Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

FIC: With Six You Get Eggroll (1/4) [G/J L, R] PG

Expand Messages
  • Anita Lorenz
    With Six You Get Eggroll. Pure Foofy Goodness by Nancy Lorenz. E-mail: tosh@opera.iinet.net.au Rating: PG for fun stuff. There might be some swearing, but
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      With Six You Get Eggroll.
      Pure Foofy Goodness by Nancy Lorenz.

      E-mail: tosh@...
      Rating: PG for fun stuff. There might be some swearing, but that's it.
      Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. Want it, ask me.
      Classification: Pure Foofaliciousness, with Logan/Rogue special herbs and
      spices.
      Series: None
      Spoilers: None.
      Synopsis: Children. Zoo. Logan. Rogue. Go figure.
      Disclaimer: All characters copyright Marvel and Fox.
      Feedback: Kiss me, I'm Australian. (Yes please!)
      Author's Note: This is not beta read. Any of you who don't believe in
      evolution,
      please note that not only is it spoken of extensively in this fic, but that the
      views of
      devout Christians that don't believe in it are slightly parodied. Not that I'm
      kicking
      anyone's faith, it's just one of those "What's a penis?" moments, that's all.
      This
      fic was inspired by the Doris Day movie "With Six You Get Eggroll", where the
      song
      "Que Sera Sera" was sung incessantly. Doris Day rocks my world, dude. Also,
      the 'New York Zoo' is completely fictional, kinda like Lily Page's Tavern. It's
      loosely
      based on the Perth Zoo, LA Zoo and San Diego Zoo.
      Dedication: To my pal Jo who was listening to me rave on about how gorgeous
      Ioan Gruffudd (pronounced Yo-an Griffith) is and how much I want his body when
      she knew how delectable he was all the damn time.
      Special Thanks To: Donna Bevan. The woman knows more about drugs than I
      care to mention - but she's going to be a forensic pathologist after she
      finishes her
      uni or whatever so she's got a fine excuse. Either way, she' s a good one to
      have
      at a party (lol).

      Guest Starring:
      Ioan Gruffudd (The Guy Who Saved Rogue in Titanic) ~~~ Geordie Carter.

      Matthew McConaughey (A rather young version of the Priest guy from Contact) ~~~
      Gambit.

      Joseph Gordon-Levitt (A young Tommy from Third Rock from the Sun) ~~~ Max.

      ~~~~X~~~~

      It was a special day. Professor Xavier pulled them all into his office and
      explained to them, in full detail, how very important and special the day was,
      and how if any of them (he eyed Logan for a long moment at this point in his
      prepatory speech) misbehaved or acted in a way that would cast a bad light on
      mutants, they would have a very long talk from him and he would be very
      disappointed.

      Logan grunted.

      It would be just like Xavier to stare at *him* of all the people that he'd
      rallied into this ridiculous idea of an outing.

      Upon the silver-rimmed black-board next to Xavier in big white chalky words was
      written "Meet A Mutant Day." That's what this whole thing was. Meeting a
      mutant, and spending time with them for a day. Xavier had started the
      programme in the schools, encouraging people to let their children meet the
      'mutants' that many feared, to accept them and understand them, all in hope of
      spawning a generation of people that didn't fear mutants and see them as
      something alien. Of course the reality of the situation was, the parents of
      these young minds were the ones with the permission slips, and many had refused
      to let their children have contact with any 'mutie freaks'. It was a challenge
      even finding a school that let the Professor in the door. Government funded
      schools were the only ones open to the idea, mainly because they were battling
      the hellish publicity caused by the now-missing Senator Kelly.

      >From all the schools in the vicinity of Westchester, Xavier had managed to
      gather a handful of fifty students for the planned trip to the New York Zoo.
      Xavier explained some complicated metaphor of the animals being like society,
      and how the dangerous animals were looked after just as well as the harmless
      ones, but Logan let his mind wander to the hell that would be their day out,
      silently thanking God that there were few enough children for the X-Men to be
      split into pairs as they guided the children around the menageries. He glanced
      to Rogue, whose head was tilted, her eyes narrowed in concentration as she
      listened to Xavier, and with all the grace and maturity of a fifteen year old,
      stuck his tongue out at her. She double glanced at him, frowning and smiling
      at him with disbelief before pointing to the Professor and mouthing 'Listen!'.
      He sighed. She was getting prettier. He wasn't sure how she managed it, but
      she was surely getting prettier, suiting well the band of beautiful women that
      bore the circle-bound 'X' that they all dedicated their lives to. He looked to
      the other people in the room.

      Storm was listening intently with that serious look on her face, and he wondered
      quietly why she never had any men hanging off her. It confused him, because
      she was stunning, very much the Goddess everyone regarded her as. The scoundrel
      Xavier had let stay here called Remy LeBeau seemed to be sniffing around her,
      but the boy had the libido of a tom with two pound balls, so that wasn't a
      surprise. He had a heady band of admirers, most of them a little younger than
      Rogue. Rogue's two closest friends of her age, Kitty and Jubilee, both flanked
      Remy. They were the two girls in the place that *didn't* go ga-ga for the
      Cajun, and Logan admired them all the more for it. Scott and Jean stood at the
      front of the room side by side, arms crossed in a similar stance of
      determination. They were overseeing the event with Xavier with all the
      precision of a military campaign, and with some sense of security Logan knew if
      they ever hit real peril (not the weekly calls of help from silly young kids
      tangling their stretching limbs or knocking out the usual Magneto-wanna-be's),
      the X-Men would be in good hands.

