Well folks it's me Adam-bat again. I was going thru some old disks and found this story. I wrote it a while back as I was experiencing the joys of spring-cleaning first hand, and so I cleaned it up a bit (yeah I know lame pun) and put it on display here for your reading pleasure, enjoy.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, 7:00am to be exact, and Charles Xavier was feeling bright and cheerful as he awaited his students in the study. Slowly the team shuffled in, all looking drained and tired probably from whatever they did the night before. He sighed, it had taken five telepathic callings to get everyone assembled, mainly because most of them required a physical waking up at such an early hour, but after assistance from Jean and Cyclops and a couple pails of water everyone was awake and present.
"Good morning everyone." He said smiling warmly.
The response was a series of grumbling and droned "morning".
He ignored the lack of enthusiasm and continued. "Well I'm happy to announce it's that time of year again its time to pull out the buckets and the sponges, the brooms and the mops and get down to SPRING CLEANING!" All at once there was a mad dash for the door as everyone tried to run out. Just as they reached the huge wooden doors 'SLAM!' Jean telekinetically slammed and locked them. 'SNIKT' Wolverine unsheathed his claws and prepared to tear into the door.
"Do that and I'll toss you into the pool." Jean threatened. Wolverine hesitated and then, growling, retracted his claws 'SNAKT'. "Good." She said, "The same goes for the rest of you." Everyone looked at each other and slowly headed back to listen to the Professor.
"Now that you all have decided to stay I shall continue." Xavier said. " Cyclops if you don't mind please hand out the lists." He nodded to the desk next to him and Cyclops picked up the stack of papers laying on it. He passed them out to the various members of the team, each one taking theirs grudgingly. "I've assigned each of you a set a duties to perform and I'm sure that you'll be able to handle these chores and have the tasks done before I return."
"And where are you goin' while we're havin so much fun?" Wolverine growled eyeing Xavier, " And why didn't ya tell us about this before?"
"He's going to Muir Island to help Moira with a project," answered Jean heatedly, " and he didn't tell you because every year when he mentions that its time for spring cleaning everyone disappears including YOU!" she pointed an accusing finger at Wolverine and he backed up palms raised.
"Just askin' red. You know me happy ta help." Next to him Gambit fought to keep from laughing. Wolverine turned on him, "What's so funny Cajun?"
Seeing the murderous look Wolverine was giving him Gambit quickly answered, "Nothing Gambit just happy to help too." Wolverine growled and taking his list headed for the door. "Well let's get this stuff done. And don't worry Chuck we'll have it done 'fore ya get back." He looked back at the others and thru bared teeth said, "Won't we?" Everyone quickly voiced his or her consent and he nodded, smiled at Jean, and left. The others slowly followed.
"Give the trees a trim, that's cute." Wolverine said reading his list. "And yer supposed to help me, how?" he said turning to Beast who stood next to him.
"Cleanup crew." Hank replied cheerfully. "And provide a boost." He clasped his hands in front of him and smiled.
"Yeah, ok." Wolverine climbed onto Hank's hands and looked upward, "Just watch where yer tossin…meeee!" his voice trailed off with the sudden elevation change as Beast catapulted him into the air. Moments later there was a loud clattering and splintering of wood as Wolverine tumbled thru the branches of the tree.
"Oh dear," Hank whispered and then cupping a hand over his mouth called up, "It appears I overestimated the force necessary for your ascension. Perhaps you've lost some weigh…oh dear." Beast eyes grew wide and he just barely leapt out of the way in time to avoid being hit with a falling branch.
"Timber!" Wolverine called after the tree limb crashed to the ground.
"No hard feelings I see." Beast mumbled dragging the branch away and then leapt again as another one came crashing down.
"None at all." Wolverine growled back and continued slicing off the dead limbs.
Bobby and Jubilee where down in the laundry room staring in disgust at the massive pile of clothes and uniforms piled before them. "I can't believe we have to do the laundry." Bobby groaned. Jubilee angrily chewed on a wad of gum and let out an irritated sigh. "I know, its like why do we have to wash everyone else's gross sweaty clothes?"
