Disclaimer: Marvel owns most of them. DC owns the other one. Some odd imagery, strange ideas ... etc.

Notes: *cough* I'm such an over-achiever. I believe I worked in every one of those sentences. And Evie is growing on me. Sigh. Oh, this also conjectures a slightly further day when Cable defeated Poccy, and Jean and Scott have kids. Sue me, they're cute.

Dedication: to Lynx, may you pass with flying colours. And graduate, so you can go on and pester the rest of us from uni. ;]

Talking in Circles
by Ana Lyssie Cotton

The black buttocks of night sat moonless on the lawn. Clouds cluttered the sky like so many used pieces of toilet paper, floating in a cesspool of ideas. The air was stiflingly hot, and sort of reached down the throat and throttled the lungs if breathed too deeply.

A fetid stench consisting of rotted corpse and spoiled fruit lingered at the back of the mouth. The corpse itself lay curled on its side, dust and dirt draping it from heel to neck.

Farther down the lawn a figure stood, pink draping around it. Summer had arrived in New York, and it had stayed for two long weeks.

Remy, handsome, hunkish and brimming with testosterone looked somehow uneasy as he adjusted his pink dress. The dress had been a joke, one he and several others had thought to pull on Bobby.

That had been the plan, anyway. Until now. With a shiver, Remy LeBeau stepped closer to the corpse, praying it wasn't someone he knew. But somehow knowing the prayer would go unanswered.

He wasn't a praying man, was Remy, but he was gonna try. 'Cause the person in the grass looked like someone he knew--and had, from the stench, been dead a long while.

With a fatalistic shrug he looked down at the body and sighed, "Merde..."

Evangeline Drake heaved her bosoms off the bar and, tipping the barman a raffish wink while adjusting her fedora, ducked out into the night.

She was long past overdue that visit to her cousin. Even if it WAS cooler in Harry's. In fact, the minute she stepped out into the heat, her ample chest slicked with sweat and she groaned under her breath.

Off to the right, her motorcycle gleamed, waiting for her to ride. She wondered if it would help, having air flowing around her--it might be cool. It might not.

With a sigh, she hopped onto it, kickstarting it, then tucking the fedora in a pocket and donnign the helmet. If nothing else, it was sure to be a nice ride--even if there wasn't a moon.

"I am Miss Average."

The voice came from her right and she glanced over. A slim young woman leaned against a light post, her hands in the pockets of her black leather jacket. Evangeline would place money that the girl was sweltering in it, too.

"I am always going to be average, when compared to the other Xsh-women."

Evangeline blinked. The girl wasn't just burning hot, she was drunk from the sound of it. And rambling. "Hello?"

"Wha?" Dark eyes peered up at Lina, "Who're you?"

"I'm Lina Drake." She held out a hand and then caught the girl as she suddenly staggered, "And you're drunk. Look, yould you like a ride home?"

"Not sh'posed t'talk t'strangersh."

"Well, I'm Lina -- Evangeline. And you?"

"Kitty. They all call me Kitty." She snorted, "Not that I'm a kid anymore or nothin'."

"Well, Kitty, you come right over here, and I'll drive you home, 'K?"

"Yeah..." With another stagger, the girl weaved towards Lina's bike. "Hey..."


"Y're related to Drake, aren't ya?"

"If you mean Bobby, he's my cousin." She smiled, "C'mon, now, I've got you."

"Home, Jamesh." The girl commanded, then giggled.

"Yes, Kitty. Home."

Rachel Grey-Summers was only three days old when the world ended. Okay, so that was an exageration. The world at large didn't end--but the world she was part of crumbled just a little.

Looking at her daughter with something close to terror, Jean Grey-Summers sang under her breath. The words were nonsense, but they helped calm her down as she rocked the daughter she'd never thought she'd have. "Hey nonny-nonny..."

Tufts of red hair stuck out all over the baby's head, like grass shoots in a new plantation. Bobby Drake had already made silly comparisons once. Jean had glared at him, then giggled.

In the adjoining room, she could hear Scott reading to their son, Nathan. "Hamish Bond lacked his famous brother's savoir faire, preferring his cocktails stirred not shaken and occasionally succumbing to the temptation to pee in the bath."

She snorted. Since Nathan was only three, he wouldn't understand most of the words. It was still not quite what she'd have liked her son to hear at that age.

::Silly.:: Scott's mindvoice wrapped around her and she smiled and touched back.

::Well, it isn't.::

::I shall endeavour to find the Barney book that Hank hid, then, shall I?::


He chuckled.

Something impinged on their conversation, and Jean stiffened, ::Scott...::

The intercom blared, then, startling little Rachel, who mewed in annoyance, then settled back into sleep. "Jean! Scott!"

Henry McCoy's voice sounded worried, Jean sensed Scott move to the intercom and tab it. "What is it, Hank?"

"I believe you both should come down to the medlab. Immediately."


::Stay here, Jean. I'll call you if you're needed.::


With a quick movement, Scott left the other room and disappeared down the hall. Jean stepped into the room and smiled at Nate, who was looking at her out of sleepy eyes.

"Hello, kiddoe."

He snorted at her, and she chuckled and sat down on his bed. "Here, hold your sister for a moment. I need to get something from the upper shelf."

With care she placed the sleeping baby in his small arms and smiled as he held her tightly. Then she stood and reached up onto the top shelf, pulling down a large flat book with a large purple dinosaur printed on it.

She sighed. "What was it Hank said? Ah, yes, I know you don't want to read this, but it's for your own good.'" She chuckled. "Not mine, anyway."

'No,' was not the answer she'd anticipated after asking wistfully, 'Will you still respect me in the morning?'

Kitty stared blearily up at the woman supporting her. "No?" She repeated sadly.

