"Rems," Rogue said with a chuckle, "ya're not normal, ya know that?"
Remy did, in fact, know that. Though he had known it for some time, the fact was becoming painfully obvious the more time he spent at the X-mansion, where the occupants, despite their superhero status, were surprisingly normal.
First growing up on the streets, and then subsequently being raised by the Thieves Guild, Remy LeBeau understood that he lived a life outside the normal rules of society. However, those rules for the most part seemed illogical to him, and he had, for most of his life, assumed they were the sort of well-intentioned guidelines that most people understood and acknowledged on the surface, but very few actually followed, like no swimming for twenty minutes after eating.
He was quickly learning that, for most of his life, he had been wrong. Despite his earlier assumptions, he had absolutely no idea what it meant to be 'normal'.
These revelations came in forms both big and small. Today's revelations came as he was sitting in the mansion's library with Rogue, thumbing through a book and watching her as she did her homework. In the past few weeks he had taken to becoming her shadow, as she had been the main component in his decision to join the X-men. He had become intrigued with her during his time as an Acolyte, mostly due to her unusual and unfortunate mutant powers, as well as the spark in her eyes and, of course, the swell of her breasts. That intrigue had grown into general feelings of interest and concern as he spent time researching her (another thing he learned later was 'not normal'. Logan had used the unseemly term 'stalking', which Remy took great offense to). During their little trip to New Orleans, they formed a sort of friendship that only grew as Rogue began calling his cell phone a week later. As time went by, he found himself anxiously waiting for her calls, and eventually the only joy he took in life was the sound her of voice on the other end of the line. And so, when an unfortunate series of events lead to his exile from New Orleans, he decided to take up the offer to join Rogue with the X-men. Despite the fear that gripped him when he thought about the feelings he had for her, he found that simply being in the girl's presence brought him a sense of peace and happiness he hadn't known since he was first taken in by a family. This was how he found himself with her, idly skimming through the thoughts of David Theroux (a suggestion from Hank) as Rogue worked on her Calculus homework. Suddenly, her head had popped up from her paper, and she idly began nibbling on the end of her pencil.
"Remy, whadda ya want t' be when ya grow up?"
It was, perhaps, the strangest question he had ever been asked. What did he want to be? He tried to figure out what kind of answer she could possibly be looking for, but came up short. Was it possible for him to be anything, other than himself?
"Wat do I wan' t' be?" he repeated, for lack of a better response.
"Yeah, what do ya wanna do?" She asked again, then smiling playfully, she added, "Ya know, when ya grow up."
He had heard the term 'grow up' before, usually in the context of "Oh Remy, grow up!", and usually when he was playfully charming a woman whose bed he hoped to fill that evening. And so he answered Rogue's question in the only way that seemed to make sense at the moment.
She stared at him as if he had grown a second head, before quickly recovering and laughing lightly, once again giving him the title of 'not normal', followed, unfortunately, by 'the look'. 'The look', as Remy was quickly becoming accustomed to, was somewhat of a cross between amusement and pity. He assumed it was similar to the look one has while watching a fly try to escape out a closed window. He hated the look. And he had been getting it quite a lot since he had entered this realm of 'normal'.
Kitty gave him 'the look' a lot. Apparently, the brunette was incredibly normal, despite using the word 'like' with great frequency and in forms that Remy knew were not grammatically correct. While Rogue's version of 'the look' was softened by the small intimate moments they would occasionally share together, Kitty's 'look' made him feel very small and ignorant, reminding him of his experiences as a young child coming off the streets and into the strange world of the Lebeau mansion. But he was not a child, and was not, as the look seemed to imply, a bumbling idiot. He simply had, in his 19 years, failed to learn many aspects of what was to be considered 'normal', a problem that he was quickly remedying in his new living arrangements.
