DISCLAIMER: This response to Alec
Wire's 'flipside' challenge is NOT to be taken remotely seriously.
It was a passing goofy-silly thought I had no intention of
blowing into a full story. But Kaylee and Falstaff have been
encouraging me, so, well, here it is. The characters are Marvel's,
used without permission, for entertainment purposes only and
I'm not making a dime off this. Special thanks to Abyss, Matt
Nute, and Haesslich for sub-beta-reading.
ARCHIVERS: Usual rules apply. If I've given you carte
blanche, go right ahead. Otherwise, kindly ask before archiving.
FEEDBACK: Always loved and appreciated, as long as
it is the polite sort I don't need a fire extinguisher for.
PERMISSION: I publicly okay this story to be made into
a POP-UP FANFIC, but I publicly announce I do not wish
this story MSTed.
Rogue blinked blearily and struggled to focus. "Nine
in the mornin'?" she muttered sleepily, sitting up. "On
a Saturday? Who'd be callin' on us this early?" She listened
a moment; the other X-Men were already up and around. "Ah'm
goin' back t'bed." With that, she rolled over and tugged
the pillow over her head to block out the bright morning sunlight.
[~Scramble! All X-Men to the front foyer at once! Scramble!~]
Rogue startled awake again at the telepathic alert from Phoenix,
and fell from bed. With a mumbled curse, she threw off her
nightshirt and wriggled into her combat togs.
Half-stumbling out of her room, Rogue encountered Sam, Bobby,
Cecilia, and Hank, likewise coming out of their rooms in various
states of awareness. It was rare the X-Men ever got up at
the same time, given that the more studious of them were prone
to be up cracking the books until all hours, and the more
industrious of them were inclined to be doing chores or handiwork
Some, like Rogue, just appreciated the chance to sleep in
once in a while.
Logan barrelled down the stairs first, growling. There was
the distinctive sound of him unsheathing his claws.
"Aw, maaaaan," Bobby whined, "that means he
thinks it's a genuine threat, and this isn't one of Scotty's
sneaky Danger Room sessions."
"Either dat," Gambit added, leisurely smoking a
cigarette as he strolled down the hall, "Or it is, an'
de Canuck ain' in de mood."
A small, localized raincloud suddenly appeared over the Cajun's
head and doused the flame of his smoke. "Wolverine is
not known for displaying his claws in such a manner any longer,"
Ororo glided over their heads and down the stairs, pulling
a gale wind in her wake to force the stragglers to hurry along.
The sight that met their eyes in the foyer caused all the
X-Men to stop where they were, eyes wide, mouths agape in
various expressions of shock or surprise.
In the foyer stood a tall, imposing figure. Surrounding him
were eight figures who stood equally imposing.
"Sinister an' th' Marauders?!" Sam whispered, one
arm immediately going protectively in front of Marrow.
"Marauders?!" Marrow echoed, eyes blazing with
hate as she pulled her bone knives from her shoulders.
"Indeed, child," Sinister replied, turning to regard
"Scott, sugah?" Rogue asked, arms folded. "There
a reason we ain't throwin' down?"
"Uh..." Scott said, for once unable to keep his
glacial cool as the X-Men's fearless leader. "J-Jean?"
"Well," Phoenix began slowly, green eyes narrowed
suspiciously, "They say they've reformed, and a psi-scan
shows they believe this. I can't find any ulterior motive."
"You're kidding," Cecilia said dubiously.
"Oh, my stars and garters," Hank said quietly,
stroking his chin. "And what brought about this sudden
change of heart?"
Sinister gestured eloquently, shrugging out of his flanged
cape and draping it over the arm of -- well, he looked like
Blockbuster, but he was wearing a natty black suit with a
neat white shirt.
"Permit me to explain, my dear children," Sinister
spoke softly, eyes scanning over the roomful of suspicious
faces. "I have recently come to regret -- and recant
-- my ways of late. I no longer desire to build the perfect
mutant to use as a weapon against Apocalypse. I no longer
desire to purify the pools of genetic potential.
