Disclaimers etc. in Part 1
Night of the Dead Living
Kitty hung up the phone and slipped into bed, trying not to
wake up Bobby. Theirs was the only cool room in the house,
because Bobby naturally lowered the temperature wherever he
went. She turned on her side, facing away, and tried to stop
her shoulders from shaking as she cried, but it was futile.
"Mmm, Kit?" he mumbled, reaching out blindly for her, and
feeling her shuddering next to him. He was alert in seconds.
"Kitty, what's wrong?"
She sniffed. "Nothing."
"Obviously, it's not nothing. Come on, tell me. Is it me?
Did I do something?" He rubbed circles on her back, and she
rolled over to face him.
"It's not you. It's got nothing to do with you. I just --"
"You can tell me. Who was on the phone?"
He was silent. Kitty's mother was not exactly discreet in
her opinion that her daughter could have done better than
marrying a mutant accountant who lived at a school, even a
school as prestigious as Xavier's.
"Just forget it, okay. It's got nothing to do with you. You
"You're a man."
"I'm your husband."
"I'm a woman."
"We're both mutants."
"Hmph." She pulled away and stood. "I need some air."
She opened the door and walked into Logan, who stood there,
one hand raised, just about to knock.
"Iceman. We need you down in the kitchen," he said as Kitty
pushed past him.
Bobby nodded. "Wait a sec." He slipped into the bathroom and
when he came out, pulled on a t-shirt. He said, "Okay."
"What's with Kitty?" Logan asked softly, watching as she
stalked down the hall, arms wrapped around herself,
"She won't tell me. Something with her mother."
"That can't be good," Logan muttered.
"Tell me about it." The two men walked downstairs slowly,
allowing Kitty the opportunity to get away from them. "So
They reached the kitchen and Bobby stopped dead. Rogue sat
at the table, cuddling the baby. She was softly crooning to
it in a slightly off-key, but not unpleasant voice, "Hush
little baby, don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a
mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don't sing, Mama's
gonna buy you a diamond ring."
Kitty was at the sink, filling a bottle with milk. She
handed it to Rogue, who smiled her thanks. "If you want me
to take him --" Kitty offered.
"No! I mean, uh, no, it's all right. I used to babysit, back
Logan and Bobby exchanged a glance. "We need to make a swamp
cooler," Logan said. "I'll get the fan from the control
room. You make some ice."
Meanwhile, Remy had joined Scott down in the control room.
"You think 'Roro is mad at me?"
Scott raised an eyebrow over his glasses. "She's strong,
Remy, but even she can't control the weather up here from
"What? No. I mean, she didn't call me tonight. And I lost
track of time. So now if I call her, I'm gonna wake her up,
and ma biche, she don't like that."
"I think she'd be madder if she heard you call her your
bitch," Scott replied.
Remy rolled his eyes, when Scott snickered at his own joke.
"You're not helping."
"I just --" He broke off, something on the monitor catching
his attention. "Shit, Remy, did you see that?"
"Mon Dieu, was that--"
"Santa Claus?" Scott finished incredulously. "I'm going to
check it out."
"Non. You stay here. Remy need a break." And the Cajun was
gone before Scott had a chance to object.
He was grumbling under his breath about not getting in on
any of the fun when Logan came in and grabbed the fan.
"Hey! Where do you think you're going with that?"
"If you were paying attention, Scooter, you'd see that we
have a new student," he tapped the monitor that showed the
kitchen, "and Rogue's gonna drown in her own sweat if she
doesn't take some of those clothes off. So Iceman is gonna
make himself useful."
Scott was staring at Rogue and the baby. "A baby?"
"Christ. We don't know what the hell to do with a baby."
"Obviously, Rogue does. And Jean's a doctor. We'll figure it
Remy burst into the control room then, pushing a man in a
Santa suit before him.
"P�re Noel was wandering around the grounds," he said, all
trace of the lovesick young man gone, replaced by a
"What's the matter, Kringle?" Logan taunted. "One of the
elves kiss Mrs. Claus's mistletoe? Is the ozone layer too
thin over the North Pole? Is Rudolph's nose red because of
alcohol? 'Cause God knows, you reek of Jack Daniels. What?
What is it?"
"No one knows how to give anymore," Santa said mournfully,
and then he hiccuped.
