Sneezes Make Lightning Bolts
Disclaimer: We writers. We write story. They Marvel. They own characters in story. You readers. You read and shower writers with praise over story. ;-) We no make money.
Authors: If we tell you, we・ll have to kill you. Oh fine, if you insist. This scary freak of nature was written by Faile, Galaxia, and Skyflare.
Continuity: No thanks.
Category: Silly fic and Fluff. Haven・t you figured that out by now?
The story behind the Freak of Nature: We are quite delusional, and by taking a Physics class with a teacher who liked to run into walls and pretend he was a molecule, our insanity was magnified several thousand fold. As a result, and after several years of shelving and dusting off this story, we finally created a Freak of Nature. It・s alive. It・s alive! Anywho, visiting hours at the Funny Farm are over, so we leave you to read our creation.
Archive: If you dare, but please ask first.
Rogue sat at the dining room table nursing a steaming cup of coffee. The sunlight through the windows splattered on the wood surface before her to form happy little designs that flickered with the passing clouds. She followed them idly with her eyes and after a moment took a deep dramatic sigh.
It was too early to be up... only crazy people woke up hours before the sun rose just for the sake of a Danger Room sequence that she was sure could wait until a reasonable hour to complete. Muttering angrily at Scott・s obsessive planning, she took a sip of the dark coffee. Her face scrunched up at the bitter taste and she glared at the offending liquid... until she imagined a miniature Cyclops drowning in it and screaming for help. Then she smiled broadly. A little more imaginative visualization and Gambit was there with him, sputtering in the dark liquid. She jiggled the cup a little and giant waves of the caffeine-laden beverage covered him... the hot liquid making him scream in pain.
A brief memory flashed through her head: the day before and Gambit giving her a nicely wrapped present. She・d been cranky, plagued by the evil ・friend・ whose benevolent title she could never quite understand. The present had been a nice surprise... until she opened it and found a white T-shirt with the words ・Look out! I have PMS an・ it ain・t pretty・ written in big black letters across the front. Needless to say that within minutes Remy had found himself being dropped from 30 feet up into a lake... in Michigan. The smile broadened and Rogue swished the coffee around harder, the dark liquid spilling over the sides. The imaginary Remy begged pitifully for mercy and she laughed maniacally at him. ・Mwa-ha-ha-ha... Mwa-ha-ha・・
・Umm... chere... what exac・ly are y・ doin・?・
She looked up suddenly to see Gambit staring at her, one eyebrow raised in uncertain question. Quickly, Rogue let go of the cup and put her hands in her lap. ・...Ahm...nothin・・ She gave him her most innocent look and hoped for the best.
He made a strange face at her and then shrugged, continuing past the table she sat at to the refrigerator. He wore ripped jeans and a white T-shirt... tight ripped jeans and a tight white T-shirt... She caught herself staring and mentally slapped herself. She was supposed to be mad at him. Remy was looking in the refrigerator, holding it open with his hip because his arms were busy holding a... a... a CAT?! She blinked just to make sure. Yep... it was a cat all right... a sleek black one with big green eyes and pointy ears. ・Remy? ...Why do ya have a cat?・ She couldn・t help the curiosity; she could be mad at him later.
He turned to gaze at her with those strange red-on-black eyes. A grin crossed his rough-shaven face. ・Met her on de side o・ de road. ...Almos・ ran her over wit・ my Harley. She was so cute an・ lonely... figured I take her home with me...・ He walked over to her and thrust the cat in her face. ・Isn・ she adorable?・
Rogue cringed back at the fluffy furball that was so disdainfully invading her personal space. ・Oh, she・s just great.・ Whether by will or complete obliviousness Gambit managed to miss the sarcasm. He smiled and nodded his head, pleased.
・I・m sure you guys・ll be de best o・ amis.・
・Oh yes, ah・m sure.・
He took the cat with him back to the other side of the kitchen and proceeded to search the cabinets, assumedly for cat food. Rogue looked back down at her coffee fighting the urge to imagine Gambit drowning in it again.
・Aaw... I so sorry, petite. I have not・ing ta give y・. But if I could I would give y・ everyt・ing y・ want.・ Rogue felt her heart stop. Was Remy apologizing to her? His words sounded so sincere, so utterly regretful. She didn・t look up but concentrated on that smooth voice. ・Y・ know y・ got such pretty green eyes... almos・ feel like I can・ fall inta dem.・ Her heart jumped into overdrive now, a warm feeling spreading out even to the tips of her fingers and toes. That was so sweet... she blinked back tears and let her gaze travel from the forgotten coffee to where Remy stood... holding the cat up to his face and smiling sorrowfully at it...
It took a moment for Rogue to fully comprehend what had just happened, but when she did her temper snapped. The coffee cup went flying with all the strength she could muster and Gambit barely managed to dodge in time. ・Que!?・ he shouted, a startled look on his face.
・You were talking to the cat!?!?!?!?!?!・ she shrieked.
・Yeah, who did ya t・ink I was talkin・ t・uh-oh.・ His eyes widened and he took off sprinting out of the room.
・REMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You come back here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!・ She jumped up and flew after him. She was going to get that Cajun・and his little cat too・if it was the last thing she did.
