A/N: I had a good day as far as the tendonitis (well, as good as it gets), and I'm sure you've already seen the ghastly results. This will be the last major post for Spectator Sport unless there's reader outcry (cry loudly) due to my overwhelming need to follow number two of my notes to R and R. Simplifying to merely All's Fair and In Love and War. Please enjoy this last installment.
For exact day (in relation to the slavery) and time (in 24 hr military format) will be in bold at the top of each scene.
Green Peridot (Thanks for the love on Emma. And I'd love to see your depiction of her sometime. And as for detention...Just don't tell. :grins:), PhoenixCrystal (I'm glad you like so much. If I screwed up on that last chess move, just let me know and I'll correct it. For ease of reading, well, just see note above.), xXxShizxXx (I love Emma too! Sorry for the slow update. See my profile on why.), starlight2twilight (Thank you! Thank you! I'm having a ball with Emma and Jubilee and Logan. So what can I say? I have favorites among the interfering "spectators".), coup fatal (I think you're amazing. Very nifty. I had a crazy time remembering where things were on the board to even write this chapter. But thanks for all the support and patience, etc. while I pulled teeth just trying to get this thing done.), RogueOnFire (You're the sweetest! As for Emma, she hates eavesdropping because of exactly what you said, she can't stop meddling, and also because she gets so crazy annoyed at them! LOL), Laceylou76 (Ah, my favorite review for the chapter! I had fun with those poor boys, Gambit included, and humor writing grew on me with All's Fair. Not quite sure when I crossed over, but if Fritz is any indication, I did. LOL I'm enjoying Logan/Emma. As always, I develop things slowly, but hey, I've got 29 more days to figure this out, so I have room to maneuver. And Emma is a busybody, isn't she? :grins:)
Important information about Chess:
Chess is played on ranks and files. Ranks are numbered 1 - 8 from the White's back to the Black's back. Files are numbered a - h from the White's left to the White's right.
The Queens occupy the file of d and the Kings the file of e. Queenside pieces are on files a - d; Kingside pieces are on files e - h.
b = black, w = white
Q = queenside (from player's perspective at start), K = kingside (from player's perspective at start)
Q = queen, K = king, R = rook, N = knight, B = bishop, no notation = pawn
[a]# = board position (file and rank) the piece moves to
[a]x# = means board file a pawn moves from while capturing and its final board position
x# = means board position a piece moves to while capturing
Keep this in mind for reference, please!
All's fair in love and war.
Castling is a chess move that protects the
key players by hiding them behind other pieces.
Castling is a special move consisting of moving the king
two squares towards a rook, then moving the rook
onto the square over which the king crossed.
Black 7th Play: O-O-O
Black castles Queenside. Final board position has the Black King on b8 at the back of the board and the black Queenside rook on c8 next to it.
Day Two, 7th Hour, 12th Minute
Jubilee was in place. More specifically, she was in the door of the pet shop a mere five minutes after it had opened, though she did wonder a bit about the 7:07 start time. Really, was it so hard for a store to open on the hour instead of at these weird times like four after or six before?
She shook her head to clear it and made a beeline for the cats. Remy had suggested a kitten, due to Jubilee remembering Rogue preferred cats to dogs, and a kitten she would have.
There were about five of them chasing a ball of yarn, two curled up in little sleepy balls of fluff, one of them grooming herself, and another two chowing on breakfast.
Jubilee looked them over.
"Would you like to hold them?" a tall, lanky girl popping chewing gum asked around the strawberry smelling wad in her mouth. "Get a feel for which one you like?"
Jubilee handled each kitten one at a time until she settled on the quiet little grey one that had been napping on her approach. She got him everything she might need while she was there and then whisked him away to her car. Well, more like a rattle trap on wheels, but it got from point A to point B, so she wasn't complaining.
That was when she discovered her quiet little ball of fluff had a flaw.
She stared at the long, red mark up her arm and then the tangled snag on her sweater, then finally gave a narrow-eyed glare at the stretching paws with tiny little white claws unsheathed.
