had arrived to deliver the present bounty, earning himself a pat on the back and a laugh from his fiancée.
"It could be worse, Scott. While exuberant, we've never been in a fight with Mr. LeBeau, unlike with Sabertooth," she pointed out.
"But still," argued Cyclops, still not comfortable with the Cajun hanging around, being a bad influence to the impressionable students.
"He's probably only dropping a card off and then he'll be back on the road in no time. You won't need to interact with him much," Jean replied with a roll of her eyes, deeply amused by Scott's rather childish reactions.
Gambit parked his bike, no helmet on his head to protect him and a scarf and sunglasses the only means to stop the cold air from damaging the skin too much on his face. Never mind the fact that there was still an inch or more of snow all around and the roads had a tendency to be frozen in the early mornings.
"How's ya not get pulled over?" Logan asked as he moved over to the newcomer.
"Gambit be good is all. Now, where be the louveteau? Teddy manque Remy beaucoup!" stated the hazardous driver.
Jean let out a laugh at the man's dramatics and waved for him to come inside.
"He's still in class right now, but if you have a bit of time, I'm sure he'll be ecstatic to see you also. How long will you be in town?"
Gambit's mischievous smile widened.
"Draco's no need pour Remy now, so Remy stick autour to see les gifts, oui?"
Scott tensing beside her had Jean shove her elbow in his side.
"Will you be needing a place to stay, Mr. LeBeau?"
"Nah! Gambit c'est pris a room en ville. Miss Grey no need to worry sa belle petite tête. Sauf que, Gambit not say non to a snack," he quipped back, his boyish smile not fooling anyone.
Smiling politely, she lead him over to the kitchen, where she gave him a few options for snacks, to which he eventually settled for an apple. Leaving him to munch happily, Jean left and went to join Scott, who'd moved over to the Rec Room.
"You're taking him with you?!" he asked, arms crossed over his chest and less than impressed. "Are you sure it's wise?"
"Wise or not, Harry trust him enough to not only have allowed him to bring Teddy to us after the Holidays, but also to entrust all of his children to him should he pass away and to bring us Teddy's birthdays' currency. The least we can do is allow him to spend time with Teddy, who happens to adore him," she replied, a clear scolding tone in her voice.
Looking away, Scott nodded and moved closer to Jean, giving her a kiss to ask for forgiveness. Rolling her green eyes, the telepathic telekinesist accepted her fiancé's apology, knowing how he could get at times. It's not that he gets really jealous, like in some cases Jean has heard about; but he gets insecure when new, charismatic people intrude in his home.
Having lived in a few foster homes and an orphanage, it took time for Scott to trust people. Even more since he and Jean had started dating, but he now had trust and faith in her enough that he wouldn't cause a scene.
Didn't stop him from staking his claim and she found it adorable at times.
Teddy was indeed, more than pleased when he learned Gambit would be joining them on the shopping trip. Rogue didn't seem to mind; she actually looked interested in learning more about the red on black eyed mutant who always spoken in the third person.
For her part, Jean was just glad to step out for a few hours with a minimum of surveillance to do. She was even tempted, if only for a second, to drop off the trio and head on over to the day spa that had opened recently, but she easily crushed the idea.
Rogue wouldn't be enough if Teddy managed to convince Gambit to accomplish some mischief and it didn't seem like the little boy would need much to wrangle the adult in his schemes.
"Off we go?" Rogue asked, almost dancing in the entry hall with excitement.
"Just waiting on Teddy now. I wonder what is taking him so long," Jean hummed, looking around for the child.
"Maybe he lookin' pour son hat? Ted be very shy en public," guess Gambit, not worried at all.
Before long, Teddy did appear, but he was dragging his feet and his hat didn't quite cover his dull grey hair.
"What's wrong Teddy? You don't wanna go shoppin'?" Rogue asked, kneeling down to see Teddy's face better.
"I forgot to look for a gift for Uncle Ron. His birthday is in March too," he replied with a pitiful voice, bottom lip trembling.
"Aw, it's a'right sweetie, we'll keep a lookout, yeah? I'm sure we'll spot somethin' ya uncle'll like. An' if it comes down to it, I'll help ya make the best birthday card ever he won't even need a gift!" the teenage girl negociated.
"You will?" Teddy hiccupped.
"Oh course! But ya'll still have to tell me a 'lil 'bout him so we can help look out for a gift, okay? His name's Ron, you said?"
Silently relieved that Rogue had the crisis under control, Jean ushered them out to the car, smiling politely as Gambit sat in the passenger seat but turned so he could join in on Teddy and Rogue's conversation.
"It's short for Ronald, but he doesn't like it because Aunt 'Mione and grand-ma Molly use it to scold him!" giggled the boy.
"Who's grand-ma Molly?" Jean found herself asking, not having heard the name before.
