Joe's Note: As I stated back when I ended the original run of this story, it's almost infinitely expandable given that the first five chapters cover a stretch of nineteen years or so in their universe but only show three select moments. Three moments within a five year span at that. There's obviously a lot going on even in just their lives to say nothing of what goes on around them, such as Laura's off-handed mention of Veranke's faction of Skrulls openly integrating into human society. With that said? This will remain a character-driven, slice of life story and so we won't be seeing how 'insert most any major Marvel event here' unfolded differently due to Emma's interference. Like in this case? We get to find out about that one time Rachel tried to show off for her moms and fucked shit up in the kitchen. Enjoy.
Dedications & Thanks: To Nicholas, Alexander, Howard, MJ, Daniel, Christopher, Kentucky Fried Dragon, Joseph, mpop, RileyWestfall, bloodylord, Luke, Zachary, Marc, Ziryo, Elliot, Crusifikz70, Timothy, Leigh, Jason, Chris, George, Koby, Ken, Thyatira, William, Invernos, Paul, Pat, Warren, Mitch, and Jess for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing. And comparing that list to the version in the first chapter - written in December 2014 - or what had previously been the final chapter when it was completed in February 2015… it's sorta humbling to see how my support has grown. Thanks, guys.
November 8, 2014
"This is impossible. We keep trying and trying, but-"
"No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try."
Lingering in the shadows in her transmorph form to keep from being detected, Emma bit her lip to avoid laughing at the identical looks of disgust that appeared on her young clones' faces at Rachel's words. Rachel took after not one but both of her mothers in certain areas, whereas the quintuplets… well, one of the scientists working for Weapon Plus had apparently managed to remove their nerd gene somewhere along the way. Which was a pity, Emma mused, because she could think of all kinds of fun things to dress them up as for conventions. Padmé and her handmaidens. Genderswapped clonetroopers. The clones from Orphan Black would likewise be hilariously ironic. Some valkyries. Supergirl had a bunch of different costumes. Or… Emma was a bit of a packrat and they literally had her figure. Wouldn't five versions of herself from the past decade and a half be hilarious?
Hmm. The girls loved shoes as much as she did and New York Comic Con was going biannual these days. Maybe the proper application of retail therapy could change the girls' minds before next June?
Emma remained in the doorway for several more minutes, watching curiously as Rachel worked patiently with her half-sisters on… suddenly, Sophie's hand shifted from flesh and blood into glittering diamond, drawing everyone's attention to her. Ah. So the quintuplets had come to her with decent control over their telepathic abilities, they hadn't mastered their secondary mutation yet. While part of her was offended that they hadn't come straight to the source and asked her for help, if it gave them something to bond with Rachel over? She'd allow it.
Growling in disgust as the change refused to advance any further than her elbow, Sophie turned and punched the nearby coffee table, reducing it to a mangled pile of wood.
…or perhaps it was time for Emma to step in. Not that she'd ever been particularly fond of that coffee table - Veranke had dragged the hideous thing home from an antiquing expedition with Wanda and refused to part with it - but there were plenty of things in her living room that she would actually miss if they were destroyed. "That's quite enough of that, children." All six girls straightened up as she entered the room, shifting back into her flesh and blood form now that she no longer had to hide herself. "And Rachel, darling, what have I told you about powers practice outside of the Danger Room? Particularly new powers? Or have you somehow managed to forget about the incident that resulted in our fifty thousand dollar kitchen remodel?"
Leaning her head back so that she was staring at her mother upside-down, Rachel raised an eyebrow. "Excuse you? I destroyed the range and damaged the countertops and cabinets on either side. That's a couple thousand dollars tops, even with the custom cabinets and stuff. You're the one who decided to use my accident to justify completely remodeling the kitchen."
"Yes, well, I'd been regretting the granite countertops ever since I discovered Olympian White Danby marble was a thing. Did you really expect me to not take advantage of a very convenient excuse?" Taking a seat in her favorite armchair, Emma shifted a bit as five identical pairs of blue eyes came to rest on her, blinking in perfect synchronicity. Christ, that was creepy. She loved her non-consensually created clone-daughters just as much as Rachel, Amaranth, and Victoire… but they were still incredibly creepy sometimes. "Can I help you?"
