Every once in a while, Remy found it supremely helpful to go over his current goals and remind himself of what would and would not advance them.

1. Finish school.

This was completely and vitally necessary as his adoptive father, Jean-Luc, had sent him here for that sole purpose. Staying alive being a basic prerequisite, it behooved Remy to be circumspect with just whose calls he took. And while the caller ID had been reading Boudreaux mansion all day, if he turned off the ringer and missed a call from either Jean-Luc or his Tante Mattie, he might as well order the casket and be done with it.

2. Delay marriage into family with homocidal, insane future brother-in-law.

Another high priority. Marrying Belladonna came with attractive benefits, very attractive—besides the fact that on good days, they were friends as well as lovers. Mais Julian... Well, both of them had come to the mutual agreement to hate each other's guts and avoid at all costs being actually related. While dying young would certainly contribute to the cause, letting Belle sweet talk him around her little finger would not.

Nope. Shouldn't answer the phone.

3. Win Rogue's affections.

He winced at this. While the goal had little personal benefit that anyone else would support—least of all, his family, he actually enjoyed the fiery southerner, whose companionship—and frankly, it was the dayjob—compared quite favorably with Belladonna's. Letting the phone continue to ring as a raging Rogue banged on his door did not bode well for his intentions.

Naturally, he went with goal three. (This is why his older brother, Henri, threw up his hands at him so often.)


"Finally!" declared a frustrated yell from outside his door and a frustrated exclamation in his ear.

The simultaneity was unsettling.


A stream of angry French made him wince.

"Désolè, ma chérie, mais tu frère..."

"So I should call your cell phone?" Belladonna demanded.

It would be a simple solution, but considering goal two, Remy hesitated to answer affirmative. "Maybe," he hedged. "Or we could set a time."

"D'accord," she agreed, considerably calmer. "When?"

And there went his plan to take control of his life back from the Guilds. And this wedding.

Remy scowled.

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Peace and quiet secured, Rogue stormed off to the haven of her room. Only when she opened the door, it didn't look like a haven. It looked like an ambush. Kitty, Kurt and Jubilee of all people were sprawled across various pieces of furniture: her desk, her chair, her bed. She growled.

"Hey there!" Kitty bounced from her perch on the bed. "We've been waiting for you for like forever."

Kurt gave her a curious look. "We heard you yelling."

"Loudly," Jubilee added.

"What are you doing in here?" Rogue asked Jubilee bluntly. Tact wasn't known as her strong suit, especially after the whole dumping Bobby debacle.

Jubilee grinned from atop her desk. "Well, we all know you've been in the med bay. I just want to know why."

Rogue rolled her eyes. Jubilee was a shameless—if generally harmless—gossip addict, but Rogue's life and mutation were not fodder for the mill. she held the door open and stood to the side. "With all due respect, out."

"Just a little, teensy bit of inf—"

"No," came the implacable reply.

Jubilee huffed but obeyed. Rogue shut the door.

Kitty leaned forward. "Well?"

"It's nothing important," Rogue said, trying to brush them off.

But Kurt snorted indignantly. "You expect us to believe discovering a way to turn your powers off is 'nothing,' leibling?"

"Oh hush." She plopped on the bed next to Kitty, who took to rubbing her shoulders soothingly. Kitty was actually remarkably good at that. "Hank just thinks it's currently as uncontrollable as the other and they're both random, which doesn't help things at all."

Put like that, it actually made Rogue feel a little despondent.

But Kitty immediately bubbled out, "Oh no. You're going to make the most of this 'cause I will make you." She turned Rogue's head and glared in her face to emphasize, drawing a giggle from Rogue. "You have the option of figuring out how to have any power you want. Permanently. Without hurting anyone. Don't you get it?"

Rogue stared wide-eyed. "I hadn't thought about it like that."

Kurt grinned at her, tail lashing back and forth over his head. "We have."

"Really? Wh—" But she fell suddenly silent, thinking over the very thought. Any power. And her own would be off when she used them. "But I mean, Jimmy's the only one that's been passing out samples, if you know what I mean."

Kitty bounced up and down excitedly. "We can get more. I'm sure of it. Quick and painless."

Rogue giggled. Any power. Any power but her own.

"I like it."

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"Oui, oui, right away," Remy reassured his angry fiance. "I promise I'll get you the schedule...Oui. I haven't forgotten to write. First letter went out this morning...I am not lying." The idea! Belladonna was one of the few people that always knew when he was. "I'm not! Chère. The letter is in the mail." Another long pause. "Oui. Bonsoir." He closed his cell with a click and sighed. Loudly.

Piotr had returned and was waiting patiently with his cards. Remy was grateful it was Piotr and not one of the other boys teasing him for being so whipped.

Of course, none of their girlfriends backed up their lectures with knives, guns, and poisons.

Remy sat forward again and glanced over his own hand. "Now. Where were we?"

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