Ahh! Pointless 'fic! Ahhh! Have ancient
music on the radio and am happy. The Ghostbusters anthem
has just come on! Characters are Marvel's, except for Luc,
who is far cuter than any child has a right to be. I know
my brother was never this cute, and I doubt any other laddie
is, although they're certainly as noisy. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to my beta-reader for all her comments and assistance
in the field of morning sickness among other things. This
is part of a series of stories written for a project, involving
simulating the Marvel Universe with Maxis' 'The Sims'. If
you're interested, more details are available at http://www.geocities.com/sim_salem
The Sim Salem Project
Rogue Darkholme-LeBeau woke up with nausea and a splitting
headache to the sound of excited whooping, emanating from
somewhere down the hall. That somewhere inevitably was Luc's
room, where a noise rivalling Siryn and Banshee Unplugged!
tended to be the norm. She groaned, stretching a lazy arm
out to pick up the alarm from the bedside table. Seven o'clock
on a Saturday morning and her 'beloved' son -- she found herself
entertaining unmaternal thoughts of sending him to a convent
-- was already in full voice.
She wondered how Remy, who thought that the sun rose at eleven,
could stand it. Extending another hand to rouse her husband,
she met sheet and empty space. Had he left on another mission
for the New Son last night without telling her? He knew that
she disapproved of his association with the shadowy figure
who claimed to be mutantkind's benefactor, considered it stupid
to trust someone about whom they knew nothing. If he had been
that sneaky, she thought sweetly, viciously, it might do him
good to sleep where he could slip out with greater ease. In
other words, on the outside steps.
"Maman! Momma!" Luc tore into their -- her,
she amended equally savagely and smugly -- bedroom with a
policeman's hat set askew on his head. He was wielding a plastic
baton, while a silver raygun at his side completed the ensemble.
"I caught de t'ief."
Her child's accent was a bizarre amalgamation of Southern
drawl and Cajun lilt, slipping between the two as easily as
he did between English and French. Strangely enough, he tended
to speak her husband's dialect to her, rather than her own
natural one, as if he knew how much she enjoyed the beauty
"Oh?" Rogue resigned herself to remaining awake
and clambered out of bed, pulling on a gown, "Ah'll have
ta make sure he doesn't do it again. Who had th' nerve ta
break inta our house?"
His smile broadened, "Papa! We were playin' Cops an'
Robbers. Tried t'kidnap M'sieu Lapin, but I handcuffed him
to de chair."
She chuckled at the thought of her suave husband attached
to a tiny, red stool by a pair of jimcrack, plastic handcuffs.
Her son's stuffed rabbit, given to him by Uncle Lapin, was
hardly the sort of prize that he normally pursued. It almost
made up for being awoken unreasonably early. Almost, she repeated
as another wave of nausea washed over her, taking her sense
of humour with it. Luc seemed to notice her sudden change
of mood -- she wondered if Remy's empathic power had been
passed to his son, although it was far too early for it to
"Ya be all right, maman?"
"Yeah," she managed a weak smile, "Let's go
see yo' Master Criminal."
Forcing her muscles to obey, she dragged herself the short
distance to Luc's room. Painted in the primary shades of Superman
with a frieze of the hero on the wall, a matching duvet on
the bed and curtains over the windows, it was obvious where
Luc's loyalty lay. He even had a chunk of luminous-green rock
that he swore was Kryptonite. Rogue would have been more credulous
had her husband's clothes not been splattered with paint of
an identical colour.
Speaking of whom ... She smirked as she saw Remy's abashed
look as she entered the room. Dressed in jeans and a ratty
sweatshirt, he was still impossibly handsome, charming and
... insufferable when it came to her pregnancy.
"Petite, what are ya doin' up?" the cheap handcuffs
snapped open and he stood, brushing off chalk from his thighs.
Luc made a face as he saw how successful his snare had been.
"Daddy, that's cheatin'," he whined in a voice
that was pure Mississippian.
