Thanks to everyone I tortured over this fic, particularly Mitai, Oberoten, and Drea, who once again is to blame for this. This really isn't set in canon, the only thing that matters is that it's after the second Iceman LS. Don't flame me, I'm cute.
・Scott?・ Jean Grey-Summers poked her head into the living room in search of her husband.
The lights were dimmed, leaving only the flickering blue glow of the television set to illuminate the faces of the five males draped across the furniture.
・Lindros takes the puck, breaks away from Desjardins, and into the offensive zone...・
・Scott?・ Louder now. She crossed her arms, drumming her fingers on her elbow.
・Lindros to Bure...Bure back to Leetch for the one timer... HE SCO・
The broadcast, as well as the trance it held on the men, came to an abrupt halt when Jean telekinetically pulled the television plug from the wall.
・Scott. I need you to fold the laundry. Ororo, Betsy and I have to leave now if we・re going to make JcPenney・s white sale. We still haven・t replaced half the sheets from the last explosion, and we・re going to need them if X-Force doesn・t find a new base before their lease runs out.・
Scott・s eyes finally left the blank tv screen. ・How much laundry?・
・A few loads. If everyone else pitches in, you could be done before the second period starts.・
The other four occupants of the room blanched.
・Sorry, darlin・, I promised Jubilee I・d visit her up at the academy today. I had better get goin・ if I want to make it there before dark.・ Logan ran extremely quickly for a man with his weight and size.
・Jean, as much as I would love to aide you and Scott with the plicature of garments, I have a rather delicate experiment perpetuating as we speak, and the laundry is in the other wing. I cannot run the risk of dividing my time between the two and causing either my laboratory to explode or sloppily folded clothing. We simply couldn・t do with wrinkled spandex.・
・I have to stay near my laptop. You・ve seen how poorly the stock market is fairing. I need to be able to do damage control if any of my investments take a hit.・
Scott・s gaze fixed on Bobby, making him squirm back into the couch cushions. He opened his mouth to speak. ・I -・
・If you say anything that doesn・t start with ・Yes・ and end with ・I・ll help you fold the laundry・, you・re going to be teaching accounting to Jubilee, Angelo, and whoever else stays at the academy over the summer break.・
・You・ll also be their only supervisor.・
Bobby・s blue eyes admitted his defeat. ・Yes, Scott, I・ll help you fold the laundry.・
・Why, thank you, Robert.・
Jean kissed Scott on the cheek. ・Thanks. We・ll be back by eight. There・s a vegetarian lasagna warming in the oven, compliments of Ororo. If you don・t want that, there・s steaks in the freezer.・
Jean breezed out of the room, leaving the barest trace of perfume behind her.
・Let・s go.・ Scott began steering the younger man out of the living room.
・Now?・ Scott nodded at him.
・But the Rangers are on the power play...・ Bobby momentarily debated clinging to the door frame, but Scott would probably just blast the frame off. He did tug away from Scott・s grip to stomp down the hall.
Warren looked quizzically over at his furred companion. ・I thought you had finished that mold thing yesterday?・
・Oh, I did. I・ve moved on to something much more gustatorily pleasing.・ Hank plugged the television cord in and returned to his warm spot on the sofa.
・And that would be what, precisely?・
・I・m deep-frying twinkies.・ To Warren, it seemed like Hank・s spectacles twinkled merrily at his bemusement.
The men reached the laundry room, wherein they discovered the female meaning of ・a few loads・ does not coincide with the male meaning of a few load. The latter defines the word ・few・ as meaning two or three. The female understanding of the word, when referring to laundry, is something akin to ・every blessed thing we own.・
There were baskets of unfolded clothing everywhere. On the washers, on the dryers, on the folding table, balanced on a bucket - if there was surface area, there was laundry.
Bobby examined the contents of one of the baskets. Everything was just thrown into it, all helter-skelter. He glanced over the others and found that they were just as messy. ・Is this all clean?・
Scott held up a nightgown. It -looked- clean. ・I think so. It・s still warm.・
Bobby was skeptical. ・Better do the sniff test.・
・I am not sniffing Rogue・s pajamas.・ If someone were to walk by and see him, the leader of the X-Men, sniffing at one of his female teammates clothing... it would just not look good.
・Fine, I・ll sniff Ororo・s skirt.・ He brought the cotton to his face and inhaled deeply. ・Ah, spring breeze.・
・That・s just...・ Disgusting, Scott・s brain finished for him. Well, it wasn・t actually -disgusting-, but it was certainly inappropriate.