"Well if they think I'm going to bother with all that label reading pre-treating garbage their wrong." Iceman grumbled and began shoving the clothes into the washer.
"Hey Bobby I don't think your supposed to stuff clothes in there like that." Jubilee said warily eyeing her teammates efforts. "It's a huge expensive industrial washer isn't it?" Bobby replied continuing to stuff the pile in.
"Yeah." Jubilee said with uncertainty.
"And it all… hrrrrgh… fits doesn't it?" he continued as he wedged the last of the load in.
"So… I don't see why we can't just do it all at once." Bobby smiled and Jubilee shrugged and reached for a bottle of laundry soap.
"Ok well this says one capful for large loads" She began measuring out the soap.
"Tsk, Tsk, Jubilee" Iceman said shaking his head, "What we have here is a JUMBO load." He grabbed the bottle and began pouring it into the washer. "So we need a JUMBO load measuring of soap."
"In some strange insane way that makes sense." Jubilee replied watching Iceman's actions, "But I think I've seen this bit on a show once and it turned out pretty bad."
"Well of course you have." Bobby answered. "We've all seen the humorous soap spewing from the washer and flooding the basement scene. But what those guys didn't have…"He emptied the bottle, tossed it aside and slammed the washer lid. "Were mutant powers." He grinned and then thrusting a hand forward iced over the lid of the washer. "We do." He set the washer for 'Heavy Soil' and they left.
Gambit was in the rec room eyeing his list in disgust, "Paint de house dat man must be kidding." He glanced around the room mentally measuring the wall surface area and then glaring at the bucket of paint, brush, plastic drop cloth, and duct-tape laid out in the center. "Hmph bucket and supplies in every room dat need a coat or two eh?" He strode over to the supplies and picked up the roll of plastic and tape. "Fine den but if Gambit gonna do dis he do it his way non?" Pulling out a large portion of the plastic he headed for a chair and began wrapping it up.
Scott and Jean were in the main hall dusting and polishing. Jean walked along with a feather duster cleaning everything off and telekinetically lifting vases and moving pictures to brush away all traces of dirt. A little way down the hall Cyclops was running a vacuum and having a terrible time at it. So far he had managed to suck up the tassels of one of the more expensive rugs, slam into the wall several times while trying to clean the edge, and even got tangled up in the cord and hoses a couple of times. Now he was impatiently sweeping over a wadded up gum wrapper and couldn't get the vacuum to suck it up. "Darn it." He muttered pushing the machine back in forth over the object.
"Something wrong Scott?" Jean said turning to her husband. "Your not tangled up again are you?"
He sighed, "No I'm fine." After having to call for help twice to be saved from being strangled to death by the vacuum he wasn't going to ask for help with a piece of garbage. Jean nodded and went back to dusting. Cyclops bent down and picked up the wrapper to make sure it wasn't stuck to the carpet. Seeing that it wasn't he dropped it back on the floor and ran it over again without any success.
"Fine." He said and pulled out the hose and nozzle on the side of the vacuum. He held the attachment over the particle and waited. And waited, and waited. He pulled it up and held his hand over it. Immediately it sucked in his skin… and then the sleeve to the shirt he was wearing. His eyes went wide in shock as the machine sucked up his clothing. In panic he quickly pulled both arms apart and the sleeve ripped off and slid down the black tube of the vacuum. "Ahhh!!" he yelled as he helplessly watched his shirtsleeve vanish. Jean whirled around and he immediately put his hands behind his back.
"What's wrong!?" she called approaching her husband.
"Nothing!" He immediately responded. "Just uh…um…SPIDER. Yeah a spider. Don't come over here though because I smashed it and its pretty disgusting." He made a disgusted face and waved her away with the still clothed arm.
"Oh please Scott like a smashed spider could faze me." She smiled at his attempt to shield her from the horrors of an arachnid's unpleasant corpse and then returned to dusting.
