Authorís Notes: This is the latest story in the Pegasus Flight series. It makes sense on its own, but Iíd recommend you read the others first anyway. This is just a short little piece that happened when my brain rebelled against further thesis writing. Fair warning.
Disclaimer: Just about everything here belongs to Marvel. Iím just taking them out for a spin (and making no money, so donít bother suing). Peggy is mine, so Iíd appreciate it if you donít use here or this story without my permission. (Iíll almost definitely give it, anyway.)
Feedback is worshipped and adored at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Somethingís wrong here," Bobby mused, standing in the middle of his room. He looked around for a minute before it hit him. The bed. Well, it didnít literally hit him, though with the life heíd led so far that wouldnít really be surprising. No, this problem was slightly more mundane. The rest of the room was its usual self--random clothing lying everywhere, balls of wadded-up paper and dirty dishes covering nearly every available space. So why was his bed neatly made-up, complete with matching pillow shams? "I didnít know I had matching pillow shams," he muttered as he walked over to the offending piece of furniture. He braced himself, bent over, and lifted up the covers.
"Now thatís pitiful," he sighed, shaking his head in disgust as he picked up the rubber snake. "Amateurs."
"Amateurs?" a voice repeated from the door. Bobby turned around and saw his girlfriend Peggy standing in the doorway, blue eyes twinkling.
He clucked his tongue as he strolled across the room to her, rubber snake in hand. "Why Miss Summers, are you the mastermind behind this? Youíve been corrupted."
"You should know," Peggy laughed, kissing him lightly.
"Well, you need to learn more about pranks, trust me. I saw that one coming a mile away!"
"Oh really? You donít think Iím up to your level yet?"
"Peg, you are talking to the undisputed Jokemeister Supreme of the X-Men. Donít even bother trying to compete!" he laughed, heading out the door.
Peggy watched him go with a sly grin. He definitely needed to be taught a lesson. "Oh, I wouldnít dream of it."
Bobby looked up as Rogue stormed into the kitchen, where he was trying to find something edible. He tried to choke in a laugh when he saw her. She was covered from head-to-toe with mud. "Have a little accident, Rogue?"
"Ah think she mighta took that Mississippi Mud Pie recipe a little too literally," Sam laughed.
"As if you didnít know!" Rogue exploded, shaking her finger in Bobbyís face. "This is all yore doiní, Frosty."
"Doní try that Mister Innocent look with me. Ah know you too well foh that."
"Relax, chere," Remy said with a casual smile, reaching out to wipe away some mud with one finger. "Mud Ďsposed tí be good fír de complexion, no?"
Rogue gave Bobby a look that could have melted steel. "Thereís mud all ovah tha entrance ta mah room, and yore cleaniní it up!" She whirled around and stalked off.
"Remy tíink it wortí a little cleaniní duty, mon ami," Remy laughed as soon as she was out of earshot.
"Good one, Bobby," Sam agreed, slapping the otherís shoulder as he left the room.
"Yeah, good one," Bobby replied with a grin. He added under his breath, "I just wish Iíd done it." With a sigh, he started hunting down the cleaning supplies.
Betsy whistled loudly as Remy walked out on the front porch where she, Ororo, and Jean were chatting. "Yí ladies dat despírate fír a handsome man?" he joked.
"We didnít know you were that desperate to get noticed, ĎLegsí," Jean laughed.
"Eh?" he asked in confusion, looking down at his legs. "I kill him!" he exclaimed upon seeing his smooth-shaven calves.
"It appears Bobby is on another rampage," Ororo observed with a smile.
"Iíll be sure to shake out my shoes in the morning," Jean said. "I thought Scott was going to kill Bobby last time when he put shaving cream in Scottís slippers!"
"Do you think heíll ever grow up?" Betsy asked.
The three women looked at each other and chorused, "Nah!"
Peggy stalked into breakfast the next morning, sitting down and filling her plate without a word to anyone. "Is everything all right, child?" Ororo asked.
"Oh just peachy," Peggy practically growled. "I had a wonderful nightís sleep, wake up thinking itís going to be a beautiful day, and then I find out someone froze my underwear drawer!"