      "Well," Xavier said, running his hands together, "Shall we get into the bus and
      on our way?"

      Jubilee rolled her eyes and raised an unenthusiastic (and very much sarcastic)
      "Yay."

      Obviously leading a bunch of kids around a hot packed Zoo all day had as much
      appeal to her as a day old carton of black bean stir fry. Logan turned as a
      waft of light oriental musk over strawberry soap pulled at his attention, and he
      smiled at the young woman that wore it. Rogue tipped her head and met his eyes.

      "Ya ready?"

      He gave a low groan, "I'm not good with kids."

      She smiled, nudging him, "You were good with me."

      "You weren't exactly a kid, Rogue."

      Rogue smirked, pulling him along with the band of X-Men that now all filed out
      into the hallway, heading for the big silver bus that was parked out the front
      of the mansion.

      "You called me 'kid' often enough."

      He shrugged silently, trying to ignore the gum-snapping girl standing behind him
      in her gaudy yellow felty jacket.

      "This sucks," she moaned.

      "Tell me about it," Logan rumbled back at her.

      Kitty just sighed, "Come on guys, a little enthusiasm wouldn't hurt. We're
      helping these kids, you know?"

      Rogue sighed, "My cousin Jenny had the sweetest little kids. I miss 'em. They
      used to hug my legs and little Emmy would put flowers in our hair and sing songs
      with me."

      Logan found that picture a very idyllic one, that had the fierce big bad animal
      in him whimpering with happiness and rolling on his back in the grass. He
      shifted, growing impatient in the line of the fifteen X-Men that waited to get
      into the bus. Scott sat at the driver's seat, fiddling with the controls to the
      automated door.

      "Come on, Cyke," Logan growled, "We haven't got all damned day!"

      Scott threw an agitated hand at Logan as he turned the key and pressed the
      button madly. Finally, with a shuddering groan, the doors to the bus edged
      open. The would-be passengers filed in, Jubilee nudging Logan and Rogue in the
      ribs, bustling them towards the back of the bus. When Logan looked back at her
      to cast her an unamused glare, she just pulled her glasses down over her eyes
      and grinned at him. He shook his head as the younger X-Men sat him down on the
      bench at the very back. Logan could see the visor of Cyclops in the rear-vision
      mirror, the mouth smirking back at him. Damned jerk.

      He looked next to him, finding a slightly bouncing Rogue gazing out the back
      window.

      "Ah'm so excited!" she said, "This is gonna be fun, huh?"

      He glared at her flatly, but it didn't dull her mood. He always liked her for
      that, never letting his bad behaviour get her down. It was a strange experience
      indeed for Logan, and somehow therapeutic. The young X-Men around him sang
      bus-trip songs, and although the youngest people there were old enough for
      college, he felt as if he were a teenager going to a football match or some
      such. Some part of him felt thankful to have experienced the moment of
      camaraderie and excitement. Rogue grinned and sang with her friends, clapping
      her hands and nudging the shoulders of her friends. Every now and again she'd
      smile at him and pat his knee or ruffle his hair. He liked it when she was
      happy.

      They got to the Zoo about ten in the morning, and the small group of children
      weren't that hard to spot at all. They ranged from second or third grade to
      early high school, and a few of them sported either strange hair, strange skin,
      or both. Somehow someone thought this was an activity geared for mutants.
      Oh well - it all had to start some place.

      The Zoo's chosen guide strolled out with a gait that screamed of culture. Messy
      brown curled hair topped his head, and large doe-like eyes regarded the X-Men
      with an unusual kindness. Logan could sense the sudden heart flutters
      radiating from the women in the group as the guide flashed a bright smile and
      rubbed his hands together.

      "Good morning - you're the group for Meet a Mutant day?"

      The women all exchanged glances as the well-spoken British accent hit them, and
      Xavier rolled forward, offering his hand to the man. "That we are. You would
      be Mr. Carter?"

      Shaking the proffered hand, Mr. Carter nodded. "Yes - George Carter, but you
      can all call me Geordie."

      Jubilee swooned, gaining a puzzled look from Geordie.

      "Right, uh - children - can you come in close please?" Geordie motioned for the
      children to gather around, and he stood up on a nearby bench to gain their
      attention. "Right - thanks. Now, as you know, we're all here for Meet a Mutant
      Day. New York Zoo is glad to help Professor Xavier and his ongoing campaigns
      for Mutant Rights, and we hope that after today, you'll learn enough about the
      amazing people that we call 'Mutants' to form your own opinion on the issue.
      Now, we've made some work-sheets for you, that your Group Leaders will help you
      fill out."

      Logan glared at Xavier. "Work-sheets? What damned work-sheets?!" He
      practically flinched when the voice of Xavier popped into his head.

