X-Men belong to Marvel. The kids belong to me. For entertainment purposes only.
Very silly story warning.
Thanks to Rogue, Amber, and Lomis for the beta, with special thanks to Lomis for the title. Big thanks to Zanne who braved the first rough drafts.

Chocolate Cakes and Piggy Banks
by Kerri


"I'm tryin'!"

"Try harder."

"I'll get a bowl, an' you get the flour."

"They're gonna like this a whole lot!"

The two little girls, still dressed in their flannel pajamas, tiptoed around the kitchen in the early pre-dawn.

"Sara, where's the flour?"

"Look in the cupboard, Dreux."

"I am, but I don't see it."

With a sigh, eight year old Sara padded over to seven year old Dreux. "You're taller than I am," she grumbled, pushing a chair over to the counter. "Now try it."

The door swung open. "What are you two doing?"

The girls looked up at the stern-sounding voice in surprise at being discovered.

"Uncle 'Cube!" Dreux let out her breath. "You scared us."

"Yeah, Uncle 'Cube," Sara scowled at him.

Bobby stood with his hands on his hips, looking at the two caught in the act, trying to put on a stern parental expression and failing entirely. He'd gotten up early to have enough time to finish his errands and pick his two boys up from their visit with his parents before the festivities began, but he could certainly spare a few minutes to see what they were up to at this time of the morning. It was his mission to encourage good, clean mischief in the next generation at every opportunity.

Sara's attempt to imitate her father nearly had him laughing aloud. Logan's growl lost its effect coming from such a cherubic face. "Sorry. Does anyone know what you two are doing?" He crossed over and lifted Dreux off the chair, setting her down next to Sara, then took the seat for himself.

"Non," Dreux told him in a stage whisper, her long curls bouncing as she shook her head from side to side. "We're making a surprise."

Bobby looked from one to the other. Dreux was taller, with Remy's slender build and auburn hair, her pretty face a delicate replica of her father. Sara was several inches shorter, despite being the older child, her short black hair curling wildly about a face that clearly announced to all Logan was her father.

"Really? What kind of surprise?" He leaned forward, inviting them to take him into their confidence.

"We want to make a cake for Daddy and Uncle Gumbo," Sara told him. "They didn't get any last night, 'cause it was all gone when they got back from workin'."

That's right, he remembered it now. They'd been out until after dinner, Remy 'filling' a new contract with Logan's assistance, one last piece of business to conduct before the coming new year, and they'd arrived well after dessert had been demolished.

With the holidays approaching, the team gathered for their own celebration before leaving to keep more traditional customs. The children loved celebrating more than one Christmas, and had kept most of the parents up late last night with their talking, giggling, and general mischief making.

"Papa was disappointed, 'cause chocolate cake is his favorite," Dreux said. "And Uncle 'nucklehead was sad, too. He told me so."

"So I asked Aunt Jean about the recipe," Sara held out a wrinkled piece of paper, "and I wrote it all down so we could make one."

Bobby took the paper from her and read over the laborious childish printing. He nodded in understanding. "Did Aunt Jean say you needed a grown-up to help you?"

"No," Sara frowned in thought. She'd remember that, she was sure. "She said if we did everything on the recipe, the cake would be beautiful."

Jean obviously had no idea why they wanted her recipe, Bobby thought to himself, hiding the urge to laugh in the face of their sincerity. This was just so cute, and too good an opportunity to pass up. "You need a grown-up to turn on the oven and to help with the mixer."

"Oh." The girls exchanged crestfallen looks.

"Uncle Blue might be awake in his lab," Dreux suggested hopefully.

"We're not allowed to go there," Sara reminded her. "Jubie?"

"Remember the last time we woke her up?" Jubilee was not a morning person, as they had found out once when they tried to get her to play with them. As payment for disturbing her 'beauty sleep,' Jubilee chased them down and tickled them unmercifully, then plopped them in the shallow end of the pool, pajamas and all.

"I guess we'll have to wait for a grown-up," Dreux said in a sad voice, peeking up at Bobby through long lashes. "Papa won't get his cake."

"You know," he pretended to ponder the subject, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "I'm a grown-up."

"That's not what Daddy says," Sara informed him, her small face nodding in agreement with Daddy.

"Maybe not, but I can use the oven," he said coaxingly, "and I can reach stuff on the top shelf."

