Jaelle: "Orla, can you confirm that you are in fact, not me?"
Orla: "I don't know, who can tell when one person is telling the truth?"
Jaelle: "Hey! You're supposed to be telling people that you're an individual person!"
Orla: "You're talking to the person who got skunk-streaks in her hair, oops, I just individualized myself -Damn!"
Jaelle: "This makes me really glad that you're not a part of my imagination. I'd hate to think that I hated myself enough to create you."
Jaelle: "Uhhh... so Orla, why don't you tell the nice people a few things about yourself?"
Orla: "Lets see...umm...Well, my alter-ego is a sword wielding maniac... you didn't really want to know that did you?"
Jaelle: "Ummm... depends, did your alter-ego bring her sword to the computer labs today?"
Orla: "Of course, along with the interdimensional hammer, the thing I WAVED OVER YOUR HEAD AFTER YOUR NASTY LITTLE REMARK!"
Jaelle: "Errrr... and now, without further ado, our latest publication: _Clothes Maketh The Mutant_."
Orla: "You call that an interview? Hmm.. where is that sword?"
Clothes Maketh The Mutant!
By Orla and Jaelle (*help help help*)
Disclaimer: The characters herein all belong to Marvel Comics. Except
for one who belongs to Rumiko Takahashi, and implied references to DIC
trademarks. The various background characters are all extras, and therefore
not trademarked to anybody. They're underpaid as well.
Joseph was walking through the gardens admiring the scenery. It paled
however in contrast to the vision that dropped out of the sky in front
"Joseph! Ah been lookin' for ya. Let's watch a movie tonight!"
Joseph smiled, "That would be wonderful Rogue. Shall we get a video or go to a theatre?"
But Rogue was frowning at him, "You're wearin' that X-uniform again. Couldn't you change into somethin' else? We're not likely to forget who you are without it you know."
Joseph was a bit surprised, "But it's quite comfortable."
"Joseph, Ah _know_ that uniform. Ah _wore_ one just like it for about a week before it had a little 'accident'. It looked terrible on me and it looks terrible on you. Can't you change into something else?"
"Well I would, I don't have any other clothes with me. My one change is in the wash."
"Oh is _that_ all the problem is. That's _easy_." Rogue grabbed his arm.
"Rogue, what are you doing?"
"_We_ are going _shopping_..."
In another part of the mansion, Jean Grey put one hand to her head in
"What's wrong Jean?" asked Scott.
"I felt a strange disturbance in the astral plane. As though a single voice had cried out once in pain and anguish and then been... silenced..."
"Rogue, this really isn't necessary. Truly, I feel fine. Oh come now,
surely this costume is better than that other red monstrosity I apparently
used to wear."
Joseph clung by his fingernails to the door of the mansion.
"Now Joseph, don't go gettin' stubborn on me." Rogue yanked at his legs. Despite her super-strength she was having difficulty dislodging him from his grip. She suspected him of using his magnetic powers to hang on.
Joseph (who was doing exactly that) gritted his teeth and focused his powers harder, "Shouldn't there be some clothes from when I used to be a member of the team around someplace?"
"If you think for one second that Ah'm goin' to let you wear that awful purple... _thing_ ever again you have got another think comin'! You really want to go through life with a bucket on your head and an M on your front? Now quit strugglin' an' let's _go_ already.
With a final yank Rogue pulled Joseph free and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. "In the car!" she ordered. Grumbling under his breath, he obeyed. The car roared off, Rogue evidently attempting to match the speed she could fly at in it, and slowly peace re-settled over the mansion. Wolverine wandered past the open doorway and stared at the deep gouges
left by Joseph's fingernails. "Smart boy. He's learnin'." Grinning, he walked away.
Joseph let out a breath as Rogue parked the car and stepped slowly out.
He glanced at the dents in the cars before and behind theirs and wondered
if he should pop them back into the right shape.
"Come on come on! It's shoppin' time!"
With a sigh, Joseph jogged to catch up with Rogue. He felt awkward, dressed as he was in an old grey tracksuit and rather resentfully looked at Rogue, who was wearing a long-sleeved green silk shirt tied loosely over a white t-shirt, with green leather gloves. She was also wearing a _very_ tight pair of jeans with knee high black boots. Needless to say, his resentment didn't last that long with this vision next to him.
