Disclaimers etc. in Part 1
Night of the Dead Living
Remy shook his head, bemused. "You really an old softie
underneath all that bad attitude and hair, eh, mon ami?"
Logan growled. "I'm still not happy with you, Cajun. You
"You got it bad for le petite, Logan. You need to suck it up
and tell her."
"She'd probably fling that coffee pot at my head."
"It's better than all this pining and brooding. Hank's ready
to prescribe Prozac."
"What are you afraid of, Gumbo? That I'll steal your spot on
Remy laughed. "With Ororo, it ain't gonna be like that. She
already knows all my secrets, all the bad stuff. Been there
through most of it."
"So why don't you call her?"
Remy glanced at the clock above the stove. "It's almost
three. Too late to call now." Logan rolled his eyes. "If I
call her now, she's just gonna yell at me. I don't want her
to yell at me. I don't want to make her mad. I don't like to
give people a reason to leave."
"So you're afraid she's going to leave you, huh?" Remy
nodded and Logan leaned in conspiratorially. "But what if
she doesn't? What if this is *it* -- 'til death do you part?
That creates a bigger fear, huh?"
"Of what?" Remy asked, raising his chin defiantly.
"Maybe she'll love you." Logan shrugged a shoulder. "Maybe
she *won't* love you. Maybe you're not lovable. Maybe no one
will ever love you again." He lowered his voice almost to a
whisper. "Or maybe, Remy, she's the one."
Remy took a sip of beer, thinking about Logan's words.
Finally, he ran a hand over his forehead and said, "I'm
almost thirty, and I've seen, I've done a lot of things. I
just want, I just want to make someone happy. To find
someone who makes me happy." He laughed. "What a way to
start a life with someone, hien? Dating."
"Dating is a form of self-destruction," Rogue announced,
returning to the kitchen, baby Sean cradled on her shoulder.
"But of course, you don't want *my* advice."
Remy chuffed. "Rogue, you know, you pick out these losers
and ignore the man who really loves you." Logan growled a
low warning, but Remy was warming to his theme and paid him
no heed. "You fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat
and pay no attention to the man who's always there when you
need him. You're not credible on this subject."
"Fine," Rogue bit out, and turned to go. Then, "Wait. What
did you say?"
Remy opened his mouth to speak, but a growled, "Gambit,"
from Logan made him snap it shut again.
"Sit right here," Logan said, pointing to the chair nearest
the ice-filled cooler. He directed the fan at her. "And take
off that goddamned shirt. I'm sweating just looking at you."
Remy looked at both of them and said, "Rogue, chere, I'm
"Nah. You're right. I'm being a bitch. It's this heat." She
shifted the baby from one arm to the other, and both men
couldn't help but notice how her shirt clung to her, damp
with perspiration. "It's ten degrees hotter inside than it
is outside, and outside it's ten degrees hotter than it
Santa looked up from his half-doze. "You know, the earth has
snapped out of its orbit and is heading toward the sun. It's
only gonna get hotter and hotter and hotter. Christmas is
never gonna come and we're all gonna burst into flames."
Rogue nodded absently, stroking the baby's hair. "That is
possible," she murmured. "It certainly is."
Remy glanced between Rogue and Logan again, and Logan
scowled at him. He shrugged and went to the refrigerator.
"I'm not sleeping tonight, I guess. I'll call Stormy at
dawn. She's always up with the sun." He took out two beers,
tossed one to Logan, who caught it easily, and opened the
other himself. "Chere, you want a drink?"
"More tea, please." She jerked her chin at the stove. "There
should still be some water in the teapot. You can heat it up
again. Thanks." Remy did as she asked, looking through the
cabinets for a teabag and a clean mug.
"Tea?" Logan asked incredulously. "Hot tea?" Rogue nodded.
"She's drinking hot tea," he muttered in Santa's direction,
still disbelieving. "What did she have for dinner? Soup?"
