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FIC: The Longest Day: Remember: 1/1: PG-13: St. John, Jubilee, St. John/Bobby

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  • Jenn
    Sorry this took so long. Got distracted by archiving stuff. Thanks to everyone who has been sending feedback and making me so happy. You rock my world. jenn
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 8, 2001
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      Sorry this took so long. Got distracted by archiving stuff. Thanks to
      everyone who has been sending feedback and making me so happy. You rock my


      Title: The Longest Day: Remember
      Author: jenn (jenn@...)
      Codes: St. John, Jubilee, St. John/Bobby
      Rating: PG-13
      Series: On Love and Lust at Mutant High #29
      Summary: Taco Bell ministers to a mind diseased. Talking helps. Usually.
      Author Notes: I'm gonna pretend EVERYONE understands the strange
      fascination humankind has with bad fast food. And that everyone has
      microwaved a Taco Bell taco at least once and mindlessly eaten it despite
      the taste.
      Dedication: jengrrrl, who inspires me. Sare, who betas me and makes me
      write even when I'm on a bad run. Beth, who just is nice by nature. Susan
      K, who sends the most kick-ass feedback and I always neglect her until last
      when I'm answering and she deserves better than that. And everyone else
      who sends feedback saying they're enjoying my little world. I do love it.
      Seriously. It's addictive.
      Archiving: List and by permission.
      Feedback: With Coke (the liquid, not the powder<g>), accepted joyfully.


      From the roof of the old apartment building, he could see the Statue of

      Not particularly significant, except it was a nice view. The new torch was
      up, as if nothing untoward had ever happened there. He stared at it for a
      moment, trying to imagine what Rogue had never quite described--a machine,
      Eric Lensherr, Rogue, and pure power.

      Bobby had told him, but he'd watched that power roll toward New York
      personally. It wasn't quite the same.

      Bobby had taken him up there sometime after his fourteen birthday--not for
      any occasion, just one of those restless moments where there was nothing to
      do and free time to do nothing with. They'd walked up the many stairs,
      joking how PE was definitely keeping them in shape. Bobby had dropped ice
      cream on his shirt (where it remained frozen) and St. John had twisted his
      ankle on the way down and had to be carried out.

      Probably should have suspected then that Bobby would always want to catch
      him when he stumbled. If the silence he'd been treated to when he emerged
      from his Carol-baiting was any indication, it might be awhile before Bobby

      "Where's the salsa, babe? Never mind." Taco Bell. Jubilee's idea of good
      Mexican food. Strangely addictive in it's own
      bastardization-of-actual-food way. Greasy and never quite enough cheese,
      and the shell was always soggy on the bottom, but like McDonald's
      hamburgers, it was that part of pop culture you just couldn't avoid. And
      it helped. Weird but true, there was nothing quite like having fluorescent
      orange grease trickling down your chin and slicking the roof of your mouth
      to put life in perspective.

      "Great view, Jubes." Chew, chew, chew--chew a little more. Soggy shell
      sometimes acted like a cross between gum and latex gloves. St. John
      remembered when he and Bobby and Rasputin would go stock up on junk food
      and save leftover tacos in the fridge. Bobby liked to zap his in the
      microwave--St. John did his the mutant way, just heated it up. Reheated
      day-old post-refrigeration tacos were even worse--but still, comfort food.
      Orange grease and hot wilted imitation lettuce and red lumps that vaguely
      resembled tomatoes or the product of nuclear warfare. Comfort.

      "I like it." She was picking over her quesadillas. "It's pretty quiet up
      here." From her easy familiarity with getting up here, she must have come
      by before. She leaned over, short dark hair covering her cheekbones
      briefly as she rummaged for the hot sauce. Found it with a small grunt of
      triumph and he watched her put the packet between her teeth to tear off a

      "Tops of apartments tend to be relatively deserted, babe." Couldn't help
      the sarcasm, and he felt a firm cuff to his arm as she shifted to find the
      sour cream they'd picked up at the grocery store. St. John reached down,
      absently pulling off his boots and socks, bringing his bare feet down on
      the rough weave of the blanket Jubilee had spread. The night was cool, but
      not uncomfortably so. One of those rare, perfect nights

      She didn't ask him anything and that had to mean something. Let him eat
      his soggy tacos and onion-stuffed burritos and drink his coke without
      hindrance. Fine, long fingers splayed inches from his.

      It could have been any night in his life, any dark roof, any time. Eyes
      fixed on the glowing torch, he heard himself speak.

      "Do you miss your parents?" he asked softly, and her head jerked around,
      searching his face. Then her eyes widened, dark in the pale almost-blur of
      her face. She understood.

