by Troll Princess
Bobby's big problem was that he had arms. And okay, sometimes, they were annoying -- making obscene gestures, grabbing things they shouldn't, turning his pet Gordie into a hamstersicle. But he liked them, he was really attached to them, and he was hoping to stay attached to them for as long as was humanly possible.
Therefore, the backyard. Which he wasn't planning on leaving. (Ever, if he could help it.)
It was all Logan's fault, really. He'd wanted to have a man-to-man talk with Bobby. He might not be the smartest person in the world, but Bobby could just guess what that man-to-man talk was going to be about -- Rogue. And the mental image he had of the conversation?
Bub, you touch her, and I'll kill you.
Uh, sir? If I touch her, I'll probably die anyway.
Um ... yeah.
So ... you ever been to a Turkish prison?
He really had to stop watching those "Airplane!" movies.
So, as an escape, he'd headed out to the backyard to hang out and sunbathe. It was nice out here, really. Quiet, peaceful ...
"First it's the walking tin can, and now it's that new kid. Honestly, Kitty, what is it with you and guys named Pete? Is this some new kind of fetish I should know --"
Bobby glared over at Jubilee, whose hands were cupped over her nose. She, in turn, was glaring at Kitty, who was on the lawn chair next to her, smirking as she unrolled her People magazine.
You know, if he'd really wanted to avoid people in general, he should have gone up on the roof. As long as no one took the opportunity to fly up there, he might even have gotten away with a little nude sunbathing.
Then again ... maybe not. Not that Bobby was against nude sunbathing. Far from it. He was, however, against sunburn in uncomfortable places. (Like Milwaukee.)
He glanced back over at the girls again, fixing his gaze on Rogue, who sat on the stone wall behind Jubes and Kitty, her feet dangling. She was looking pretty good today, considering it was about ninety degrees out and she was covered from head to toe. Their gazes connected, and she flashed him a sweet smile. And for a split second, it was just like one of those slo-mo scenes from those cheesy romantic movies. Birds sang, drippy music played, her hair blew in the wind ...
And a hand descended onto his shoulder. A really hairy one.
Now, most people would have treated Logan's order for a man-to-man talk the same way they would have acted if they'd been pulled over for speeding. They would have stared straight ahead, kept their hands where they could be seen, and given short yes and no answers. Above all, they would have tried to remain calm.
But not Bobby. He made a little girlie yelp and ran for the hills.
And all was right with the world.
It was later on, in the TV room, that Rogue had an idea.
It was kinda strange, having an idea on a Saturday. It was an awfully lonely idea, but there it was. And for once, she was having an idea on a Saturday that had absolutely nothing to do with boys, junk food, clothes, nail polish, David Boreanaz, or torturing Britney Spears.
Of course, it was kinda hard to keep that idea in her head, what with Jubilee babbling from her seat in front of the TV.
"Okay, help me out here," Jubes said. "Mrs. Howell ate the radioactive sugar beets, and they make you all hyper. And Mary Anne ate the radioactive carrots and they make you see good. So what did Ginger eat?"
Kitty didn't bother looking up from her romance novel. "Radioactive green beans. They put hair on your chest."
Jubilee giggled before taking a gulp of her cherry soda. "Makes you wonder what Rocket Man ate, doesn't it, Kit-Kat?"
The glare Kitty flashed Jubilee could have had Logan begging for glare lessons. "Jubilee, first of all, quit calling me that. And second of all, no."
"What? You afraid to talk about Robby the Robot?" Jubilee asked, adding a maniacal laugh that might actually have sounded evil if it weren't followed by a giggle that would have made a deflating balloon jealous.
Rogue rolled her eyes. Not this discussion again. Kitty had broken up with her boyfriend last week and had spent the past few days flirting shamelessly with the new kid. Personally, Rogue had liked the ex. Peter was shy, and sweet, and looked kinda like that doctor they put on "ER" to replace George Clooney. He even had a nice little Russian accent going on.
Rogue and Kitty exchanged an annoyed look before Kitty said to Jubilee, "Why do you have to make it sound like he's going to tear my arms off if he gets the chance?"
