She wiped her gel-covered belly. She would need a long, refreshing shower. She hated that stuff.
"Rogue," said Beast tentatively. She arched an eyebrow and looked at him expectantly. "I have... A device... That was offered to us by the Shi'ar. It is supposed to give more information about the baby than the human technology can. Would you like me to use it on you?"
"What kind of information would it give?"
"Accurate date of birth, some physical features, special abilities..."
"Special abilities... Like mutations?"
Hank nodded. "As seen in young Lorna and some other mutants of second generation, abilities can be inherited."
"It could help to identify his father..."
After three months back at the Mansion and four months of pregnancy, she was starting to show. Hank had just confirmed her gut feeling. She was expecting a son.
"Thank ya, Hank. But I don't like this alien technology. I may have another way to find his daddy. This will be my last resort."
Hank respected her wishes. She pulled her blouse over her now clean stretching skin. She walked to her room. It was a warm October Saturday. The kids were out enjoying the last sun rays.
The Professor had moved her out of Kitty's room. She had now two rooms communicating through a bathroom. She was slowly, when she had time, decorating the baby's room. She painted the walls a soft beige. She painted teddy bears and plush animals all over the room. A crib and other furniture were there, but needed to be assembled. Kurt and Scott, as the baby's uncles, had promised to do it for her and forbid her to carry anything heavy. She lingered in her baby's room before shutting the bathroom door and stripping off her clothes for a shower. She couldn't stand the icky feeling of the gel any longer than necessary. She reveled in the warm water for a while.
Three months, she thought as she dried herself with a soft towel, and no trace of Sinister or any of his goons. Dared she hope? Kitty had advised her that she was close to a breakthrough with Sinister's files. Therapy also did her some good. The lady that the Professor recommended was so much nicer and comforting than Rogue had expected.
She put her underwear on and walked to her closet. She put on a nice, short-sleeved summer dress and leggings. She pulled the waistband under the bump forming. She had experienced that waistbands crossing her swollen belly were somewhat uncomfortable after a while.
She made her way to the kitchen for a mid-afternoon snack. Cravings were difficult to satisfy. She felt those any time of the day and the night. At that moment, she needed a sandwich with meat. She put it together and ate it with delight. As she was chewing her last mouthful, Kitty arrived in the kitchen with a scowl on her face. Rogue had never seen her so somber and... Wolverine-y. Kitty huffed and sat next to her friend.
"What's going on, Kit?"
"I decoded the files. Finally. Sinister was a paranoid sicko. He doesn't mention the name of his clone of a son anywhere. He called him 'patient Gamma'. I mean, who codes his patient after the Greek alphabet?"
"Maybe it's the first letter of his name?"
Kitty looked up at Rogue with a twinkle in her eye. "Oh my GOSH!" she squeaked. "Of course! He did name you 'patient Rota' in his files!"
"Well, we have a lead. A mutant whose name start with G."
She eyed Kitty as she kept bouncing excitedly on her chair.
"Oh. My. Gosh! Rogue! It could be! It could be! Gambit!"
Rogue stared blankly at her for a while, trying to process Kitty's words. "No way,"
She stated confidently. "I have both Sinister and him up there. I would know if..."
"He did disappear during the Apocalypse events. What if his powers went haywire and somehow, like, ended in Sinister's claws?"
An idea hit her like a bag of bricks. "Imagine Scott and Gambit... Half-brothers?"
Kitty laughed. "Scott would, like, totally have a stroke. Oh! Red eyes! Scott shots red beams through his eyes. Gambit has red on black eyes and he makes energy go out of his body to explode everything hit by it. Alex and Scott both shoot energy out of their bodies and things tend to explode then."
"It weirdly fits. I'd never have thought to compare the swamp rat with our fearless leader."
Both girls discussed possibilities. Rogue ended up telling about Hank's machine. "Go for it," she said. The Shi'ar tech helped us to upgrade the Danger Room. Many things here are operated with this technology. Being a computer wiz I can tell you it's harmless."
"Would you come with me?"
Kitty assured her that she would. They linked their arms and went outside to get under the sun rays.
A couple of days later, they met in the medbay with Hank. He set different devices on her belly, all linked to a main machine. The machine had a screen that showed the results.
"The baby will be born on... March 15th. His weight and height will be in the norms. Let's see his X-Gene. Hum. He will have your powers. Ah. Now we have a clue. My dear Anna. Your child will have red on black eyes."
Rogue, though she had tried to prepare herself for similar news, blinked a few times. "You're sure?"
"Absolutely positive. Chances were faint that such a mutation manifests in a child but... I see also that the red on black eyes will appear when his X-Gene activates. Until he's 15, he will have green eyes. Yours, I believe."
He removed the devices and helped her straighten up. Kitty was back to bouncing. No wonder she's so thin, though Rogue, with all the energy she's burning.
"Don't be so excited, Kit. No one has seen the Swamp Rat since Apocalypse. I need to track him down now."
"And you know where to start?"
"Mini-Remy up here has ideas," she stated while pointing to her forehead. "I need to see with the Professor if I can take a leave of absence."
"You'll go alone?"
"Kit, I'm pregnant, not terminally sick. I can still take care of myself."
Knowing how Rogue was sensitive on the subject and how she hated to be treated like she was made of glass, she nodded in agreement.
The next Saturday, she was in New Orleans. She stared at the Mansion that was the Thief Guild headquarters. She waited for someone to spot her.