Hiding in a little corner of the den, Remy's cat was curled up in his lap. He sat there, slowly stroking Fox's head. "You a good littl' kitten, aren't you?" he crooned to his cat.
"Cajun? You in here?" Logan demanded, stomping into the room. His nose twitched as Remy's obnoxious after-shave drifted over to him.
"SHHHH!" Remy said, peering out from behind the couch, his hands waving in warning. "Rogue is lookin' for me!" He looked around the room, making sure the woman of subject wasn't present.
Logan smirked, "I know. What did you do this time, Bub?"
Remy had the grace to look abashed. Standing up, he pulled his little black cat up with him. With a small smile, he held the animal out to Logan.
"Umm... Nah, that's okay, you keep it," then he left the room.
Remy shrugged. Oh well, his loss, Remy thought, kissing the cat's little nose. A sound at the door alerted him, and he spun around so that he was facing it. Ororo was leaning against the door frame, looking at the Cajun.
"You are out of practice, my friend," Ororo commented absently. "What is in your arms?" she asked. She walked over to him, glimpsing into his arms.
Remy smiled, she, at least, would like the animal. Holding out the fur-ball, Remy said, "I foun' a kitten."
Ororo smiled, and reached out to pet the cat's head. "Oh, it is most adorable," she said, her voice low, as she talked to the cat. Then just as she was taking a breath to converse to Remy...
"Thank you Remy. There must be some dust in--AHCHOO!" Ororo shook her head, as if trying to clear it of cobwebs.
"Stormy, are you alright?" Remy asked, his voice heavy with concern. He took a step back and sat on the couch behind him, looking up at Ororo.
"Remy, please, do not--AHCHOO!"
Remy looked at her with a worried expression. "Mayb' you should see Henri?"
Sniffling a bit, Ororo nodded. "Perhaps that might be a good idea." With a last parting glance in Remy's direction, the weather goddess left the room.
Ororo sat in the den, staring at the TV and watching the movie the X-Women had rented for the night. She shared the couch with Rogue, Jean, and a box of tissues・just in case. It had been Henri・s prognoses earlier that she was allergic to Remy・s cat, which was strange since she didn・t remember ever having such allergies. Too bad nobody had told her nose that. Anytime she got within 10 feet of the furry animal Remy had designated Fox, she would explode into a fit of very unpleasant sneezing.
Which, of course, did not stop Remy from carrying the animal around with him everywhere. She・d actually caught him sitting on the roof earlier sharing his angst with the creature. Within minutes the poor, poor, kitten had been whining in agony and sorrow and eventually Remy got the hint and stopped torturing it with his long list of problems.
At that exact moment the object of her thoughts entered the room, fuzzy animal in hand. He smiled charmingly at all three women and dropped onto the couch between Storm and Rogue.
・AAAACCCHHHHOOOOO!・ Storm grabbed for a tissue and sniffled into it. ・Remy, you know I am allergic to that cat,・ she managed between sniffs.
・Sorry Stormy.・ He got up and moved to the other side of Rogue, wiggling in between her and Jean as if three feet of distance would really make that much of a difference.
・AAAACCCHHHHOOOOO!・ Another tissue found its way to Storm・s nose. ・Remy, that does not help,・ she said annoyed.
・Oh.・ He sighed melodramatically and carefully placed the cat on the floor. It stared up at him for a moment with big, sad, green eyes. ・Sorry Fox, Auntie Stormy is allergic to you. Y・ jus・ gonna have ta run along and play somewhere else.・ The cat almost looked hurt before it turned and wandered a few steps away.
・Auntie Stormy?・ Rogue inquired. Remy answered with a shrug. He leaned back into the couch and stretched his arms out on either side of him along the back of it. Still holding onto her anger from that morning, Rogue refused to use the opportunity to lean against him and enjoy a nice snuggle, even after he pouted for a while. Jean didn・t react in any way to Remy・s change of position, not even to move over and give herself more space. Actually, she didn・t even seem to be paying attention, not even to the movie. Remy glanced at her curiously. She didn・t react to that either, but started mumbling to herself something about her inconsiderate, idiotic husband ・accidentally・ calling her Madeline this morning. Remy raised an eyebrow at that but she didn・t notice in her angry ramblings so he eventually turned his attention elsewhere.
Jean turned her head to Remy, her eyebrow turned up as if something just occurred to her. ・Remy,・ she asked, ・Why did you name a cat Fox?・
Remy smiled, giving his most charming grin. ・・Cause she・s a foxy lady!・
Jean looked at him for a moment, then burst out laughing. All Remy could do was stare in confusion.
Glancing at Storm, and finding something very amusing about her features, Remy tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. The weather goddess returned his gaze curiously. ・What is it you find so funny?・
・Y・ nose ・s all red.・ Remy chuckled a little bit more before elaborating. ・Y・ look like Rudolf.・
Storm blushed, the pink color standing out brightly against her dark skin. ・I have been sneezing and using tissues all day because of your cat. It is to be expected.・ she retorted, a regal, prideful air to her tone. She did not like being made fun of when she was sick.
・O・ course Stormy,・ he managed between laughs.
