This is a follow-up to my story Bonding. You don・t really have to have read the other one, but it would be nice. (hint hint) And, for the record, I detest the whole Monet/Penance/the twins thing, so in my magical little world, none of it ever happened. I really should have put that in my last disclaimer, but I forgot. So sue me.
Wait, forget that last part.
Angelo walked into the rec room. The winter storms had made their presence known with a vengeance. Snow was packed two-thirds of the way to the roof, which meant that everyone was stuck inside for the duration. It had been a week already, and the blizzards showed no sign of abating. They still had electricity for the time being, so the main pastime lately consisted of large congregations around the nice, cozy TV and VCR. At the moment, however, only Monet and Jubilee were there, watching an old Bogart movie. The others were absent, apparently having found some other way to while away the hours. The girls were curled up together in a large armchair, Monet with her feet propped up on an ottoman and Jubilee curled up in her lap. They looked wonderfully warm and snuggly, and-
Angelo stopped and took a good long look at the little tableau before him. Jubilee had her head nestled underneath Monet・s chin, while Monet had drooped her arms around the tiny girl. She looked half asleep, and Jubilee was already snoring softly. He stepped quietly so as not to disturb them, then reached out a tentative finger and poked Jubilee on the shoulder. She was real, then. Huh. Weird.
"Something wrong, Angelo?"
"Huh?" Monet was looking at him, her eyes having a hard time staying open. "Oh. No. Um..." He was at a loss for words. He just didn・t know how to react to Monet and Jubilee getting along. It would have been easier for him to accept everyone on Earth turning a nice shade of periwinkle, all at the same time.
"That・s nice." Monet gave up the struggle and happily dozed off.
Angelo looked the two girls again, shook his head, and popped the tape out of the VCR. He never was a Bogart fan. Always preferred more action packed stuff, like...ooh. ・Indiana Jones・. He stuck the tape in the VCR and pulled up another armchair. He reached over and snagged an afghan from the pile on the floor where Artie and Leech had built a fort the day before. Snuggling down into it, he yawned. As the heroic theme music started, he glanced over at the girls. Now that his mind was getting used to it, it didn・t really seem so odd to him. They had both been having a hard time dealing with Everett・s death, and it was nice that they had found a way to cope with it.
Besides, they looked so cute.
* * * * *
Jonothon and Paige were in the kitchen where they・d been struggling to solve "Clue" for the past four hours. Unfortunately, since they both sucked at the game, they were the last people who should have been playing it at all, much less with each other.
After they decided that enough was enough, opened the envelope, and found that somehow they・d gotten two Colonel Mustard・s in the same game, they headed down towards the rec room.
"Oh, goodie, ・The Last Crusade・. That was the best one, y・know." Paige grabbed a blanket off the floor and rolled up in it on a couch. She sniffed. Huh. Her blanket smelled like peanut butter. Good thing she liked peanut butter. She・d been sleeping a lot during the latest blizzard; for some reason large amounts of snow outside and a warm blankie inside really knocked her out.
Jono grabbed a spare pillow and sat on the other side of the couch. He looked over at Paige who was already asleep. Again. Not that he minded. It meant that for once he could watch a good Harrison Ford flick in peace and quiet, without some girl or another commenting on the handsome actor・s attributes, especially the little scar on his chin.
Although it was a nice scar, he mused.
* * * * *
Penance poked her head around the door frame. All the other kids were asleep. She was glad. Everyone had been so sad lately, now that the one-who-made-rainbows was gone. She sniffed. She・d kind of liked him. He was nice. The others were nice, too. She took a minute to enjoy the fact that she was surrounded by nice people before scampering into the room.
After studying the various members of the makeshift slumber party she curled up in the space between the ottoman and the bottom of Monet・s chair. She liked little spaces, it was harder for people to find her in them. She frowned. She didn・t like to think about people finding her. That gave her bad thoughts. Thoughts about the spiky one, and the ones before him, and the ones before that. None of those people were as nice as her new family. She liked that word, family. She wasn・t sure of its exact meaning, just that the people involved were supposed to love each other. She liked that. She curled up tighter in her little space and closed her eyes.
* * * * *
Artie rolled over and opened his eyes. He looked over to where Leech was sleeping in his bed. He got up and walked over to Leech. His friend looked like he was having a bad dream, too. Artie poked him.
"Wah!" Leech stared awake, then began to cry. Artie frowned. He hadn・t poked him that hard. Leech looked at Artie. "I had bad dream." He said, still crying a little.
Artie nodded and cast an image of his own dream, fiery horrors and all. Leech flinched, then took Artie・s hand. Together, yhey left the room and crept down the hall. Peeking into each room, they found nothing but empty beds, with no one to move aside and let them in, to tell them that it was just a dream, nothing at all, really. But no one was here. Anywhere.
Artie looked at Leech. He looked like he was going to start crying again, so Artie led them down the hall to the rec room. He thought that they might watch a movie or something, but he was a lot more relieved when he found the grown kids there. That was much better than just a movie, because now they wouldn・t be alone. He tugged at Leech・s hand so he would see, then went over to their former fort. Grabbing blankets, he gave one to Leech and took one with him as he crawled into Angelo・s lap. Angelo let out a couple of mumbled curses when Artie elbowed him in the ribs, but Artie had heard him use worse. He snuggled down and quickly fell back asleep.
Leech looked jealously at his friend. He・d never be able to fall asleep that fast. He climbed onto the couch that Jono was sharing with Paige and nestled down in the curve between the back of her knees and the couch. It was nice and warm in there, and her bottom made a good pillow. He accidentally kicked Jono, who woke up long enough to tickle his feet before falling back asleep.
If he・d still been awake, Leech might・ve been surprised at how fast he fell asleep, receding nightmare and all.
* * * * *
Sean rubbed his eyes. He and Emma had spent the night going over term papers, and he・d decided to give up and go to bed. Emma rose as well. He looked at her questioningly.
"What? It・s not like this storm is going to end anytime soon. We・ll have plenty of time to finish." She yawned. "Besides, I・m pooped." She grinned and led the way down the hall.
Halfway there, she stopped and waved frantically at Sean.
"Sean! Go get the camera!"
"What is it?" he peeked over her shoulder at the children scattered over furniture, blankets thrown everywhere and everyone radiating a sense of warmth and comfort.
"Aaaaaahhhh.... They・re adorable!" Emma clasped her hands and ogled her children. Her chidren. She smiled happily.
Sean had run off and grabbed the camera. He snuck into the room and moved till he had a perfect shot of everyone, including Penny・s little head sticking out from under Monet・s feet. He quickly snapped a series of pictures.
He turned to Emma, who・d been poking him in the back.
"We・re gonna haveta share these!" She whispered, so excited that she temporarily lost her ability to speak proper English.
"I know!" Sean whispered back, and hurriedly left the room.
* * * * *
Several hours later, various superpowered types turned on their computers and prepared to face that day・s influx of e-mail. Hands were slapped over mouths, Eyes squinhched shut, and people everywhere squealed as hands waved wildly for any and all to "Come see!" as everyone who had ever been an X-man gazed at the adorable computerized greeting card that had showed up in their Mailbox.
In New York, Wolverine grabbed the paper that had just finished printing an enlarged copy of the photo. He ran upstairs and pinned it to his wall. He couldn・t recall the last time he・d seen Generation X all looking happy and contented at the same time.
Then he grinned.
Besides, they were so cute when they got along!