So I'm finally back! I'm sure you're thinking, "took you long enough!" Well, I have been hard at work writing (when I wasn't banging my head against the wall from the downright vicious bouts of writer's block) and I have been trying to get this story to be just perfect. But my lovely beta SuniGyrl as well as my grand reader dsauer have more or less made me realize that I'll be at it forever and ever amen if I wait that long before posting. So here's hoping that posting (and some encouraging reviews?) will be my motivation to crank these chapters out so you can have a sequel sometime before the end of this millennium.
Since I'm going to be starting classes and work soon, these updates aren't going to be quite as frequent as they were for the last story. But, I'm also pretty confident (97%) that this story won't go on for eighteen months like the last one. Anyway, just fair warning that updates will be roughly every two weeks. Since I already have the first fourteen or so chapters pretty well planned out, updates might come earlier than that. If, however, two weeks goes by without so much as an excuse as to why I haven't posted, feel free to sharpen the pitchforks and prepare to put my email on blast!
This story is a sequel to my rewritten version of the X-Men trilogy, "The Trouble with Weather". I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that you HAVE to read that story (all 98 chapters!) before this one, but there are probably some things that will make much more sense if you read that first.
This story picks up about six months after the epilogue of TTWW. Obviously I don't own X-Men at all, or else I wouldn't have to rearrange the characters the way *I* want them...
Thank you to my patient beta SuniGyrl, and enjoy!
Reclining on the couch, Logan watched Ororo rub lazy circles over her swollen stomach, her expression mildly thoughtful. If he was being perfectly honest with himself, in the back of his mind he'd expected Ororo to be a bit more self-conscious about the fact that she was steadily getting larger, and would continue to do so for the next four months. But, happily, she didn't seem the least bit put off by the baby bump she was sporting.
It could have something to do with the fact that Emma was three months farther along in her pregnancy and was thus three months larger than Ororo, but Logan kept those thoughts to himself as best he could. Ororo respected his privacy well enough, but the blonde was just looking for a reason to lash out.
On this day, of all days, Logan didn't want to get her riled up. All of the X-Men were enjoying a rare day of complete and total calm. The students had the day off and were being surprisingly well behaved in not causing any trouble that needed to be reprimanded by an adult. None of the teachers had any pressing papers that needed their undivided attention, nor were there any missions that needed completing or even events that they needed to keep an eye out for. There were no prank wars that needed refereeing, no rivalries that needed breaking up, no heated lover's spats that needed mediating... Each and every one of the adults was free to do whatever they wanted, at least for the day.
So many months ago, the inactivity might have made Logan a tad stir crazy. However, in the months following the incident on Alcatraz, Logan had grown accustomed to such quiet days. Luckily, days like this weren't so often as to grate badly on his nerves and he even welcomed the calm on occasion. Logan still liked the noise and chaos of action - craved it even - but, every once in a blue moon, it was nice to have absolutely nothing that he needed to do.
It was rainy outside (Ororo insisted that it wasn't her doing, though no one complained because, either way, it was likely the reason for the children's obedience) and it was a Wednesday in the middle of summer. Though there were a few children outside, most of the occupants of the mansion were doing one thing or another indoors. The X-Men happened to be occupying their time in the living room that was adjoined to the office that Ororo and Emma shared.
The couch that Logan and Ororo were sitting on was big enough to seat four adults – maybe even five, in a pinch. But even though Logan sat on the far left and Ororo was comfortably leaned against his chest, Remy was draped across the other side in a way that made it impossible for anyone else to sit without sitting on his lap.
Remembering the way that Marie had promised to join them on the couch after she finished the book she was looking through, Logan figured Remy was draped like that on purpose.
"How about Matthew?" Ororo suggested, pulling Logan's thoughts away from plots to kick the Cajun off the couch without jostling the woman leaned against him. Logan made a face at her and she rolled her eyes in a gesture that probably summed up her thoughts quite nicely: How many names are you going to turn down? "What's wrong with Matthew?" she asked tiredly. "More to the point, what's wrong with any of the names I've rattled off? That face you make is cute, but I don't want it stuck that way."