"I understand," Logan replied. "On December twenty-fourth,
you're the most popular guy in the world. On December
twenty-sixth, you're just another fat guy in a cheap suit.
"Take him upstairs," Scott said, frowning. "Sober him up and
let Jean look him over."
He didn't say it, but it was understood that she would be
the best one to assess what threat, if any, the faux Santa
"Come on," Logan said, hefting the fan and leading the way
to the elevators. Santa and Remy followed.
As they walked to the kitchen, Logan could hear Kitty's
voice from down the hall.
"I love Bobby, and I know he just wants to help, but, God.
He just doesn't understand sometimes."
"Kitty, it'll be okay," Rogue said.
"No, it won't." Kitty sniffed. "My mother is sick. I was
talking to her on the phone. She's got a tumor in her
breast. She finds out tomorrow if it's benign or malignant.
It's like, it's even worse than the X-gene -- I mean, almost
all the women in my family have lost their breasts to
cancer. And you know who I blame? Congress. Talking suits
sitting in the House and Senate. They don't make a move
unless it's about them. Some senator develops prostate
cancer, so millions and millions of dollars get pumped into
prostate research. Maybe if more senators had breasts,
they'd do something about it. Maybe if it was tied to the
X-gene, they'd throw the best scientists at it, so they
could exploit it for their own use. But as it is--"
"Oh, Kitty, science has made some remarkable breakthroughs
on breast cancer treatment," Jean was saying as the men
entered the kitchen. She had an arm wrapped around Kitty's
"Joyeaux Noel," Remy said, pushing Santa into the room.
Logan inclined his head at Jean, who came over to the
"I'll make some coffee," Kitty offered, trying to conceal
the evidence of her tears, rubbing the back of her hand
across her eyes.
"I'm gonna call 'Roro now," Remy announced as the women
bustled around the kitchen. "I don't care if I wake her up.
I need to know she's not mad at me."
"You want my advice?" Rogue said.
"No!" Remy exclaimed.
"I'm your best friend and you don't want my advice?" she
asked in disbelief.
"No!" Rogue's mouth opened in shock and hurt, and Remy
hurried to rectify his mistake. "I mean, you're one of my
best friends, yes, but no, I don't want your advice--"
"Fine," Rogue snapped. "Be that way. I was just going to
offer my advice on relationships."
"And you've been so successful," Logan snorted, putting the
fan down on the table with a thunk.
"Hey, I don't think you're exactly one to talk, either,"
Rogue replied. She turned back to Remy.. "All I was gonna
say is, what are you gonna call her for? Say you go out.
You're a saint. You're everything you can be in a perfect
world. So you sleep together. After the third time you do
it, it's actually good instead of just saying it is. But how
could it not be good? It's sex." She shook her head in
disgust as they all stared at her.
"So you get intimate. You get real close. You talk about
your childhood, your parents, your broken dreams. You talk
about relationships that didn't work out. You get so
intimate, you tell her your problems. You get loose, rude, a
little insensitive. " Her voice started to rise. "You're not
a saint anymore. And one day, he goes, 'I don't know who you
are. You're not the girl I got involved with.' You
apologize. You realize you've actually spent the last six
months apologizing for who you were the first two weeks.
"Then, in the middle of some night, he leaves." She was
yelling now. "Nice, huh? That's what you want?"
"I know why he left you," Remy muttered. "I mean, you don't
know when to shut up."
"Dwight didn't *leave* me, dammit!" Rogue shouted. The baby
began crying and she realized she was upsetting him with her
tantrum. After a few moments of murmuring, little Sean
settled down and Rogue said softly, "I told him to go."
Then she got up and rushed out, taking the baby with her.
Logan growled at Remy and moved to follow, but Jean laid a
hand on his arm. "Let her go," she murmured. "She's
obviously got a lot on her mind, and well, I don't think
you're the person she wants to see right now."
Jean shrugged. "She thinks you treat her like a child."
"She thinks you interfere in her life."
"Of course I interfere in her life! What the hell else am I
supposed to do, if she keeps getting involved with these
"She thinks you do it because you feel obligated," Jean
Logan's mouth worked for a moment, but nothing came out.
"She-- I--" He sat down heavily. "Obligated?"
