Disclaimer: The disclaimer can't come to the monitor right now. It's currently tied up in chains in my basement for claiming that these characters aren't mine. It's black propaganda, I tell you.

A/N: Though I'm an avid reader of Evolution fanfic, this is the first time I've actually written anything in this section. I'm used to, and am more knowledgeable with, things in the comic-verse -- which means there is a very good possiblility that I'll be off on some things. Kurt's accent, for one (Guess I'm too used to Rogue and Gambit's southern accents. : ) And Bobby will probably seem more like comic-Bobby, too -- just 'cause I love that goofball. If you do catch something wrong, I'd appreciate knowing what it is exactly. : )

Marketing Madness

"All right, who's got the list?" Scott asked as he pulled a shopping cart out from its storage line.

Kurt looked at him curiously. "Vat list?"

"The grocery list, Kurt. We're in a supermarket, remember?"

"Whoo-hoo, Boss-Man's got a sense of humor," Evan whistled in approval. "Must've popped up when we weren't looking."

"Or maybe it grew out of his as-- "

"Real mature, Bobby. Finishing that sentence will earn you more time in the Danger Room." Scott turned to Kurt. "The list?"

"I don't have any list," the young German protested, holding up his hands in defense. "All I brought today was my fuzzy blue self and zis cool image inducer zat camouflages ze fuzzy blue self." He raised his wrist to show off the said device.

"Since when did we have a list?" Bobby inquired. "I thought we kinda just wandered around the store, throwing things into the shopping cart at random."

"Yeah, man, that's why Auntie O doesn't want you anywhere near her when it's her turn for the food run. You give her a headache."

"He gives everyone a headache," Kurt added.

"Guys," interjected Scott, "we're getting off track here. We only have so much time before the Professor expects us back at the Institute. Now which one of you has the list?"

Three sets of eyes stared at him blankly.

Scott shook his head in frustration. "Aw, man, you're kidding me, right? None of you thought to pick up that long piece of paper that was on the table before we left?"

"Hey, man, why didn't you pick it up?" demanded Evan.

"He was too busy talking to Jean, and then admiring the view as she was walking away."

Scott pointed a finger at Bobby. "Danger Room. Bright and early tomorrow."

Bobby turned to the others as Scott ventured ahead of them and down the first aisle. "What'd I say?" Kurt gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.

Evan moved to follow the older boy further into the store when something out of place caught his eye. "Umm, Scott?"

"What is it?" he called over his shoulder.

"I think I know who's got the list."

Scott turned and noticed Evan staring at his backside. Reaching behind him, Scott felt the half-folded, half-crumpled paper protruding from his back pocket.

Kurt made a tsk-tsk noise while shaking his head. "And here you are jumping down our throats when you've had ze list all zis time." Brushing past Scott, he commandeered the cart. "You should be ashamed, Herr Summers."

Bobby hurried to join him, leaving Scott and Evan a few feet behind. Leaning in closer to Kurt, he discreetly whispered, "Parking lot?"

Kurt grinned. "While he was locking ze van door. Slipped it into his pocket and he didn't even notice."

"Smooth, dude."

They both snickered before Scott cleared his throat. "Come on, guys, let's get going. Evan, what're we picking up first?"

Evan consulted the list Scott had handed him. "We need some moo juice."

Making their way down the aisle, they maneuvered past a woman with three small children under the age of ten. Each child held a food product in their hands and was demanding that their mother purchase it for them. The poor woman had her fingers pressed firmly to her temple, massaging her migraine into submission.

After witnessing the unfolding scene for a few moments, Bobby commented, "Boy, am I glad we don't have to deal with something like that."

"Speak for yourself," Scott muttered under his breath, mentally comparing his companions to the three children.

"Vat was zat?"

"Nothing." He turned toward the dairy section. "Okay, which one are we getting?"

Evan automatically reached for the largest container of whole milk. "This one, of course. Can't have too much of the moo juice."

Kurt shook his head. "Ve can't get whole milk. Ze girls don't drink zat." He picked up a gallon of skim milk. "Zey like zis stuff."

"Oh yeah, and Auntie O needs the non-fat kind."

"I thought she had the low-fat milk."

