A/N: Extra cookies to anyone who can find the two other mutant references in this chapter... also, I don't live in the South, I can't do Rogue's accent. But I think I got pretty close. Please don't hate me, Southern people! *ducks and covers* I really hate it when people write Rogue without an accent!
Disclaimer: The reference to cookies in the above Author's Note is metaphorical cookies of good feelings. No actual cookies will be presented. Oh, and I don't own the X-Men, either.
"This is, like, disgusting," Kitty said, struggling to simultaneously carry a dusty box and keep it as far away from her jeans and pink shirt as possible.
"It's just a little dusty, Kitty. Dust won't kill you." Bobby blew a cloud of particles off of a dresser that look as though it hadn't been moved in a century. And it may well not have been.
Kitty squeaked and tried to jump out of the way of the oncoming cloud, phasing through an antique file cabinet. "Not funny, Bobby!" she wailed from somewhere amongst the shadows.
"Why's the Prof making us clear out the attic anyway?" John moaned, climbing back up the drop-down ladder and into the cavernous space. "This is a job for the U.S. Marines, or a bio-hazard unit. Not a couple of teenagers!"
"It's just dust," Bobby said again. "Geez, man up."
"Bobby," Rogue chided softly.
"She's got gloves!" Kitty protested. A pale hand with an accusing, outstretched finger came through the front of the file cabinet, although the rest of the teenaged mutant didn't appear. "Rogue, could you lend me some of yours?"
"You don't need gloves, Kitty," Mr. Summers called through the hole that accommodated the drop-down ladder. "And if you didn't want to clear out the attic, you shouldn't have gotten detention."
"Ah wasn' even involved in tha'!"
"Really, Rogue? I'm pretty sure that you were at least an accomplice. And the professor is sure of it, too, interestingly enough."
The Southern Belle huffed and resisted the urge to drop a file box on her teacher's head. "Here's anotha, Mister Summers."
"Keep this up and we'll be done before dinner," Mr. Summers called up, supposedly encouraging, from below. A chorus of groans answered him as the students thought about spending the next seven hours of their Saturday in the dark, dusty attic.
There was the sound of unintelligible yelling from a lower floor. Mr. Summers paused to listen. "Hey, you all! Jean needs my help bringing in a new mutant from New Orleans. I trust that you can carry on without me? Without destroying, burning or freezing anything?"
"Storm will come up to check on you in an hour or so," Mr. Summers promised. They all listened to his footsteps as they receded down the hallway.
John immediately dropped the box he was holding, creating a miniature dust storm and making Kitty cough uncontrollably. "Yeah! Let's ditch."
"We cahn't ditch," Rogue groaned.
"Because he'd know that we didn't get anything done," Bobby pointed out.
"And we live with, like, the world's most powerful telepath," Kitty rasped.
Rogue dragged a stack of boxes away from an antique trunk. "This is kinda fun, if ya think 'bout it. It reminds me of explorin' my grandmotha's house."
"Speak for yourself," Bobby said. "This is just boring."
Rogue knelt in the dust and heaved the lid of the trunk open. "Oh, Kitty, come look a' this!"
Rogue lifted a long, blue satin dress out of the trunk. It was cuffed with yellowing lace and looked fragile enough to disintegrate at the slightest touch. It appeared decades old, like something that might have been worn on the Titanic; mothballs fell out of the folds and skittered across the floor, disappearing under wardrobes, bookshelves, and, for some reasons, a large pile of charred mannequin limbs.
Kitty approached timidly, as if she felt that touching the antique dress would transmit some deadly disease to her. "That looks like it was, like, the Prof's mom's."
"Are you kidding?" John snorted, "That was the Prof's great-great-grandma's."
Rogue laid the dress down on the floor carefully and reached back into the trunk. "Gawd, this trunk is full a old clothes."
