Title: The Ties That Bind
Author: Victoria P. [victoria_p@...
Summary: Bobby makes a friend who reminds Rogue of someone.
Rating: PG-13 for language
Feedback: Always welcome.
Archive: Sure, just let me know.
Notes: Takes place about 3 years after the movie -- I figure the near
future for 2006, and Rogue was 16. Thanks to the usual suspects for the
beta and the help with how this whole thing should work.
Disclaimers: Marvel & Fox own all recognizable X-Men characters. I own Ciel,
but I dont think shes worth any money. Automatic Slims, Jeckyl & Hydes,
the Slaughtered Lamb and the Gypsy Tea Kettle are all real places and all
belong to their respective owners. The songs The Ties That Bind and
Thunder Road belong to Bruce Springsteen. Turn Turn Turn belongs to the
Byrds [who stole it from Ecclesiastes] and Joy & Pain belongs to Rob Base
and EZ Rock, I think. Someone whos not me, anyway. Cecilia belongs to
Paul Simon and possibly Art Garfunkel, too.
The Ties That Bind
You been hurt and you're all cried out you say
You walk down the street pushin' people outta your way
You packed your bags and all alone you wanna ride,
You don't want nothin', don't need no one by your side
You're walkin' tough, baby, but you're walkin' blind
To the ties that bind
The whole thing started with a CD. Someone had left it in Bobby Drakes
stereo, and he had gotten hooked on the mix. It was more than just dance
music the deejay had combined some classics with the latest electronica
for something that was both new and familiar.
He asked around, wanting to know who had made such a perfect soundtrack for
his life. At first he got nowhere, since the guys he lived with couldnt be
bothered to listen to any music released after 1994, even though theyd only
been four years old at the time. Kurt Cobains suicide was the end of rock
and roll, man, according to his roommate, Chris.
But he was a popular guy at NYU good-looking, funny, always up for a
party. No one knew he was a mutant, and he planned to keep it that way. He
was working his way slowly through the female population, and it was from
one of them that he learned that DJ Seal was behind his CD obsession.
Yeah, DJ Seal works Thursday nights at Asia, over on Avenue B. Shes a
student here, you know, said Phyllis, one of the numerous girls in his
Introduction to Psychology class who offered to take him out dancing so he
could hear the mix live.
So there he was on Thursday night, dressed in a cobalt blue shirt (a
birthday gift from Kitty -- It brings out your eyes, shed said. Theyd
been dating at the time.), black jeans and a black leather jacket. If there
was one thing hed learned at Xaviers School (and his teachers might have
disputed that hed learned anything), it was that chicks dig guys in
leather. Look at the way the girls swooned over Logan and Scott.
The music was just as good in person; right now the hottest techno act was
segueing into -- Chris would be thrilled -- Nirvanas Come As You Are.
He danced with the girls in the group, but his eyes wandered, looking for
the deejay. He asked one of them, who said, Oh, the deejay booth is up
those stairs, and she pointed to a nearly hidden spiral metal stairway at
the front of the dance floor. He squinted through the strobe lights and the
haze, trying to catch a glimpse of the person behind the smoked glass, but
could see nothing.
After a couple of shots of Jaegermeister and some beer, he decided he was
going to meet his new hero. He smoothed down his blonde hair and walked
purposefully up the stairs and, even with the alcohol-derived courage, he
was nervous. His hands normally cold were sweaty. As he reached the top
step, the door to the booth was flung open, and Bobby was a goner.
He hadnt been expecting a woman. That made him more nervous.
She wasnt beautiful really, he thought. She had an attractive face -- high,
wide cheekbones gave her a severity softened by large eyes and full lips. A
chestnut brown braid the thickness of his wrist hung almost to her waist.
She wore a white tank top and blue jeans, which showed off a fit, trim
figure. When he stood next to her, he felt tall -- he could probably rest
his chin on the top of her head.
Who the hell are you?
Bobby Drake, he managed, wiping his hand on his pants and holding it out.
She quirked an eyebrow, but shook it.
Well, shut the door, Bobby Drake, she snapped. Its too damn loud. He
did as she asked and the music was suddenly muffled, the crowd very far
Im a big fan of your work, he started, but she held up a hand, moved the
headphones around her neck to her ears, and did something at one of the
panels in front of her. A new song came on.
Meat Beat Manifesto, she said. Great song.
Um, I dont know it, he said, feeling ignorant.
It came out before you were born, little boy. He bristled and she grinned.
It came out before I was born, too. She motioned for him to sit in one of
the chairs. Im Ciel. So youre a fan, eh?
