A Short Vacation

By Amaranth

DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters. You should already know that. And, since this is my first ever fan-fic, feedback would be really appreciated. As long as it・s good. It is good, isn・t it? You wouldn・t hurt my wittle ol・ feelings, now would you? I thought not. Oh, yeah, and there is no use of superpowers, no one is called by a codename and there・s no villain. It・s just a harmless, sweet, innocent, little piece of fluff. Just like me. Now read it before I call down the Powers of Hell upon your head.

Dawn broke early over the grounds of the Massachusetts Academy. A bluejay, flitting to the top of a tall spruce, squawked angrily at the young girl jogging below. The sound of her sneakers as they slapped the pavement of the path served as an irritating counterpoint to the roar of leafblowers as the groundskeepers tried once again to keep the lawn postcard perfect.

"...Mmphleblmblegrumble..." Jubilee raised her head to peek out over her nest of blankets. A happy ray of sunshine chose that precise moment to fall on her pillow. Eyes squinched shut as she stuck her head back under her covers, Jubilee grumbled a bit more on the rudeness of summer days and their need to make everything so bright so early in the morning. To anyone listening, however, the cleverness of her remarks resembled nothing so much as the bleating of a sheep with its nose stuck in a fence. Possibly an image of a dying manatee would also have come to mind, but as no one quite knows what a dying manatee sounds like, the issue is quite easily rendered moot.

"...darned daylight, ruining a person・s sleep, would be too much to wait till a decent time, like nine, or ten, but oh, no, its gotta come in at-" She peeked at the alarm clock."-6:13 in the morning, hitting me in the face, disrupting my normal sleep patterns, encouraging me to get an early start on my day- waittaminnit." She rolled over and sat up, untangling her feet from her socks which, once again, had managed to slip halfway off and twist themselves backwards. "Ugh, I・ve been listening to Paige too long. No way did the words ・early start・ come outta my mouth."

She looked down at her socks. There was something not-quite-right here, but she couldn・t put a finger on it. She got up to go down the hall to the bathroom and promptly tripped on her dangling sock-ends. She lay there for a couple of minutes, her sleep-fogged brain trying to work its way around her new position on the floor. Eventually it arrived at the conclusion that gravity had increased during the night, told Jubilee・s hands to pull off her socks in favor of slippers, and commanded her to go get some sugar.

Angelo rolled over. Hmm. A thump. A loud thump. In the morning. Too early for a fight - all the villains (the smart ones, anyway) were still at home in their comfy beds, dreaming up new nefarious plots. What else makes thumps? Paige doing her aerobics? No, there was only one. Thump, that is. He blinked at the sunbeam that suddenly struck him in the eye.

"Agh! Too early! Too early!" He wailed and put his arm over his eyes. Oh. Jubilee musta tripped on her socks again. That would make a thump. He sat up and found that he・d somehow managed to fall out of bed without waking himself and had slept half the night happily ensconced with his legs under the bed instead of on top. No wonder he・d been cold.

"Oh, good. You・re up. Need food. You come." Jubilee continued on her way down the hall.

Angelo obediently got up and followed her. Food. Food good. Good food. It worked however you thought about it.

The stumbled into the kitchen in time to have Paige burble an exuberant "Good Morning!" before skipping happily over to the fridge to grab a fat-free, sugar-free, fun-free plain yogurt.

"Blgle." Jubilees vocal cords had temporarily forgotten how to work, an occurrence which is not unusual upon waking at six in the morning and dragging yourself downstairs only to find that the Sugar Bombs have somehow been replaced with a box of Raisin Bran. Jubilee peered at the two scoops for a while, trying to make the brand name change through sheer willpower. After a while she decided to look behind the flakes and was much happier with what she found hiding in the back.

"Urgh. Is it as early as it feels?" Angelo asked around a mouthful of Chex Mix. He didn・t care what anyone said, it made a good breakfast. He got up and added a handful of Goldfish crackers to the mix. He sighed happily to himself and made a mental note to send Pepperidge Farms a love letter.

"Yeah. I can・t believe I・m up this early on a Saturday. It・s like, sacrilegious or something." Jubilee turned her attention to her cereal. Mmmmm. Sugar. She drifted off into a blissful food-induced haze.

"No, I can・t believe that you・re up this early. Reason must have taken a holiday." Monet stuck her head in a cabinet, trying to find something that resembled a Pop-tart. "I guess it・s lucky, since now I don・t have to go up there and drag your lazy butt out of bed."

"Yer all heart, M." Something about M・s remark was niggling at Jubilee. " Why would you have to go wake me up?" she asked. "It・s Saturday. There・s no school on Saturday." She thought hard for a moment. "Is there?"

