"And here's your host...Spyke!"
Spyke swaggered onto the stage as the lived audience applauded. One side there were some lounges with enough space for ten people, and behind them were ten comfortable stools. On the other side was mostly space, but a large TV was set up on a wall. Spyke lifted his hands as he stopped centre stage.
"Thank you all, and welcome to the very special BeautyandtheGeek reunion show," he said. "Tonight we'll be reviewing the season highlights, teammate clashes, never before seen footage, the romances, and the results of our online polls."
Spyke waited for the applause to die down.
"But first, let's meet this season's Beauties and Geeks: Jubilee and Bobby."
Jubilee and Bobby emerged from different side of the stage. Although they walked towards each other at first, there was a wall in the way so they couldn't see each other. They turned to face the audience, then walked down a couple of stairs, and it was then that they finally saw each other. They clasped hands and then made their way to the far seats. The audience cheered them on.
"Pietro and Rahne."
Pietro and Rahne stepped out from backstage at the sound of their names. Once they had found their seats, Spyke called out the next team.
"Tabitha and Scott."
Tabitha and Scott were the first team to hug each other upon their reunion.
"Jean and Fred."
"Kitty and Piotr."
It may have been Kitty's imagination, but she thought the crowd may have cheered just that little bit louder for them.
"Amara and Pyro."
"Lance and Rogue."
Lance and Rogue didn't hug when they saw each other, but Lance did shake her hand. They sat down on two of the stools when they got to the seats.
"Amanda and Kurt."
"Remy and Laura."
Gambit was certain to sit down on the stool next to Rogue. She smiled when he caught her eyes. They hadn't had a chance to speak yet since that 'big project' of hers...whatever it was. He looked forward to talking to her at the party afterwards.
"And last, but not least, Wanda and Toad!"
The cheers and applause was definitely loudest for Wanda and Toad as they entered the stage and sat down in the middle of the group.
"Welcome to the show, everyone," Spyke said, addressing the group. "Ready to show the world what really went on in the mansion?"
A chorus of 'yes's and 'no's responded. Spyke chuckled, and address the primary camera.
"Pietro was only here for two shows," said Spyke. "But he wasted no time getting to know all the ladies, Beauty and Geek alike."
There was some laughter as they went to the screen and watched a montage of Pietro flirting with almost all the women.
"There were two of the ten women who missed out on Pietro's smooth lines," said Spyke. "Rogue..."
Pietro approached the table where X-23 and Rogue were playing chess.
"So Rogue, could I get you to—" he began
"But what if—"
Rogue giggled. She was pretty sure the scene they'd just watched had been taken out of context, but it was still pretty funny.
"And Wanda," said Spyke, and everyone looked to the screen:
"What the hell are you doing here?" Wanda demanded.
"Same thing you are," Pietro replied. "The money. And to pick up chicks, which, okay, I'm guessing you're not here for that—"
"What the hell, Pietro?" Wanda snapped at him, shaking her finger. "You knew I was auditioning for the show! Why do you always have to spoil everything?"
"Hey, if you don't ask..."
"I hate you."
"I hate you more."
"That's highly unlikely," Wanda replied with a flick of her fingers. "Stay out of my way, Pietro."
"Or you'll do what?" Pietro challenged her cockily. "Tell Father on me?"
Wanda glared at him, and twin hex bolts glowed with blue light at her clenched fists. "If you even dream of telling anyone here that we're twins, I will make you wish you were never born!"
There was a collective gasp across the room, followed swiftly by exclamations of shock and awe.
"I think we just found some 'unseen footage'," Gambit said with a slight smirk.
"Omigod, you're twins?" Tabitha exclaimed, staring at Wanda and Pietro.
"Hey Wanda," Pietro said, grinning wickedly at her. "I didn't tell anyone."
"Yeah, yeah," Wanda replied and flicked a hex bolt at his stool, causing it to topple over and only Pietro's super-speed stop him from falling. "Quiet now, Pietro."
"Wait a second," said Scott. "I can tell that you two don't exactly get along, but Pietro was responsible for the ninth vote that won Wanda and Toad the contest."
"Doesn't matter," Jubilee said quickly, before anyone else could comment. "I was going to vote for Wanda and Toad—sorry Remy and Laura—so they still would have won."
Scott considered this. "Okay."
"It would have been just typical if you had screwed things up for me again," Wanda said haughtily to Pietro.
"But I didn't," Pietro replied. "And I think you should start being nice to me. I was nice to you."
He wasn't expecting the applause that comment got, and going from the look on her face, Wanda hadn't either. She sighed.