・Do not call me that.・
・Will y・all be quiet. Ah・m trying to watch the movie.・ Remy and Storm turned their attention to the source of the sassy southern drawl. Rogue was staring intently at the TV, eyes wide as she was totally absorbed in the act of watching Brad Pitt beat up some bad guy.
・Enjoyin・ de show, cherie?・
・Oh, yes,・ she mumbled to herself, not really noticing that she was talking. Brad Pitt threw himself at his enemy, pinning him to the floor and in the process managing to get half his shirt ripped off. As a result Rogue leaned farther forward toward the TV in an attempt to get at least a couple of inches closer. She sighed heavily. ・Brad Pitt is soooo hot.・
・Hey!・ Remy exclaimed, jealousy plain on his features. ・What about me?・
The scene ended and Rogue finally ripped her eyes away from the screen where they were glued. ・What about ya?・ she asked, not seeming to understand his point.
・Ain・t I hot?・
・Well, sure sugah.・ He smiled, satisfied. ・Just not as hot as Brad Pitt.・ His expression flipped upside down and he gave her a hurt look. She just smiled innocently at him, enjoying her new-found form of torture.
After a moment he realized the puppy face he・d slapped on wasn・t working and decided to try a different method. A charming grin worked its way over his handsome face and his eyes flashed their eerie red color. ・Y・ sure ・bout dat? Mebbe Remy jus・ need t・ prove t・ y・ how hot he really is.・
・You try an・ ya end up back in that lake in Michigan.・
Remy attempted to reply, but the sound was swallowed up in an ear-piercing scream from across the room. Four heads snapped toward the source of the sound, their eyes like targeting scanners homing in on one man. Bobby Drake.
Bobby stood fully iced up at the entrance of the room, actually trembling despite his resistance to cold. His eyes were wide with fear and his face bore a panicked expression. At first nobody could figure out why. That was until they followed the direction in which his frightened eyes were staring. And saw the little black cat named Fox standing square in the center of Iceman・s path. Even then, no one was quite sure what to make of the scene.
・Umm... Robert? Is something wrong?・ Storm asked uncertainly.
・Uh-huh... and...?・ Rogue stared at him like maybe he had a few screws loose.
・And it crossed my path!・
・So? Are you crazy? That・s bad luck!・
・Fox? Bad luck?・ Remy asked in disbelief. ・She jus・ a kitten. An・ a nice one too!・
・I didn・t know you were superstitious.・ A small smile played at the corners of Jean・s lips.
・It・s not funny! I・m cursed now!・ It was rather interesting to watch the animated expressions cross Bobby・s face while at the same time his body stood rigid and stiff, afraid to move as long as the cat was near. Fox didn・t seem to notice the hostility. She simply sat down in front of Bobby, happily cleaning her already glistening coat of fur.
The four occupants of the couch exchanged amused looks, trying their hardest not to laugh. But it was all too much and they failed. An orchestra of giggles erupted in the room and didn・t die out for a really, really, long time.
When she has finally caught her breath, stomach hurting from all the laughter, Jean finally took pity upon poor Bobby, and lifted the little cat into her arms.
"There you go Bobby, she's not in the way anymore."
"Somebody pass me the salt please," he said very calmly, which was a bit odd after his little 'episode'.
Remy looked at him strangely, "Wha' do ya need de salt for, mon amie?"
Bobby looked annoyed, "To throw over my shoulder. Like, duh! And I'm not your 'mon amie'."
Rogue looked like she was going to start laughing again, but merely handed him the salt. After sprinkling some over his shoulder, he nodded happily, walked into the kitchen and over to the pantry. "Let's see, I know Hank had some Twinkies left in here. I just gotta find them." Bobby stuck his head deep into the closet, rummaging around inside.
"No," he muttered under breath, "not in the closet." Or the fridge. Or the freezer. All right Bobby, he thought, last place, the spice cabinet!
"Jackpot!" he exclaimed.
Bobby had just finished swallowing Hank's last Twinkie, when the man himself came down the stairs singing to himself.
"All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray. A Cathode Ray. A Cathode Ray. All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray. La-lala-la-laaaaa," Hank was singing to the same tune as "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth." Bobby stared at him as if he had fallen off his rocker. Hank ignored him, having just successfully completing an experiment. Instead, he went straight to his secret hiding spot, looking for his reward Twinkies. After a few minutes of searching, he pulled out an empty box.
"Bobby," he asked is best friend, "Have you seen my Twinkies? I was sure I had a few more left?"
Feigning innocence, Bobby shook his head, "Nope, Blue, haven't seen your Twinkies anywhere. Nope, nada, no, nuh uh. Sorry, Blue."
Hank looked at him suspiciously, "Bobby, my dear friend, you only call me that after you have either A) played a joke on me, or B) have eaten my Twinkies. Did you eat my beloved Twinkies?"
Bobby gave him his best, 'who me?' look. Hank just glared. Bobby looked around, trying to find someone to put the blame on. And luckily for him, in walked Remy's kitten. Trying to hide the fear in his eyes, Bobby pointed. "The cat! It was the cat! I saw it!"
Fox looked at Hank and Bobby her green eyes wide and innocent. She padded over to Hank and rubbed herself against his furry leg. Then she purred, creating the perfect picture of an adorable kitten.
