Xchanges – by Darlin
Disclaimer – As always, just borrowing Marvel's fun creations.
A/N – I started this story back in 2004 during Marvel's Reload period, nearly ten years ago. The story is based on how characters felt at that time not how they feel now in 2013 with different writers. I was influenced by Joss Whedon's first run of Astonishing X-Men a bit though. Also, In case anyone thinks I'm never going to get back to ASCW, should anyone care, I just started reading through it, corrected the first chapter and uploaded that so it made a little more sense. My goal is to finish it by summer's end.
"Woo hoo! My very first bitch session with you's guys, this is gonna be all kinds of fun!" Cain Marko, better known as the Juggernaut, called out with a laugh as he tried squeezing his large frame out of the elevator while Jubilee was trying to get out at the same time.
"What happened to ladies first, bub?" Jubilee grumbled, elbowing him as she tried to get out first.
"When I see a lady instead of a little pipsqueak then maybe I'll consider lettin' ya go first, kiddo," Cain snickered as he burst out of the elevator one step before Jubilee popped out.
Charles Xavier watched the two arguing as he stood by the door to the war room and he couldn't help sighing. At least Jubilee looked a little apologetic as she passed him but his step brother just grinned and patted him on the head then marched into the room and took the nearest empty seat which was at the head of the table and was, in fact, Charles' seat. Jubilee sat down beside Kitty who was sitting next to Logan. Ororo was on Logan's other side or Jubilee would've sat there. Jubilee gave Ororo and Kitty both an annoyed look that Kitty pretended not to notice and that Ororo didn't notice because she was having a quiet conversation with Logan.
"This is so gonna suck," Jubes muttered.
Charles was apt to agree. He stood by the door for a few more minutes wondering if Cain and Jubilee would be the last arrivals. Having scheduled a meeting to air grievances he was pleased to see so many of his X-Men had actually turned out. He was even more pleased to see none of them were in uniform. He hoped that coming together in a casual atmosphere would help the various teams to work out some of the small differences that he'd noticed developing after Jean's death. Scott had named this transition period 'Reload' although Charles didn't quite understand why. He would never quite understand any of his beloved students any more than he supposed they would ever understand him completely but that was one reason why he had requested this meeting. Looking at his watch he saw it was time to start so he went in, took an empty seat next to Emma who was seated beside Scott who was at the opposite head of the table, then quickly got down to business.*
"I asked you here today in hopes that we can air any grievances and resolve any issues you may have, and with that I give the floor to whomever wishes to speak."
There was silence as the X-Men looked either down at their notepads or hands or at each other curiously, wondering if anyone was going to say anything. Charles waited patiently. No one moved or spoke for a full minute. Charles, who had timed the interlude, squirmed in his seat.
Jubilee muttered, "A bitch session, an' no one's bitching, like what a complete waste!"
"Quelle surprise," Remy mumbled.
"Hush up, Remy," Rogue whispered, nudging him with her elbow.
"Language, Jubilee, and that's enough, Remy, please," Charles warned.
"But no one wants to say anything so can we go now, Prof? Please?"
Xavier cleared his throat as he looked down the table at Jubilee before speaking again.
"I will say that I am quite pleased that there aren't any issues that need to be aired and that we're all getting along so wonderfully well. And with that, per Jubilee's request, let us adjourn."
"Yay!" Jubilee cheered.
"Oh no, not so fast! No one's going anywhere, I have something to say," Emma said, pushing her chair back and standing up.
Jubilee and Logan groaned.
Scott frowned. He was sure this couldn't be good. Emma hadn't told him she had any issues so he'd assumed she'd just remain quietly bored throughout the meeting.
Ororo's white eyebrows went up noticeably while Kitty rolled her eyes without caring who saw her uncharacteristically childish behavior. Kurt, unbeknownst to all, blushed and looked away for though the bosomy blonde was not clothed in her usual skimpy uniform top her civilian attire was even more revealing with her barely there tube top and her short shorts all leaving little to the imagination.
"Contrary to popular belief I am not a whore, a hooker, a skank or a, quote ho unquote, nor am I a bloody ex-whore, an ex-hooker, an ex skank or an ex ho, or however you choose to put it, thank you very much Bobby Drake!" Emma snarled as she leaned over the table giving all a prime view of her assets.
Most of their jaws would've fallen to the floor if that were possible. Someone gulped audibly – that was Hank. A muffled snicker was heard but no one needed to guess who it was even if Jubilee hadn't immediately covered her mouth.
"Hey, no fair! She read my mind! No powers! Didn't you say no powers?" Bobby balked.
"He did not," Emma smugly assured him.
"Emma . . ." Scott started but she cut him off with a look that quickly silenced him.
"Well I call no powers!" Bobby cried.
"I didn't think it was necessary for me to set up rules as we're all adults here," Charles noted. "But fair enough. Emma, you may sit down . . . that is if you've said all that you . . ."
"Sit down, Emma!" Scott said without his usual tact.
All eyes turned to him and then to Emma, waiting to see what she would do.
"Please," he added with a weak smile as Emma's icy eyes bore into him threateningly.
Cough. "Wuss!" Cough.
