Chapter 11: In Which Stuff Blows Up

            Scott, Logan, and Jean were playing rock-paper-scissors, which was actually fantastically pointless considering Jean could read everybody's minds.  Neither X-Man seemed to have caught on to this, despite Jean's multiple wins, and was continuing the game happily.

            "Hey, Light-Eye?" Gambit asked.

            "What is it?" Cyclops responded, huffing good-naturedly as Jean's rock crushed his scissors.

            "Gotta borrow a racquet.  You got extras."  He took one of Scott's racquets before even getting a response and marched off.

            "Hey… hey!" Scott noticed.  "You didn't get permission, mister!"

            Jean grinned as her paper beat two rocks.  "Aw, just let him go.  I've heard he's quite the player, so he should know how to care for a racquet."

            "Yeah, let it go." Wolverine agreed.  "Hey!  Who's for a game of charades?"

            "I'm good at charades!" Jean said, and the game began.

            "Love servin' thirty." Gambit called out, trying out another type of serve.

            The new serve didn't make any difference.  Rogue had it flying back with exquisite form.  She yawned as he gave the supreme effort, leaping awkwardly in a failed attempt to hit the ball.

            "Argh!" He raged.  This was getting quite frustrating.

            "Would you hurry it up?" Rogue had produced a Game Boy Advance and was punching buttons rapidly.

            "Hey!  Pay attention when Gambit's fumin'!"

            "Sorry sweetie, but you take such a loooong time about it." She continued playing the game indifferently.

            "Love serving forty!" He tried to serve suddenly, the way she had been doing it.

            Rogue casually saved her game, dropped the Game Boy into her pocket, picked up her racquet, scratched an itch on her nose, and hit the ball backhand.

            Again, Gambit gave immense effort, making contact this time, but sending the ball into the net.  He roared, exploded Cyclops' racquet, and then apologized softly.  "Uh… Gambit knows where there's more."

            "It's a Siberian tiger." Jean guessed.  (Or read, more truthfully.)

            Wolverine stopped his charade of waving his claws in the air, and tracing cat-ears over his head.  "That's it!"

            "She's good." Cyclops looked as proud as if he was winning this game of charades.

            "Yeah, real good." Logan said.  "Your turn, Jeannie."

            "Okay." She stood up and started indicating some sort of clothing.

            "Bullet-proof vest!" Cyclops and Wolverine guessed at the same time.

            Jean shook her head, looking bemused.  She continued the charade with smooth movements beside her legs down to her ankles.

            "Some kinda… dress?" Wolverine smiled when Jean confirmed that guess.

            "Gotta borra' anoth'a one.  T'anx." Gambit strode past the gaming group, snatched another racquet and left.

            Jean ignored his intrusion, pointing at the ring finger on her left hand patiently.

            "Oh!" Scott exclaimed.  "A finger?"


            "A knuckle?"


            "A… a… a ring?"


            "A wedding ring!" Wolverine concluded.


            "So it's a…" Tick tock, tick tock.  "A wedding dress!" Cyclops actually rose to his feet and jumped up and down with the achievement.

            "That's it!" Jean clapped.  "Your turn, Scott."

            He beamed.  Well, not actually beamed with his laser blasts or anything, because that's not proper etiquette during charades, but rather, he looked immensely pleased.  "I've got a great one!" He began to move his hand, but-

            "Helicopter." Jean guessed.

            "That's right!  Wow, that's gotta be some kind of record!"

            She accepted the praise gratefully as she assumed her role as the clue-giver again.  She bared her teeth and used her fingers to suggest sharpened eye-teeth.

            "Sabretooth?" Wolverine growled.

            No.  She did the same movement on her ears, suggesting points.

            A high-pitched explosion interrupted them.  Fragments of racquets were clattering to the ground in court two.  Court two seemed to be experiencing a lot of littering today.

            "Uh… where were we?" Cyclops asked, dismissing the blast despite the fact that there had been two similar ones preceding it.

            Jean answered his query by spreading her fingers into three sets: thumb, two fingers, and two fingers.

            "Live long and prosper!" Scott imitated the gesture, but his hand didn't seem to want to make the sign.