"Something about a promise?" Jean reminded him. He didn't
respond, so she looked over at the drunken Santa. She closed
her eyes for a moment, then, ~He's clean. He's just a sad,
old man looking for some peace and goodwill.~
Santa sat hunched over the kitchen table, the white fur of
his suit dingy in the warm yellow light.
Jean followed Rogue out of the kitchen as Bobby came in from
the pantry carrying a cooler. He looked warily at his wife,
who avoided his eyes.
"Hey, Santa," he said with fake cheerfulness, "I've got
something to make you feel at home."
He raised his hands and little flakes of ice flittered down,
frosting the old man's hair and dappling his red velvet
Logan rolled his eyes. "How about spreading the cool
around?" he asked.
"What crawled up your ass and died?" Bobby snapped, while
Remy made 'cut-it-out' gestures at him from behind Logan's
back, mouthing the word, 'Rogue.' Logan growled in response
and Bobby sighed. "All right. Where's the rug rat?"
"Just make the ice," Logan replied. "He'll be back." He
turned to Remy. "And you -- what the *hell* do you think
you're doing, talking to Rogue like that?"
Remy held up his hands. "She's the one getting all upset,
not me, Logan. I don't know why you let her run around with
that piece of trash in the first place."
"Let her?" Logan asked incredulously. "Since when has Rogue
ever listened to any of us about her love life?" He snorted.
"Let her. Like the way you 'let' 'Ro go to DC without you,
Remy flushed. "That's different."
Logan grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat down opposite
Santa. "No, it's not." He looked over at Kitty, who stood at
the coffee pot, her back to them, shoulders shaking. "Right,
Kitty? We all know you're the boss of Drake."
"Ain't it the truth," Bobby muttered, still packing ice into
Kitty sniffed and turned. "For such a thick-skulled jackass,
you're pretty smart, Wolvie."
He grinned at her and took a long pull from his beer. The
phone rang and she ran for it.
"Hello? Yeah, it's me. Hold on." She turned to the men. "I'm
going to take it in the Professor's office. Can you hang up
when I yell?"
Bobby nodded and she rushed from the room.
Jean caught up with Rogue on the back porch. She was rocking
the baby, doing that peculiar bounce-walk that Jean could
never quite get the hang of with her sister's kids. She
wondered idly if that meant she would be a bad mother. She
and Scott had been talking about having kids, but the whole
idea made her nervous. She shook her head. She had to fix
this thing with Rogue and Logan before they drove her -- and
everyone else in the mansion -- nuts. Then she could worry
about her own problems with Scott.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
Rogue whirled, startled. "Jesus, Jean, you scared me half to
Jean smiled apologetically. "Logan was ready to gut Remy
just now for upsetting you."
Rogue laughed bitterly. "See, that's what I mean."
"He just wants you to be happy," Jean reiterated.
Rogue closed her eyes and swallowed hard. "I know. Do you
think I don't know how he feels about me?" Jean opened her
mouth, but Rogue kept talking as she paced. "'Sweet little
Marie.' 'She who must be protected.' I've been trying for
the past six years to get him to see me as an adult, as a
*woman*, but he *still* doesn't get it." She stopped and
turned to Jean, her expression full of hope. "Maybe you
could talk to him? Let him know I'm not seventeen anymore
and that there's nothing wrong with -- I mean, if he
wants--" She trailed off, biting her lip.
"I think *you* need to be the one to talk to him, Rogue. If
you want him to see you as an adult, you need to behave like
one. You're not in high school anymore. I'm not going to
pass him a note in English class."
Rogue dropped her eyes. "Yes, but-- If you could just talk
sense to him --"
Jean snorted delicately. "Nobody talks to Logan. Not unless
he wants to be spoken to. You know that."
Rogue sighed. "Yeah, but," she shifted Sean from one arm to
the other, careful not to dislodge the bottle from which he
drank, "he'll listen to you."
Jean pursed her lips. "You think that he, that I--"
"I know how he feels about you, too." Jean's eyebrows rose.
She thought the younger woman's bitterness over Logan's
flirtatious attentions to her had dissipated over the years.
They'd become good friends, teammates. As Rogue had gotten
older, Jean had never picked up any residual resentment from
her. "I don't hate you. I mean, I did when I was younger.
But I don't now. I know you're not going to leave Scott,
that you and Logan never did more than flirt -- that you
never wanted to.