Remy grinned at his son, scooping him up easily. The child
laughed and Rogue leaned against the door, supporting her
wobbly legs and admiring the picture. Apart from the white
streak in Luc's auburn hair, he could have passed for a younger
Gambit. Red-on-black eyes were set in a face that would break
a thousand hearts in its time.
"I'm a t'ief. I'm expected t'cheat. Should know dat
by now, Inspector LeBeau, but I bet ya don't know what t'ieves
do t'cops when dey escape an' catch dem."
"Dey ... TICKLE DEM!"
Father dropped son onto the bed, before carrying out on his
threat. A squirming, giggling Luc attempted to get away only
to be ambushed by the pillow which led to another bout of
tickle-torture. When Remy finally stopped, he blew a cracker,
whistle which seemed to lance through Rogue's skull like a
white-hot dagger. Another unpleasant and decidedly Grinch-like
thought crossed her mind.
"Ah'll have t'arrest you fo' that, suh," he said,
escaping down the stairs into the kitchen, "Right aftah
The noise faded as the child clattered down the steps, Gambit
wiped a hand across his forehead, "Dieu, Luc certainly
is ... energetic. Ya, on de other hand, look like ya be about
t'faint. At de risk o' soundin' repetitive, why are ya up?"
Collapsing into the field of Supermen that was her son's
bed, "Your game didn't leave me too much of an option,
darlin'. Ah'll be fine, though -- it's just mornin' sickness."
"Ya sure?" he sounded dubious as he came to sit
next to her. She groaned, knowing that it signalled the beginning
of his personal medical examination, then wished she hadn't
because another twinge of worry touched his face. On occasion,
she wished that Tante Mattie hadn't taught him how the basics
of herbcraft, because it had led to him believing that he
was eminently qualified to diagnose everything from chicken
pox to colic.
"Ah'm sure Ah'm seven months pregnant," she patted
her distended belly for good measure, then regretted it as
the urge to vomit surged up within her again. He frowned,
resting his hand over her own on her abdomen. The baby, which
promised to make the hyperactive Luc look sedate, turned what
felt to be a series of somersaults, punctuating each twist
with a kick. Grimacing, she tried to shift into a more comfortable
position and found that it was impossible.
"Oui, but de morning sickness went after de t'ird when
ya were carryin' Luc," he paused and she sensed he was
going to mention Tante Mattie, "I phoned Tante 'cause
I was worried 'bout ya an' she said dat it rarely lasted beyond
"Ah'm a mutant," she met his concern with a wry
half-smile, "Mah life is a string o' unusual occurances.
Hell, Ah'd be worried if'n everythin' was normal. "
"True," he nodded, chuckling, "But ya should
still get all de rest ya can."
"Ah'd tend ta agree," she yawned, "Yo' son
differs with both o' us, though."
Her husband raised an eyebrow, "Mebbe it's time I suggested
a sleep-over wit' Tante 'Ro. Ainet an' him can tire each other
out. He'll be t'rilled, although I t'ink Stormy'll want m'head.
F'r now, why don' ya get back t'bed? I'll take Luc out on
de town f'r de mornin'. We c'n visit such dens o' iniquity
as Toys'R'Us an' McDonalds."
Rogue gave him a weary, but grateful, grin, "Have Ah
told you recently how much Ah love you?"
Remy kissed her lightly on the lips, then returned her smile
with another lopsided one of his own. She saw him glance around
the cluttered room -- she couldn't break him of the habit
of buying Luc everything he wanted, and she was convinced
the child was going to be spoilt rotten -- then back at her.
She knew she looked terrible with her mussed hair, dark-shadowed
eyes and tacky, gingham nightdress. Fit as she was and taut
as her abs were, despite three month hiatuses from active
duty in both cases, she had only started showing very late
during her two terms. Consequently, she had refused to spend
a fortune on maternity wear.