Most of the X-Men pretended they hadn't heard Cain's truthful, albeit adolescent, observation although Jubilee, Kitty, Rogue and Remy and Bishop didn't bother to hide their grins and Logan laughed outright. Charles' shoulders slumped as he tried hard not to say anything. Emma sat down, crossed her legs and smiled warmly as if her mission had been accomplished.
"So, um, I think I'd like to just thank everyone for the wonderful job they've been doing," Scott said. "Storm, you've been doing a great job as leader as usual but . . ."
"I agree," Bishop and Sage who were sitting together spoke at the same time then looked at each other and smiled.
"Yup, me too," Rogue added.
"As always chère," Remy said with a grin and a wink at Ororo who politely thanked them.
"Humph!" This from Emma.
Everyone sat in stunned silence as if dreading their resident weather witch's response.
Scott, however, continued boldly on – "I do have some concerns about this Arena thing you, Callisto, and Yukio fought in. I feel that you put yourself and therefore the X-Men as a whole in a negative light which is what we're trying to avoid most of all as you well know. I'd like you to talk to Kitty to get a feel for project Reload to try and understand what we're trying to accomplish now with Emma and myself running the school."
"Sapriste! Dat probably wasn't de best timing you ever had, M'sieu Boss-man," Remy said.
"Remy's cussing, Professor!" Jubilee tattled.
"Merde, dat ain't a cuss word, Jubilee. Someone be t'inkin' you need some French lessons, chère."
"Remy!" Ororo said from across the table and threw him a look clearly warning him to stop teasing Jubilee. She then turned her attention back to Cyclops. "Is that all, Scott?" she asked.
"Well . . ."
"Good," Ororo interrupted. "First, Scott what I was forced into doing you have little knowledge of nor can you say that you would not have done any less or more or worse or better than I did. Secondly, I do not sit in judgment of your false steps or mistakes and thirdly, and please understand that this is in no way the least of my concerns with your leadership, but you appear to be letting Emma lead you around like a bitch – excuse my language but it is an accurate term here – in heat eager for her next mating session."
Gasps filled the room while Remy, Bobby, Cain, Hank, Jean-Paul even, and Alex chuckled. Logan actually roared with laughter and fell against Ororo he was so tickled.
Ororo looked at Logan briefly then went on, unconcerned with any of their reactions.
"I question your relationship with the ex-White Queen because I am not entirely sure there isn't some mind control going on."
There was a murmur of agreement that surprised Scott and angered Emma. But Ororo wasn't finished.
"It pales beyond belief that Jean, your wife, has been dead for only a few months and you've taken up with . . . with this . . ."
"Trollop?" Kitty asked helpfully.
"Ho?" Jubilee suggested. Logan reached over Kitty and swatted the little instigator on the arm.
"Alright that's enough!" Scott shouted.
"Boys and girls control yourselves please," Hank said quietly as he pushed his glasses back onto his snout. "While I am inclined to agree with Ororo I dare say abusive invectives are not the proper method to voice any apprehensions that we may have regarding our . . . fearless leader's choice of a partner for . . . coitus – Kitty and Jubilee."
Some of the X-Men stared at him in bafflement. Jubilee just chewed her bubblegum hard then blew a bubble at him. Kitty rolled her eyes again.
"Suffice it to say that anything resembling name calling is clearly not an acceptable way to vent, girls; albeit, Ororo gave an apt description, forgive my frankness, Scott. Now, my dear Ororo won't you please continue? I'm quite enjoying this, no offense, Scott."
"Honestly, I am too, no offense, Scott," Alex said. He was leaning back in his chair with his arms folded behind his head just an empty seat separating him from his brother and smiling like no one had seen him smile in a long time.
Lorna, who was sandwiched between him and Bobby, looked at him and shook her head.
"Oh please! Let someone else take the floor, Ororo's had her turn!" Emma snapped while glaring at Ororo who in turn smiled at Hank who bowed his head to her and made a flourish with his hand as if biding her to continue.
"It has also been brought to my attention," said Storm, "that Emma has been using her telepathy in ways that are not acceptable in anyone whether friend or . . . lover. Would you not agree with me on that, Scott? Witness her little attempt at reading our minds earlier."
"That is ridiculous!" Emma fumed.
"And yet you read Bobby's mind."
"She did too!" Bobby exclaimed and then covered his mouth as he realized what he'd just admitted.
"She probably read everyone's minds because that's what we were all thinking," Kitty said.
"I wasn't!" Sage, Lorna, and Rachel exclaimed almost as one.
"I wasn't either," Cain said. "I was thinkin' how good her . . ."
"Shut up, you crude, bloody, cretin! I didn't read anyone's mind because it was obvious what Bobby was thinking while the drool rolled down his face!"
"Yeah right! I was not drooling – you're not even my type!"
"You are so lying, Bobby," Jubilee said.
"What exactly is your type?" Jean-Paul inquired.
"I've just about had it with you, Jean-Paul – for the last time I . . . am . . . not . . . gay! I do not like guys! I don't care if you do, that's on you but I don't! I don't even like you, I sure as hell don't want you, and I damn sure don't want you hitting on me every chance you freakin' get, is that clear or do you need me to spell it out for you real slow like?"
"Bobby's cussing, Professor!" Jubilee tattled again.
"Oui, you're clear as ice, Bobby, sounds like the ranting's of a man clearly in denial which most homophobic men are by the way."