      ~~Please Logan, be quiet for the moment.~~

      Logan straightened indignantly and looked to Rogue. She was pulling her hair
      behind her ears, eyes wide as she watched the guide speak.

      "These sheets tell you all about evolution, and how not only humans, but the
      other animals in the zoo, evolved to their current state. We hope you'll see
      that mutation is just a part of survival, and that none of us would exist
      without it. Okay - when you all came in you were given numbers - all those
      with number one - can you please go to that palm tree over there? Jubilation
      and Remy are your Group Leaders. Now where are Remy and Jubilation?"

      With raised brows of awe, Jubilee stepped forward.

      "I'm here," she croaked. Geordie smiled and pointed to the tall palm tree that
      Remy and the kids were already heading off to.

      "Yeah - your kids - over there."

      She gave a dizzy laugh and nodded, "Kay right - dude." She walked off after
      Remy, looking back to Kitty and Rogue, waggling a hand and mouthing 'Owch!'.
      The girls all looked very much in agreement. With an awkward blush, Geordie
      rubbed the side of his nose and looked back to the group.

      Logan tuned out as Geordie wrangled the chattering kids, rubbing the dips in his
      knuckles with a dark scowl. A few of the children regarded him with wide eyes,
      turning away from him with what could only aptly be described as fear. He
      wasn't too put out though, poor Hank got the strangest looks of all. Hank
      however, had the grace of speech of John Forsythe, and the vocabulary of the
      entire reference sections of the books in every library of New York State
      combined. Any beastly misconceptions would be blown away the moment the guy
      opened his mouth.

      Logan on the other hand, was very good at scaring children. Very very good.
      He glanced up to Jean and Scott, who looked like they were in heaven amongst the
      ambling children who smiled at them brightly. He could see the awe in the kids
      faces as they looked at Jean, and Scott garnered the adoring smiles and batting
      eyelashes of quite a few young girls.

      "Erm - Mr. Logan?"

      Logan glanced up, Geordie looking straight at him.

      "Your children are waiting for you."

      He grit his teeth at the man. "They ain't mine, Bub."

      Geordie just smiled with good humour, "Quite - either way - they're waiting for
      you."

      He nodded, loping over to a bunch of very young looking kids milling around
      Rogue, all about six or seven years old. There was one kid there that looked
      about 12, and he seemed as enthusiastic about the whole thing as Logan did.
      Logan stretched his neck in the late spring heat, wishing it wasn't so clingy.
      He glanced back to where he came from, spotting Geordie call Storm over to
      him. Aah, Storm was the odd one out, but apparently she was to take the kids
      around with Geordie. With a smirk Logan looked back to the group he was
      destined to be with. Rogue smiled to Logan, and lifted a gloved hand to him.

      "Hey kids - this is Logan. He's my best friend, and he teaches sport. Say Good
      Morning to Logan."

      "Goo-mowning Logan."

      One little girl frowned, "How can he be your best friend? He's a boy and he's
      too old."

      Logan fought the urge to grit his teeth, but Rogue just shrugged.

      "Well he is. Now, Logan - this is Stephanie."

      He tilted his head with a thin smile, "Hey Stephanie."

      The little blonde imp smiled up at him with mismatched teeth and twinkling green
      eyes.

      "And Ted..."

      A little boy with short cropped brown hair and a slack-jawed gape blinked at
      him.

      "And Jeremy," Rogue pointed to a blonde boy, "Sally, Ralph and - " She paused,
      smiling differently to the older boy than the rest, "Max."

      The kid twitched a nostril at Logan with ill regard and looked away. Logan
      liked the kid already.

      "Okay, shall we go to the lawn so we can get to know each other a little before
      starting our tour of the Zoo?"

      The kids all nodded and squealed with delight, latching onto Rogue and trailing
      after her as they walked over to a nearby picnic lawn to begin the day. Logan
      couldn't help but be a little in awe at Rogue's easy repor with the children.
      The woman never failed to amaze him. He sat down next to her, the children
      gathering around them on the grass, young Max sitting a little further away than
      the other kids. Logan glanced to Max's hands, noting the thick gloves that
      covered them.

      "Marie - what's your power?" asked Stephanie, sitting to attention in front of
      Rogue.

      Rogue tipped her head, holding up her hand. "Well, it's not really a power. We
      don't call them that. Professor Xavier likes to call them 'gifts'."

      Jeremy pouted. "Well - what's your gift?"

      "I don't really have a useful one," she said, "My skin absorbs the memories and
      life energies of other people and animals."

      Stephanie looked confused, "What's that mean?"

      Logan frowned, but Rogue looked totally at ease with the situation.

      "It means that I can't touch people," she said gently, "If I do, I hurt them."

      "Z'at why you wear gloves?" said Jeremy.

      Rogue nodded, pulling the gloves on tighter. "Yep."

      Logan looked to Max. The boy was looking away, a distinct sadness in the young
      features.

      "How about him?"

      They pointed to Logan, as if he had no voice of his own. Logan lifted a hand.

      "Logan - wait-"

      He didn't wait. Without even a flinch he popped his claws on the hand, letting
      them gleam in the sunlight. The little girls screamed and recoiled, the boys
      shuddering and looking scared. Max smirked.