"You're both wrong; it's the zero-fat one."

"I thought zat was Logan's."

"Dude, when have you ever seen Logan drink milk?"


Scott looked at the different containers on the shelf. "So which ones do we get? Zero fat, low fat, non-fat, lactose-free, whole, skim, vitamin C enriched..."

Three sets of eyebrows knitted in confusion.

"Sorry," Scott said, "my eyes wondered over to the juice section."

"I say we just take one of each and let them deal," suggested Evan. "It's not like it'll go bad or something, with all the people at home."

"Good point. Drop them in the cart." Scott moved a few paces down to the next section. "How about cheese? We've got cheddar, mozzarella, American, Swiss -- "

A collective groan rang out behind him.

"Shop and drop, dude," Kurt ordered, picking the sealed cheeses at random and depositing them into the cart.

"See, I told you that was an effective way to do this!" declared Bobby.

Seven gallons of milk and ten varieties of cheeses later, the boys made their way down to the cereal aisle.

"Sugar Bombs!" Kurt and Bobby exclaimed as soon as they had turned the corner. They scooped up three boxes each and threw them in with the dairy products.

Dryly, Scott stated, "There are other kinds of cereal, you know."

Bobby pretended to be shocked. "No, really?"

"But how can zey do zat when Sugar Bombs rule?" added Kurt.

"Dudes, check it out! There's a free miniature, fully automotive, action figure of Captain America, complete with protective shield and rotating arm movement! We are so buying this."

"Evan, you don't even like that cereal."

The young African-American pointed to the box. "Scott, it's Captain American!" As if nothing else needed to be said, he placed the item among the rest of their things.

Struggling slightly with the heavy load, Scott shepherded them away. "I think that's enough with the breakfast foods. Let's get the snacks."

"Potato chips!"

"Ice cream!"

"Frozen pizza!"


"Man, don't sit next to me when you eat those."


"For the burritos?"

"No, for my chips."

"Dips are good with chips."

"Are we rhyming now?"

"What about a pound of dead cow?"

"Can we squeeze in a few nuggets somehow?"

"Check out the junk food aisle -- wow oh wow."

"Don't forget Mr. McCoy's Twinkies."

"Dude, you just ruined ze rhyming game. Vat goes with Twinkies?"

"I don't know... Linkies?"


"Hey, Logan's pork rinds."

"Grab a few of zem cookies."

"Kitty's chocolate."

"Jean's chocolate."

"Rogue's chocolate."

"Auntie O's chocolate."


"What?" Evan asked. "Believe it or not, my aunt's a girl, too."

They shrugged.

"Do you think ze Professor would want us to get him anything?"

They stopped.

"Umm... does he even know what junk food is?" Bobby put out.

Evan frowned. "How do we know his body can take the stuff? Maybe it'll shut down or something if he bites into a Ho-Ho."

They looked at each other in question.

It was Scott who finally broke the silence. "I think if the Professor wanted anything he would have written it down on the list," he reasoned.

They all noticeably relaxed.

"Well, now that that's settled," Bobby began, packages in hand, "I have another problem for you to solve, o wise and great leader." He gestured to their full cart. "No vacancy. Try again later."

Scott sighed. "And we're not even halfway through the list yet." He turned to his left. "Kurt, go get another cart. Better yet, make that two. And no teleporting!" he added as an afterthought, to which he heard a muffled curse, followed by Kurt's retreating form.

"So what's next?"

Examining the contents of their shopping cart, Evan said, "I think we should get some real food."

"What, like TV dinners and stuff?"

"No, Bobby, I think Evan means meat, vegetables, canned goods -- you know, things you actually cook in a kitchen and not unwrap and shove into your mouth."

Bobby turned to Evan and inquired none too softly, "Seriously, where did he get this sense of humor and is it too late to take it back?"

"Ha-ha. Move it, people," Scott ordered, struggling with the cart once again. "We've got more things to get. Though, at the rate we're going, we'll need a tow truck just to get to the cashier."

"The deadpan humor is really starting to scare me."

"You and me both, man," Evan muttered as they followed Scott to the next destination. "You and me both."

Forty minutes, three carts, and approximately twenty Danger-Room-session threats later, the guys were near the front of the supermarket, running down their grocery list.