"Whatís everyone looking at me for?" Bobby protested. "I didnít do it!"
Logan snorted. "Sure ya didnít, kid. Frosty the Snowman snuck in while were asleep."
"Robert Drake, you are a dead man!!"
Bobby ducked as Betsy came flying at him. He hid under the table. "What am I getting blamed for now?"
"You know very well what you did, you demented little popsicle!" The ninja glared at him, managing to look righteous despite the fact that her face was bright green. "You put dye in my facial cream. I've scrubbed and scrubbed but it won't come OFF!!! And Warren's still rinsing out his mouth from that disgusting stuff you put in his toothpaste!"
Bobby couldn't help himself. He snickered. "I-in his toothpaste?"
"Calm down, my dear," Hank said, catching Betsy before she could pull out Bobby's lungs through his nose. "Why don't you leave our misguided but harmless prankster alone for the moment and come with me to my lab, where I may attempt to rid your fair visage of that nefarious hue."
Bobby peeked out from under the table after the two had left. "Is it safe?"
"Robert, if I were you, I would be wiser in my selection of targets," Ororo advised. "Elisabeth is not generally a pleasant person in the mornings."
"Yeah, yeah," Bobby mumbled, heading out the door. "I just wish everyone would stop blaming me for everything that happens around here."
Scott stood under the shower head, trying to let the stream of water carry away his anger. He hated it when Bobby decided to go on a prank war, with his teammates as the unwitting victims. Team discipline was completely shot. Take this afternoon's training session, for example. They needed the practice, what with this new Mutant Freedom Fighters group running around. But they hadn't gotten anything done, thanks to their Mad Prankster.
First he'd manage to slip Bishop laxatives somehow, and the time-traveler couldn't manage to leave the bathroom for more than five minutes without suddenly rushing back inside. Scott firmly pushed away the twinge of amusement he'd felt at seeing the usually stoic Bishop's mad rushes and concentrated instead on the disruption it had caused training. In addition to that, Storm had encountered a new plant while watering her garden--stinkweed. She smelled so bad, no one would go near her. That certainly did wonders for team cohesion. And poor Sam had itching powder put in his jock strap. Scott shuddered in sympathy. Sam was even now sitting in a tub of ice in the infirmary. Bobby earned himself a nice long lecture and a month of dish duty for his trouble. Scott had finally canceled the training session in disgust.
A crackle of static interrupted the radio Scott had playing on the counter. "We interrupt your regular program for this important announcement." Cyclops was instantly on the alert. Was this an emergency the X-Men were needed for? "The National Institute for Disease Control has warned of the introduction of a potentially-deadly new species to this area. Albino brain chiggers are tiny, but they travel in large swarms. Bites are marked first with mild itching, but toxins quickly travel to the brain, where it can have fatal consequences. Anyone seeing these deadly insects should flee the area immediately and contact the police. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming."
The Beatles came back on in mid-song, but Scott wasn't paying attention any more. Albino brain chiggers? He didn't know what good the X-Men could do against them, but maybe Hank...Scott suddenly felt a burning itch on his foot. Looking down in startlement, he saw swirls of white flakes around his feet. "Albino brain chiggers!" he shouted, jumping out of the shower. He had to warn the others!
His hand froze right above his robe. It was covered in white as well. They were infested! Grabbing Jean's robe instead, Scott hit the door at a dead run. "The albino brain chiggers are here!"
It was a beautiful day, so after Scott canceled their Danger Room session the X-Men decided to enjoy it outside. Bobby lay stretched on a blanket with Peggy, who'd apparently forgiven him for the underwear incident. Ororo, after a bath in tomato juice, was weeding her garden while Remy talked to her and watched Rogue play basketball with Logan. Betsy was running through katas off to one side. The others, except for Hank and Sam, who were still in the infirmary, simply sat on the lawn, chatted, and enjoyed the beauty of nature.
Suddenly a shout disturbed the peace of the day. The X-Men sprung into battle-readiness, senses alert for the threat. Then Scott came running out of the boathouse--soaking wet, suds in his hair, and clad only in Jean's short, frilly, pink robe. "The albino brain chiggers are here!" he shouted as he ran by, hopping up and down as he tried to shake something off his feet. He disappeared into the house, presumably in pursuit of Hank and the infirmary.
