WARNING: This fic has semi-sorta-maybe halfway naughtiness in it. It is also pointless and silly and self-indulgent. All characters mentioned are the property of their owners, and I'm not making any money. I'm mine, and so is Fuzz. Subreality was formulated by Kielle, Flagstaff, and Tapestry. I didn't make it up.

Beached Spiders

by Em-Spider

The Shifting Sands was almost full today; it was a summer Tuesday, and there was barely a spot for one more writer, fictive, or Muse to spread a towel.

A couple of Nightwings and Jubilee were trying to set up a volleyball net on the far left.

Beast and Sasquatch were sharing a water spritzer.

Several writers were laughing and talking shop as they sipped beer.

A Grunge was obligingly applying sunscreen to Death's back.

The shade was surprisingly empty today; only a few writers and Muses were there, plotting together, thrumming with the strange electricity of Inspiration.

The heat rose in waves from the sand.

"Blah," said Em, trying to put sunscreen on her nose. "It's hot out here."

"Try having fur," Fuzz said.

"Yuck," she replied. "Is the lotion all rubbed in?"

"Nope. There's still some left on your cheek." Fuzz pointed.

She rubbed at her right cheek.

"No, other side. To the right a bit. Yeah, there." She rubbed again. "Is it gone?"

"Yeah. Hey, someone's waving at you."

"Really? Where?" Em looked around.

"Over there! No, THERE, by the volleyball net."

"Oh, there!" She got up and dusted sand from her legs. "That's Shai. Be right back."

He nodded and scanned the Shifting Sands again, waiting.

Someone flopped down on the towel next to him. "Hiya."

"Oh, hi, Remy," he said.

"Where'd she go?"

"Went to talk to a friend. Said she'd be right back."

"Oh." Remy opened the cooler next to them.

"That's not ours."

He blinked. "Huh? Which one is?"

"That one." Fuzz pointed, and Remy looked in that one instead.

"She put mustard on y' sandwich. Don' you hate mustard?"


"She didn' bring any beer, either."

Fuzz peered at Remy. "She's not allowed to have beer."

"Who, me?" Em was back.

"Yeah, you."

She sat down. "Oh. Beer is gross, anyway." She took a sandwich out of the cooler, opened its plastic baggie, and peeped inside. "This is yours, Remy."

He took it from her. "C'n y' get me a beer?" he asked, with his mouth full.

"Well. . .I just sat down. . ."


"Fiiiiiine," she said, and got up again.

She came back, switching a cold can from one hand to another. "Here."

He took it. "Guinness? Isn' there anything else?"

She glared at him. "There is no other brand of beer within my means."

He shrugged, popped it open, and took a swing.

"Aren't you even going to say thank you?"

He burped. "Merci."

She wrinkled her nose and opened her sandwich. It was ham, with lettuce and Miracle Whip. She was about to bite into a half when someone tapped her on the shoulder. "Is that ham?"

"Yup," she said, looking up. "Oh, hi, Mhairie."

Mhairie leaned down, accidentally-on-purpose showing three-quarters of her breasts. "Can I have half?" she asked, silkily.

Em handed her half the sandwich, and she wiggled off.

Em shuddered. "Gahh, she makes me nervous."

"Y' jus' intimidated," Remy said, looking from Mhairie's thong to Em's one-piece and cutoffs.

"Well, DUH," she said grumpily, taking a large bite of her sandwich.

Remy threw back his head and laughed.

"Sh'up. S'not funny."

He shook his head at her. "Y' such a prude."

"Oh, the burdens of being perfect."

He chuckled softly to himself and took another sip of beer.

Fuzz finished his sandwich and licked the mustard off his claws, then hopped onto Remy's shoulder.

They both peered at Em. "You eat slow."

"I only have half a sandwich. Besides, unlike SOME people I know, I like to TASTE my food." She finished. "Wanna go get a popsicle from the snack bar?"


They all got up. Em dusted sand from the folds of her cut-off jeans, and they headed off, weaving through crowds and trying not to step on sand castles. Em tried to miss a particularly large one and tripped over Pete Wisdom's foot. She would've landed on the sand if there'd been room to do so; however, as the Shifting Sands was packed towel-to-towel, she landed smack-dab across Tempest's back and knocked over his mineral water.

"Accck!" she wailed, then started to laugh. "Gosh, I'm sorry." She stood up and dusted herself off again. "I'm sorry," she said again. "Shall I buy you another mineral water?"

"No," Garth said. "That's all right."

She nodded and moved on.

"Well, dat was graceful," Remy said, once they were out of earshot.

"Shut up, Cayenne Breath."

"Ooooo, tsss, one for the spider." Fuzz licked a claw and drew an imaginary tally mark in the air.