"Come on, Kit-kat. We're talking about a guy who could bench press a Toyota."
Rogue frowned. She'd heard that expression a lot since coming to the school, and while she'd seen a lot of amazing things in the past year or so, that hadn't been one of them. "Have ya ever actually seen him bench press a Toyota?"
"Well ... no. But I saw him juggle toasters once. That was funny."
"Yeah, really." Kitty lifted her head and pointed to the ceiling. "See that?"
Rogue looked up and squinted. "See what?"
Kitty's smile widened. "I know. You can hardly see where the toaster went through it."
Rogue shook her head and caught a glimpse of Logan standing outside in the darkness, smoking a cigar. Her idea flared up again. "Hey, guys," she said, bringing her knees to her chest and resting her chin on them, "what do ya think Logan'd look like if he shaved?"
Kitty and Jubilee glanced at one another before answering together. "Logan shaved."
Rogue shrugged. "Ah think he might be kinda cute."
"Okay," Jubilee said, a look of absolute disgust on her face, "first off, you're, like, a big giant worm with "jail" written all over you. And secondly, ewwww."
"Aw, c'mon. Aren't ya curious?"
"Please. If I'm going to be curious, it's going to be strictly on a boxers or briefs level." Kitty thought about what she'd just said and shuddered. "And I'd also like to add, ewwww."
Rogue thought about something for a second before saying, "Ya know, he wants ta talk ta Bobby about goin' out with me."
"I see a diabolical plan in my near future," Kitty muttered.
Rogue's only response was a sickeningly sweet smile that would have given a rock blood sugar problems.
There were things you got used to at Professor Xavier's school. You got used to Jubilee hogging the TV room when "The Invisible Man" came on the Sci-Fi Channel and shouting matches erupting from the boys' rooms when St. John and Sam Guthrie got into one of their infamous Diablo tournaments. And you got used to Kitty popping out of walls at you and Mr. Summers and Miss Grey making goo-goo eyes at one another.
And then there was the ice.
Bobby made ice. It was what he did. And he was good at it. The problem lie in him not being all that good at the control part. It wasn't that uncommon to find huge patches on ice on the floor in the library, in the bathroom, or all over the remote control. So students at Xavier's school tended to look down. Like, a lot. It wasn't unusual to catch someone trying to carry in Quik-Joe in his pockets from the garage. Hey, you never knew.
So Kitty wasn't the least bit surprised when she saw the thick path of ice leading out the front door.
And, as luck might have it, up the stairs, as well. Which is where she'd been planning to spend the rest of the afternoon. So, no dice, then. Not unless she wanted to use her powers, and she was trying to cut back.
For a split second, she'd thought it was just Bobby being Bobby again.
But then Sam went whizzing by, waving as he went.
"Hi, Kitty," he said. Kitty barely got to say hello back as he slid out the front door. She was almost positive she heard an "oomph."
Jubilee and Rogue came up behind her, Jubilee's arms laden with psychology textbooks from the library. She studied the ice trail on the ground. "What's going on?"
That's when Peter Rasputin slid by, ignoring the girls.
Kitty frowned. "The guys are acting like idiots."
The other two girls stared at her. "And?" Rogue asked.
"You're surprised?" Jubilee asked.
Kitty was perfectly ready to defend herself ... but then, St. John went by, "woo-hoo"-ing as he did, and Kitty lost all hope of arguing in the boys having any sort of intelligence whatsoever. She sighed thoughtfully. "Doesn't take much, does it?"
Another "oomph" came from outside, and the girls leaned over to look out. Rogue cocked an eyebrow. She hadn't even known John could get into that position. "And with John, Ah think it's an improvement," she added.
They heard the walking, talking ice machine before they saw him.
"Woo-hoo! Clear the way, boys! Frosty's on his way!"
A flash of blond hair out of the corner of her eye sent Rogue's head spinning towards the stairway, and she inadvertantly yelped, "Bobby!"
