Rating: T for profanity

Characters: Jean, Warren, Scott, Darwin the Beagle. Jean POV

Summary: Jean sizes up a new rival.

All standard disclaimers apply. Don't own them, am making no $$ of them, and I never heard of no X3.


By ridesandruns

Her name is Lola. And she's not a showgirl, but she sure is a hussy.

I have Emma Frost to thank for this. Naturally. She sent the spoiled witch our way, and I remain convinced that the two of them are plotting the end of my engagement.

She arrived by limousine, and as soon as she set one elegant foot in the house and turned her azure eyes on Scott, she was fixated. She stared silently, sullenly, contemptuously at the rest of us, turning up her perfect little nose, but with Scott she was a regular chatterbox. Wherever he was, she was. She even found her way down to the hangar where he was working on the Blackbird and hung around there like it was the most fascinating thing ever. She watched him work and talked his ear off. Naturally, she managed to spend all day down in the hangar and remain immaculate. By the time I got down there, the little bitch was curled up cozily in the pilot's chair. The pilot's chair! Scott doesn't even like it when I sit there, and the only time he lets me is when we're –

Oh, never mind. The point is she's a bitch.

"And did I tell you she tried to kill me?" I ask Warren, slamming a slide down on the counter. We're in my lab, and he's listening to me rant, like any good friend should. "We were going down the stairs together and she tripped me. If it weren't for my teke I would have broken my neck. I start to give her hell, Scott hears me and shows up, and then in a nanosecond the manipulative little bitch goes from smirking at me to cowering. She's all, 'Oh, Scott, don't let her hurt me! I'm so afraid!' And he bought it! He was actually comforting her!"

"But Jean, she wasn't actually – " Warren begins.

"Don't start," I warn him, preparing another slide. "Do not even begin to take her side. Did I tell you she was nasty to Darwin?" I point to my sweet baby beagle, who's lying at my feet, contentedly gnawing on one of Scott's shoes. "Look at that dog. Tell me what kind of a monster can hate him."

"But Jean, don't you think most – "

"He was all set to be her friend," I interrupt. "He came right up to her and dropped a ball in front of her. And what does she do? She rejects him! She sneers at him! She won't have a thing to do with him!"

"Well, it does take a real bitch to reject a gift of a saliva-soaked tennis ball," Warren says dryly. "Maybe she thinks he's creepy because he only responds to commands in Klingon. I think it's creepy."

"Don't you make light of this," I warn. "Darwin's very sensitive. He was heartbroken."

"I can see that," Warren says, looking at the dog. "Look at him, hiding his pain in food. Very expensive designer food, looks like."

"And don't even get me started on food," I go on. "Naturally, Lola's got a 'sensitive stomach,' Scott calls it, which if you ask me just means she's bulimic. She hates the food here, and Scott has been knocking himself out finding things she'll deign to eat. It's disgusting. She's got him right where she wants him, waiting on her hand and foot."

"Jean, don't you think you're overreacting just a little bit?" Warren says.

"No, I do not," I tell him crisply. "She has it in for me. She's always giving me that sly look that says, 'I'll be in your bed with your man before you know it, you ugly, clumsy Amazon. And there's nothing you can do about it.' "

"She's a cat, Jean!" Warren cries, losing patience. "She's a Siamese cat!"

"Don't you think I know that?" I snap.

"Well . . . "

"Scott and I have a dog," I say, pointing to Darwin for emphasis. "This mansion has plenty of cats. We don't need another one! And we certainly don't need one that comes from Emma Frost for Scott's birthday, with a note that says, 'So you have something to keep you warm at night, darling'!"

"Ah-ha, now we're getting somewhere," Warren says.

"I mean, here I give Scott a really beautiful cashmere sweater that looks wonderful on him and is soft and warm and lets him feel wrapped in my love."

"May I borrow a basin to puke in?" Warren asks politely.

"And he likes it well enough," I barrel on, as if he hasn't spoken. "But then Emma gives him a cat, which he never even mentioned wanting before, and he thinks it's the greatest thing ever!"

"I see," Warren says, nodding. "Jean, it's just a cat."

"Well, I'm not so sure about that," I say bitterly. "Think about it. Have we ever seen Emma Frost and that cat in the same place at the same time? No. Do we know that people can develop secondary mutations that let them change their shape? Yes. Just think about it, Warren!"

"You know, I think you've been thinking about it enough for both of us," Warren says. "Let it go, Jean. He loves you, he likes the cat. You and the cat will achieve detente."

"I doubt that," I say coldly. "I love animals, but this is basically Emma Frost in feline form. She's all but glued herself to Scott, and whenever I try to touch her, she makes these ungodly yodeling noises."

"Don't Siamese cats usually make a lot of noise?" Warren asks. "They chatter all the time or something, right?"

"Well, this is different," I insist. "It's menacing. It's creepy."

"And to think your lives were so quiet before," Warren says, looking at my beagle.

