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In the Future

Stories in this series

Soon after the birth of Rogue and Gambit's son Luc, Gambit's adoptive father Jean-Luc reveals to Remy the truth of Remy's origins.

"The Cherry Cookie Incident"
Luc and Remy both learn a lesson when Luc steals a batch of Storm's fresh-baked cookies.

"The Sphinx's Question"
Remy bristles with fear when Rogue asks him The Question Which Has No Right Answer.

"Gotta Learn Them All"
Remy tries to familiarize himself with his son's interests by learning the names of all the Pokemon.

"Happy Anniversary!"
On their fifth anniversary, Rogue and Gambit try to break their anniversary celebration curse.

"Home Nursing"
Gambit comes down with a cold and hopes for a little extra TLC.

"Saturday Morning in Salem Center"
Gambit takes his son Luc shopping so that a pregnant (and morning-sickness-plagued) Rogue home with some peace and quiet for the morning.

"The Cabbage Patch"
Jealous of all the attention his new baby sister is getting, Luc tries to send her back to the Cabbage Patch, where his playmate Ainet says all babies come from.

The Sim Salem Project

The Cabbage Patch

Luc LeBeau pasted the final stamp on his "package", then stepped backwards to admire his handiwork. His sister, seemingly unfazed by the fact that she was plastered from bald head to tiny toe with stickers, stared up at him with the brilliantly green eyes of his mother and cooed and chuckled. He critically examined the child, especially proud about the final touch. Across her belly in his best hand-writing, more accustomed to scribing such pearls of wisdom as "Jane saw Spot" and "Run, Spot, Run", was the legend "The Cabbage Patch."

"Ya be sure babies come from de cabbage patch?" he doubtfully asked the girl standing next to him, "Papa said dat she grew inside maman."

Ainet, a plump girl with corn-row braids, rolled her eyes in a way that was the envy of all the mansion's children. She was in the process of eating her way through the contents of the household cookie jar, spreading crumbs over her red dress and the floor of the nursery, and her commentary was consequently slightly muffled by a blueberry whirl.

"No f'nse, Luc, b' thhs j's r'd'c'lis..." she swallowed her mouthful, "What would Uncle Remy know 'bout it? I'm sure he wasn't there when you got her. Only moms are allowed to be there and mine says my brother came from the cabbage patch. After all, plants grow in the garden and not in people, don't they?"

Convinced by the perfect logic of his playmate, Luc nodded. Her theory did not quite explain the change of shape his mother had undergone in the few months before Irene was born, nor the feel of a decided kick against his cheek when he had laid his head on her stomach, but he was sure there was a rational explanation for both of those. He would ask his mother when she was in a better mood, having been chased out of the kitchen for tracking mud over the newly-washed floor. It was unreasonable, Luc thought, to expect a normal, five year-old boy to keep clean the whole time when there were such interesting puddles to explore and insects to hunt in the garden. He had tried to explain that to her once, and had been no less firmly scrubbed for his troubles. Besides, she always was grumpy when his father went away for any length of time.

"So, should we mail her?" his friend grinned, "I wish I could do this to the Brat."

The boy had once had the more dignified name of David, which Stormy and Uncle Bishop and their friends still misguidedly used, but he had quickly been christened the Brat by his sister. The name fitted Irene better than David, Luc privately thought, but Ainet had laid claim to it first. Anyway, after today, the baby would hardly need a name, because he would return her to the cabbage patch from which she had come and stolen his parents. He scowled at the infant, hating her and the way she smiled gummily up at him.

There was nothing remotely interesting about her. Her limited charms began and ended with noises and smells. On the contrary, he, Luc LeBeau, could walk from one side of the room to the other on his hands. He had shown his parents that particular trick a few nights ago, and they had barely even noticed him. However, when Irene had made a noise that sounded more like "wrwff" than anything intelligible or sensible, they had gone into raptures. That was when he had decided that he needed to rid himself of her, to break the spell she had over his parents.

"Oui, A, let's go."