      "Jeezsss-" Rogue clamped her eyes shut and sighed, "Logan! Ah told you to
      wait!"

      Logan shrugged, "I'm showin' 'em my 'gift' Marie."

      At that, he let the claws slide back in, and left his hands in a fist to
      demonstrate the almost instantaneous re-knitting of the flesh there. The
      little girls, previously revolted and terrified, tilted their heads with
      confusion at the perfectly healed hands. They glanced nearby as a flash of red
      pulled their attention. Logan looked just in time to see Cyclops burn a pencil
      in half, and Jean was making one hover in the air.

      The children looked back to Logan.

      Jeremy shook his head, "Woah..."

      Rogue smiled, her gloved hands seeking out Logan's as she spoke to the children.

      "What do you know about evolution?"

      Stephanie frowned. "Evolution isn't real. Why are you rubbing his hands?"

      Rogue blinked, looking to Logan (who smirked with something akin to triumph), to
      her hands (that were absently rubbing the dips in his knuckles) and then back to
      Stephanie.

      "Er - first off - Evolution is real, and secondly - Logan's skin itches after it
      heals for a few minutes, so I like to rub it better."

      Logan noted Rogue's gift for glossing over the needlessly traumatic. The truth
      was the skin there hurt like hell from all the cutting and healing going on, and
      her knuckle rubs were more than welcome, especially with the nice satin of the
      opera gloves she wore. Stephanie steepled her fingers and looked to Rogue most
      seriously.

      "Can I ask a question Miss Marie?"

      "Sure, Steph."

      Stephanie nodded, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"

      Rogue opened her mouth, feeling her voice die in her throat. Oh shit. Logan
      watched Rogue stumble with the subject matter, her mouth stammering.

      "Erm - well - now that's not really why we're here Stephanie."

      Stephanie opened her mouth, but was cut off by Logan clearing his throat.
      Logan's voice had weight in it as he spoke, as he'd stayed mostly quiet since he
      joined the group.

      "Doesn't matter what ya believe in Stephanie," he said, staring at her gravely,
      "It's the here and now you gotta think about."

      This seemed to disturb Stephanie a little bit. Rogue addressed Stephanie with
      a soft look on her face.

      "Did your parents know what this tour was about, Stephanie?"

      Stephanie nodded, "Oh yes. They wanted me to know about the mutants."

      Logan narrowed an eye. "Why?"

      Stephanie blinked at him like it was blatantly obvious.

      "You're plagued by demons," she said, "That's why you're punished, and have
      those dark powers."

      Logan rolled his eyes, and Rogue squeezed his hands to silence him.

      "Now Stephanie, you know that there's a perfectly scientific explanation for our
      gifts," she said. "Logan's body is geared for healing. It heals very fast
      because he has a lot of the cells that help the body fix itself up. I can't
      touch people because the electricity in my body is different from everyone
      else's."

      Stephanie looked confused, and Rogue sighed.

      "Look, it's not important. I tell you what - you listen to me today, and all
      about evolution. After that, if you still think that your idea about demons
      being the cause of our powers is the more likely, then fine. You can believe
      that. But-" She glanced to Logan and smiled before looking back to
      Stephanie, "If you think that maybe the idea of evolution makes more sense -
      then perhaps you can read up on it when you get home?"

      Stephanie looked uncertain, but Rogue pouted, batting her eyelashes at the girl.

      "Please? For me?"

      The girl sighed, pursing her lips. "Maybe. My Momma wanted you to have this
      picture of Jesus though..."

      Rogue smiled patiently, "I'd love to have a picture of Jesus, Stephanie."

      The little girl smiled, and dug through her bag. After a moment she pulled out
      a couple of trading-card sized pictures of the effeminate featured Messiah,
      brown curly hair tumbling around his perfect features, his face tilted in
      regard. She handed two of them to Rogue in chubby hands.

      "One is for Mr. Logan, too."

      Rogue smiled to Logan, then nodded. "Thank you Stephanie. Now - uh..." She
      tucked the pictures away and looked back to the group, "What do you guys know of
      evolution?"

      The children mumbled and looked blank, and with tired eyes Max looked back to
      Rogue and shrugged. She sighed, and crossing her legs she pulled out the
      work-sheets.

      "Let's read out what this work-sheet has to say huh?" She flapped open the
      folded work-sheet, clearing her throat primly, more for show than for function.
      Logan gave a lopsided smile. "Evolution is the slow change of a living organism
      over many thousands of years into a new and different kind of organism. Do we
      all know what an organism is?"

      Ted put his hand up, "It's an animal, right?"

      "Or a plant," nodded Rogue, "It's a living thing. Very good, Ted. The exact
      nature of evolution is still debated today, but the basic process is the same.
      It starts when two living things come together to make a baby - or what
      scientists call 'offspring'. Do you know what happens when that happens?"

      A few of the children blushed and giggled, and Sally put her hand up.

      "The lady gets fat!"

      Rogue smiled and nodded, "Yeah, but that's after the very important moment that
      is responsible for a thing called 'mutation'. Now, when any two organisms bond
      to make offspring - they mix up some cells."