This CD, he pulled it from the inside pocket of his jacket, never leaves
my stereo. Its, like, the soundtrack to my life.
She looked at it curiously. Whats on it?
Zeppelin, Moby, U2, everything, he enthused.
An odd look, anger maybe, crossed her face. Whered you get it? I made that
for my bastard ex-boyfriend a long time ago.
He shrugged. Someone left it in my stereo after a party.
She smiled. Id rather you have it than him.
He noticed she was kind of mood-swingy. Youre kind of mood-swingy, he
She laughed. You dont say? How much have you had to drink, Bobby Drake?
Are you up here on a dare?
No, no. I love this cd so much, I had to come and meet you. I didnt know
you were a girl. <Stupid,> he thought. <Just blow any shot youve got.> So
why DJ Seal? Whats your real name?
Ciel is my real name, chief. C-I-E-L, like heaven in Latin, not seal, the
cuddly animal that balances beach balls on its nose. Short for Cecilia. He
opened his mouth to speak and she said, Dont even. If I had a nickel every
time someone sang to me, Id be rich.
He was lost. Huh?
Oh, okay, go ahead, then. I thought you were going to sing to me. He
decided he was going to have to find out what the song was when he got home.
I just wanted to know if I could buy you a drink.
The smile returned. Oh, let me buy you a drink, Bobby. I drink for free
here. That way, they can justify paying me less than the other deejays. Just
to warn you, though, Im not a cheap date.
He stayed with her up in the deejay booth for the rest of the night, and it
became a weekly thing. Nothing ever happened, and they settled into a
The phone rang. Cecilia rolled out of bed to answer it. What?
Its me, Bobby said. Some of my friends are visiting and I want them to
meet you. Are you working tonight?
Its Friday? Yeah, Im playing at the DKE party they rented out a bar on
West 3rd. She gave him the address. How many? Ill put you on the guest
Five, including me.
See you there.
Ciels cool. Shes deejaying at this party tonight. I want all of you to
meet her. His gaze wandered over the others assembled in his dorm room:
Rogue, Kitty, Jubilee, and John. It was like old-home week for mutants.
Another one of your hopeless crushes? Jubilee asked, cracking her gum.
Im wearing her down, he said, refusing to rise to the bait. Shes a
couple years older than me, and she thinks its a big deal. I told her age
doesnt matter-- He was interrupted by Rogue, who appeared to be choking on
her soda. Well, it doesnt, if its only two or three years. Were not
talking decades, here, Rogue.
Sauce for the goose, she replied tartly.
He rolled his eyes. He didnt want to discuss her on-again-off-again,
not-quite relationship with Logan. It was too weird. It had broken his heart
when he was sixteen, and occasionally, he still thought he and Rogue would
be good together, but it was past and it was going to stay that way.
Whatever. Were going to party tonight.
They got into the party without a hitch, and without having to pay. John
headed straight for the bar, Rogue on his heels. She was going to school up
in Westchester, and hadnt been to any of the parties that went on
regularly, since she had made few friends (being the shy, quiet girl with
the gloves gave her a reputation for mystery on campus, and a certain cachet
among the male population, of which she was unaware) and she was generally
uncomfortable in large crowds for a number of reasons.
But Bobby wanted to show them how well he was adapting outside the confines
of Xaviers, and they were all ripe for a good time. And they had one.
At the end of the evening, Bobby led them to the deejay booth. As always,
the door swung open before he got there. Ciel!
Bobby! she mocked him.
How do you always know its me?
She shrugged. She looked the little group over, her eyes falling on Rogues
gloves. You must be Rogue. Ive heard quite a bit about you. She held out
a hand as the southerner blushed.
Nice to meet you. Bobby talks about you endlessly.
I think Bobby just talks endlessly, she replied, smiling.
Hey! I resemble that remark, he complained good-naturedly. He introduced
the others as well. I was thinking we could go to the Slaughtered Lamb or
to Jeckyl & Hydes or something, he said.
Automatic Slims, Ciel replied. Its the best bar ever.
So they piled into Johns car and went to Slims, where they listened to some
soul music from the 70s. Dont hear this stuff much anymore, Ciel said.
Thats cause its old, Jubilee replied.
Sometimes the old stuff is the best, the older girl replied. Al Green,
Barry White, Thelma Houston -- you know when they play Mr. Big Stuff were
all getting on the bar and dancing, right?
I dont think so, Kitty said, but she was overruled. She leaned over to
Rogue, I have to pee.
They made their way through the crowd, down the stairs to the restrooms.
There was, of course, a line. Youve been awful quiet tonight, Rogue.
Huh? Oh. Does Ciel remind you of someone? I swear Ive seen her, but I
can't place her face.
