Hanging Lights
Minisinoo

Warning: Language, I guess; Ult-X Scott has a potty-mouth. The real warning is that this this story has absolutely no redeeming value, whatsoever. ;> No themes, no deep meanings, just giggles (I hope).

Notes: The Dreaded Annual Hanging of Lights is entirely at fault for the inspiration of this story. It assumes that Scott and Jean are a couple, in addition to Ororo and Hank, and is set after my novella, I Guess It's All Right, but one doesn't have to have read that to understand this. Much of this little tale is in dialogue form, and all color puns are fully intended. And yes, in fact, I rather like purple lights.


8:37am, Saturday morning, after-Thanksgiving.

"Purple? You bought purple lights?"

"Yeah, it'll be cool," Bobby said.

Scott gave an excellent impression of rolling his eyes even though no one could actually see them roll. "Purple lights will make us look like we never left the 60s, man. Next, you'll want a velvet-backed painting of Elvis for the den."

Jean spit apple juice and Ororo practically choked on coffee cake.

"What's wrong with Elvis?" Hank asked.

"Nothing's wrong with Elvis. But anyone who thinks paintings on velvet constitute class should be taken out and shot."

Jean set down her glass and leaned over to wrap both arms around Scott's shoulders. "You're a grouch this morning," she whispered -- loud enough that everyone else could hear.

"Dammit, I hate hanging Christmas lights!" he said, and threw up both hands, pushed her off and stood to stalk out. "It's a stupid waste of time and a pain in the ass."

"But this year you have us to help!" Hank called after him.

"That's supposed to make me feel better?" Scott called back.


10:07am, Saturday morning

"Let's see, that's fifteen 100-light strands of white ones," Jean said, as she and Hank sorted through the box of lights from last year. "Ten sets of net lights, ten strands of icicle lights, and six sets of trunk lights. And . . . Bobby and Peter bought how many purple lights? Good god. Twenty? Purple and white, here we come. What football team is that anyway?"

"Dunno," Hank replied, unraveling one strand with his feet and another with his hands. "But my high school colors were purple and white.

Jean looked up. "You're kidding."

"Alas, no. Dressing in school colors always left me feeling like an advertizement for a winery."


10:47am, Saturday morning

"Jean, hand me the next strand, please."

'Hand' was a metaphorical term, but language had yet to catch up to mutant powers. She levitated the lights up to where Scott could grab them, leaning way too far out from the ladder, as far as Jean was concerned. It was a good ladder -- fiberglass, not aluminum -- but God, it made Jean's belly sick just to see him up three stories. Scott, of course, loved heights. His Indian blood, he said. Not that he played Indian more often than twice a year: on Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. Columbus Day gave him an excuse to wear his Columbus Was Lost t-shirt, and Thanksgiving gave him an excuse to wear black for the (Indian) dead. Jean reminded him that his Indian blood was about enough to fill a thimble and bequeathe him high cheekbones. He reminded her that he was a legally-enrolled member of the Raven Band of the Tlingit.

Which was why he had a raven tattoo on his ass.

That thought made her laugh.

"Next strand, Jean," he called down.

But Hank had appeared from where he'd been working around back, snatched the strand right out of midair, and scampered up the side of the mansion -- startling Scott, who nearly fell. "Jesus God, man! Give me a heart attack! And where in hell have you been?"

"Putting purple lights in the cedars."

"Just as long as they aren't on the house."


12:17am, Saturday noon

"Pass me the plate of hotdogs," Peter called.

They had paused to eat lunch, the remaining lights and their food on a blanket spread out over the driveway.

"What is it," Ro muttered, "about the Y-chromosome and hotdogs?"

"At least they're not asking for pizza," Jean said.

"Pizza for dinner," Bobby chimed in.

"Turkey for dinner," Jean told them, which was met by a collective groan from the male members of the X-team.


1:27pm, Saturday afternoon

"Breaktime is over, guys. Up and at 'em."

"Blow it out your ear, Cyclops."

"Hey. I'm not the one who went out and bought twenty-fucking sets of purple lights, man! I'll be damned if I hang them all. That's your department."

"Purple is a very ROYAL color, Scott. Suitable for Christmas."

"It looks like fucking black light on the lawn."


2:17pm, Saturday afternoon

"Walk like an Egyptian."

Flabbergasted, Jean stopped in her unpacking of the shrub nets to gape. Bobby Drake, Peter, and Hank were doing the chickenwalk across the drive, singing bad 80's tunes. Off-key. Dressed in strings purple lights. Battery-operated, apparently. They were blinking.

Ororo was laughing so hard, she was having trouble breathing.

Scott exchanged a glance with Jean. "Bellevue is in New York, isn't it?" he asked.

"You make the call. Straight jackets at the very least. Maybe a rubber room."


3:47pm, Saturday afternoon

"Wow, it looks nice," Ororo said.

"Even with purple lights," Jean admitted.

Scott didn't reply to that, but at least he wasn't making cracks about Elvis.

"I told you purple would look grand," Peter said. Then, to Bobby, "How about a little snow, for effect."

"No way," Scott said. "You want to explain to the neighbors why we have a white Thanksgiving when the temps hit a high of fifty-six today?"

"Party pooper," Ororo said. But she was grinning, and had hooked an arm around his neck, half-hanging on him and bouncing like an excited toddler. He actually didn't seem to mind. "You did good, Fearless Leader. They're all up and it's not even dark yet."

"No thanks to Bobby."

"Hey! I helped!"

"You mostly threw custom snowballs at Jean's ass."

"You're just jealous. And hey, what about that pizza?"


7:27pm, Saturday night

"It really is very pretty, isn't it?" Jean asked, as she and Scott ambled along the lower drive, his arm draped about her shoulders. "And it took a lot less long, with all of us, than last year."

"It's all right."

She tilted her head up to regard him with amusement. "Admit it, Slim. It was fun."

"It was less of a pain than last year."

"God, you are such a Scrooge."

"No, I'm not. I just don't see the point of maxing out the electrical bill every December."

"You're a Scrooge."

"I am not."

"You are, too."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Not."

"Too." Jean poked him in the side. He flinched away. "It was fun. Admit it, Cyclops."

"Okay. It was . . . mildly amusing."

"You're a hopeless case."

"You spend a lot of time on the rehabilitation of a hopeless case."

"You have a cute ass, tattoo and all. I can't resist."

Even in the dark, she could see that he was blushing.



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