They exchanged another look, then turned wide smiles on him. "Okay!"

"Don't open your eyes," Sara warned Logan as she led him into the dining room. Her small hand grasped his fore and middle fingers tightly as she pulled him along after her.

"I won'," he groused a bit, not-so-secretly intrigued by her insistence that he close his eyes and come with her now! Watching the little girl order her father around, and him almost docilely following said orders, gave more than one team member a chuckle.

"Now look," she told him.

He opened his eyes to stare across the table at Gambit, Dreux next to him with an expectant look on her face.

Remy gave Logan a small shrug at his unspoken question, and nodded slightly at the table. "De ladies make us a cake, Logan."

Logan looked at what was conceivably a cake carefully arranged on a pedestal plate. The layers were lopsided and bumpy, covered with chocolate frosting that did little to hide its physically challenged appearance.

Glancing down at his little girl, and the proud look on her face at their accomplishment, he didn't have the heart to tell her it scared him. "That's real nice o' ya, darlin'."

"Sit down, papa," Dreux tugged at Remy's hand. "Me and Sara will get plates and forks so you and Uncle 'nucklehead can eat it."

"'Kay, p'tite." He pulled a chair out and sat down obligingly.

She planted a kiss on his cheek, then raced out with Sara to get the needed items.

"Whatever we do, homme, we better eat it all," he told Logan, eyeing the cake warily.

"Yeah," Logan agreed with a sigh. "Don' wanna break their little hearts."

Sara perched herself next to Daddy and watched him take his first bite. "You like it?" she demanded almost before it cleared his mouth.

He bit down, then chewed slowly. "I like it, darlin'," he said around the mouthful of cake. His heightened taste buds read salt, cayenne pepper and cornmeal along with the flour and sugar. Wasn't too much sugar in there. The frosting was extremely sweet, though. He swallowed with some difficulty. "Mebbe somethin' to drink?"

"We forgot the milk!" Dreux bounced off the chair next to Papa and headed back for the kitchen, Sara behind her.

"Take a bite, Gumbo," Logan invited with an evil grin. He'd be damned if he'd suffer alone.

"De t'ings I do for dat gal," Remy muttered and lifted his fork. At the first taste he looked back at Logan. "Dis what I t'ink it is?"

"Depends on what y'think's in there."

"I t'ink mebbe we need somet'ing stronger to wash dis down wit'."

Dreux carefully set a large glass of milk in front of him. "Do you like it, Papa?"

He called upon the experience of a lifetime spent dissembling to lie to his little girl. "I love it, p'tite," he told her, "you an' Sara did a wonderful job makin' us dis cake." He picked up the glass and took a long drink.

"Have some more, Uncle Gumbo," Sara invited. "We made the whole thing for you and Daddy, and no one else. Not even Uncle 'Cube."

"We don' mind sharin'," Logan said, forcing down another bite.

"Uncle 'Cube said you an' Papa would want it all yourselves," Dreux said, leaning on her elbow to watch Papa calmly eat his share of the cake.

Logan gave Remy a look of pure envy at his ability to eat the salty, peppery, sawdust flavored cake as though he were savoring the finest of gourmet cuisine.

"He helped us make it for you," Sara added.

"He did?" Logan exchanged a look with Remy that promised the Iceman would soon know the meaning of the word 'slushy'.

After the cake finished, the last piece argued over between the fathers, each wanting the other to have it, the table cleared, and the little girls flushed with the triumph of their first almost-solo baking experience, Logan and Remy found their way to the kitchen to find something to take the taste away and plot revenge.

"Drake helped dem?" Remy drained one beer quickly, then opened another one. "Shoulda known dat. He prob'ly handed dem de cayenne himself."

"But the whole can?" Logan cracked open a fourth can, swishing it around his mouth. Finally he was losing some of that salty taste. "Musta put a pound o' salt in there."

"I doan feel s'good."

Ororo wandered through the kitchen to find both men sitting in the nook, a dozen empty cans on the table in front of them. Remy's head was resting on his arms, leaning against the table. Logan had a slightly green tinge to his skin as he opened another beer.

"What happened to you?" she asked curiously.

"Bobby happen, chere," Remy groaned. "He poisoned us."

"Excuse me?"

"Iceman's still up to his ol' tricks," Logan told her. "Y'know where he is?"