Her lecture was cut short by soft mewing and him burrowing his face into her sweater. She softened. He was a cute little thing. She sighed, counting her shirt as a loss and deciding Rogue could handle the problem on her own.
A little forewarning might be in order though.
She whisked the little fellow back into the mall and into the pet store.
"Back so soon?" The clerk eyed the purring furball. "Um...We don't usually do returns."
"No need," Jubilee said royally. "I just need a different tag."
"Oh, sure thing." The clerk got right on it, snapping her gum with a pop. "What'll it be?"
White 8th Play: O-O
White castles Kingside. Final board position has the White King hidden behind its fianchettoed Kingside bishop and next to its Kingside rook.
Day Two, 15th Hour, 17th Minute
"Do you remember when we played chess with Mr. Lensherr," Storm began, "and he couldn't figure out how I won?"
"You?" Emma arched an eyebrow. "Queen of the Winds and never the chess board?"
They giggled together as Emma moved another piece. Storm was an awful chess player as a teenager, completely baffled by the game. As it turned out, Emma had taught Storm enough to make her quite the master to beat by the time they graduated. Now, they played comfortably together, sprawled across a blanket on the floor of Storm's bedroom with the chess board, chips, and a couple of bottles of tequila. It was their time to be friends again, hang out, be comfortable in their own skins without all the cares of running Xavier's School for the Gifted.
In short, girl time.
Storm shook her head. "He never thought you'd use telepathy to help me." Then she snickered. "Remember when we spiked Scott's coffee?"
Emma snickered back.
The two laughed and chatted over shared memories of friends, classes, and a history that wouldn't quite go away despite Emma's temporary defection to the Hellfire Club.
Emma won the first game but downed almost twice as much tequila. Storm had the advantage going in to rematch.
"Why did Jean always get the guys?" Emma demanded, absently moving into a King's Indian defense. "I mean, she got Scott, Logan..."
"Logan and her weren't together," Storm replied and responded with a Four Pawns Attack. "She preferred Scott."
"But Scott preferred her!" Emma protested. "What was it she had? I don't understand it." She shook her head at the board. She took another swig. "Remember when we turned on the ceiling fan with Hank still on it?"
Storm rolled at that memory. Emma broke out into giggles. No one had ever seen that much blue fur go flying—or such an expression on his and the Professor's face. Jean had been in on it and between two telepaths protecting the student body's thoughts, Professor Xavier was unable to determine the exact culprit, only that a telepath was involved.
"See," Storm panted out. "Jean wasn't that bad."
Emma shrugged, still laughing. "Of course, we were all cleaning out the gutters for a week!"
Finally, the two women caught their breath.
Just then, a low, whining sound broke the silence.
Storm perked up. "What was that?"
Emma shrugged casually, even though her senses went on full alert and she started desperately thinking of a cover. Rogue really needed to learn to control that kitten's bad timing and Remy seriously needed to get a handle on what was and was not a good way to cheer the girl up. Pets were out. Why was she always responsible for making the other side's plans pan out? She sighed.
Emma opted for distraction.
She moved a bishop into position. "Check."
"What?" Storm stared wildly at the board.
Black 8th Play: bQBh3
The black Queenside bishop moves solidly into White's territory along the diagonal. Final position is katticorner to White's fianchettoed Kingside bishop.
Day Two, 19th Hour, 30th Minute
Logan carefully evaluated the stats from the morning's Danger Room session with Rogue. He had the computer set to constantly monitor his own health levels and had managed to teach it how to guage her absorption. She'd been absorbing at a ridiculous rate all morning. The slightest touch created that tug on him. If he could just hook up a monitor for the psychic aspect. Hmmm...
The simplest and most complicated problem when dealing with Rogue's mutation was knowing how much was physical and how much mental. What exactly was she absorbing?
The sound of giggling girls broke into his concentration. He ignored it.