Hank merely shook his head, "Robert, do you really expect me to believe that this," he reached down and scooped up the tiny kitten in his massive arms, "that this cute widdle t'ing would eat my Twinkies. No, you wouldn't eat my Twinkies would you? No, you wouldn't・" Hank was talking to the cat in a low crooning, practicing his baby talk. Suddenly, he remember Bobby, "Please Robert, if you・re going to blame someone, at least blame Warren. He at least, has been eating my Twinkies almost as long as you have."
Uh oh, Bobby thought, he called me Robert. He only does that when he's really angry. He must still be mad about the shaving cream stunt from last week. "No, really, Hank, I'm telling you, it was the cat. Honest." Bobby tried to put on his sweetest face, and back up carefully away from Hank and the cat, but from the look Hank was giving him, it wasn't working.
"Come now Bobby, you even have Twinkie breath. And your teeth are yellow." Hank placed the cat on the ground petting her head once more before turning back to Bobby.
"No, Hank, really, I just haven't brushed my teeth in a very long time. Really. You must be smelling the cat's breath. Cats often eat Twinkies. Her teeth are also yellow." He was floundering for excuses, and Hank knew it.
Fox walked up to Bobby, and began rubbing up against his leg, where Bobby instantly froze. Fox did not seem to notice, and begun purring, and giving warm looks to Bobby. That cat is planning something. She's an evil black cat.
Hank smiled, his pointy teeth making him look very frightening, though not so frightening as Fox, who at this moment had her green eyes half closed. "Bobby, you are a very bad liar. I know you ate my dear, beloved Twinkies, and I promise my revenge will be coming. Be afraid, be very afraid." With that, Hank turned on his heel and stalked out of the room, leaving Bobby shaking with fear, all the while singing, "All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray, Cathode Ray. All I want・"
Hank left me with the cat. With the demon. What should I do, what should I do, what should I do? Bobby stood still, not daring to move a muscle. Fox, feeling his shaking, pressed closer against him, purring harder and giving piteous little meows. If I stay still, maybe I'll be OK. After a few minutes of purring and meowing, Fox decided to lie down. With her head on Bobby's feet. I wonder if it counts as crossing my path if the cat falls asleep on it? Bobby felt his thoughts losing control, and mentally gave himself a shake. C'mon, Bobby, you've faced down supervillains, many times, you can handle one little cat. But she's staring at me again! Indeed, Fox, with the extra sense that all cats seemed to have, had lifted her head and was staring at Bobby. She stretched, putting more of her body into contact with Bobby's. OK. I just have to stand still, and eventually she'll go away.
But she didn・t go away, not for a very long time. And all the while Bobby stood like a statue, like a man made of ice, frozen in fear. Eventually he decided to sing to pass the time and began mumbling the first tune that came to mind: ・All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray. Cathode Ray. All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray・hey what the heck is a Cathode Ray anyway?・
The elements of weather often reacted to Ororo Monroe・s mood, expressing her feelings in storms and sunny days, in rain and in fluffy clouds. Now the skies were crying with her, a light drizzle falling to match the tears squeezing free from her irritated eyes, and as she sniffled, faint bouts of thunder cracked in the distance. She turned slightly at she walked through the mansion den.
The cat was following her.
She looked straight ahead again, managing to exhibit regal grace despite the plague of her allergies. That cat had been following her ever since she・d entered the kitchen and taken pity on Bobby, picking up the small animal and moving it from where it lay comfortably at his feet.
That had been an hour ago. Fox had been following her all that time. And she had run out of tissues.
She・d tried to find Remy, to make him take responsibility for his pet. But of course he was nowhere to be found. She・d also tried Jean, thinking, in the craziness of a head ready to explode with stuffed sinuses, that maybe she could use her telepathic abilities to ・suggest・ to the cat that it should go away. But Jean hadn・t been much help, since she was presently holding Scott upside-down over the boathouse, yelling at him for having called her ・Madeline・ in the early morning while they were still in bed. For obvious reasons Scott was unable to help also.
Bobby was, of course, terrified of the cat. Hank was running around his lab muttering about his ・wonderful revenge・ laughing rather maniacally as he eagerly rubbed his blue, furry hands together and mixed chemicals. Storm had decided it was best not to disturb him. Anybody else that might have taken the cat away from her was also conveniently missing.
Storm was not happy.
Maybe if she went outside and got some fresh air... Walking briskly, so as to put a bit of distance between Fox and herself, she went outside into the cold rain. Hopefully, the bad weather would discourage the cat from following her... She turned to look behind her. Nope, still there. The black cat peered curiously back at her, though she thought she spotted a bit of annoyance in its green eyes. Ha! she thought. You・re not so content to follow me now that conditions are not so comfortable, are you?
That gave her an idea. She made it rain harder, giant sheets of pelting rain. Within seconds she was soaked, dripping water, her spandex drenched (there was nothing worse than soggy spandex), but it was all worth it if that cat left her alone. She spun on her heel to meet eye to eye with the little black animal, whose neat, sleek fur was now even sleeker and matted firmly down. It shivered slightly in the cold rain, looking so small and innocent, so helpless. Ororo・s pupiless, irisless, eyes went wide in pity. It was so defenseless...
