Ready For Primetime
The God of Thunder staggered in, exhaustion coloring his every move and lipstick various parts of his body. "Mission accomplished," he said, before falling to his knees and slowly keeling over to hit the floor.
"How'd it go?" Wolverine asked, grinning around his cigar.
"With me there to control the weather so she could relax, Storm became a tsunami of passion that tested even my Asguardian endurance."
"I thought you were married," Xander said.
"Indeed, and next time I think I should bring my good wife Sif with me," Thor said weakly before beginning to snore.
"Different cultures have different morals," Wolverine pointed out.
"I thought it was only the Enchanters and Loki who hopped in and out of everyone's bed," Xander said.
"Nah, the entire group's pretty open; and when you add in potions, spells, and items that let them switch gender and even species..." She-Hulk chuckled. "Asguardian parties have been known to kill mortal attendees. Thankfully, Odin is pretty easygoing about resurrecting them."
The Black Widow laughed. "Remember-"
Iron Man's voice came over the intercom. "Suit up people, we have a small Kree-Skrull incident to bust up near the equator."
"Back to work," Wolverine said. "Next game, I say we kidnap Spider-Man for."
"Only if you don't let him know I was pranking him earlier for the first hour of play," Natasha said as they all dressed.
"He'll probably guess after he loses the first hand," She Hulk said, adjusting the front of her uniform to fit her breasts a bit better.
"That's fine," Natasha smirked.
"How are we going to wake Thor?" Xander asked, his symbiote changing into jeans and a leather duster.
"Let him sleep," Wolverine said. "This isn't going to be a battle. We'll just get the two sides to challenge each-other to a local game of some kind and get them all drunk. We'll tape the resulting party, and blackmail the two groups into setting up their secret bases elsewhere."
"You guys do this a lot?" Xander asked in surprise.
"Enough to handle Kree-Skrull conflicts easily," She Hulk agreed. "Their AIs always pick the same spots for bases, because the two races share too many of the same characteristics."
"If you're here when we play again, you're welcome to sit in again," Natasha said.
With the Avengers out and nothing to do for the day, Xander decided to play tourist, his large frame and curly red hair attracting some attention, not all of it good.
"Reach for the sky motherfucker!" a Hispanic teen ordered, pointing a sawed-off shotgun at him that he'd whipped out from under his leather trench.
"Hurry up," a black teen ordered from behind the teen with the gun, as he scanned the area.
"I'm bullet-proof," Xander said, crossing his arms across his chest, unconcerned.
A white teen who'd been keeping an eye out from the corner yelled, "Shit! It's the Last Dragon, run!"
The three teens quickly vanished down a dark alley as a pair of familiar faces arrived.
"Are you okay?" Luke Cage asked.
Xander laughed so hard he had to lean against a light pole as he saw Luke's partner Iron Fist and figured out what the kids had been referring to.
"It was the Last Dragon comment, wasn't it?" Daniel asked knowingly.
Xander nodded and wiped tears of laughter from his eyes. "Well, to be fair, you've got the glow!"
Daniel Rand chuckled. "So, you're really OK?"
"I'm bullet-proof," Xander said, "And, it's nice to see kids resisting the racism that is so common today."
"I'd be happier if they weren't doing it a gun-point though," Luke said with a sigh.
"Take your victories where you can," Xander suggested. "It's less frustrating that way."
Luke laughed. "You've got a point there."
A bell rang in the distance.
"Bank?" Xander asked.
"Bank," the two groaned.
"It's the running that's a pain," Luke said before the two ran towards the alarm.
Xander leapt to the top of a light pole and kept up with them, using Spider-Man's abilities to leap great distances to hop from pole to pole. As the two paused to catch their breath in front of the bank, Xander dropped down beside them, his suit altering to cover him in an outfit that looked like an alternate version of Captain America, the blue being replaced by green and the white for a gold I.
"Captain Italy?" Luke asked.
"It's either this or Mario," Xander replied. "I'm craving Italian food."
"Looks like the Foot Clan's work," Iron Fist replied, tying his mask into place.
"Foot Clan?" Xander asked, wondering why the name sounded familiar.
