Subreality Hopscotch

by Kelly Newcomb

Conceived in a fit of madness after FAR too much research for CFAN and typed whilst frantically procrastinating on my longer projects -- dedicated to all you readers and writers out there on ACFF. All characters belong to Marvel. All mentioned plotlines belong to their respective authors. Ten points to you if can identify at least ten of the fifteen, uh, "works" alluded to within -- first person to guess all fifteen gets a sketch of any character they like provided that a) it's female and b) I decide that I feel like doing it. <GRIN>

Feedback is not mandatory but t'would be much appreciated at [email protected]. Do not archive (like you'd want to, but still...) without dropping me a note, please. I'm jes' nosy that way. PS: If anyone out there wants to dump this same cruel fate onto another X-character, I highly encourage it!



The very air flared actinic white, dust motes dancing aganst the blinding glare. A shadow flickered over the walls as something staggered through the portal, tripped over the edge of a floor mat, and fell face-first onto a futon. Then the beacon winked out and the room was once again plunged into pitch black.

A stream of low but choice curses came from floor level as the traveller sat up and fumbled around in the dark, trying to get his bearings. His hand brushed over a pair of well-worn hiking boots, dented a discarded cowboy hat, and knocked down a framed picture. There was a momentary silence as he digested what his hands and nose were telling him.

<Feels like home. Smells like home.>

With a bang the bedroom door slammed open. Once again light flooded the room -- this time from a perfectly normal hallway and an equally perfectly normal fountain of agitated multicolored sparks. "Wolvie? You all right? I heard a sound--"

He grunted in satisfaction, easing back onto his haunches. His claws snapped back into his hands. <Sounds like Jubilee. Smells like Jubilee.> "Come in and shut the door, squirt. Just stay over there for now, though."

The coltish silhouette in the doorway hesitated for a moment then edged inside. The hall glare was cut off and he heard a metallic "k-click" as the door fell back into place. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. "Okay. Now. As quickly as you can, tell me everyone who's living at the mansion right now."


"Don't ask. Just talk."

"Uh...shoor, Wolvie, whatever." As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see her counting off on her fingers as she rattled off the rollcall. "You, me, the Prof, Scott 'n' Jean, the Hankster, Bobby, Gumbo, Rogue, Storm, Betts, Warren, Bish, Sam, Joe...uh...yeah, that's everyone. The whole zoo."

"No one else?"

"Nope. Unless you count Jean's goldfish. I don't know their names."

"Aren't you supposed to be up in Massachusetts?"

She flushed pink. "I--I'm just visiting for a while, remember? Sheesh! What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?"

Logan exhaled a gusty sigh of relief. "All right. Okay. So far so good."

"Er...if I can ask now, what the heck is going on?" Jubilee asked, edging closer. "You're acting really, really weird."

"Everything an' anything. Total insanity. I need a beer. Right now."

He stood up and pushed past the girl, who shrugged and trailed after him to the kitchen. She fidgeted with ill- concealed impatience behind her mentor as he stood in front of the refrigerator for a long, long time, tapping his foot and frowning at the contents.

"It's on the bottom shelf," she supplied at last. "In plain sight, y'know."

"Uh? Oh, just checking." He grabbed a half-decimated sixpack with that same abstracted air, claimed a chair, and plonked the drinks down on the kitchen table. His battered hat followed in short suit. "Looks okay to me."

"What? What does?"

"The fridge. Last time I looked, it was fulla green veggies and sugar-free stuff for that little blue kid of McCoy's. Blech." He raised the beer to his lips and then stopped short, staring at the label. "Sonovabitch! Whose is this?"

"'s yours. What's that dirty look for? You LIKE Kirin."

The bottle thumped back onto the table, untasted. "Not anymore."

Jubilee was finally at the end of her short fuse. Pun intended. "Wolvie, if you don't tell me what the hell is goin' on, I'm yelling for Jean to pry it out for me! And she WILL, too!"