He couldn't help it, reflexively turning towards her voice. "Wha --"
Luckily for Bobby, he was still headed out the front door. Unluckily for Bobby, the ground that the others had been slamming into was ready to greet him with open arms and wet, sloppy kisses for sending him so many weak, easily bruised victims.
The girls winced and turned away at the crash that followed. Silence ensued for the longest of instances before they all heard the two words that assured them that Bobby was still alive.
Logan would be the first to admit that he didn't know the first thing about makeup. Actually, he kinda prided himself on it. The only thing he did know, he'd learned from Jean -- you shouldn't look as if you're wearing any makeup at all. He'd also learned that translated into English, that meant, "You should put on as much of every bit of makeup in the room as is humanly possible, but in such a combination as to make it look as if you're not wearing any."
In that case, Marie had failed miserably.
Rogue would have agreed, if he'd bothered to ask her. Jubilee had been the one to say, "Oh, if you put on a lot of makeup, he'll think you're trying to be older and failing miserably and feel all superior."
Well, Rogue wouldn't have been surprised. She felt like a four-year-old who'd raided Mommy's makeup drawer. She licked the front of her teeth to make sure she didn't have any obscenely bright pink lipstick on them and glanced over at Bobby, who couldn't have looked more frightened if a charging rhino had plowed through the front of the school.
"Marie, don't you think you're wearing too much makeup?"
Rogue gave Logan a disbelieving look. "Am not."
"Am not," she said, right before squinting and turning away. "Oh, wait, mah eye's stuck shut."
Logan made a sound that came off like a growl-in-training -- he was really good at that whole growling thing -- and stared at Bobby until Bobby was fairly sure that he'd scared all the cold right out of him. "Don't you have, like, a balding father I can talk with?" he whispered to Rogue.
She leaned over and elbowed him one in the side. "Ow! That's a bruise!"
"Sit," Logan ordered. Bobby scrambled to do it -- at this point, he was ready to do whatever Logan told him outside of ritualistic Satanic virgin sacrifice and skydiving -- but Rogue grabbed onto his arm and yanked him back.
"Oh, no, ya don't," she said.
Logan eyed the two of them suspiciously. "Excuse me?"
Rogue flashed Logan a dirty look. "Why ya gotta bug Bobby like this, huh?"
"Because I don't want to see you get hurt."
"Oh, please. He's nice ta me. And if he ain't one day, Ah'll just reach over and kiss 'im. Problem solved."
Bobby smiled and suddenly wondered what that would take. The smile ran away from his face (almost literally) when he caught Logan glaring at him.
"I don't like him," Logan said.
Rogue rolled her eyes. "Oh, let's add him ta the short list of people y'all don't like."
Throwing her arms up in the air, Rogue shouted, "Ah just want ta go out with a normal boy!"
"Then why are you datin' him?" Logan muttered.
"Watch it, hairball," Rogue snapped. "Ah've sucked ya dry before, and this time, Ah know where yer cigars are."
For the first time, Logan actually squirmed. "I'm just being protective, Marie. I've had a lot of practice at it in the last year and I think I'm gettin' good at it."
"Fine, if ya have such a problem with me datin', then y'all take me out."
"Ya want me ta go on a date with someone ya know isn't gonna be a problem? You take me out!" This better work, this better work ...
"I'm not takin' you on a date."
"It wouldn't be an official date. Kinda like a trainin' session for Bobby," she said, waving her hand absently in Bobby's general direction.
Bobby wasn't paying attention. He was too busy putting rocks in Logan's drink. Hmm ... handy kid.
Oh, yeah, back to the conversation. "Would he be there?"
Now, it was Marie's turn to squirm. "Well, no."
"That's a date, then."
"It is not!"
Oh, so she was yelling at him now, huh? "Fine. You want to go out to dinner? Tomorrow night, darlin'!"
"You're on!" she yelled. Then, almost as an afterthought, she yelled, "And ya'll shave!"
"Damn straight!" he yelled back.
A smug smile crossed Marie's face, right before she grabbed Bobby's arm and made a run for the door. It took about a minute for Logan to realize what she'd just said, qualifying it as the longest double take in history.