"A criminal organization styled after a ninja clan," Luke explained as he stretched a little and cracked his neck. "Decent hand to hand fighters, but not a big threat."
"They like to spray-paint their mark at the site of their crimes," Daniel said, pointing out the red footprint painted on the glass door. "Now, let's move in. Expect edged weapons, but no guns."
As the three moved forward, a pair of Foot soldiers came through the glass doors head-first and tumbled to a stop at their feet, their dark blue and grey masked ninja outfits about as battered as they were.
"Looks like we arrived late for the party," Luke said as they entered and saw unconscious Foot nin everywhere.
"If it's all over with, I'm out." Xander leapt up and clung to the ceiling, his symbiote camouflaged him as he squeezed into the ventilation system and hurried after a barely visible form ahead of him with a wide grin on his face. Despite the great skill and care the four ahead of him took, Xander managed to follow them as they snuck out of the bank and into the sewers. They stopped several times to check for tails, but clinging to the ceiling, camouflaged and motionless, he was all but impossible to find.
"AAARGH!" Michelangelo growled. "I swear I'm going to crawl out of my shell! Everyone check for trackers."
Raphael chuckled and checked Donatello's back. "Normally, I'd call you a paranoid wuss, but I know what you mean."
Leonardo finished checking Michelangelo. "Nada."
The symbiote enhanced Xander's sense of smell, limiting it to a single odor as it caught the scent he'd been hoping for.
"We know you're out there!" Raphael called impatiently, pulling his Sai from his belt. "Whatever you want, you won't get it from us!"
"You've already led me right to my goal," Xander shouted, making his voice echo from every direction as he indulged himself in a villainous laugh.
"Master Splinter!" the four gasped as they positioned themselves to prevent their unseen foe from getting past them.
Not that that stopped Xander who scurried across the ceiling like a spider, following the scent through several tunnels and a small pipe into a forgotten subway station that had been made into a home. He dismissed the idea of sneaking up on Splinter as he was pretty sure the rat could kick his ass, and instead shamelessly abused the symbiote's abilities to make himself look like Raphael. It surprised him little that there had been a small Italian restaurant on the abandoned subway platform as well as the typical newsstand and token booth. Splinter probably raised them on pizza because he had all the tools on hand to make it just sitting there.
Upon entering the restaurant, he saw that Splinter was just removing a very deep dish pizza from the oven with a large spatula.
"Back before the others?" the humanoid rat asked, not even looking up. Xander's spider sense suddenly informed him that he was at ground zero next to a possible nuclear detonation.
"Tricked the others into looking for me while I got ahead of them," Xander answered honestly, his spider sense dropping down from 'five seconds to total destruction' to 'possible ass whupping'.
Splinter looked over Xander who looked exactly like Raphael, if he was about a foot wider and two feet taller. Xander smiled encouragingly.
"Why grandmother, what big eyes you have," Splinter said sarcastically.
"All the better to see the guys go nuts trying to convince you I'm not Raphael while I eat his pizza," Xander replied hopefully.
Splinter tapped his chin thoughtfully and Xander's danger sense dropped to nothing. "That would be funny."
"Especially if I play up the obedient student role and leap to perform chores that he normally balks at."
Xander's mind drifted towards Daredevil and the toxic waste that blinded him, but heightened his other senses. He wondered if Matt had gotten any bat dander on him. All it would've taken was a few flakes mixed with the ooze...
"How can you believe he's me?" Raphael demanded.
Splinter turned to Xander. "My old bones don't get around like they used to, would you mind dusting the upper reaches?"
"I'd be honored, Master Splinter," Xander said, bowing respectfully and rushing off to grab cleaning supplies.
"It does my heart good to see such a respectful student," Splinter said, wiping a tear from his eye.
"Gahh!" Raphael exclaimed, before rushing off to chase Xander.
The remaining three students just stood and stared as Raphael and the obvious fake had a...Cleaning battle?
"Dude?" Michelangelo asked.
"Yeah, I'm lost too," Donatello agreed.
"Is it a lesson?" Leonardo asked Splinter.
"Many things are a lesson," Splinter replied solemnly.
Donatello started laughing.
"Don?" Leonardo asked.
"Many things are a lesson, but some things are just a joke," Donatello replied, causing the other two to burst out laughing once they got it.
