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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Disclaimer: X-Men belong to Marvel. Bloom County and its cast belong to Berkley Breathed.
Author's notes: I'd bet you thought I never get around to finishing this. I've made a few revisions along the way. Many thanks go to Persephone Kore for her encouragements.
One slightly naughty word in this chapter.

Meadow-X v. 2.0

Chapter Six

Jean wandered into the living room and glanced at the wall clock. "Scott?"

"Yes, Jean?" Scott didn't turn away from his game of Duke Nukem. He was still in his pajamas. They were blue and yellow.

"You forgot, didn't you?"

"Forget what, Jean?"

Jean sighed and telekinetically paused the Play Station.

"Hey!" Scott exclaimed. He had been on his way to breaking his high score too. "Sinister's gang is coming over today?"

Jean nodded and smoothed down her red and gold dressing gown. "Yes, Scott."

The Marauders arrived on time and in a mini-van. Such X-Men as were still around and could be persuaded to take interest in events were cajoled outside. Scott didn't even bother trying to get them into uniform.

"Boss, sit tight and let me get the door," Arclight said quickly.

The scientist stood, cracking his head on the low roof. "I assure you, Arclight. I am capable of walking," Essex said calmly. He pulled the door open and, forgetting to account for gravity, fell out. Scalphunter turned the engine off and put his head down on the steering wheel.

"This is getting embarrassing."

"Yeah, but now it's not our problem." Arclight said lightly. "Let's go make nice to the twits."

Scalphunter manhandled his employer upright again. Essex made various semi-coherent observations about the interesting little yellow pixies that he could see dancing on the mansion roof.

Scott kept himself relaxed as Arclight strode up. The Marauder looked quite cheery in her cargo shorts, sandals and halter top.

"Hey there, boys and girls," said Arclight. "Gambit, stop gawking at my tits."

Remy smirked. "Dey real?"

"GAMBIT!" Scott exclaimed.

Arclight gave herself a contented pat. "Nah, but they look good. What do you think, Summers?"

Scott went a charming shade of strawberry.

"Uh ... yes. Very, um, nice."

Logan sniggered.

"Thanks for taking care of the boss for us," said Arclight, changing topic without batting an eyelash. "Maybe he and the furball can come down long enough to figure out what they did, huh?"

There were mumbles of vague agreement from the X-Men.

Essex, supported by a Hawaii-shirted Scalphunter, was brought forward. The dread scientist was wearing pajamas with bluebells on them. And pink slippers.

"What happened to his clothes?" Scott asked. It wasn't the most leaderly of questions but given the weirdness of the past two weeks, he felt entitled to some slack.

"He'd strangle himself on the damned cape right now so we dug up some of Vic's old stuff," Scalphunter groused.

Tearing himself away from the question of what Sabretooth was doing with flowered pajamas in his possession, Scott took hold of the swaying Essex.

Duty done, the Marauders climbed back into their van and sped away without the slightest evidence of guilt. Lucky them, Scott thought resentfully.

There was some debate as where to put Essex now that they had him. A regular containment cell wouldn't be enough if he came down even if he was usually too prim to just start blasting things. Warren sobered up enough to suggest setting the Danger Room to giant rubber room but Scott argued that they might need it for training. Jean finally pointed out that one of the regular guest rooms would be fine. So what if he bumped into the furniture? Essex had been shot in the head and that hadn't wrecked his day so a bedroom suite wasn't about to worry him.

Pete and Kitty, having packed up for their return to Muir, went in half-hearted search for Magnus to say their good-byes. They found him staring at a rectangular metallic lid in the middle of the lawn.

"Hi, Mags," Kitty said cheerfully. "We're heading out."

Magnus glanced up with a reasonably sincere smile. "I'm sorry you can't stay longer, Katherine. And you, Pete."

"Yeah, well. You know how it is," Pete said vaguely. He gestured with his cigarette at the metal lid on the grass. "What's all this then?"

The lid swung open. Cable's head popped up.

"What's the situation?" he demanded.

"You're standing in a hole in the ground," Magnus informed him.

Kitty leaned down. "A bomb shelter?"

Pete shook his head. "Yanks. You're all weird."

"Survival is no joke!" Cable snapped. "The world's disintegrating, girl. They're gonna drop the big one any day now."

Magnus started to laugh silently.

"And there'll be only a few of to survive past those first few steps out," Cable went on. "And those will be the strong, the brutal, the savage! Biting, maiming, clawing and killing to survive! And that'll..."

"Will be quite enough," Magnus said. The lid of the bomb shelter swung back and slammed onto Cable's head. There was muffled thud. Then there were the sounds of voices babbling excitedly. The hatch opened again.

Hodge-Podge and Portnoy were ready for the apocalypse. Cable was ready for Apocalypse, so naturally they had found common ground. The jackrabbit and the groundhog were both fully equipped with the very best combat gear discount sporting goods stores could supply. Magnus, not letting himself see anything upsetting, turned on his heel and walked back to the mansion.

Kitty and Pete looked at each other.

"Did you want to do something, Pryde?" he inquired.


The second day after Essex arrived, there were signs normalcy was returning. Warren had stopped pinning for Betsy and returned to running Worthington Industries with help from his new advisor, Steve Dallas. Sadly, Lola's ex-boyfriend had dropped by for a visit and the old flame had ignited again. Jean tried with little hope of success to comfort a heartbroken Bobby.

"Well, what's he like?" Jean tried.

"He tests fighter jets for the Navy, catches sharks for fun and benchpresses 290 pounds. I'm a mutant accountant wannbe would wears spandex and lives in a boarding school. I don't stand a chance!"

Jean had to concede the competition sounded tough.

"Bart, Bart, Bart," Bobby ranted. "And you wanna know what his last name is?"

"Simpson?" Jean suggested with a grin.

"Savagewood!" Bobby exclaimed, ignoring her. He stared sullenly at the tabletop. "Aw, forget it. I think I'll call up Emma and see if she still wants a new sub. At least I know where I stand with her. See you later, Jean. Thanks for listening."

Jean blinked. "Uh, okay."

Scott woke up in the middle of the night in the mood for some hot chocolate. Light from the den attracted his attention so he poked his head inside. He found Essex and Hank watching late night televsion and looking miserable. Essex had a bag of ice on his head. Hank was curled up on the couch, shedding blue fur and staring blankly.

"Are you guys coming down?" Scott asked with a smirk.

Hank stirred and managed a half-power snarl. "Go away. I'm hungover."

"Just like when were kids," Scott reminiced.

Essex raised an eyebrow and re-settled his ice bag more comfortably. "Have you seen the results of the tests?"

"Um, no."

"Success," Essex announced. He would have stood grandly and pontificated on his genius if the floor stopped undulating. As it was, he wanted to simply sit very, very still.

Scott blinked. "You guys found a cure for the Legacy Virus?"

"Yes," Hank muttered. "Yay, us."

"Did you want to break the news to Moira?" Scott prodded.

"Doctor MacTaggart?" Essex winced. "Heavens, no. That woman's voice will implode my cranium in my current state."

And so, the announcement of a cure waited until Doctors McCoy and Essex were fully recovered. Moira yelled at them anyway.

Remy managed to convince Ororo not to tour with the Boingers. She stayed in her loft stuck pins into a stuffed cat. It rained a lot.

Betsy opened a new school of ninjitsu based on the movements of flightless seabirds. Students learned to defend themselves against walruses.

Scott stopped returning phone calls from the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. He and Jean took the Blackbird to Tahiti.

Xavier never did stop flying his starchair.


The End.


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