Rogue and Pyro made it to the closet where all the costumes were
kept, but just as they opened the door and went inside, they heard
Jean and Scott arguing down the hall. "I don't care if Logan's the
only one short enough to wear the Santa suit this year! I always get
to play Santa!" The two teenagers peeked around the corner to see
what was happening.
"Scott be reasonable!" Jean argued back. "Someone ordered the Santa
suit in the wrong size and there's nothing you can do about it."
"Alright;" Scott reluctantly admitted. "But then let somebody else be
Mrs. Claus. How about Ororo?" He thought to ask. "She's got her hands
full with the Christmas play they're putting on later today."
"Well then, how about Mystique?"
"I already asked her and she said there was no way she was going to
turn herself into a fat old broad!"
Then suddenly Logan walked up from the other direction and joined in
the lover's quarrel. "What's wrong Scott? Afraid me and Jean might
forget the marriage is just pretend?"
"Of course not!" The jealous man declared. "Its just Jean and I have
played Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus every year since we started coming
here; it's our way of spending Christmas together. And since she D-I-
E-D earlier in the year
" He paused for dramatic effect. "
today together is really important to me." Scott then sighed and
threw his hands in the air. "But if you would rather spend Christmas
with Logan, don't let me stand in the way!"
Jean shook her head. "That's really hitting below the belt, Scott. OK
you win; but it's now YOUR job to find our new Mrs. Claus."
Scott agreed and went to look for Mystique while Jean went to find
Ororo and Kurt so they could get started putting the chairs and
tables up in the community hall for the crowds of homeless people who
would soon be coming in from the cold and Logan went outside for a
Rogue found the third elf costume and as she handed it to John she
gave him an evil smile. "Cheer up John. If you really don't want to
wear this you could go to Cyclops and tell him you'll be Mrs.
Claus." John merely glared at her and yanked the articles of
clothing from her hands. "Why are you being such a bitch?" Rogue
returned the glare. "Because you went off and joined those creeps!"
She angrily snapped.
"Look, it's not like I'm actually missed around the mansion I'm
sure." John tried to explain his actions away. "I just fit in better
at the brotherhood than I did at Xavier's and
once you get to know
them they're all pretty cool."
"They tried to kill me John!" Rogue coolly reminded him through her
teeth. "Oh, yeah
that." John felt a little sheepish when he couldn't
think of anything to smooth that over. "Yeah
THAT!" She rolled her
eyes in degust but realized there was no point carrying on the
argument. "C'mon, I'll show you where you can change."
Scott began going from place to place calling out Mystique's name,
hoping that just maybe the shape shifter might actually respond.
He made his way to the kitchen which was now getting rather crowded
with many volunteers coming in to help out and began searching for
`She could be anybody.' He thought to himself. He finally saw
Sabretooth and went over to ask him if he had seen her. The ferocious
giant was pulling out a huge rack of turkeys which he had already cut
into serving pieces before putting them in the oven.
Smells good Sabretooth." Scott admitted with a smile as he
smelled the lovely aroma of roasted turkey as it filled the entire
kitchen area. "Sure does don't it red eye?" The feral's chest puffed
up with pride as he too deeply inhaled the savory aroma and set the
rack down on a table for other volunteers to set the meat into metal
serving containers which would keep the turkey warm for quite some
"It's just a dam shame these bozos won't let me cook my Christmas
specialty." Sabretooth growled indignantly.
"What would that be?" Scott wondered.
"Reindeer Stew!" The felinoid licked his lips at the very thought of
"You eat reindeer on Christmas!?!" Scott quipped in ghastly horror.
"Ah don't worry red-eye. I always wait until they get done pulling
Santa's sleigh." Sabretooth playfully winked.
"Guess we'll just have to settle for turkey." Scott smiled and went
along with his joke. "You haven't seen Mystique anywhere around have
in a kitchen?" The feral snorted as he reached in the oven
for another rack. "You'd have better luck findin' a virgin in a whore
Scott never imagined such a quiet but ruthless killer would have such
a lively sense of humor.
"You wouldn't happen to have a clue where she might be?"