He gave her a level look, deciding to lead with neither the correction that he was not cute (... handsome, damn it!), nor that he hadn't been paying attention to the other names that she'd rattled off and thus didn't know what was wrong with them. Emma gave a poorly concealed snort that Logan pointedly ignored. "I appreciate the thought that you're putting into these names," he said truthfully as he reached out and covered the hand that was resting on her stomach with his own. He felt a light flutter of movement beneath his hand and for a moment forgot what he had been about to say as he flattened his palm fully against her stomach to better feel his child's kicking. After a moment the movement ceased and he continued in a light tone, "But we are not naming my daughter Matthew. What will the other kids say?"
Ororo gave him a sour look as she sat up straight and swatted away the arm that had been wrapped around her shoulders, as though swatting away a fly. Happily, she did nothing about the hand that was still rested on her stomach, though she did move her hand away from his, perhaps to prove how thoroughly annoyed she was. They had, after all, had this discussion too many times. "Matthew is a perfectly acceptable name for my son, thank you."
"Ya'll got no idea how annoyin ya'll is," Remy chided. He hadn't moved from his position, though it was clear that one of his knees was now digging into Ororo's hip. She lightly brushed her fingers across his calf and Remy jerked his leg away as though he'd been burned. Or perhaps frozen. Electrocuted? Any possibility was as likely as the next. He shot Ororo a scandalized look as he grumbled, "Why don't ya'll compromise so Gambit can finish watching his stories in peace?"
Peter, who was boredly playing a handheld video game in the nearby armchair, looked up at Remy with a skeptical expression. "You mean you turned this crap on?" he demanded. "I could have been watching UFC all this time?" When Remy darkly eyed the Russian's handheld and it started to shake on it's own, Peter clutched it protectively to himself. "Can you blame me for thinking Ororo turned this on?" he said hastily. "It sure as hell wasn't Logan."
"Or we probably would be watching UFC," Logan muttered flatly.
"Don't hate," the Cajun responded coolly, his posture perfectly at ease in an instant. "'The Bold and the Beautiful' may be more to Gambit's tastes, but he'll settle for 'Passions'."
"Why is that not surprising?" Bobby intoned from his spot on the floor, not bothering to look up from the notebook he was likely sketching elaborate pranks in. Months ago a comment like that would've sparked an immediate argument, if not an actual fight, between the two. Now Remy merely shrugged indifferently.
When Marie had finally made her preference to Remy crystal clear, the two men had cooled off and they were now on much better terms, though no one in the house could say that they were friends quite yet. Marie and Remy enjoyed each others company in plain view while Bobby made no effort to hide his interest in a green haired student by the name of Lorna Dane. Logan wasn't sure how Marie felt about Lorna or Bobby's obvious interest in her, but he decided that she was old enough to handle a problem like that on her own.
Logan didn't once bother keeping track of who was dating whom at the school, mostly because it made him dizzy even when he wasn't paying attention. He only cared that everyone was getting along so that he didn't have hordes of female students breaking down his door. Somehow he'd been labeled as caring, patient, and sympathetic to every little problem that the girls seemed to face in their adolescence. If he ever got his hands on the fool that started those damn 'cookies and compassion' rumors...
Noting Emma's wild giggling with disdain and a hint of suspicion, Logan cut off that line of thought. "Compromise is too easy," he muttered to himself, which earned him an elbow to the ribs from the beauty sitting next to him. It didn't hurt in the slightest, though the sharp kick of agreement from inside her stomach that accompanied it stung his chest a little.
But that couldn't be right. It was obviously indigestion, he told himself, giving Ororo a harassed look nonetheless.
Ignoring him completely, she turned to Remy. "What did you have in mind?"
"Ya'll shuttin up," he muttered flatly without breaking eye contact with the TV. Ororo scowled and reached over, hitting him too. He rubbed at his arm absently and moved as far away from her as the couch allowed. "Hope you ain't gonna show love to your baby like this," he grumbled.