"What? I am not a homo . . . homo . . . homo whatever you said! Look you . . . ! Oh, man, you're – oh forget it! You can think whatever you want just stay the hell away from me!"
"He's still cussing, Professor!"
"Jubilation!" Ororo exclaimed.
"I was never hitting on you, Bobby."
"I didn't think he was either, Drake," Alex said.
"Well, you would say that, Alex but that's not what everyone else thinks! How would you like it if some guy was always trying to feel you out about your sexuality, huh, Alex? You'd be just as mad as when they compare you to Scotty!"
Scott sunk down in his chair but his brother leaned across Lorna and jabbed his finger at Bobby's face and said, "No one thinks I'm gay. I've been with Lorna for how many years now?"
"You're not together now!" Bobby replied.
"No, we're not together, Alex," Lorna confirmed.
"I know that! I didn't mean we were now but we were for almost forever."
"Can we please get on with the meeting, Professor?" Rachel asked.
"Well, Rachel I actually believe our time is up," Charles said out of desperation, "And Bobby, no cussing in future please, you either, Remy."
Jubilee grinned. Remy laughed. Bobby started to speak. Cain beat him.
"Well I heard you had a thing goin' on with the Beast here, Drake," he said with a smirk.
"What?" Bobby squawked, his eyes growing huge. "Yeah right, Cain with your IQ you would believe something as stupid as that! That's like me sayin' you and Black Tom Cassidy were freakin' lovers, man! Now you see everyone? This is just another reason why Juggie here doesn't belong with us!"
"Hey! Tom is my best friend!"
"An' Hank's my best friend!"
"This appears to be the perfect moment for me to reiterate that I am not and never have been homosexual," Hank said quietly. "It was merely a ruse, nothing more, just a retaliation, however immature, when Trish ended our relationship because of the media's outcry of bestiality. We have not yet reached the point of acceptance for that it would seem."*
There was a deafening silence in the room, no one looking at anyone and quite a few mouths hung open.
"Henry, have you seen Cecilia since your mutation?" Ororo asked shortly.
"Not recently. I'm not certain if she's still at the same hospital. I believe she was thinking of relocating."
"She was there when we last saw her," Sage told him.
"That's something we should look into," Warren quickly suggested. "There're a slew of former X-Men that are unaccounted for."
"I would enjoy seeing Japheth again," Ororo said wistfully.*
"Qui?" Jean-Paul asked.
"Maggot – he knew Joseph," Rogue supplied.
"Brown sometimes blue dude, South African accent, Guido style hair 'cept longer, two giant maggots fer buddies," Rogue continued.
"Like double eww. Eanie and Meanie were disgusting," Jubilee said.
"Huh?" Jean-Paul asked, still clueless.
"We ain't got all day fer me ta keep explainin' who he is, Jean-Paul. Ah wanna get outta here. Ah thought you said we were finished, Professor? Ah know ah am."
"Me too," Rachel agreed and half the group nodded in agreement.
"Can we just discuss what Warren said for a minute?" Lorna asked. "I mean I think it's important that we know where our fellow mutants are and what they're doing – if they need help or something."
"You don't mean we're going to hunt them down do you?" Rachel asked, looking uneasy.
"I mean if they're in need like . . . like . . . Genosha," Lorna said, the awfulness of her memories of that place causing her brow to furrow deeply.
"It's alright, Lorna," Alex said quietly and rubbed her arm to comfort her.
"Yeah, it's alright," Bobby mimicked Alex but Lorna gave Alex a grateful smile not Bobby.
"It wouldn't be hunting them down, Rachel, just checking in on them to make sure they were okay, like Lorna said, if they needed help we'd be there for them," Warren assured the ex-mutant hunter from the future.
"An excellent idea indeed," Bishop said with a nod of approval.
"I can begin immediately!" Sage said and started to get up but Charles motioned for her to stay put. She gave a tight smile, sighed, and sat.
"Good try though, Sage," Lucas whispered to his partner and chuckled.
"So then I believe we can all agree about this matter, yes?" Charles asked and everyone voiced their assent.
"Sage and I will work out a plan tomorrow then. Well, does anyone else have any concerns – I mean questions? Or rather, does everyone understand what Reload is?" The professor was hoping someone could explain it to him a little better than Scott had. He was sure most of them had questions about it but they were shaking their heads or saying they didn't have any so he remained quiet and decided he'd just get further clarification from Scott after the meeting.
In the ensuing silence Emma hissed, "You're such a prude, Ororo."
"I believe Henry said name calling would be considered as inappropriate and as immature as using one's powers during the meeting, Emma," Ororo replied. "But if you have something to say to me then by all means express yourself."
"You're a self-righteous prude, okay? And everyone here agrees with me!" Emma responded.
"Well, she's not reading our minds this time cause that's not what any of us are thinking!" Kitty said, laughing.
"What's it matter if she's a prude or not? None of us have any problems with Storm," Alex commented.
"I don't see how it matters either, Emma," Bishop said.
"She don't seem like no prude to me," Cain said.
"She always sunbathin' on de roof naked, no prude's gonna be doin' dat," Remy added, grinning.
"She does? You do?" Cain exclaimed.
"How do you know that, Swamp Rat, huh?"