"So, who is he?" Leonardo asked curiously as they watched Raphael and his doppelganger rush past, taking out bags of trash.
"I sense great power in him," Splinter said. "But also...a good heart."
"He scarfed down that pizza like nobody's business," Michelangelo said. "Anyone who likes pizza that much is ok in my books."
The four watched the two rush back and forth for over an hour, cleaning until Raphael collapsed at Splinter's feet, handing him a basket of laundry.
Xander set a basket beside it. "I think we've milked that joke enough," he said, dropping the disguise.
"I am Xander Harris, it is a pleasure to meet you all."
"Told you he wasn't me," Raphael said from his place on the ground.
Splinter laughed until he started crying and had to stop and catch his breath. "I'm not as young as I once was," he admitted.
"Were you human or not before you became a rat-man?" Xander asked.
"Human," Splinter replied. "Why?"
"We may want to see about making you human rats have a limited life-span. You're probably aging like a dog at 4 to 1 right now."
"What?!" Donatello was quickly at Splinter's side. "That never even occurred to me, but it should have. Master, I have samples of the ooze and I got enough of a look at the machines Shredder has used to attempt to turn us back into turtles. I don't have the parts, but if you give me some time, I should be able to create a device to return you to human."
"I have no regrets," Splinter told his students. "If my time is shorter for having contacted the ooze, it is worth it for having you, my children. I don't want you injuring yourself trying to change something I accepted long ago."
"Or, we could just get help from some fellow mutants who'd be delighted to help," Xander suggested. "If he knows how to de-rat you so you'll live longer, I know some mutants who have a load of high-tech crap including alien tech, as their leader is dating a feathered girl from another galaxy."
Beast blinked as Xander teleported in with a quartet of ninja turtles and a rat-man.
"Whoa dude, what kind of animal are you mixed with?" one asked.
"A combination of feline and simian traits," Beast replied. "I'm Doctor Hank McCoy, though I'm usually referred to as Beast."
Introductions were quickly made by Donatello before he anxiously got to the heart of the matter, "Master Splinter was mutated by this," he held up a tube filled with ooze, "almost twenty years ago, adding rat DNA to his genetic makeup. Unfortunately, that has also had the effect of-"
"Speeding up his aging by a factor of three point two on a conservative estimate," Beast said with a nod.
"I can build a machine to reverse the effects of the ooze, and return him to human," Donatello explained. "And, while it won't restore his lost years, it will-"
"Restore his proper aging rate," Beast finished. "We'll need Forge on this."
"Forge?" Leonardo asked.
"Mutant who's ability is to build things so advanced you wouldn't believe it," Xander explained.
Beast was already typing and sending an e-mail with his left foot while examining the blueprints Donatello had brought and getting deep into tech speak.
"We better clear out," Xander said. "I'll show you guys the grounds while we wait."
"Go, go," Splinter encouraged them when they hesitated. "I'll be fine."
"Yes, Master Splinter," the three chorused, following Xander out the door.
"So, where are we?" Raphael asked.
"Upstate New York," Xander told them. "I'm pretty sure I didn't move us through time or into an alternate dimension, but my aim is a bit iffy."
The three turtles stared at him wide-eyed.
"Iffy?" Michelangelo asked.
"Don't sweat it," Xander assured him. "The X-Men are generally pretty friendly regardless of reality, and I wasn't rushed."
"You!" Cyclops growled out as he turned the corner and spotted Xander, his massive afro having been woven into some impressive dreadlocks.
The turtles tensed up, preparing for a fight, but Xander just grinned. "Yep, right universe and timeline."
"Because of you, Jean won't let me cut my hair. She says she likes it better this way! Do you know what a pain it is to have this much hair?" the annoyed X-Man demanded.
"She's probably just fucking with you," Xander told him. "You look silly in dreads."
Cyclops paused and sighed a few seconds later as feminine laughter wafted down the hall. "I can't believe her and Storm pranked me like that." He vanished up the stairs, still shaking his head, the beads in his dreads tinkling like a wind chime. "Storm always gets playful when she -"
"Why was he so chill about the upright turtle brigade, and why was he wearing a visor?" Mike asked.