Monet sighed. Trying to talk to a half-asleep Jubilee was harder than getting her to do her homework. She proceeded slowly and clearly. "Today is the 13th. We have free passes to the water park that can only be used on the 13th. So we were planning to go to the waterpark on the 13th, which is today." She waited, staring at Jubilee and Angelo. Ah. There it was. She had to admit, there was something rather pleasant about a look of enlightenment, especially if it was crossing the faces of two dinks. She found the Pop-tarts (oooh...blueberry...with sprinkles...) and popped them in the toaster.

Emma stalked in, doing her best impression of a panther on the prowl.

"Coffee. Now. Gimmee."

Monet sighed and steered the headmistress towards the Mr. Coffee.

One by one the rest of the school stumbled their way in, looking like nothing so much as survivors of some holocaust. Paige chirped happily at each newcomer, offering to make herbal teas and scrambled egg whites and fresh fruit salad and high fiber, low calorie oatmeal until Sean asked her to go and reformat the computer system so that not only would it read in English and Shi・ar, but in French, Spanish, Aborigine, and any other language she cared to try. With a satisfied look the young Kentuckian tripped off to begin the tasks set for her. The rest of the kitchen heaved a great sigh of relief.

"Senor Cassidy, if ever there is anything I can do for you, you just yell, okay? In the meanwhile, though, does anyone know where my Chex Mix went?" Everett hurriedly turned away before Angelo could see the crumbs sticking to his lips.

"Here it is, Ange."

"Huh. I coulda sworn I had more."

* * * * *

By eight, the students and faculty had showered, packed up the car, and were on their way to the waterpark. They・d had to leave Penance at home- an image inducer wouldn・t hide the fact that there was a lot of razor sharp skin around unsuspecting people in bathing suits. Jono had thoughtfully volunteered to stay behind with her.

Gateway had dropped them off on the freeway a couple of miles from the middle of nowhere-otherwise known as Marysville- and they now settled in for the half hour ride to Sacramento, where Waterworld was located.

"I still don・t see why we couldn・t just go to a park in Massachusetts," Emma complained. "It・s not like California is gonna be any hotter or wetter."

"But we・ve never been to Sacramento. Even J and Ange, and they grew up here." Everett replied from the center seat.

"Uh, Ev, we grew up about ten hours down the road. And it・s not exactly like Sacramento・s a big tourist place. It doesn・t even have a beach."

"Yeah, it does! It・s got the American River, and some others, and those have shores, which means that Sacramento has beaches!" Ev looked pleased with his reasoning. Jubilee rolled her eyes, while Angelo simply turned up the volume on his Discman.

"Children, I think we should just let the subject be. I・m sorry I asked. I don・t suppose anyone knows how to get where we・re going?"

"Dinnae ye worry, Em, I gotta handle on it." Sean told her. He spread out his map and resumed his intent gazing. He secretly hoped that he looked more knowledgeable than he was.

* * * * *

Eventually, they somehow managed to hit upon the right exit, only to be faced with another problem.

"Look, there・s a sign right there! Cal Expo! that・s what we want!"

"But there・s nothing there! Just a mall on one side and office buildings on the other!"

"Em! Just take this street here. Okay, now go that way...now turn left...now right at the intersection...aha! I told ye so!!! Didn't I, kids? I told her so, right?" Sean turned to face the students with a maniacally frantic look of desperation in his eyes.

"Yes, Mr.Cassidy." The students tried to look anywhere but at their teacher. They had never seen him this confused before, except the rare occasion when he got to talk to Moira on the phone.

Emma stared at the complex. It seemed to consist mainly of one huge parking lot with no entrances. She finally found a sign that said "Waterworld: Gate A" and followed it in. She was happily pulling in when she noticed the sign on the ticketgate.

"They don・t open till ten."

Silence fell upon the minivan.



"Shut up, Sean."

* * * * *

"Yum, breakfast twice in one day. Could this get any better?"

Jubilee nodded her agreement to Angelo.

"I don・t get it," Everett said. " How the heck can you guys eat so much and stay so skinny?"

"Easy," Angelo told him. "I・m a bottomless pit and Jubilee・s a giant hummingbird in human form. She has to get all that energy somehow."

"Oh." That actually made sense. He thought.

"Actually, in Jubilee・s case it・s more likely that-" Numerous groans surrounded the table as Monet piped up."-it・s likely that," and she paused to glare at the groaners. "She uses a lot of energy to make her fireworks. That energy needs to come from somewhere. She probably has an extremely high metabolism that in conjunction with the changes in her DNA allows her to transmute one form of energy into another." Monet returned to her pancakes. Angelo was right- Two breakfasts really gave you a satisfyingly stuffed feeling.

"Hey, what about me, then?" Angelo asked.