Kitty shrugged. Not that I can think of. Shes not Bobbys usual type,
Does Bobby have a usual type?
Yeah, Kitty said, us. They both giggled.
When they came back, there were shot glasses lined up on the bar.
"Oh, no," Kitty said, "I've had enough."
At the same time, Rogue slapped a hand down and yelled, "Wild Turkey!"
Ciel grinned at her. "Wild Turkey it is, Rogue." The bartender poured out
bourbon for everyone.
John, who was gaining a reputation at Stony Brook as a heavyweight drinker,
smiled at Ciel. "You want another?"
Her answering grin was wicked. "Line 'em up, little boy."
She went shot for shot with him until he was standing on the corner, puking
his guts out into an orange mesh garbage can. She stood watching him,
sipping a cup of water. "You all right?"
He looked at her, bleary-eyed. The others stood around, concern evident on
"You might wanna rinse your shoes off," she said, glancing pointedly at
"Eww, gross," Jubilee squealed. John stumped back into the bar, aided by
Bobby, so he could wash the vomit off his shoes.
"How are we going to get home?" Kitty said. "None of us are able to drive."
"I can drive," Ciel said confidently. "Not a problem. Where are you all
Kitty was skeptical. "You drank as much as John did. I don't see how you can
be all right."
"Advil and water," the other woman said, smiling mysteriously into her cup.
"And John had a head start."
"Can't we just stay at your apartment?" Bobby asked.
"My place is barely big enough for one, let alone six. And my roommate would
have a fit. She's a bitch to begin with, and if I bring home extra people,
she'll never shut up. So, I can drive. Where am I driving to?"
"Westchester," Rogue said mournfully. "We're going to be so hung over
"Advil and water," Ciel repeated. "And a bagel. I'm never hung over." She
looked at the little group standing on the corner. "Westchester, huh?" They
nodded. "You, too, Bobby?"
Scotts going to kill us, Kitty moaned.
Scott? Ciel asked Bobby.
Hes, hes--" Bobby stuttered, unable to explain about the X-Men, or even
the school, really.
Hes like the second-in-command at the school where we live, Rogue
offered. Hes really strict and since were all underage... she trailed
off and Jubilee drew her finger across her throat.
They walked to where John had parked the car and piled in. So you all live
at a school? Like an orphanage? Boarding school? What?
Kitty and Bobby answered at the same time. Its a school for -- mutants,
she said. Gifted children, he said.
Okay, she muttered, letting the mutant comment slide. She had her own
secrets. Bobby sighed, thinking she hadnt heard. She looked at John in the
rearview mirror. Hey, buddy. Johnny! she snapped.
His head lolled and he blinked sleepily. Wha?
If you puke while Im driving, I will kill you. She turned to Rogue, who
was next to John -- Jubilee was on his lap. Let him hang his head out the
window. Rogue raised an eyebrow. Dont give me that look. The smellll
make me sick and then well all be stuck somewhere between here and -- where
the hell am I taking you people?
Salem Center, Rogue answered. Fourteen oh seven Greymalkin Lane.
You can give me directions?
I can, Bobby said, sitting up straighter in the front seat.
Ciel drove fast, but well. John only needed to stop once, alongside the Saw
Mill River Parkway, so he could get out and throw up. He felt much better
They only hitch they ran into was upon exiting the parkway. Shit, Ciel
muttered as she saw the flashing lights. DWI roadblock.
The kids all exchanged worried glances. They most certainly had been
drinking, Ciel more than most of them, though her driving didnt seem at all
Shit, shit, shit, she muttered, stopping as she reached the head of the
The officer leaned into the window. How you kids doin tonight? he asked,
wrinkling his nose.
Were all good, officer, Bobby began. How are you?
Ciel shot him a dark look. You need my license and registration, officer?
The cop nodded and she handed over her license; she took the piece of paper
Bobby handed her and passed that along, too.
Powell, Cecilia L., he murmured. And how do you come to be driving a car
registered to Charles Xavier, Miss Powell?
Were all former students at Xaviers School, she said without batting an
eye, and he lent us the car to go out tonight, since its been ages since
weve seen each other.
Miss Powell, would you please step out of the car.
She sighed, undid her seatbelt, and climbed out. I suppose you want me
touch my finger to my nose, she grumbled, stretching her arms out and doing
as she said. The cop looked at her suspiciously.
Please come over here and walk a straight line, Miss Powell. She did as he
asked without faltering. You reek of alcohol, he said finally.
