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Clarissa appeared in the dining room, right before Giles.
One moment she wasn't there, then she was.
"Clarissa, what have I told you about using your abilities without supervision?" the Professor asked sternly.
"I'm sorry Professor." Clarissa said timidly.
"What if Kitty isn't around to pull you out of the wall like last time?" the Professor continued.
Clarissa nodded with her eyes cast down.
"Go ahead and eat. Just don't transport unless someone is around who can help you." the Professor said with a tender smile.
"Yes Professor. I just came to get Artie some food." She said and began to fill a plate.
"Get enough for you both." the Professor said and turned his attention back to Giles.
"I believe I've been very patient, but I must know... what is this place?" Giles asked carefully.
"It is a school for mutants." Charles said carefully, waiting for a reaction.
"But from the way the media portrays mutants... they make you all look like a bunch of rabid animals." Giles said in puzzlement.
Logan walked into the room and Bobby couldn't help but say, "Mr. Logan, we were just talking about you."
"Stuff it, ice cube." Logan said gruffly then said to the Professor, "It's done."
"Thank you Logan. I promise that if I have my way, I'll never ask something like this of you again." The Professor said cryptically.
Logan gave a sharp nod and grabbed a sandwich before leaving the room.
"He's more like what I expected." Giles said honestly.
Bobby spoke up in Logan's defense, "He is what the world made him to be."
Everyone froze in wonder at the profound statement coming from the normally shallow teen.
Bobby looked at everyone watching him and quietly went back to eating.
* * * * *
Xander looked around in wonder at the beautiful scene. It was a wedding. Everyone was there. He saw Scott, Alex, Alan, Andrew, Buffy, Dawn, Tara, Aunt Vada and several people he didn't know.
He looked beside him to see Remy looking back with beautiful green eyes, filled with unshed tears.
Xander felt the love of years deep within his soul and noticed the lines that had formed on Remy's face over the years, lines that spoke of joy and laughter.
The minister began to speak and drew Xander's attention back to the front of the wedding hall.
"We are gathered here today to join this couple, Marguerite Vada LeBeau and Chakotay B'Elan Summers..."
* * * * *
"Hey guys, you got a minute?" Bobby asked as he walked into the common room where Warren was working on some paperwork and Kurt was quietly watching a movie.
"But of course, come and sit with us." Kurt said as he motioned Bobby to join them.
"I just need some advice... I just kinda... came out of the closet... yesterday. And I don't know... How am I supposed to act now?" Bobby asked carefully.
Warren looked up from his work with surprise as Kurt suddenly found the television much more interesting.
Finally Warren asked, "Before I answer, I just need to know why you're asking us."
"Because you two are a couple." Bobby said plainly.
"Bobby, you are mistaken. Warren unt I are not a couple. My beliefs prohibit such behavior, Warren is my friend. Zat is all." Kurt said honestly.
"That's right Bobby. I'm completely straight, Kurt is a good guy and I enjoy his company but that's all." Warren said, trying to ignore his blush.
"I'm sorry guys, I just noticed that I always see you two together... So I guess that means you don't have any advice for me, huh?" Bobby asked plaintively.
"Actually I do have some Bobby. You asked how you're supposed to act now. Act like yourself. Your orientation is just one part of your life. Be yourself and that way if you find someone who's interested in you, it will be the real you and not the person you're pretending to be." Warren said carefully.
"But I'm not sure who the real me is." Bobby said in a lost tone.
"Zen perhaps you should find out before you commit to one lifestyle. Is zere any need for you to decide today?" Kurt asked quietly.
"No... I just feel... lost." Bobby said honestly.
"When I have had zat feeling, I have sought ze answers in ze Bible. I do not speak of such zings to zose who do not wish to know. But if you have questions, I will always be available to speak with you." Kurt said with a look of honest caring.
"Kurt is right, it's important to know who you are before you make decisions that will effect your life. For myself, I find that a regular schedule brings stability and structure to my life. Something as simple as getting up the same time each day and having a certain number of things that need to be done gives me a sense of... accomplishment at the end of the day. In the week that I've been here I've begun to feel... adrift. The work that I'm doing right now could honestly wait till later, but this is the time of day that I sit down and clear my desk of outstanding work." Warren said seriously.
"Are you saying I should get a job?" Bobby asked unsurely.