"There's definitely nothing prudish about that," Jean-Paul said, shaking his head.
"It ain't like you didn't know I've seen Stormy naked before, Rogue," Remy replied defensively.
"I think a lot of us have seen her naked at one point or another but that's neither here nor there, can we please get back on topic?" Scott said.
"You've seen her naked too, Cyclops? How come everyone's seen her naked 'cept me?"
"She didn't know ze customs of zis country back zen," Kurt said in Ororo's defense.
"You've seen her naked too?" Rachel cried, alarmed.
Kurt kind of looked bashfully ashamed although a little grin crept over his face. He wasn't blushing this time either. He'd thought she was lovely, still thought it.
"Remember Petey Pureheart had ta give you his shirt when ya got outta the pool, that time you decided to join us for a swim darlin'?"
"There's nothing wrong with the naked body, nothing to be ashamed of," Ororo replied calmly.
"Not when ya look as good as you do, that's a fact," Logan agreed.
"Damn, Storm, you's the woman!" Cain said.
"There's nothing prudish about that," Warren chipped in.
"You men are all alike," Emma said. "Your minds are in the gutter and I don't have to read them to know that. I'd be sickened if I read your minds. You don't know Ororo like I do. I was Ororo and she's most definitely a prude!"
"Maybe that's saying more about what you would do and not what Ororo wouldn't, did you ever think about that?" Kitty asked. "I mean if you're view point is the sky's the limit you would probably consider most of us prudes."
"The sky's the limit? I don't . . . Why you . . . !"
"Emma," Scott said quietly.
"Ladies this really shouldn't be turned into a real bitch session," Jean-Paul advised.
"Can't we just agree to disagree?" Lorna said.
"Oh, oh, oh! I wanna see 'em fight! Are you's two gonna fight? Oh man, there ain't nothin' like watchin' two hot babes in a cat fight! Oooo, oooo, Storm make it rain too so you's two get all wet!" Cain enthused, grinning like an excited sixteen year old boy.
"Please, please everyone, please control yourselves! We are all adults here!" Charles implored.
"No, Cain and Bobby are little boys with serious Freudian issues, everyone else here is an adult although Ororo's a vindictive prude of an adult – oh, and you Jubilee, you're just a child," Emma retorted.
"If you believe that then you're sadly mistaken though how it concerns you or why I don't understand," Ororo said.
"I bet Ororo's been intimate wit' more men in dis room dan anyone else," Remy said helpfully.
"She has?" Rogue and Bishop both asked.
"TMI," Kitty said and groaned.
"Intimate does not always mean sex," Ororo informed them.
"Then what do ya mean exactly?" Cain asked.
"I simply meant – oh I didn't mean anything! It's silly, even ridiculous to argue such a thing with her."
"So, who've you been with besides me, darlin'?" Logan asked.
"Oh, man I knew they had a thing going on! I knew it!" Cain bellowed and laughed.
"No zey don't, zey're just friends," Kurt said.
"You are such a good friend, and you never have a bad word for anyone do you, Kurt," Rachel said with a smile which caused Kurt to blush this time.
"Sage and I have actually been wondering about the two of you for a while now," Bishop said.
"It's rather obvious to me," Sage said.
Ororo sighed then said, "Perhaps I should have rephrased my statement and Remy mind your own business please. I wish I'd said nothing at all as I've no need to defend myself and, Logan, of all people you shouldn't be asking me that question no matter how many kisses we've shared, what's more, to reveal intimate details in public is not what a gentleman does, Remy LeBeau."
"You an' the Cajun too?" Cain asked, relishing the new revelations.
"There ain't nothing' goin' on between Remy an' Ororo, ya'll!" Rogue shouted.
"We know that, Rogue," Logan said, "But 'Ro, yeah, yer right, I'll give ya that but Scott brought it up first then LeBeau did an' you went with it darlin'. I can admit ta kissin' you can't I? It's not like no one's never seen us doin' that before so it's not a surprise ta anyone 'cept Marko here."
"It was to me," Rachel said.
"Besides, when it comes to kissing, darlin' you're the best."
"Oui, tres, tres excellente," Remy offered.
"Ah'm so gonna kill him after this," Rogue grumbled to herself.
"Oh, you dog!" Warren laughed.
"I can remember a time when you were interested in 'Roro too," Logan noted.
"Times change. People change, you certainly did," Warren replied with a shrug.
"Warren and I have overcome our past disagreements and are fine now," Ororo assured them.*
"So who else have you kissed?" Jubilee asked.
"Isn't that kind of immature, Jubilee?" Kitty asked.
"A true woman never kisses and tells, Jubilee," Ororo said with a smile in Kurt's direction.
"You mean an old fashioned woman, i.e. a prude," Emma said.
"She is only teasing you, Jubilee," Kurt said, again blushing beneath his dark blue hue.
"Okay, can y'all drop this subject?"
"Stormy know my heart belongs to you, chère," Remy whispered close to Rogue's ear, pacifying her somewhat.
"Don't even get me started on Rogue, woe is me, wah, wah, wah," Emma snarled under her breath.
"Emma!" Scott warned between clenched teeth as he sunk even lower in his chair. His head was beginning to throb but whether it was because of the awful turn the meeting had taken or because his telepathic girlfriend felt he needed a little punishment for barking at her was hard to tell although he had a strong feeling it was Emma's doing.