Rogue's chin rose. "Let me ask you a question. What's the
hottest place on earth?"
"I give up," Santa said, obviously fascinated by the
interplay between the two.
"The desert," Rogue said before Logan could speak. "What do
they drink in the desert?"
"Nothing," Logan replied. "That's why it's the desert."
"No," Rogue said in triumph. "Tea. They drink tea in the
desert to stay cool."
"I'll stay with coffee," Santa said.
Rogue smiled at him. "Well, coffee's hot, too."
"Not anymore, it's not," he said mournfully, looking into
his mug of cold coffee.
"You're insane," Logan said, rising and standing next to
her. He was grinning as he said it though.
"Maybe, but you love me anyway," Rogue replied, and then bit
her lip when she realized what she'd said and connected it
to Remy's earlier diatribe. "I mean--"
"Nah, you're right," he said, and his voice was low and
husky, meant for her ears only. She shivered, despite the
heat. In a more normal tone, he went on, "Now, I really wish
you'd take that shirt off. The kid is probably hot as hell,"
he continued when she opened her mouth to disagree. "He's
furry. He needs coolness."
"It's not safe," Rogue replied, her jaw set stubbornly.
"Isn't this where I came in?" Kitty asked, leading Bobby
back into the kitchen, her face scrubbed clean of all
evidence of her earlier crying jag.
"You're gonna sweat to death," Logan continued. "People have
been known to drown in their own sweat, Rogue. And you're
gonna take me with you."
"Yeah, if you don't sweat, your body's gonna overheat and
you'll explode," Bobby said. "Unless you're me, of course.
Then you're always nice and cool."
That made them all laugh.
Scott was still sitting in the control room. Without the
fan, it was just a small, windowless room holding a lot of
expensive equipment that generated more heat than he'd have
He dimmed the lights and glared at the candle, which smoked
and guttered and added to the heat in the room.
Just as he was going to blow it out he heard, "I wouldn't if
I were you."
Jean was leaning on the doorjamb.
She slipped into the room and sat down next to him.
"So, are you the one who lights it?" he asked, nodding at
"No. But I figure it must be important to whoever does it.
It's been lit every night for the past few days."
"I wonder who does it," Scott mused. "Logan said it wasn't
him, and I believe him. You say it's not you... I bet it's
"I bet it's Remy. Or Kitty. Or you."
"Yes, you. You're the one asking questions about it. Maybe
you're just trying to throw suspicion off yourself."
Scott laughed. "If I didn't know I was innocent, I'd agree."
Jean folded her legs under her, getting into the game. "See,
the question we've got to ask is 'Why?' Because if we get
the why, it'll give us the 'who.'"
Scott shook his head. "I don't think it works like that." He
held up a hand and counted off, "Physical evidence.
Witnesses. Confessions. Figure out how, it'll tell you who."
"You spend too much time reading detective novels," she
answered, reminding him that even though they were enjoying
this little interlude, he still had some apologizing to do.
He looked down at his hands and let the silence stretch a
little before he said, "I'm sorry I've been -- distant --
lately. I love you. More than anything in the world." She
put a hand on his arm, but he wasn't done speaking. "Look, I
know I've been letting work take priority over everything,
and that's not fair to you, or to me." He turned and looked
her in the eye. "What do you say we head up to the Cape for
the weekend? I know this pretty little bed and breakfast
that always has a room ready for last minute guests." He
took her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing first her
knuckles and then her palm, licking gently at the salt tang
of her skin.
She tried to hold back the laugh and couldn't. "You'd ask
Warren for a favor, just for me?"
"I'd ask Sabretooth for a favor if it'd make you happy," he
More laughter. "Now you're going a little too far." But the
smile remained on her face. "What about the kids?"