One of these aspects was television. Now, Remy was not some third-world native; he knew what a television was, had watched quite a few (though his first real encounter was during the odd experience of 'downtime' at Magneto's Base), and he already knew, as Kitty had snidely joked, that "the images in the 'magic box' can't, like, come out and grab you. It's all pretend". What was new to him, however, was the relationship normal people seemed to have with the television. Kitty seemed to be very possessive of certain shows. "Oh my gosh, Remy, you, like, can't ask any more questions for the next hour. I'm watching my show!" He had received one of her 'looks' when he innocently inquired how she had ownership of a television series. He also found that normal people carried around a lot of useless knowledge about the airing of television shows. Most shows were aired on a certain schedule, which made sense of course, but apparently normal people had these schedules memorized, and it was reasonable to expect that memorization from everyone else. "Remy, it's Tuesday, 8 o'clock, hello!" was supposed to mean "Please turn to channel 13 so I can watch 'Shadows'", and "Duh, it's, like, still technically summer" was supposed to mean "this episode is a rerun that I've already seen". And although she had mocked his own understanding of the illusion of television, Kitty herself didn't seem to have a firm grasp on it.
"Oh my gosh, Rogue, I was, like, SO mad at Ryan. When he left Haylie outside that theater and just, like, drove off, I swear, I was, like, this close to strangling him. If she takes him back, I swear, I'm going to, like, scream."
"Dese amis o' yours?"
Insert 'the look'. "Rogue, your boyfriend is, like, totally weird."
Normal people also had what Remy considered to be an unnatural relationship with their possessions. He had an intimate understanding of death, and knew that it didn't matter how many cars one owned or how much money one had stuffed under a mattress somewhere when your lifeblood runs fast and hot onto the cold hard pavement of a city street. You take nothing with you. The material things of life were fleeting, as Remy saw it, merely instruments for one's comfort if so fortunate as to acquire them. But the absolute self-righteous claim of pure ownership that normal people seemed to have over their possessions seemed absurd.
Now, Remy of course knew that stealing was considered 'wrong'. It was against the law, after all, but perhaps it was because he had never gotten caught and seemed to be able to do so without abandoned that he always figured it was considered sort of a lesser crime, condemned by its victims more than anyone else. He had assumed it was not a more widely popular activity simply because others lacked both the audacity and the skill to do so, and Remy had the two in spades. After all, as a child of the street, thieving was necessary for survival, and as a part of the Guild, it was simply the family business. Magneto had had no problem with it, in fact, that was the reason he was contracted out to the terrorist, in addition to his fighting skills. Charles Xavier felt very differently on the matter. When he arrived at the manor, the rules were made clear to him: as long as he was an X-man, his life as a thief was over. Remy was fine with this; all institutions had rules, even Magneto (no fighting around the expensive equipment) and the Guild (no shoes in Tante's kitchen). Of course, the frequent muddy footprints on Tante's tile floors were proof that Remy believed rules were meant to be broken.
When he had first arrived, Remy was shocked to learn that none of the bedrooms in the mansion had locks on the doors. When he had commented on it, Logan had grunted something about privacy being the last thing a bunch of teenagers needed. Remy could care less about privacy, he had a nice body and the entire team could watch him sleep in the nude if they felt so inclined, it made no difference to him. He was also very comfortable with his sexuality and needed neither privacy nor the cover of darkness to express it. However, an unlocked door was simply an invitation to those items that lay inside. If one wished to keep their possessions for the time being, they must protect them, otherwise they are open game for anyone else who may also wish to keep them. That was simple logic. Even the LeBeau mansion was fitted with locks for each door, which of course were more of a symbolic message than anything, seeing as everyone who lived there could pick a lock as easily as picking their teeth. He had quickly amended his own door, and, incorrectly, as he later learned, assumed that the others' choice not to do so was the invitation he needed.
His first week gained him few friends. Bobby and Scott were his hardest hit victims. The former had an abundance of trivial and childish items that fascinated Remy (comic books, candy necklaces, baseball cards), and the latter had a surprisingly sophisticated collection of cds and shoes. But the other inhabitants of the mansion were not immune to his sticky fingers as he gave into his deeper urges to snoop during the quiet school hours. After four days of items randomly coming up missing, it was clear to all that the recent addition of the resident thief was the cause of the "misplaced" items. Thankfully, it was decided during a secret 'team meeting' that Rogue would talk to her friend before either the Professor or Logan were involved. The calm and patient manner in which she had approached Remy, much like a mother gently scolding an impish child, had humiliated him to no end. He had quickly realized the foolishness of his actions and admonished himself for potentially screwing up his chance at a new life.
"'m sorry, Rogue. If ya don' wan' me stealin' stuff, I won' do dat."
"Ok, sugah. But…ah… ya do know it's wrong ta steal from ya're teammates, don'cha?"
And that was when 'the look' started.