"Fine I'll lay off on the hex bolts," she said, considered, and then added: "At least until next time you do something to piss me off."
"And now it's time for Clash of the Teammates: Round One. Wanda and Toad."
The video they played showed a montage of scenes from the early days of the competition. It started with Wanda and Toad's first meeting, then moved on to numerous instances of Wanda being obviously disgusted by Toad's smell.
"Wash," Wanda said while in the bedroom with Toad.
"Wh-what?" Toad stammered in reply, his hopeful expression turning wary.
"Go have a shower," Wanda said firmly, gesturing to the bathroom door. "Now."
"But I hate showers," Toad whined.
"A bath then. I don't care," Wanda replied. "But you are not touching me until after you've scrubbed every inch of your body thoroughly."
"No buts!" Wanda insisted, her eyes blazing. "You're here to learn how to improve your social life, right? Well, this is where you start! Hygiene! You haven't showered once since you've been here, but mark my words, you are going to start washing every single day starting right now. And you're going to start using deodorant too."
"I hate deodorant," Toad complained, turning up his nose and seeming to sink into the floor.
"I don't care!" Wanda said, and a blue light grew around her hand as she clenched her fist. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way, Toad. And you won't like the hard way."
Everyone proceeded to laugh—and laugh hard—as they watched Toad being zapped by Wanda's hex bolts when he was still reluctant. After that, a clever montage followed of Toad calling Wanda "baby cakes" on multiple occasions, and Wanda responding with "don't call me that." Both Wanda and Toad had smiles on their faces when the video ended.
"Wanda," said Spyke. "You gave Toad a bit of a hard time there."
"Yeah, but...that only showed half of it," Wanda replied, feeling a little awkward. "Yeah, we got off to a bad start, but we're friends now. I just don't reciprocate Toad's, umm, stronger feelings for me."
"Toad?" Spyke inquired.
"Aww, it's okay. Besides," Toad said, sounding proud. "I got a date."
Toad beamed as the audience applauded him.
"And the results of our online poll," Spyke said. "We asked our viewers who their favourite Geek was."
Pictures of the Geeks appeared on the screen.
"And the winner is... Kurt."
Kurt gestured to himself dramatically with a look of wide-eyed amazement on his face.
"You love me!" he said to the applause. "You really love me!"
"One of the first romances in the mansion was that of Jean and Scott," Spyke said.
Jean and Scott—along with everyone else—watch the next video, a collection of their precious few intimate moments in the mansion. It ended with their brief reunion on the last day of the competition.
"Jean, Scott," Spyke said when the video was over. "Months later, how's that romance going now?"
"Pretty good, actually," Jean said, leaning over and taking Scott's hand in hers. "We've been dating ever since."
Scott looked a little bashful at the applause that followed.
"And now it's time for Clash of the Teammates: Round Two. Lance and Rogue."
As with Wanda and Toad before them, the video that played on the screen started with Rogue and Lance's first meeting. It was followed up by them settling into their room, and then studying for their first challenge.
"Okay, I need to go to the washroom," Rogue said, standing up. "When I come out, we can work on my stuff."
"Okay," Lance replied.
He set his book aside and waited until Rogue was in then ensuite. He waited for just a second, then he bolted for the bedroom door.
After that, they watched more and more scenes of Lance going out of his way to avoid Rogue. Scenes from the two eliminations where they were told off for not getting along were shown, a few more bits and pieces, and then finally Lance and Rogue getting along during the flair bartending challenge preparation.
"So, Lance, Rogue," said Spyke once the video was over. "You two didn't seem to like each other's company all that much."
"In fairness to Lance," Rogue said before Lance could say anything, "I was deliberately pushing him away. Him, and everyone else in the mansion. Of course, some people are more stubborn than others."
Rogue gave Gambit a pointed look. He grinned back at her.
"Look, all I'm going to say in my defence is that I once knew a guy who wore gloves all the time, like Rogue does, who could make anything living wither and die with just a touch," said Lance. "I'm talking y'know, giant trees reduced to nothing but a husk in two minutes."
He held back a comment about "if he didn't have an implant then, he'd better have one now," remembering what he knew of Rogue's history of trying to get an implant.
"Kitty was one of the most popular Beauties in the mansion. In fact, she had three of the guys trying for her hand," Spyke said, and the camera focused on each one in turn: "Her partner Piotr; Kurt, and Lance."
Kitty looked a little embarrassed, even moreso when the audience seemed to cheer for their preference.
"So, Kitty," said Spyke, grinning at her, like he was enjoying the awkward spot he was putting her in. "What do you think?"