For a moment Logan glared at her across the sixpack. Then he sighed and lounged back in his chair, rubbing his stubble. "Not sure how to put it, pun'kin. One minute I'm lyin' down ta bed -- then there's bright light everywhere. The next thing I know, I'm somewhere in the FOH-infested Rockies with you, Gumbo, an' some short noisy chippie claiming to be related t'Wade."

"Wade? As in 'Deadpool, The Mouth That Walks Like A Man'?"

"Yeah, the same. An' I've been jumpin' through portals like a dog through a goddamn hoop ever since. Everytime I think I'm back, it turns out it's not quite exactly home..."

Jubilee thought for a moment. "Sounds like 'Sliders' or 'Quantum Leap' or something."

"I guess. I never really watched those." He contemplated the shunned bottle of Kirin beer then grimaced and downed it anyway.

"Was I in any more of these...places?" Jubilee asked, her eyes bright with curiosity.

"Um, yeah, a couple."

"Oh, come ON Wolvie, talk! Tell me! What was I like?"

For the first time since she'd known him, Wolverine actually...blushed. Bright red. He mechanically popped open another beer for moral support. "Well, uh, there was that one with Bobby's over-sexed cousin, and the one with me an' Betts where you tried to Actually, I don't think you're old enough to know."

Jubilee's expression was now alight with mischief. "You mean I...oh, man oh man! Well, I guess it's only fair that SOMEwhere in the multiverse some version of me is gettin' it."

"Jubilation Lee--"

"Okay, okay, ferget it. What else? I wanna hear it all."

"That'd take all night."

"Highlights. Cliff's Notes. C'mon, spill it!"

Logan rocked back in his chair, pondering the request as the familiar taste of decent brew mellowed him out. "Lessee, I've been yelled at by an angel, gotten married an' retired, dragged back through some old business with Vic an' North, kicked around by Batman--"

"No way! From the COMIC BOOK?"

"Yeah, squirt, but at least I didn't go ga-ga over the Boy Wonder like SOME little firecrackers I could name. Where was I? Oh yeah." He started ticking incidents off on his fingers. "Pummeled by a pissed-off long-lost twin sister, hauled out in front of a bunch of yahoo MTV cameramen like a performing monkey, dropped through a storm into a geek convention and told that *I* was a comic book character, forced to help Magneto babysit a kid who could raise the DEAD for crissakes, and screwed silly by Betts, Storm, AND Jean. Not all at the same time, you. Though that would'a been fun."

Jubilee had both hands clapped over her mouth, her eyes huge. She made a muffled sound which vaguely resembled the syllables "Ohhh boy."

"Yeah, that's kinda what I said too. And that's not even mentioning--" his voice lowered with a shudder "--the fanboys. At the mansion. ON THE TEAM. And then there were the parodies..."

"Sounds painful," Jubilee said helpfully. Logan just shrugged and downed the third bottle in one long pull. Then he forlornly eyeballed the empty carton. "Oh, hey, no worries Wolvster, I'll get more for you. Don't get up."

"Thanks, kid." He flashed her a tired but grateful smile. "God, it's good to be home."

The fridge door rattled behind him and then glass clinked heavily at his right elbow. He glanced over, startled. The fresh beer was resting on the table...and Jubilee had not yet moved from her chair. There was no one else in the room. For a moment he thought maybe Jean had--

Jubilee was grinning triumphantly. "Not bad, huh? I've been practicing finetuning it, just like the Prof ordered. No sweat."

Logan stared at her, a bad feeling settling into the pit of his stomach. "Finetuning what, exactly?"

The teenaged girl rolled her eyes and snorted as if the answer was perfectly obvious. "My control over the Phoenix Force. Duuuuh! Sheesh, Wolvie, what planet have you been living on?"

"Obviously not this one." Wolverine was already clambering back to his feet, clapping his hat hastily back onto his head, oblivious to Jubilee's bewildered queries. <Gotta be another portal around here somewhere. Damn it! And I was so close this time...!>