"I desire, in fact, to make recompense for the pain
and suffering I have caused you in my machinations."
"How?" demanded Rogue. "How you gonna make
up for all you did? You did some thangs ain't no way of makin'
Sinister inclined his head and cast a sharp glance around.
The figures assembled around him -- the Marauders -- all reluctantly
bowed their heads as well. "You are correct, my dear.
However, we wish to do what we may. We hope you will permit
us to begin by cleaning your mansion."
"Cleaning --?" Cecilia repeated, looking to the
senior X-Men for her cues. "He's not serious," she
asked, "Is he?"
"As best I can determine," Jean breathed, "He's
"So let 'em try," Logan shrugged. "Not like
we can't take 'em if they pull one out of their hat."
Out front, a white van pulled up with a stencilled logo painted
on the side. Sinister and the Marauders were depicted as cutesy
Disney-like cartoon characters. Beneath their smiling faces
was the name of their 'company' and their motto:
We'll clean your house
or die trying!
"You give us permission, then?" Sinister asked.
Scott, still silent, nodded.
"This has got to be an April Fool's joke," Rogue
murmured, shaking her head.
"But chere," Remy whispered, cigarette hanging
from his lips, "It August sevent'."
"Very well," Sinister said, clapping his hands.
Scrambler was the first to move, lifting a black sachel from
his side. He removed feather duster after feather duster and
very calmly began affixing them to Riptide's uniform. He was
the only one who still wore his Marauder colours, but the
outfit had been altered to allow the feather dusters to be
"Stand back, please," Scrambler called. The X-Men,
still wary and dumbfounded, obeyed.
"Look out! It's gas!" cried Sam, as Scrambler producded
a canister from the sachel.
Scrambler turned the canister slowly so that the X-men could
read the label on the yellow container.
Logan sniffed twice, arched a brow and shrugged. "Furniture
Scrambler nodded, and sprayed a thick cloud of Lemon Pledge
onto Riptide's uniform, feather dusters and all. "Okay,
Riptide grinned and nodded, bursting into motion. Like a
crazed top, he whirled through the foyer, dust swept off every
surface he passed.
Sinister snapped his fingers. "Arclight. To the kitchen.
You will plan out the menu for the week."
Arclight, resplendant in a maid's costume over her normal
metallic body suit, nodded. "Come along, Prism."
The glass-skinned Marauder followed the muscular woman into
"Scalphunter," Sinister said.
"Yeah, boss?" there was no joy in the response,
merely a reluctant resignation.
"Go and get your attachments. There are carpets to be
done upstairs, and the hedges need trimming. The grass needs
"Yes, boss." With that, Scalphunter removed his
butler's jacket, revealing his normal costume. However, instead
of weapon parts, now tools, appliances, and vacuum cleaner
attachments hung from him.
Jean hovered above the foyer, keeping mental track of the
staff of Maraud-a-Maid as they began to scatter through the
"Harpoon, repair the fence."
"Blockbuster, take the cars to the lake and wash them."
The two large men nodded and obediently truged off to obey.
"What're we gonna do now?" Rogue asked Scott, who
still looked poleaxed.
"Give them the chance, I suppose," Scott answered
after a moment of silent thought. "And hope the rest
of our enemies follow their example."
"They're actually doing a good job," Jean observed.
"I hope everyone likes Chicken Marsala. I think that's
what Arclight's making for dinner."
Logan glanced out the window. "Yo, Cajun, I think you
better go talk to Blockbuster. Looks like he means to wash
your car by tossin' it in the lake."
"Merde!" Gambit was out the door like a shot, passing
Vertigo, who was pulling on a pair of rubber gloves and a
"If Ah wasn't so scared to leave the house," Sam
murmured, "Ah'd go to Harry's for a drink."
"Ah'm goin' back t'bed," Rogue declared, turning
to climb the stairs again. "This here's gotta be a dream."
"Tea?" Sinister asked, producing a silver thermos.
"I have Earl Grey."
"Race you to the liquor cabinet," Logan muttered,
heading for the sidebar.
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by