"They can fend for themselves for the weekend. Logan can run
'em through training. Then they'll be too tired to get up to
any trouble before the Professor gets back." He pulled her
into his lap, and murmured, "We'll take the Ferrari." His
hands roamed over her body, slipping underneath the light
cotton robe and nightie she wore.
She kissed him and then pulled back. "It's too hot for sex,"
she said. "And if Rogue and Logan don't make up soon, my
head is going to explode."
He massaged her neck gently. "Would you believe Logan gave
me some good advice tonight?"
Jean grinned. "Yeah, I would. But let's not talk about them
anymore. Kiss me again, Scott. It's the only thing that
keeps away the headache."
"I love you, Jean," he whispered, kissing her deeply. Her
response told him she felt the same.
They were interrupted a few moments later by the sight of
Logan wrestling Santa to the kitchen floor.
Scott sighed. "It's too hot for this."
Jean laughed. "Guess we better go rescue Santa from
The conversation had petered out, as each of the people in
the kitchen got lost in their own late night thoughts.
Santa was looking at Rogue and the baby in a way that made
the hair on Logan's neck stand up. He'd pulled up a chair
next to her, trying to figure out a way to continue the
earlier conversation when Santa said, "I know just what will
keep you cool." Then, he reached into the pocket of his red
coat and pulled out a green plastic gun.
As Santa aimed at Rogue and pulled the trigger, Logan
"What the hell are you doing?" Rogue shouted, jumping out of
"He has a gun," Logan grunted, pinning Santa's hands above
his head and disarming him. "Gambit, you let him in here
with a gun," he growled in a tone that did not bode well for
"A *water* gun, oui," Remy answered, exasperated at Logan's
jumping to conclusions and annoyed at being berated. "He's a
harmless old drunk, Logan. Let him up. He was just trying to
cool Rogue off."
Jean and Scott rushed into the kitchen. "Logan, let him up,"
Logan did so, sheepishly. "Sorry about that, Kringle." He
lifted the old man by his lapels, dusted him off, and sat
him back down in his seat. Then he stalked out
"I think I need a drink," Santa muttered.
"I'll get you one," Jean offered, shooting a glance at
Rogue. ~Go after him.~
Rogue hesitated, looking at her friends. Kitty held her
hands out, Rogue gave her the baby.
"Talk to him," she said. "Believe me, it's better that way."
Rogue tracked him to the garage, where he stood, still in
nothing but boxer shorts, staring at his motorcycle.
"Hey," she said, knowing he'd known she was there.
"I overreacted a little back there."
"Yeah, you did." She placed a hand on his arm, feeling him
tense at her touch. It wasn't fear. She knew that. But it
still unnerved her.
"I was just trying to protect you. And the kid." He still
hadn't turned to face her.
"I know. And, and, you know, I'm grateful for it. For you.
For everything you've done for me, from the moment you
stopped and picked me up. But I don't need you to rescue me
all the time. I'm not a little girl anymore."
"Do you think I don't know that?" His voice was harsh.
"I wonder sometimes."
He finally turned, and the distance between them was mere
inches. "Believe me, I know." Her eyes ran down his body --
that perfect body that still played a prominent role in her
nightly fantasies -- to see the erection tenting his shorts.
"Can I--" she reached out a hand, but he was faster.
"I don't think so." His grip was vise-like. It was on the
tip of her tongue to ask why, when he said, "When did Dwight
She bit her lip. "Last night."
"I don't think giving me a hand job in the garage is the
best way to get over that, do you?"
"I didn't mean--"
"That hurts, Logan."
"Well, what the hell am I supposed to think, huh?"
"I just wanted you to realize I was a woman. A sexual being.
That it would be all right for you and me to --"
"To be together."
"Were you in love with him? With any of them?"
"I don't know. I thought so at the time, I guess. But it was
never really real."
"And now?" He stared at her with the intensity of a hunter
stalking its prey.