"You met Beast," Xander pointed out. "They don't judge much by looks here, and his mutant power is shooting beams of force from his eyes."
"It's nice to meet people who don't panic when they meet us," Raph admitted.
"Or attack," Leo said as Xander led them to the kitchen.
"You're still hungry?!" Mike asked shocked, as Xander started bringing out food.
"I'm making up mass from a recent transplantation," Xander explained. "Plus, my shirt wants a salad."
"Your shirt wants a salad," Raph said carefully, thinking Xander was nuts.
"Yep," Xander said as part of his shirt grew a snout and started eating the salad he'd prepared like an elephant.
"Now I believe we're not the weirdest thing you've seen," Raphael admitted.
Xander explained some of the X-Men's history while he ate, and told them of some of the behind-the-scenes movements going on, and about a lot of heroes and villains who'd never entered their neighborhood.
"Past the 2300 block it's like a different world," Raph said, shaking his head.
Donatello rejoined them, accepting a soda from Beast who took one for himself.
"Well?" Leo asked.
"Forge is light-years beyond me," Don said. "He not only made the device, he improved it. The process will take some time, so it's less stressful on the body."
"Master Splinter is going to be human again," Mike said slowly.
"That's why we came here," Raph reminded him.
"Yeah, but...He won't be a mutant like us anymore," Mike pointed out. "He could live on the surface again."
The turtles debated the matter for some time, arguing the pros and cons and often reversing their stances on the subject.
"Just because he's human again doesn't mean he'll leave us," Leo said, after he'd decided the argument had gone on long enough.
"Who's human again?" asked the humanoid turtle who'd entered the room, a foot taller and a couple of shades lighter than the four.
"M-Master Splinter?" Donatello asked in shock.
"Yes my student?" he asked smugly.
"How? Why?" Raph burst out.
"And what and where?" Mike added with a grin.
The Amerind inventor Forge entered the kitchen. "We figured the best way to compensate for his advanced age wasn't to return him to human, but to replace the rodent DNA with DNA from the enormously longer lived Galapagos turtle.
Xander had paid Forge for his help by allowing him to examine the afro-ray, which was returned with a few improvements, and the turtles were soon back at home.
"Anytime you need a place to crash bro," Mike said, shaking his hand.
"We owe you," Don agreed.
"It's nothing you guys wouldn't have done in my place," Xander assured them. "Although, we are taking photos for my album before I head home."
"Where are you from?" Don asked.
"California, but it's on a completely different Earth. Me and some friends guard a portal to hell there."
"Yet, you aura is remarkably clear of any evil, though it is chaotic," Splinter said.
"I was sent on a small quest to cleanse my aura, but it does nothing about chaos," Xander explained.
"Quest?" Leo perked up. "I've always wanted to go on a quest."
"Let me make sure it's alright, and I'll see about you taking it," Xander said, vanishing and reappearing almost instantly. "Good news, they were really open to the idea."
"They?" Leo asked.
"You aren't allowed to know in advance," Xander explained. "To do this, you must leave all your weapons behind. The only instruction you are given is that you must coax enough dew from the Lilly's of the valley to cover you."
Leo quickly took off his weapons. "I am ready."
"This will test your physical limits in ways you have only dreamed," Xander warned.
Leo nodded resolutely.
"Ok," Xander agreed, and the two vanished into a light disk, with Xander returning a second later. "He'll need a hot bath and a gallon of water when he returns," Xander explained. "A pizza or two wouldn't be a bad idea either."
"How long do you expect it to take?" Splinter asked.
"Hard to say, but I plan on jumping ahead to when he's done when everything's ready," Xander replied.
"I'll get the tub," Raph said, going to draw a bath.
"Water," Donatello said, going to fill a pitcher.
"Pizza," Mike said, tapping a button on his watch and becoming an ordinary nondescript teen, before heading up above.
"This test sounds vaguely familiar," Splinter said thoughtfully.
"Those who have gone through this test may not speak of it to non-initiates," Xander said solemnly.
Splinter chuckled. "Well, while we're waiting, would you care to spar? I need to take stock of my body's new capabilities."
"I have the powers of a young Thor, Spider-Man, and Wolfsbane," Xander warned.
