Also called Laughlin, much to Logan’s chagrin.
“Daddy's gonna buy you a mockingbird, I'mma give you the world. I'mma buy a diamond ring for you, I'mma sing for you.”
Rogue sighed, her eyes softening as she listened to the high pitched shrilling her baby was emitting in accord with Jubilee‘s high pitched shrilling, smiling when Logan leant down to wrap his arms around her waist and pillow his chin on her shoulder. “See … she’s alright,” Logan whispered, nuzzling the soft skin of her neck, “if she wasn’t Jubilee would have phoned, baby.” A tongue flicked out, followed the slope of her neck up to her earlobe and gave it a teasing bite.
“I'll do anything for you to see you smile. And if that mockingbird don't sing and that ring don't shine.”
She blushed, feeling a clench low in her stomach, embarrassed now at how frantically she had cut their time alone short, the first time alone they‘d had since Laughlin’s birth, insisting that her Spider Senses were tingling like crazy. “I’m sorr -” she stopped mid sentence. Cocked her head to one side and looked away from her bouncing baby to focus on what Jubilee was singing.
“I'mma break that birdies neck. I'll go back to the jeweller who sold it to ya. He'll give me every carat don't fuck with dad.”
With an alarmed gasp, she tore out of Logan’s arms and flew into the room, “Jubilation Lee! What in the world are you singing to my daughter?” Reached down to snatch her sticky baby from her friend’s arms, wincing as pudding squelched onto her brand new dress.
“What?” the Asian girl asked, looking confused, “it’s a lullaby. Eminem wrote it for his daughter you know.”
Rogue spun around, hazel-eyed baby held at arms length until she could find something to cover any skin showing, glaring at Logan. “See! Spider Senses!” Then she marched off, upstairs to their room, head turned up at both husband and friend.
Logan sighed at her retreating form, shot a nervous Jubilee a growl and remembered that this, this was why Jubilee was their emergency babysitter.
“Logan, sit down.”
“No. You sit down.”
“She wants you to.”
“I don’t care.”
“Logan sit down!”
“Logan so help me god - if you make her cry …”
Logan huffed. He puffed. He pouted for all he was worth. He tried to look scary and unyielding. He even looked like he was about to cry.
But Rogue wouldn’t budge.
With a snarl, Logan fell into the swing seat, Laughlin in his arms, trying to look both invisible and indifferent as onlookers stopped what they were doing to look at him.
Laughlin began to buck, little legs kicking at him, demanding to be pushed and Marie … well, she cooed at her little angel and went behind their swing to push her.
More onlookers stopped to watch.
“Marie …” he pleaded in a whisper, trying to ignore the pitying laughter coming from a group of fathers who had managed to sidle away from their wives and spawns. Lucky bastards.
“Shhh Logan,” Marie chided, her face glowing with delight as she watched Laughlin shriek with laughter, chubby arms and legs flailing, demanding to go faster. Higher. Now. “Stop acting like a four year old will you.
Logan sulked, slumped further into the swing and glared threateningly at a grandma who was aww-ing at him.
“Logan, come on, get off. Baby wants you to take her up the slide. Don‘t you Baby, yes you do!”
Goddamn it to hell.
“All you have to do is drop her off,” Rogue said throatily, pausing to blow her nose in a tissue. “Oh and, ask Miss Julia if Baby’s been behaving - last time she bit a boy on the head.”
Logan chuckled, only chuckled harder when Rogue gave him an exasperated eye roll before sneezing again.
“NO!” stated their miniature tyrant, messy hair bunched into lopsided pigtails, lips down turned dangerously into a frown. “NO!” she screeched again, repeating her current favourite word just in case they hadn’t heard it.
“What’s wrong Midget?” Logan asked, bending down to finish pulling her Dora the explorer t-shirt on.
She shook him off, “NO! NO! NO!”
He turned towards his wife, clueless as to what had stared this temper tantrum. He could throw some big ones; just ask Rogue, but Baby, she put him to shame. Which was why she was currently sleeping with them - well … not really currently, just ever since conception, and had a diet that consisted mainly of chocolate pudding, jelly babies, ice cream and the leather from his jacket.