"They're all great guys, Spyke," Kitty replied, avoiding looking at anyone's eyes. "And if I was single I'd date any one of them, but I'm not. I have a boyfriend back home."
"Awww," the audience chorused in disappointment.
"And for our second online poll this evening," said Spyke. "The results are in for your favourite Beauty."
Pictures of the Beauties slide-showed across the screen.
"And the winner is...Remy!"
Gambit laughed at that. He laughed even harder at the handful of boos he got from the audience in amongst the cheers and applause.
"We all remember when the Beauties and Geeks went to Vegas," said Spyke. "Before the challenges, they had a little time to see the sights and hang around in the casino. Here's some unseen footage from that trip."
The video started out on Gambit during a confessional:
"There's no point in hiding it, not from you," he said. "I'm a playboy, I even auditioned in Vegas; it shouldn't be that hard to figure out that I know my way around a casino."
The scene switched to X-23 and Gambit in the casino.
"We should go to the poker room," X-23 said to Gambit, "It will be good practice for you if we are correct about the Beauties challenge."
Gambit nodded thoughtfully. "Okay."
The video cut to the poker room and as the music played, everyone watched a montage of Gambit and X-23 winning over and over again at the poker table. As their respective piles of chips grew higher and higher, Gambit's moreso, the audience caught on. As if to just rub it in, the video ended with Gambit back in the confessional. He smirked at the camera and sprung a deck of card from one hand to the other.
"Omigod it's true," Wanda said, twisting her body around to glare at Gambit. "You are a card shark!"
Gambit grinned at her. "Was, actually. Now that it's been broadcasted on national television, I think it's going to be harder to fool people. But then I've always liked a challenge."
"And for our final segment this evening, we revisit the most unlikely of romances; Remy and Rogue," said Spyke. "Who would have thought that the untouchable woman, and the womanising playboy would hit it off? But they did."
Once again, everyone turned to the screen, and saw Rogue and Gambit standing on the balcony:
"You're the playboy, right?" Rogue said.
Gambit ran his fingers down her arm. "Oui."
"Well, I'm not some new toy for you to play with," Rogue said, flicking his hand off her. "I'm a woman and I expect to be treated like one."
Gambit smiled and looked her over suggestively. "And what a woman you are."
"I mean it, Swamp Rat," Rogue said, jabbing his chest with her index finger. "I've dealt with men like you before."
"I assure you, ma chère," Gambit said, snaring her hand and bringing it to his lips. "You have never dealt with a man like me before."
He kissed her gloved fingers and she snatched her hand away.
The video continued to review the highlights of their relationship on the show; the hot tub, the massage practice, their dates, the trip home from Las Vegas, a few more tender moments, the elimination where they faced off together and their reunion the next challenge.
"Plus, here's a little something you guys didn't see before," Spyke said.
Gambit and Rogue were in the elimination room and their faces were only an inch apart.
"Since you're eliminated, you can't be disqualified any more," he said.
As Rogue watched Gambit try to kiss her, she noticed that they had edited out her verbal objection. They also chose a camera angle that didn't show her face at that moment.
Rogue pulled back immediately, breaking off the kiss. Gambit slumped forward. His head slid down her torso to her stomach as his legs collapsed beneath him. Rogue gasped lightly as her green and white eyes changed to red and black.
"You little idiot," Rogue said, kneeling down and catching Gambit's upper body.
Gambit groaned and rubbed his head. "Worth it."
"Liar," Rogue said, glaring at him. "There is no way that pathetic excuse for a kiss is at all worth the pounding headache I know you have now."
"Awwww!" Kitty said, grinning broadly.
"Hey Remy," said Lance. "Do you still think it was worth it?"
"Absolutely," Gambit replied, grinning and completely unashamed.
"But wait," Spyke said. "There's more!"
The final video started with Wanda, Toad, Amanda, Kurt, Gambit and X-23 in the main bedroom.
"Someone's in lo-ove," Wanda said.
"I am not," Gambit objected groggily with his eyes closed.
"Someone is also in denial," Amanda said with a giggle.
"I'm not in love," Gambit insisted. "It's just...extreme like."
"If that's what you do when you 'extremely like' someone, I don't want to know what you would do when you love someone," Kurt said.
"Remy? Is it still 'extreme like'?" Spyke asked teasingly.
"No, no," Gambit said, shaking his head with a self-depreciating smile on his face. "I have come to terms with the fact that I am very much in love with Rogue."
"Awwww," the audience and a number of the housemates chorused. Gambit laughed ruefully.
"And Rogue?" Spyke asked.
