Disclaimer: I do not own any of the X-Men/marvel characters, some of these lines are not even mine but taken or paraphrased from various cartoons and comics I've read. What can I say, but I suck with dialogue. Just have some story in my head that won't go away so I'm writing it down.

NINE TO FIVE: Chapter One - Franchises are the Devil

Bells jingled as two very contrasting girls walked into the small independently owned music store together.

"I, like, don't understand why you insist on buying CD's only from this place, Rogue," the Chicago-born valley girl said.

"This place has character, unlike those identical, conformist chain stores ya shop in," the other, a southern goth with the stunk striped auburn hair, replied. "Plus they have a wide range of used CD's an' some local stuff. Franchised music stores ain't got a clue 'bout good music; they just buy what everyone else's buyin'."

Kitty rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Rogue. Franchises are not the devil, just familiar and convenient."

"Well then Ah'm gonna add a little change in your life and hopefully steer ya away from some of your conformist tendencies and get ya ta invest some o' your parents allowance into small businesses that actually need the money," Rogue orated. Kitty rolled her eyes again, but this time stayed silent.

The owner of the store, Jamal Collins, was at the cash register. He smiled to himself at the sight. The goth came in a couple times a month, each time with a different friend, trying to convince them to shun the big corporations and get their own mind. "She might get this one to become a regular," he thought. He liked her: she had spunk. But there always seemed to be something that kept her at a distance from her friends and other customers. At first he thought it was because she was a goth and in Bayville those are rare. But now he doesn't think that it because she doesn't feel she belongs, its something else. He couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Rogue led Kitty into the more mainstream rock section. She fingered through a couple CD's and came across a record she thought Kitty might like. "Here, Kitty. Ah think ya'll like this one. Yah, they're a group from the late 80's, early '90's. Good for that kinda music. They weren't make up by some big music company or by a "reality" TV show, but ya might give 'em a chance."

"What you expect me to, like, buy it 'cause you think I might like it? Besides this one's already been open." Kitty put it back on the shelf like it was some dirty sock.

Now it's Rogue's turn to roll her eyes. She picked the CD back up and handed it back to Kitty. "This is a used CD store. People sell CD's to this place and they recycle them by selling them ta others. Reduce the waste o' the material world, sugah."

"Like, if this CD's so good than why did someone sell it back?" Kitty retorted, refusing to be converted.

"Ah dunna know, probably on crack o' somethin'," Rogue added sarcastically. Rogue put her arm around her Carson Daly brainwashed friend, being careful not to touch her skin, and ushered her toward the listening station near the window, "Now, why don't ya go over there an' listen it an' prove mah wrong."

Kitty looked suspiciously at the CD player and headphones. "It looks like a normal CD player."

"Oh, hail the observant one," the Goth sarcastically replied.

"What, you mean I can actually hear, like the whole CD before I buy it? Not just certain tracks or snippets of the songs?" Kitty asked with an inconceivable expression on her face.

Rogue smiled, Kitty's gonna like this place. "Yah, real nice here, ain't they?"

"Serious?! This totally rocks!!" Kitty sat down and started adjusting the headphones.

Rogue grinned, a successful conversion, finally. Rogue moved toward the owner, Jamal. "It's good to see one of your friends actually enjoy it here," Jamal told the Goth.

"Yah. Say, did ya have any good hard rock stuff come through here lately?" Rogue asked.

"I believe a Nine Inch Nails CD came my way. Oh and I did get a few of The Clash and Led Zeppelin you might like. They're over in the used new arrivals."

"Ah'll take a look. Thanks." Rogue turned and headed toward the right side of the store. She stopped dead in her tracks in seeing three familiar trouble-making figures loitering in the store. The crazy fire boy was fingering the posters, the Cajun, his red on black eyes covered conspicuously with dark sunglasses, was leafing through some local music, and the stocky one who turned into sheet metal looked about as bored and awkward as an armadillo just standing there. Rogue planted her feet, popped out a hip, and put her hands on her hips. "Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in. What are Magneto's lackeys doin' here. Ain't yal supposed ta be plottin' ta take over o' the world or somethin'?"

They were all surprised at seeing their "enemy" standing there. The Cajun regained his cool quickly and spoke first. "Why, chere, is it some sort of crime dat we be relaxin' in dis fine establishment on our day off?" He flashed that know-it-all smile Rogue remembered from their first battle.

Rogue looked the Cajun right in the eyes..er..sunglasses and, undaunted by his charm, replied, "No, no crime, 'cept ah'd expect ya'd have cooler places ta be than Bayville."

Not losing a beat, Gambit took a step closer to Rogue and said, "I'll will go where ever de belle wishes."

An mischievous smile emerged on Rogue's face. She got so close to Gambit that she could feel his breath on her face. The other two of Magneto's henchmen watched intensely. Rogue spoke softly, mesmerizing the boy. "Ya know what ah really wish?" Rogue ran a gloved finger across his chest. "Ah wish THAT YA GET OUTTA MY WAY, SWAMP RAT!" She shoved Gambit into the shelves and strutted around him toward the used CDs.

Gambit fell to the floor, completely awestruck with what just happened. Pyro and Colossus burst out into laughter. "Remy, burnt by a Sheila!!! I'd never thought I'd see the day!"

Colossus laughed. "I am happy I rose from bed to see this!"

Gambit growled. "Shut-up."

Kitty heard the commotion over the music in her headphones and wondered over to Rogue and the others. "Hey, like, what's going on -" She gasped at seeing the Acolytes and went into a defensive battle position.

"Calm down, Kitty," Rogue reassured her friend. "There's no need ta get all riled up for - "

Just then a group of about ten people stormed into the store with picket signs and violent looks on their faces. "Mutie lover!!" "You let the abominations shop in your store!" "You're no better than a mutant!"

The mob approached the owner, Jamal, who backed away from the counter toward the wall. " I don't want any trouble here, boys. I only sell to music lovers. If you're not here for music then I suggest you leave."

"Not 'til you stop selling to muties!!" said the self-appointed leader of the group. The others shouted in agreement.

"Enough of dis shit," Gambit muttered as he charged up a card and the Acolytes followed him to the mob. "I think you'd better leave de good businessman alone, homme. If you wanna leave here in one piece, dat is." Colossus converted to his metal form, and Pyro pulled out his lighter and held a fireball in his hands.

Is it any good?

Let me know.