Knowing that she looked the part of the barefoot (which she was) and pregnant (which she was not and thank god for small mercies) wife and irritated by it, Rogue ferociously scrubbed the kitchen floor's tiles. They were spotless, had been so for some hours, but she was glad of the physical activity. If she stopped, she knew the thoughts and doubts that had gabbled and chattered in the darkness the previous night would return. Logically, she knew that Remy was possibly the best thief in the world and that the odds of anything going wrong with what was a simple pinch were so slim they made Callista Flockhart seem obese. Still, the niggling voice of fear that subsumed reason gleefully suggested a thousand, different scenarios. He could have tripped an alarm, could have been savaged by guard-dogs, could have lost his footing on the rooftop and slipped, could have been betrayed by the New Son, could have...

Swearing in annoyance, she dropped her brush back into the bucket of dirty water and carried them to the door to empty over their garden. There was a thrifty streak in her that years of Remy's extravagance had not quite erased, and she remembered her own "mother" reusing water for the few marigolds that she was able to coax out of the dusty soil. Thanks to Storm's efforts, their garden was slightly more splendid than her childhood one had been, but the beauty was wasted on her at the moment. Each flash of pink seen out of the corners of her eyes made her think that her husband had returned. Each explosion of red made her stomach turn. Deliberately forcing the images out of her mind, she realised that both of her children had been remarkably quiet.

"Luc? Where are you?"

Silence. Suspicious silence, considering her son made more noise than she thought five year-old lungs could produce. Ainet had come over to play, and, by now, they would have usually been a steam-train, Superman and Poison Ivy, Two Ninja Kids or anything else that made an obscene racket. Was he sulking in his room? She felt a momentary stab of remorse at having yelled at him for walking mud all over the floor. Her nerves were on edge, but she had no call to take her own doubts and fears out on her little boy.

"Luc? Luc?," she repeated as she climbed up the stairs, "Ah shoulda been ... Good gawd, Luc, what have you done ta yo' sistah?"

A truculant expression on his face, her son was in the process of carrying a laughing Irene from the nursery. The baby was covered from top to toe in stickers and her stomach was covered in a black scrawl that seemed to read: "The kabij patch". His co-conspirator, Ainet, formed the end of the little retinue as she carried the girl's bottle and blanket.

When she saw Rogue, she tried to smile ingenuously: "Just taking Reenie for a walk, Missus LeBeau."

"Uh huh," it took all of her self-control to keep a straight face, "Ah think you should take a walk home, Ainet. Luc, yo' room."

With the bloodthirstiness of the average five year-old boy, Luc had once devoured a grim series of horror comics, belonging to Iceman. He had done so on the sly, slipping into Bobby's room and rummaging in one of the boxes in the corner. He had known his parents would not approve, had not when they had discovered his escapades, but the stories were so thrilling and so shivery that he had been addicted. Vampires, zombies, monsters, headless horsemen had all impressed themselves on his vivid imagination.

One story, in particular, still figured in his nightmares. It told of a crazed count, who had the unfortunate habit of snatching naughty boys up in his burlap sack. There he would PUNISH them, depending on their crimes. THIEVES would have their fingers SNIPPED OFF with a pair of shears. LIARS or TATTLETALES would have their TONGUES removed. EAVESDROPPERS would have their EARS clipped. So the litany had continued, much to Luc's horrified fascination. Even though his mother had told him that the story was nonsense, that he should not worry about it, he still imagined that he could see a shadowy, insane figure, clutching scissors, whenever he did something wrong. It was his conscience after a fashion.

Consequently, he sat on his bed, looking pensively at the frieze of Supermans on his wall and listening to the sounds of the baby being bathed. His mother was singing some wordless and tuneless song to Irene, barely audible over the splashes of water and the protests of his sister. She hated being cleaned almost as much as he did. By the Count's system of justice, in which he so firmly believed, he would be SENT BACK to the cabbage patch himself, even if he was no longer a baby. Besides, his parents had clearly shown that they loved Irene more and he was therefore redundant. A nuisance, who was only kept because they felt guilty or because no-one else would take him. Luc sniffed in the grasp of the misery that only the truly young could know, because it was not yet subject to reason. A fat tear rolled down his cheek, followed by a procession of the same.

