Disclaimer: You know the drill. 'Mutant X' and all of it's characters = Not Mine. Lexi and Izzy Fox-Mulwray and Ryan DeLauro-Kilmartin = Mine.

Author's Note I: To KatKnits00 – Good idea.

Author's Note II: To tigereyes320 – In their defence, that was Lexi and Izzy's only real prank during this story, and, if it's any consolation, I don't plan on making Ryan anywhere close to as much of a troublemaker as the twins.

Author's Note III: To Sunstar2 – There's no reason why you can't play that trick now, except that the prankee probably wouldn't appreciate it.

Chapter 8.

Sanctuary, six weeks later.

"Shalimar is getting the twins into their costumes." Emma reported brightly. "They look so cute."

Brennan didn't reply, he just sat there, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

"What are you looking at?" Emma asked curiously.

"Something that will get me divorced if Shal catches me."

"No way! Can I see?"

"Yup." Brennan grinned, delighted with himself. He handed her the photo album he held. "School pictures."

"Aw!" Emma leafed through the photographs neatly labelled as 'first day at school'. "They look so nervous. And what is Jesse wearing?" She squinted at the photo. "Is that a blazer?"

"Look at the one of Shalimar." Brennan urged his friend, pointing at a picture of a familiar blonde thirteen year old who was scowling at whoever was taking the picture, looking as though she was planning on brutally murdering them in their sleep. "She looks like a Catholic schoolgirl." He chuckled. "How Adam was able to get them to leave Sanctuary like that is beyond me."

"Where did you get this?"

"Adam has a whole bunch of these hidden away where our better halves can't find and destroy them." Brennan reported cheerfully. "I sneaked this one out tonight when he wasn't looking."

"Hey guys," Jesse came into the room, carrying his precious camcorder. "We're all set and we're meeting Nicholas there. You ready to go?"

Unfortunately, Brennan and Emma weren't quick enough to hide the photo album before Jesse spotted it.

"Is that what I think it is?"

"Of course not." Emma did her best to look innocent but she couldn't keep from laughing.

"He's going to kill us!" Brennan exclaimed in mock horror.

"No," Jesse grinned fiendishly. "I'm going to do worse."

Brennan's eyes widened as he realised what his friend had planned. "Jesse, come on, man, you don't want to this."

"Oh, Shal . . ."

Brennan clapped a hand over the molecular's mouth but it was too late.

"What's going on in here?" Shalimar's eyes flashed feral when she spotted the photo album. She scowled at her husband. "You are so beyond dead!"

"There are times when I think that that lot will never grow up." Adam said sourly, watching the four adult mutants scrap in the rec room, heedless of their audience.

"Tell me about it." Izzy regarded her parents, aunt and uncle solemnly.

"How do they expect us to behave ourselves when they're setting us such a bad example?" Lexi asked with perfect seriousness.

"I don't know, Lexi." Adam answered honestly, shaking his head in resignation. "I honestly don't know."

Kensington Junior School, forty minutes later.

Thanks to what had inevitably been dubbed 'The Battle Of The Photo Album', the members of Mutant X arrived in the auditorium a little later than they had originally intended.

Fortunately the much anticipated performance of 'Noah's Ark' was scheduled for the second half of the evening's entertainment.

Nicholas Fox, who had arrived nearly half an hour earlier than his granddaughters and their entourage, had already reserved seats for everyone in the front row.

Ryan, whom Jesse carried in a baby seat, had slept peacefully throughout the journey and the adults were all praying that he would keep up his good behaviour.

"We've gotta go to our class now, Mommy." Lexi announced, letting go of her mother's hand. "So we can get our make up on and get ready."

"Have you got everything?" Shalimar asked anxiously, brushing a non-existent speck of lint from her daughter's tiger print leotard.

"We're fine, Mommy." Izzy grasped the tail of her own tiger costume to avoid tripping on it.

"I'm glad Miss Roberts agreed to let you change roles, Izzy lizard." Brennan hugged his younger daughter.

"You girls didn't 'help' her with that decision, did you?" Shalimar asked suspiciously.

"Why would you ask something like that, Mommy?" Izzy asked in injured tones.

"Don't you trust us?" Lexi asked innocently.

"No." Shalimar's response was blunt. "I know you too well."

"We'd like to stay and talk to you guys, really we would." Lexi grasped her twin's hand, preparing to beat a hasty retreat. "But we've really got to go. We don't want to be late."

Before anybody could stop them, the two little tigers had fled to the safety of their classroom.

"You know that they 'convinced' their teacher, don't you?"

Shalimar grinned wryly at her husband. "Like I said, I know them too well."

An hour later.

Whoever had decided that scenes from Shakespeare would be a good act for the members of the fourth, fifth and sixth graders who had not wanted to take part in the choir or the musical recital had made a colossal error in judgement.