"I'm gonna do what?"
"Aw, come on, Bobby!"
"But you did it for me at lunch!"
"Not a chance. Not after making me sit through that stupid display in front of Logan."
"But all I want is a freakin' Slushy!"
Kitty frowned at the both of them, Bobby on her right, Jubes on her left, and mentally considered whether or not it would count if she dissected either one of them in bio class next fall. She did have that home economics thing next fall, too. Maybe she could get started on a muzzle for Jubilee now. Hey, maybe she could just hand that in on the first day and get an 'A' for the entire class.
The five of them had ended up on the back porch after Bobby and Rogue had gone to see Logan, mostly because there had been this rumbling sound coming from inside the mansion and none of them had been sure whether or not it was Logan growling again or an earthquake in the making.
John, who'd been the only one who hadn't been involved, had spent the last fifteen minutes or so getting filled in. "So let me get this straight," John said. "You girls tried to con Logan into shaving."
"Uh-huh," they all said at once.
"And as far as you can tell, you have a pretty good chance of it happening."
"Uh-huh," they said.
"Why didn't you just Nair him up in his sleep?"
Jubilee popped a Sugar Daddy and sighed. Just watching her eat more candy after the junk she'd been swallowing for the past few days made the rest of them jealous. Oh, sure, there wasn't a whole lot of nutrition going on during the weekends. Heck, the fact that they remembered to eat at all was rather surprising. But contrary to popular belief, there was a point where you just couldn't eat any more candy. Of course, trust in Jubilee to stick with what was popular and ignore stuff like logic. "Have you ever actually smelled Nair, John?" she asked. "The smell alone will melt away all your nose hair."
Kitty groaned. You could always count on Jubilee for those colorful textbook metaphors. "Drink your soda, Jubes," she muttered.
"Because I was in the mood for a Slushy, and someone --" Jubilee leaned around Kitty to jab Bobby in the side. "Refuses. To. Give. Me. One," she said, poking him at the end of each one-word sentence.
Bobby shook his head and silently prayed to the God of Misused Mutant Abilities as he made a grab for Jubilee's Cherry Pepsi.
John shook his head as he played with his cigarette lighter, lighting fireballs in his palms. "Don't you three have anything better to do with your weekend?"
"If we did, would we be here with the two of you watching Miss Grey cut the grass?"
Well, they had him there. All five of them stared over at Miss Grey, who was lying on a lawn chair, sunglasses perched high on her nose, a little itty blue bikini on, mentally directing the riding lawn mower around the lawn.
Not exactly the most fun thing in the world to do, but hey, welcome to the boonies.
Miss Munroe opened the glass doors that opened out onto the back porch and waved the cordless phone in the air. "St. John! Your father's on the phone! Something about some magazines in your closet ..."
John went bright red around the ears. "Uh, yeah, right," he muttered, shaking away the fireballs and getting to his feet. He jogged over to Miss Munroe, taking the phone and waving back at the gang. "Have fun at dinner tonight, Rogue-ula," he yelled, ignoring it when she flipped him off as he went inside.
"Yeah, well, what kind of a first name is St. John, anyway?" Rogue asked, glaring towards the glass doors as she reached for her Coke.
Bobby froze Jubilee's cherry soda into a Slushy as he said, "It's the last name of the doctor who reversed his father's vasectomy."
That was the first time Bobby had ever seen a spit take.
On Sunday night, the motorcycle pulled up to the front of the mansion right about the time that "The Simpsons" started.
"You don't actually think he's gonna do it, do you?"
"I'll bet that's one of his mutant powers, you know? Shave, and the hair grows right back."
"God, could you imagine?" Jubilee shook her head and downed about five Pixie Stix at once.
"Maybe it never grows back," Bobby said. "Maybe that's why he keeps it like that."
John snorted. "Quick, someone ask him if he ever had back hair."