"Here we are!" she announced, "First stop, the all-American jean store."
"But I'm not Amer.. waaah!" Joseph yelped as she dragged him inside.
"Can I help you?" a sales assistant walked up to the pair of them.
"Why yes, muh friend here needs a new pair of jeans. In fact several new pairs of jeans."
The sales assistant smiled knowingly at Rogue, "Oh I see. Yours is addicted to sitting around in sloppy tracks watching the football too huh?"
Rogue sighed, "You said a mouthful girl. Can yuh save him?"
"What size does he take?"
Joseph opened his mouth to answer when Rogue cut in and told her. He frowned in brief puzzlement, wondering how exactly she knew what his size was and suddenly turned his attention back to the conversation when he realised that Rogue was giving the rest of the order!
"He'll need a pair of semi-formals... in black I think. Three pairs of blue, straight leg, no stretch. Front and back pockets. 501's?"
"Always in. A classic.." assured the saleslady.
"Alright then, and one pair of work denims, he likes to garden."
"Comin' right up."
The assistant went off to fetch the jeans. Joseph found his voice again.
"What?" asked Rogue, pushing him towards a changing booth.
"Don't _I_ get to choose what I wear?"
Rogue looked at him blankly, "Why?"
"Well... it's _my_ clothing."
"Sugah, considerin' your _past_ history of clothing, Ah am doin' you a _favour_."
"But... but... "
"No but's. Now get into those jeans and let's see how they fit."
Rogue followed him into the changing booth and was roughly shoved out again.
"I _can_ dress myself!" shouted Joseph.
The sales assistant and Rogue shared a look, "Men." said the saleslady, "They're just like little boys sometimes."
"What would they do without us?" Rogue agreed.
Now dressed in a brand new pair of jeans, Joseph felt slightly less
inconspicuous strolling through town. Now if only his ears would stop flaming
he'd feel fine.
"Okay, and next on the list is shirts and t-shirts." Rogue said.
"Can _I_ order them this time?" Joseph asked sarcastically.
"Alright, but Ah get right of veto." said Rogue absently. "Here we go." Joseph stared at her as they wandered into another store, but managed to pull himself together to order some plain white t-shirts and cotton shirts. He pulled on one of the t-shirts in the changing rooms and then tried out the shirts to see which patterns he, or rather Rogue, liked best. He passed the ones he didn't like out to her, and she periodically stuck her head in to give advice. Joseph had gotten comfortable with it now, and was actually quite enjoying the attention. He absently held out a shirt through the curtain and waited for Rogue to take it away. Not feeling anything he poked his head through the curtain and couldn't see her anywhere. Frowning, he walked out.
"Ah'm in here sugah!" came a muffled voice. Joseph turned to the changing booth next to his.
"What are you doing in there?" he asked.
"What do you think?"
"Changing?" he guessed.
"No, Ah mean, what do you think?" Rogue pushed back the curtains and Joseph gaped. She was now wearing one of the shirts that he'd put aside as a "maybe", having taken off the t-shirt and tying the ends of the shirt up around her midriff it looked... great.
"It looks better on you than it does on me!" he gasped.
Rogue giggled, "You say the sweetest things. Mind you, Ah do have an advantage."
"Yeah, two of them," said a leering male from a nearby set of racks.
Joseph glared at him, as did Rogue, who hmphed and pulled the curtain back across to get changed. The man grinned at Joseph and wandered into another changing section nearby. Joseph waited until he was in there and then, with a touch of thought, administered the world's first magnetically powered wedgie. He smiled at the resulting yelp, and then went back to trying on shirts.
"Rogue, we now have more than enough clothes, are we done yet?" Joseph
"Not hardly sugah, there's still a very important item we need to obtain some of."
"I was afraid of that," he muttered under his breath. His attention was then caught by a lacy little something hung at eye level. He jerked his head around in shock and hissed, "Rogue, we're in the lingerie section!"
"So I'm not really into woman's underwear."
"Well okay then, Ah guess we'll just have to keep movin' through it till we get to the _men's_ underwear section." Rogue teased.