      Ralph frowned, "What's a cell?"

      Rogue swallowed, thinking a little. "Well - we're all made up of them.
      They're very tiny things that make up our body, and there are different kinds of
      them. There are cells for the skin, cells for your muscles, and you stomach,
      and your eyes and your heart and - this is very important," She lifted a finger
      and looked each child in the eye, "For making offspring."

      A little understanding seemed to dawn on the children.

      "Now, for the moment we'll talk about animals like us, that we call the
      mammals. Do you all know what a mammal is?"

      "It's like my cat," said Ted sagely.

      "Very good. We're mammals too. That's why we have hair, and why we breast feed
      our babies. Inside all the females of the mammals, there is an organ - an
      organ is like your heart or your stomach or your liver - there's an organ called
      the uterus."

      "That's where the babies are made," said Stephanie.

      "Exactly, well done, Steph," Rogue said, obviously pleased the girl was open to
      the experience of learning about evolution, "A part of the uterus is..." Rogue
      sighed, "I'll draw a picture for you." She dug around the small bag of
      activities she'd been given by Geordie and pulled out a black pen and a black
      drawing block. She scribbled down a vaguely 'Y' shaped blob, with two frilly
      ends with round ovals attached to them. She showed the group. "This -
      roughly - is inside all women. The baby grows here-" She pointed to the centre
      of the uterus, "Aaand the special cells that help make a baby are grown here -"
      She pointed to the ovals. "They're called ovaries. Now, when a baby is made,
      these cells bond with cells from a man."

      Ralph raised a hand, "Where do they come from?"

      Rogue looked to Logan, blushing a little, and Logan smirked.

      "Go on, Dr. Quinn," he said, "Tell 'em all about it."

      Rogue cleared her throat, narrowing her eyes a moment at Logan, "They come from
      the male sex organs."

      Stephanie blushed, looking uncertainly at Sally.

      "Um - they come from the testes," Rogue said, scribbling a vague drawing of a
      penis and testicles on the drawing pad, and poked at the testes, "Right there.
      When these cells come in contact with the special baby-making cells I told you
      about earlier, something really amazing happens." She flipped over the page
      eagerly to a new clean sheet, drawing two cells, "They begin to combine
      information on how to build cells. This information is in something called
      chromosomes. Sometimes, these little bundles of information organize
      themselves wrong, or they get muddled, and the information tells the cells to
      make the offspring different. As a result, the offspring comes out different
      from it's parents."

      "Is that how mutants are made?" asked Ralph.

      "Yes," nodded Rogue, "Such offspring are called 'mutants'. See, this has been
      happening to all animals and plants since life began on our earth. It's how we
      all changed from tiny cells in the water to the complicated animals we are
      today. Over each generation, things changed in the living things on earth,
      till they became what we know them as now. It's all got to do with something
      called 'natural selection'. It's based on the premise that the strongest
      animals survive to make more offspring. You all following me okay?"

      The kids nodded back at her. Logan held up a hand.

      "Oh uh - I think I'm a little unclear about what the testicles are for-" He
      broke into a snigger as Rogue scowled at him, slapping him playfully. Ted
      shook his head at Logan.

      "You should have been listening!" he scolded. Rogue shook her head and sighed.

      "Okay okay. So - we got changes in the special cells that make up the offspring
      - they're called sex cells - and these changes make the baby different from the
      mother. Then we have 'Natural Selection'. Now, sometimes when the offspring
      is different from the parent, it ends up that the offspring is changed in a way
      that it's easier for it to survive that the parent. Say, an animal was
      different from it's parent in the fact that it had stripes on it's fur, so it
      could hide in the grass better. It made more babies than the other animals, and
      so those babies were striped too. And those striped babies survived better than
      the other animals which bred with those babies, and all the animals eventually -
      after thousands of years - ended up with stripes too. >From that, from an
      animal with no stripes, to an animal with stripes - a new kind of animal was
      created. That's evolution."

      Jeremy frowned, "That's complicated."

      Rogue laughed, nodding, "Yes it is - but it's the way we all began, Jeremy."

      "And that's how mutants happened..." said Ralph.

      "Yes," Rogue said, "What's happened with our kind of mutants - people like me -
      is still a bit of a mystery. See, it's supposed to take thousands of years for
      this change to happen, yet mutants like Logan and I have existed since the early
      1900s. A lot of people are scared of mutants, because they think that we'll get
      rid of 'normal' human beings. These people haven't read many books - you know
      why?"

      The children shook their heads.

      "Well remember me telling you about those striped animals?"

      Now they nodded.

      "The animals that weren't striped didn't suddenly disappear, and it's not good
      for the survival of the animals for them to do that. They all made babies
      together, and the stripes were soon shared by all the animals of that kind.
      Human beings will survive, and it's been theorized that one day, all humans will
      have a mutant power of some kind, that it'll be normal."

      Jeremy looked scared, "Do they have to have claws?"

      Rogue smirked, "Well no. If we make sure Logan doesn't make any babies, then
      there won't be any with claws, no."

      The children didn't really get the joke, except Max who smiled and tugged at the
      grass as his shoulders shook in a quiet chuckle.