Monet finished her bite of pancake. Nothing must be allowed to disrupt the rapture caused by loads of butter pecan syrup. "You, Angelo, are a bottomless pit. There is no science to explain you. Much like Paige・s ability to exercise before five in the morning. There simply is no logical answer."

"Oh." He mused for a minute on his waffles. "I・ve got it! You are what you eat, right? Well, I gotta make a lotta skin somehow, right?" He grinned and ducked as the others threw their balled-up napkins at him.

* * * * *

"It・s about time." Emma looked at her watch, then mopped sweat from her forehead. She refused to believe that the temperature could be at 105 at ten in the morning. "I・m dying to go jump in the pool."

"Me too, Frosty. Actually, I have to go change first."

"So do I, Ms. Frost."

"Alright, Paige, Jubilee-"

Angelo raised his hand.

"-and Angelo, go find the changing rooms. We・ll put our stuff down..." Emma glanced around the facilities. "Over there, by Hook・s Lagoon." She headed off, Sean and the others following her.

"Okay, then, follow me!" Jubilee led the other two in a quick goosestep over to the changing rooms. Early as it was, there was already a line forming. By the time they got out, Emma, Sean, and the others had decided that swimming in water was a better option than swimming in sweat and had left to frolic in the various water activities.

"Hey, Paige, where do ya wanna go first? Paige?" Jubilee looked around her.

"She・s already gone off on her own, Jubecita. What say you and I go and see who can spin around in their innertube the fastest?"

"Kewl! Hold on a sec, though." She paused just long enough to tie her hair up in pigtails and tighten her suit straps (No way am I losing my suit in this crowd) and then raced Angelo out to the wave pool.

* * * * *

"Wow, check out this room!" Jubilee tossed her bag on the bed and went to check out the bathroom.

"Yeah, having a rich teach definitely has its advantages in the ・getting a hotel room at the last minute・ area." Angelo joined her in the bathroom. "Wow! A complementary hairdryer!"

After a blistering day in the sun, the drenched and thoroughly sozzled group had made their way back to the minivan and attempted to go home. Unfortunately, it appeared that Gateway was busy doing something else at the moment. Stuck in Sacramento, they・d had to ask for the location of a good hotel. They were finally directed to a Hyatt in downtown Sacramento, and, after an hour of winding their way through construction zones and traffic calming, they・d finally found the place.

"I can・t believe the teaches are like, letting us room together. I was afraid they were gonna be like, Oh, no, we can・t have a girl and guy in the same room! Here, You go with Paige." Jubilee rolled her eyes and flopped back on her bed.

"Oh, God, a fate worse than death." Angelo sniggered. "Knowing Paige, she・s probably already flipping through the TV channels trying to find some pay-per-view aerobics program or something."

"Hey, hat・s actually a good idea. Not he aerobics, I mean, but we do have a big screen TV and rich teacher." Jubilee lunged for the TV Guide. "Lessee, here・s gotta be somethi-yes!!!"

"What is it?" Angelo asked.

Jubilee grabbed the remote and flipped to the correct channel.

Both teens yelled in unison with delight.

"Die Hard!!!"

* * * * *

Paige looked at Monet.

Monet looked at Paige.

Paige looked at Monet.

Monet whimpered.

* * * * *

Emma lay back in her bath. there was something to be said for a hotel that provided customers with a full-sized bath, complete with aromatherapy bath oils and various playthings.

She cast her mind out and did a quick check of her students, frowning slightly when she touched upon Monet and Paige. Everything else seemed to be in order, so she allowed herself to relax into the warm waters.

"Mmmm....rubber ducky, you・re the one...you make bathtime so much fun..."

* * * * *

Everett had volunteered to share a room with Artie and Leech. After getting them to take a bath, the three had settled in for a night of Disney flicks. By eleven, all three had conked out, looking like the adorable pile of tired puppies they were.

* * * * *

"Jubilee! Jubilee!!! Let me in! For the love of God, let me in!!!"

Jubilee unlocked the door and was shoved aside as a very panicked and very very made-up Monet scrambled for the safety of a Paige-free room. She collapsed on a bed near Angelo・s feet. He looked down at her.

"Ya know, chica, I never thought it was possible for someone to be wearing more makeup than Paige. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways."

Monet glared at him. She turned her head to look at Jubilee. "Don・t you even say it, Lee. I・ll be forced to kill you."

Jubilee swallowed a giggle. "I wasn・t going to say anything. Honest." She walked to the bathroom. "By the way, DavidBowiecalledandhewantshiseyeshadowbackhaha ha ha ha!!!" She slammed the bathroom door and locked it just as Monet flung herself bodily at it. She turned to look back at Angelo.

"Don・t worry, M. I already got my digs in. Besides, I think I・ll just sit back and enjoy the fact that Jubilee・s locked you outta the one place where you could wash alla that off." He turned his attention back to the TV.