The giant just shrugged his shoulders as he quickly snatched a piece
of turkey skin from the rack and tossed it into his mouth. "More than
likely she's got her lips puckered up to bucket head's ass; an' I
think he's in the storage room with Chuck."
Sabretooth's answer made sense as tasteless and uncouth as it was, so
Scott went to look for her in the receiving room. But first he
checked in the community room just to be sure.
Jean was using her telekinesis to move the large long tables in place
while others set up the chairs and table decorations. Scott looked up
and saw Toad hanging from the ceiling pulling a string of red colored
Christmas garland behind him. He had already more than half of the
day room decorated in with Christmas joy in variety of lights and
"Please tell me you're NOT using that green sticky snot of yours to
tack up the garland to the walls and ceiling." Scott yelled up to
"Why wouldn't I?" The green amphibinoid looked down at Cyclops and
" Scott felt like he was talking to one of his more unruly
students. "They would like to use this stuff again NEXT year!"
Toad just shrugged his shoulders and coughed up another dap of flem.
Scott gave up the fight altogether. "Say Toad, do you know where
The greenish man just shook his head and quickly replied. "Try
looking for Mags; find him and she won't be too far away."
Scott headed on to the shelter's storage room and sure enough
Charles, Erik and Mystique were all there. Charles held a clipboard
and called off the names of families and what they were supposed to
gifts they were to get, while Mystique and Erik would find the items
and put them in the proper boxes or bags for later distribution.
"Mystique, am I glad to see you!" Scott called out her name with
great joy. "I need to ask a favor from you."
Mystique stopped what she was doing and gave the young but confident
and extremely handsome man a flirtatious look. "You just got Jean
back from the dead and you're tired of her already?"
Scott rolled his eyes. "It's nothing like that Mystique; I need to
ask you to be Mrs. Santa Claus this year."
Immediately she turned around and returned to sifting though toy
trucks and stuffed animals. "Jean asked me already, and my answer is
Scott wasn't ready to give up the fight just yet. "I know; she said
you don't want to be some old fat broad. But what if you took the
part; you could make this year's Mrs. Claus sexier, younger, more
beautiful than any kid as EVER seen!"
Scott's argument did appeal to her sense and vanity and she began to
consider his proposal. Then he thought of the one thing that just
might seal the deal. "You know Logan's playing Santa this year."
Mystique eyes gleamed and she gave him a sultry smile. "Oh is that
Jean failed to mention that bit of valuable information
before." She paused for a moment. "Alright Cyclops, I'll be Mrs.
Claus this year."
Scott breathed a sigh of relief and went back to help in setting up
the community room. Everything seemed to run pretty smoothly for the
rest of the morning and well into the lunchtime festivities. Storm,
Kurt and her class preformed a little Christmas skit for all those
coming in to spend Christmas at the shelter. It was filled with magic
tricks where the big finally was watching the "devil" disappear in a
puff of blue smoke!
It wasn't until it was time for the elves to start rounding up the
kids so they could see Santa and join him on stage when everyone
noticed that someone was missing.
"Where's John?" Everyone started to ask.
Rogue spoke up. "He still in the men's room!"
"You mean that boy hasn't come out of there since he went in this
morning?" Erik said in disbelief. "Yep. He's afraid everyone's going
to laugh at him."
Logan who was now in his Santa costume and gnawing on an unlit cigar
decided to try to talk John out. He went into the men's room where
Pyro had hid himself in one of the stalls. He went into the stall
next to him and stood up on the toilet to look over the wall.
"Hey," he barked down to the dejected looking teenager. "You gonna
stay in here all day?"
Pyro who was fully dressed in his elf costume and sitting on the
toilet looked up at the least likely looking Santa Claus he had ever
seen. "That's the plan."
"Ugh-huh" Logan replied in a less than cheerful tone. "Ya know
frankly bub, I don't care if you stay in here until the flesh rots
off your stinking bones." He paused for a moment and took the cigar
out of his mouth a held it between his fingers. "But if I gotta be
seen in public wearin' this red suit and fake beard then you can go
out in that!"