Splinter chuckled. "Excellent, then I need not hold back as much as I feared."
Xander whimpered as his spider-sense spelled out 'Dumbass' in Morse code.
"What's this drink called again?" Cyborg slurred as they watched the campfire.
"Coconut Surprise ala Gilligan," Mary Ann replied, unbuttoning another button. "They always make me feel too hot for some reason."
"Being a movie star isn't glitter and glamor," Ginger told Beast Boy. "Once I came very, very close to having to do a donkey show to get a role."
Beast Boy nodded. "I know what you mean. Once, while undercover, I came very close to performing in one myself."
"Really?" asked Gilligan curiously. "How does a guy perform in a donkey show?"
Beast Boy turned into a green donkey and flicked his ear.
"I think my part was more different," Ginger said. "That table should be the right height, follow me."
"I-I think I'm a little too young to see any of this," Rahne said, eyes-wide as she looked over the various pairs.
"Let's take a dip in the lagoon and clear our heads," Illyana suggested.
Kitty snickered and took a sip of her drink. "You guys are so prudish."
"Maybe a bit reserved," Mike said, "But a dip does sound nice."
"I'm a huge prude," Doug said proudly, and not a little drunk.
"Then, why are you naked?" Kitty asked.
"Huh?" Doug asked as Kitty put her hand on his shoulder and phased both of them through their clothing.
Rhane and Illyana each grabbed one of Mike's arms and drug him towards the beach.
"We are drunker than white striped black mammals," Rhane said as they reached the beach and started stripping off excess material.
"Those little umbrellas are potent," Illyana whispered as her bikini top and hat fell to the beach.
Mike was sure he was supposed to be wearing something, but not quite sure what, as the two drug him into the water.
Copycat awoke to find himself sandwiched between a blonde and a red-head. He was only wearing a jockstrap and was grateful they'd chosen to collapse in the shade of the palm trees as the rising sun would have burned them otherwise. The girls still had on the bottom halves of their swimsuits, so he doubted anything too risqué happened.
"What happens on the island stays on the island," Kitty said firmly as a light disk deposited the group of superpowered teens in the living-room of Titan's tower.
"Except for the hickey's," Beastboy said proudly.
"And the sunburn," Wolfsbane added. Despite having slathered on a full quarter of a bottle, the Irish Lass had managed to get enough sun to redden her skin.
"I can help with that," Raven offered, carefully placing her hands on Wolfsbane's shoulders and wrapping her shadow around them both.
"Pervs," the two chorused a moment later at the teens watching them.
"You felt their emotions," Raven told Wolfsbane with some surprise.
"So did you," Wolfsbane pointed out.
"I'm an empath," Raven countered.
"I guess...I'm one now too," Wolfsbane said with a slowly growing smile.
"Let me show you how I can heal others," Raven said. "My powers are more than just empathy alone, but since they are the basis for it, I might be able to share it with you."
"I have learned more about Cocos Nucifera than I even knew was possible," Cyborg said. "Hell, I'm not even sure if some of what he did was possible!"
Copycat rapped his fist against the steamer trunk he was sitting on. "We have got the cash, now to get the movie and T.V. series."
"It's really better than Warp Trek?" Beast Boy said doubtfully.
"By an order of magnitude," Kitty promised. "Are we just getting Star Wars and Star Trek?"
"You want to get something more?" Illyana asked.
"Battlestar Galactica, the Indiana Jones trilogy, maybe some of the classics they don't have here."
"It's not like we're short on cash," Copycat agreed. "Plus, I was thinking of including the Terminator movies as that is where I was planning on stealing the tech to fix Cyborg from."
"Deathstroke: the Terminator?" Robin asked intently as he entered the room with Starfire, Galatea, and Cannonball.
"No, just Terminator," Mirage said. "It's the name of a series of cyborgs."
"Cyborgs?" Beast Boy asked before Cyborg could.
"The opposite of Cyborg here," Cypher said. "They are machines that have covered themselves in cloned tissue to blend in with humans."
"Probably not as strong as me," Cyborg said thoughtfully.
"Like with ties, it's better to have a clip-on," Beast Boy joked.
"Augment rather than replace," Galatea agreed. "Steel is considered one of the heavy-hitters for the Justice league."