"Oh." Joseph felt slightly releieved. Briefly.
"Okay, now you just go on and get y'self some underthings. I'll just stay over here," said Rogue, stopping at the nightclothing. Joseph smiled happily at her - she understood! Finally, some privacy. Sighing happily to himself he selected some underwear and went up to the counter to purchase them.
"PLAIN WHITE JOCKEYS???!!!"
Rogue's shriek was clearly audible throughout the store. Joseph dove for cover behind a rack of dressing gowns as the heads of every customer swung around to watch and stare. Rogue marched up to him, "What d'you think you're doin' down there?" she demanded. Joseph made frantic shushing motions. "You just put those back right this minute!" She ordered, "At the very least get black pairs."
Blushing furiously, Joseph returned the underwear and picked up a few black pairs. He walked back to Rogue, who was standing by the counter with a salesman, who was grinning sympathetically at him. Joseph muttered something and shoved the underwear across the counter to the man. "Is this all?" he asked Rogue.
"Sure thing sugah," she assured him, "Now we just pay and ... oooooohh..... boxer shorts! _Satin_ boxer shorts." Rogue grabbed a pair of Bugs Bunny boxers and began stroking them. "Ah _love_ satin!"
"Now there's a hint if ever I saw one," said the salesman, grinning at Joseph.
Joseph sighed, "I fear so. Five pairs please." No matter that I couldn't possibly wear them under my costume, he added mentally.
Rogue reluctantly relinquished her grasp on the shorts as they, and four others with different designs, were packed away. While waiting, Rogue's eye was caught by something else and she snapped her fingers.
"Oh yeah! We forgot nightclothes!" she darted to the nightwear section, Joseph following. "Here, how about this pair of pajamas?"
Joseph held the items at arms length, his expression one of disgust.
"It's got _teddybears_ on it Rogue," he said pointedly.
"Ah know! They're so cute!"
"Cute is not the word."
"Well then how about these bunny rabbits?"
"Okay, okay. Suns, moons and stars?"
Joseph pushed them away, "Look Rogue, this really isn't necessary, I don't wear anything in bed anyway and... I do not _believe_ I just yold you that!!!"
Rogue was staring at him, lips twitching, obviously just dying to say something risque.
"Look, how about these?" Joseph grabbed a pair of black satin pajamas from behind him.
"Oooooooohhhh..." Rogue's eyes went wide.
"And look! There's a matching green pair!"
"Ooh ooh ooh oooo oooo mine mine mine mine mine!" Rogue ran off, and Joseph collapsed in relief.
"Is there anything we've forgotten?" Joseph asked resignedly.
"Shoes." said Rogue.
"Very well, shoes I can deal with." said Joseph. After all, he thought, you couldn't get much more sensible than shoes.
"Joseph look! The perfect boots for you!"
"Which boots?" he asked, hoping that he was wrong.
"You are, I presume, referring to those thigh high black leather boots in the window over there."
"The ones in-between the whip and the gag display?"
Joseph took another look at the boots, "Rogue. I am not going into that store."
"Rogue. I. Am. _Not_. Going. Into. That. Store. I don't care how much you sulk, how loud you yell or whether or not you do your 'wounded puppy-dog eyes' at me, I am _not_ going in there... Rogue?" Joseph looked around. She'd disappeared at some point in the distribe. Just then she came bouncing out of the store.
"They're the wrong size for you," she told him, "Let's go."
Grabbing his arm, she led him off.
"By the way Rogue, how is it that you know all my sizes?" he asked as they walked together, "And does it have anything to do with the fact that after the last wash my clothes came back tinted pink and my jeans had shrunk two sizes?"
In yet another store, Rogue handed Joseph a small piece of material,
"Here, try this on."
Joseph looked at it, "Rogue, how do you try on a handkerchief?"
Rogue snorted with laughter, "Joseph, that's a pair of swimming togs!" [Or whatever the American word for swimwear is. They're a pair of speedos okay? Jae.]
Joseph stared at the swimwear, and then with a heavy heart turned towards the changing rooms.
"Are you done yet?" Rogue called through the door.