Pyro went back to staring at the closed bathroom stall door in front
of him. "Sorry, fuzz face but I don't plan to make this the most
humiliating day of my life."
"Look kid, holidays ain't never been much my thing either. It just
seems more like a family thing so it's not like I'm an expert at this
sort of crap. But one thing I do know, this day ain't about making
yourself happy. It's about pulling your head out of your ass long
enough to see that you ain't the only one here on earth. There are
others here too and if you can do something for someone else -even
just once a year, well then
it makes you a part of something greater
than yourself." Logan waited for John to respond but instead the
young man seemed to have turned deaf. Sadly Logan shook his head, put
his cigar back in his mouth and left Pyro staring blankly at the
Logan returned to join in the highlight of the Christmas celebration
as the star of the show.
"Alright;" he flung a huge red fleece sack stuffed with toys over his
shoulder. "Let's get this show on the road!"
He forgot he still had the cigar in his mouth. He saw Scott standing
by the stage's entrance way. "Who'd you get to play the little Mrs.?"
Logan asked Scott hoping he didn't have an answer. Scott must have
known this by the way he gloated when he gave Logan the
news. "Mystique is this year's Mrs. Santa."
Logan looked as if he was in pain by the he winced upon hearing this.
" Scott's shit eating grin got even wider as he began
pulling the cigar out of Logan's mouth. "
You're not actually going
out there with THIS in your mouth are you?"
"What's a matter, not good PC?" Logan growled.
"I admit it's better than seeing Santa chugging from a whiskey bottle
or drooling over a Hustler magazine, but still a cigar just isn't
quite the right image we want to leave these kids with." Scott tried
to sound as sympathetic as he could to the feral's favorite vice.
Just then Mystique arrived. She was still in her natural form.
" Her voice could have melted butter. "Are you ready to go
on stage with Marilyn Monroe?" And with that she turned herself into
the sex goddess already wearing a red and white trimmed outfit that
most playboy bunnies would be too embarrassed to wear.
Logan softly growled and glared at Scott, as he reluctantly reminded
himself of his little speech to Pyro about today being a day of
" He sarcastically quipped. "
but I'll settle for a really good
Mystique gave him a scornful look but decided not to reply. "So, what
exactly does Mrs. Santa Claus do?" She asked Scott in a snobbish
"Well, aside from handing out candy canes and leading the children in
Christmas carols, you pretty much just hang around Santa and act
sweet." Scott explained.
"Lead Christmas carols!?!" The shape shifter asked in horror.
"Yeah, haven't you ever seen Jean and me do this before?"
Mystique gave him an insulted look. "I always managed to find
something ELSE to do. Look Cyclops; I don't do Christmas carols!"
Scott desperately tried to talk her into cooperating. "Can't you make
this an exception, just this once?"
Mystique stood her ground. "I DON'T sing! And I DON'T make
But Scott's narrow minded nature wouldn't allow him to give up on
this age old tradition. "You agreed to be Mrs. Claus and Mrs. Claus
leads all the little boys and girls in Christmas carols!"
"Fine." She then returned to her natural self. "Then you can find
yourself another Mrs. Claus." with that she whirled around and
Logan was beside himself with glee. He was grinning from ear to ear
as he watched Scott's face turn to shock then dread. "Well unless you
plan on wearing that red dress yourself, I guess Jean's going to be
up there on stage with me."
Scott sternly frowned. "Go on up there without her for now; she'll
join you in a couple of minutes."
Logan went up and took his place on stage doing his best to make his
HO-HO-HOs sound believable. Then much to his surprise he saw John
still in costume on stage along with Bobby and Marie escorting the
small children who came in from the streets up on stage to sit on
Santa's lap. As soon as he had a chance, he pulled John over to the
side to ask him what changed his mind. "So
what I said finally got to
you kid?" Pyro just gave Logan a quick glance and looked away. "Yeah,
that's pretty much it." Logan nodded though he didn't
need his feral senses to tell the boy was lying his ass off. What
Logan didn't know and Pyro would never say was that after Logan left
him in the men's room, both Toad and Sabretooth dropped by, kicked
the stall door in and dragged him out by his collar.