Marie – who appeared to have abandoned her book and was now idly correcting papers with Kitty at the table behind them – scoffed. "Maybe you wouldn't get injured if you actually offered real help, swamp rat," she said.
Remy seemed ready with a sharp reply, but Ororo spoke over him. "How about Tiara Rose?"
Everything in the room grew ominously still as Logan slowly turned to Ororo, blinking at her in horror. She wasn't... serious? Did she already hate the child? "… the fuck kind of name is that?" he demanded. The breathy reach-out-and-embrace-the-aura-of-the-universe tone made his stomach churn. He knew her well enough to know that it didn't appeal to her! Or he thought he'd known…
The laughter she tried to contain at the look on his face relaxed him immensely. She hadn't been serious. They would've had some real problems that needed addressing if she had been serious. "I've yet to hear a single suggestion from you," Ororo finally said. "You haven't said anything beyond wanting a girl. Can you blame me for not knowing exactly what your tastes are?"
Logan crossed his arms and remained silent. So she knew he'd been dodging the subject of names. Not really surprising, but he still felt a bit embarrassed at being called on it. For some reason he just couldn't shake the feeling that the names he liked wouldn't be on par with what she liked. He wasn't sure as to the reason behind it, but the modern names that had become so popular – and that she seemed to prefer, he'd noticed – weren't as attractive to him as old fashioned names. Compared to the other names that she'd hinted at liking (Foster, Colton...) Matthew was actually an okay name, but…
Logan didn't want a boy! Besides, Ororo wanted a boy so badly that he had to assume she had any names that he'd like covered. He, on the other hand, had several ideas for girl's names, but he didn't feel like being shot down by everyone in the room. In a world where it was acceptable to name your child Peaches or Story or Mosaic, a nice name like Emily would probably merit getting ridiculed by other kids.
Ororo lightly strummed her fingers on her swollen stomach. "Well? Can you give me one?"
Logan gave her a haughty expression. She knew he wouldn't back down from an outright challenge. "Caroline."
Ororo stared at him blankly. Clearly she hadn't expected that.
"Or Annabelle," he tried.
Logan scowled and put a few inches of space between them on the couch. It wasn't much, but it soothed his ego. "Try to keep down your applause," he said sourly.
Ororo and Emma, who had thus far made no comment, both threw their heads back and let out high pitched peels of laughter, for much longer than Logan felt necessary. Were he the type to blush, his cheeks would've undoubtedly been crimson with embarrassment. But Logan wasn't the type, and merely kicked his sarcasm up a notch. "I didn't exactly dig through the latest edition of 'World's Greatest Baby Names'…"
Ororo shook her head, still giggling madly, his tone completely ineffective on her. "They're nice names," she managed to gasp. "They really are. I'm laughing because you don't even know if it's a girl or not, but it's already got you wrapped around its little finger."
Logan would've blushed deeper...
... if he was the type.
"Oh, he'll cave in to the brat's every command whether it's a girl or not," Emma put in, her laugh not quite as warm as Ororo's had been. Then again, everything about Emma was a bit more frigid; her name wasn't Frost for nothing.
While Ororo's response to pregnancy had been a quickly exhausted rage and generally a more laid back disposition, Emma's personality had all but dropped the temperature in the mansion. Her mood swings, while admittedly not as often as Ororo's, lasted much longer and were every bit as intense. That, and the appearance that she despised her unborn daughter already, had put everyone in the mansion ill at ease for months. Finding out that it was the lack of control with her powers that Emma despised had made Logan pay close enough attention to notice that Emma adored her baby every bit as much as Logan and Ororo loved their child.
But he still wanted a girl.
"I think you should just find out the gender and get it over with," Emma continued, seemingly reading Logan's thoughts. (Tactless, as usual, he thought, hoping she heard that.) "That way you can stop bickering about the child being a mama's boy or daddy's little girl and decide what it is that you actually want to call the little horror."
Her sharp tone was at odds with the way she gently rubbed her own (much larger) stomach, but Logan knew from experience that she was a bit annoyed with this particular topic. After all, if not for the fact that Ororo was using her hyper-active powers to shield the gender of their child, Emma would have spread it all over New York already.