Ororo couldn・t take it anymore. Sighing in broken defeat, she stopped the storm. That little nose quivering in the pouring rain was just too much for her to take. It pulled at her heart and she immediately felt a deep sense of guilt at having tried to hurt the poor animal. Bending slightly, she looked at the wet cat. A gust of warm wind and it was dry, fur now fluffy and sticking out wildly.
・I hope you are happy,・ she said. ・Not only have you forced me to resort to extreme measures to get you to stop following me, but you have made me feel bad for it.・
The cat actually looked sorry. And then it walked forward on its little paws, coming up to where Ororo kneeled before it. Hopping up on its back legs and leaning its front ones on her knee, it pushed its little face up to hers and gently licked her nose.
Storm knew that sound. That was the sound of one of her lightning bolts flying through the air. Her eyes were still closed, taking refuge from the violent sneeze, and she slowly, cautiously opened them, a sinking feeling pulling at her stomach. The cat was nowhere in sight.
But before her lay a little pile of charred black fur on a spot of equally black grass. Storm・s eyes went wide in horror. What had she done...
The weather often reacted to Storm・s feelings and to her body・s reactions. Today she・d learned something new about that.
Sneezing makes lightning bolts.
Remy was wandering around the mansion a bit bewildered. Fox was gone. He・d called and called for her, searching all the places she seemed to have taken an extra liking to, but had failed to find her. And now he was starting to worry. It was a big, dangerous world out there, too big and dangerous for one little cat to survive alone.
He entered the living room to find it empty. His glowing red eyes scanned the room, automatically checking every nook and cranny. Now where would I go if I were a cat? he wondered. His eyes spotted the dark rug thrown across the floor. Maybe... He strode over to it, and, reaching down and grabbing it up in his hands, flipped it over in the air. There was no sign of Fox. Remy・s face fell in reaction.
Then he moved on to the couch. And after that the small table in the center of the room. And next the big, comfy chair.
Within minutes the place was a wreck, every piece of furniture overturned.
And Fox had been nowhere in sight.
He sat down in the center of the mess, discouraged and trying to figure out where else to search. He sang absently to himself. It was some song about wanting cathode rays for Christmas. He didn・t really understand what it was about, but he・d heard it somewhere and it was stuck in his head so he went with it.
Now, where would he go if he were Fox? He stood suddenly, a new idea popping into his head. He still hadn・t checked Rogue・s room.
He was about to turn and walk to the stairs when Storm entered the room. Remy cocked an eyebrow at the tall woman, as if to ask ・what happened to you?・ She was soaked, drenched actually. Puddles collected at her feet within seconds and her long, white hair hung down around her in wet clumps.
She didn・t say anything immediately and he noticed that for some strange reason she wouldn・t meet his eyes. ・Uh・ chere? Is somethin・ wrong? What happened t・ you?・
・Nothing,・ she replied hurriedly in a very un-Ororo like fashion. ・I simply got caught in a thunderstorm.・
・Stormy? I may be wrong here, but it seem t・ me dat de weather shouldn・t be a problem f・r someone like you.・
She didn・t reply. Instead she changed the subject. ・What happened here, Remy?・
・I been lookin・ f・r Fox. Y・ seen her?・ His expression turned hopeful.
・I do not feel well. I think I will go to my room and rest.・ And then Ororo Monroe walked quickly out of the room, leaving a very bewildered and confused Remy behind.
Somet・ing be wrong wit・ her, he thought to himself. But he would worry about that later. First he had to find Fox. Leaving the room in shambles, Remy ran off to check Rogue・s room.
Bobby turned guiltily at the sound of Hank McCoy・s voice behind him. He had been raiding the Twinkie cabinet again, searching for some kind of comfort after his ordeal with that black cat falling asleep at his feet. Only this time, his search had been to no avail. They were out of Twinkies. And now Hank had caught him・yet again.
・Uh・ heheh・ hey Blue・・ he answered, gulping. ・I was just, uh, searching for some salt・ yeah some salt・・ he winced visibly at his terrible excuse. There was no way Hank would fall for that. He watched the furry figure standing in the doorway of the kitchen, and waited for the scornful, doubtful expression to appear on the face staring at him. But it never did. Instead Hank was smiling at him. Smiling! A sneaking sense of suspicion began to slowly grow in him as the furry mutant stepped cheerfully forward and put his arm around Bobby. Hank was definitely up to something.
・Ah yes, of course you were, comrade.・ There was no sarcasm in the words, even Bobby・s imagination couldn・t fill in for the lack of it. Hank really wasn・t mad. ・But I bet I know what you would really like・・
Bobby gave him a half-distressed, half-curious look. ・Umm・ you do?・
・Of course. And I shall depart it unto thee.・ Hank smiled, sharp teeth pointing out between his lips. It didn・t come across as very comforting.