At times like this though, she thought, it would be nice
to look like something out of a new mother's magazine. She
had always envied those serene women who seemed to swan through
their pregnancies as if it were no more inconvenient than
a ticket to Hawaii. Of course, they had the support of their
perfect, sterilised families. Their husbands were always ruggedly
handsome, vague figures on the periphery, while their children
were blessedly quiet and considerate. Luc would have brought
her toast by now, while Remy would be off to his high-profile
career. Grinning, she ran a hand through her hair, trying
to smooth the unruly strands back into place.
"You don't need ta say it -- Ah look a wreck."
"No, ya look beautiful," he replied automatically,
then seriously, "It's jus' ... I never imagined we'd
Something in his tone prompted her to ask, nervously: "You
Shaking his head, "Jus' how long it took us t'get here.
When I t'ink o' all de time we wasted arguin' about petty
t'ings, bein' scared o' trustin each other, missin' what was
He trailed off, hand coming to rest on her stomach again.
She twined her fingers with his, rubbing one over the cool,
gold ring that he wore day and night. It would have been incongruous
on the Remy LeBeau she had known before their marriage, but
on this one it fitted perfectly.
"That's in th' past, hon," she said softly, "The
present is us -- you, me and Luc."
He grinned, "An' Baby Bella?"
Slapping him playfully, because it was an old joke between
them, "Ah thought we agreed on Irene."
"Ah well," he sighed theatrically, "Guess
we'll have t'wait f'r de next baby."
"NEXT BABY?" Rogue's voice was dangerously low
as she drew herself up to a sitting position, then wished
she hadn't. Remy was notoriously fond of the idea of a huge
clan -- a bad combination of a Catholic upbringing and a family
that needed one to act as a private army.
Still smiling saccharinely, she allowed some of her mental
shields to slip and the morning sickness, headache, backpain
and exhaustion to seep out into the aether. He gulped. "I
should take Luc shoppin' now, cherie, shouldn' I? Superman
should be finished."
Rogue allowed herself another private smirk before retreating
back to their blissfully quiet room.
Luc had not been as excited as he had anticipated, Remy thought
with something akin to disappointment. Trips to Toys'R'Us
were usually celebrated with slightly less fervour than certain
religious cults greeted the coming of the Messiah. His tiny
son was strapped in the back of the Ferrari, looking preoccupied
as his Superman action-figure (with 'real laser eyes', that
were actually red lights, and speech, that uniformly sounded
like 'prfftzt') did another loop-de-loop through the air.
"Hear dey have new stock, petit. A Jimmy Olsen wit'
Snap'n'Flash Camera Action," he said encouragingly. In
the four years of Luc's life, Remy had become something of
an action figure connossieur, pursuing them with a singlemindedness
previously devoted to diamonds or non-sequential bills. Luc
was deathly quiet. Something was evidently wrong -- Olsen
was his favorite supporting character.
"Qu'est-que ne va pas, mon fils?" [What's wrong,
Muffled sobs and an extremely moist sniff, "Momma's
sick an' she's gonna die, isn't she?"
This was more serious than he had imagined. From where had
Luc got the idea that Rogue was ill and how long had it been
tormenting his normally happy son? He resolved to personally
ensure that the brat responsible became beatific in their
commitment to truth.
"Who tol' ya dat?"
"No-one. Just knew it," his broken voice was almost
inaudible over the purr of the car's engines, "Daddy,
is Momma sick?"
"Ya mere's healthier dan a horse," he slowed the
car as they pulled into the parking lot of the local mall
in Salem Center, "Although she don' feel it at de moment."
Luc made no move to open the car-door, looking at his father
with a crease between his eyebrows in the rearview mirror.
It was a strangely adult gesture that unnerved Remy. From
the little he had said, the boy appeared to be empathic, but
he was extremely young to be manifesting it. Mind you, he
amended, he had experienced touches of the same, brief flashes
of other people's emotion, when he had been Luc's age.
"What's wrong with her?"
"Not'ing," Remy turned to face the child, "It's
jus' dat ya little sister, Irene, is growin' in her an' dat
makes her feel ... pukey an' sore on occasion."