"Some of us got pretty good hearin' – you might wanna keep your comments to yerself down there," Logan advised having caught her insult with his superman hearing even at the opposite end of the table.
"I still wanna know who you's been foolin' around with, Storm," Cain said.
"Whom have you been fooling around with," Charles corrected.
"She already said Logan, Professor, didn't you hear her?" Bobby joked.
Charles covered his face with both hands and took a few deep calming breaths.
Ororo shouted, "I did not say that!"
"She didn't," Sage confirmed.
"She didn't have to, it's like, duh, I saw you two making out in the Outback even way back then! Like what's changed?" Jubilee exclaimed.
Ororo and Logan looked at each other and as upset as Ororo was she remembered that kiss and she had to smile. Logan grinned, remembering it too. The mood seemed to be shared between the others that had been in Australia with them and the subject changed unexpectedly.
"Boy, those were fun, weird times," Rogue said. "Remember how we used ta go runnin' out in that hot sun y'all? Boy, it was so hot but how beautiful that place was in all its lonely desolation. If y'all ever wanna get away from the hustle an' bustle that's the place ta go. We had some fun with Gateway sendin' us all over. Hmm, ah wonder if Gateway's still sittin' out there all by himself?"
"If the future holds true then he'll be reported dead perhaps a time or two but I believe he's alright now, Rogue," Bishop said.
"Ah forgot y'all're related, huh? Well good, that's cool."
"And who is Gateway?" Jean-Paul asked.
"Tight lipped, little guy, great teleporter out in the Outback where we cleaned up the Reavers. Lonely desolation's right, the town's kinda busted up an' in the middle of nowhere," Logan said.
"Remember that crazy red head who looked just like Jean?" Jubilee said and laughed but then she sobered and said, "She seemed so nice at first." She shook her head as she remembered Madelyne before she became the crazy Goblin Queen.
"I remember alright and I rather not," Alex said.
"Can we not discuss Madelyne?" Scott asked, sinking even lower in his chair.
"It wasn't bad till the end, Alex, and ah heard you an' Logan had quite the adventure in Mexico," Rogue said.
"Yeah, well, Alex killed Storm," Logan commented.
"I didn't! Ororo you don't know how bad I felt! I mean I thought I had killed you! I'm just glad I didn't!" Alex cried.
"Yo, if you hadn't done what ya done Remy would never have met Stormy an' you all would never have known what a great guy Remy is!" Gambit teased.
Jubilee pretended to gag and Rogue and Ororo chuckled.
"Stormy was so cute an' little back den," Remy said, smiling at the memory of the child Ororo had been turned into by the robot called Nanny and not Magneto's robot called Nanny that had tended to the captured Ororo and some of the other X-Men who were all left with toddler like reflexes.
"I'd rather not discuss that," Ororo was quick to say not desiring to think of either occasion.
"I liked you that way, Remy's right, you were real cute, Storm," Jubilee said.
"I liked her with the Mohawk," Kitty chimed in.
"You hated it at first, Kätzchen," Kurt said.
"Okay, it took some getting used to, the whole look, but after a while it grew on me."
"Look who's talking about different looks . . . Sprite!" Logan said.
"You did have some interesting uniforms back then, Kitty," Ororo said with a smile.
"In my defense I was just a kid then!"
"Our little kitten," Ororo said wistfully.
"Ororo was so cute as a little kid," Remy said in a faraway voice, "But man was she stubborn. Couldn't tell her squat almost." He sighed. "We had good times back den, chère."
"Ah remember Joseph, remember Joseph ya'll? We used ta have the best times together!"
"I wish we knew what's become of Japheth," Ororo said.
"Maybe he off somewhere wit' Joseph!" Remy said, giving Rogue a resentful look.
"Hey, remember that time I kicked Colossus' ass in that bar – that was Harry's right?" Cain said, laughing. He slapped his knee he enjoyed the memory so much. "Boy those were good times."
"Ah remember the time Nimrod snatched yer helmet off an' we had to rescue you – hah! He would've kicked your sorry butt if we hadn't stepped in an' saved you," Rogue said, laughing.
"You don't know that! Nothing stops the Juggernaut!"*
"Oh yeah? How 'bout the time we snatched that ugly bowl you call a helmet offa yer big ugly head an' shoved it up yer ass?" Logan drawled.
"You little, punk liar! You never did that! You never did that! I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!"*
"Professor, Juggernaut's cussing! Professor, didn't you hear him?" Jubilee wailed.
"Please, let's calm down everyone," Charles pleaded. His head was beginning to throb.
"Logan was just teasing you, Cain, however inadvisably," Ororo tried to explain.
"I'll rip his hairy, little head off his little, tiny body an' shove it up his hairy ass – lyin' on me like that! You crazy runt . . . kill you," Cain grumbled.
"Yeah, what 'Ro said," Logan laughed and fell against Ororo again. He was one of the few who was actually enjoying the meeting.
"Oh my stars and garters, we never would have gotten to where we were if we'd carried on like this," Hank said. "For the most part we all got along when we first started out. Ah, so many good memories. Remember, Bobby, Warren, Slim, Charles?" Hank smiled fondly at his original teammates.