He seemed to be waiting for Bobby to say something, so the young man, trapped with a large furry arm wrapped around his shoulder, and knowing that Hank must be up to no good, decided to hazard a guess. ・The newest Backstreet Boys CD (please no, please no, please no)?・
・Don・t be absurd.・
Bobby released a very audible sign of relief. Nothing Beast could give him could be worse than that. Maybe it was actually something good. Maybe・
・A new Jaguar?・
Beast didn・t even qualify that with an answer. He simply turned on Bobby with a rather skeptical, ・are you kidding me?・ look. ・Didn・t think so.・ Bobby answered. ・Umm, I dunno. Can・t ya just tell me, Blue?・
・Aw, come on!・ Bobby whined, trying to squirm away from Hank・s friendly hold at the same time. He realized just how hard it could be to escape a 300 pound-or-so mutant when he didn・t want you to. But then again, being Iceman had its advantages too. A devious smirk lit his face for a moment. And then Bobby iced up. Beast must have jumped at least 3 feet with the sudden contact of cold. And he screamed just like a girl.
Bobby was laughing so hard he almost didn・t dodge in time as Beast dove at him. And he completely failed to make it out of the way when Beast did a flip off of the refrigerator and landed on top of him.
・Umph!・ Bobby huffed as the air was knocked out of him, and he found himself pressed flat against the floor, Hank hovering over him with a furry foot holding each arm down.
Hank smiled that frightening smile again. ・I think I just ・kicked your butt・. Truce?・
・Yeah, sure,・ Bobby wheezed as air began to fill his lungs again. ・Boy, Hank, can・t you take a joke?・ He reached out to meet Hank・s outstretched hand as they shook. Hank released him.
・Of course I can. I simply dislike the sensation of suddenly having a block of ice pressed against me.・
Bobby shrugged as he got up. ・Doesn・t bother me any.・ He smiled cheerily.
・Anyway, I only wanted to give you this.・ Hank opened his large blue hand to reveal a surprisingly unsquished Twinkie.
・A Twinkie・? A Twinkie!・ And expression of glee fit for a little boy with a shiny new bike lit his face. ・Really?・ Bobby looked up at his friend in surprise, and then his eyes suddenly narrowed. ・Why?・
・Umm・ because you・re my friend・・ The tone was almost questioning.
・And, I uh, got a new box so I thought you might like one・・ Hank gave him a hopeful look, like somewhere inside he was pleading that Bobby would believe him.
・I don・t buy it, Hank,・ Bobby answered, shaking his head.
Hank gave him a sorrowful, pouting expression. ・So you don・t want the Twinkie?・
・Well, of course I want the Twinkie! I mean, it・s a Twinkie! Why wouldn・t I want it?・ A hand made of ice reached out to take the soft, golden cake, turning into flesh by the time it closed around the desert. The forbidden delicacy quickly found itself to Bobby・s mouth before Hank could change his mind.
・T・anks, dis es goo・・ Bobby commented around a mouth full of Twinkie. Hank stared at him and began chuckling uncontrollably. ・Wha?・ Bobby asked, eyebrows rising.
・You sound like Remy.・ He was almost crying with laughter.
Bobby swallowed. ・That・s not that funny・ What are you really laughing at?・ his voice clouded over with suspicion.
・Nothing,・ Hank barely managed to gasp out. And then he turned and left the room without another word, his laughter ringing out behind him and growing more maniacal with each passing moment. Bobby blinked as he thought he heard Hank belt out a mad scientist laugh: Mwahahahahaha! He swallowed again, even though the Twinkie was long gone. Something was definitely wrong with that man.
Shrugging it off as sleep deprivation or some similar scenario, Bobby wandered over to the fridge for a drink. He grabbed a glass out of the cabinet on the way and took the carton of milk out of the comfortingly chilly compartment. He poured it without spilling a drop (that deserved a gold star・definitely) and drank it all in one gulp.
Something was wrong. The milk tasted like Twinkies.
Bobby gave the empty glass a strange look. Maybe he should just have water. He got himself some and drank that down in one gulp too.
Something was definitely wrong. The water tasted like Twinkies too.
Bobby was suddenly very worried. He ran frantically to the refrigerator, pulling out the horrible cranberry juice that Storm insisted upon. There was no way that could taste like Twinkies. Only there must have been. Because it did. And so did the orange juice・ and the beer・ and the ice・ and the ice cream・ and the leftover for a month meatloaf・ and even (cringe) the broccoli. There was no natural way broccoli could taste like Twinkies. None whatsoever. Bobby suddenly felt very sick.
・Remy? What are ya doin・ in mah room?・
・Lookin・ f・r Fox! She lost!・
・In mah undergarment draw?・
・Enjoy Lake Huron, Gumbo!・ *Thwam!*
Rogue really losin・ her touch, Remy thought, as he rung out his hair. I only made it to de lake behind de mansion. Or maybe she wasn・t really trying・ That seemed the more likely reason. The last time Rogue had kicked his butt, Scott had yelled for a good ten minutes. Of course, if she had kicked Bobby・s butt, he would have yelled for like, 15. But, hey, who was counting.
It had stopped raining now, not that it would have made a difference with the drops of lake-water sliding over him as he walked up the dock. He pulled up his pants, now heavily weighed down by moisture, and prayed that he would make it to the mansion before he lost his grip and they started falling down. He tried to remember what kind of boxers he was wearing. It took him a moment, and then he actually blushed. He had better get back to his room quickly before anybody else found out his Pokemon obsession. That would utterly tear his reputation to shreds.