Bobby grinned over at him. ・So where are we supposed to fold this stuff? The table・s completely covered.・
・We could carry it back to the living room.・
Bobby looked around the small, windowless room. Yeesh, this really was a horrible place to be doing such mundane work. The solitary confinement of laundry rooms. But the living room was so far... ・Nah, I have a quicker way.・
He fashioned a second ・table・(really, it was nothing more than a giant ice cube) next to the first one. ・We can just move the baskets from that table to this one.・
Scott slid the three baskets onto the new table. ・Okay, these baskets here are the easy stuff. Pants, t-shirts, the odd skirt.・
・What, no teddies?・
・They・re over on the washers.・
Bobby turned to see that the two baskets atop the washing machines were indeed filled with colorful, lacy scraps of clothing. ・I had to ask. Let・s start with the normal stuff.・
・Yeah. Everyone・s things are labeled next to the tags.・ The labels, in all their summer camp-ish glory, had actually been Remy・s idea, a rather brilliant one in Scott・s opinion. He had gotten rather tired of Bobby lifting his clothes and ruining them with various sauces. It had the added benefit of allowing everyone to wash things together, thus conserving water and electricity. -And- there weren・t horribly long lines for the two washers on those inevitable days where everyone in the house simultaneously ran out of clean clothes. ・We・ll put Betsy・s on this half of the table and Jean・s on this half. Rogue・s and Ororo can go on those chairs.・
・I thought we were going to sit on those chairs.・
・We were, and now we aren・t. Now, we are going sit Rogue・s and Ororo・s clothes there instead.・ He emphasized this by dropping a neatly folded, perfectly creased pair of khakis onto one of the orange plastic seats. ・This pile is Rogue・s.・
The arched eyebrow hovering above the crimson glasses reminded Bobby quite firmly that he was not to mess with The Order of Scott. He decided to compliment him instead. ・How did you fold them in the air like that, without even looking?・
Scott eyed the jeans in Bobby・s hands. The seams were unmatched, they・d be creased down the butt - lord, he hadn・t even buttoned them before folding them. ・You・re doing fine. Here, why don・t you fold on the table instead of in the air? It makes for tighter lines.・
Scott would have redone them himself and assigned Bobby to shirts, which he folded more competently, but he・d done the pants quickly. That was all that mattered. There was a hockey game to consider.
Bobby・s second pair of jeans were much neater, and Scott・s inner neat freak was somewhat mollified.
・This is bo-ring.・
Scott hadn・t heard Bobby whine like that in months. ・Hey, I didn・t volunteer for it.・
Bobby・s eyes widened a bit. ・So that・s how you describe unhappily complying as to avoid a hyperactive teenager and her sidekick? Volunteering? It was coercion!・
・I encourage team unity and pride. Coercion has such a negative connotation. Volunteering is much more uplifting.・
・I really hate you sometimes.・ Bobby blinked as Scott raised a shirt to block his face. ・What are you doing?・
・That statement is usually accompanied by a snowball.・
・Nah. It would splatter all over the laundry.・ Bobby shrugged. He hadn・t thrown a snowball inside the Mansion for nearly a year, and he was finally starting to see results from it. Emma was right - he wasn・t going to be respected if he continued leaping on every chance to be the class clown.
Scott peeked out from under the material. ・Have you switched to frozen playing cards?・
・No. No frozen projectiles, I promise.・ He smiled a bit. ・And you can take that shirt off your head, you look ridiculous.・
Scott did so, folding the red silk and placing it with the rest of Betsy・s things. ・All right, that・s it for the normal clothes. Just the delicates left.・
Bobby picked up a sports bra. ・Um... right. So we take the sleeves... er... straps...・
・And we hold them together, then fold them down...・ Scott was attempting to fold one of Jean・s bras.
・Which ties it in a knot.・ Bobby pulled on the straps to untangle it, causing the knot to tighten and the straps to adjust. ・Great, now suddenly there・s more of it to tangle.・
Scott was having only a bit more luck. His bra was not tied into a knot, but was a simply scrunched version of itself. ・There has to be a trick to this.・
・Can・t we just shove them in their underwear drawer, like we do our boxers?・
・Like -you- do boxers. I fold mine, thank you.・ He tried folding the cups together, inside to inside, only to discover that there was a sort of.... crisscrossing support system that did not allow it to be manipulated in such a manner.
・I don・t see why they can・t fold their own bras. I only learned how to take these off one-handed two years ago.・
There were a few moments of silence before either made a sound. Scott coughed. Bobby nearly knocked over a pile of clothes. Both decided that they weren・t going to touch Bobby・s last comment.