Scott sighed and then looked at both his arms. A small portion of the sleeve still remained so he rolled them both up to hide the missing one. Then he bent down, picked up the wrapper and tossed it into the hose.
Rogue and Storm were both outside the house flying back and forth washing the mansion. Storm summoned tiny showers and wind blasts to wash off the dirt and film on the walls and windows, and then Rogue came by, squiged the windows flew in and washed the inside of the windows and dried them. This system had worked exceptionally well and the two had already finished one side of the building. Then they came up to a set of windows that had plastic taped over them on the inside. Rogue peered in but no one was there.
"Huh. Gambit must a' been paintin and didn't bother ta clean up his mess." Rogue mused and prepared to tear thru the plastic. Just before she did Storm grabbed her arm.
"Or perhaps he is not finished." She said gently and pointed to the un-open can of paint.
"Oh didn't see that." Rogue replied sheepishly. "Well I'll go inside an ask him if he's done with any rooms on this side." She swooped down to the ground and headed for a side door. She passed Wolverine and Beast who were talking on the lawn near a huge pile of wood.
"Well it says we are supposed to get rid of all of this yard waste, but not how we are to go about it." Beast said, thoughtfully scratching his chin. "I propose we take it to the local land fill and have it recycled there."
"Local land fill huh?" Wolverine asked staring at Beast. "Yeah well that place ain't all that 'local' and they charge ya to get rid of yer trash. I say we just burn the lot."
Beast looked over the pile and tilted his head in thought. "Well I've mentally calculated the distance, time and effort to load up and dispose of this rubbish and versus your alternative I say that being the more convenient method it is thus the most logical choice."
"That's what I figured. Come on let's get some lighter fluid." Wolverine headed toward the tool shed and Beast followed.
When they finally emerged Beast was toting a spray canister and Wolverine held a box of matches. They approached the pile of debris and Beast began spraying the wood. "This compound is a mixture of lighter fluid with a touch of gasoline and other components." Beast explained, "That will not only help to ignite the pile but insure it burns evenly and quickly."
"Yeah Hank, just hurry up I'm starving." Wolverine said impatiently striking a match. Beast finished spraying and stepped back. Wolverine tossed the match on the pile and it immediately caught fire and spread over the entire heap.
"Nice job." Wolverine said turning to Hank who smiled. Wolverine offered his hand and Beast took it and heartily shook it.
"Well you did an excellent and efficient job yourself. Those limbs were cut quick and clean and…" Hank trailed off as he stared at the pile and then gaped as the fire suddenly rose four feet. "Oh my stars and garters." He whispered.
"Crap." Wolverine said dropping Beast's hand.
"That was totally disgusting!" Jubilee announced pulling off a pair of yellow rubber dish-gloves.
"No kidding. There must be a hundred bathrooms in this place." Bobby said wearily. "Why do we have to do all the gross jobs around here?"
"Just our lot in life" Jubilee replied. "Well at least all we have left to do is finish the laundry. Speaking of which we should go and check on that."
"Yeah." Bobby said. They went down to the laundry room and opened the door to hear a loud thumping sound. 'Kr-Thoom, Kr-Thoom, Kr-Thoom.' "What the heck is that?!" Bobby yelled and switched on the light. What they saw was the washing machine rattling out in the middle of the room jumping around and pulling at its cord. "Oh-oh."
"What are we gonna do?!" Jubilee yelled. The machine's sides suddenly began to bulge out and the noise kept getting louder. "Quick un-plug it!"
"Ok!" Bobby ran at the machine and grabbed hold of the cord. Immediately he was jerked about as the psychotic machine jumped and strained against the cord. "Help me!" Jubilee ran over and together they wrestled with the cord and managed to yank it from the wall. "Phew." They both sighed as the machine stopped rattling around. The two slumped to the floor and Bobby wiped his brow. "That was pretty…close…" He trailed off as the machine came back to life.
"Ok now I'm scared." Jubilee whispered as she backed away.
"I don't think that's supposed to happen." Bobby said. The noise grew louder and now that it was no longer tethered down the washer leapt about the room chaotically. The sides bulged out even further and the metal was obviously straining to keep the load in.