After seeing an eleven year old boy, a class clown in the making, performing Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' soliloquy, Brennan didn't think that he'd ever be able to read the play again without laughing at the memory.

Once the curtain fell on the miniature Prince of Denamrk, there was a twenty minute interval, during which a lot of crashing could be heard as the stage was prepared for the kindergarteners and the first graders' effort.

Ryan, startled by the resounding round of applause, had been taken outside by his parents for some fresh air.

"I guess this is one of the things I missed out on when Shalimar was young." Nicholas Fox commented sadly once his daughter and son in law had made a beeline for the refreshment stand. "Did she ever take part in any of these shows?"

"Once." Adam smiled sympathetically at the other man. "You haven't lived until you've seen Shalimar play the female lead in 'The Importance Of Being Earnest'. I don't think I've ever seen her so nervous."

"Talking about me?" Shalimar made a face at Adam as she handed paper cups of orange squash to both himself and Nicholas.

Adam kissed her cheek. "Do we ever talk about anything else?"

"Can't you guys bond over sports like normal guys?"

"Did you play sports when you were younger, honey?" Nicholas asked eagerly.

Shalimar groaned dramatically. "I give up."

"We'd better get back to our seats." Brennan suggested, coming to the rescue. "I'll got get Emma and Jes . . . Never mind." He spotted his friends, carrying a now sleeping Ryan, entering the auditorium.

The six – seven if you count Ryan – of them had barely settled in their seats when the auditorium lights dimmed and the curtain rose to reveal the six year old granted the plum part of God admonishing Noah to build 'the biggest boat in the world, 'cause I'm gonna make it rain really bad.'

Considering the youth of the performers, the play progressed with very few hitches, and Jesse was hard pressed to keep the camcorder straight as he was laughing so hard.

When Noah, half-smothered by his cotton wool beard, announced that he had gathered two of every animal, the audience murmured appreciatively, the parents of the animals anxiously awaiting their children's debut's.

"Two tigers." Noah announced in his loftiest tones.

There was a pause.

"Two tigers." Noah repeated firmly.

"Come on, Lexi!"

You didn't need Shalimar's feral hearing to catch Izzy's hissed whisper as she dragged her reluctant twin onstage.

"We're tigers." Izzy announced, seeing that her sister was struck dumb with stage fright. "We live in the jungle and go 'grr'. We can run really fast and jump really high." She improvised.

For a brief, horrible moment, the six adults who had accompanied the Fox-Mulwray twins were terrified that Izzy was going to give a demonstration of her feral abilities but thankfully, after waving cheerfully to her parents, the little girl dragged her sister across the stage to Noah's side and the rest of the animals proceeded to make their entrances without any further incident.

Half an hour later.

"You girls were wonderful." Nicholas bent forward to plant a kiss on each of the twins' cheeks, presenting each of them with a box of chocolates.

As Lexi and Izzy had their hands full with the charm bracelets from their parents, stuffed tigers 'from Ryan' and the bouquets Adam had given them in celebration of their stage debut, Brennan and Shalimar had to hold their candy for them.

"I wasn't good." Lexi looked downcast. "I was terrible."

"No you weren't." Shalimar said firmly.

"Yes I was." Lexi looked ready to cry. "I got scared and I forgot what I was going to say. Izzy was a good tiger, but I was a bad one."

"Come here, sweetie." Passing the box of chocolates to Jesse with a stern admonition not to eat them, Shalimar scooped her daughter up in her arms. "There's nothing wrong with being nervous, Lexi."

"Yeah," Brennan stroked his daughter's hair. "Your first time acting in front of lots of people can be really scary."

"Izzy wasn't scared."

"Yes I was." Izzy told her sister. "But I felt better because you were there."

"Really?" Lexi asked hopefully.

"Yeah." Izzy nodded solemnly. "'Cause I knew if I screwed up, nobody would know which of us it was."

Lexi giggled, despite herself. "I'm sorry you had to do all the talking for us both."

"I'm not." Izzy grinned. "Anyway, when I get scared, you do the talking for me so we're even."

Lexi smiled happily. "Thanks, Izzy."

"No problem." Izzy took her sister's hand in hers. "We're sisters. We have to stick together."

"You're right." Lexi concurred, cheered up by her sister's reassurance.

"Come on, you two." Brennan scooped Izzy, together with her armful of booty, up in his arms. "Let's go home."


Author's Note: I hope you all liked the last instalment in the chronicles of the Fox-Mulwray twins' lives (Can anyone think up a title for this series, please? The best I can come up with is the 'Little Problems Series' and that sounds crappy.) Since I don't know if there'll be another story, I can't give any hints about the next sequel. Thanks for all the reviews, and especially for all of your suggestions.

PS. As a matter of curiosity, who's your favourite twin? It'd be interesting to see what the result would be.