Em laughed. "Thank you, Fuzz." She spotted the snack bar about fifty yards away and started searching in her pockets for some money. "Five, ten, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. . .what do you guys want?"

"A lemon sherbet," Fuzz replied immediately.

"I don' know," Remy said. "What're you havin'?"

"I'm going to have a green sno-cone."

"Ewww," he said, making a face. "Y' SCARE me. Guess I'll have a cherry popsicle. . ."

"Okay," she said. "I'll go get in line."

Remy flopped down on a bright red-and-yellow polka-dot bench next to Delerium. She was humming a strange little tune and neon-colored kittens were floating around her head. "Hmm hmm hmm, hmmm hm hmm hmm hmm, hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm HMMMMMMM, hm hm, hmm. . ."

The tune went on and on and on, going in pointless circles, boring him half to death, and he took a loop of string out of his pocket and started playing string games. Fuzz snoozed on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, Em waited in line in front of Sunspot and behind Pete Wisdom and Kitty Pryde, who were snogging like rabbits. She wrinkled her nose in distaste and looked at the menu, trying to count out the exact change for her order so she didn't have to watch Pryde and Wisdom.

When she got to the counter, she grinned. "Hi, Timey."

Hyjnx stood behind the counter. Her nose was covered with zinc oxide, and a squeeze tube of sunscreen, half empty, lay on the counter next to her. "Hi, Emmy. What'cha need?"

"I'll have a Little-Critter sized lemon sherbet, a medium lime sno-cone, and a cherry popsicle."

Andrea yelled the order into the back of the snack bar and turned to Em.

"I'm stuck on all my fics," she sighed.

"Me too," said Em, looking jealously toward the shade at the thrumming writers and Muses. "Fang is a miser."

"Well, Clem is a demon. That explains pretty much everything. . ."

"Yeah." Em sighed.

Skin came up and plunked two little cardboard bowls and a wrapped package on the counter. "Little Critter sherbet, medium sno-cone, popsicle," he droned.

"Six dollars and seventy cents," said Hyjnx. Em handed over the bills, plus two quarters, five pennies, a dime, and a nickel. Hyjnx handed Em the receipt.

"Thanks, Timey." Em weaved through the crowd to the red-and-yellow bench, juggling her purchases. "Here," she said, trying to direct Remy's attention to his popsicle, which, since it was in a package, she had stuck under her chin to carry.

He took it from her and nudged Fuzz, who woke up and took his sherbet.

Em sat down on the end of the bench and pulled the spoon out of the sno-cone where Skin had stuck it.

They ate quietly for a while. Remy finished his popsicle and pitched the stick into a trash can, then stuck his tongue out at Em. "Ith my tongue rwed?"

She laughed. "Yes. Ith mahn gween?"

"Yeth," he said, and laughed insanely. "Yaw weiwrd."

"You started it."

Em scraped the bottom of her little cardboard bowl and licked her plastic spoon, then started back toward her towel, being careful to avoid tripping over anyone this time. Remy followed. Fuzz clung to Remy's shoulder with his little weasel feet and buried his head in the sherbet bowl to lick the last traces from inside it. They made it back and sat down.

Fuzz perched, peering around again, sizing up the Shifting Sands for about the millionth time that day. He didn't see much of anything, so he hopped off Remy's shoulder and curled up on his stomach. Em pulled a copy of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" out of her beach bag and settled down to read. The shadows on the beach were lengthening, the air cooling down to Almost Bearable, which translated to Remy's southern sense of temperature as Just Right. He lay on his back and watched Em read and wiggle her toes, the nails of which she had painted an unholy shade of orange. Fuzz was snoring his tinny little whiffling weasel snore.

He rubbed Fuzz behind the ears, resting on one arm, and yawned. The incessant hum of people talking and the methodic crash of the waves and Fuzz's little snores were getting to him. He yawned again.

"If you're that tired, just go to sleep," Em told him.

So he lay down on his back and closed his eyes and went to sleep. She was way too sensible for her own darn good.

*Well, maybe not,* he thought, as the last thing he saw before he drifted off was a glimpse of Em's screaming orange toenails.

A few minutes later, Em frowned. She was regretting her advice as she eyed her fictives. They both snored. First, Fuzz inhaled --tiny snort--, then Remy inhaled --louder snort--, then Fuzz exhaled --tiny whiffle--, and Remy exhaled --louder whiffle--. Snort, snort, whiffle, whiffle, snort, snort whiffle, whiffle. . .grrr. She debated dumping the contents of the cooler (mostly melted ice) on both of them, but instead listened to the Mommy Lobe of her brain, which was currently going, "Awwww, that's so cuuute..."

She shook her head and muttered to herself. "I'm too young to be a Mommy."

Wolverine, three towels over, heard her and laughed.


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