Rogue sighed, “she doesn’t like her top Logan.”
“Jesus Marie! She doesn’t even know her colours yet!” Logan shot back. “You can’t keep letting her get away with this shit. We have to be firm! Otherwise she’ll grow up to be an even bigger brat then she is now!”
Rogue’s eyes narrowed, she eyed him dangerously, then shrugged and flopped back onto the pillow. Eyes shutting, breathing evening immediately.
Logan looked down at his red-faced daughter, who was glaring up at him with more ferocity then any brawler he’d been in a cage with. “No!” he told her, “and no arguing either. When I tell you to do something, you do it Midget. I’m not your mother - you can’t pull the wool over my eyes.”
“What’s wrong?” Rogue asked, a knowing smile playing at her lips.
“This is your fault,” Logan growled back at her. Yanking the dresser door open and ducking inside to search for another t-shirt. He pulled out a baby blue one with horrid yellow ducks on it. “This okay?” he asked the little girl who was trying to scramble up the side of the bed and failing.
She stopped. Tilted her head to one side. Mouth puckered wide in thought. “NO!”
“You’re back … again … what, did she decide her hair slides don’t go with her shoes?” Rogue teased, before letting loose a volley of sneezes that rocked her backwards.
Logan sighed, dropped his daughter onto the carpet and watched her scamper off to disappear somewhere in the Mansion. Probably in search of the next idiot she would force to succumb to her evil will. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Rogue paled. “What happened? Did someone tease her? Did she bite another kid?”
“No -” Now he knew where Baby got her favourite word.
“Then what? Tell me Logan, why isn’t she in day-care?”
Logan paused, wondered if it was best to lie to her, the realised that it was better to get it over with now instead of having her find out from a teacher later. “She … uh … began to cry.”
Rogue frowned, “okay … the teacher said that’s normal for a few days until -” She paused, understanding what he hadn’t said. “She uh … pulled the wool over your eyes huh?”
Logan clenched his eyes shut, reddening in embarrassment.
“Don’t worry Logan, you still have lots more chances to set her on the straight and narrow,” Rogue continued, grinning outright now. “After all, there is still dinner, bath time and bedtime to go.”
Oh, kill him. Kill him now.
He was lounging on their bed, drink in one hand, cigar in the other when Rogue came storming into their room. A meek looking Laughlin trailing reluctantly behind her.
“Hey Midget, aren’t you supposed to be in school?” he asked his daughter, who shot him the ‘save me’ look she had perfected from birth just in case she didn‘t get what she wanted. He couldn‘t remember her having to use it before this though, not for her mother. “What’s wrong?”
Rogue whirled around to face him, slammed the door shut and then stormed over to snatch his cigar out of his mouth. “How many times have I told you not to - argh! I don’t know why I bother. Not like anyone listens to me anyway! Do you know what your daughter did?”
He looked away from Rogue, just as meek as his progeny, and turned to look at Laughlin questioningly. “I don’t know -”
“She swore - swore at her teacher. Called her a piece of - poop.”
Logan swallowed a smile, “well … poop isn’t really a swear word baby.”
Rogue rubbed her forehead, trying to resist the urge to swear herself, “she got it from you. How many times have I told you to watch what you say in front of her?”
“Now wait one minute! She lives in a house filled with teenagers, what if she got it from them?” he shot back indignantly.
Marie smiled, eyes narrowing, and he knew that didn’t bode well for him. “Because straight after she called him a - poop - she ended it with ‘bub.’
Logan winced. Chuckled nervously, “ummm … ooops?”
“Yeah Midget?” he asked, eyes on the TV.
She was sitting on the floor, leaning her head against the sofa, scruffy brown hair tangling in his fingers as she watched Batman threaten Joker with the same intensity her teacher would’ve wished she would give her lessons.
She blinked. Turned away from the screen to face him. Uh oh. This was serious then.