      ~~~~X~~~~

      Jubilee didn't like children, it was something everyone knew. There was a
      time when she would baby-sit for five bucks an hour, and she never wanted to
      relive those days again. Right now she was sure she was going to be one of
      the rare cases of 20 year olds dying from cardiac arrest.

      "You're a BOOGERHEAD!" shouted one child, tumbling over another, and Remy LeBeau
      growled.

      "You both be de boogerheads!" he said, pulling the kids apart, "Why you behave
      like dis?"

      "Cause you suck," snarled one little kid. Remy looked to Jubilee.

      "You think he be a long lost relative of Wolverine?"

      Jubilee groaned, "Probably. We all know what a slut he is."

      One girl looked up at Jubilee with wonder, "What's a slut?"

      "That's RUDE!" gasped another child, and the little girl blushed.

      "It's nothing, never mind - I taught you about evolution, you saw my damned
      powers now shut the hell up!"

      The little girl's lips quivered, "You're mean..."

      "No, I'm stressed," Jubilee said, "There's a difference." She looked to the
      worksheet in her hands and sighed. "Right - tigers. We're going to see the
      tigers. Up - all of you - up!"

      Remy jumped to his feet and pulled Jubilee up after him, the two young boys at
      odds still nudging and scowling at each other.

      "Ah swear," growled Remy, "If you two don' stop wid de t'eatrics I'm gonna throw
      you in wid de tah-gers m'self, eh?"

      The two boys stared at him quietly.

      "Don' make me bring out de aces, kids."

      They quivered, remembering the dramatic display of his 'gift' and they nodded
      frantically.

      "Yes Mr. LeBeau!"

      Remy straightened, looking to Jubilee and waving an arm in front of him. "After
      you, mon chere."

      She fluttered her eyes at him thankfully and sighed, "Right. Let's go."


      ~~~~X~~~~


      The younger children milled about Rogue with intent enthusiasm, and Sally had a
      hold of Rogue's gloved hand, stroking it gently, sometimes leaning her head on
      it. He could see the care in the girl's movements, like she was sorry for
      Rogue's 'gift'. Sally had asked Rogue at length about it.

      "Can you touch anyone at all?"

      "Nope."

      "Not even for a second?"

      "No."

      "Don't you miss it? Touching people?"

      Rogue had looked sad that moment. "All the time."

      Logan squeezed her shoulder then, sneaking a light kiss to the back of her head
      while the children were preoccupied with the seals throwing themselves about in
      their little sanctuary. He'd thought he'd been stealthy enough to not draw
      attention to the gesture, but as he turned he saw Max, leaning against the glass
      of the enclosure, narrowing his eyes at him. He could just hear Jubilee cooing
      'busteeeed' in his mind. He had to stop finding himself around that woman, her
      bizarre behaviour was like a disease. He loped quietly behind Rogue as they
      moved on to the penguins, watching her bottom sway as the kids trailed behind
      her and cooed at the flipper-winged ornithoids dipping in and out of the water
      in the terrarium set up.

      "Here's a good example of how evolution can change an animal. Penguins are
      birds, yet their feathers are smaller and oilier than that of birds that fly.
      They create a sheath to protect the fluffy, insulating downy feathers
      underneath."

      Logan cocked a confused brow at Rogue. Since when the hell did she know so much
      about penguins?! Well - she was in college, and had passed all her classes in
      high school with flying colours - she was a smart little nickel. But still -
      penguins?! Rogue glanced up and saw the look on his face, and as she walked
      past on the way to the polar bears she smirked and said.

      "I like penguins."

      Go figure. He trailed behind the little group, and the only other person doing
      any trailing was Max. Logan was convinced of the severity of the kid's
      attitude, and curiosity bit at him as to what the hell was up this kid's ass.
      He loped next to Max, kicking the pebbled trail they were walking on.

      "How bout you?"

      Max glanced up with narrowed eyes. "Huh?"

      "Penguins," he said, "You not listenin' to Marie?"

      Max snorted, "I'm not as rapt about your girlfriend as you are dude."

      Logan straightened. "She's not my girlfriend."

      "Sure," he nodded slowly, "And those knuckles rubs are entirely necessary."

      The attitude wasn't as quietly fascinating as it was before, and Logan scowled.

      "Well you can shut up and come back to me when you've had a clear foot of
      adamantium embedded in your arm to pop out at the slightest loss of temper, eh?"

      The boy grew quiet, eyes glued to the knuckles that were currently being
      discussed. He seemed curious, and clenching his jaw petulantly he gestured
      towards Logan's hands.

      "How'd you get 'em?"

      Logan glanced down to his hands a moment, rubbing them before stuffing them in
      his pockets.

      "Dunno."

      Max's brows twitched down. "Fine - don't tell me then."

      Logan let the boy skulk ahead of him after that, wondering why the kid was such
      a bad tempered shit. People were generally shits for a reason. Logan's was
      the fact that he couldn't remember his life, bar twenty shithouse years on the
      road. That would be enough to make anyone want to tell the world to go get
      fucked, but a kid - what did they have to be angry about? They collected cheap
      crap toys, they watched bad television, and listened to even crappier music.