Charles sighed deeply. This was no time to remember the beginning. He had been pretty hard on them, even ruthless. He hoped no one would mention the time he threw bowling bowls at their heads when they weren't looking before they had a danger room.
"We had a way better time than these newbies ever did that's for sure," Bobby said and Charles let out a sigh of relief.
"You wish!" Jubilee retorted.
"What did you do in Australia, huh, Jubes? I thought you just hid like a scared little kid," Bobby replied.
"Well . . . well . . ." Jubilee was stumped so she made a face at Bobby.
"She saved my ass is what she did, boy!" Logan growled and then smiling at Jubilee he said, "You did real good, kid."
"Jean was so young and beautiful back then, I remember that," murmured Warren. "I don't think I'll ever stop missing her."
"I forgot you had the hots for her, Warren," Bobby said.
"Let's not talk about Jean," Scott and Emma said as if they were one.
"Okay, okay, that's enough everyone. I think we've all said more than enough. Thank you all for coming. Good day everyone," Charles said, throwing his hands up as if he wanted to ward off impending fights all around.
"Danger room tonight, short stuff," Cain said.
"No problem, I'll be there," Logan said, accepting the challenge.
"My money's on Juggie," Bobby said.
"Now yer on my side, Popsicle? I might just throw the fight so you lose all your cash!"
"Enough! Didn't you hear the professor?" Sage shouted. "We're all adults here; can't you at least try to act like it?"
"Thank you, Tessa. Meeting's adjourned everyone, carry on, yes we're finished, everyone please just go!" Charles said wearily as he got up and motioned for Scott to join him.
"Aren't you going to ask if anyone has any more questions, Professor?" Rachel asked mischievously but Charles wisely ignored her.
"Did you have any, Rachel?" Scott asked his daughter from another timeline.
"No, I was just . . . no, I'm fine thanks," she lied. She had plenty of questions for him but she knew she would probably never ask him because he was too afraid to hear them and she was afraid of the answers now that her mother from another timeline was dead and he'd taken up with Emma. She shuddered as she thought this.
"Are you alright, Rae?" Kurt asked.
"I'm always alright when you're around. Wanna get some coffee?"
"Ja, zat would be nice, especially after all zis turmoil."
"You can say that again," she agreed.
"We're still on for next month then?" Scott asked as he straightened up, raising his arms high in order to stretch his sore back before standing.
Charles hesitated. He wasn't sure if he wanted to go through another meeting like this again and this meeting couldn't have been thirty minutes long!
"Does that mean we have to wait a whole month to find out how many men Storm's been with?"
"Cain, that's probably enough don't you think?" Xavier said.
"I'm just sayin'! Maybe you already know, readin' minds like ya do, Charlie, but we all kinda wanna know too – don't the rest of you's guys?"
"Hell, yeah!" Bobby said and Warren agreed while Jean-Paul nodded. Even Alex and Bishop looked at Ororo curiously.
"I do not read minds to find out personal things, Cain."
"Ya read 'em ta find out what then?"
"Cain, let's just save this till our next meeting, okay?" Ororo said as she headed to the door.
"Is she serious?" Alex asked Warren.
"I'd like to think she was, but I seriously doubt she is," Warren replied with a shrug.
"Emma is right, you men are pigs," Lorna said as she left.
"Hey, wait up, Lorna! I'm not a pig! I don't care who Ororo's been with!" Bobby said as he raced after her.
"Do we have to have monthly meetings, Prof?" Jubilee asked.
"I didn't appreciate your comment about me earlier, Jubilee," Emma hissed.
"It was just a joke, I mean, well you do kinda dress like a slut but, hey, you're the one who brought it up."
There wasn't much Emma could say in her defense. She did and she had.
"Ya'll ah don't see why we need a monthly meetin' ta talk about everyone's sex lives," Rogue muttered, still in her seat, arms crossed over her chest and pouting slightly.
"That's because you don't . . ."
"Emma, that's enough, babe!" Scott said sternly. He was seeing spots in front of his eyes and he knew he was getting a migraine. Or either Emma was giving him a migraine.
"I think we need to rethink monthly meetings," Charles said. "Perhaps an annual meeting would suffice. Well, once again, thank you all for coming, now please everyone try to calm down, have a good day – surely you must have somewhere else to be."
Out in the hallway Logan caught up with Ororo who was pushing on the elevator button as if it she wanted to hurt it.
"Hey, why the rush, darlin'?"
"I'm trying not to lose my temper and go back in there and do painful things to Emma that I might possibly regret. What do you want?"
"Well, to be honest I'm curious. You just never seemed ta be the type ta go around kissin' on just any one. What gives?"
Ororo laughed. "Emma just makes me so mad sometimes; I felt I had to one up her. Silly and juvenile I know but she . . . I can't stand her, there I've said it, I can't."
"Yeah, I know what you mean, darlin. I think you, me, an' Hank are havin' problems tryin' ta wrap our heads around Scott and her."
Ororo moved aside as the elevator door opened and Juggernaut and Jubilee raced to get in first. A few others squeezed in after them.
"You might've gotten lucky with Storm, Wolverine but I'm gonna pulverize ya t'night!" the Juggernaut hollered in passing.