"Maybe we should call someone." Jubilee suggested. And then the washer began shooting out its nuts and bolts, the pieces of metal ricocheting madly about the room.
"OR MAYBE WE SHOULD GET OUT OF HERE!" Bobby yelled and they ran for the door.
Gambit smiled in self-approval. He had just finished covering all the furniture and objects in all the rooms that were to be painted. He had taped over the windows and covered the floors so now the only thing left bare was the wall that needed to be painted. "Now that dat's done Gambit can get down to paintin." He bent down and popped open the can of paint he had placed in the middle of the room. Reaching over he picked up a paintbrush and studied it for a moment. "First we charge de brush." He said with a sly smile and the brush began to glow. "Den we get to paintin, Cajun style." He dropped the brush in the bucket and left the room, closing the door behind him.
Rogue had searched thru all the rooms she had come across and still hadn't found Gambit. "Where did that swamp rat get to?" she muttered as she closed another door, "And what the heck is he up to?" She had been puzzled to find all the rooms wrapped in plastic and tape and none of them had been touched with paint. She peeked in another door, shut it, and then looked down the hallway to see Gambit exit a room.
"Hey Gambit there you are." She called and flew over to him.
"Hello chere how's your part o de chores comin?"
"A lot better n' yours. I thought you were supposed to be paintin' up here." She said disapprovingly. "Ain't none of these rooms been touched yet."
"Gambit just doin it his way. Finished this room jus now." He said pointing to the door, "Now I'm gonna go do de rest. Be finished in no time." He smiled and headed for the next door.
"Ok." Rogue said reaching for the knob. "Well then I'm gonna take down your plastic and clean the windows." She opened the door.
"You do dat chere." Gambit replied and then his eyes went wide in panic, "Wait don't open dat door yet. The brush hasn't gone…"
'KA-BOOM' the paint can exploded and a blast of white paint flew out and covered Rogue who was standing in the doorway.
"Off…yet." Gambit finished. He stared dumbly at Rogue as the paint dripped off and spattered at her feet on the floor. He began to head over to help her when he was stopped by the sudden change off expression on Rogue's face. What had once been a face of complete surprise transformed into one reddened with rage. "Oh Rogue, Gambit didn't mean to…ahhhh!!!!" He turned around and fled down the hallway as Rogue screamed and chased after him. He tore around a corner and ran past Jubilee and Bobby who had just bolted out a door.
"Somebody help!!!" Bobby yelled and then dove to the side as Gambit and Rogue shot past.
"Help you?" Gambit yelled back, "Help ME!"
Bobby and Jubilee stared after the fleeing X-man and then had their attentions turned back to their problem when bubbles began to ooze out from under the door.
"Oh man this is turning out sooo bad." Jubilee said.
Jean had already finished dusting the hallway and was now cleaning up in the study, leaving Cyclops to finish vacuuming and catch-up to her. He hadn't had much trouble after the sleeve incident but now the vacuum wasn't picking up anything and was making strange noises. He was about to see if the bag was full when Jean came around the corner, a worried expression on her face.
"Scott," she said, "I've been picking up on some very distressing emotions broadcasting from the others."
Cyclops frowned, "What do you mean, like they're in trouble?"
"No," Jean replied shaking her head, "Nothing like that. Just huge spikes in anger and panic, after a morning of frustrated irritation it's a huge change."
"Well I suppose we should check it out."
"AGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!" The shout echoed throughout the house surprising the two.
"That was Gambit." Cyclops said following the sound thru the house.
"AGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Two voices rang out in unison followed by the slamming of a door.
"And that was Bobby and Jubilee."
"HOLY HELL!!" Came a shout from outside.
"And that's Wolverine. What's going on?" Cyclops said and looked out the window to see Wolverine and Beast run across the lawn, followed closely by a huge wall of fire. "Jean contact Storm, get her to help those two." He nodded out the window. "And let's go see what else in happening."