Remy's dad, Jean-Luc, approached the gate casually. "Bonjour. You are one of my son's friend, aren't you?"
She nodded. "Good morning. I am here to see him. Any idea where I can find him?"
"Don't you know? You found us. You could know where he is already."
"A good thief never reveals his secrets," she said with Gambit's accent, her voice eerily close to his. "And I ignore where he is or I would already be there."
"Jean-Luc! Don' make the chil' wait outside!" scolded a dark skinned matron from the mansion's doorstep.
He frowned at her. He respected Mattie's opinions. Everyone with half a brain knew she was aware of things nobody should know. He beckoned Rogue to follow him. As she entered she heard the matron's voice bellow: "Remy! Get y' ass down here!"
As she followed Mattie and Jean-Luc, she heard steps behind her. His voice reminded her of their escapade three years before. "Mattie, who is..." he stopped when she turned and he took in who she was. "Chere? What are you doing here?"
"I've got things to tell you, Gambit. About your origins, mainly."
Mattie caught her arm. "Come with me, chil'. This is no conversation to have on an empty stomach. I'm sure you would love some crawfish."
Rogue's face lit up with enthusiasm. Whoever that lady was, she knew the way to Rogue's heart. She sat at the kitchen's island on a stool. Mattie dropped a plate in front of her. Rogue removed her coat. Her belly had been hidden under it and now her position hid it rather well. She didn't want Gambit to panic.
"Thank you, ma'am," she said.
Mattie tsked her. "Tante Mattie, chil'. You're part of the family."
Both men exchanged glances at Mattie's words and shrugged. They let Rogue eat in a companionable silence, knowing that Mattie and the young woman would speak up really soon.
Rogue ate the last of the crawfish and sighed contentedly. "Thank you, ma... Huh, Tante. It was delicious."
The silence settled again as Rogue started to turn her glass into her hands, pondering where to start. "Well, chere, why do you show up here now?"
"You know Sinister?"
Remy swallowed his saliva and curtly nodded. He didn't like to think about the man.
"He told me a story. The scary part is that it's all true. About twenty-five years ago, Sinister, because he was a mad scientist, decided to mix his DNA with the DNA of Cyclops' dad. The experience ran smoothly and, a few months later, he had a 'son', alive and well, part Summers, part Essex. Everything was dandy for Sinister until the day the baby was... Stolen." She sent a pointed look at Jean-Luc, who showed some signs of recognition behind his poker face, and took a sip of water.
"The baby was raised out of his reach and his influence. Fate, irony or coincidence, a few years ago, said baby showed on Sinister's doorstep because he failed to control his level five mutant powers. He reduced the power of the mutant and extracted material so he could start again the 'baby to raise to take over the world' process."
"You're saying I'm Sinister's... Creation?" Gambit asked, too stunned to hide behind his poker face.
"I'm sorry, Remy."
He started to pace. Trying to process what he just learned. Mattie made him sit, her hands on his shoulders. "Don't be rude, mon garçon. Listen to the Chil'. Go on with your story, ma fille."
"That's what Sinister told me..."
"Why did he tell you?"
"Six months ago I was abducted by him. He experimented on me. I have control over my mutation. Over all mutations I have ever imprinted. He thought me a suitable mother for his grandchild. He impregnated me with your child, Remy."
With those words, she stood up. Her swollen stomach attracted the eyes of both men and Mattie shook her head, though a faint smile graced her benevolent face.
"I've been looking for the man Sinister described for the last three months. I had no idea it was you until we found some intel. Sinister named you 'Patient Gamma' in his files and me 'Patient Rota'. Kitty figured he used the mutant nickname's first letter in its Greek form. Hank has some alien tech that allowed him to tell that when the X-gene of my son activates, it will trigger a secondary mutation. He will have red on black eyes."
Gambit was glad he was seated. "You... You sure, chere? It's mine?"
"Not a hundred percent sure. We will need to make DNA tests. I'm not asking you to be a father for my son. I just... I feel the need to know... And it's fair that you know what Sinister did."
Jean-Luc had been awfully silent during Rogue's story. Mattie looked at him. "I will tell him, Jean-Luc," she warned. She took both Gambit and Rogue's hands. "Mes enfants, I sent the guild steal the infant from Sinister's custody. I knew he would crush any trace of good in the boy to mold him. Instead, we took him in and raised him like one of ours. It was the chil' with demon's eyes. Le diable blanc. You, mon garçon. I can already confirm that the child is yours. The test will confirm it."
Gambit stood, removed his hand from Mattie's grasp and exited by the back door without a word. Rogue started to stand up but was stopped by Mattie. "He will come around, chil'. He needs to do some thinking."
Rogue eyes warily Jean-Luc who is intently looking at her. "You're the fille who helped him... Almost four years ago."
"I am. Did you keep him here all this time? He didn't come back to Bayville." she instinctively touched the pocket where she hid her most precious possession. It gave her comfort when she was down or stressed. In her pocket is the well worn lucky lady, the Queen he gave her during that hot bayou night.
Mattie pushed a tall glass filled with home-made lemonade and icecubes. Rogue thankfully accepted it and handed Mattie her empty glass.
AN: Another chapter of Rogue's Baby is done. The father is revealed. I know some of you were expecting it eagerly.
Next chapter next weekend! Thanks to all reviewers, this story is the most beloved of the three I'm currently working on. That's awesome in so many ways!
Cookies for everyone.