If At First You Don't Succeed
"Well let's check the damage," Reed Richards sighed. There was a bandage on his head. "I have a mild concussion. Which is an accomplishment for someone with an elastic body. The entire Baxter Building is either covered in burnt broccoli juice, giant bug parts or just plain trashed. My lab is all but destroyed. Several walls have holes in them and at least three apartments are uninhabitable now. Mrs. Finelli has decided to move out to save her surviving cats. Both Professor Mapleloop and Courtney have just been taken away by the paramedics to the nearest psychiatric ward. Colonel Pettibone has just been arrested by the police on illegal weapon possession charges. Several Cobra Soldiers have severe burns and one had a heart attack. Major Bludd will probably be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The entire city is up in arms over the spaceships dog fighting over the city and for some reason there is half a pound of cream cheese in my sock drawer."
"And this is what? Day Four of Scott and Jean moving in?" Ben asked casually.
"Day Five," Susan watched the sun come up. "It was a long night. What with the disaster of a tenant's meeting and both the spaceships and Cobra invading and all."
"Look Stretch, you know me. I'm the last guy to throw stones when it comes to wrecking stuff," Ben said. "But this is a lot for me! And that's saying something!"
"They're not responsible for all the insanity that's happened," Susan defended. "Especially not the giant cockroaches!"
"No, just for several tenants moving out and a spaceship fight over the skyline of New York City that sent half the population into a panic," Ben said. "Oh yeah and the Misfits showing up."
"Not to mention they are kind of responsible for blowing up at least half the building," Johnny added. "Which is a first for us because it's usually one of our bad guys that does it. Of course they don't all gang up on us at the same time."
"Reed I hate to say this but if this keeps up we won't have any tenants left!" Susan sighed.
"And that's a bad thing?" Johnny chuckled.
"It is when you consider a quarter of our income comes from the rent they pay," Sue said.
"So what? We'll get new tenants," Ben snorted. "I know for a fact Alicia's looking for a new place. She can move in downstairs. And there's plenty of room for her studio."
"Yeah we can't exactly throw Cyclops and his friends out on the street," Johnny snorted. "Can we?"
Just then the phone rang. "I wonder who that could be?" Ben rolled his eyes.
"Hello?" Reed answered the phone. "Yes, Mr. Gyrich. Yes I did employ two X-Men before…Well technically one X-Man. But I…"
"Just what we need," Ben folded his arms. "A phone call from Mister Sunshine."
"Ben the man is now Head of the Superhuman Activities Commission," Susan shushed him.
"How a dork like him got that job I'll never know," Johnny scoffed.
"Simple, he bribed a few dozen people!" Ben snorted.
"But Mr. Gyrich! I…But I can't just…I understand," Reed sighed as he hung up the phone.
"So what did Mr. Happy want?" Ben asked.
"Mr. Gyrich expressed some…concern over our decision to hire mutants to work here at the Baxter Building," Reed sighed. "He said that our contracts with the government and the military may be in jeopardy because of it. That our security may be compromised."
"What does that mean?" Johnny asked.
"It means because we got a couple of mutants around they're gonna pull the plug on all the dough we get on Reed's inventions and our bills for taking care of all the nut jobs that attack the city!" Ben growled.
"Are you saying the government can discriminate against us because we employ mutants?" Sue gasped. "That's insane!"
"Yeah they got powers just like us!" Johnny said. "What's the difference?"
Then Johnny looked around. "Oh wait…Never mind. I think I see it."
Meanwhile back at Scott and Jean's apartment.
"Well that was an interesting evening," Scott said as he and Jean sat on the couch. "And you even went Phoenix on someone. No mission is complete without you doing that."
"Or you blowing something up," Jean gave him a look.
"Yeah I can't wait to see the fun we're gonna have when Doctor Doom shows up here!" Scott groaned. "Did I really just say that?"
"Oh my god…" Jean realized something. "We're doing it again! Scott we're falling into the same old patterns we had back at the Xavier Institute!"
"You're right!" Scott gasped. "We're addicts! We're adrenaline addicts! We can't stop ourselves!"
"Not as long as we live here!" Jean said. "Madelyne! Start packing!"
Twenty five minutes later the Fantastic Four went to the mutants' apartment. "Reed we can't just kick them out!" Susan protested.
"If we let them stay we might not have a home left either!" Johnny said. "Ewww…I got broccoli and bug juice on my shoes!"
"We have to talk to them and decide on the best course of action," Reed sighed. "I don't want to fire Scott. Maybe we can come up with some kind of legal strategy…?"
Just then the door opened. Scott and Jean were carrying suitcases. "Good we really need to talk Reed," Scott said. "Look I appreciate everything you've done for us. But I don't think this is gonna work out. Us working here that is."
"Really?" Ben asked sarcastically. "And everything was going along so swell."
"Seriously Ben, tonight was the same kind of insanity Scott and I are trying to get away from," Jean said. "I mean things got out of control enough with our enemies and friends. If some of your enemies show up things could really get out of control!"
"You mean things could get worse than this?" Johnny looked at the walls covered in bug parts, green slime and several holes.
"So I think it's best for everyone that we just take off and leave before well before the building falls down or something…" Scott sighed.
"That might not be such a bad idea," Reed said. "I mean if that's what you really want."
"I know you were going to pay us for our services but…" Jean began.
"Hold on!" Reed took out his wallet. "Here! Take it! Take all the money I have! And I'll mail you a check for the rest! Here! Go!"
"Dude they wrecked our pad and he's paying them?" Johnny whispered to Ben.
"You want them to stay until they can afford a new place?" Ben whispered back to Johnny.
"I've got five hundred bucks!" Johnny shelled out his wallet. "Take that too! Please!"
"We'll let you know when we get settled," Jean said as they left.
"Take your time!" Ben called out as they left. "Don't rush back!"
"That was a freebee," Johnny blinked. "Just one final question: Who's gonna clean this mess up?"
"Oy…" Ben groaned. "I'll get the hammers you get the buckets Stretch…"
Not that much later on the streets of New York City in a van bound for Connecticut. "All right! This will be the start of our new lives," Jean looked like she was about to snap. "This will be a new beginning! This will stop all the insanity!"
"Is that a pterodactyl?" Scott blinked as he looked up at the sky.
"I believe it is," Jean blinked. "And it's being chased by Spider Man and a guy in a fur vest. Looks like Kraven the Hunter."
"Yeah that's him all right," Scott nodded. "He must have brought it back from the Savage Land or something."
"Uh guys are we gonna do something or are we just gonna drive away?" Madelyne asked.
"Let Spider Man handle it!" Jean snapped. "We are done with the super hero lifestyle!"
"Right after we fry a certain bird extra crispy," Scott growled as he saw the huge mess the pterodactyl left on his car.
"Fine," Jean sighed as they chased after the flying dinosaur in their car. "One last dinosaur hunt and then we'll go off to Connecticut to begin our weirdo free lives! And this time I mean it!"
"So Jean, about this insanity free lifestyle…Are we there yet?" Madelyne asked.
"Oh shut up and get out the net from the back seat!" Jean snapped.