      Suddenly the reasons for being such a bad tempered child were a little too
      numerous.

      ~~~~X~~~~

      "I swear to fucking God, I'll never ever booby-trap the men's lockers in the gym
      with fish-oil pills ever again I swear I swear just don't make me go through
      this - please!!"

      A little boy tugged on the girl's sleeve, whimpering. "I wanna see the snakes!"

      Jubilee clenched her teeth, "I - KNOW. I don't."

      Remy was in the toilets. The children wanted to see the snakes. Jubilee hated
      snakes with a passion ever since the one time she was forced to leave
      civilization for a camping trip, she stepped on one and killed it. It's guts
      burst from the sides before the thing had a change to hurt her, but the very
      sensation of those bones breaking and the squelching of the gizzards under her
      heel were enough to have her wretching all over again.

      Little Timmy didn't seem to understand that. Jubilee paced back and forth,
      gritting her teeth with a fierce scowl. Suddenly, a flash of long brown
      trench-coat fluttered past the corner of her eyes, and turning she saw the man
      stride from the men's bathroom, hitching his pants. She glared at him.

      "Did you wash your hands?"

      He blinked at her, "Eh? O' course I did!"

      Jubilee nodded, "Right - want you to set a good example for the children."

      Remy scoffed with disbelief, grabbing a kid's hand and dragging them onwards.

      "We go see de snakes," Remy said, "All of us, non?"

      Jubilee shook her head thoroughly, "Non! I'm staying outside of that damned
      Snake House Mr. LeBeau!"

      Remy spun on his heel, facing Jubilee with a straight look of no nonsense.

      "T'ink about dis, ma chere," he muttered, voice curling softly around the
      accented words, "You stepped on de snake how long ago?"

      Jubilee gulped, eyes locked to his moving lips that were only a couple of inches
      from her face.

      "Ten."

      "Ooh," he looked to the children around him, raising his brows and nodding at
      Jubilee while he pointed at her with a naked thumb, "Dix! Dix..." He clucked
      and shook his head, "Dese children - dey will no longer be afraid of de dark by
      dat time, ma petite. Hmmm? You don' have to be scared of de snakes anymore
      either."

      Jubilee scowled, "I'm not SCARED of them - I'm disgusted by them!"

      "Ya look scared to me!" announced one little boy who'd been a terrible thorn in
      Jubilee's side that day. Remy bent over, eyeing the boy with a smile and
      nodding.

      "Ya know what I be thinkin' petit?"

      The boy shook his head.

      "I be thinkin' you're right-"

      "Why you son of a-"

      Remy frowned at Jubilee, clucking and putting a gentle hand on the boy's
      shoulder in front of him.

      "D'ese are children, ma belle!"

      Jubilee growled. Wonderful time to start playing the Good Baby-sitter.

      "Now, don' you mind the chere, little one," he said, addressing the boy again,
      "She proud, non? Doesn't wanna admit she's scared. But it's okay..." He
      looked to all the kids, eying them meaningfully, "Bein' scared is smart. Bein'
      scared saves your life. Is how all dese animals live, eh? Ms. Lee live too -
      she's smart. But - she's lettin' dat fear dat made to protect her, to harm
      her." He stood up straight, meeting Jubilee's enraged glare, "Dat fear stop her
      from enjoyin' the day wit some cute kids."

      A little girl next to Jubilee frowned up at her. "Why do you hate us so much?"

      Jubilee's jaw dropped, and she immediately felt like an asshole. "I don't hate
      you... you just... you guys - you intimidate me."

      "Wuz imnitedate mean?"

      "In-tim-i-date," said Remy clearly through his mangled accent, "Is like - fear.
      She's probably scared you won't like her."

      "I don't," said the little Wolverine-Clone, "She reminds me too much of my big
      sister."

      Jubilee, after looking at the child with helplessly hurt eyes, sighed long. "Oh
      great." With a flap of her arms, she marched off on ahead, past the snake
      house, to a bench just past in on the path. Remy, with glinting red eyes,
      watched her go with a sigh. He looked down to the boy, shaking his head slowly.

      "Dat not be de way to gettin' girls to like you, li'l one."

      The boy shrugged, "I don't like girls anyway. Can we see the snakes now?"

      Remy looked to the snake house, and spotted Jean and Cyclops leading their
      children in. With a press of his lips, Remy nodded, pulling the children
      along.

      "Come on," he said, "Hurry."

      "Why are we hurrying?!" cried the boy.

      "Never you min'!" Remy said, bustling the children into the dark strange
      smelling room. The red-tinted glasses of Cyclops glinted in the light of the
      row of terrariums, and a perfect row of teeth in lush lips pulling to a smile
      greeted the Cajun.

      "Hey... how're you handling the tykes?"

      Remy groaned, "I be fine, mon ami, but Jubilee been havin' a few problems
      dealin' wit dem."

      Jean, curling behind Scott to approach Remy, frowned.

      "Really?"

      Remy nodded, and Scott sighed.

      "She's been fighting the 'little kid' image she's been slapped with for so
      long... maybe she's having trouble relating to the kids because of that?"

      Jean shrugged, frowning, "Well, did anything happen to set any insecurities
      off?"