Her big round eyes, deceptively innocent looking, fell on the softly sleeping lump nestled on Logan’s chest.
A new baby - and Baby hadn’t taken it well. Not well at all.
There had been tears. Tantrums. Demands for them to just give the baby back. A vague attempt to sell it to Remy.
“Where did Jessie come from?” she asked, nose wrinkling in thought, probably remembering Dumbo and the lack of storks during her mother’s pregnancy.
Well, at least she was now acknowledging Jessie instead of just calling him an ‘it.’ Progress!
Logan reddened, looked around wildly for Rogue but she had gone down to do laundry and wouldn’t be back for a while. “Well umm … maybe you should ask your mother.”
“No.” Still her favourite word. “You tell me.”
He cleared his throat, eyes flitting here and there, anywhere but his little girl, who had sensed weakness and would not let go now until he told her what she wanted. “Jessie … he came from … uh, your mother’s stomach.”
“But how did it get there?”
Oh dear god. “I - I put him there.”
“Well … umm … she has this hole -” no! Wrong track! Wrong track!
Laughlin looked quite alarmed at this idea of a hole in her mother, one in which her father had pushed a baby into.
“No - no,” he said quickly, cutting in before that could take root in her head, “it’s not so much a hole as a … doorway -” That was better, right? “And uh, I then … well, I have a uh …”
Rogue entered the room, feet dragging tiredly, arms full of freshly washed clothes that she‘d have to iron. All before tomorrow, since Logan had run out of jeans, and wouldn’t wear the new flashy ones she’d bought, and Baby needed her gym clothes tomorrow.
She felt the weariness seep out of her when she saw the tableau in front of her though, Laughlin, perched up high on her father’s chest, watching TV and Logan, stretched out on the sofa with an arm trailing into the bassinet to keep the milk bottle in a snuffling Jessie’s mouth.
“How’re my babies?” she chirped, bending down to give Logan a kiss that he deepened by holding on to her hair, giving Jessie a warm smile and a coo of hello and then unbending to gather Laughlin carefully to her. Laughlin pulled away from her arms, a look of awe on her face. “What’s wrong Baby?”
“Dad told me,” she said in a hushed voice. Logan coughed and tried to wriggle out from under her. “Dad told me that you have a - a portal inside you, and that only he has the key. And that’s how he put Jessie inside you.”
Rogue was speechless.
Logan froze, hoping that if he stayed still they’d forget he was there.
“… A portal?” Rogue repeated, just to be clear that she had heard right. “… And your father has the key?”
Laughlin nodded, mouth still gaping in a newfound respect for her mother. “Ma, doesn’t that mean Jessie is an alien though? He isn’t like them aliens from War of the Worlds, is he?”
The funny side of it hit Rogue, she smiled and ruffled her daughter’s messy hair, “no Baby, he’s more ET then War of the Worlds.”
Logan agreed, kid looked a lot like ET too, all wrinkly with big ears that stuck out like satellite discs.
Laughlin didn’t seem to understand the reference to ET but seemed appeased enough to lull into a silence for a little while. Then: “ma, can I see your portal?”
“Ma. Dad,” she greeted woodenly, motioning towards the chairs around the circular table. “ET,” she added to her indignant brother, who immediately turned, armed with a wobbling lip, to their mother, who shushed him with a smile and pulled him onto her lap. Even though he was far too old for things like that now.
“What’s with the summons?” Logan asked, slinging an arm around the back of Rogue’s chair and stroking the soft skin above the collar of her blouse.
“I have something to say … something important.”
Both parents tensed, the worst flitting through their heads. From a well hidden piercing to affiliations with a Cuban drug cartel.
“Are you dying?” Jessie asked, perking up at the thought.
Logan chuckled and swiped his son on the head even as Rogue scolded him.
“No Mama’s Boy, I’m not dying,” Laughlin spat from gritted teeth. “But if you don’t keep your mouth shut you will be.”
“Baby …” warned Rogue.
“He started it!”
