Title: The Finer Points of Leather.
Rating: PG for some language.
Summary: A little bit of a crossover. A girls night out for champions of all kinds.
Author's Notes: I haven't got a clue where the h@ll this came from. I just started typing. Mention of Scott in leather taken from Minishinoo's take on Cyclops.
It was a strange kind of night in Caritas.
The normally bright, almost garish lighting was not in evidence, nor were the normally ebullient crowds. The Kareoke machine was silent, music filling the room instead from a 'Happy Days' replica jukebox, complete with vinyl records. Indeed, if not for the group of women surrounding a large table in the center of the club, and the green skinned demon working behind the bar, one might think that Caritas was closed.
Which is was. In a manner of speaking.
Normally such a dismal turnout on a weekend -- or any night come to think of it -- would have sent Lorne into a mild panic. He was a business man after all, despite what some people -- or demons -- thought. But tonight was different.
In fact the night had started out wonderfully well. Word had spread that Caritas was once again open for business and the patrons had come flocking back to their favourite watering hole. A safe haven where fighting was not allowed and all were welcome.
Well, almost all were welcome.
But the night that had looked to be so wonderful for business had been cut short when the princess had walked in the door accompanied by some new friends. Highly attractive new friends. Highly attractive, rather pissed off, new friends.
The regulars knew to steer clear of Cordelia Chase. The possible enjoyment gained from giving her a hard time wasn't worth the shortened life expectancy you suddenly gained once Angel found out. Not to mention that Cordelia herself had been known to deflate many a demon with either a well placed kick, a swing of a sword, or well placed razor sharp verbal barbs. If she so chose, the princess could become a somewhat unconventional walking weapon.
And after witnessing one of her new friends telekinetically move several chairs to a table, those in the know surmissed that Cordelia's friends were really no different.
Lorne had never seen Caritas clear out so fast. At least, not when not under attack.
After getting a good look at the auras mingling within the group Lorne had just sighed. Just when did the Powers decide to make him a Den Mother?
It was suprising really, just how much a few drinks and some good company could mellow a person's mood. Cordelia had been having a truly crappy day. A day that hadn't been made any better by the vision that had appeared to turn the checkout clerk at 7-11 into a seven foot something, hairy missing link, or beeing thrown halfway across a carpark by said missing link, ruining a brand new shirt and her favourite pair of jeans.
She was going to have to hit Angel up for a raise. Her clothing bill was getting ridiculous.
"We find that leather works really well," Rogue offered as she reached for her new cards. She frowned at her hand, then threw them on the table in disgust. "Not the kind that's popular with rock stars, but the thicker stuff. It doesn't get ruined so easy."
"There's nothing wrong with the kind of leather the rock stars wear." Faith threw a few pretzels onto the pile, then took a drink of her beer. "Angel looks positively edible in his leather pants." She raised a brow suggestively at Cordelia who threw a handful of peanuts at her.
"Look, don't touch. And definitely no eating." She paused. "And that just came out soooo wrong, didn't it?"
"Don't worry, we won't hold it against you." Jean Grey said, contemplating her cards. She stared at the pile of assorted snackfoods in the center of the table. Should she bet her Double Fudge Crunch Chocolate bar? She couldn't tell if Faith was bluffing or not. She sighed and called, pushing a small stack of pretzels into the pile. "Scott looks good in that kind of leather too."
Rogue almost choked on her Scotch and Soda. "Scott?! Cyclops wears leather that isn't the X-Men uniform?" The mind boggled. "I know he isn't as uptight as he acts, but... Hey, his motorcycle jacket doesn't count!"
Jean grinned. "I wasn't talking about his jacket. Buried in his wardrobe somewhere is a pair of leather pants he used to wear while he was in a band in College." Mischief sparkled in her eyes. "I've got pictures somewhere."
"Who do I have to kill to see them?"
Fred slid a handfull of peanuts into the pile. "You're uniform is leather?" she asked the two mutants curiously. "Wouldn't that chaf?"
Cordelia snorted tequilla out her nose as the memory of how uncomfortable Wesley had been when he'd first come to LA flashed in her mind.
"Not so much," Rogue shrugged.
"And leather is so much easier to care for than spandex." Jean noted. "And a lot more modest too. I'm not sure that I'd feel comfortable running around in skintight lycra."
"Leather's sexier." Faith grinned.
"Don't knock lycra." Mary Jane Watson folded her cards on the table.
"You know someone who actually wears it out in public?" Faith asked. "And looks good?"
"You mean besides athletes and gym instructors?" Rogue raised a brow -- a habit she had picked up from Logan.
"What about those wrestlers that Charles seems to like watching?" Fred added.
Mary Jane laughed. "Spider-man. My superhero stalker."
"Ooohhh, yum." Faith agreed.
"Oh yeah. He does seem to wear it well, doesn't he?" Rogue grinned.
"Rogue!" Jean feigned outrage. "What would Logan say if he knew you were drooling after a guy in spandex?"
"Jeannie, I'm 21 years old. I haven't been able to touch anyone without killing them since I was seventeen. Drooling after a guy is about all I'm ever likely to be able to do. And can we just say that my hormones haven't gotten that message?"
"A ghost and a loofah work really well," Cordelia murmered distractedly as she contemplated her cards.
"I take it that's not something you want Angel or any of the guys to know about?" Fred asked after a moments silence.