Remy had also been dismayed to learn that once again he had to amend his way of thinking when it came to the matter of food. As a small child, food on the streets was hard to come by. When he was taken in my the LeBeau family, it had been a humbling experience, even as a child, to learn the proper relationship to have with food. Never having had enough to eat, the incident of learning to stop eating when one is full, not when all the available food is gone, was a painful memory. The general idea of sitting at a table at set times, and eating from a plate with utensils was one that took both time and practice to master. Remy had thought that his days of embarrassing himself in a kitchen were behind him; he was wrong.
He soon learned that some food was 'everyone's food' and some food was 'not Remy's'. Though the distinction seemed obvious to everyone else, he for the life of him could not figure it out. Not enjoying the shrill sound of Kitty's shriek when she discovered he was using her soy milk on his cereal, he had resorted to perpetually asking permission before pouring any liquid into his bowl.
"Yes, Remy, you can use the milk", sighed Jean, Scott, Bobby, Sam, Roberto, Kurt, Jubilee, Tabitha, Rogue, Hank, Storm, or whoever happened to be in the kitchen that morning. It was an annoying routine for everyone involved.
Logan, at least, had simplified the matter when it came to his own 'off-limit' items. Upon entering the kitchen one evening to find Remy downing his second beer (it had been a crappy day. Rogue had had after-school detention, and he'd received a lecture from Scott about answering Jamie's questions about his past sexual partners. Apparently 'normal people' did not discuss the technical aspects of a menage a trois with preteens. Go figure), he stopped cold and glared at the Cajun.
"What do ya think yer doin', Gumbo?"
"Gettin' drunk", he had replied simply. It seemed a stupid question that deserved an stupid answer.
"Who said you could drink that?"
Remy had been puzzled, though part of his confusion may have had to do with the Canadian ale working through his system.
"I can't?" Logan had never had a problem with his under-age drinking before. Remy had suspected that he was an exception to this rule simply because Logan secretly enjoyed having a drinking buddy at Harry's.
Logan chuckled, seemingly finding the young man's intoxication amusing. "Well, did you pay for that beer?"
Remy's face was still the picture of confusion. "No." That particular argument had little impact on the Cajun, seeing as he rarely paid for anything.
Logan shook his head, smiling to himself. "Look," pointing at the fridge, "if there's beer in there, it's mine. Don't drink my beer."
And with that he had left. Remy sighed happily and leaned back in his chair. Finally someone around here was making sense.
Slowly, though, other things began to make sense as well. Remy was not a unintelligent young man, he simply had to learn a new set of rules for these new experiences. Being in a 'relationship', as Kitty frequently liked to point out, was one of these new experiences. He thought that he'd been in a 'relationship' before, with Belladonna. They had been engaged to be married nearly as long as he'd been a LeBeau. According to Kitty, what he had with Bella was not a proper 'relationship'.
"Oh my gosh! Like, what are you doing!" she had exclaimed in that horribly shrill manner. It was early morning, the first Sunday he was at the manor. He had just dragged himself in from a night, and apparently morning, out. Kitty had found him in the entryway, still half-drunk and smelling of women's perfume, and instantly grabbed him by the collar, roughly dragging him into the kitchen before anyone, particularly Rogue, saw him.
Pulling him to the sink, she began frantically scrubbing at the lipstick stain on his neck with a dishrag as he feebly tried to avoid her attack in his inebriated state.
"If Rogue finds you like this, she'll, like, kill you! That is, if I haven't decided to, like, kill you myself first." She frowned as she continued her furious scrubbing. "I thought you loved her. Isn't that why you came here?" Blue eyes looked up pleadingly into red on black.
Remy didn't understand. "I do care 'bout her." He carefully changed her wording to something he was more comfortable admitting, even to himself. "Dis had not'ing t' do wit' her. Wit' Rogue it's one t'ing, dis was somet'ing dif'rent. It was jus' a femme, I don' even know her name. It meant not'ing."
It seemed that Kitty believed the sincerity in his voice. She sighed and stopped her ministering. "Look, you just can't do this, ok? You're in a relationship now, got it? When you're in a relationship, you don't, like, sleep around. It may not mean anything to you, but it'll, like, totally mean something to Rogue."
