Author's Note: You can find Chapter 2 of this fic under the title of Riposte, by . One disclaimer about this next chappie... I do like this fandom but in light of the recent movie (though I haven't seen it it's sure to be horrible), how could I resist throwing a few more rotten tomatoes?

Interlude: Yet Another Small Insertion

Val tried, unsuccessfully yet again, to stop laughing. In all seriousness, this would have to stop sometime soon or she would suffocate. She was going on fifteen minutes of nonstop laughing and Elspeth was still stubbornly trying to write her next chapter.

The noises Elspeth was making were quite curious, a mixture of growls, mutterings, and frustrated shouts as she randomly banged at the keys to try to make them form coherent words and sentences.

"Congratulations, you're now at five words per minute," Val gasped between bouts of laughter.

Elspeth looked for something to throw, but anything that remotely resembled a projectile had been hurled ten minutes earlier. She settled for an incoherent growl and tried to remember which key was 'k'. As in 'kill', which was what she was seriously considering now, exciting plotlines or not.

If she had stopped to think a minute, Els may have realized the efforts she was expending to slowly – very slowly – type out 'and Val died a terrible death' may well be wasted as her sister was now in serious danger of fatally choking on her own laughter.

But the possibility, no matter how desirable it seemed at the time, simply did not cross her mind. Only one thought was discernible throughout the bleeps of her mind: "Stupid Dvorak keyboard!"

Chapter 3: Chaos

For Elspeth, it was love at first sight. It stopped her mid-frantic-escape-from-the-pirate-ship's-barrel, and her jaw dropped. This was shortly followed by the rest of her as Val crashed through behind her and sent them both tumbling to the concrete floor.

Elspeth didn't notice the typical oil-and-grease stains on the concrete, or the occasional splatter of dark paint. She only had eyes for only one. "So.... sexy," she breathed.

Val peeked under Elspeth's arm to try to find out what had her older sister so entranced. Random, hairy, disgusting dude? No way in hell. Slim, mechanic-type guy wearing sunglasses indoors? Remote possibility.

Then she saw what Els was looking at, and gasped. "Oh. WOW. Too hot!"

Smooth dark skin, powerful lines, and easily capable of breaking Mach 2 – this baby had it all. Elspeth stopped drolling over the engines for a minute to pull herself off the floor and look at her sister. The expression on Val's face shocked her back into the real world – or whatever world they were currently in. Elspeth's eyes narrowed; she knew a fight for the pilot's seat was coming. Despite the fact that neither of them could fly.

"I CALL DIBS!!" They both shouted at once, and sprinted across the hanger to the plane.

The guy with the weird facial hair stopped arguing with the mechanic long enough to turn around, step in their path, puff out his chest and shoot knives out of his hands (wait, knives? Els thought. Oh no – Val's gaining on me!) and growl, "No need to fight, ladies, there's plenty of Wolverine to go -"

An adamantium skeleton, healing factor, super strength and foot-long claws could save Wolverine from firing squads, SWAT teams, and mutant bad (and good) guys, but not from two stampeding girls going for the X Jet. He never knew what hit him.

Val threw a quick glance over her shoulder at Els as they closed in on the jet; she was a good meter ahead. Looking in front of her again, her vision was abruptly filled with the sunglasses guy dashing in front of the jet and hollering, "STAY AWAY FROM MY GIRL!!!" This was followed by a sudden bright red light and the floor giving out beneath the Val and Elspeth's feet. A good deal of smoke and dust was included for theatrical effect.

There was a dramatic second of silence.


"Ow?" Followed by groans.

"What was that?"

"Us falling through the floor? Along with half the floor? Which is made of concrete?"

"No, I mean, why didn't we, I don't know, FLY over that or develop shields or whatever?"

"I don't know. I mean, we don't normally do that kind of thing."

"But you're the author. Make us do cool stuff instead of getting blasted around. And for Pete's sake identify the speakers in your dialog segments."

"In this universe we'd have to be mutants to get superpowers. And we'd need angsty, tragic, poorly written backstories that confuse the fans and involve tons of unnecessary violence."

"I don't care, just..."

Their bickering cut off as a pair of red-tinted lenses appeared to stare down at them. Their wearer did not look happy.

"Ummm.... hi?" Elspeth said. Val gave a little wave.

"We were just - "

Fortunately, deus ex machina kicked in and another face appeared at the top of the crevice. This one, however, was infinitely more scary. It was painted white, black, and red underneath a shock of frazzled dirty blond hair.

Its owner grinned. All the insects and small animals within a twenty mile radius died of fright. "Why so serious?"

Elspeth would have dropped her head into her hands if the aforementioned hands had not been stuck under her leg and ten pounds of rubble. She settled with mentally dropping her head into her hands, and groaning. "A crossover? We're in a freaking crossover?"

"Oh, cool!" Val exclaimed, oblivious to her sister's distress. "Cyclops versus the Joker! This ought to be good."

"Um, Val..."

"And technically it's not a crossover because both Batman and the X-men are owned by Marvel, and they're all in the Justice League of America..."

"Val! I hate to break it to you, but to me this looks like Cyclops and the Joker versus us!"

Val reassessed the situation, because it sounded better than 'freaked out'.

"Superpowers! NOW!" Els hissed. "And while you're at it, a little more creativity in the witty remarks department would be good, too!"

"Write," Val said, and she did.

The Joker cracked up at that pun, but Cyclops groaned.

"Don't like my sense of humor, do you?" The Joker challenged him. "Let me show you a magic trick..."

Cyclops gave a sardonic grin and blasted the pen out of the Joker's hand. "It was a good movie," he said dryly.

Having bought herself enough time to create superpowers and sob stories for herself and Elspeth, Val grabbed her sister and teleported them into the X Jet. With herself in the pilot's seat. Being the author had distinct advantages sometimes.

"Where to?" Els asked in a particularly uninspired question that was nevertheless necessary for what plotline there was.

"I don't know.... maybe Colorado? I hear it's nice this time of year," Val replied.

Els scowled. Something didn't feel right here, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She tried to shake it off, but the strange premonition kept returning. It couldn't be the jet.... the jet was perfect. Except for Val flying it – Els wondered how she'd learned, but attributed it to poetic license – and maybe that was the problem. Well, it was one of the problems, but strangely enough not the one bothering her. No, what she felt was something much much bigger than just the two of them... something that might just determine the fate of the universe. Something that was terribly, horribly wrong.

Suddenly Elspeth knew what it was. "Val!" she shouted urgently. "Watch out!"

"Where? What? How many of them?" Val exclaimed, looking around frantically for whatever new catastrophe was headed their way. She saw nothing, and turned back to look at Elspeth for a clue.

"Anticlimax," Elspeth sighed.