"I-I could have it all," Cyborg said softly. "I could be...normal."
"Fuck no," Cannonball snorted, surprising everyone, as the well-mannered teen rarely swore. "Normal is all of those that scream and cower when something goes wrong, praying for others to save them and their children. None of us here are normal, and hopefully, never will be. You left normal behind when you showed you were willing to risk your life for others."
Cyborg chuckled. "Point taken, but I want to look normal, and be able to walk around without people staring at me like I'm a freak. Hell, even Mirage keeps glancing at me when she thinks I'm not looking."
Mirage laughed. "Yeah, but I'm doing it because I find you attractive, you're like a younger and better looking Forge."
"Forge?" Robin asked while Cyborg blushed.
"A mutant with the ability to build nearly anything. He lost his arm and leg in Vietnam and built himself replacements."
"Not all the attention you attract is negative," Raven said as she and Wolfsbane finished. "I have felt a lot of...positive emotions directed at you when we're in public."
"I guess I am a bit sensitive," he admitted. "Still, I'd like to be able to feel things with my hands and vanish in a crowd when I like."
"That we can do," Copycat assured him. "So, we watch some movies, get info from Uncle Bob, and see about helping Cyborg attain his dreams."
"You guys put in a lot of work for being on vacation," Robin said.
"With nothing to do, we get bored and that's no fun," Cypher said.
"But having a challenging goal that isn't a life or death emergency gives us something to relax and work on," Magic continued.
"Which makes watching movies and playing games more fun, as we are skiving off work," Wolfsbane added.
"We still get the job done, so we've accomplished something," Copycat finished.
"Why don't Sunspot and Magma have your work ethic?" Robin asked, shaking his head.
"How do you know that?" Cypher asked.
"You guys have been gone five days," Cannonball offered.
"It was only a day and a night on our end," Copycat said cheerfully. "My aim is improving."
"How much have you missed by before?" Cyborg asked.
"Decades," Copycat said proudly.
"We could've missed most our lives!" Beast Boy exclaimed, wide-eyed.
"Nah," Illyana waved it off. "We can always make another jump back."
"And, if we overshoot, we make corrections as needed 'til it's under a week, then find a deserted island to hang out on and wait for time to catch up," Copycat said.
"Half a week isn't that much," Kitty agreed. "So where are Sunspot and Magma?"
"They went to visit an island full of Amazons," Cannonball explained. "Men aren't allowed on it, but since Sunspot was awarded the title of Warrior of Asguard, it can be argued he isn't a mortal man."
Mirage sighed. "So, he's making the Amazons feel even better about avoiding men?"
"With his ego and mouth you'd think so," Cannonball said, shaking his head. "But the truth is he's getting along great. Magma has never had a Slumber Party, so Sunspot introduced everyone to the concept and they mixed it with Amazon traditions."
"Makeovers, braiding hair, telling ghost stories," Galatea listed off. "He's made quite an impression."
"Are you sure we haven't jumped to an alternate universe?" Cypher asked Illyana.
"We're in the right place," she assured him. "I'll get the movies and jump back with my link to Kitty so we don't lose any more time."
"And a player," Cypher added. "I don't think their tech is that close a match, when we can't even play tapes from England on American VCRs. DVDs even have problems due to regional encoding."
"I'm on it," Illyana promised. "Give me a list and a stack of cash."
"Should we get Magma and Sunspot?" Cypher asked.
"Are you enjoying yourself?" Sunspot asked Magma who had a bright smile.
"It's a lot like home," she said.
"Except for the lesbian orgies," he pointed out.
"No, we had those in New Roma as well. I'm just glad I'm finally old enough to participate."
"I was a bit surprised they allowed me," he admitted.
Magma grinned. "You have become their favorite new little sister."
Sunspot shrugged, the markings covering his slight blush. "When in Rome..."
"The Orgies make up for a lot don't they?" she teased.
"Yes, yes they do," he agreed.
"He's always been a bit of a spoilsport when around me," Copycat said. "If he wants to spend his vacation time learning about foreign culture, good for him. We'll wait until he requests a pickup, or we're returning home before we nab him."
AN: Typing by Lucillia!