"Some of us like to be surprised," Ororo told her evenly. "I'm sure you'd like to know what it is, but I won't let you ruin it for the rest of us. And don't call my child a horror or I'll make sure to increase the volume of my thoughts."
The blonde shuddered, knowing precisely what Ororo meant by that; she'd told both Logan and Ororo, on several occasions, that they ought to practice blocking their thoughts while in bed so they wouldn't instigate an orgy amongst the telepaths and empaths in the mansion. Logan knew better, and it appeared that Ororo did too; Emma just didn't like listening to their… creativity… without the added bonus of being able to tell any and everyone. Being in possession of such gossip and being unable to spread it since they lived in a house of teenagers infuriated Emma like nothing else. He was honestly surprised that she hadn't gone to the press...
"What other names do you have in mind?" Logan quickly asked Ororo, cutting Emma off from what looked to be a nasty reply. "And if you say Cloud Flower or Trickle Rain, this relationship is over." This got more hysterical giggles from Ororo and even a half snort from Emma, who looked to be mentally tallying the score before dropping the issue.
Ororo shrugged. "I've told you what I like. Names like Graham, I guess. Or Avery. Maybe Peyton."
Logan rolled his eyes. He'd heard all those names before, and he was getting exhausted with them. "Girl names," he insisted.
Ororo lifted a brow in challenge. "Boy names," she shot back.
"Why don't we help?" Bobby offered impatiently. "Do you like Alice?"
"Vladimir is a strong name," Peter said, hopping on the band wagon.
"You know Charlotte got a good ring to it," Remy countered.
"How about Jason," Marie tried.
"Cecelia is nice," Kitty chimed.
There was a collective pause as everyone turned around to look at who had suggested that. Kitty huffed and ducked her head down to continue correcting papers, but not before everyone good a look at the red that suddenly stained her cheeks. "Well, ex-cuse me for trying to help! I thought Logan was going for the old fashioned names."
"I have an idea!" Kurt declared excitedly, right in Logan's ear. The Canadian nearly jumped out of his skin and scowled at the blue mutant, who had been standing a few feet away from Kitty only moments ago. Kurt graced him with a wide grin in return. Thankfully Kurt had come back to the mansion along with Remy seven months ago, but hadn't yet rejoined the X-Men as a fighter. But, even if he was only a teacher, Logan was certainly glad – if only in the very back of his mind – that Kurt was back. Kitty had been moping around for far too long during his absence, and Ororo had been in need of a friend as optimistic as Kurt.
But his time at the Massachusetts Academy had turned him into a bit of a prankster. He was constantly sneaking up on someone, constantly popping up out of nowhere and scaring the ever-living out of people…
Usually Logan. He'd grudgingly admit that his quick temper probably made him a fun target, but that didn't stop him from wanting to throw down with the fool for some of his tricks. Logan never would've guessed it, but Kurt was quite stealthy with his teleportation and shadow jumping when he wanted to be; not so much as a quiet bamf or a whiff of sulfur.
Didn't mean he had to congratulate the fiend on a job well done. "Was that necessary, elf," Logan snarled, hoping that his voice didn't betray his still-pounding heart. The dry looks that Emma, Ororo and Remy sent his way assured him that he hadn't fooled anybody.
"Logan wants a girl and Ororo wants a boy," Kurt said, brushing off the nickname and Logan's tone without so much as a batted eye. "If it is ein Mädchen, then Logan gets what he wanted, so why not let Ororo name her? If it is ein Junge, Ororo has gotten what she wants, so Logan can name him. That is an acceptable compromise, ja?"
His indignation behind him, Logan turned that over in his mind. He could live with that, couldn't he? He trusted Ororo's judgment and knew that she wouldn't give their daughter an outrageous name like Tangerine Dream. And he hoped she didn't think he'd give their son some caveman name like… Og.