"And she stalks Scott," I go on. "And he's fine with it! And I make the perfectly reasonable suggestion that we scan the cat for implants, just to make sure she's not some kind of cyborg designed to spy on us and kill me, and Scott acts like I've lost my mind."

"Imagine that," Warren says.

"Are you taking his side?" I ask sharply. "You better not be taking his side in this. Because his side in this is Emma Frost's side in this and that means – "

"Jean?" Warren says carefully. "Assume I'm always on your side. Especially when you're standing between me and the door and you've got a scalpel in your hand."

"It's not a scalpel, it's a slide probe," I snap.

"It looks really sharp, and it's being held by someone with a temper and alarmingly good aim," Warren says.

"Oh, forget it," I snarl, going back to my experiment preparations. "The problem here is that Scott has a blind spot the size of New Jersey where Emma Frost is concerned."

"Blind spots are bad," Warren says gravely. "They make otherwise intelligent people behave in really scary ways."

"Don't I know it," I say bitterly. "I just can't believe he – "

Just then the medlab door swings open and Scott comes in. Remarkably, his diabolical cyborg feline stalker is nowhere to be seen.

"You're alone," I say. "Did Lola get sucked into the Blackbird's engines? Or is she just busy practicing turning on my hair dryer and pushing it into the bathtub?"

"She's with Charles," Scott says. "They're watching the Discovery Channel. Something about saber-toothed tigers."

"Wonderful," I mutter. "I feel much better now that you're reminding her that her ancestors ate ours."

"Look, I know you're unhappy about this whole cat thing and Em – about other things," Scott says briskly. "That's why I think we should go out to dinner tonight, just the two of us. Charles can watch Lola, and Logan can baby-sit Darwin."

"And Logan's in the mood to do you favors because . . . ?"

"Oh, he's not," Scott says cheerily. "But we'll just tell him that Warren's got beagle-sitting duty. He'll take Darwin into protective custody immediately." He turns to Warren apologetically. "Logan doesn't trust you to take care of the dog."

"I don't know whether to be insulted or relieved by that," Warren muses. "Maybe I'll just stick to being horrified at your manipulative streak."

"That works, too," Scott says agreeably. "And listen, hon," he tells me, "I'm thinking we should stay in that Putnam County B&B you like so much, then tomorrow we go shopping and get one of those pillowtop mattresses you wanted and I said was too expensive. Some of those down pillows, too. I want you to feel pampered." He works the dimples, and I snort.

"Don't lie to a telepath, Scott. It's demeaning. Tell me your damn cat hasn't urinated all over our bed and wrecked it."

"My damn cat hasn't urinated all over our bed," Scott says quickly. Too quickly. He swallows hard and has the decency to look uncomfortable. "It was just on your side, actually. Hank thinks she may have a bladder infection. Or she's just upset about the other day." He turns to Warren and says, "Jean was running down the stairs in her heels and she stepped on the cat and scared the poor thing to death and – "

"I do not believe this," I snap. "You're telling me that little monster wet on our mattress and my pillows – "

"She didn't wet on your pillows!" Scott protests. "She, um, threw up on your pillows. I think she has hairballs. Or maybe it's just nerves. She's got a sensitive – "

"Stomach, yes, I get that," I snap. "It'll be a lot more sensitive after I show her that there's more than one way to skin a cat – literally!"

"Is this fight going to last long?" Warren breaks in. "Because I need to learn the Klingon command for 'Get the hell away from me' to stop your hound of hell from starting to chew on my – "

"Shut up, Warren," Scott and I say in stereo, glaring at each other.

Scott sighs. "Jean, this is ridiculous. Come on, let's go out tonight. We can buy a new mattress, any kind you want, and we'll figure out a way to train the cat. You're the smartest woman I know. I'm sure we can figure out a way to train Lola. Why don't you finish up here and I can take Darwin" – he pulls the pup away from Warren's shoe – "– up to Logan?"

"Well, all right," I say grudgingly. "But you should know I'm making a mental list of ways you can make it up to me. I won't tolerate some animal's rampant destructive impulses."

Scott looks down at the remains of his gnawed loafer. "Right," he says dryly. "We couldn't have that." He turns to leave, carrying Darwin, who wriggles in his arms and slobbers happily.

"And I do know a thing or two about cats," I call after him. "I dissected one in med school! Make sure you tell your little friend that!"

"You see what I have to deal with?" I tell Warren. "You see what Emma Frost has done to my life? She's evil and conniving and – dammit, that's my e-mail," I say as my computer blings. "Well, good," I say, reading. "At least I got something accomplished today."

"Tell me that's not an e-mail confirming a contract killing on Emma Frost," Warren says.

"Oh, please," I huff. "Nothing could be further from the truth. This is actually a gift for Emma, I'll have you know. A birthday gift, since she was kind enough to remember Scott. I spent three days tracking it down."

"Well, this sounds ominous," Warren says.

"It's not ominous at all," I tell him sweetly. "It's expensive. And rare. You would not believe how hard it is to find a parrot raised in a strip club."

Note: "Don't lie to a telepath, Scott. It's demeaning." – from Uncanny X-Men #294