            No.  She held the sign out, using her other hand to silently count the way she had grouped her fingers.

            "One… two… three…" Wolverine said it out loud for her.

            "Three Spocks?"

            "Don't mind Gambit." Gambit returned, selected another racquet and departed.  They paid him no heed.

            No, not three Spocks.  She twisted, pointed at her lower back, then traced a wavy line in the air.

            "Ooo." Wolverine winced.  "Adamantium extraction?  That sure hurts…"

            No.  Jean looked at them with disbelief.  This was an easy one!  She moved her hands up and down, palms upward, looking up as though she was juggling.

            Cyclops shrieked and fell off the bench backwards.  "Not a clown!"


            "Hey Cyke, get up!  It ain't a clown!" Wolverine picked up the dumbstruck mutant by the scruff of his neck and sat him back on the bench.

            Jean surrounded both of her eyes with two fingers each, staring at the guessers hopefully.

            "Whatever it is," Scott recovered from his clown fright.  "It's freaky.


            "Is it a person?" Logan sniffed the air as another explosion erupted from court two.

            Yes, it's a person.  She covered her face with her hands and then uncovered it suddenly; similar to the way a mother plays peek-a-boo with her baby.

            "Do we… know this freaky person?" Cyclops asked.

            Yes.  Jean repeated her clue of pointy teeth, then knelt and put her palms together like a person praying.

            "Devil worship." Wolverine reasoned.

            No.  She resumed her feet and did 'live long and prosper' again, counting to three.

            "Hey." Gambit arrived.  "She pretendin' to be Nightcrawler?" He picked up a racquet, though uninvited.

            "Yes, that's it!" Jean pointed at Remy, thrilled.  "So it's your turn."

            "Gambit got no time now."

            "Then you shouldn't have solved it, bub.  Take a turn." Wolverine made room for Jean to sit down.

            "Okay." Gambit put a finger and thumb to his chin, trying to decide what to do.  His eyes brightened with an idea.

            "David Letterman?" Jean blew on her fingernails.

            "Yeah…" Gambit shrugged and walked away with his stolen racquet.

            "I'm tired of charades.  I always have to give the clues, it seems." Jean stretched.

            Cyclops' eyes trailed after his racquet for a minute, then back to the redhead.  "You're just too good at this."

            "How about bloody knuckles?" Wolverine suggested.

            Jean paled.  "No thanks."

            "Mercy fight?"

            She shook her head.

            "Thumb war?"

            "Game and set!" Rogue laughed brusquely.  "Lost your touch?"

            "Touch?" Gambit ignited his recently acquired racquet, tossing it away and not even looking when it blew.  "See, Gambit's touch can be deadly as yours, huh?"

            "Not in tennis," She rubbed it in.  "You haven't gained a single point yet!"

            He mumbled something under his breath about how they should give points for tolerating women that are so full of themselves.  "Wait.  Gambit gotta get another racquet now."

            She ripped the Game Boy out.  "Hurry this time, would you?  I get sick of waiting."

            "One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war.  Five, six, seven, eight, try to keep your thumbs straight.  Kay, go!"

            Gambit tried not to look at Wolverine and Jean's intense thumb war and took Scott's entire tennis backpack away.  Nobody stopped him.  Scott was too busy cheerleading.

            "Come on, Jean!"

            "I'm trying!" She clenched her teeth.  Her thumb made a quick escape, and she exhaled in relief.

            "Matter of time, Red." Wolverine taunted, wrenching her whole arm to the side.  "Never told ya, but I was the thumb war champ back in Canada."

            She was going to complain that his grip was too tight, but all of a second it was over.  Wolverine had covered her thumb with his and it could maneuver no more.  "Awh."

            "Told ya."

            "My turn!" Cyclops stepped up, separating Logan's hand from Jean's jealously.

            She scored again.  And again.  And once more.  It was infuriating.  She had absolutely no business being any good at tennis.  In fact, it was so maddening that…


            "Again?" Rogue hadn't even broken a sweat yet.  "How many are left?"

            "Jus' 'dis one." Gambit admitted.  "You still gonna feel 'da wrath of Gambit today!"

            She chuckled, levitating off the ground.  "Face it.  The game's almost over and I'm owning the match."