Although, he thought, in the event that it is a boy, I may have to come up with a name less predictable than Hunter. But that really didn't matter much. Ororo had given him plenty of boys names to think on, and he was sure he could come up with something if that time came.
And, in his gut, he knew it was a girl, so either way it really didn't matter. Kurt's suggestion seemed like a fair trade. "Okay."
Ororo gave him a Look. "Just like that? I don't get any say in this?"
Logan shrugged. "You haven't said anything yet. What would you like to say?"
She pointed at her swollen stomach. "Who's carrying the baby," she demanded.
"Oh, you want to go that route?" Logan matched her defiant stare without fear. "Who put it in there?" he countered.
"Lord, have mercy," Marie muttered as she grabbed her papers and left the room.
"That's easy for you to say," Ororo snapped. "You don't suffer the pain nine months later! It was fun for you!"
"And there's my cue to exit," Bobby declared, following after Marie.
"I didn't hear any complaining!" Logan hissed, his voice steadily rising.
Kitty got up and straightened her clothes as she walked out, simply shaking her head and giggling under her breath. Following her lead, Kurt left with her.
"Could you hear anything over the sound of your own wolf howls?" Ororo screeched back.
"I'm off like a prom dress," Peter muttered as he left too.
"You know what?" Logan bit back his candid reply and shook his head. Reaching out to take her hand, he lowered his voice and checked his tone. "Darling," he said politely, "I can't talk to you when you're like this. Can I get you something to eat? You're breathing heavy as hell, you must be hungry…"
She snatched her hand away with a harassed look, and for a moment it seemed that she was weighing the pros and cons of throwing him off the couch. "Don't touch me! Forget it! I can get my own food!"
Well, food was certainly on her mind if she forgot what they'd been arguing about so easily. Logan scoffed and looked at the TV, pretending to be suddenly interested that Ivy was scolding Ethan for cheating on Gwen with Theresa. "Not in the half hour it'll take you to pour yourself off the couch, waddle into the kitchen, adjust your pa– "
Ororo stopped him right there. "You know," she commented drily, "once upon a time, I would've thrown you halfway to the moon for a crack like that." He caught her gaze and noted – with a quick shudder that he hoped she didn't notice – that her eyes were faintly glowing and her hair occasionally snapped from static build-up. "Lord help you if I start to miss those days…"
Remy rolled off the couch and onto the floor, laughing hysterically. "Ya'll sure know how to clear a room," he said between gasps. "Gambit ain't laughed this hard since he read the 'best-of-craigslist' ads!"
For a moment, Ororo looked truly infuriated, but Logan knew that it was just the hormones. In the long run, she really didn't care. Arguments that he and Ororo had out in the open typically weren't very serious at all. Half the time he got her riled up specifically for the entertainment value, and he knew that she did the same when she felt the urge. Ororo might be miffed for the moment, but she'd be laughing about it in twenty to thirty minutes.
But, currently, she wasn't basking in the hilarity of their back and forth as much as Remy was. She rounded on Logan. "Fine. You offered. Go make me a sandwich."
Not a request, but a demand! Apparently manners weren't a factor for pregnant women! He stared at her, mouth open, only half aware that his expression brought forth the image of an angry parrot. She gave him an impatient look the longer he sat immobile, as though demanding an explanation as to why he hadn't hopped to right away.
"I'm trying to think of a good comeback," he muttered rebelliously.
"Why don't you come back with a gotdamn sandwich," she snapped.
That took the winds right out of his sails. Checkmate…
Remy, who'd finally gotten his laughter under control and had gotten to his feet, slid back to the floor, howling in laughter all over again. Logan thought it was a bit dramatic that the Cajun was actually rolling on the floor, but he said nothing as he stepped over the younger man and made his way to the kitchen to make the mother of his child a sandwich.
"Well played," he muttered, unable to wipe the amused smile off his face.
Next chapter we'll jump ahead a few years, but I wanted to start the story out on a light note! Hope you enjoyed!
On a side note, yes, the child already has a name. And no, it wasn't listed in this chapter (where's the fun in that?). Cyber cookie if you can guess it!