this was my original improv example: "My body's achin' and my time is at hand", for example, you'd say, and then you'd say, "because Hank is in his lab and he doesn't have any mistletoe" and then I'd write something like this:


won't you look down upon me Jesus, you gotta help me make a stand


Hank looks around, shuts the light off on all of his microscopes for an evening.

Jean is upstairs icing the last of her cakes, and even through five different floors of reinforced concrete, somewhere in the back of his brain he can hear Jubilee and Bobby arguing. As he walks up the stairs he can actually hear Jubilee saying, "You're not supposed to eat it, Popsicle!"

and Bobby answers placidly, "But I like popcorn."

Hank laughs to himself, and Jubilee says, about ready to burst, "It's for the goddamned tree!"

Jean calls from the kitchen, where smells are wafting in from - it's what finally pried him out of the lab, those smells - "Do I have to separate you two?"

Jubilee and Bobby yell back, "No!" in tandem, even though she's still glaring and he's picking pieces of kernel out of his teeth, and grinning, as Hank comes into the livingroom.

Bobby jumps up from the couch, "Blue!" with an ear-splitting grin, and Hank gulps, just once, and remembers. Bobby. oh.

Jubilee is stringing red popcorn onto fishing line, and when Bobby jumped up he knocked his bowl all over the carpet, and there's nothing on the tree yet but little flashing lights. Bobby is up over the coffee table in two hops, and two more and he's actually on Hank's back, and Hank catches him easily, absently, because it's second nature by now.

Bobby crows, "Hank's come out of the dungeon!" as if nothing had made him more pleased in his entire life.

Hank's voice cracks when he starts, "Yes, my friend-" He swallows. He tries again. "I couldn't help but smell what our beautiful Jean was cooking."

Jean pokes her head around the doorframe, wearing a bright red and green apron, and a bemused smile. "Children are horrid brats, aren't they?" she says as Hank nods, and Jubilee puts her fists on her hips.

Hank doesn't notice because Bobby's cheek is pressed against his shoulder, because Bobby climbed right up on Hank's back and clung on, and there isn't any mistletoe, and Hank thinks, good, that's good.

There are garlands wrapped around every spare space, and a really big pointsetta in the middle of the table, and Jean is picking up Bobby's popcorn, saying, "You klutz!" and laughing.

Jean raises an eyebrow, says, "How on earth did you two get red popcorn?" and just then Warren and Remy come in from separate entrances with a pile of gifts, and Bobby jumps off to help them carry them to the tree, but Hank knows better. Bobby wants a chance to shake them.

Hank sits down on the arm of the couch, gingerly trying to avoid crushing any red popcorn into the carpet. Jean puts a warm hand on his shoulder, and murmurs, "Are you all right?"

and Bobby is staring back at the two of them, a sly gleam in his eyes as he shakes one that Remy is crowing over - "Watch it, mon ami, that's breakable!" - and Hank nods.

"oh, yes, Jean. I am." Hank is fine, he is happy. Bobby grins at him, and he's never seen someone happier in his entire life, and that's more than enough, because Bobby is happy to see him.

So Jubilee starts putting the popcorn on the tree, and Remy helps her even though Jubilee grumbles that he's doing it wrong, and Warren goes to see if he can help in the kitchen and is whacked with a spoon because Jean says "You can't cook to save your life, Warren, now butt out," but it's friendly.

Bobby sidles up beside Hank without Hank even noticing, and puts a hand on the back of his neck, lightly, as he's hollering, "Scott, if you're not down in ten seconds I'm going to bring the snow in to meet you."

Scott falls down the stairs, because with Bobby that's not an idle threat, and Jubilee starts hanging Christmas balls on the tree, and throughout all this Bobby's hand stays on his neck, and Hank's mouth goes dry, as the lights flash on and off.

Hank gulps, again, because, just, Bobby.