"Well it didn't exactly take long to put them on!" Joseph yelled back.
"Then come out."
Joseph stared at his reflection in horror, in the mirror he could see that his entire body was blushing.
"Are you comin' out? Or do I have to come in and drag you out by your hair?"
Joseph shuffled out.
"Turn around," Rogue ordered.
"Do I have to?"
"But there's such a cute l'il design on the front."
Joseph turned to face her, and for the first time all afternoon got to see Rogue struck speechless. Her jaw dropped as she stared at him and went bright red.
"mommy buy me that..." she whispered involuntarily.
"Pardon?" asked Joseph.
"N-nothing... I think we'll take those."
"You don't want me to try anything else?" Joseph couldn't believe that he'd gotten off so lightly. He turned and walked back into the changing room. Rogue watched him depart... closely.
Laden down, with packages obscuring his eyesight, Joseph stumbled along
following the click of Rogue's heels. It's over, he thought in relief,
I can go home and crash, thank God!
Joseph dropped the parcels and ran to Rogue's side, "What happened? Are you in pain?"
"Yes. Pain of the best kind." She pointed at a nearby boutique window. " D'you see that dress, ain't it beautiful?"
"Do you see that price tag - isn't it a bit high?"
"Joseph, Joseph ya won't ever get the hang of this if y'all don't go with the impulse."
"Charge!" cried Rogue and made a bee-line for the boutique. Joseph whimpered slightly, picked up the packages and followed. He entered and saw that Rogue, in all of six seconds, had filled her arms with the dress, and a few _other_ things.
"Now you just wait there sugah," she said. "Ah'll be out soon."
Rogue dashed into the changing rooms. Joseph leant against the counter and sighed. One of the saleswomen smiled at him.
"Your girlfriend is very beautiful."
"Uh... she's not... we're not..." Joseph struggled for a minute and then decided that trying to explain the exact nature of his relationship with Rogue would take far too long. "Yes she is beautiful," he answered.
"Um excuse me," someone touched his shoulder. He turned around and saw a boy, about sixteen or seventeen standing behind him. The boy had a large backpack with an umbrella on it strapped to his back, and a yellow bandanna held his dark hair back.
"Umm... you wouldn't be able to tell me how to get to Furinkan High School would you?" he held up a map.
Joseph looked at the map, "This is Tokyo! In Japan!"
"Yes, of course it is," snapped the boy.
"But we're in Westchester, in the United States!" Joseph said.
"Aaaaagh! I'm really lost this time!" the boy ran out of the store.
Joseph frowned, what a weird kid! Still, _he_ was hardly one to throw stones.
"Um, excuse me."
"What now?" he rounded on the speaker.
"Oh..." the girl behind him flinched.
"I'm sorry," apologised Joseph, "Can I help you?"
"Yes, could you give me your opinion of this outfit?" she indicated what she was wearing.
Joseph blinked, "It's... it's nice... why are you asking _me_?"
"Oh, I just need a male opinion. My boyfriend _refused_ to come with me."
"Smart man," muttered Joseph.
"So you like it?"
"Sure." Joseph backed away, and his arm was seized by another girl.
"Hey, can you tell my sister that she looks awful?"
"I do not!"
"Yes you do! And he can tell you - he's a man."
"Excuse me mister, do you think my husband will like this?"
"Does this dress make me look fat?"
"This isn't too small - is it?"
"Go on tell her, she looks like garbage!"
"Shut up! Please, it's fine isn't it?"
Joseph found himself backed up against a wall with a crowd of women around him all asking for his opinion on their outfits. As he looked frantically around he noticed that he was the ONLY male in the ENTIRE shop.
"Uh ladies... I..." Joseph broke away and headed for the door. A woman strutted out of the changing room wearing a _very_ tight, _very_ short black dress.
"Hey you," she pointed at Joseph, "What do you say?" she posed.
Joseph's jaw dropped, "Y-you look stunning!"
"Oh does she now sugah?" a low deadly voice murmured in his ear.
Joseph gulped, I'm _doomed_, he thought.
"You don't think she's better looking than _me_ do you?" Rogue's fingers ran up and down Joseph's sides.
"Agh! Rogue don't _do_ that," hissed Joseph.