He waddled back along the lawn, staring at the ground to keep from tripping over a root into an ungraceful fall. Rogue was probably laughing up a storm staring at him from out her window. He growled to himself, and then decided that if he had got her mad than he had better give her a hug to make up for it. A big, wet, bear hug. He smirked.
The green of the grass was kind of hypnotizing, and he became quite focused on it, searching for the occasional flower. Pink・ yellow・ black・ Black? Flowers didn・t come in black・ Remy waddled back a few steps with a squishing noise. There was a patch of ground where the grass was burnt away into a black smear and in that smear there was a pile of something that looked suspiciously like charred hair・ short charred hair・ like the kind of hair a cat would have・
Remy・s eyes widened suddenly, as he realized that maybe he had just found out what had happened to Fox. And, in his sorrow and shock, he yelled what all superheros yell when their world has suddenly been turned upside down:
Bobby had to find something・ anything, that didn・t taste like Twinkies! Everything he・d tried so far had a fluffy, cake-like flavor and he was starting to feel very sick from breathing Hostes-made air. Running around the mansion frantically, he was licking everything, trying to find something・ anything, that didn・t taste like Twinkies!
But it all was the same: the spinach, the paper towels, the tin foil・
She wasn・t sure what it was she was singing, or where it had come from. She wasn・t even sure what the Cathode Rays in the song had to do with Christmas. But it didn・t matter. Jean Grey Summers had sufficiently whipped her husband and the satisfaction that resulted drowned out all other cares. By the time she was done with him, Scott was on his knees begging for forgiveness.
Good? She was incredible. And she was on fire.
That was the last she・d ever hear of Madeline, she was sure.
Dusting her hands off on her suspiciously spandex-like jeans, Jean walked toward the mansion, leaving her repentant husband behind to do the chores and make dinner in the boathouse. She was eager to share her story of revenge with the other women of the X-Mansion.
・All I want for Christmas is a cathode ray・・ Where had that song come from? She seemed to remember learning something about cathode rays way back when, something physics related. She couldn・t fully bring it back now and as a result, she began to be irritated by the repetitive words of the tune she was plagued with. He husband-bashing satisfaction must be wearing off already. Maybe if she found out who had gotten that stupid song stuck in her head to begin with, she could do some more bashing. No one would be as much fun to bash as Scott, but oh well, that was life. Except of course, if it were Wolverine. She smiled evilly.
Oh yeah, she was on fire.
Her torture fantasies were interrupted by the sound of someone yelling not so far away. It seemed to be saying: ・Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo・ (etc.)・
The sixth hero-sense that all X-Men were given along with their spandex and com-badges kicked in and she ran toward the noise, reaching ahead of her with her mind to find the purpose of the distress. Her mental hand hit a wall of static that she recognized to be Remy and soon her eyes confirmed the sight as she came up to him on the lawn. He was staring down at a black spot in the grass yelling what she assumed, since all superheroes yell the same thing when they are in distress, was the end of the word ・No!・.
・Remy?・ she questioned, a crease forming in her brow.
He didn・t seem to hear her, too focussed on yelling. She glanced at him and noticed that he didn・t look so good・ a little blue actually. And growing bluer・
・Remy? Don・t forget to breathe・・
But she got the feeling that he had forgotten. He was starting to sway from side to side and his eyes were fluttering and rolling back.
Seeing no other option, she slapped him on the back as hard as she could. He almost fell forward and had to stumble to catch himself, breathing in sharply and interrupting his cry. Men, she thought to herself, they really wouldn・t survive without women on this earth.
looked dazed for a moment as air supply was restored to his brain. He looked like he was getting ready to scream again.
・Remy!,・ Jean yelled at him before he could open his mouth, grabbing his shoulders and shaking him violently.
He blinked suddenly and focussed on her face, shaking his head as if he were shaking himself awake. ・Jeanie?・
・Very good・ now Remy, deep breaths. Good. Now tell me, what happened.・
Looking down at the black charred spot on the grass again, a dramatically sorrowful expression crossed his handsome features. ・It・s Fox・ I t・ink she dead!・
・ a gym stray sock that had been lying on the floor, one of the potted plants Storm loved, somebody・s cherry-flavored lip balm・ all like Twinkies!
Scott rubbed his sore head ruefully. His wife hadn・t needed to be quite so harsh on him. It was only a simple mistake. They were Summers・! What did she expect? Even Marvel couldn・t keep their history straight so he surely couldn・t be expected to, which, of course, was exactly why he was expected to. Women always seemed to want the impossible.
Like him having an hour to cook a five-course meal when his previous cooking experience didn・t go past throwing a TV dinner into the microwave. He glanced down at the meat frying in the pan and tried to figure out if it was done yet. It looked reddish still, but then everything looked red to him, the curse of ruby quartz glasses.
But did it look less red than before? He couldn・t remember. Sighing melodramatically, Scott knew it was absolutely hopeless. His wife had given him a task she knew he couldn・t possible perform. Couldn・t she send him to do something within the realm of his possibility? Like beat up a bad guy or something? But cooking dinner? Now that was crazy, impossible, how was he supposed to know what to do? Usually he just sat at the table and the food magically appeared carried out by his wife. He・d never realized actual work went into preparing it. Actually, he・d never thought about it much.