"No, not so much a job as an objective. Set some goals for yourself. Some daily goals and some longer term goals. These things are for you and no one else. If you accomplish your goals then you will get the sense of accomplishment as your reward and if you fail, your own disappointment is your only punishment.
Bobby sat silently and considered the words. Finally he asked, "Do you think you could help get me started? I'm not sure how to set goals."
"Sure Bobby. Take this paper and write out two schedules for me. One for your school days and one for your days off. You don't have to fill every minute, for now, just write down the things that you do every day, around the time you do it. Things like waking up, meals, classes... whatever you do daily. When you're done, we can look it over and develop one or two goals for you." Warren said and handed some paper and a pen to Bobby.
Bobby sat in the floor at the coffee table and began to write.
* * * * *
"What happened?" Xander asked as he felt light slapping on his face.
"You fainted when Remy asked you to marry him." Alex said with a smile.
"No... no, it wasn't like that. I remember this feeling. It's an old spell that was put on me before I was supposed to marry Anya. I just got a glimpse of the future." Xander said and tried to shake himself out of it.
"What you see Xander?" Remy asked with concern.
"Where's Vada?" Xander asked carefully.
"Trying to find some smelling salts. Go ahead, tell us what you saw." Scott said quickly.
"It's fading, like a dream. I saw Marguerite's wedding... Remy and I were there, and very much in love. All of us were there... and she was marrying someone... named Summers. That's all I remember." Xander said and grabbed his lemonade.
"So you not answer Remy's question. You wanna marry Remy?" He asked bravely.
"I just got a taste of what I felt in the future. Yes Cajun, I absolutely want to marry you." Xander said and pulled Remy into a hug.
"None of that at the dinner table." Vada said as she walked back into the room.
Remy and Xander broke apart and looked shyly at Aunt Vada.
"It official, we be gettin married... or whatever dey let us do..." Remy said and looked at the other men.
"I think right now that you can get married in five states, New York isn't one of them but if you get married in Vermont, New York will recognize your marriage." Scott said in concentration.
"What about New Jersey?" Xander asked with concern.
"I don't know, we'll have to ask the Professor's lawyer what is the best way to do this so it's as legally binding as possible." Scott said and went back to his seat.
"We talk to da Professor tonight. Remy don want to wait." Remy said with a fond smile at Xander.
"Do you gentlemen have any plans for later this afternoon?" Aunt Vada asked.
"No, we're free all day." Alex said and went back to eating.
"How would you like to take me to the hospital to visit the baby?" Vada asked and returned to eating too.
"That would be great, I can't wait to see Marguerite." Xander said happily.
"Marguerite?" Vada asked carefully.
"Marguerite Vada LeBeau." Xander said definitely.
"A good name. I can see that the baby, Marguerite, is going to be well taken care of, you two don't dally around and put things off till later." Vada said and sat back in her chair.
"Nobody promised me a later." Xander said with a shrug.
Vada laughed at the comment and said, "That philosophy will serve you well young Xander, make sure that Marguerite learns it too. I believe it is a key to having a fulfilled life."
"Thank you Aunt Vada, I will." Xander said with a shy smile.
* * * * *
Bobby looked at his list of goals and thought about what Warren and Kurt had done for him.
[They treated me like a person, like an adult. They didn't make fun of me or try to convince me of anything. They both explained their points of view and let me make my own decisions. It's my life, and I have to take responsibility for it. Warren and Kurt were both telling me that in their own ways.] Bobby thought and read what was before him.
Bobby thought about the assignment and thought, [This is it, the moment that I decide what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.]
* * * * *
"Professor, do you have some time to speak with us?" Xander asked hesitantly.
"Of course, please come in and sit down." The Professor said as he moved from behind the desk.
He was surprised to see Remy, Xander, Alex and Scott file into the room.
"We need to ask for some more of your help." Xander said shyly.
"I take it that this has to do with your visit to Mrs. Jeffers. What can I do for you gentlemen?" Charles asked with genuine curiosity.
"Two things actually, I want to marry the Cajun and we want to adopt Margaret Riley's baby as our daughter." Xander said matter-of-factly.
Charles sat, stunned. [In the future, I must remember to scan them before they come in.] He thought, then said as calmly as he could manage, "This seems a rash decision, last I knew, you Mr. Harris were heterosexual and you Mr. LeBeau embraced your freedom to a point of being antisocial.