"You do know that this is the electronic age, right?" Faith asked Rogue. "Head for the closest sex shop. No touching required."
"Are you sure that you aren't related to Jubilee?" Rogue flushed with embarrasment. "And how did we get onto the topic of my sex life? Or lack thereof?"
"Started at Spider-man and took a left." Cordelia made the final bet and laid her cards on the table.
"I hope that was just a faux paux." Mary Jane muttered as Faith swore and threw her cards on the table.
Cordelia frowned, then groaned as her words caught up with her. "Know who he is under the mask, huh?"
"Not that *he* ever told me."
"Aww kitten." Lorne clucked sympathetically as he placed a fresh round of drinks on the table. "I'm sure he has a good reason."
"Not necessarily." Faith noted. "He is male after all. Who knows how their brains work?"
"Here, here." Jean finished collecting the pile of assorted snack foods from the center of the table and raised her glass. "To men and their strange mental processes. The loving..."
"And the ones who think they're protecting you by breaking your heart." Mary Jane finished.
"You want us to gang up on him and break a few limbs for you?" Rogue offered.
"You'd do that?" Mary Jane was touched. Of course she was also a little tipsy.
"Of course. We're practically sisters."
Nothing bonds a group like alcohol, Lorne thought.
"Besides, it's what we do." Cordelia nodded sagely, patting Mary Jane on the arm.
"Help the helpless." Fred agreed.
"I'm not helpless!" Mary Jane protested.
"Not if that kick you gave Sabretooth was any indication." Jean agreed.
"I just... I don't know what to do about..."
"Spider-man?" Faith prompted.
"Peter." Mary Jane sighed.
"His real name is Peter?" Rogue asked. "Best not let Kitty anywhere near him. Her last two boyfriends were named Peter."
"I thought she was going out with Piotr last?" Jean asked.
"Close enough." Rogue shrugged. "So," she turned her attention back to Mary Jane, "he a nice guy in real life?"
"Yeah. Real Life. When he's not wearing the Spider-man suit. When he's not out saving people. He a nice guy?"
"Yeah. I knew I was in love with him before I figured out he was Spider-man. What do you mean, 'Real Life'?"
"Oh it's just how I keep it straight. Real Life; the person he normally is. Not-Real Life; the persona they embody when they put on the suit. Or uniform in our case."
"A little bit of self-deception to try and stop yourself getting hurt." Cordelia nodded. "Doesn't work." Jean nodded in agreement.
"Explanation please?" Faith demanded.
"How to explain this? Ok. Pretend that your husband/lover/boyfriend/whatever is a firefighter. A dangerous occupation, right? Well you start thinking of what he does as a firefighter is seperate from the person he is. To try and protect yourself. Firefighters run into flaming buildings. Firefighters get burned, killed. There's a good chance that a firefighter isn't coming home after the day has finished. See what I'm getting at?"
"Works right up until the first time they come home injured. Or close to death." Jean shuddered as memories flooded her mind.
"Or someone comes after *you* to get to your other half."
"Been there." Jean nodded.
"Done that." Mary Jane frowned.
"And then you're just left with that terrible knowledge that when they go out..."
"They might not come back." Fred finished quietly.
"So how did you guys all meet?" Lorne asked curiously.
"Vision." Cordelia succinctly told him.
"Got attacked." Rogue added, speaking for herself and Jean.
"Tried to help." Mary Jane added.
"That was a very nice kick though." Jean told her.
"Thanks. It's my one self-defense skill, other than screaming for Spider-man."
"Come to the mansion sometime, we'll teach you a few moves you can use."
"For future reference Lorne?" Cordelia grinned, "If you see a guy about seven foot tall, looks suspiciously like the missing link, answers to the name of... What was it you called him again?"
"Jubilee calls him Kitten Boy." Rogue added.
"It fits." Faith grinned.
"...Sabretooth or Kitten Boy," Cordelia continued, "he really doesn't like it when you shine bright light in his eyes."
"Or kick him in the groin." Mary Jane added and Lorne winced.
"Or try throwing him across the carpark." Jean smiled.
"Or try to decapitate him." Fred grinned at Lorne's shocked look. Fred wasn't normally a hand-to-hand combat type. "It's not for making toast," she deadpanned.
"Or attack him two at a time." Rogue gestured to Faith, who clumsily took a small bow.
"Let's face it ladies, we make a kick ass team." she announced as she stumbled back into her seat.
"Girl Power, huh?" Rogue raised a brow.
"Absolutely." Faith agreed. "Sisters are doing it for themselves and all that shit."
"You didn't just start talking in song titles, did you?"
"You are drunk."
"So are you."
"Do I want to know?" Angel stood in the doorway watching as Cordelia laughed at something a red headed woman said.
"Would you believe that the Powers arranged a little Girls Night Out?" Lorne sighed. "Ran off the rest of the customers, on would have been one of the busiest nights in the last month."
"How long have they been here?"
"Other than drunk? Yep."
"Not very talkative tonight, are you?"
"I take it you want me to take them home?"
"Preferably *before* I find out more details of their sex lives."
A sleepy voice from the seat beside him caught his attention as he pulled the car into the garage, "Angel?"
"Faith was right."
A voice from the back seat spoke up, "I was?"
"Leather is definitely sexier than Lycra."