Rogue sighed, “he’s younger. Now, what did you call us here for?”
“I’ve come to a conclusion.” She paused to let that sink in, trying to remember the speech she’d thought up. “I’ve lived with it for years now but I just can’t any longer.” Logan and Rogue paled. “It’s just not working for me and I’m sick and tired of getting teased about it - Ma. Dad. Butt Face. I’m changing my name.”
There was silence.
“Is that all?” asked Jessie, disappointed that it wasn’t something bigger. That she wasn’t at least going to jail for a few years, or something.
“And what are you going to change your name to?” Rogue asked quickly before the siblings could start fighting again.
“Buffy,” she replied proudly. After all Buffy was a strong woman, the kind of woman she wanted to be when she was older. Plus, Buffy was practically a superhero, just like her dad, just like she wanted to be.
“What?” was her dad’s spluttering input, “I’m ashamed to even say that name let alone let my daughter use it. People actually name their kids that?”
“You named me Laughlin!”
“No, she named you Laughlin,” Logan declared, pointing at Rogue. “I told you, I told you I wanted to veto it. But noooo, and now here we are, with a kid who wants to name herself Buffy. God, I don’t know which one’s worse! Her real name or the one she picked out! What‘s next huh? Jessie, feel like re-naming yourself too? How ‘bout Xena? Superman? Jack Fucking Sparrow?”
Jessie bit his lip as he thought, “I like Superman.”
“I don’t want it!”
“Baby it’s not that bad,” soothed Rogue, stroking her tearful child’s cheek. “It’s actually a really good mutation to have.”
“No it’s not. It’s not cool at all,” wailed Laughlin from her mother’s lap, “it’s just boring old healing! Not mind control! Not lasers!”
Ah … the real issue. Summers’ twins had manifested just a little after Laughlin, and suddenly healing didn’t seem that ‘awesome’ anymore. Not when one twin could make people do what she wanted and the other could blow things up by just stretching out one of his fingers.
Rogue looked over at Logan, who had grabbed Jessie, covered his mouth and stayed on the fringes of the room. Choosing to stay out of it and let her deal rather then put his foot in it and mess it up even more. “Logan,” his wife called, “maybe you should have a word with her. Tell her how wonderful her powers really are. How much they’ve helped you.” She was leaving nothing up to chance, choosing instead to tell him exactly what to say.
He nodded, handed over Jessie, who she now struggled to carry, and ambled over to the bed. “Budge over Midget.”
“I hate you,” she answered with a sniffle. “Why couldn’t you give me something cooler?”
“Why, want your mother’s powers?” he shot back sharply, making her go silent, making him regret it immediately. “Look kiddo, it isn’t so bad you know. You’ll never stay hurt. You don’t know how happy we were when we found out, how relieved your mother was that you didn’t get her powers instead.”
The waterworks started up again, “but Nathan and Mel have -”
“It doesn’t matter what they have. Look, I know it seems like a crappy deal now, but when you’re in a bad situation, you’ll really appreciate it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thanked whoever is up there for giving me the ability to heal. Makes me a tough son of a bitch to put down - good for my line of work.”
She seemed to see the good side of it now. Logan’s known that she’s wanted to don the leather since she was a child, and he’s a bastard enough to exploit that. Not that he’ll ever let her join the team. Nuh uh, not his family.
“Hey Midget … come here, give your old man a hug,” she looked up at him, her eyes - his eyes - red, but fading quickly, her mouth - Rogue’s mouth, much detested gap and all - pulled into a shaky line. She debated it for a while, having long considered herself to be too old for cuddles, but no one is here to mock her, and secretly, though she’d never admit to it, she’d missed it.
In a flurry of arms and legs, only just beginning to stretch, though Logan doubts she’d take after him in there, she’s on him, tucked messily in his arms, head cradled on his shoulder like she’d once had as a baby.
He cupped the back of her skull, kissed the top, straightened her wayward limbs and held her tighter.
His first-born. Growing up so quickly. Growing away so quickly.