They ran down the hallway to the origin of the shouts. Behind them the vacuum droned on.
The two were just about to round the corner when a huge explosion rocked the mansion. They came around the corner to see the hall washed over in soapsuds and more quickly pouring out thru a splintered door. In the middle of it all were Jubilee and Bobby.
"Cyclops! Man am I glad to see you." Jubilee joyously shouted as she saw the X-men's field leader approach. "It just totally freaked out."
"We…we pulled the plug and it kept going Cyke! It just kept going!" Bobby moaned.
"What was that explosion and what's all this mess?" Cyclops yelled trying to get a handle on the situation
"THE WASHER, THE WASHER!!!!!" Bobby screamed and began sobbing.
Another cry for help came echoing thru the house from Gambit.
"Ok just calm down. Jean you go find Gambit and see what's wrong I'll try and handle this." Cyclops began to try to calm Bobby down and Jean ran off toward Gambit's screaming.
When she finally caught up to him Jean was surprised to see Gambit backed against a wall with a very pissed looking Rogue covered in paint and inching toward him.
"Now chere," he said as he desperately looked for a way out, "Gambit say he was sorry. An' besides dat paint cant take away from yo beauty non." He flashed his most charming smile.
"Don't even try it Remy." Rogue said and began closing in. Gambit's smile melted from his face and he prepared to flee again. He would stand up to sentinels and evil villains but a ticked off Rogue was something completely different. That's when he spotted Jean.
"JEAN!!!" He yelled, "HELP!" Rogue turned around to look at Jean and Gambit quickly slipped away.
"Oh no you don't swamp rat!" Rogue yelled and was about to give chase again when Jean stopped her in a telekinetic bubble.
"Rogue wait!" She yelled, "Now lets just settle down a minute. What happened?"
Rogue wanted to take her frustrations out on Gambit but couldn't pound her way out of the shell Jean had sealed her in.
"Jean you let me out or I'll…" she threatened but was interrupted when yet another explosion shook the mansion.
"Another one?!" Cyclops yelled in exasperation. "The house doesn't take this much damage when we're under attack." He had been forced to unleash an optic blast on the washing machine to get it to finally stop and now he had to leave the shell shocked Iceman to investigate the latest blast. He was surprised to realize that it had come from the direction he had just minutes before. Arriving on the scene he was even more surprised to discover what had exploded.
"The vacuum." He moaned and sank to his knees. Before him the freshly dusted hallway had been clouded over with a thick layer of dirt and debris, and at his feet their lay a tiny piece of gum foil.
"SCOTT WHAT HAPPENED!!!" Jean's scream startled him to his feet. Behind her Rogue whistled in astonishment.
"Jean, I… I…" He stammered. She moved into the hallway eyes wide in shock. As she moved down the hall the rest of the team came in. Jubilee and Bobby were both drenched and soggy, Wolverine and Beast came in both slightly singed and accompanied by Storm, and last of all Gambit who cast worried glances at Rogue.
Jean turned around to face Cyclops when something hanging off the side of a picture frame caught her eye.
"Scott, "She said and picked up a piece of soiled cloth, "Is this your shirt sleeve?"
"Hmm? That oh…um…" He stammered "Yeah that's mine." He grabbed the cloth and unrolled his sleeves.
Instantly everyone burst out laughing as Cyclops revealed his torn shirt.
"Okay, Okay its not that funny." Cyclops said, face red with embarrassment.
"Sure it is!" Wolverine exclaimed, "How often do you see me laugh?"
"Ok mister Bar-b-que!" Laughed Rogue. Wolverine growled at her for a second and then began laughing.
"Says misses whitewash!" He replied.
"Hmph." She responded and then looked at Bobby and Jubilee, "And what happened to y'all?"
"Washing machine overload." Jubilee said and gave Bobby a dirty look.
"Hey don't blame me." He said and then held up the washers lid, still iced closed, "It didn't overflow, it just blew up."
Everyone exploded with laughter as they related their own sad spring-cleaning stories.