Then they told him that either he got his skinny ass out on stage or
they would kick his ass, carry him up there and THEN they would stop
everything just so they could tell everyone here why their nick-name
for him is Pee-Wee.
So like any little brother who has mean nasty bullies for big
brothers, Pyro knew he had no choice but to march himself on stage to
endure the humiliation.
Jean was sitting at one of the tables next to Charles watching all
the children parade around the room showing their mommies and daddies
their new toys Santa gave them when Ororo came up to her and asked
why wasn't she on stage.
"Scott is supposed to get Mystique to do this year."
Storm gave her a confused look. "I just saw Mystique leaving with
Both Jean and Charles looked at each other as they both mentally
caught onto what Scott was planning to do. Just then Logan called out
to the audience, "I wonder where my wife could be?"
All of a sudden everyone heard a loud falsetto voice calling from off
"Here I am dear!" And that moment Scott appeared on stage dressed as
Mrs. Claus himself!
Everyone in the room started to laugh including the kids at the funny
looking Mrs. Santa with her flat chest and ruby red sunglasses. But
Scott never came out of character and had a good humor about it all
the whole time he was on stage. When he stood next to Logan, the
burly man swatted Scott on the rump. "So what cha doin' after the
party hun?" Logan teased.
"Stop it, or I'll have you up on sexual harassment charges." Scott
Logan just kept shaking his head. "I can't believe you'd rather come
out here and be Mrs. Santa yourself than let Jean play the part."
"Believe it!" Scott proudly, defiantly declared.
Soon the festivities were over but the crowds of people wanting to
eat a good hot meal never seemed to thin out. Sabretooth volunteered
to stay and help clean up as did some from x-mansion. But as soon as
he could, John got out of that ridiculous get up and was begging Toad
to take him back home.
They were waiting for their subway train when Toad remembered that
Erik had given him Pyro's lighter.
"I guess you can `ave this back now." The amphipinoid said and tossed
him the lighter. John caught his prize possession in the air and
immediately began toying with the lid. Having his lighter back in his
hands felt as good to him as smoking a cigarette does to a nicotine
A few moments went by when Toad realized he needed to visit the loo.
Pyro quietly waited for him as he walked aimlessly around on the
platform. Then out of the corner of his eye he saw an old white man
who was by all standards a wino sitting on floor with his back
leaning against the wall. He had dirty old clothes dirty old boots
and he wore a dirty old army jacket. He was doing no one any harm as
he quietly sat alone watching the people as they came and went to
visit their friends and families for Christmas.
A moment or so went by and suddenly from the shadows from the
underground tunnel came a strange looking mutant no older than Pyro.
He had webbed hands that looked more like flippers and light blue
hair and waddled around rather than walked. Cautiously the strange
looking fellow struggled as he climbed up onto the platform and began
rummaging through the trash cans. Pyro watched him for go from can to
can looking for whatever useful items of food or clothing he could
find. At first Pyro tried ignoring him, but the harder he tried to
avoid seeing him, the plainer he came into view. As the mutant
continued his little treasure hunt he came closer and closer to the
derelict and Pyro was sure the old man would give him a hard time for
being a mutant; but instead when the penguin like mutant was close
enough for the man to speak to him Pyro was amazed when he saw the
wino reach in his pocket and hand the mutant a sandwich wrapped in
tinfoil. And even more amazing was when the old guy helped unfold the
foil so that the mutant whose hands were too deformed to manage the
job alone could eat the sandwich in one piece.
It was one thing to see those with plenty like Magneto and Charles
give some of what they had, but to see someone who had next to
nothing give even that up was probably the most profound sign of what
Christmas was meant to be. And to give it to someone most hate and
call an outcast made an even greater impact on Pyro.
By the time Toad returned to the platform the strange mutant had
retreated back into the tunnel and the wino was content to return to
his people watching. Pyro never mention what he saw that day in the
subway to a living soul, but there isn't a day that goes by that he
doesn't remember it one way or another.