・I can do this. I can plan a brilliant tactical battle strategy, and I can plan a equally brilliant bra-folding strategy.・ The tip of his tongue was caught in his teeth as he mumbled his actions. ・You just take this bit here, and move it here. Now this bit comes over to the other side, and that there and voila!・
Bobby wasn・t sure if Scott was kidding or not. ・It looks like a hackey sack.・
Scott threw the bra and smile in satisfaction as it smacked across Bobby・s face. ・Do you have a better idea?・
・We could just fold them in half, and call it a day?・ He demonstrated this with the sports bra he・d only just managed to untie.
The other man considered his work. ・And the panties?・
・The same?・ Bobby looked as hopeful as a child making a last minute amendment to his Christmas list.
Scott thought about this suggestion. If they kept attempting to find the correct way to fold a bra - and he wasn・t even sure that existed at this point - they would miss the entire game. ・Let・s do it.・
They worked their way through the first underwear basket, talking about the game they were missing. Bobby gave Scott 3 to 1 odds that the Flyers had taken the lead, but Scott still wouldn・t bet with him.
・Oh, hell.・ Bobby lightly stomped his foot in frustration.
・I just don・t want to bet, Bobby. It ruins the fun of the game.・ Scott shrugged. He much preferred to watch hockey for the enjoyment of the sport, without having to choose a favorite team and worry about losing money.
・No, not that. We still have a whole other basket to fold.・ They sighed in unison and started in on the final one. ・Oooh, Jeannie has black panties.・
・Give me those!・ Scott nabbed them from Bobby・s grasp. ・I don・t see why she needs so many pairs.・
・I was going to fold them for you.・ Bobby held out a hand expectantly.
・Do you really want to fold more than you have to?・
The pile was dwindling now. ・Hey, Scott?・
・How did this happen?・
"Women go. Men fold. Then men kill cow. Burn it on fire. Eat. *grunt grunt*" He wasn・t paying much attention to the thoughtful look on Bobby・s face, as he・d discovered a pair of small boxers in the wash. The label was a bit worn, all he could make out was the R at the beginning. He・d just put them in Rogue・s pile. It was best not to think about how a pair of Remy・s might have ended up in the girls・ underwear.
"No, not just now. To us. Ten years ago we would have KILLED each other for one look at Jeannie's panties. Now, we're fondling the panties of not just her, but four gorgeous women, and all we can do is complain."
Scott put down the boxers shorts for a moment. ・Well, we had to get old at some point.・
・We・re not old! You・re not even thirty yet.・
・I・m old, I・m married, and I had a son.・ Scott paused. ・At least, I sort of had a son.・
・I almost sort of had a son.・ Bobby mentally kicked himself. He hadn・t meant to tell anyone about that, let alone Scott. He had just fallen into a repartee with him, and, before he realized what he was saying, it was said. Now it was just hanging out there, like Pamela Anderson・s tits. There was no way you could avoid the fascination of gossip so scintillating.
・You... what?・ Scott dropped the g-string he was folding. The slight water current from Bobby・s slowly melting ice table carried away from him, towards the drain in the middle of the floor. ・Again, please.・
・I almost sorta had a son. With Opal.・ Bobby・s thumbs hooked into his belt loops, and he stared absently at the yellow wall behind Scott. ・It・s kinda a long story.・
・I・ve got time.・ He sat carefully on the edge of the table. It wasn・t often that news took him by surprise. Between having a telepath for a wife and the X-Men・s uncanny proclivity to idle chatter, he was practically precognate. This, however, had thrown him for a loop. He didn・t like being unaware of his teammates・ lives - there was no telling how things might effect them
・But the game...・ Bobby・s voice trailed off in that ・I・m-not-sure-you-really-want-to-hear-this way.
・Is not that important.・ Scott shook his head. ・I didn・t realize you and Opal were ever that serious.・
・We weren・t. I liked her, don・t get me wrong, but I never thought of her as ・the One・ or anything. She was just a girlfriend.・ He wondered how to begin to explain what had happened. It was such a ludicrous story. ・・member how I told you I went to Japan a few months ago? Well, it was to see her.・
"Ah." An uncomfortable silence settled around them.
Bobby waited for Scott to say something. He knew what Scott was thinking. That he・d been irresponsible, that he・d abandoned the baby. That he・d had Opal abort the baby or -worse yet - put it up for adoption. He wondered if Scott would have hated him if that had been the case.
Scott tidied a few of the piles as Bobby alternately examined and bit his fingernails, always making sure to not glance anywhere in Scott・s direction. He looked nervous. He didn・t seem edgy - it was if he was waiting for something, anything. Perhaps to be judged. It was obvious that he wasn・t going to be the next to speak. "Do you want to tell me what happened?"
