Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction using characters, locations and concepts belonging to Marvel Entertainment. No claim of ownership is made or implied by me in using their property. No part of this work is intended for material gain of any kind. It is intended for the sole purpose of creative exercise and the entertainment of others.


A Little Too Close to Home

"All right, everyone, Movie Night is officially cleared for liftoff. Let's find out what the Guide has in store for us."

With the simple, decisive click of a button, the massive widescreen television that dominated the day room of the Xavier Institute bloomed to life. Bobby, wearing an avocado colored t-shirt emblazoned with the words, "Master of the remote," quickly called up the on-screen display with a self-indulgent smile and began scrolling through the channels.

The aroma of freshly made popcorn wafted through the common room, creating an enticing atmosphere for the others who had gathered for a relaxing night of television. Four bowls of the fluffy snack had been strategically placed throughout, the better to accommodate the impressive turnout. Every couch in the room was filled, and still there was spillover, forcing a few of the assembled mutants to make themselves comfortable on the carpet in front of the screen.

It was rare for the day room to have so many people in it at the same time, especially when some major event wasn't being broadcast all over the news. It did get an almost non-stop stream of traffic, at least during those precious moments when the Brotherhood wasn't trying to kill someone or aliens weren't invading or one or more of them weren't completely insane and running wild. Even then, there were usually no more than six or so people together for more than a few hours, as conflicting schedules and other demands had the mansion's occupants constantly coming and going.

Most times the lure of the baseball field saw more attention when everyone decided to enjoy an extended bit of group leisure, but the chill of winter had eliminated that as an option. With most everybody flush with free time, a night of television presented a more attractive diversion.

"How about this one?" Bobby asked the group curiously, pausing his work on the remote while they considered the highlighted film.

"'Vertigo.' Ah yes, one of Hitchcock's more notable contributions to classic cinema," Hank said in a mild voice. Folding his blue-furred paws together, he leaned back into the couch and adjusted his spectacles to better rest on his catlike nose. "A splendid choice, Robert. I'm especially fond of the third act, when James Stuart's character becomes obsessed with shaping Judy Barton into the image of his lost love." Hank hesitated a moment to place one considering claw against his chin. "Although the name of the tragically departed lady in question escapes me."

From his spot at another couch, Scott was suddenly seized by a coughing fit as he choked on a bit of popcorn he'd been eating. "Are you quite all right, Scott, Dear?" Emma asked as she leaned over to check on him, her arm giving his back a gentle rub.

"I'm fine, really," he wheezed, lifting himself back up from his hunched over position. "Ah, Bobby, if you wouldn't mind, I'd prefer we watch something else."

"Are you quite sure?" Hank asked, a trace of concern in his voice. His feline features could not disguise his slight disappointment, however.

"I'm with Scott," Kitty said, squirming uncomfortably. Peter, whose arms were draped around her as they snuggled together on the third sofa, lifted one curious eyebrow, but she avoided his gaze.

"All right," Bobby said with a shrug and clicked up a few more channels. "How about 'Lolita,' then? It's a classic, too."

"Ugh, no thank you," Warren suddenly interjected. "That movie's way too depressing. Aren't there any good action flicks coming in?"

Bobby smirked as he looked back toward the television. "Let's have a look. Aha! 'Point of No Return.' That ought to fit the bill."

Tessa made a small face at the movie's mention. "Please. Another pathetic American remake of a halfway decent foreign film? Bridget Fonda is hardly convincing and the way her character loses herself in her undercover persona is just ridiculous. I'd rather not."

"Okay, let's look for a good foreign picture, then." A few more clicks and Bobby said, "Here's one. 'Y Tu Mamá También.' I've heard that one's pretty good."

"And I've heard that film's indecent, from beginning to end!" Rahne suddenly said, blushing furiously. "A grown woman carrying on with two teenage boys like that. I refuse to watch such a film. Is there not something a bit more family friendly playing?"

"Let's see…" Bobby scrolled a bit higher. "Looks like 'Jungle 2 Jungle' is about to come on. That one where Tim Allen plays a guy who finds out he has a son who was raised in a primitive culture. How about that?"

Peter suddenly tensed against Kitty. "I would prefer we didn't choose that one," he said a bit haltingly. Glancing at the others, he added, "I have never much cared for Tim Allen."

"What?" Kitty asked, eyebrows rising as she turned a dubious look over her shoulder at him. "But you used to love 'Home Improvement!'"

"I, uh, identified with Al," Peter explained in an embarrassed voice. "And I found the sage advice the neighbor behind the fence provided amusing."

"I like Tim Allen," Bobby protested with a slight pout. He was already scrolling through the Guide again, however. "Maybe a more adult comedy, then. Anybody want to see 'Say it isn't So?'"

"The one about the guy who finds out his new girlfriend is his sister?" Jamie Madrox asked.

Kurt made a face as his tail swept across the carpet in mild agitation. "That movie is far too crude," he protested. "I'm in the mood for-"

"An adventure," Bobby finished with a roll of his eyes. "Sorry, Kurt. No Errol Flynn to be found anywhere. 'Single White Female' is playing, though, if anybody feels like a thriller." He called up the plot description. "'A woman's unbalanced roommate slowly attempts to steal her life by becoming her in every way.'"

"Oh, please," Betsy said with a beleaguered sigh. "That plot sounds absurd."

"Well the only thing other than that left is 'Cats & Dogs,'" Bobby informed everyone. Bringing up the plot synopsis again he read, "'A young boy finds out his dog can talk and is part of a massive canine spy network.' Any objections to that one?"

Murmured consents and shrugged shoulders answered him. "Finally," Emma said as he clicked over to the appropriate channel. "I thought we'd never agree on something."

Before the movie could actually begin, however, the television suddenly switched off, leaving them all staring at a blank screen. "What happened?" several people asked in startled voices.

"I dunno," Bobby answered in a perplexed voice, pressing the power button of the remote several times and getting no response. "It's not working."

"I think I know why," Logan said, rising out of the couch and stepping over to the wall behind the television. With a small yank he pulled out the plug, which bore obvious signs of having been chewed in two. "Looks like yer dragon decided to have himself a snack, Pun'kin."

Sure enough, the small, purple form of Kitty's trusted companion crawled out from behind the television, glaring at the others. His expression shifted to a more ashamed look, however, when Kitty uttered an alarmed, "Lockheed!" Whimpering slightly he tried to slink away, but Kitty rose to her feet to confront him, hands on her hips. "You bad dragon! You know better. Why would you do something like that?"

Lockheed simply hung his head and tried to cover it with his purple, leathery wings. A puff of smoke fired from his nostrils, rising in angry grey tendrils. "Well, we're not going to get any answers out of him, apparently," Logan said.

"Guess we'll just have to go to the local cineplex," Bobby sighed. "There's a new Brett Ratner film playing there that just premiered this week."

"No way!" several X-Men groaned at once.