Logan walked in through the front door and was confronted by the sound of stifled laughter and the sight of all of the more mischievious members of the student body crowded together on the couch in the TV room, playfully punching St. John. As soon as the front door shut, they all turned to look at him, and as a whole, smiled sweetly.
Logan wasn't fooled, of course. The last time he'd seen them all smile like that at the same time was for a group photo that was supposed to have been the official school photo. The flash had gone off at exactly 4:04 p.m. At 4:04 p.m. and 5 seconds, Bobby had started a snowball fight, John had melted the school's nameplate off the stone wall, and Jubilee and Kitty had accidentally dumped a bottle of bubble liquid in Storm's hair.
The fireworks that had followed had not been pretty. Or all that firework-y, as a matter of fact.
"Hi, Logan," they all said in unison.
Logan frowned and yanked off the denim jacket he was wearing. "Don't you kids have anything better to do?"
"Please," Jubilee said, rolling her eyes, a bad habit she'd turned into an art form. "It's Sunday. We're waiting for 'The X-Files.'"
"Speak for yourself. I'm waiting for you people to go away so I can watch 'UHF' on cable." John couldn't resist smiling. Pretty girls, Doritos, and the definitive Weird Al movie. All he needed now was a million dollars and a lifetime supply of corn dogs and his life would be perfect.
Jubilee and Kitty gnawed on their gum as they watched Logan smack the dust from the road off his jeans and plaid shirt. He would wear flannel during a heat wave. The girls exchanged a knowing look before Jubilee asked, "You're not going to wear that to take Rogue to dinner, are you?"
Logan frowned. "No, I'm gonna go naked," he snapped sarcastically.
Now, that ... that was the second time in his life Bobby had ever seen a spit take. Two, in fact.
Unfortunately, this one involved gum.
The sound that echoed through the mansion that night could quite aptly have been described as a dying animal. An earthen dam breaking. One talented contestant in the Annual Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters Burping Contest. Or, if you were mechanically inclined, the car horn of a 1990 Chevrolet Corsica.
In any event, it caused a number of reactions.
Scott missed the final score of the Braves-Mets game.
Storm's chocolate brownies burnt to a crisp.
And neither Jean nor Professor Xavier could stop laughing for a good half hour.
"We're going to die."
"We're not going to die, Jubilee," Kitty said, glancing up from painting her nails fluorescent blue to watch Jubilee as she paced back and forth nervously. Jubes had started fifteen minutes ago, right after Bobby and John had made a mad dash for their room, and she hadn't stopped since. Kitty wasn't all that surprised. Of course Jubilee didn't want to die. There was a sale at 5-7-9 on Wednesday. And her hair was looking killer lately.
"I can't die, Kitty," Jubilee said. "I still haven't kissed Leonardo DiCaprio."
Kitty frowned. "I wouldn't if I were you. Have you seen how fat he's gotten?"
"I haven't gotten to go to Paris yet."
"I'll get Magneto's phone number from the Professor and tell him to attack the Eiffel Tower. Who knows? They might need fireworks."
"I haven't written the great American novel."
"You haven't written your book report on "The Outsiders" yet, either."
"And I still haven't learned how to juggle," Jubes said, stopping her pacing to turn and face Kitty. Unfortunately, she tripped over her own feet and fell to the floor.
Kitty stared down at her and said dryly, "Gee, I wonder why."
Footsteps sounded on the stairs, and both Jubilee and Kitty looked up to see Rogue descending. Her dark hair had been pulled back into a ponytail, while her white streaks fell in corkscrew curls on either side of her face. A long hunter green dress hung to her ankles, perfectly matched to her brown gloves and cream-colored shawl.
Personally, Kitty thought she looked very pretty. And then there was Jubilee, who was staring at Rogue the same way the kids at Carrie's high school had stared her that split second after the bucket of pig's blood had fallen on her. "What are you wearing?"
"A dress," Rogue said, spinning around to show off. "What does it look like Ah'm wearing?"
"You can't wear that!"
"Ah have ta! Ah'm going ta a nice place and Ah'm dressing up!"
"It's green! You need to wear black, 'cause I'm gonna die and you might as well be prepared."