“Sorry dad,” she whispers, a slight reluctance in her tone because it’s hard for her to admit fault. Too much like him, probably why Rogue let her get away with so much shit. “I didn’t upset ma, did I?”
He shook his head, not wanting to burden her with how Rogue had cried for months as soon as she’d hit her teens, fretting that she might have given her baby poisonous skin, fretting that Laughlin would hate her. “Nah.”
Didn’t stop a repeat performance from her a couple of years later when Jessie manifested with super strength though.
“Ma! Tell him to stay out of my life!”
“Laughlin, I won’t have you talking to your father like that, apologise right now!”
“Don’t ‘but ma’ me, apologise.”
Laughlin gritted her teeth, glaring heatedly at her parents, who were united against her for the first time in her memory. “I don’t see why I’m not allowed, girls far younger-”
Logan, previously busy glowering back at her and rejoicing at the fact that his wife was on his side for once, cut in, “kids younger then you are doing well in school too. Some of them have jobs. Some of them want a real career when they’re older, they don’t want to be a goddamn film critic! I don’t see you trying to be like them.”
Rogue shot him a look that told him to shut his mouth. Which he wisely did. “Firstly you will apologise to your father, then you’ll tell me what you were arguing about.”
Laughlin shot him another glare, arms folded in front of her chest in that classical ‘whatever’ pose she’d perfected as soon as she’d realised that all parents were in fact ‘the enemy.’ “Sorry dad.” She so wasn’t sorry, but this was the best he could hope for. She was too much like him for his peace of mind. “Jack asked me out.”
Rogue blinked, too shocked for words at this proof that her baby, her little girl, was now at an age where she wanted to date. “Oh …”
“And I said yes. We’re going to the cinema. Today. But dad said no.”
“I may not remember what it was like to be a teenage boy but I sure as hell remember what it’s like living in a school full of them, and if that kid takes after Labeau then it’s goddamn certain that he’s up to no good. No daughter of mine -” Logan ranted, only stopping when Rogue sighed and placed a hand on his chest.
“Leave it Logan. She’s a - a big girl now. Has to make her own decisions … And her own mistakes,” Rogue lectured gently, her eyes soft and wet at this new knowledge of her daughter, all grown up and about to go on her first date.
“But Marie …” Logan whined.
Rogue shook her head, smiled shakily at her daughter and watched her race up the stairs to get ready.
“I can’t believe you gave her permission! That bastard is going to bring her home tomorrow, drunk and clutching a goddamn pregnancy test! Then I will slice him up into strips of fucking jerky. Package that, and mail it to his lousy excuse for a bloody father - leaving bastards all over the fucking continent - goddamn son of a bitch, and they all make their way here,” Logan muttered in a low growl, knuckles itching at the idea of his baby coming home like that.
“We tell her not to and she’ll do it anyway. Only worse.” Baby had proved that time and time again. “And what can I say, apparently us D’ancanto girls like the bad boys,” she teased.
“I’m not as bad as him!”
“Logan you got me pregnant at seventeen.”
Okay, so maybe he was a little bad.
Rogue smiled, went up on her tiptoes, pulled down his head and placed a kiss on his chin before heading up the stairs to help her daughter get ready. “Oh Jessie,” she called to her son, who had ignored the whole shebang in favour of curling up on the sofa to read his comics, “tell your father what you want to be when you grow up, will you Sugar.”
He turned to look at his teenage son, lanky and stretched looking from the recent puberty hit. Nose crooked from where that older boy had socked him good. He’d refused to fight back, thinking it wouldn’t be fair since he had super strength. Baby, not one for morals, had launched herself at the boy instead. “A ballerino dad.”
Logan was struck speechless. “A - a what? A ballerina?”
He could hear Rogue laughing from upstairs.
“Ballerino. But yep.”
“My son is not going to be a goddamn ballerina!”
Jessie sighed, put down his comic and walked over to the DVD draw. Pulled out a film and slotted it into the DVD player. “Sit down dad, I think it’s time you watch Billy Elliot.”
“Are you ever going to stop crying?”