"Bisexual." Xander corrected.
"Remy got better." Remy said with a smile at the confusion of the normally controlled Professor.
"Scott, Alex, what do you have to add to the conversation?" the Professor asked hopefully.
"We just came to cheer them on..." Alex said with a smile.
"...And offer any help that we can." Scott finished with an identical smile.
"May I assume that the two requests are related?" The Professor asked, deciding to just accept it and move on.
"Yes, to adopt Marguerite we will need to be married... or have a commitment or something... what we actually need to talk to a lawyer about that to see what is the best way to do this." Xander said disjointedly.
"I see, so the marriage is one of convenience to facilitate the adoption of the child... who is being adopted to repay Margaret Riley for her gift of the eyes." Charles said bluntly, hoping to make the men think about what they were about to do.
Xander was immediately infuriated. He glared at the Professor for a long moment before saying, "Professor, I fell in love twice today. The first time at Aunt Vada's table when I had a glimpse of the most perfect future that I could imagine, a future where I was married to Remy. And the second time in the hospital, looking at that helpless sweet little baby girl. We are speeding up the marriage so we can start the adoption and hopefully have it done before Marguerite leaves the hospital. But don't doubt my love for either of them. Scan me if you need to see for yourself to believe it."
"That won't be necessary." The Professor said quietly, humbled by the ferocity of Xander's statement.
"Yes it is. Read me. Know the truth." Xander said intensely.
The Professor nodded and looked into Xander's eye.
* * * * *
"Warren? Am I disturbing you?" Bobby asked hesitantly through Warren's door.
"No, not at all, I was just reading, come in, it's open." Warren said and put down his book.
"I... finished." Bobby said shyly, holding a sheet of paper.
"Did you find anything that you're interested in?" Warren asked casually.
"Yeah, but it's kind of... nerdy." Bobby said timidly.
"Yeah, so? You can decide to take a job where you can look cool while you're miserable, or a job were you're doing what you enjoy... what did you choose?" Warren asked as he adjusted his position in his chair for comfort.
"Accounting." Bobby said shyly.
Bobby saw the smile and immediately thought that Warren was amused by his choice. Bobby turned to leave in defeat.
"Hold on Bobby, I was smiling because... I'll tell you what, next week if everything here is back to normal, I'll take you to work with me one day and introduce you to some people, some very cool people. The whole idea that accountants are nerds stopped being true when computers came on to the scene... if it ever was true. The accountants that work for me are on the cutting edge of technology and software. One of them, Justin, has a love of Jaguars... the cars, not the cats. Ask him about his collection and you won't be able to get him to shut up for two hours. And another one, Lou, is a computer guru that even the computer technicians ask for advice when it comes to networking. What I'm trying to say is, they're real people, they are not just their job titles. Come with me next week and talk to Justin and Lou, ask them whatever questions you have about being an accountant, the upside and the downside, and about the education you'll need." Warren said supportively.
Bobby nodded. "Thanks Warren." He said absently as he walked out of the room. Then he felt it, the sense that he had just accomplished something. Like he was one step closer to his future.
* * * * *
Waves of love and tenderness flowed over Charles as he looked for concrete images in Xander's mind. There was a bubble of memory coming toward him and Charles embraced it, expecting to see the events of earlier in the day.
Charles found himself sitting in the MedLab watching Xander holding Remy's hand. The feeling of love was unmistakable as Xander sat watching Remy, waiting for him to wake. There was pure love and devotion flowing from Xander, and by extension, to Charles.
The Professor let loose of that memory and touched another. He saw Xander leading Remy into the dining room and could feel the respect and admiration coming from Xander. He quickly let loose of the memory and moved to another.
The Professor found himself sitting in a church. Xander and Remy were simply holding hands but the love and devotion of years radiated from them like a beacon in the night. Charles was in awe of the blinding, intoxicating love that flowed off the two men. Reluctantly, he pulled back and something caught his eye. It was something small, faint... almost forgotten. The Professor reached out to a faint bubble of memory that was almost too faint to touch.
Charles touched the bubble of memory and it opened to reveal the first glimpse that Xander had of Remy.
The Professor carefully felt what Xander had felt at the first encounter. Respect, admiration, attraction and caring.
Charles finally withdrew from Xander's mind and said, "I understand."
To Be Continued...