The fact that this inexperienced little fille was lecturing him on his sex life was irritating. "Wat de hell do ya know 'bout it anyway?" He had loved Bella, in his own way, and had slept with countless others during the years of their engagement. He was sure she had done the same. What he did at night had nothing to do, in his opinion, with love. It was simply an urge he could not resist, as he was not very good at resisting urges anyway.
A voice startled the pair from the small breakfast nook on the other side of the room.
"I do believe the girl is right, Mr. LeBeau." Beast did not look up from his morning paper as he sipped his coffee. Neither Kitty nor Remy had noticed him when they entered the kitchen, which was odd, considering he was a four-hundred pound mutant covered in blue fur. "Although I am hardly an expert on matters of the heart, I do believe that women place a great deal of importance on fidelity."
Kitty tried to swallow her shock. "Um, that's right. We, like, do. So this whole 'ladies man' thing you've got going on, it's got to stop. And it's not just the sex, you've got stop flirting with everyone." Remy rolled his eyes. Even he knew some things were impossible. "Ok, you've got to, like, cut back on the flirting. And quit pawing everything in a skirt. Like, hands to yourself!"
"Merde, chaton!" Remy exclaimed, suddenly tiring of her criticism. "How de hell 'm I suppos' t' do dat?! It ain't like I sit 'round plottin' de way I act, I just… act."
"Hmmm…" Hank contemplated as he continued to read his paper. "Sounds to me like you have a psychological need to touch." He folded his paper lazily. "Of course, that's another matter in which I cannot claim to be an expert." Finally, he looked up at the two standing at the sink. "Perhaps you should have a chat with the Professor. That is his area of expertise, after all."
Hank looked upon Remy expectantly, waiting for the young man to agree with his suggestion. Remy almost laughed. The idea of him having a one-on-one session with a psychologist, or even worse, a telepathic psychologist, was completely absurd. He'd rather shove bamboo sticks up his fingernails than let a spook run around inside his head, that and (gasp) talk about his feelings. But Hank's hopeful gaze promised not to move from him until Remy made some sort of acknowledgement, so the Cajun conjured up his best winning smile and lied through his teeth.
"Sure, Henri, dat sounds like a good idea. I'll talk wit him sometime." Of course, he no intention of doing any such thing. "T'anks for de… 'relationship' advice, chaton, but I'm goin' t' head upstairs an' get cleaned up." She grabbed for him, but he cut her off before she could speak. "I'll be sure t' avoid Rogue, don' worry."
Even though he still considered Kitty to be an ignorant virgin, Hank's comments troubled him. Days later he found the words still rung in his mind. Although not usually one for self-examination, Remy knew it was important for a thief to be familiar with both his strengths and his weaknesses. Almost unconsciously he found himself one day in the mansion's deserted library while the younger X-men were at school. Though generally small in size, the library had an extensive collection of books on psychology, given the Professor's background.
After a great deal of skimming, Remy began reading a section on childhood sexual trauma. Suddenly finding himself reading a version of his current self in conjunction with memories of an unfortunate necessity for a child living on the streets, he found the book to be coldly accurate, and slammed it closed with a distinct snap. Hands shaking and skin more clammy than he wanted to admit, he shoved the offending book in far corner shelf where it could no longer mock him with it's knowledge of his inner workings. So much for self-examination. Bottom-line: normal people don't sleep around. Not wanting to confirm the book's assessment of him, he vowed from that day to be 'normal', at least in those regards.
He did find, however, that some things that 'normal' people did, he actually enjoyed. With most of the manor's inhabitants enrolled in school, and Jean and Scott enrolled at the local community college, at first Remy's days tended to be long, lonely, and boring. In these off-times with Magneto he subcontracted himself out for the odd heist, and although those offers still came occasionally, he felt he should abstain. Although Xavier had given him a 'no stealing' rule, he was still pocketing the smaller items he required for his everyday life. It was more suspicious than not that the Professor had not made mention of the fact that Remy seemed to be able to keep himself supplied with cigarettes and playing cards despite having no monetary income. The Cajun knew he was being granted this leeway and had no intention of pushing it. And so, he found himself filling his time doing… normal things.