      "Sometimes. A lot." The barest tremble of soft lips before her eyes went
      down to stare into her lap, at the wrappers spread across one leg and
      trailing onto the blanket. She'd never been the neatest person he'd ever
      met. "Not something I think about every day." Or, like, ever. He knew
      the history, but in the same way any of them knew--rumor, whispers, small,
      insignificant comments dropped into conversation. "Carol was your family,
      wasn't she?"

      It would never stop touching him, how truly good Jubilee was at this. How
      she knew. And how very badly he wanted to tell her this--just this, so
      she'd understand.

      "Close as they come." He hoped his voice was casual. "My parents didn't
      want me--at least she did." He breathed out sharply. "I hated her,

      "Yeah." Her hand on his shoulder, and he lifted his arm to let her lay
      down against him. Dark hair brushing under his chin, the light scent of
      apple and vanilla clinging to the strands.

      "Tell me about her, Johnny."

      It was still there, all of it--old memories, things he didn't like to
      believe could still be so vivid.

      "She gave me my name. Pyro."

      --in an alley, she'd startled him and he'd thrown fire--invulnerability
      though, kept her safe, and she'd started, frowning, then a slow smile.
      {--"Hey little pyro. Whatcha doin' here?"--}

      It wasn't as hard as he'd thought.

      "She handled all that stuff--job stuff--I just stayed at the apartment and
      slept and refueled--we did two or three jobs a week, but I wasn't very
      focused. I was--" he traced a random pattern in the air, frowning a
      little--"undisciplined. So I spent a lot of time trying to use it at all.
      When I got emotional--well, it wasn't a good idea to be around me." He
      felt rather than saw Jubilee's smile. "She fireproofed the place early on.
      To make it less likely I'd combust something."

      --glancing around the tiny two room apartment she'd somehow rented despite
      her age and no credit history while she told him in no uncertain terms what
      would happen to him if he burned anything she liked.

      --breaking his arm once when he lit her bed on fire. Compound fracture.
      Set by a backstreet doctor who'd lost his license. Dr. McCoy had noted the
      slight imperfection of the bone there. Only a long look but never a
      comment. He liked him for that.

      Six weeks to heal. Six years to remember.

      "Surprised you didn't take the place out with no control." Edges of

      "Not very focused." he sighed, trying to think about a way to phrase it.
      "Just--it wasn't I could look at something and it'd go boom. Something
      well to the left but in my general line of sight would go firey on me."
      She laughed softly, as she was supposed to. "So big things were okay--nice
      large target. Little things were not."

      A soft nod, brushing silky hair on his neck. He slid an arm around her,
      lightly stroking the dark head as she shifted closer.

      "For about a year, we lived like that--she gave me food and clothes and I
      never left the apartment unless she took me herself. Showed me early on
      what would happen if I did--not a pleasant lesson." Not one he had any
      intention of sharing--even Bobby hadn't seen those scars. "But--it was
      home, you know? And--"

      --he'd never been more alone in his life. Carol coming home brought him to
      the door, to be petted like a--like a fucking pet. With dinner, or a movie
      to watch, and he'd fall asleep curled all around her, needing the human
      contact he couldn't have otherwise, that he got when he pleased
      her--invulnerability made her safe from him if he lost control.

      "It wasn't easy." A statement, not a question. He shook his head quickly.

      "We did little crap, stuff that didn't get noticed too much. A fire there
      for insurance, a backstreet assassination--nothing really professional yet,
      she didn't have the skills or the contacts or the reputation and I didn't
      have the control. Mostly bully-work or running drugs, stuff where flying
      and strength were assets. And she was--well, you saw her. Small, blonde,
      looks like an advertisement for Young America, you know? You don't suspect
      her until she's already broken your neck. And I was barely twelve and
      scared to death--so anyone seeing me wouldn't think much of a kid in the
      corner. Get me too scared, unlike other kids, I might fricassee you."

      Almost happened once. Carol had found him crying in a corner of their
      apartment and asked why he didn't finish the job and get rid of the fucker.
      What made him stop. Why the man only had second degree burns. {--"What
      the hell is you problem, Pyro? Anti-mutant bastard. Make the world a
      better place without him."--}

      "Yeah." Soft.

      "The last time--she said we got a big one. An abandoned apartment building
      downtown--nothing weird, just insurance money. It wasn't--it was clean,
      you know? Clean money, no one got hurt unless they came too close. And it
      wasn't a great part of town anyway."

      He breathed out, the cooling night air even chillier against his skin and
      he felt Jubilee shift even closer--probably for the body heat factor. Or
      for the comfort. He wasn't sure which.

      A night remarkably like this one, come to think of it.