"I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm 'in love'," Rogue said. "I've been pushing people away from me far too long for that kind of admission to come easily. But I—"
"She extremely likes me," Gambit piped up.
Rogue wasn't the only one to laugh at that.
"And you voted against Remy and Laura at the elimination," Spyke went on. "I know that a lot of people—myself included—didn't expect to see that."
"Well, I am called Rogue," she replied with a slight smirk. "But my reasons for voting for Wanda and Toad were exactly what I stated at the time."
"And I'm not interested in holding it against her. Besides, it was only money," Gambit said, hoping that his father, Jean-Luc, would never think he actually had that attitude.
"Yeah, love's way better than money," Kitty said agreeably.
There was some mild applause.
"And we've been dating ever since," Gambit continued with a smile at Rogue.
"Congratulations," Spyke said. "How's the lack of touching thing going? Any more attempts to kiss Rogue?"
Gambit laughed. "Not on the lips. The no-touching thing is kind of a non-issue. I travel a lot, and we live in different states so we don't see each other as often as we'd like. So when we do see each other, I'm just happy being in the same room."
"We're both happy just being in the same room," Rogue added, smiling at him. "See, right now? Thrilled to bits."
Spyke chuckled, then turned to the audience and the main camera.
"Well, that's about all we have time for," he said and Rogue took that as her cue to press the button on her watch which controlled her new implant. "But before we go, Rogue, I believe you have something you wanted to share with Remy?"
Rogue took a deep breath, smiled and pushed off her stool. She stood and faced Gambit. She hadn't really wanted to tell Gambit on TV—she would have much preferred to do so in private—however, this was the first chance they had to see each other since the surgery. She had also needed to advise the producers beforehand that there was a small chance of her missing the reunion in the unlikely event that anything had gone wrong with the surgery.
Gambit followed Rogue's lead and got off his stool too. He looked at her curiously.
"You know how I gave up on applying for the power control implant 'cause I kept getting rejected?" Rogue said, feeling very nervous.
"Oui," he replied with a slight nod.
"Well, I was, ahh, encouraged to reapply," Rogue said, then took a deep breath before she said the shocking part: "I got accepted."
Gambit's face lit up. He grabbed her hands and held them tight. "Rogue, that's awesome news. Congratulations. Hey, it's about time, right?"
Rogue smiled with pleasure at his reaction, and at the applause and cheers from everyone else.
"It gets better," she said.
"How can it possibly get better than that?" Gambit asked.
Rogue grinned at him. "I had the surgery last week."
"It was a total success," she said.
"So, you can touch?" Gambit asked slowly, his mind taking time to come to terms with this.
"Uh huh," Rogue said, and barrelled on quickly: "And I was hoping you would give me my first real kiss?"
The initial "Awwww" from the audience was followed up with more cheers and applause as Gambit gently took Rogue's face in his hands and kissed her for all he was worth. Rogue's arms wrapped tightly around him as she kissed back. She felt like she was going to cry again.
"And that's all we have time for," said Spyke, "but be sure to visit our website for more unseen footage, and the chance to audition for the next season of BeautyandtheGeek. Good night!"
Just for the record, there will be no sequel to this story, contrary to the implication of Spyke's final line there, hahaha. My apologies if this reunion episode seemed short. I keep feeling like there's more stuff I should have added to it, but my mind kept drawing a blank.
When I first started writing this, it was just for the lark. I had no idea that while I was giving the Beauties and Geeks challenges, they would be giving me one of my own: Managing a large cast, making sure everyone had adequate air time, and keeping everyone in character. I didn't expect this to be a learning experience for me, but it did. The irony amuses me.
On a side note, if the first chapter seems to have a different tone to the rest of the story, it's because I wrote it about a year or two before I wrote the rest of it. And originally, there was going to be a 'practice' team challenge at the beginning, the winner of which was going to have the option of switching two of the teams around: I was going to make Rogue and Gambit team mates. When I did finally get back to writing the story after being stuck for ages, I knew Laura a lot better than I did originally, and thought that pairing Laura and Gambit up was just perfect. So I deleted about a chapter's worth of writing, hahaha. It was painful, but so worth it. I was also planning on having Kitty and Piotr win the show, but partway through I realised I'd already done everything I had been planning on doing with them, and that Wanda and Toad seemed like the more natural winners.
Incidentally, there's stuff that's happened in this story that I would like to explore further in future stories. So if one day I write a story involving the power control implants, yes I am stealing ideas from myself :)
Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you've all enjoyed the story. An extra-special thanks to everyone who reviewed too. They're always much appreciated.