"Let's see," mused Scott. "Bread, milk, cheese, vegetables, junk food, steaks, toilet paper, ice cream -- "


"Nice try, Bobby." Without skipping a beat, he resumed his re-check. "Eggs, flour, whipped cream, soda... Well, looks like we're all set. All we're missing now is..." His eyes quickly scanned the list. Under the unrelenting florescent lighting, Scott visibly paled. "... oh no..."

From where he was idly thumbing through a skater magazine, Evan asked, "What?" He leaned over Scott's shoulder to read, his eyes widening once he had. "Crap!" He shook his head firmly. "No way, man."

"Vat is it?"

Evan turned to him. "The worst thing you could imagine."

"Logan's foot cream?"

Evan pondered the suggestion. "That comes in a close second."

Lifting a finger to his chin, Kurt tried to think of something even more disturbing than foot cream. With a gasp, realization hit him. "You mean...?"

Both Scott and Evan nodded.

Bobby, still left in the dark, asked, "What're you guys talking about? What's so bad?"

"He doesn't know," Evan stated. "I vote that he be the one to get them."

"Get what?"

"I second ze motion."

"Get what?" Bobby repeated, becoming annoyed.

Scott looked at the youngest boy with sad eyes. "Well, Bobby, looks like you've been out-voted and out-ranked. We're sending you in." He gently pushed the sandy-haired teen in the proper direction. "I didn't want to do this to you -- you being so young and all -- but I have no choice. I wish you good luck and Godspeed. We'll be at checkout number five."

Bobby turned and confronted Scott. "Hey, wait a minute, I don't even know what I'm getting."

Kurt sniffed and wiped away an imaginary tear. "He's so naïve and innocent. It's breaking my heart!"

Glaring, Bobby snapped, "Will you guys stop being so melodramatic and just tell me."

With little fanfare, Evan snatched the list from Scott's hand and pointed to the bottom of the page.

Bobby's jaw dropped. "You want me to get sanitary pads?!" he all but shouted.

"SHH!" all three boys hissed, gesturing with their hands that he should lower the volume of his voice.

Scott quickly glanced around them, afraid that someone had heard. "Not so loud, Bobby! You don't want the whole store knowing what we have to do." A faint snicker whispered across his features. "Or rather what you have to do."

"Nuh-uh." Bobby shook his head vigorously. "You're not forking this off on me. You're the leader. You do it."

"That's right; I'm the leader. And as leader, I'm delegating the task to you."

"Yeah, like that'll convince me."

Evan spoke up. "Come on, Bobby. It won't be that bad."

"Then why are the three of you shaking in your X-Men shorts?"

"Because, dude," Evan leaned in closer to hiss, "they're girly goods." He shuddered.

"Look, why don't we just say we forgot to get them?" Bobby suggested.

"Are you insane?!" bellowed Kurt. "If it's zat time of ze month, zen zey'll kill us if we go home without zem! We won't live to see another sunrise!"

Scott nodded. "He's right."

"Well, you can count me out." Bobby stood firmly and crossed his arms. "I'm not doing it."

Leaning close to Kurt, Evan murmured, "You think we should've stopped short of telling him what he was actually gonna pick up?"

Kurt scoffed. "I think he would have noticed ze writing on ze packages eventually."


Bobby's face lit up as an idea came to him. "Let's just have someone else get them for us. Like another shopper."

"Hmm, that could work." Scott craned his neck. As he was scanning the area, his eyes came in contact with one of the last people he would have wanted to see in a situation such as this. "Damn."

Kurt's attention snapped to Scott. "Vat?"

"Allo, mes amis." Gambit smoothly made his way towards them. "What's wit' de worried faces?"

"Just trying to figure out how to tell the manager that you're shoplifting and that you're slipping the goods into that trench coat of yours."

"Ahh, you wound me, Summers. No need t'bite. I'm only tryin' t'help."

Scott glared at the Acolyte. "Yeah, help us into an early -- "

"Scott." Kurt laid a pleading hand on his friend's arm, sending him a maybe-he-can-do-it-for-us look. Kurt was hoping that the Cajun's... concern... for his sister extended to her feminine hygiene products as well.