Not to mention homicidal, he added wryly, remembering his
wife's quick temper when she was pregnant. Perhaps stopping
at two was a good idea, especially if they promised to be
as hyperactive as Luc was. Besides, he had got the girl for
which he had longed, although he loved their little boy in
a way that frightened him at times.
"I'll bash Eye-rare-nuh," he pronounced the difficult
name slowly, brandishing his action figure for good effect.
"No, ya won't," he released the lock on the back
door, before climbing out of his own and helping Luc down
from the seat. Allowing himself a moment of paternal pride
in their sturdy son in his jeans and red jersey, knowing that
he would make any sacrifice for him, Remy held him for longer
than was necessary. Still clutching Optic Blast Superman,
his son looked pensively at him as if pondering something
"How'd Eye-rare-nuh get there?"
Laughing, "Dat's a story f'r when ya be a bit older."
In one of the rapid changes of topic that come naturally
to parents discussing the facts of life with very young and
naive children, he had an inspiration: "But ya do know
what will make ya mere feel much better?"
Losing interest in the mystery of Irene, he asked: "What?"
"Follow me an' I'll show ya..."
Present on the seat next to him, seating Heroic Knight Superman
on a horse that was probably more expensive than a stable
filled with them, Luc was completely content. His milkshake,
although suspiciously devoid of anything resembling dairy,
gave him a headache with each sip, just as he liked it. (Besides,
even McDonalds was delicious after weeks of Jean Grey's recipes.
A while ago, he had heard his mother threaten to hurl all
his father's spices into orbit if he even thought of putting
them in another dish for the next five months.) His action
figure was about to defeat an undoubtedly evil spoon, while
there was the promise of more goodies in the deliciously crackly
Toys'R'Us packets. Most importantly, Luc thought, he was with
his father, who he worshipped.
Remy was busy turning a dollar-bill and a straw into a cocked
hat for Helpless Damsel Lois Lane. Although she came with
an undeniably silken and streamered one of her own, they had
both agreed that there wasn't much of a career in being rescued
by a knight, so had changed her into a Warrior Princess. Momma
would approve, he thought, as his father added an axe to her
"Now dat's my sorta femme," Remy said when finished,
"C'n fly inta battle wit' Sir Clark of Kent."
"Watch out, Mistuh Spoonister," Luc grasped her
around her disproportionate waist and brought her to stand
with his cherished Superman. He brandished the axe once for
effect. His father grinned mischievously, tapping the handle
so that a rolled-up piece of paper knocked Helpless Damsel/Warrior
Princess Lois Lane onto her side.
"Ya weapons are useless 'gainst de might of de spoonapult!"
Throwing Lois over the back of the horse, Luc charged the
spoon, which turned into a sabre and began fencing with the
plastic sword. The competition was about to get interesting
when a smiling waitress came across to their table. It was
odd, he pondered, how all women seemed to get a mushy expression
on their face when they looked at his father. As odd as their
pathological desire to pinch his cheeks and tell him how cute
he was. His mother, fortunately, seldom did either. Mothers
were usually sensible.
"Would you and your adorable, little boy like anything
Bottle-blonde and red-lipped, she was doodling hearts on
her sketch-pad with a pencil. His father was grinning, but
there was a strange stiffness to it, as if it was as false
as the plastic clown by the door. He did not like this woman
any more than his mother would have, but felt obligated to
pretend that he did. It was a strange thought to come unbidden
into his head and it unsettled him.
He shook his head, looking shyly at Heroic Knight Superman.
Lois Lane, hat askew, sprawled over the saddle gave him an
"Do you think Momma would like anythin', daddy?"
"Ya maman would murder me if I brought anyt'ing stronger
dan Ms Grey's cookin' home," his father said with a quirked
eyebrow, turning to the waitress with evident relief, "No
offense meant, cherie. M'wife's seven months pregnant."
She slashed through a heart, her voice icy: "I'll bring
you your bill, sir."