"Child, if I take advantage of you, I'd respect neither me nor you."

"Oh." With a sigh, Kitty released Lina's hand and staggered towards her bed. "See you in the morning, then."

"Yes. Good night."

"Shleep tight."

"Don't let the bedbugs bite." Replied Evangeline Drake as she shut the door softly.

Kitty Pryde curled up, wrapping her arms around her knees. Rejection was nothing new. Not really. But that it would come like this ... And I'm not even attracted to women ... Am I? She chuckled tiredly. Maybe.

It certainly wouldn't be new, this strange and fluttery feeling she got from being around Lina. And she'd only known the woman all of an hour! Still ... There was something about her.

"Sleep, Kit." she instructed herself, yawning. Sleep...

Lina chuckled softly as she left Kitty in her room. The child was lovely, but not her style. Although I could make an exception, she thought with a speculative gleam in her eye.

A sound came from around the corner ahead of her, and a young man came dashing into view. He looked like a rabid dog, all saliva and wild eyes. She blinked and dropped into a stance, waiting.

He crashed into her, she sent him flying into a wall, then came up on her feet to watch him.

A groan came from the prone figure, and Lina blinked, "Bobby?"

The young man looked up at her, brushing brown hair from his eyes, "Evie?"


"It must be you," he nodded, then winced, "Only my crazy cousin would throw me, then call me a doofus."

"Why were you running and slavering like that?"

"Slavering? You always did have an imagination."

"Uhuh." She crossed her arms. "Well?"

"Oh, crap--I have to get down to the infirmary--" He pushed past her and headed for the stairs she'd half-carried Kitty up.

"Well, I'm coming with you."

"Yeah, yeah, fine."

She was a magnet to his steely gaze, and he was riveted. Selene had never seen eyes like that before, and they called her.

One step took her nearer, and then she paused and glared, "Ahem."

When he continued gazing sappily at her, she rolled her eyes and turned away. "I'm sure you find this vastly amusing, 'boss' but I don't."

"Now, now, my Black Queen, see it from MY perspective." A soft giggle came from the dark-haired man as he rolled over in his seat and stared up at the stars far above, "Ever since I fell into this delightful universe, I have found myself able to ... influence -- cliches, shall we say."

He giggled again, "And even you, my Mighty One, are not unaffected."

Selene glared back at the Joker, "Only because whatever you're using is new to me. Give me time, and I'll be un-touchable."

"Like the Mob? But they weren't, were they. No, my dear, they fell to me in the end. And the Bat..." He shut up for a moment, then smirked, "Never mind that, where were we heading again?"

"To Malta, remember?"

"Ah, yes..." He waved a hand. "Go sleep, m'dear."

"With you on deck? I don't trust you farther than I can throw this ship."

"Ah, my heart, you wound me."

"I'll be in the Crow's nest."

"For a long time now I have been going to bed early." The words came from a small holographic recording cube, currently playing in the middle of the Medlab. Hank was watching it calmly, Scott looked the same. Remy was smoking, his hands shaking every so often. Bobby skittered into the room, then, Lina behind him.

"I guess that doesn't make much sense, but, uh ... Anyway..." The Bishop in the hologram shrugged his shoulders, "There is no reason for me to be here--the X-traitor? Defeated by others. Apocalypse? Cable dealt with him. I..."

The hologram wavered as Bishop turned away, then looked back. "This is goodbye, my friends. Either I shall make my way to the future, or you will find my body on the grounds. One week from my departure this message will show up."

A silence fell as the picture winked out. Hank slowly moved and reached for the base of the player, hitting off. "That..."

"I found him." Remy stood, movements jerky, and paced, "I should have known--"

"He... He'd begun to seem crazy, the last several weeks," Scott interrupted with a frown. "Jean noted it. I thought he'd disappeared into town to get himself together, maybe get drunk, or something."

"The mighty Scott Summers, allowing a team member to drink himself to death?"

"Shut up, LeBeau."

"Y're right, I shut up now." Remy stalked towards the door, "I'll be -- somewhere."

"We're all a little upset, I think." Scott looked at Bobby, and blinked at the woman behind him, "Hello?"

"Hi. I'm Evangeline Drake, Bobby's cousin. I had no -- I'm sorry." She said softly, then brightened, "I brought your young Kitty back, I think you should know. She seemed upset about something."

"Kitty -- she was working in the lab earlier." Hank frowned, then shrugged, "My friends, I believe sleep is in order."


With calm steps, Scott left the room, the others following him. Save Hank, who finished shutting things down, and locked the body of their fallen comrade in storage.

"I thought you said you checked the weather reports!"


"ARGH!" With a scream that split the stormy night air, Selene plummeted towards the deck. Until someone in the rigging caught her. She made it to deck in one piece, but ignored all attempts at cajolery as the storm deepened.

Selene decided much later that she hated boats. All of them. Planes only, from now on. Meanwhile, she held on to the mast and hoped the storm wouldn't sink the ship.

The Joker, of course, was laughing and dancing madly, careening here and there, sometimes next to her, others at the edge of the deck, spattering himself with sea water as he half-leaned over.

It was unfortunate that a large wave crested across the deck the last time he did that.

Very. Unfortunate.


"Oh. Drat."

"Ma'am, we can't go back."

"I'm so upset. Really."

"Yes, ma'am."

It was only afterwards, as the destroyer rocked gently at anchor in Malta, and the crash of the ack ack and the numb terror of free fall faded like a bad dream, that Selene noticed that sailors had rather lovely bottoms.

Lina settled herself in the guest room and yawned. It had been an interesting night, to say the least. A little flirting, an indecent proposal, a death, and now sleep. All in a day's work, for her. She grinned and settled in.

I think I'm really gonna like it here...


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