"What's that? Hmmm... y'all haven't mentioned if ya like _mah_ dress."
"Oh I love it!"
"You haven't _seen_ it," Rogue jabbed her fingers into Joseph's side and shoved him into a rack of shirts... CRASH!!!
Joseph untangled himself from the shirts and winced when he saw Rogue standing in front of him, and expression of wrath on her face. He winced further when he saw that the crowd of women had not dispersed and they were all staring at _him_.
Joseph got to his feet, "Rogue..." he began, then stopped when he really got a look at the dress she was wearing. Green (big surprise), low cut and tight, it hugged her figure perfectly. Joseph stared and forgot all about the girl in black.
Rogue beamed, "How sweet! Thanks for the compliment."
Joseph eyed her warily, was he off the hook?
"So, have you finished?" he asked.
Rogue's eyes opened wide, "Hardly! Ah've got a few other things to show you."
"Just a few? Not a lot?"
"Joseph, trust me."
Two hours later:
"Alright, we have more clothes than I really want to think about, is
there _anything_ we missed?"
"It's okay, we just need formal clothes. Right, this is the store, come on!"
The atmosphere of the store was extremely oppressive. An arrogant salesman bore down on them. "Monsieur, mademoiselle, may I be of assistance?" His eyes took in their casual clothes and narrowed in disgust.
"Yes," said Rogue brightly, "Mah friend requires a tuxedo."
"I do?" murmured Joseph.
"This way sir. We have the finest selection in the country." the salesman led them forward, "Not that you'd know you couchon," he muttered under his breath. For the first time ever, Joseph wished Gambit was there to translate. They reached the rack of tuxedos and accessories.
Rogue leapt forward and grabbed one. "How about this?"
"That's an Armani Mademoiselle. Not what our _usual_ customers ask for."
Rogue grinned at him, showing all her teeth, "And from what sewers do they come from?" she asked sweetly.
The man sputtered, Joseph stepped forward and towered over him, all his muscles bulging obviously through his tight t-shirt. The salesman backed down rather hurriedly.
Rogue shoved a tuxedo at Joseph and frowned, "We need something more... ah!" She grabbed four items from the accessory shelf; a top hat, a cane, a pair of white gloves and a cape. "Here."
Joseph was baffled, to put it mildly, "What's this?"
"Just try it on."
He went into the changing room and did so, then walked out. Rogue leapt forward, "Your tie's not right!" She grabbed it and tightened it.
"Madame, I think he's choking."
Joseph pulled away with an effort and looked at himself in the mirror. "I think the cane and cape are a bit much."
"No, it's perfect!" Rogue protested. She grabbed a mask from the masquerade section, "Here - this completes it!"
Joseph stared at the mask, "Now I know where I remember this from!"
"Yes, isn't it wonderful!"
"Just don't change your hairstyle," he said. Then threw the mask away, "There is no way that I am wearing all this."
"Awwww... but I have this really cute sailor suit... it would be perfect."
"In words of one syllable - no way."
Rogue sniffled, "Ah think y'all're being awfully negative about this."
The salesman looked reproachfully at Joseph, "Ah monsieur, how could you make a woman cry?"
"But... but... Rogue, face it, you want _real_ quality. And this doesn't do either of us justce! Besides, it only works in Japan."
"Hmmm..." Rogue considered, "Okay, but keep the cape."
"I thought you hated my other cape!"
"Oh I liked the cape, it was the rest of the outfit I hated."
"Riiight." Joseph looked at the price tag, gagged, and grabbed Rogue's hand.
"This is extremely expensive," he hissed.
"Don't worry sugah, Ah've got it covered." she whispered back.
"Just where is this money coming from? Because I warn you now I'm no good at washing dishes, I break them!"
"So that's what that heap of broken plates in the kitchen is!"
Rogue shrugged, "Anyway, here's the money," she pulled out an American Express Gold card.
Joseph gaped, "Where did you get that?"
Rogue beamed, "16th birthday present from Mystique - unlimited credit!"
"But she's a criminial! Where would she get all... _no_, I thought you were a good guy!"
"Ah am. So?"
"I can't believ I'm hanging out with a woman who's committing credit fraud!"