Rogue shook her head, buried further into his chest and continued wetting his shirt with her tears. “I - I just can’t believe … can’t believe that our baby girl - marriage!”
Logan shuddered, grimacing at the very thought of it.
“It ju - just feels like I gave birth to her yesterday … now she’s going to be someone’s wife, a mother too, one day,” Rogue continued, breaking out into even more sobs. “God Logan - I wish I could just reverse time. Keep her as a baby forever.”
“I know baby,” Logan soothed, peppering her wet face with kisses, trying not to remember the feel of his now grown baby in the crook of his arm. So small and fearless that Logan had once been able to hold her in one hand. Now so big that she was holding hands with another man. “You know, with all the mutations in the world I’m pretty sure someone must have one that reverses time - you delay the wedding and I’ll go hunting.”
He was dead serious.
Rogue chuckled through her sobbing, swatting at his chest, “at least she’s marrying Nathan - he’ll be good for her.”
And Logan knows where he lives.
“Came to her senses eventually about Lebeau,” he said, feeling relieved over that for the ten thousandth time. It had been a bad business, that relationship, and Logan hadn’t helped it any by getting involved every time they had fought.
“And thank god for that.” Though Rogue had liked the boy and his charming, playful manner, like a marble smooth, less scarred Logan. But he hadn’t been a good match for Baby, even Rogue had known that from the very beginning, Laughlin was too volatile, too wilful, too much like her father to let someone shine ahead of her, or try to take the lead. Nathan, good, reliable Nathan, would ground her firmly when needed, but would let her sparkle when she wanted. “Well at least we still have Jessie; thank god I still get to keep him for a few more years.”
The phone rang.
Logan reached over to get it, held it to his ear and growled out a hello. “Hey Billy, Marie it’s Billy.” Listened to something his son was saying, paled, looked his wife over and wondered if this was a good time to tell her.
“What?” she asked her husband, cleaning her face with the back of her hand.
“Uh … Jessie … umm, he says hello.”
Rogue nodded slowly, knowing that something had happened. “What else?”
“Well … he’s on his way for the wedding, says his job’s going great. Might be in line for a promotion if the other guy dies …”
“… Okay … What else?”
“His girl’s pregnant, nine months pregnant, he was too … baby? You okay? … Marie?”
And so the waterworks started again.
Logan awkwardly twirled her, stepped on her toes and bumped them into another dancing couple. Rogue laughed, apologised to the bopping youngsters and tugged him off the dance floor. “I think we should go sit down before we kill someone. Or you kill me.”
“Thank god,” Logan mumbled, cheeks still pink from having been forced to dance, wincing as he noticed Scott - his goddamn in-law - being lead around the room by Jean in what he thought might be ballroom dancing.
Poor bastard, at least Rogue had let him take the lead. At least his woman wasn’t a foot taller then him.
They found a couple of empty chairs and settled into them, Rogue, toeing off her heels and throwing her throbbing feet up on another chair. She sighed, reached for Logan’s hand and pulled it onto her lap. “We did good huh?”
Logan followed her mesmerized look back to the dance floor.
On the dance floor was his son and his heavily pregnant girlfriend, who was dancing like a woman possessed while Jessie ran around her, keeping others at bay and pleading loudly for her to sit down.
Up on the stage, lit by an eye wateringly bright spotlight - his daughter’s choice - was the happy couple, Mr and Mrs Summers now, after a wedding that had cost enough to feed Africa with change left over to buy Baby another apple sized diamond for her other hand. Indecently close together, Logan noticed - and grinning widely. Happily.
And what more could parents want for their children?
“To early to tell. Just wait till the rugrats come,” was Logan’s reply, a grin blooming on his face. “-Though I’ll tell you now, I am not changing anymore diapers, that phase of my life is over. I paid my dues -”
A shriek silenced his ravings, his son’s shriek. “Ma! God ma, where are you?” Jessie yelped, running around the room in a small circle while his girlfriend calmly took a seat, “Gigi’s giving birth!”