The thing about a house filled with teenagers (some of whom had a mutant ability with the potential for destruction) was that there was always work to be done. Logan was in charge of the larger maintenances of the manor, and Remy enjoyed being a silent second set of hands. His relationship with the feral man seemed to depend on the circumstance. It was clear that his care-free attitude and rebellious antics in the Danger Room irked Logan to no end, which of course merely added fuel to the fire. Remy was self-aware enough to know that he had a real problem with authority and an almost physical need to push boundaries. But the joy it brought him to see the deep furrow in Logan's brow accompanied by that low irritated growl was too good for him to resist. It was also clear that the alpha-male was none too comfortable with the young man's undefined relationship with the girl he called 'Stripes'. Threats were made on a continual basis regarding the matter, usually describing the danger of certain body parts being severed from certain Cajuns.
But there were times outside those circumstances that Logan almost seemed to appreciate Remy's company, and the feeling was mutual. Remy had been surprised the first time Logan invited him to join him at the bar. Well, 'invited' may be too strong a word. It was more of a grunt, followed by "I'm goin' to Harry's. You comin'?". Never being one to turn down a drink, Remy had eagerly hopped on his bike and followed, hoping that this wasn't a trap to get him kicked out of the mansion. It hadn't been. Apparently, Logan found the need for a drinking companion that didn't quote Shakespeare and drone on endlessly about the current state of the scientific community. It also turned out that, in the setting of a night out, Logan actually found the young man amusing. Remy knew that he was in top form when slightly tipsy, and was usually the life of the party (unless he'd gone drinking to brood, which happened a fair amount). It gave him a huge sense of accomplishment to make Logan chuckle and even, when he was really on his game, smile.
The two also frequently shared a comfortable silence while working on larger projects during the day, like maintaining the team's vehicles in the garage or fixing damage to the Danger Room. Remy found it was relaxing not to need his usual façade of the class clown. The man's animal instincts could see through the mask (when it was one) anyway, but despite that, Logan wasn't the type of person to try to delve into another's past or feelings. There was no need for deep conversation as they worked side by side. As long as Remy handed him the correct tool and carried his own weight on a project, that was all that was required. It was almost soothing to simply be able to work with his hands and be, on occasion, quiet.
When the bigger projects thinned out, there was always a perpetual list of smaller chores to be done around the mansion. The idea of spending his time doing housekeeping seemed demeaning to Remy, but Storm had brought up an interesting point.
"Gambit! If you cannot keep those infernal hands still for five seconds, why don't you busy them with something useful!" She had suddenly snapped, breaking her usually peaceful exterior after he'd broken off a third leaf from one of her potted plants he'd taken to pawing disinterestedly. She proceeded to toss a small rag at him, with a little more force than necessary. "You can start by dusting off my pots. Touch one more leaf and you die." The threat had lacked her usual eloquence, but it got the message across.
Interestingly enough, Remy found that the simple chores that needed done around the mansion did actually help alleviate the excess energy that seemed to always be running through his hands since his mutation had surfaced. He found that it was rather relaxing to spend his days scrubbing counters, drying dishes, hand-waxing the floors, etc. And since the Professor had limited his Danger Room sessions to once per day (proclaiming that it was not healthy for the body or mind to spend the majority of one's time training, a philosophy Jean Luc had obviously never subscribed to), he discovered he could cheat the system by using a bit of extra force and skill during these simple chores. So maybe 'normal' people didn't break a sweat while dusting the banisters. Or do so while standing on their hands. It was already established that Remy was not normal.
The mansion's library also pulled his interest. While Remy had a vast knowledge on a myriad of subjects, mostly those that pertained to a life of crime, all that he knew he had learned from either experience or at the hand of another. It was interesting to read about subjects such as electrical engineering, having the things he already knew explained in proper terminology instead of "So y' put dis 'ere, work dat wire dere, an' den i's go time, comprendre?". He found himself frequently muttering to himself "So dat's wat dat t'ing 's called…"
The Professor had taken notice of his visits to the library, and approached him on the matter early one afternoon. Remy felt extremely uncomfortable in Xavier's office, a fact that he hoped to disguise with an exaggerated slouch and a lazy smirk. The twinkle in the Professor's eyes told him that it wasn't working.
The knot in Remy's stomach tightened.
"Remy, I've asked you here because I've noticed you have been taking advantage of the mansion's library as of late."
"Is dere a fine f' late books, 'cuz I can give y' a quarter later." Humor as a deflection. It was an old trick. Too bad he couldn't come up with anything better on the fly. Being in closed quarters with the powerful old spook rattled him more than he cared to admit.