"On second thought, maybe you can help us."

"Wit' what?"

"We need you to grab something for us."

"Sure," Gambit agreed. "But it can't be too big. Not much room left in m'pockets." He patted the sides of his coat.

"No, no, dude. We just want you to get them off the shelves. We'll pay for them."

By this time, Gambit was suspicious. "What am I s'pposed t'get?"

Bobby showed him the list.

"Non!" He took a step back. "I may be a lot o' t'ings, mes braves, but stupid is not one o' dem. Dis is somet'in' ya gon' have t'do on ya own." He turned to leave.

"But it's for Rogue!" And friends, Kurt added silently, praying that he would take the bait.

Gambit faced them once more. "Much as I like ya sister, homme, dat's de one t'ing I ain't doin' f'r her. It'd be like tradin' in my masculinity f'r a skirt an' a tube o' lipstick."

Kurt ground his teeth in frustration. As the other youth walked away, he called out, "Don't think I won't tell her about zis, Gambit!"

"Don' t'ink I won't tell de Brotherhood 'bout dis, if you do," he threw back, grinning.

"Well, now what?" Evan demanded.

"We have no other choice... we're drawing straws."

"Uhh..." Bobby tentatively raised his hand. "One problem -- we don't have any straws."

"Here." Taking hold of the list, Scott tore off four equal strips, and quickly shortened one of them. He then grasped them tightly in one hand, making sure that the same length of paper was protruding from his fist. "Okay, draw."

One by one, they took a piece -- and then compared.

"You've gotta be kidding me!" Evan cried out.

Scott put on a stern face. "Fair's fair, Evan. The odds picked you."

"All right, all right," he grumbled, readjusting his backwards baseball cap and squaring his shoulders. "But I consider this a betrayal of the highest kind."

Bobby patted him on the back. "Whatever gets you there and back, dude."

They watched Evan disappear behind a canned soup display.

"Zere goes a brave and courageous soul."

A respectful silence fell over them.

"Five bucks says he'll chicken out and be back within two minutes."

"Ten bucks."


More silence followed as they anxiously awaited Evan's return. A short time later, they spotted him briskly walking around the corner.

"Ha!" Bobby exclaimed. "He chickened out! He's got nothing! Ten bucks, Scott; fork it over."

Tapping his watch, the older teen stated, "You said 'within two minutes,' Bobby; he was gone two minutes, sixteen seconds."

Bobby was incredulous. "You're holding out on me on account of sixteen lousy seconds?!"

"It'll hold up in any court."

Before Bobby could retort, Kurt looked to Evan and asked, "Vell?"

He shook his head, a hopeless expression written all over his face. "Man, we're so screwed, it ain't even funny. Remember the milk and the cheese? Limited selection compared to this." He began counting off on his fingers. "They got the regular pad, the long, the extra long, the thin, the ultra thin, the ultra, ultra thin, the overnight pad, the sports pad, the dry weave, the silk cover, the cotton cover, wings, no wings, side panels, top/bottom panels -- and that doesn't even include something called a panty liner. Dude, I'm telling you, it was making my head hurt!"

"You should've just grabbed something."

"And get the wrong kind? Bobby, I'm not crazy. Like Kurt said, the girls'll skin us alive."

"How can one little shopping expedition become so complicated?" Scott sighed. "Okay, here's what we'll do. Kurt, Evan -- I want you to secure the area; make sure there are no witnesses. Bobby and I will infiltrate the aisle at your signal, and make for the target." His brow knitted in heavy thought. "But before we carry out the plan, we should decide exactly what we're going for."

"Maybe we should've brought our X-Men uniforms for this particular mission. It sounds like it could get dangerous," Bobby commented dryly.

"Vhy don't we just get one of each like ve did with ze milk?"

"Man, weren't you listening to me? There are too many kinds! Not to mention the different brand names."

"Kurt does have a point," argued Scott. "One of each is our safest bet. We'll just randomly pick the brands and hope for the best."

"Fine," Evan conceded. "But what about our carts? We just gonna leave them here?"

"I'll take care of it." They watched as Bobby approached one of the cashiers a few feet away. After a couple of moments, he pointed to their groceries and smiled. The cashier returned his grin and answered him. On his way back, Bobby picked up a blue shopping basket.