The girls exchanged disbelieving glances - a process made exponentially longer by the fact that they seemed intent on going through every possible permutation of which two girls were locking eyes - before finally turning their attention back to Emma, five sets of perfectly manicured blond brows inching upward. "You can't just dangle something like that out there and not expect us to be curious. What happened?"
Emma opened her mouth to reply, only to be interrupted by her bedroom door swinging open and a violet-haired girl dashing out. Crossing the living room at top speed, the girl launched herself into a front aerial that carried her up and over the back of the couch, landing on it gracefully before letting her legs collapse so that she was sitting cross-legged on the cushion. Unsurprisingly, all attention shifted to the newcomer in their midst, the girl arching an eyebrow imperiously in response. "What? I'm in the mood for story time too."
"And now things are going to be derailed because you couldn't just eavesdrop from the doorway like a normal teenage Frost." Letting out a sigh of exasperation, Emma waited until all six other girls' eyes were on her before stretching her hand out in the unfamiliar girl's direction. "Everyone, this is Charlotte Braddock-Frost. She was supposed to be staying out of sight until we could figure out how to send her home."
"Which makes absolutely no sense. I'm not a time-traveller, I'm dimensionally displaced from a reality that exists perfectly parallel to this one." Leaning to one side, Charlotte dug into her pocket and pulled out a silver iPhone 6 identical to the ones owned by each of Emma's eight daughters. "I can't pollute the timeline or anything because it's November 8, 2014 where I'm from too. The worst that'll happen is that Ginger-Me might learn some British swear that your version of Mum hasn't used in front of her before." Pausing, Charlotte's eyes turned violet as she peered down at Rachel for a few seconds, and then she shook her head and chuckled as the glow faded to reveal the same blue eyes that Emma and her clones all shared. "Nope, she's pretty much heard it all at this point."
Rising from where she had been sitting on the floor with her half-sisters, Rachel slid onto the couch beside Charlotte, staring at the girl in amazement. "I have so many questions, I don't even know where to start. How did you end up here? Why did you call me Ginger-You? Are you a transmorph like us? How can you slip past my shields so easily? If Aunt Betsy is your mother, how come you're so… so… so white?"
Charlotte held up both hands to ward off the barrage of questions, and then her jaw dropped at the last thing to emerge from Rachel's mouth. "Mum and Mother are both blue-eyed blondes. At least naturally; Mum and I go through enough ChromaSilk VIVIDS Violet to keep Pravana in business. But yeah. My moms are white. Why wouldn't I be white?"
"To make a very long story exceptionally short? Betsy got body swapped with a young woman named Revanche, Revanche took terrible care of her loaner body, and so your mother is now stuck as a twenty-six-year-old Japanese woman rather than the thirty-nine-year-old Brit she should be. It happened when Rachel was only six, so sometimes she forgets that her 'aunt' hasn't always been Asian." Emma found herself smirking as Charlotte's mouth worked soundlessly, the girl completely unable to process the information she'd been given. It served the brat right; if she hadn't interrupted things in the first place, she wouldn't have gotten her brain broken. Letting her gaze drop to the quintuplets sitting on the floor, she pointed first at Charlotte before jerking her thumb back over her shoulder. "Since I'm taking time out of my busy day for you… would you rather help your sister pester Charlotte, or do you want to hear about the time Rachel destroyed the kitchen?"
"Charlotte." Unsurprisingly, Rachel decided to chime in with her opinion despite being specifically excluded. Somewhat surprisingly, each of the quintuplets opted to voice their opinion individually. Even more surprising was the opinion that Sophie chose to voice, blushing faintly as her fellow clones looked at her in bewilderment. "Rachel and I have a pretty solid friendship. Now that I know there's a story, I feel like I can ask her to tell me herself another time."
"We're all friends with Rachel and-"
"She likes me the most."
As five pairs of eyes blazed blue, the girls descending into - thankfully silent - bickering, Emma sighed and let her attention drift upward to the thankfully still attentive Charlotte. "Fine. I'll tell you the story, then."