Rogue shook her head and sincerely considered removing the caffeine from all the cherry soda in the house. She had no idea how she'd do it, but at least she wouldn't have to suffer through Jubilee's mindless rantings.
Then again, they were almost all mindless rantings, but still ...
"Logan's not gonna kill ya, Jubilee. He's upstairs right now, gettin' his hair fixed."
Both Jubilee and Kitty eyed Rogue curiously. "Who's fixing his hair?"
Jubilee's groan could probably have been heard in the Westchester Mall. "Great, he's going to come out of there looking like he was sitting in a convertible with the top down."
That's when Logan walked into the TV room.
There are defining moments in everybody's life. Usually, they're restricted to weddings and births and funerals and powers manifesting. However, in this case, an exception might have to be made.
Logan had had a haircut. He'd shaved. And he was in a suit.
And he looked like an underwear model.
Now, the girls had three options in a situation such as this:
a.) Gape like an idiot. (Which Rogue opted for.)
b.) Make a girlie sound and faint. (Kitty's choice.) Or ...
c.) Manage to keep your composure and hope your knees will hold out until you can leave the room.
If the odds had held out, Jubilee would have gone for Door Number Three. This, however, was Jubilee we're talking about, people. Please.
"Oh. My. God," she yelped.
Logan growled at her, giving her a look that would have flayed the peel off an orange. He seemed to have forgotten that most underwear models had that "Me and my perfect physique despise you!" look on their faces, and it made him look even more the part.
Rogue grabbed onto the nearest chair. Her knees had turned into pudding. (Tapioca, if you're curious.)
Jubilee lifted an arm and pointed wildly. "Okay, I've seen "Silence of the Lambs." Who did you kill and skin to get that face, pal? 'Cause you cannot look that good! You're supposed to be old and skanky, you big ... you big tree!"
Logan stalked towards her, and spooked, Jubilee squeaked and backed up against the couch, Logan right in front of her. "If you ever spit gum into my hair or at my beard again, darlin', I'm going to have to --" He popped out a claw and glanced over at Rogue, who was waving her hands wildly in front of her. Logan looked down at Jubilee's yellow jacket and pointed at it with the end of his claw. "Shred your coat," he added, punctuating it with another growl.
Jubilee gulped meaningfully. It was her only defense.
He cocked an eyebrow in Rogue's direction. "Marie, you ready?"
Rogue nodded numbly and went to take a step. And abruptly collapsed as her knees gave out.
Jubilee and Logan might have made an attempt to pick her up, but she shot up in a flash, hastily smoothing down her hair and straightening out her dress as she went a shade of red Logan hadn't seen since the chainsaw incident. (Long story.)
He offered Rogue an elbow, and she took it gratefully. As the pair walked out, Logan leaned close and asked, "Shred her coat?"
Rogue shrugged. "It worked, didn't it?"
Back in the TV room, Jubilee was so stunned by what had just gone on that she didn't even flinch as she heard Kitty awaken and try to scramble to her feet. Unfortunately, Kitty herself was so out of it that she grabbed for the couch -- and phased right through it. It took her another minute or so to get up, most of which Jubilee spent babbling incoherently. (Which sounded a lot like the way she usually talked, but as if she were actually trying to think about what she was going to say next for once.)
"Wha ... huh ... who ... he ... she ... hair ... suit ... kill ... hair ... ack ..."
As soon as Kitty was up, Jubilee pointed towards the doorway in frustration and said, "Did you see him?"
"Of course I saw him!" Kitty said. "Why do you think I keeled over like that? Low blood sugar?"
"Man, he looked incredible. Kinda like Gary Sinise, but, you know, like the "Stand" Gary Sinise, not the "Forrest Gump" Gary Sinise."
"That's a very good Gary Sinise to be," Kitty said solemnly.
Jubilee frowned, and Kitty could almost hear the hamster running in the wheel in Jubes's head. A wicked smile crossed Jubilee's face as she said, "All we have to do is get him speaking in an Australian accent and he'll be perfect!"