Johnny spilled beer all over me, she lied. Im the designated driver. I
stopped after one beer. That was over four hours ago. She knew she was
volunteering more information than necessary, but she was nervous. She didn
t know how these kids were going to react, how their teacher would react
if they all got tossed in jail, and how shed get out if that happened. She
didnt have anyone to call for bail money.
The policeman still looked skeptical, but he handed her back the license and
registration and said, Be careful.
She got back in the car and smiled. Yes, sir. She drove off, muttering
curses under her breath.
God, that was close, Kitty muttered to Rogue, who was staring at Ciel,
lost in thought. Kitty nudged her, Rogue, did you hear me?
What? Oh yeah, Kitkat, too close for comfort, she replied absently.
Kitty shrugged and leaned back.
It was only a few minutes to the mansion from there, and they arrived in no
time. Well, kids, its been fun, Ciel said, but Ive had just about all
the excitement I can take tonight. Then a realization struck her. If this
car belongs here, how the hell am I getting home?
The others looked at each other wearily, too tired or drunk to think. Um,
you can stay in our room tonight, and Ill drive you to the train station in
the morning, Rogue offered as they all got out of the car.
Ciel sighed. I suppose thatll do. Someone can lend me something to sleep
You can sleep with me, Ciel, Bobby said. The others snickered.
Thanks, but I dont think having you pass out on me is the way I want this
night to end, she replied.
He looked offended. Im not gonna pass out. Im at my peak, sexually, he
began, and then he realized what he was saying, and how loud he was saying
it, when the front door opened and Scott stood there. He blushed red and
Whats going on? Scott asked, walking out to where they all stood in the
Mr. Summers -- Scott -- this is my friend Ciel from school, Bobby
muttered. She drove us home tonight because Johnny got a little, er,
She smiled and held a hand out. Nice to meet you, she said. Its all
right if I sleep here tonight and head out in the morning, right? He
nodded, taken slightly aback. Thanks. They all headed into the house.
Our room is this way, Rogue murmured, heading up the stairs.
Ciel followed behind the other three girls, calling out just before she was
out of sight, Oh, and nice shades.
Ciel! Kitty whispered.
What? Theyre really cool. Though I think itd be kinda hard to see, with
it being night and all.
Rogue looked at her when they entered the bedroom. Why dont we cut to the
chase, she said. Were mutants and you know it.
Ciel shrugged. Yeah. No biggie. Everybodys got something that makes them
What makes you different, Ciel? Rogue asked.
The other girl shrugged again. It seemed to be her signature gesture. My
impeccable taste in music? she answered flippantly. Im dead tired, folks.
Driving up here after drinking as much as I did was not as easy as it looks,
and I need to sleep or Im going to collapse. Is this the bathroom? she
asked, walking in and turning the light on. She closed the door.
Sure you are, Rogue muttered.
What was that? Ciel asked sharply, poking her head out.
Ciel washed her face and brushed her teeth, with a toothbrush pulled from
her backpack. Where do you want me? she asked when she was done.
Kitty and Jubilee were already sprawled out asleep on their beds, still
fully clothed. Rogue sat on her bed in pajamas and gloves, and pointed to a
sleeping bag unrolled on the floor. Ciel slid into it and said, Good
night. She was asleep almost immediately. Rogue sat watching her
thoughtfully, before she too climbed into bed and slept.
The next morning, Scott thanked Ciel for driving the kids home as he took
her and Bobby to the train station to catch Metro North back into the city.
She thanked him again for allowing her to spend the night and he thought it
was nice that Bobby had made such a polite friend.
Bobby cradled his head in his hands and flinched at every loud noise and
bright light, while Ciel laughed. Oh sure, laugh at my misery. How come you
re not hung over? You drank way more than me.
I told you, I dont get hung over. Ive got the constitution of a horse.
<Theres a flattering comparison,> she thought. <Oh well, you never liked
him that way anyway.> He grumbled and she decided to change the subject. I
like your friends. Especially Rogue. She seems cool.
She is, he said. You just like her because she likes Wild Turkey as much
as you do.
Ciel shrugged. You gotta take friends where you find em. So how come you
and she arent together. I can tell you really dig her. She looked down at
He narrowed his eyes. Im so over her, he began, and anyway, shes got a
thing for Logan. Even though he still treats her like a kid. He didnt
notice the way her head snapped up when he said Logans name.
Whos he? A teacher, like that Scott guy? Cause hes a cutie.
Sort of. And you think Scotts cute? Oh man. Hes married, you know.
Oh well. The good ones always are, she replied airily. He went on a long
tirade about girls who only wanted bad boys or married men and how they
always just wanted to be friends with the good ones. She let him rant, glad
he hadnt noticed her strange reaction.
TBC in the next post