      Remy just snorted.

      "Man - dat little kid dere announced he didn't lahke her. And she refuses to
      come in here and I was an' idiot by tryin' to get her to."

      Jean nodded, "Her aversion to snakes."

      Cyclops looked to Jean, "She's scared of snakes?"

      Jean shook her head, "No, not scared as such - disgusted. The very sight of
      them makes her want to vomit."

      "Oh... she's scared..."

      The telepath sighed. "Why is everything so black and white in the minds of
      men?" With that, she turned around, gathering the children towards the Tiger
      Snake cage. Remy fidgeted.

      "So where is she now?"

      "Outside," Remy said, "At the bench up the trail."

      "She abandoned you?!"

      Remy rolled his eyes.

      "Non, non - she's jus' lettin' off some steam, mon ami. I was wonderin'..."

      Scott tilted his head.

      "Could you look out for the kids for jus' five secon's? I wanned to go make
      sure de chere be okay..."

      "Sure Remy," nodded Scott, slapping a hand on his shoulder, "We'll bring them to
      you outside afterwards."

      "Merci," Remy replied, bowing his head a little before sweeping out the door in
      a swirl of brown trench-coat.

      ~~~~X~~~~

      The kids absolutely adored the gorillas. They pointed and cooed and thumped on
      the thick glass, squealing at them. Rogue had a lot of joy in telling little
      Stephanie that both Gorillas and people had common ancestors. Stephanie
      frowned.

      "Does Mr. Logan have more dem ancestors than us?"

      Logan merely glared at her, but Rogue smirked.

      "Some would like to think so, Stephie."

      Logan leaned in to Rogue as he walked past her to watch a mother gorilla with
      her baby, and whispered in her ear.

      "You are so going to get it, missy."

      Rogue giggled, kneeling down with Jeremy and listening to him explain to her
      exactly why his father must have been born from a gorilla himself. Logan sat
      down at the edge of the knee-high wall that lined the enclosure, the glass
      barring him from the rest of the rocky, leafy environment behind it. The mother
      and the baby behind the glass peered at him with something akin to curiosity,
      and the mother, with a black furry hand, padded at the class at him and cuddled
      her baby tight. Dear God, thought Logan, the gorilla is coming on to me...

      "You know, that kid might be onto something about your ancestors."

      Logan lifted a brow and looked behind him. "You askin' for a kick in the ass,
      kid?"

      Max stood behind him, hands stuffed in pockets, eyes looking with mild amusement
      at the repor Logan had going with the female gorilla. The boy shrugged,
      pursing his lips with an wry smile.

      "I doubt your boss Xavier would like that - ya know - you're supposed to be out
      here proving how well mutants and normal people get along, right?"

      "He's not really my boss." Logan then tilted his head with a wince, eyeing Max,
      "What's with that 'normal people' shit anyway? Does Marie look abnormal to
      you?"

      Max shrugged, "No. But we- you're - you're not normal."

      Logan's glare never wavered. "What's normal?"

      The brown eyes of the boy flecked with pain, and his lips twitched as he opened
      them, his words and voice too old, too filled with pain.

      "It's what everybody else is - and you're not."

      This only caused Logan to snicker, and leaning forward to the boy, he patted the
      boy's cheek with the back of his hand in a rough brotherly gesture.

      "There's more of us than you know, kid."

      Max flinched, scowled, and stalked off to the other side of the group. At this,
      Logan gave a triumphant smirk, till Max looked back to him.

      Ohhh Logan, he thought, You really are an asshole.

      Alienating the poor sod was not going to solve anything, he thought, and when
      they moved onto the chimpanzee enclosure, Logan pulled Marie to a side.

      "Rogue, I'm a little concerned about that Max kid..."

      Glancing to Max, Marie smiled brightly.

      "Why Logan! We're not gettin' all paternal now, are we?"

      He tilted his head with a simper, "Marie..."

      With the use of her real name, Marie quickly caught that he was serious. She
      sighed, nodding.

      "Raght, raght, I'm sorry. So - what has you so concerned?"

      "I dunno," he shrugged, "First off - the attitude is all wrong."

      Rogue nodded with a mockingly serious pout, "Oh yes... can't have someone else
      being a bad-ass around Mr. Logan."

      "Marie..."

      She sniggered again, nuzzling his sleeved arm as she laughed helplessly.

      "Second - I think he's having some problems with this mutant deal."

      She looked up, her laughter calming and she swallowed the last of her chuckles
      down. "Okay - okay. Look - why don't you try to talk to him a little more,
      hmm? He seems to like talking to you."

      "He hates talking to me, what are you talkin' about?"

      Marie smirked, "Well he hasn't said two words to anyone but you - so it looks
      like you're the one he likes the best."

      Logan sighed, "Oh great."

      ~~~~X~~~~
      To Be Continued....

      --
      Lifelong member of PETS:
      People for the Ethical Treatment of Scott!
      "Cause Poor Ol' One Eye deserves a BREAK DAMMIT!"
      --------------------
      "If Logan & Rogue were supposed to be a sibling-like,
      then Hugh and Anna didn't get the friggin' memo..."



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.