      "It was a clear night--working in rain is just suspicious on principle, and
      in general, being wet doesn't contribute toward good burning and--well, my
      control wasn't great. I'd drain myself out trying to keep it going. So
      she took me close enough to see what I was supposed to do and far enough
      away so we wouldn't be in any danger." Carol was sixteen and beautiful and
      those long fingers were wrapped around his shoulder, lips close to his ear.
      {--"Good, Pyro, baby. Light her up."--} "She told me and I did it."

      He wondered how he'd explain how it felt--unlike those little fires he'd
      played with, shaped, changed, his little toys, this had been
      unbelievable--a rush of pure and unadulterated heat and pleasure that threw
      itself out of him with a longing so sharp it was almost pain. Consuming
      the roof of the building and he'd been utterly fascinated to watch it work,
      beginning the manipulations that would bring it down faster--then the sheer
      pleasure of shaping, making it into something. A dragon eating one window,
      a bird soaring before plummeting toward the back door. Circling it,
      running up and down in fine, straight lines as if he was drawing a
      tic-tac-toe board.

      {--"Careful, baby. Don't want 'em to know it was mutants playing here."--}

      Into another window, out another, and something distracted him, something--

      "Johnny?" Jubilee's voice was far away.

      And *why* was he hearing something? Like screams, and he frowned when he
      pulled up the fire, saw something in a window--

      {--"Take it out, Pyro. Blow it. Now."--}

      A hot white flame had exploded upward and Pyro had almost collapsed from
      the rush of it--

      "There were screams." His voice was hoarse, bitter. "I was too into
      playing with my little fire to hear them. Or care if I did hear."

      "Oh Johnny."

      --collapsed back into Carol, who supported him as if he weighed nothing.

      {--"That's my boy. That's my little boy. You did good, baby. So
      good."--} Long, elegant fingers stroking back his hair, flying them home,
      sliding him into her bed and curling up against him, that first kiss,
      tasting of liquor and smoke and some secret Carol-taste that made him
      dizzy. Wrapped up in her arms, he fell asleep. Exhausted, so happy he'd
      finally pleased her.

      "I saw it on the news when I woke up. The bodies--five of them, a homeless
      family shacked up on the third floor." Jubilee's hand closed over his and
      he shut his eyes. "Carol said not to worry 'bout it. They were saying it
      was suspicious, that mutants could be involved--and Carol said she found
      somewhere for us to go. Somewhere safe. She was in contact with the
      Brotherhood then, I guess. Had it ready."

      "How much?"

      "For the building? Ten grande of a two point five million dollar insurance
      claim. Carol was gypped." Sort of a bitter satisfaction in that.

      "No." Softer. More careful. "How much to bring you to the Brotherhood?"

      St. John stiffened, knew she felt it.

      "Market value of one pyrokinetic is fifteen grande or so. Alive, healthy,
      ready for some serious indoctrination. I was all of those things."

      She was sitting on her bed with the phone clutched in one hand and he'd
      felt her gaze across the room, grinning. He'd tried to breathe through the
      sudden fear. {"--We got someplace to go, baby. You're gonna like
      them.--"} Pulling him in to sleep beside her, fingers running down his
      arms and back. {--"My little Pyro, we got ourselves a hell of a meal
      ticket, you know. You're good, baby. So good."--}

      "I'm sorry, Johnny. But--you were just a kid. What the hell makes you
      think you--"

      "It wasn't about being a kid, Jubes. It was--was about--about how good it
      was. That I--" he stopped, taking a breath. "I can't, Jubes."

      Couldn't talk about how little he'd cared about those deaths. How very,
      desperately little.

      "You don't have to."

      She shifted higher and he felt the stroke of her fingers across his cheek,
      knowing she felt the streaks of dampness that her thumb wiped away.

      He didn't want to believe he'd cry for Carol.

      "It's okay to love her too, Johnny. It's natural, normal."

      You weren't supposed to love those who hurt you. There was nothing natural
      about that.

      St. John shook his head and cradled Jubilee a little closer. Around them
      the night had grown a little cooler and he pulled up the edge of the
      blanket over her bare legs, tucking it around them, knocking over the bags
      to spill crumpled wrappers around them.

      "I'm sorry, Jubes." He body was warm against him and somehow, they
      switched positions and his head was pressed against her shoulder, delicate
      fingers stroking his cheek. He shut his eyes tight, taking a long, deep

      "S'okay, babe." Delicate touches--long fingers sliding down his back and
      he felt his body shake. Like Carol. "I understand."

      The End.

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      --The thing is, we're all laboring under the notion that love means
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      know to be one of life's truths.--Sare during an interesting conversation

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