January 14, 2010
"One - and I quote - 'generous pinch' of ground nutmeg."
"Well that's perfectly ridiculous." Grabbing Jean by the wrist, Emma raised one of the redhead's hands so she could press her free hand against it. "Your hands are bigger than mine; are we supposed to use how much you could pinch or how much I could pinch? Or is my pinch a pinch and yours is a generous pinch because you've got larger fingers?"
Even as Wanda buried her face in her hands with a groan, Jean shot Emma a lecherous grin and looked her wife up and down slowly. "I dunno. Do you think that I give your ass a pinch or a generous pinch?"
Emma released Jean's wrist with a snort, turning her attention back to the ingredients she was laying out on the kitchen counter. "You generally give my ass an exceedingly thorough groping." Sidling up next to the smaller blonde, Jean let her freed hand drop to rest on Emma's left ass cheek before squeezing it hard. Emma peered back over her shoulder for a moment before looking up at Jean and raising an eyebrow. "If we're putting that much nutmeg into the grünkohleintopf, we're going to need to send someone to the store to pick up more. And Wanda, before you compliment my pronunciation, I'm pulling it straight out of your head. My German is abysmal."
"And your Romani is even worse but I love you anyway." Taking up a position on the blonde's other side, Wanda waved her hand to direct the thin tendril of red energy that she'd summoned, gently pushing the bottle of nutmeg off to the side before moving the pepper mill off to join it. "We're a good two hours of prep and cooking away from needing to figure out what a generous pinch is. Why don't you get the water salted and boiling so we can blanch the kale? Jean, I trust you can handle heating the oil and sautéing the onions while I walk her through that?"
Offering a playful salute, Jean moved off to do as she'd been asked, leaving Emma and Wanda to tackle what the blonde was reasonably certain was the easier task. Not that she minded; Jean's lessons with Wanda had started two weeks earlier than hers on account of the blonde being needed in London with Veranke to sort out a Skrull rights issue. Although she had a feeling that no amount of practice would make her knife cuts as perfectly precise as the ones the redhead made… by cheating and using telekinesis. "Right. Boil some water and blanch some kale. How hard can this possibly be?"
Considerably harder than she expected, it turned out. Given that the doubled recipe called for five to six pounds of kale, Emma had questioned why Wanda had bought eight pounds. By the time her third attempt at blanching ended in mushy, disgusting-looking kale, she'd understood. The fourth had gone significantly better but she'd forgotten what the bowl of ice water was for, resulting in yet more wasted mushy kale. Thankfully, Jean had been keeping an eye on their progress and not fired up the burner until after Emma got the hang of things, ensuring that her obnoxiously perfect sautéd onions didn't go to waste. Her serviceably blanched kale had joined the onions, two cups of water, and some rolled oats in the saucepan, and then they'd settled in to wait. Waiting and stirring occasionally… but mostly waiting.
Thirty minutes of simmering later, a pound of smoked porn loin and something called 'pinkelwurst' had gone into the pot. Emma had googled the unknown ingredient, learned a little something that she'd probably forget in a few hours, and then settled in for more waiting. After another half hour wait, two more sausages had gone into the pot and the trio had settled in for the home stretch… only to have their increasingly spirited debate about the Bruins' playoff chances interrupted by an unexpected but familiar voice. "Well that smells… interesting. Interesting is the word I'm supposed to use when I don't like something but don't want to be rude, right, Mother?"
"…yes, but it stops being the polite way to refer to things when you actually admit you don't like it." Emma picked the thought out of Wanda's mind as soon as it formed, glancing over at the brunette before nodding in Rachel's direction. "She told Veranke that she had homework due tomorrow to get out of this afternoon's shopping expedition and has been hiding in her room ever since because she thought that would keep us from catching on to her. She's avoiding trips to Madison Avenue, and using simplistic and easily disproven lies. As her mother, I'm not sure which offends me more."
Rolling her eyes, Rachel wandered deeper into the kitchen and then hopped up onto the island opposite the stove, eyeing the pot of stew curiously. "I'm also kinda nervous because you helped make it, Mother, and your cooking adventures include catching minute rice on fire. But it does look pretty good even if it smells weird, so… heck. What is it?"
