All characters are the copyright of Marvel comics. This story is for non-profit purposes of private entertainment only.

I made up a few new names for the X-Babies because not all of them have unique names like Cyke and Wolvie (which aren't all that unique, either, since occasionally the full-grown counterparts are called by those names in these fics, as well), and I made up a Beast X-Baby, because frankly, he'd be too cute as a baby not to have an X-Baby.

Only When They're Sleeping

Mac O'Roni

     Mojo was supposed to be dead, but that really didn’t mean anything. Gambit knew now that, if he ever saw that ugly bugger again, he was going to kill him. Slowly.
     Very slowly.
     The mansion was besieged with miniature X-Men, and they were worse, in the Acadian’s opinion, than a herd of Sabretooth clones. Worse still, each full-grown X-Man was expected to keep a close eye on their own particular X-Baby, which meant that, instead of going out and carousing, riding his motorcycle, playing pool or poker or just going dancing, Gambit was stuck at home, in the mansion, playing guard dog to one exceptionally hyper-active little Cajun clone.
     Worse even than that, he found himself saying things he had hoped to never hear himself say, things he never would have dreamed of ever saying…things Jean-Luc used to say all the time. “Ace, don’t t’row dose cards at Li’l Angel.” “Ace, quit spittin’ gum in Cyke’s hair.” “Ace, get down from dat chandelier.” “Don’t you dare blow up dat lamp, boy—you gonna get it!”
     The only thing that made the ordeal somewhat tolerable was that Logan was in similar straits with Wolvie.
     “Kid—get out of that refrigerator!” “Kid—stop sharpenin’ yer claws on the furniture!” “Put those claws away when you talk to me, boy!”
     “Maybe…we should find something on TV for them,” Cyclops suggested, collaring a whooping Cyke as the X-Baby chased after a screaming little Jeannie, trying to kiss her.
     “Good idea,” Beast said, grabbing Wee Beastie down from the ceiling fan. “Something educational.”
     “PBS has got Boohbah on,” Jean suggested, leafing through the channel directory.
     “Boohbah? What d’heck’s dat?” Gambit asked.
     “Sounds stupid already,” Logan growled.
     Without further discussion, Cyclops turned the TV to the local public television station. X-Men and X-Babies alike were suddenly assaulted with visions of freakish, balloon-like creatures dancing around making weird noises. With a strangled cry, Logan turned tail and fled the room, followed closely by Wolvie.
     Having a higher cuteness threshold than the Wolverine, Gambit attempted to stick it out, hoping against hope that it would keep his Mini Me, whom he was calling “Ace” for convenience’ sake, occupied for a half an hour. A half an hour in which he could recuperate a little from the staggering knowledge that he was, in fact, becoming his father.
     But before long, he realized that he and the kid both were frozen in place, watching this program with identical expressions of amazed disgust. Afraid that prolonged exposure would cause permanent damage (although whether he was worried about the kid or himself he wasn’t sure), he tapped Ace on the shoulder and beckoned him to come along. The kid was only too happy to leave.
     “We fin’ us somet’in’ else t’ do, neh?” Gambit said, and as he ushered the kid up the stairs he was horrified to see that Cyke and Jeannie and Wee Beastie had actually started dancing along with the goofy-looking creatures on the screen. He’d always known there was something wrong with those three X-Men—the behavior of their X-Babies proved it.
He didn’t have any good ideas—he was, by the standards of an adult, rather energetic (read that as “high-strung”), but Ace was, frankly, psychotically charged with sugar-generated energy and he couldn’t keep up. He was dismayed to find he now had a much deeper appreciation of what Jean-Luc had gone through, bringing up a kid like that. But there was a TV/VCR set up in his room—maybe the kid could sit through a Three Stooges video or something good like that. Something he could sit through.
     They passed Wolverine in the hallway, chasing Wolvie and growling in irritation as he tried to corral the youth. Gambit grinned wickedly at the Canadian, showing off that fact that, temporarily at least, his charge was being well-behaved.
     Ace bounced impatiently on his once-neat bed as Gambit shuffled through his video collection, calling out titles. “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Super Troopers; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Stephen King’s The Stand; The Green Mile; Austin Powers: Goldmember; The Crawling Eye; Needful—”
     “The Crawling Eye?”
Ace asked, leaving off the bouncing in his sudden interest.
     “It’s a cheesy ol’ black an’ white horror flick,” Gambit said. “Probably not somet’in’ you’d like.”
     The sound from the hall was stampeding cattle, but only one small, yellow-suited boy galloped into the room. “A crawling eye?” Wolvie yelped. “Can I watch? Huh? Can I?”
     “Put it on for ‘em, Gumbo,” Wolverine growled, leaning in the doorjamb and panting. “Maybe we’ll get lucky an’ they’ll die a fright.”
     “I doubt dat,” Gambit said. “It ain’ dat scary. Real MST3K fodder, dis one.”
     “Quoi?” Ace asked.
     “Mystery Science T’eater 3000. Wolverine, you remember watchin’ dat show wit’ me, don’ you?”
     Logan’s lips quirked in a reluctant smile. “Yeah. That wasn’t too bad,” he said. High praise.
     “It a show where dis guy and dese two robots sit an’ watch dese really awful movies, an’ make fun of ‘em all de way t’rough. It really funny, but dey put it on too early on Sunday mornin’s fer us to watch much—an’ now I don’t t’ink it on at all anymore.”
     Ace was bouncing up and down again, excited. “Can we watch dat?” he cried. “I wanna see d’robots!”
     “It ain’t on, kid,” Logan said.
     “But you c’d be a robot, if y’wan’—bot’ of you,” Gambit said, suddenly inspired. “D’robots on d’show, dey was called Crow T. Robot an’ Tom Servo. Crow was dis li’l yella guy wit’ claws an’ Tom was a li’l red guy with a gumball machine for a head. Dey’d sit dere and crack jokes an’ be rude an’ sarcastic t’ d’guy on d’show. Dat’s you two all over.”
     The two X-Babies bounced enthusiastically on the bed, happily pretending to be robots, and Gambit popped the tape in the machine and turned on the movie. He sat down next to Wolverine and sighed in relief as the two boys stopped trying to vaporize each other with robot lightning death rays and turned their attention to the movie.
     “Ah, Forrest Tucker—he’s d’guy who make sure d’trees keep dey shirt-tails in,” Gambit said as the beginning credits rolled. Wolvie cackled.
     Both X-Babies were conked out by the time the end credits rolled around—tired out with laughing and trying to out-do each other in coming up with hilarious lines (most of which made absolutely no sense to the older mutants, but what the heck; kept ‘em happy). They lay side-by-side on Gambit’s bed, snoozing peacefully. Ace had his thumb in his mouth and Wolvie had an arm thrown over his little Cajun friend as he slept.
     “Y’know, dey actually kin’a cute,” Gambit said, slipping an arm around Logan’s waist.
     “Only when they’re sleeping,” Logan growled. “Only when they’re sleeping.”