Sometimes, with only a small contact, he felt like his body would start to drain. Other times, when she pulled harder or touched longer, he found himself feeling like his whole soul was being pulled from his body. There had to be something to that.
The girlish sighs intruded annoyingly again.
He slammed down the papers on his desk and stepped out into the hall where Siryn was pointing out how to get to the girls dormitory to a neatly pressed flower boy carrying a dozen longstem roses in a vase. Logan crossed his arms and pinned the nearest female with a glare, namely Rahne.
"Who are they for?" he demanded.
She turned dreamy eyes on him. "Rogue."
Rogue! Logan dropped his arms to the side and immediately stalked after the boy with the flowers. He glimpsed Kitty rushing toward the bathroom, pause, wheel around, and rush back toward her bedroom, phasing into the wall. Let her warn Rogue. He didn't care.
He had eyes only for the roses.
The demarcation between the opening and middlegame is not always clear.
In it, players will attempt to strengthen their positions while weakening their opponent's,
both by careful arrangement of the pieces for prepared attacks and defenses
and by whittling away at their opponent's numbers.
White 9th Play: wKBh3
The white Kingside bishop captures the black Queenside bishop. Final board position is katticorner to the White King.
Day Two, 20th Hour, 22nd Minute
She told him off.
Rogue had told Logan off, informing him bluntly that if he didn't claim fatherhood in any form or fashion then he could just bud out of her love life.
Needless to say, he was hammering out some poor virtual bad guys in the Danger Room and Emma was left trying to create the appropriate mental blocks to his projections while still allowing in the traces she got off of Rogue.
Storm started winning.
"Ugh!" Emma eyed the chess board with distaste. "He's projecting again!"
Storm giggled. She didn't often do such things with her enormous dignity to uphold, but the tequila certainly helped. "Logan?"
"Who else?" Emma groaned and moved a pawn.
Storm shrugged. "Oh, hang on a sec!" She clambered to her feet. "You have got to see these shoes I found for Kitty's birthday!"
Emma gladly gave up the game and turned her attention on the mounds of footware being relocated from the bottom of Storm's closet until she finally reappeared triumphantly with a bag from Saks. Storm held up a pair of strappy gold sandals that perfectly matched Kitty's latest and greatest new look in short, strappy dresses and Emma nearly shrieked.
"I got her those shoes!"
Storm visibly deflated. "And here I thought I was being original," she muttered.
Emma got to her feet, grabbed the shoes, and looked them over again. "We have to go back out. She can't get two pairs for her birthday." She groaned. "I'll have to get someone to drive us."
"Logan," Storm suggested, her eyes dancing with mischief.
Emma narrowed her eyes in return. "Hardly." She sniffed.
"Oh, come on." Storm dragged her friend out the door, into the hallway, and caught a hold of Dazzler. "We need to go make an exchange. Emma already got Kitty these shoes." She held up the sandals. "Do you know where Logan is?"
Dazzler shrieked. "You didn't!"
Great. Could this get any worse?
Rahne's eyes widened. "So did I," she whispered.
"That's it!" Emma threw up her hands. "I'm going to get Logan."
She marched down to the Danger Room, viciously ended the program, and stormed in on the bewildered shirtless Logan (what was it with guys and their shirts anyway?) with a dignity to rival Storm's.
"Remy's got the day off and I need a ride to Saks with the girls. We all got Kitty the same pair of shoes." She stated her need bluntly, figuring that was the only way he'd understand the enormity of the situation. "A girl cannot have four identical gifts on her birthday."
Logan stared at her in exasperation and annoyance. "Now?"
Emma tapped her foot impatiently. "No. Wednesday. The day of the party. Of course, now!"
And that was how he found himself at the mall at 9:00, then 9:30, then 9:45, then 9:55 on a Saturday night, praying for perhaps the first time in his life for an escape route from a battle he didn't know how to fight, wishing the clerks knew how to disband the Amazons involved before somebody got hurt.
The fight in which seven females of varying ages decided who got to give Kitty the shoes.