Monet sat down sadly on Jubilee・s bed.

* * * * *

Paige looked around the hall. She couldn・t see Monet anywhere.

(Oh well.) She headed back up towards Sean・s room.

"Mr. Cassidy? Hello?"

* * * * *

Sean listened intently from his outpost under the bed.

"Mr. Cassidy? Are you still awake?"

He wasn・t going to be fooled, by golly.

Not again, anyway.

* * * * *

"Is it safe yet?" Jubilee poked her head out of the bathroom.

"Yeah, just let me wash all of it off." Monet trudged her way in. "I swear, I will never ever wear cosmetics again." She splashed her face and shuddered.

Jubilee sat back down on her bed. She picked up the phone.

"Hey, Ange, ya think this thing・ll do long distance?"

"It should."

"Kewl." Jubilee quickly punched in a series of 11 numbers and held the phone to her ear. "Who・s this? Hank? Is Wolvie there?" She waited for a minute. Angelo reached over to poke her in the side. "Wolvie! Hey, guess where I am!" She rattled on for a good hour, telling Wolverine all that had happened, all that was happening, and all that would maybe possibly happen. She finally hung up sometime around one.

"It・s about time." Monet commented. She had washed off most of the make up and was looking like her own self again, albeit her own self in a borrowed t-shirt. No one wanted to chance going back to see if Paige was asleep yet. "How does he put up with all that talking, anyway?"

"I think he・s learned to, like, tune it out." Jubilee grabbed for the phone and dialed hotel information.

"And that doesn・t bother you?" Monet asked incredulously. "That he doesn・t listen, I mean?"

"Nah. At least he doesn・t make an excuse to not talk to me. That would be worse. Besides, I think he likes hearing me chatter. Kinda like how Frosty likes having us talking all at once at the table, even though she tells us to shut up. It・s a comfort thing. Hello? Front desk? HI, I was wondering..." She wandered back into he bathroom again.

"I think she・s right, you know."

Monet turned to look at Angelo.

"About Frost, I mean. She doesn・t really mind us bein・ noisy. I think it makes her feel like we・re a real family or something. I think she misses her Hellions a lot." He channelsurfed a bit.

"Wait! Go back!" Monet was gazing intently at the screen.

"What is it? What did you see-" Angelo・s eyes grew round with delight. He giggled.

"Ange? Did you just, like, giggle?" Jubilee came back and plopped on his bed. She looked at the TV screen. A small sigh of contentment escaped her lips.

"・-I wish the goblins would come and take you away. Right Now.・"

* * * * *

Half an hour later, Sarah had met Hoggle, figured out a way into the Labyrinth, said ・It・s not faaaaiiierrrr!・ not once but twice, and was just about go the wrong way when there was a knock on the door. the kids froze.

"Paige? Is that you?" Jubilee asked tentatively.

"Uh, nah, this here・s Pizza Guys. Someone call fer a pie?"

"Woohoo!" All three teens leapt to the doorway and opened it. The pizza delivery guy looked at them, raised his eyebrows, and held the pizza hostage until Jubilee found some cash to fork over.

"Mmphle!" Monet mmphled to Jubilee, her mouth full of cheese.

"When I was on the phone, remember?" She took her own mouthful of delicious cheese and pepperoni and that special tomato sauce that only Pizza Guys seems to know how to make and apply in the proper proportions.

They laid back down on the beds and happily gorged themselves until the movie was over. By that time it was after three, and, tired, stuffed full of pie, and safely locked away from Paige, they finally fell asleep.

* * * * *

The next morning - in other words, at about four in the afternoon ・they woke to find that Gateway was now ready to take them home, Paige was looking particularly sulky, and Emma was raving about the hotel bill. Sean, Everett, and the boys were being smart and staying out of her way.

When they got back to the school, Emma was somewhat mollified when she took in the cleanliness that Jono and Penance had left the house in. She went to her room to change into fresh clothes, as did Sean, Paige, and the guys.

Well? How was it? Jono asked.

Monet, Jubilee and Angelo looked at each other.

They looked back to Jono.

"Um..." Monet looked at the other two. "I think we・re just going to go to the rec room. Maybe watch a movie." She moved to go downstairs.

"Yeah." Angelo turned to follow her. "Jubecita? Ya wanna call for pizza, or should I?"

Jubilee grabbed the cordless and patted a confused Jono on the cheek. She went running after the others.

Jono scratched his head. He turned to go to the biosphere. Through a window, he saw Paige approaching, carrying her Caboodles kit under one arm. She had a determined chin and a tube of lip gloss in her hand. Jonothon did what any self-respecting, courageous, intelligent person would do.

He turned and ran.