"Now that Reenie's asleep, Luc, what am Ah ta do with...?" his mother's voice shifted from stern to tender within seconds, "Sweetie, what's wrong?"

"I don't want to go back t'de Cabbage Patch, momma," he gulped, as she slipped an arm around his shoulder. The wool of her sweater was scratchy against his cheek, but he burrowed his face into her side anyway. She was very soft and warm, and she smelt wonderfully of soap and powder.

"Lawd above, Luc, who told you that rubbish?" she asked gently, but not without withering scorn.

"Ainet said ... said dat all babies come from de cabbage patch. Dat mommas go dere and pick 'em like vegetables," he murmured, thinking there was nothing as comforting as a mother. He felt the muscles of her ribs twitch beneath his face, as if she were desperately trying to keep control of herself.

"Don't Ah wish," she said wryly, then added in a more solemn tone of voice: "Sweetie, whatever Ororo might have told Ainet and however she might have got her daughter, Ah tend ta carry mah kids beneath mah heart. Ah carried you there for nine months, and ... you were so much a part o' me that Ah couldn't believe it when Cece handed me a tiny, pink bundle and said that this was you. Ah couldn't grasp that that tiny kick or those hiccups were a little boy, separate from me; that your daddy and Ah had made somethin' so ... perfect."

Again, the fascinating mystery of how the baby had ended up in her stomach. He had repeatedly asked his father about it with the unsatisfying effect of Remy commenting either on how "wonderful de weather was and wouldn' ya like t'go play outside, mon cher ti-fils?" or on how "he was goin' t'de shops and would Luc like t'come wit' him?". His mother was equally bad when it came to satisfying Luc's curiosity. She laughed and said that his dad would explain it to him. Which led to more observations about the weather and shopping.

Smugly, "I t'ought Ainet was wrong. So, ya aren't gonna put me back where ya got me?"

Rogue laughed, "Absolutely not. Nine months is enough ta test th' patience of a saint -- Ah'm not carryin' any of my kids fo' any longer. Even if Ah do love them more than anything else."

"So ya love me more dan Irene?"

"Ah love you as much as Ah love her," she kissed the top of Luc's head, "Ah know we've been spendin' less time with you recently. It doesn't mean we don't love you. Babies just need a lot of attention and love. However, when your daddy gets back, Ah'm going t'talk ta him about us spendin' more time with you."

"So, I'm not goin' t'be punished?" he asked hopefully.

"Ah didn't say that," the corners of her lips were upturned, even if her tone of voice was strict, "Ah think you need t'do somethin' ta make it up ta yo' sister."

Luc pouted. Of all the punishments his mother could have chosen, hand-chopping and ear-snipping included, having to pander to his baby sister was about the worst. He would probably have to fetch her diapers and bottle for a month, or (horror of horrors) amuse her when she refused to fall asleep. Visions of him having to hold puppet shows for Irene's exclusive benefit danced through his head, and collided with stubborn refusals to do so.


"Well," his mother sounded thoughtful, "You do know Reenie has never been to th' zoo? Ah was thinking of taking her this afternoon. Her big brother would, of course, have to show her around and point out the animals to her. Also, Ah'm pretty sure she's never had any icecream. However, it's bad fo' babies, so her big brother would have ta eat most of it fo' her. Ah think that'd be a start, don't you?"

Grinning broadly at the thought of the zoo's excellent cones, "Oui, maman, but ... I t'ink she'd also like t' see Pokemon 2 an' get some comics an' go t'de arcade an' have a Superman suit an'..."



Disclaimer: My last few pieces have been so horribly angsty and\or despondant that I thought I needed to write some light relief for the sake of my soul. All characters are Marvels, except Luc, Irene and Ainet who I'd call mine but their parents would object to it. :)
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