"He's visiting with Rogue, Charlotte and Jean in the rec room. They're decorating the tree with the children."

"We get 'im later," Logan promised darkly.

Remy could only groan in agreement.

Bobby jerked awake when something loud and tinny jangled in his face.

He sat up straight, icing up out of reflex, gasping for breath in the early dawn.

"Dad! Look what I got!" Kevin shook the noisy object in his face again. The five-year-old was clearly delighted with his discovery and eager to share it with his less than enthusiastic father.

"Argh! Kev, no more, please!" Bobby begged his son, hands clasped over his ears. He de-iced and peered at the boy fidgeting on the bed next to him.

"Sorry!" the boy chirped and shook it again.

Bobby grabbed at it. "What is this?!"

"It's a bank!"

"Shh, not so loud, Kev," Bobby pleaded, regretting now he let Remy talk him into having those extra drinks Charlotte mixed up for the adult crowd last night. The pounding in his head was just two beats behind his racing heart.

"Sorry," Kevin said again, a little more softly. He reached out with one hand and patted Bobby gently on the head to commiserate.

Opening his eyes carefully, he took a long look at the gift that had Kevin so excited. It was a rectangular tin bank painted to look like a box of crayons, with the coin slot in the top.

"It's nice, Kevin. Why are you up so early?"

"Everybody's up!" His voice rose again in his excitement. "They're openin' presents an' singin' songs an' havin' hot chocolate. Aunt Jeannie said to come get you."

"Okay, mission accomplished. You came to get me. Did she give you the bank?" He was going to have to talk to Jean about that. She was a mom, she knew about noisy toys.

"Nope. Uncle Gumbo give it to me, an' he give me quarters to put in it."

Now it all made sense. Gambit's revenge for the baking lesson he'd given the girls yesterday morning had been swift, his jovial attitude the night before a ruse to lull him into a false sense of security. Now all he had to do was wait for Logan's revenge, then he could rest easy.

He opened the bank and removed the change. "I'll give this back to you later, 'kay?"

"But, Dad -"

"Later, Kevin, please."

"Okay." The small boy wasn't happy about losing the neat present, but he didn't argue any further.

"Give me a couple minutes, and I'll be with you, kiddo." As he stumbled to his feet, feeling the pressure in his head swell to alarming proportions, he heard more jingles racing down the hallway to pause in front of the bedroom door.

"Did Justin get one, too?"

Kevin nodded. "Uncle 'nucklehead put money in it for him."

Bobby groaned again and opened the door.

Two and a half year old Justin crouched by the door in his red footie pajamas, merrily shaking his bank. He raised gleaming blue eyes to Bobby with a wide grin. "Daddy!" he crowed, "Look!"

Bobby leaned his aching head against the door. This was going to be a very long day, he thought to himself as he confiscated the noisy object from the loudly protesting toddler.

"Very funny," he told Logan and Remy a short while later, finding them in a corner watching the kids opening gifts with the moms close by to keep things running smoothly.

"Doan know what you talkin' 'bout, homme," Remy retorted.

Bobby sat down , nursing a throbbing headache with cup of strong, hot coffee. "Yeah, right!"

"Can' stand the heat, stay outta the kitchen," Logan said with a smirk.

"And who's idea was it to keep me up drinking last night?"

"Ain'cha grown-up? No one makes y'do anythin'."

"All right, it's over and you got me back. I've learned my lesson and I promise to never, ever do that again," Bobby vowed. "We're even now, right?"

"Non," Remy answered with an evil smile that had his wife wondering when she saw it, "not till you look as green as we did from eatin' dat cake."

Justin dashed up to Logan, bouncing from one foot to the other in his excitement. He thrust a car-shaped tin bank at him. "Un'klhead, mon-ey!"

"Sure, kid." Logan reached into his pocket, then dropped some coins in it. "Go show that to yer daddy."

Justin immediately shook his prize, chortling with glee. "Daddy!"

"Me, too?" Kevin asked, another bank in his hand.

Remy obliged him, then passed out more change to the others, encouraging a jingle bell chorus to start in honor of Uncle 'Cube.

Bobby smiled weakly at his sons and the other children singing at the top of their lungs and jangling their new banks. He wondered how many of those the boys had under the tree, and how much change Logan and Remy had.

The self-satisfied looks on both men's faces gave him the answer.

A very long day.


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