By Kielle

NOTES & DISCLAIMER: This was written in ten minutes on sheer mad whim -- smile, darn ya. All characters belong to themselves or their respective owners. Please do not archive without my permission. Rotten tomatoes, half-empty bottles, and howls of protests are cheerfully accepted at kielle@aol.com -- I'm hiding behind my desk and ready for you, so nyah!

It's a beautiful spring day in Westchester County; the birds are singing, the clouds are drifting lazily over the azure vault of heaven, and two mutants are going for a nice walk on the grounds of the Xavier Institute For Higher Education, formerly known as the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters. More precisely, one mutant is walking; the other is comfortably ensconced in a gleaming golden hoverchair. Not something you see every day, but then again no one is around to see it, and anyone likely to do so is perfectly accustomed to the sight. After all, the man in the hoverchair OWNS the Xavier Institute.

"So...you're really sure about this one?"

"Absolutely, Scott. She's completely qualified." Professor X, natty in a teal turtleneck and a tweed sports jacket against the still-wintry nip in the air, raised one hand and began to count off fingers. "For one, she's already used to working in a team environment."

Scott Summers -- "Cyclops" to his enemies, "Cyke" to his friends, and "Snookums" to his wife -- frowned behind his ruby-quartz glasses, scuffing his shoes in the soggy dead leaves which had survived the winter snows. Both of his hands were stuffed deep in his jacket's pockets and there was a distinctly stubborn set to his shoulders as he maintained an ambling pace alongside Xavier's high-tech transport. "A team she abandoned, sir. I have yet to hear a good explanation from her as to why..."

"Her previous team is not an issue here, Scott. I am satisfied with her reasons for striking out on her own. She has...conviction, shaky though her reasons may seem to a non-telepath, and of late conviction is something the X-Men sorely lack." He ticked off another finger. "Two: She brings with her a certain nationalistic flair that is lacking in our current line-up--"

"Say what?"

Xavier spoke quickly, overriding Scott's annoyed protest. "The Avengers have Captain America, Excalibur has...sorry, had Captain Britain. I simply felt that it might boost our public image a trifle if we were to incorporate a known patriotic element."

"She's from the wrong CONTINENT for that kind of thing, sir," Cyclops stated flatly. "Perhaps if Excalibur were to reform, she would be better suited for THEIR membership."

Xavier allowed himself a tiny smile. "Well, yes, true...but let's face it, Scott: your average American is a sucker for a British accent. May I continue?

The X-Men's leader grumbled a bit but held his peace. He nodded.

"Thank you. Now, where was I? Oh yes. Three: She comes on high recommendation from Elizabeth, and I do trust her opinion when it comes to potentially high-strung new members. Four: She -- not Betsy, our new candidate -- is already adept at dealing with bizarre, dangerous, unpredictable teammates without missing a beat. Five: She's VERY good at handling the press, which is something I'm afraid I never thought to prepare any of you for."

"We did fine in X-Factor, thank you very much."

"That's...debatable, Scott, but I will not baited into a tangent at this point. Finally, point number six..." Xavier's restrained little smile hiked up a notch. "We already know how well she works in spandex."

Cyclops's jaw tightened as he fought an agreeing grin himself. "Um. Point...taken, sir." He took two sudden long strides forward, stepped into the middle of the path, and turned to face his mentor, forcing the hoverchair to halt and settle, humming, to the beaten leaves. "All right. We DO need fresh blood on the team; I already agreed with you on this. I'll trust your judgment in this case and see how she does, perhaps for a one-month probation period, with restricted access to the database and the below-mansion grounds."

Xavier steepled his fingers and delicately rested his chin on the interlaced tips. "But?"

"But if Ms. Halliwell insists on retaining the name of 'Ginger Spice,' I will personally huck her out over the front wall with my own bare hands."

.-= FINIS...? =-.

Afterword: duck Hey! OW! Well, *I* thought she'd make a PERFECT X-Man. She's free, she's perky, and she's even got her own costume! ;) I was considering naming this story "What The X-Men Want, What They Really Really Want," but that would have been a dead giveaway, neh?