"I've always loved you, Logan, if that's what you want to
hear. Always. I just never thought -- I didn't think you
loved me back. Not in that way. Not in the way Scott loves
He stroked the white streak in her hair, hanging lank and
damp with sweat, and said, "I do."
"So, what now?" she asked.
"You're the one with all the relationship expertise. You
"Oh." She gnawed her lower lip again, then, "I don't want to
screw this up."
"Neither do I, kid. Neither do I." He put an arm around her,
pulling her against his side. "I guess we try to figure out
how to do this."
"I can do that."
"Good." He gave her one of his rare smiles. "Now take off
that goddamned shirt."
"Then we couldn't do this," she replied, stroking his
fingers, which dangled above her breast, tantalizingly near.
"You have a point."
They walked back to the kitchen, arms around each other.
Scott raised an eyebrow and Logan nodded once. Then Scott
said, "Everybody, on the roof. Five minutes."
"Is this some kind of drill?" Bobby asked. "Because Kitty
and I need to go--"
"Relax, Bobby. The jet will get you to Chicago in plenty of
time for Mrs. Pryde's appointment. Now, go."
"Where's Santa?" Logan asked Scott as Kitty and Rogue fussed
over who was going to carry the baby.
"Jean's getting him settled in a guestroom. He's just a
harmless old guy."
"How'd he bypass our security?"
Scott shrugged. "Maybe he really *is* Santa Claus. I've seen
Logan laughed. "Santa Claus, mystery babies... It's
beginning to look a lot like Christmas."
"You got your present, didn't you?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I did. You?"
Scott nodded. "Yeah. We're going to head up to Cape Cod
after a couple hours of sleep. You'll be in charge until the
Professor gets back."
A devilish gleam appeared in Logan's eyes. "I can run the
brats through the Danger Room?"
"They're all yours."
"That'll be fun." While his tone was noncommittal, the grin
on Logan's face was enough to make Scott heartily glad he
wasn't going to be there for Logan's idea of fun.
"Fun for you, maybe."
"Well, that's kinda the point."
Scott inclined his head in agreement. "We had two breaches
in security tonight. I think you and Remy should check out
They reached the roof as Logan said, "We'll find the gaps.
And I've got some ideas on testing --"
He was cut off by a blast of water hitting him in the chest.
"What the--" he growled, leaping for control of the hose.
Jean held him back with her telekinesis, drenching him in
Rogue and Kitty were already soaking wet, and Bobby was
running like a wild man, trying to avoid being hit.
Remy stood, damp and smiling, watching as Jean and Logan
wrestled for control, then leaping in and taking advantage
of their concentration on each other to grab it for himself.
They frolicked on the roof until the sky began to lighten,
signaling the arrival of a new day.
Kitty and Bobby headed to their suite to change and prepare
for their trip to Chicago.
Logan and Rogue adjourned to his room, with young Sean, to
continue discussing their new relationship.
Scott called Warren and requested the use of his private
cottage at a bed and breakfast in Truro. When he flipped his
cell phone shut, he went down to the control room, suddenly
realizing that there was a candle still burning in the
Remy was there.
"You're the one who lights the candle!"
The Cajun nodded. "Every night 'Roro is away, I light it.
Put it in the window of my room sometimes, but when I'm on
duty, I bring it down here."
"God, you're even sappier than I am."
They laughed, and as Scott left, he could hear Remy on the
phone. "Bonjour, petite. ... I missed you. I'm sorry I
didn't call last night. ... You're not mad? Whew. ...
Tonight? Great. I'll be waiting. I have plans for you, ma
He found Jean half-asleep in their bed and asked, "How's
"Gone, thank God. All that tension, and they resolved it in
a five minute conversation. I swear, I'll never understand
either of them."
"Oh, who cares about them," Scott answered, climbing into
bed next to her. "Our cottage on the Cape is ready and
waiting. I'll wake you at ten."
"Sounds wonderful," she said, and snuggled against him, just
as the air conditioning miraculously kicked in.
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