Xavier smiled lightly, clearly seeing through the ploy. Dang. "You are free to read as many books as you'd like and keep them as long as necessary. It's encouraged, actually."
The Professor paused and observed the young man before him.
"Remy, have you given any thought as to what you would like to do with your life?"
These 'normal' people sure seemed to have a way with odd questions. "Live it, I guess." Xavier's facial expression told Remy that was not the response he had been looking for. "Is dere another option?"
"Other than mere survival, as your answer implies? Yes. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?"
Remy let out an irritated sigh. "Not dat stupid question 'gain. What de hell is dat suppos' t' mean, anyway?"
The Professor eyed him quizzically. "You've never heard the expression?"
"No, I haven't!" At this point Remy could not control his anger. He had grown tired of being humiliated, and it coming from the Professor was the last straw. "What, you gonna make fun o' me, too?"
Xavier remained calm. "The question is asking what type of profession or occupation you'd like to hold." His tone was sincere without the slightest trace of condescension, and Remy instantly felt foolish for his outburst.
It was one of the rare moments in his life that Remy felt close to tears. For years he'd been revered for his skill as a master of his craft, the Prince of Thieves. But since he'd moved back to Bayville and in with this group of 'normal' superheroes, he felt like the perpetual butt of jokes. Quite frankly, he was tired of the humiliation. And now he had brought it upon himself. With the Professor, no less. For the first time since arriving, he wished he could go back to New Orleans. Sure, he was merely a tool there, but at least he was an expert tool. 'De Prince of Tools' he thought morosely.
Either his poker face had shattered or he was projecting, because Xavier seemed to know exactly what he was thinking. "You're not an imbecile, Remy, you're simply not familiar with the expression. It's nothing to be ashamed of. No one is perfect."
"Right…" he mumbled. He had a tendency to be moody, and once he got in a funk it was hard to pull out, but Remy tried anyways, for the Professor's sake.
"So," the Xavier continued, "do you have an answer to my question?"
Remy contemplated the matter for a moment. "Well… I guess I never t'ought 'bout it. Never 'ad to. When I's a pup, I was sorta happy jus' t' live ta see da next day, ya know? Den afta dat I was t' be da heir to de Guild's throne. I was jus' always gonna be a t'ief." Blew dat one ta hell, he thought morbidly. The mental image of a sea of dead bodies came to his mind unconsciously.
"Well, it seems that life has dealt you a new set of cards." The Professor seemed amused by his own word play. "Your future is no longer decided for you. The question is, what do you intent to do about it?"
Remy was at a loss for words, and so he remained silent.
"Alright", the Professor sighed, "let me make a suggestion. The local community college that Scott and Jean attend offers a wide variety of courses. Perhaps you may enjoy sampling a few. College is, after all, a perfect place to explore your options and gain knowledge on an assortment of subjects."
Remy huffed and slouched further in his chair. "Yeah, yeah, dat's a fine idea, Prof, but dere's one problem wit it. I don' t'ink dey let ya jus' walk in off da street an' get ya degree, non?"
"I don't think it should be a problem to have your transcripts sent from Louisiana-"
"Except dat I don' have no transcripts down dere." Xavier eyed him questioningly. Remy shrugged. "I never been t' school."
The Professor seemed surprised. "I must confess, I had assumed otherwise. You are quite adept in your knowledge of electronics and mechanics, and from what Kitty tells me your skills with a computer rival her own, if not a bit… narrow in the field of expertise." Apparently the Cajun's hack of the Professor's personnel files had not gone unnoticed.
"Learned all dat from de Guild."
"You're also fluent in both English and French."
"And Russian" he answered with a smirk.
Xavier pressed his fingers in a steeple as he appeared to ponder this new development. Remy was actually a bit surprised that the Professor had not already reached this conclusion. He thought it would have been painfully obvious that the Cajun was not familiar with the public education system when had tried to visit Rogue at school one day. He thought it would be interesting to see her in class, having never been to one himself, and planned to take her out to a nice lunch afterwards. It turned out that a strange man with a trench coat and devil eyes walking in off the street and wandering the halls, peering in random classrooms, put the administration on edge, and the school was immediately put on emergency lock down. The police were called, and both the Professor and Logan had had to come down and vouch for Remy's legitimacy to avoid charges being brought up. It had been, once again, an embarrassing reminder that he was poorly lacking in knowledge of what was acceptable behavior in the 'normal' world.