"Gesundheit." After exchanging a high five with Jean even as Wanda groaned in despair, Rachel nodded in the direction of the saucepan full of stew. "And I was actually working on something school-related while I was in my room. My telekinesis finally manifested a few weeks ago; I've been practicing with it so that I can sign up for Mom's class in September. It wasn't easy, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Wanna see?" Without waiting for an answer, the redhead thrust her hand out and Emma found herself holding her breath as the saucepan rattled a bit against the burner. While Jean's telekinetic abilities had largely been under control when they met and only gotten more refined with age, she'd gotten to witness the awakening of a telekinetic firsthand when Betsy and Warren's son had come of age. To say that Connor's first experiments with telekinesis had gone poorly was like saying that Hank was a little furry.
Much to Emma's surprise, though, the stainless steel pot gave another rattle before smoothly floating up into the air and hovering a foot or so above the merrily burning flames. Rachel managed to hold it steady through the first ten seconds of applause from three impressed parents… and then the pot crumpled inward as if squeezed by a giant hand, the stew inside surging upward and over the sides to pour down onto the burner.
The gas burner.
Where it somehow managed to defy what little Emma thought she knew about cooking and promptly ignited.
As the three adults stared at the flaming mess that had previously been their nearly complete dinner in dumbfounded horror, Rachel calmly hopped down off the kitchen island and began slinking away in the direction of her room. "…I'm going to do you all a favor and save us some time by grounding myself now."
November 8, 2014
"Rachel, as your extradimensional doppelgänger, it pains me to say this because I'm basically insulting myself, but… you're an idiot."
"What? I've done some really, really stupid stuff while experimenting with my powers. Like getting my girlfriend to throw knives at me to test how fast I could shift into my corundum form, and let me tell you that it took a lot of begging, flowers, and chocolate to keep Olivia from dumping me after the trouble we got in for that." Raising one hand, Charolette transformed her fingers into glittering purple crystal for a few seconds, a small smile on her face as she stared at them that faded as she returned her gaze to Rachel. "But seriously, who the fuck thinks that experimenting with their powers near flames is a good idea? Other than a pyrokinetic, that is, or maybe a hydrokinetic or cryokinetic? You're lucky that all you did was ruin part of the kitchen. Can you imagine what would have happened if you'd slipped and mauled part of a gas stove with your telekinesis instead of the pot?"
Rachel opened her mouth, closed it, thought for a few seconds, and then looked suitably chastised by the time she took a second swing at a reply. "You have a point there. I guess. But-"
"Why would you date Olivia Summers? You two must look ghastly together; green and purple are hardly complimentary colors." The quintuplets fell silent for a few seconds as they pondered that before looking back at Emma curiously. "Or are they? Aunt Lorna wears a lot of purple, and so does our Olivia. And the Hulk and She-Hulk wear plenty of it…"
Not for the first time, Emma found herself wishing that Weapon Plus had made a copy of her mind when they'd ransacked her ovaries for the raw materials they needed for their project. For all that the quintuplets looked like her, they still had so much to learn about the world and she had so little time to teach them. "It depends on what your definition of the word 'complimentary' is, I suppose. From a color theory terminology perspective, no, they're not. Green and red are, as are violet and yellow-orange. That being said, violet and green are analogous colors and compliment each other in a different but equally valid way."
As the quintuplets absorbed that new bit of knowledge and Charlotte and Rachel descended into bickering about how 'insanely fucking stupid' her kitchen stunt may or may not have been, Emma sighed and rose to her feet. Evidently two things transcended dimension boundaries: her incredible taste in women - she and Jean would have gladly made Betsy the first person to join them in bed if not for the Brit already being engaged to Warren when they reached that stage of their relationship - and her ability to father children who made dubious life choices. Although Charlotte did have marginally better taste in girlfriends than Rachel; Olivia was a Summers but a Summers from the less annoying branch, and any Summers was better than a Howlett. But honestly, having knives thrown at her? Couldn't she have found a pitching machine the way Rachel and Amaranth had when they wanted to experiment with that ability? The way Emma herself had, even?
Children these days…