・No, he・s just not mine.・ Bobby ran a hand through his sandy hair. ・Some guy she met after me fathered him.・
・So why try to pin the father role on you?・ Scott didn・t know why Opal would say Bobby was the father. If he was in her shoes, he・d say it was someone who wasn・t putting their life on the line regularly as an X-Men.
・She was working with some psychotic scientists that wanted to clone me so that they might use my powers to graft electrical parts on humans.・ His tone was bitter and slightly disappointed.
Scott eyed the younger man. Okay, so Bobby wasn・t the first guy you・d expect to want to be a father, but he was a nice guy. He understood now why Opal, had she not been evil, would have lied and claimed it was Bobby・s - he would have done the right thing. Gotten a nice, safe desk job, paid child support. He probably wouldn・t have married the girl, but you never know. Kids had a way of bringing people together. ・I think this makes you an honorary Summers.・
・Psychos wanting to clone you for no obvious reasons, ex-girlfriends turning evil... definitely Summers traits.・
・As... flattered as I am by the invitation to join your clan, I think I・d stay a Drake.・
・Fine, be a duck.・
・It・s better than being an old married dude.・
・Yeah, well, you don・t act so young yourself. It・s been six months since your last prank.・
・Nuh-uh! Three weeks ago, I switched Cable's extra strong Colombian coffee with a vanilla french roast."
"That doesn't count. He liked it. If you'd have really wanted to play a prank on him, you'd have switched it for decaf."
"Do I look suicidal?"
"I don't know, you're the one who iced up Logan's nipples on New Year's last year."
Bobby grinned at the memory of the look on Logan・s face at the cold shock. He still had the scar from that night. "Ah, those were the days..."
Scott pondered for a moment, then pulled the last bra out of the laundry basket. The label was missing. He turned it in his hand, considering it, before finally tossing it to Bobby. "I say its Psylocke's."
"No way, it's so Rogue's."
"Women only wear black lace when they have a lover. It itches."
Bobby was awed. "Seriously?"
"Oh yeah. Jean stopped wearing it when we got married. She said she hooked me, now I had to make do with white cotton."
"Get out." He started to fold it on top of Betsy's pile, but Scott grabbed it from his grasp.
Scott looked from the bra to Bobby, studying his face. There were the slightest traces of crow・s feet around his eyes. God, they really were getting old too fast. He hadn・t even noticed the time passing. In the past hour or so he'd learned more about his old friend than he'd noticed in the past five years - and it had been fun. He made a command decision. He let the bra dangle from his hand. It hung from a delicate strap, and he spun it carelessly around his index finger. "Look at the cup size on these babies. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"... I'll get the balloons, you get the chocolate syrup."
・Hank, I・m sorry if I ever mocked your taste in desserts.・ Warren licked the warm, gooshy twinkie innards off his fingers. ・I was lead astray by the swank creme brul・・
・It is all in the past, my dear Warren.・ He reached toward the final two twinkies. ・And now, I think we must partake of these final few, for it does not seem our worthy companions will return before they have cooled.・
・Hey, Lonnie, get your ass away from there!・ Hank nearly dropped the plate, looking up just in time to see Bobby holding a bra, Scott kneeling back, a projectile launching....
The balloon burst on Hank・s face. The cold chocolate syrup refused to run, instead clinging to his fur.
A second balloon arched across the room, and broke on Warren・s chest and wings. ・This is an Armani! Do you have idea how much this cost?!・
・Bobby, now!・ Scott waved at the charging men as Bobby put a twelve inch wall of ice in the door way.
・That won・t hold Hank for long, run!・ Bobby was at the door by the time he had finished his sentence, with Scott hot on his heels. He wrenched it open and pushed past the women, newly arrived from their shopping excursion.
・Bobby, what・s the big idea?・ Her bags had fallen all over the stoop.
・Sorry, Rogue!・ He leapt over a fallen Saks bag and dashed over to the convertible that the girls had so thoughtfully parked in the driveway for him.
・Jean, you have the keys? Oh great, you do!・ Scott snatched them from her hand and threw them to Bobby, who was already in the driver・s seat. He revved the engine as Scott hopped over the door. ・Love you, Jeannie!・
Bobby hit the gas too hard, and the car peeled. ・C・mon, baby...・
A chair came crashing though the living room window, and Warren, screaming incoherently, swooped towards the t-bird. There was a loud crack from within the mansion. Bobby and Scott knew Hank would be bounding out of the front doors any second now.
・Scott, did you finish the laundry?!・ Jean ran towards the car just as it took off.
Scott threw the slingshot bra up into the air, and he laughed all the way down the drive.