"Well", Xavier finally spoke up, sitting straighter in his chair, "I have no doubt that with some studying you should be able to obtain a GED. You may even be ready to enroll by the start of the Spring semester." He paused, searching the young man's face across from him. "Is this something you are interested in, Mr. LeBeau?"
Remy shrugged. "I guess."
The Professor fixed him with a hard gaze. "Our mission as X-men, while gravely important, is not all-consuming. I would assume that a young man of your intelligence would want more from his life than scrubbing floors and folding laundry."
Remy froze in his chair. He had been called many things in his life. Charming, witty, sexy, sneaky, stealthy, cunning, dishonest, untrustworthy, but never, never, intelligent. The sincerity in the Professor's expression filled him with something he couldn't quite identify, and he felt the urge to sit up straighter in his seat.
"Yeah, mebbe I do." He paused, his face falling a bit. "But, what ya asked b'fore, I still don' know what I wanna do wit' my life."
The Professor smiled. "That's alright, Remy. In fact, it's perfectly normal."
Remy found he could not suppress the smile that slowly crept upon his face.
Later that day, he sat waiting with anxious excitement at the bottom of the stairs as the high school students arrived home. One by one, he watched them file into the entryway, drumming his fingers on his knees with anticipation.
"Rogue!" he called out to her the second she walked through the door. Popping up from his sitting position, he rushed up to meet her, grabbing her by both arms and pulling her a few feet away from the group, a huge smile plastered across his face.
"Oh, uh, hey Sugah" she fumbled, trying to recover the shock of his eagerness. "Did ya spend the entire day drinkin' coffee or somethin'?"
"Ask me dat question again." Remy said, trying unsuccessfully to stifle his grin.
"Oh, uh, I don't-"
"De one 'bout 'when I grow up'" he cut her off, his eyes shining brightly. "Ask me again."
Slowly Rogue realized what he was talking about, and smiled with bewildered amusement as she took in his child-like excitement. "Oh, ok. Remy, whadda ya want t' be when ya grow up?"
He looked her straight in the eyes.
"I have no idea."
His smile was so wide it seemed to Rogue that his cheeks might burst.
"Dat's normal, right chere?" he continued, the exuberance in his expression never failing.
Rogue observed him for a moment. She had never seen him like this before, and the pure joy he seemed to be radiating seeped into her and she found herself smiling along with him.
"Yeah, Rems," she chuckled, reaching up and gently brushing back the hair that fell softly on his face, "that's completely normal."
Author's Note: I decided to add this at the end, because for me, as a reader, too many warnings at the beginning of a story qualifying why the author hopes the thing doesn't suck just sets off a blaring alarm of "Danger, Danger Will Robinson!" in my head, and I tend to stop reading right there because, quite frankly, if you have to add that much addendum, it probably does, in fact, suck. So now I've fooled you all by doing the same thing after you've already suffered through my crap! Bwah ha ha ha ha! That's your evil laugh there, my friends. I hope you enjoyed it.
I also hope you enjoyed the story. This started out as my attempt to simply write something, because I really want to Beta, but FFN has a rule that you have to have at least 6000 words published before getting on the Beta network. And thus you have 'Normal'. A little bit about myself: I'm a closet comic fan, but I've never really let myself indulge in the temptation. My recent entry into the world of fanfiction is the first of these indulgences. My familiarity with X-men, in all it's forms, comes mostly from internet searches and this here site (although I did watch the original cartoon when I was younger). I have seen Cajun Spice on AOLVideo, and that's it, people. So if I've messed up something from EVOverse here (which I'm not sure how I could have seeing as there's, like, no plot in this story. You were all thinking it, right?), well then, um... sorry? My apology would be more sincere, but you're getting this stuff for free.
But since I do have some pride as a writer, I do hope you liked what I wrote. I love Remy, I think his history and personality and general hotty-ness make him one the most intriguing characters ever written. This was just sort of one spin on the character that I decided to run with. Although I always have more thoughts on the guy, most likely this will be all I'll write, so I hope it was worth a read through. Reviews are, of course, much loved and much appreciated. We creative types need a lot of preening, and sometimes to be taken down a peg or two, so please do so (and of course I'm hoping there's more of the preening than that icky second thing...).