Remy wiped a hand across his forehead in a teasing gesture,
smiling genuinely at Luc. The little boy was still perturbed
by his earlier understanding, though, so returned it wanly.
It was strange how he knew things that no one else
could, as if he had plucked them from the thinker's mind.
He knew that his mother and father hated to be apart for even
the shortest while, felt it as physical pain. He knew that
Ainet had a stash of marbles beneath the floor. He knew that
Tante 'Ro had loved someone more than Oncle Bishop in the
past and still did. He knew that Jean's two boys thought that
he was weird, that she had told them not to play with him
because he might be a bad influence. He knew that he was different
because of his gift, feared that his parents would love him
less because of it.
"You didn't like her, did you, daddy?"
"Non," he admitted honestly, then met his eyes
seriously: "Luc, I've been meanin' t'talk t'ya about
... de feelin's ya get."
Sour dread balled in his stomach. How had his father discovered
his knowing? Did he love him less because of it, now that
there was another perfect child to choose? He scooted a few
inches closer to Remy, scared that, if he were too far away,
he could be left or forgotten.
"No matter what Jean's two marmots say, dey be quite
natural," his voice was brisk and businesslike, "I
started gettin' dem myself at about ya age. Remember bein'
scared o' dem, t'inking dat I was a freak or dat I'd done
somet'ing wrong t'have ended up wit' dem. It wasn' easy dealin'
wit' dem on m'own an' I don' want de same t'happen t'ya. If
ya'll let me, I'd like t' teach ya about dem so dat ya can
control dem rather dan de other way roun'."
Relief flooded Luc -- they were, he was, normal! -- and he
hugged his beloved father: "Oui, papa."
Kissing a cheek, "Je t'aime, Luc, ya do know dat?"
"Je t'aime aussi, papa."
The earth was moving beneath her. The continents were shifting,
breaking, reforming under her back. After years spent saving
the world, it had decided to foil her plans by simply destroying
itself. Deciding that she didn't care, because it would mean
a truncated end of the nine months of torture that was pregnancy,
she pulled a pillow over her head and attempted to ignore
Opening a green eye and finding it met a world of burgundy,
she tossed it off her face. Luc was bouncing on the King-sized
bed with a decidedly smug expression on his face. Irene was
following her older brother's example, Rogue groaned, judging
by the movement in her stomach.
"Petit," Remy rounded the stairs carrying more
Toys'R'Us packets than she thought possible, "I t'ought
I tol' ya t'wait until ya maman woke."
"Ah know, but you said this'd make her feel better ...
an' then she wouldn 't need ta sleep."
Confronted and confounded by four year-old logic, Rogue propped
herself up against a pillow and smiled at her son. Luc bounced
to land next to her, then snuggled into the crook of her arm,
resting his head against her abdomen. His grin became delighted
as he felt the foetus kick against his cheek.
"Is dat Eye-rare-nuh?"
"Uh huh, that's Irene," she replied, gently correcting
his pronunciation. Remy couldn't bear the thought of a child
of his having a name that wasn't perfectly French so he added
accents with the flair of a chef adding spice.
"Eye-reenie," Luc repeated, as she slipped her
other arm around his side to encircle him.
"So what is this miracle cure?" she grinned at
her husband who was looking sheepish.
"Oops," her son's look reflected his father's,
as he fished a decidedly battered bouquet from his capacious
pockets. It had once been Baby's Breath and miniature roses,
but now was of the species best described as potpourri. Luc's
lip trembled. His perfect present had been ruined. Her heart
went out to her poor, little boy as it always did.
"Darlin'," Rogue hugged him more tightly, dropping
a kiss on the stripe in his fine hair, "This is th' best
gift Ah could have evah asked foh. If yo' daddy'd bring me
a vase, Ah'll put them in straight away ... Aftah that, we
can carry on readin' 'bout Hercules."
He grinned at the prospect of his favorite book, "Do
ya feel better, maman?"
The odd thing was that, although the morning sickness and
pains had not abated, she realised that she was telling the
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