"D-did he say albino brain chiggers?" Rogue asked in disbelief.
"I have never noticed this before," Bishop observed impassively, "but he screams like a girl. A little girl."
A snicker escaped Jean's lips. Then Warren chortled. Then all the X-Men burst out laughing. It only increased as Scott walked slowly out of the house, pulling the shreds of his dignity back around him. Everyone tried to contain their laughter, albeit unsuccessfully. Bobby was rolling hysterically on the ground when Scott drew near, an empty jar of itching powder held in his hands.
"Bobby," he said mildly, "you are a dead man."
"Hey, hang on a minute," Bobby protested, backing up worriedly. "I didn't--you don't think that--oh, somebody help!!"
Logan walked into the bathroom with senses alert for danger. Drake hadn't caught him with a prank yet, and the Canadian didn't intend to give him a chance. Sure enough, Drake's scent was inside. He tried to follow it to its source, but practically all he could smell was the blueberry Kool-Aid spilled all over the counter. Hmph. Drake probably thought that would throw him off. Not this Canucklehead. A bit of searching finally led him to a bottle of glue in place of his shampoo. ~Not this time, Frosty,~ he thought smugly, throwing out the glue and stepping into the shower. ~Can't pull the wool over Wolverine that easily.~
"Uh oh. Whatcha do this time, Bobby?" Rogue asked with a grin, looking up from the TV. "Sounds like Logan's pretty mad."
They found out why a few moments later when Wolverine burst into the den. He was dressed in only a towel wrapped around his waist. The scanty dress revealed clearly the bright blue shade his skin was now dyed. "Mah God, Logan, what happened?" Rogue asked, trying to keep from giggling. "Is that--smells like Kool-Aid!"
Logan growled fiercely, stalking over to his jokester teammate. Bobby backed up slowly, whispering prayers under his breath. He was backed up against the wall, nowhere to run to. "Man, this is gonna hurt," he muttered with a wince, waiting for the blow that surprisingly never came.
"All right, Drake," Logan said, voice grudgingly respectful, "ya got me." Bobby dared open his eyes and looked at the other man in astonishment. "I didn't think you could do it. I've gotta respect that, so I'll give you this one. But try it again," he popped out his claws with a /snikt/ "and ya find out if you can breathe with a foot of adamantium in your throat."
He sheathed his claws, nodded briefly, and left the room. "Ya know, Bobby," Rogue advised, watching Logan leave, "Ah'd jus' quit while Ah was ahead if Ah was you."
"I'd love to," Bobby muttered, ~just as soon as I find out who's doing it--and making sure I take the blame!~ Well, it was probably his fault for being such a prankster, anyway. Everyone just assumed he was responsible, even though none of the pranks this time could be tied directly to him. Well, except for--~Wait a minute,~ he thought, the light clicking on. It was all starting to make sense now. Shaking his head, he went upstairs and knocked on one particular door.
"Come in!" Peggy called out.
Bobby opened the door and went inside. Peggy was curled up in her armchair beside the window, reading. She looked at him in confusion as he came and knelt in front of her. "I humbly beg forgiveness, oh Mistress of Pranks. I should never have dared challenge you!"
Peggy started to laugh. "Finally figured it out?"
"I am not worthy to sit at your feet!" he continued. "You are the unchallenged Jokemeister Supreme of the X-Men. I apologize for daring to usurp your title!" He dropped the act and started laughing along with her. "You are just too good! You sit there all sweet and innocent while I get blamed for everything."
"That was the general idea," Peggy agreed.
"What you did to Scott--I didn't think you had it in you. And you even got Logan! I wasn't sure that was possible."
"A devious mind, love," she told him with a wink.
"You've definitely got that." He kissed her soundly. "I acknowledge defeat. Now can you please call off the war while I've still got all significant parts intact? Next thing you know, you'd be putting Nair in Hank's shampoo!"
Peggy sat up sharply and covered her mouth with her hand. Bobby's laugh faded. "Peggy, you didn't."