"Uncle Ron and Uncle George's mom. She's not my grand-ma; she's Rose's and Hugo's. Victoire, Dominique, Molly and Lucy's too. Plus Aunt Fleur's about to have another baby, so she's gonna be even more of a grand-ma!"
Teddy barely took a breath as he was talking and Rogue found herself blinking at all the information shooting out unexpectedly.
"Whoa there buster, too many names! Molly is Ron's ma and your Uncle George's. Who else is she the ma of?"
"Uncle Bill, who's married to Aunt Fleur; uncle Charlie; uncle Percy, but we don't see him or his wife Audrey often; and that leaves Uncle Fred who's dead and Ginny."
Gambit jumped in at that point.
"Bill and Fleur have two girls plus le bébé. Percival has two daughters; Molly et Lucy. Ron et Hermione have little Rose and petit Hugo. In all, she have eight grand-bébés, avec Rafael. Teddy not show pictures?" inquired the Cajun.
"We saw, just a lot of names to remember is all," Rogue replied, a bit defensively.
Teddy patted her arm gently in a soothing manner.
"It's alright. Daddy calls us a big disponctinel family."
"Dysfunctional," corrected Jean as she concentrated on dodging a few cars in the early Saturday mall traffic.
"Yeah, that word! Anyways, just cause we don't all share the same blood, doesn't mean we're not family. Daddy's not my real dad and Lily isn't really my sister, but I still love them very much. And Uncle Draco and Scorpius are my cousins, and I like them just like that!" stated the seven-year-old.
"Et does Remy fit in there, quelque part?" Gambit asked, teasing.
Teddy took on a pensive face, scrunching up his nose and glancing up at the car ceiling.
"Well, Vic says you're like a Harpy; you come and go and no matter what kind of pills you take, you're never gone for good so we might as well accept you."
"Harpy?" Jean and Gambit asked at the same time while Rogue frowned.
"Like the monster books, the lady that's also a bird?"
Teddy frowned in turn, looking at everyone's confusion.
"Daddy says it's an adults' joke and it's why I don't get it. Even if Marie doesn't get it, you should, Mr. LeBeau, Miss Grey."
Rogue started giggling then and the two adults looked at her expectantly.
"C'mon, it's not that hard, just he doesn't pronounce it right. And adults and teens 'catch' it," she emphasised.
"How can we catch Harpies-" Jean stopped in her tracks, letting out a groan of consternation even as Gambit burst out laughing. "Herpes."
Rogue childishly poked Gambit around the seat.
"No laughing you! You've been identified as a sexually transmitted disease and there's no hope of getting' rid of ya!"
"Oh, but Gambit be one sick people aime!" launched right back the auburn haired man.
"What does Harpies do?" Teddy asked, not wanting to be cut out of the conversation.
"It's pronounced Herpes Teddy and it's not fun for someone who has it. You'll learn more about it when you're older, like Rogue has already learned about it. Now, which store would you like to start with? Toy store, clothes store or candy shop?" Jean changed the subject, not quite ready for the safe sex talk as of yet.
"Candy!" quipped Gambit only to get an eye-roll from the little boy.
"Dad'll drown me in the toilet if I give Cal and Ty sugar. Uncle Draco'll do even worse," countered Teddy. "Toy store for my brothers? I think Scor would like some books. He likes to read."
"That's great. Do you have any idea for the others after that?" edged on Jean, wanting to have some form of order to their shopping trip.
"We-ell," stretched out Teddy, once more pensive. "I was thinking Rafael might want a new video game, since he got a game console at Yule, I want to give him a game to go with it."
"Games are a bit expensive, Teddy," Rogue told him, a bit worried at disappointing him.
"Bah, no worries, Harry made sure Gambit know une limit. Is gift pour Victoire we need to keep un oeil on!" smiled innocently the man.
But the effect was instant and Teddy blushed a deep red. In retaliation, the seven-year-old kicked the back of Gambit's seat.
"Do not kick the seats please," Jean scolded, giving Gambit a slight glare for inciting the boy. "From what I gathered, Victoire's birthday is still a little ways off. Can we try to concentrate on the others first?"
"Bien sûr!" chirped Gambit.
"Yes Miss Grey," echoed Teddy.
"Good, now we shouldn't get separated, but encase we do, I have some cellphones. Speed dial one is me. Speed dial two will be Rogue. Speed dial three goes to Mr. LeBeau and speed dial four is Teddy. If none of the numbers answer, I've programmed speed dial nine to call right back at the school where Professor Xavier will be answering, but we will try to avoid that, won't we?" she asked, checking the phones for a second before handing them out.
Stepping out of the car, Jean smiled at Rogue and Teddy's wide, happy smiles.
A/N; Thanks for reading.