"Look who's talking!"
Joseph conceded the point, "Well anyway, how about that suit?"
"You didn't even look at it!"
"Ah don't have to, Ah _know_ you. It's purple isn't it?"
"Uhh... why don't you pick something out?"
"Ah knew you'd see it mah way."
"One more stop," said Rogue, "Ah just have to get a bracelet to go with
mah new dress."
"That doesn't sounds too painful," muttered Joseph.
They entered an exclusive and extremely expensive jewellery shop. Rogue selected a gold charm bracelet adn took it to the counter. Unfortunately her card was rejected.
"I'm sorry miss," said the salesgirl in a most offensive manner,
"Your credit limit has been reached."
"WHAT?!!!" Rogue's voice reached octaves Joseph had never heard before. Tears sprang to her eyes. "This has never happened to me!"
Joseph blinked, "You've _never_ done this? Amazing!"
"Oh shut up," she smiled nervously at the salesgirl. "Could you just hold the bracelet while I make a phone call?"
"To the bank?" asked Joseph.
"No, to the person who gave me the card!"
"I've got a bad feeling about this."
Five minutes later, at the X-Factor complex in Virginia, Wildchild answered the phone, "Yeah?"
"Um, can ah speak to Mystique?"
"Okay, are you sure about that?"
"Just quit the comedy an get her, it's urgent."
Wildchild spotted Mystique walking down the hall, "Hey, phone for you."
Mystique picked up the phone, "Thanks ugly."
"Oh don't mention it."
"Hello?" she said into the phone.
"Ah went over my credit limit!"
"I see, and this is the only way I can get you to call. Is it so hard to write a letter? Even a postcard would be nice," Mystique sighed, "But the younger generation these days..."
"Would you cut it out?" Rogue begged, "Y'see, Ah've been buyin' clothes for Joseph..."
"Who's Joseph? Last time I heard it was Remy."
"You remember Joseph - before Onslaught?"
[Mystique met Joseph and Rogue in _A Match Made..?_. Jae.]
"You're still with him? That's quite a record isn't it?"
"Do you mind? Please, Ah need my credit. There's this gorgeous bracelet......"
"Couldn't you just steal it?"
"Ah can't do that! Ah'm a hero!"
"Sure, defraud them with fake credit but you can't steal!"
"It's the principle of the thing!"
"Okay, alright, give me ten minutes, I'll do it for you."
"Thanks Momma, Ah promise to write!"
"Yeah, sure," Mystique put down the phone, "Kids today, _no_ gratitude. They've got no idea what it means to _earn_ money."
Sabretooth was walking past the door at that moment and overheard, "_You_ earnt money?!" he asked incredulously.
"Sure, when I was in the secret service."
"You stole someone elses identity and took their pay!"
"Yeah, but I was spending time with you. I should've been paid double!"
Rogue pulled the car into the driveway of the mansion and headed for
her usual parking space (whereever the hell she felt like parking). Joseph
stumbled out of the car the minute it stopped and sat down on the grass.
"I'm back... I'm _safe_." he breathed.
"Joseph! Help me get these clothes into the mansion!" Rogue called. He sighed and grabbed the rest of the packages and boxes. The pair of them made it inside the mansion but couldn't face the stairs and so flew to their rooms. Joseph collapsed the second he was over the threshold of his room and lay on the floor.
"Joseph? Are you alright?" asked Storm, who had seen the pair entering and come to see what had happened.
"I think so," he said doubtfully, "We've been clothes shopping."
"So I see," said Storm, stifling a smile, "But why didn't you just use the Shi'ar machines downstairs to create clothing for yourself?"
"The... what?! You mean we could have _stayed here_ and made the clothing?" Joseph demanded.
"Yes, but it wouldn't have been as much fun sugah," said Rogue from behind Storm. She pushed past and nudged Joseph with her foot, "Besides, we wanted ordinary clothing, so we might as well go to ordinary clothes stores. _Now_ however we have to do something about that costume of yours. You desperately need a new one."
"You mean..?" Joseph turned over and stared at her in horror.
"It ain't over yet sugah! Up and at'em, it's time for your spandex fitting!"