The laughter was so loud that the X-men almost didn't hear the phone ringing. Cyclops picked up the receiver.
"Hello?" He said putting a hand up to try and silence his team. His eyes went wide and he nearly shouted, "Professor Xavier!"
Instantly everyone fell silent. "Oh. Hello professor, how's the trip?" All eyes were on Cyclops as he talked to the Professor. "Uh-huh, uh-huh, ok then, uh-huh, oh fine, fine. Uh-huh…well then have a safe trip, well be waiting." And he hung up.
"Sooo?" everyone asked.
"He'll be back in two hours." Cyclops said flatly, once again surveying the room.
"TWO HOURS!!!!" Everyone shouted.
"But, but he said he was doing a project or something," Bobby stammered, "Shouldn't that take a few days, a couple weeks, a month even? He can't come home now he'll freak."
"Well he said it didn't take as long as he had expected so he's heading back now." Cyclops could see the worry and even panic in everyone's faces and he noticed that both Wolverine and Gambit had begun edging their way toward the door. 'Well,' he thought, 'guess this is the part were I take over as leader.' He straightened up and put on a determined expression. "Ok people, the professors going to be back in two hours and from what I've seen we have a lot of repair work and cleaning up to do. We'll start with fixing the mess we've already made then finish whatever's left. Wolverine you go down to the hardware store and pick up some sod, a couple new doors, and a shop-vac. Beast you see about fixing this vacuum and the washing machine. Gambit aside from the accident with Rogue I say your method may actually work so finish the painting, just be sure to warn people when your working. Jubilee, Bobby you two start hanging the wet laundry on a line outside, Storm see if you can use a breeze to dry it all. Jean and I will try and clean up in here. Let's get to work folks we don't have much time." Everyone nodded and went to do their jobs leaving only the paint soaked Rogue behind.
"Hey Cyclops," She said, "What about me?"
He looked at her and tried not to laugh, "You go take a shower."
It was almost exactly two hours later and to everyone's amazement they had finished. They all stood in the war room and each made a report to Cyclops on what they had accomplished.
"I laid out the new sod," Wolverine said, "And as long as ya don't look at it too close ya cant tell it ain't grown in. I also cleaned out the fridge." He extended a claw and began picking his teeth, "and by the way, someone needs ta go shoppin."
Cyclops sighed, "Ok, Beast how did it go on your end?"
"Well, Bobby, Jubilee and I managed to get the laundry room and hallway cleaned out." He said, taking off his glasses and rubbing them with a cloth. "I performed some minor modifications on the shop-vac Wolverine purchased and we were able to pump out the water and suds. Storm then assisted me in drying the area out." He smiled at her and she nodded.
"A simple breeze was all that it took. I also finished drying the laundry and Jubilee and Rogue helped me fold it." Storm said and Cyclops went on to Gambit, "And how did you do Gambit?"
"Gambit do jus fine." The lanky Cajun said, leaning back in his chair, "de paintin's all done an I hung dem doors back up jus like you ask."
"Well then, Jean and I finished cleaning out the hall and dusting everywhere so that just about does it. Congratulations everyone, were finished." He smiled as everyone let out a heavy sigh. They sat for a while in silence and then the doors to the room opened.
"I am most impressed." The professor's voice came around the corner. He came into view with a smile on his face. "You all have done well. To tell the truth I half expected this place to be worse off then I left it."
Everyone exchanged amused glances and Bobby spoke up, "Oh come on prof, you should know you can count on us."
"Indeed," the Professor replied, his eyebrow raised ever so slightly, "Well I suppose I should." He smiled again and headed out of the room. "And by the way," He said, his voice trailing from down the hall, "Someone should see to getting that large bubble in the ceiling fixed. I'm sure an overflowing washer up overhead had nothing to do with it. But you never know when it might burst."
The X-men all smiled uneasily and then glared at Bobby.
"Ok, ok." He sighed, "I'll go pop it."
Well I hope that cheered some of you guys up who have to look forward to cleaning in the next coupla months. Let me know ok. Thanks.