Little tendrils of smoke were rising up from the meat. Was it supposed to do that? He turned the heat down off of the highest setting (he・d figured if he put the heat up as high as it would go, the food would cook as fast as possible), and bent to examine his results. He poked at a clump of beef with a spatula. It crumbled into ash. Maybe it was a little too well done. Hmm・
Time for plan two: call all the five-star restaurants in the phone book and find out if they delivered. As he was sitting down on the couch by the telephone to enact his plan, he was interrupted by the sound of his wife yelling in his skull.
*Scott, come to the field behind the mansion, now. We・re having a funeral for Remy・s cat.*
Scott winced. She was being excessively loud. Apparently, she was still somewhat upset.
He sighed and grabbed some aspirin from the cabinet. He had a feeling he would be needing it.
・Logan・s disgusting neon sierra hair gel, the floor-mat at the mansion door, the ground outside・
・Bobby, why are you eating the dirt?・ questioned Wolverine, furry eyebrows raised.
・As y・ all know, somet・ing absolutely terrible happened today. Worse dan anyt・ing else that has ever happened on our overly violent and full of bad-t・ings-happening planet. Worse dan being surrounded by throngs of boy-bands or dere screaming fans. Worse dan somebody, other than me, stealin・ all de spices in de world. Worse dan de banning of gamblin・ in de US of A. Dere has been a horrendous tragedy of・ well・ tragic proportions・・
・Gumbo! Would ya get to the point already?・ Wolverine growled. He was standing with the rest of the X-Men gathered together by Jean・s emergency call, staring down at a tiny casket that looked suspiciously like an empty ice-cream container filled with a little pile of charred fur and ashes.
Remy nodded solemnly. ・Okay, mon ami. De point is, dat Fox is no longer wit・ us and we are here to honor her life and mourn her death. A moment of silence for de kitty・・
The X-Men all bowed their heads solemnly, except for Bobby, who was glaring angrily at Hank.
・Remy, I cannot take this any longer!・
Remy looked up suddenly, his red eyes meeting Storm. ・Stormy, y・ be interrupting de moment of silence.・
・I・m sorry my friend, I must tell you the truth. I have caused the death of・・
・FOX!!!・ Remy yelled happily, jumping up and down and pointing excitedly at a spot behind Storm. Her confession interrupted, she slowly turned to look behind her and was met by a small, pitiful looking creature with green eyes and wrinkled skin. It was hairless and shivering, but nonetheless, it was indeed Fox.
Storm looked at her delighted friend as he ran past her and picked up his pet. ・I・ umm・・
Remy smiled proudly. ・Look! Fox・s alive.・ He stroked the cat・s bare back. ・A little worse-for-wear, but alive! Now what were you gonna say Stormy?・
・Oh, uh, nothing.・
・An・ what・s even better is now dat she ain・t got no hair, you won・t be allergic to her no more! You an・ Fox gonna be great friends.・ Remy pushed the little cat up into Storm・s face. It wiggled its pink-now-sorta-black nose at her.
・Wonderful,・ she replied, uncertainly.
・This calls for a celebration!・ Beast said suddenly. ・A song perhaps? An original classic: All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray!・
Jean・s attention suddenly snapped the bouncing blue mutant standing next to her. ・You were the one who was singing that song?・
・Yep,・ Hank said proudly.
Jean・s eyes narrowed and her expression became decidedly frightening. ・That song has been stuck in my head all day,・ she said slowly, enunciating each word threateningly.
Hank・s expression fell a bit and he looked a little worried. ・Oh・ it has?・
・Yes, it has,・ she answered steadily.
Remy・s brow wrinkled. ・That song been in my head too.・ The cat in his hands meowed in agreement.
・So, sugah, you・re the one to blame for that annoying tune・・
A few more agreements on the song・s distracting quality were thrown out by various other X-Men and slowly the group became increasingly united and encouraged by shared opinions, growing in spirit and strength through the power of equal irritation, the fervor of one purpose and led by one voice sounding, strangely, like Bobby Drake: ・Lynch him!・
Beast backed away carefully as the growing mob moved toward him, adding various other creatures who took residence at the X-Mansion grounds to their ranks, including two vicious looking squirrels who had heard Hank singing earlier in the day.
Backing into a rear wall of the mansion, and watching his aggressors close in angrily, Bobby laughing wickedly in the lead, it suddenly occurred to him that his bouncing blue days might be over.
The End. Well, for Beast at least.
Well, no, we lied, that・s not the end. Beast lay in a crumbled mound of dirt, his blue fur now a muddy brown. His glasses lay askew on his nose, one of the lenses cracked. He lifted his head, and opened his mouth.
・All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray, a Cathode Ray, a Cathode Ray. All I want for Christmas is a Cathode Ray, and my two front teeth.・
Beast then proceeded to spit the aforementioned teeth into the dirt.
The End! Really this time!
Author・s Note: According the Encyclopedia Britannica, the 15th edition, a Cathode Ray is a ・stream of electrons leaving the negative electrode in a discharge tube containing a gas at low pressure, or electrons emitted by a heated filament in certain electron tubes.・ So, just in case you were wondering, now you know. ;)