"I seriously question her taste," Jean-Paul said as he zipped in as the elevator door was closing.
"That's so not right, Northstar! Logan's the . . . !" Jubilee's squeals were cut off as the door slid shut.
"She was probably going to say you're the best there is at everything," Ororo murmured.
"Well, darlin I ain't gonna argue. There's one thing I think you know I'm the best at don't ya?"
"Ugh! I wished I'd never opened my mouth! You didn't help any! And now Cain will never let this go."
"Nah, I'll take care of him for ya darlin'."
"The Wolverine versus the Juggernaut, my mutant-in-shining-armor." Ororo chuckled.
"Anything for you, 'Ro."
The corridor was slowing emptying. Remy and Rogue were walking down the hall together but the Cajun looked back at Logan and Ororo and shook his head. He, like Jean-Paul, would never understand what Ororo saw in the short, gruff, Wolverine.
"Well, ya wanna walk or wait for the elevator again?"
"So yer tellin' me I'm the only guy you've been with, eh?"
"Logan, I can't believe you just asked me that!"
"Alright, I know the Cajun likes to cop a feel now an' then an' Kurt's been crushin' on you an' Warren woulda . . ."
"Logan, in this whole wide world you're the only man for me."
"Wanna get a little intimate with me then?" he asked with a rakish grin, not caring if she was teasing or not.
"My room or yours?" she purred and then he knew she was teasing.
"I heard that!" Emma said as she came up to them. "How am I the slut when you two can't keep your hands off of each other?"
"Hey, I didn't touch her!" Logan said, raising his hands and stepping back.
"You know what I mean! The two of you can sleep around all you like but I sleep with my boyfriend – one boyfriend only – and I'm a whore!"
"Why's it matter to you what me an' 'Ro do, Frost?"
"Because I'm sick and tired of being treated like I'm a cheap whore that you're all being forced to put up with that's why!"
"That is pretty much how most of us feel I think," Ororo said.
"Aside from cheap, we know your taste don't run cheap," Logan added.
"Thanks for not calling me cheap, Logan!"
"I was being sarcastic!"
"As always, darlin'."
Emma scowled at Logan. "What do I have to do to prove myself with you holier than thou hypocrites? I've been on your side longer than I was ever with the Hell Fire Club! I work hard, I haven't turned evil, I haven't done anything that warrants your horrible thoughts, I've stood by the children at every school we've started, worked loyally beside Sean and now Scott, I've dedicated myself to those children, fought hard not to lose another child on my watch and I'm still here because of those children whom I will always protect and teach so they will never ever be used or feel powerless even if that means I have to put up with you bloody, sanctimonious lot! And guess what? Before Jean died Scott made his choice and it wasn't her, it was me! Me!"
"You know, Emma, you never once apologized to any of us for the things you did," Storm began, "Not to Kitty, Bobby, myself, Logan – any of us that you and the Hellfire Club used. If you wanted to be with the X-Men then you should have considered old grudges die hard without clearing the air. But you act as if we met on the best of terms, and as if you had never stolen my body or put us in a carnival side show, took me back to days of slavery, and all your other crimes against us and you continue to throw snide remarks at us left and right while treat us as if we're all insignificant intrusions in your life – you treated Jean that way most of all and Jean was dear to us all."
"Amen ta that, darlin'!"
"You aren't the first villain we've accepted into our midst, Emma and you won't be the last I'm sure. Today it's Cain, and I would never have thought after Scotland the first time I encountered him that we would welcome the Juggernaut, but tomorrow perhaps it'll be Magneto again or Kraven."
"Kraven or Xraven?"
"Logan, you know what I mean. We're all about second chances and yes, Emma you have proven yourself. But while we've opened the door to you and invited you in without little comment how could you expect us not to feel some resentment as you continue to treat us like minions or annoyances?"
"Really, Ororo? You're just still angry that I borrowed your body, and that was how long ago?"
Ororo looked at Emma as mildly as always but Logan noticed her eyes were beginning to cloud over as they often did when she was ready to let her powers rip.
"'Ro's right," he said. "Although Kraven was pretty hardcore crazy, don't see him fittin' in too good. If at all. I'd probably have ta kill him so he didn't hunt us down one by one, kill us, skin us and taxidermy us."
"Okay, I know you were makin' a point but I'm seein' that crazy hunter an' his family in my head now, makes me wanna go kick some ass."
"You are so vulgar," Emma said. "The prude and the vulgar, little man. You're a ridiculous couple."
"I think that makes 'Ro's point right there. If you couldn't apologize you could at least try an' act like you were tryin' ta be a better person an' maybe we would try ta give ya a chance. You owe a bunch of people here apologies all around an' I don't figure those apologies are comin' any time soon if ever. And it ain't like we're sittin' around waitin' for you or Marko or anyone to get down on yer knees. But you know the difference between Cain and you says everything. He's trying ta fit in an' yer still actin' like Ororo said, like you're the queen bee an' we're the disposable worker bees there to keep you happy, ta do your bidding, and in your way otherwise. Actions do speak for themselves. Come on, darlin', let's get outta here."
"I refuse to apologize for things that I did ages ago when my behavior with the children now should speak for itself!" Emma said and turned her back to them and punched the elevator button.*
"Your behavior with the children? What kind of example was stealing Scotty away from Jean?" Logan demanded.