Scott was curious. "What did you say to her?"

"The truth... kind of. I said that we had a few more things to pick up and dragging three heavy carts with us was too much trouble. So I asked her if we could just leave them here. She said she'd make sure no one put our stuff back on the shelves."

"Real slick, Mr. Iceman." Evan grinned, holding out his palm to Bobby, who in turn slid his own palm across its surface.

"All right, let's go do this," directed Scott.

As they approached the designated aisle, Bobby and Scott hung back, while Evan and Kurt ventured on. Peering around the corner, they saw a supermarket employee re-stocking the shelves on the opposite side of their intended target. Evan looked around for a possible distraction to get the employee to leave. Spying an out-of-place can of tuna, he picked it up and handed it to Kurt. Instantly understanding his friend's intentions, Kurt aimed for the farthest corner away from their position. It landed with a heavy thud. The employee's head snapped up at the sound. Disregarding his duties for the moment, he went to investigate. Once the can was in his possession, he looked around for an explanation on how it got there. Finding none, he moved down the adjacent aisle, no doubt to return the wayward product.

With a stifled cry of victory and a sigh of relief, the two teens signaled their counterparts into action. Scott and Bobby immediately went to work, gathering the items -- Bobby almost reluctant to even touch the plastic packaging -- while Kurt and Evan stood guard on either end of the aisle. They worked swiftly and quietly, and in a minute flat, they had what they'd come for. Making a quick exit, the four teens headed back to the front of the store.

On the way, Scott noticed Kurt swiping several big bags of chips and then laying them on top of the items he carried in the basket. "An extra precaution," he justified, though Scott hadn't asked.

Finally reaching the checkout counters, the three boys wheeled their carts into position. Kurt stood between Evan's and Scott's loads in the hopes that their 'secret' purchases would be lost in the horde of foodstuff.

As the cashier scanned item after item, Bobby whispered, "I think we're gonna make it. We're almost home free."

"I'll believe it when we're out the door, tasting real freedom," Evan said, watching both the cashier and the bag boy warily. He wanted to make sure that all evidence was tucked away safely -- and out of sight -- at the bottom of their bags, if not deeper.

Much to the boys' relief, the checkout process went on without incident. Scott used the Institute's credit card to cover the massive food bill, which needed a total of three bag boys to handle.

As Scott led the small group toward the exit, he skimmed the receipt to make sure everything was in order. He and his three friends failed to notice the eager cashier rushing after them. It was only when one of the bag boys brought it to their attention that they stopped and allowed her to catch up.

"I'm sorry, sir, you -- " She paused, panting slightly from her race across the market. "You forgot this." In her hand were several medium-sized bundles of feminine products. If the bright pink packaging didn't give the contents away, the clear and obvious picture on the front did.

Scott looked around nervously. "I think you're mistaken. Those aren't ours."

The cashier smiled; a quaint and pleasant smile that was meant to placate customers, but only succeeded in exasperating the four teens further. In a voice that seemed louder than necessary, she explained, "They're part of the Woman's Touch promo, sir. If you buy any two packages of their products, you get one free." As proof, she pointed out the items on his receipt. "This is your free giveaway for purchasing over twenty products of this brand." She held out the packages to him. The smile made a second appearance.

"Can zis get any more humiliating?" Kurt muttered under his breath to no one in particular.

"Looks like it can, man."

The three of them followed Evan's gaze to the small café/eatery that they were standing next to. The table nearest them had discontinued what was a very lively discussion only moments before. Now they seemed more interested in the scene in front of them. To add even more pain and suffering for the boys, the occupants of the table were all female, all students at Bayville High, and all known for their amazing abilities to spread gossip in record time.

Kurt leaned forward and whispered to Scott, "I bet you're regretting zat 'no teleporting' rule you imposed on me before, ja?"


And so goes the fic written during a heavy, heavy case of sleep depreviation. I do find it funny that men are squeamish about buying that stuff. I mean, it's obviously not for their own personal use, right? The way I figure, it's a kind of sign that some woman's got him whipped enough to have him buy them for her. And that's a blow to his ego. That kind of power will help us take over the world someday. ; )