"But-- I also know how Logan sees you, and how he sees me,
and I don't understand why it hasn't changed." She handed
Jean the bottle and turned away, ostensibly to burp the
baby, but Jean knew she was trying to get her emotions under
"Did you ever think that maybe it -- he -- has?" Jean asked
gently. "That the thoughts and feelings you have are, well,
almost eight years out of date?"
Rogue spun so quickly that Jean worried a little about Sean
developing whiplash. "What?"
"Unless there's something I don't know about, the last time
Logan touched you was on the Statue of Liberty, right?"
Rogue nodded. "Well, then. That was almost eight years ago.
So, you've grown and changed since then. Did you ever think
that maybe Logan has, as well?"
"I -- I--"
"Think about it," Jean said lightly, putting a comforting
hand on her shoulder. "I'm going to find Scott."
She left Rogue standing on the porch, lost in thought.
"Since the baby's not here," Logan said to no one in
particular and turned the fan on himself again.
Remy rolled his eyes but said nothing. Santa was leaning
back in his chair, and he appeared to be sleeping, his mug
of coffee forgotten on the table.
Bobby just continued making ice, though the cooler was close
to overflowing. Remy was stealing bits and pieces of ice to
run over his neck and forehead, and popping them into his
"I think that's enough, Iceman, don't you?" the Cajun
finally said, as Bobby continued to pile ice into a
precarious crystal mountain three inches above the lip of
"I don't know anything." Bobby spun, his eyes bright with
anger. "I don't know why Kitty's mother doesn't like me. I
don't know why my wife won't talk to me. I thought she was
supposed to love me no matter what. But suddenly, I'm
dysfunctional. I'm withholding. I don't show affection." His
voice rose; Santa woke with a start, but said nothing. "I
try to be supportive, she says I'm smothering. I give her
space and she says I'm distant. You know, all the books I've
read since we got married, and I still don't know anything."
He flung out his hands in frustration. "'How Can I Get
Through to You.' 'Passionate Marriage.' 'Men Are From Mars,
Women Are from Venus.'"
"Your head is in Uranus," Logan said, but there was gruff
affection rather than anger in his voice.
"What the hell do you know about it?" Bobby demanded. "You
haven't had a decent relationship in the eight years I've
Logan ignored this vitriol and leaned forward. "You love
her, right?" Bobby nodded. "And she loves you?"
"I guess so."
Logan put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently. "Well,
go out there and find out what's bugging her. She needs you,
Iceman. Don't let her down."
Bobby stared at Logan for a minute, baffled. Then he headed
over to Xavier's office. He heard Kitty crying before he saw
her, sitting with her knees drawn up on the guest chair.
"Hey," he said softly, leaning on the edge of Xavier's desk
and facing her.
"Hey," she answered, sniffling.
"Look, I'm not asking you to tell me what's bothering you.
Obviously, you think that's your business, not mine."
"It's just that you're my wife, and I love you. Even if I
can't help you, I'm here for you. Even if you don't want to
"I appreciate that, Bobby. I love you, too. It's got nothing
to do with you. It's my problem."
"Kitty, honey, you're my *wife*. Your problems *are* my
problems. So, tell me, what's bothering you?"
Kitty sniffed again, and threw herself at his chest. She
swallowed hard, once. "My mom's got a tumor and she finds
out in a few hours if it's malignant or not."
Bobby's arms tightened around her. "Oh. Wow. Kitty, I'm so
sorry." He stroked her back in small circles, resting his
chin on her head as she cried.
She shrugged in his embrace. "It just makes me feel so,"
Kitty paused, took a deep breath to steady herself,
"Well, you know, either way, she'd want you there with her
at the doctor's. I'll see if I can't get the jet and take us
to Chicago. Scott should be okay with that."
She looked up at him, and even through her tears he could
see the love in her eyes. "That's what I love about you,
Bobby Drake. Just when I'm ready to write you off as a
goofball, you go and surprise me like this."
He feathered kisses against her hair, hugging her to him
with all the urgency of a drowning man clutching a life
"I love you, Kitty. Don't ever forget that, please."
"Love you, too," she murmured, nestling into him for a few
moments before pulling away to wipe at her tear-stained
cheeks. "I'm going to go wash my face."
"I'll be in the kitchen," Bobby said. His usual good humor,
though edged with worry over her mother's condition, was
restored now that he knew Kitty wasn't leaving him.
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