"Everyone knows you were in love with her, Logan!" Emma cried as she turned to face him again. "I would've thought you would've gone after her as soon as you found out about my so called affair with Scott. You should've been delirious with joy because that meant she was free to be with you!"
Logan shook his head. "That was a long time ago when I wanted to be with her. Jeanie and I were just good friends when you moved in on Slim an' she knew it wasn't gonna be anything more between us."
"I hardly believe that! Ororo, darling your little hairy lover is in love with another woman!"
"No. I'm not, an' 'Ro knows that."
"You are so full of venom, Emma. I never understood before but perhaps I can understand you a little better now. I think it must be miserable for you knowing what many of us really think of you. The truth can be painful," Ororo admitted which surprised Logan.
"Yes. Yes, it is," Emma said, stunned by Ororo's admission.
"Well, why didn't ya just admit that during the meeting instead of going all psycho?"
"It sounds so much sweeter when you sugar coat it, true, but I don't do sweet," Emma replied.
"Emma, I spoke out of anger earlier and I shouldn't have . . ."
"Apology accepted. I . . . certainly understand. From now on I'll try to keep my snide remarks – no! I simply can't keep all my snide remarks to myself! But I will try to limit them. Now, why don't you go get intimate with your man, Ororo and I'll go get ready to get intimate with mine?" Emma finished and flounced into the waiting elevator.
"I think that's her way of calling for a truce . . . maybe," Logan said after the elevator carried Emma away.
"Perhaps. I do know that I need to let my resentment go. We can't function as a team like this."
"Seems most of us are on the same page, it's Emma who's the problem. Wanna go get intimate with me now, darlin'? My room?"
"No, Logan. Dealing with Emma isn't exactly an aphrodisiac."
"Nope, but I know how ta get ya in the mood." He took her hand in his. "Come on. We'll have a picnic down by the lake."
Ororo leaned her head against his and said, "I think that's the perfect aphrodisiac, Logan."
Scott and Charles were standing in the doorway watching Storm and Wolverine. They'd stayed behind discussing Reload and trying to decide if they should continue meetings like this and if so if they should have an outline of everyone's grievances beforehand or if they should can meetings altogether. Charles had voted for canning them but as the last of his X-Men sauntered off hand in hand he smiled and nodded at Scott.
"I thought I'd never want to hear the word meeting again but after that, Scott my boy, I feel as if we actually achieved something today." He patted Scott on the shoulder.
"I don't quite follow, sir," Scott said. He knew his girlfriend only too well, and Emma had not called a truce.
Charles shoulders sagged a little. If Scott didn't see that Emma had given in, if only just a little, he was not going to be the one to tell him otherwise.
"Maybe we could try another session again in a month or so although it seems giving a large group free reign to air their feelings means someone's feelings will always be hurt. Another reason perhaps it would be best to do away with these things altogether. I'm afraid Jubilee was right, the meeting did suck. Perhaps it's after the meetings we can hope to find some understanding of each other. Such a quandary don't you think?"
Scott wasn't listening to Charles, he was thinking about not inviting Emma to the next meeting. But he knew he couldn't find an excuse not to invite her and if she found out, and she would, he would be the one that was hurt, worse than the migraine he had now – seriously hurt.
"Hmm, I suppose I do wonder how many men Ororo's been with," Charles said to himself as he started down the corridor.
"Emma says . . ."
"Erm . . . no, Scott. I'd rather not know, thank you. It was just a passing thought spoken out loud and it's certainly none of my business."
Charles left Scott standing there still thinking about making the next meeting run more efficiently with rules handed out to everyone as they entered. And the Professor, walking briskly, was still wondering who Ororo had been with. She was after all quite a woman. And if she could tolerate Emma who had done so much harm to many of his X-Men then he supposed he could tolerate another meeting. Not soon but next year might work.*
1. I do realize Marvel named it Reload not Scott, but just having some fun.
2. To be honest I'm not sure Jean-Paul ever met Japheth but I'm thinking he didn't. I liked Japheth so I made Ororo miss him although I try not to make her like too many things/people that I do because I want her to be Storm in my stories and not me. And I know Japheth's dead. I dislike that they kill off all the Brown guys I like. What's up with that anyway? Well, Bishop's still around and he's no longer a lunatic at least.
3. Hank was obviously not yet dating Brand and I kind of thought he liked Cecilia at one point.
4. Ororo & Warren had a disagreement back in X-Treme X-Men but when she first came there and he joined her in the air and they flew together he was attracted to her. Of course he left the team right after that.
5. I almost feel like I should apologize but I simply could not resist having the Juggernaut say these things, it was just way too tempting. That YouTube video cracked me up. Wow, that was a longggg time ago! And I know Juggie doesn't say you's but I figured it added to his character. I enjoyed him when he was on the team. I like the Juggernaut cause he's the Juggernaut . . . !
6. Emma officially apologized to Kitty in a fairly recent Uncanny X-Men maybe when Xavier & Hank were being held prisoner by Norman Osborne and Dark Beast I'm thinking. Maybe.
7. Chris Claremont actually did have the Professor thinking Ororo was quite a woman in an early issue. I'll find it later and add the comic number if I can, same for the others if that pertains.
~ Finis ~