Kitty leaned in a little closer, as if trying to see into the trunk from some imaginary minimum safe distance. Rogue pulled out another dress, this one a child's. It was just as ornate, only miniature, and a lacey, sea-foam green. One of the sleeves was hanging on by threads. Then she produced the jacket and pants of a suit, or perhaps the 1800s equivalent. "Gosh, this stuff is beautiful."
"We can't just, like, throw all this away, for, like, ever!" Kitty protested. "This stuff could be in, like, a museum!"
"Cool!" Bobby called from the wardrobe, but he wasn't talking to them. He had opened the doors to find an ornately carved and inlaid box. He lifted out a handful of jewelry. Pearls and stones and gold and silver cascaded through his fingers and back into the jewelry box with a tinkling sound.
Kitty darted toward him, attracted by the sounds of something expensive and shiny. "Look at these, Rogue!" The younger mutant held up a pair of ruby-and-diamond drop earrings.
Rogue took the box from Bobby and snapped it shut. "This is the Prof's stuff, guys! We cahn't just go rootin' around in it!"
"He practically invited us to," John pointed out, "Telling us to clear out his attic and all." The pyrokinetic shifted aside the empty and rotting boxes in the wardrobe to pull out a hat box. "Cool!" he opened the box, yelled in terror, and threw it to the ground.
The other three screamed. "What is it?" Kitty wailed.
"Nothing," John grinned. "It's empty."
"John Allerdyce, Ah swear to Gawd—"
"Whoa, Rogue, keep your hat on, it was a joke."
"I wonder what's in these other boxes?" Kitty mused, perusing the attic, which had accumulated so many file boxes, pieces of furniture, and odds and ends over the years that it was impossible to see any of the walls.
"Kitty, Ah don' wanna go pokin' around in the Prof's stuff."
"Hypocrite," Kitty accused. "You're, like, the one who opened the trunk in the first place. And anyway, what if there's some more valuable stuff in here? You don't want to just trash it all, do you?"
"How would you get a wardrobe up a drop-down ladder?" Bobby asked John as they continued rummaging, ignoring the girls completely.
"You get Colossus and Kitty, that's how."
"Look, Kitty," Rogue sighed, "It's all gonna be documents an' folders and mortgages and stuff. An' Ah thought tha' you were the one who didn' wanna get dirty!"
"But, Rogue, this is fun, like you said." Kitty ran over to a pile of boxes that they hadn't yet touched. She yanked off the lid. "See?"
Rogue came over. "Files," She appraised. "Funny enough, file-sortin' is second on mah list of fun things ta do. It's right unda watchin' paint dry."
"Okay, well maybe not, like, this box, but this one—"
"Kitty, they're file boxes, they're gonna have files in them," Rogue sighed, as Kitty uncovered another pile of molding manila paper.
"This one doesn't!" Kitty beamed.
Rogue hurried over, genuinely interested, only to be disappointed again. "Kitty, they're file notebooks. Tha' doesn' make it any more interestin'."
"Oh, you don't know what they are."
"Yeah, Ah do."
"Betcha you don't," Kitty sang, pulling out the top binder. It was thick and had little papers poking out of it. "Oooh, it's a scrapbook!"
Bobby and John looked up from their raid of the wardrobe. "From when?"
"Ah—" Kitty flipped the book over. "1987. But someone wrote 1980 and then a dash over it."
"1980 through 1987," John said, in a duh tone.
"Oh," Kitty said, not one bit put out. She plopped down on the dusty floor. "I'm going to look at this, if any y'all wanna come, like, look too."
"Kitty, that's really personal stuff," Bobby hesitated.
"Come on, Bobby, what's someone gonna put in, like, a scrapbook that other people shouldn't see?"
"Kitty, Ah agree with Bobby," Rogue began, but the petite brunette was already opening the scrapbook. She tried again. "Kitty, we're neva gonna get outta here if you don' help—"
She was cut off by a squeal. "Look!" Kitty cried, thrusting the book toward Rogue's face. "It's Mr. Summers! He's so cute!"