I hope you enjoy this. I had fun writing it. Let me know. :-)
Title: A Sure Thing
Series: Unspoken RR # 56
Author: Crystal Claire
Codes: St. John/Rogue
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: St. John intercepts a phone call from Rogue.
Author Notes: Follows Realizations
Archiving: RR index page at Indulgence, Muse's Fool, WRFA, XMMFC
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this story. Please don't sue me.
Feedback: Always appreciated and needed.
St. John needed a snack. Growing boy and all that. That was his story, and he was sticking to it.
He padded towards the back stairs with bare feet. It was something of a ritual now, his sneaking out of the room after lights out, returning sometime later with a box of Nutty Bars or Twinkies. It was something his roommate, Bobby, could count on. *What* St. John counted on was the predictable behavior of the adults in the mansion. Okay, aside from the Logan-Rogue-Scott-Jean thing, they were fairly predictable. Hank would be working late in the med lab, the professor would have retired to his suite for the evening - he was a firm believer in the merits of eight hours of sleep, and Miss Munroe had her own weeknight ritual. As for the other adults, Mr. Summers had left with a weekend bag sometime before dinner. Jean Grey was staying at Warren's penthouse in the city. And according to Kitty, Logan had left the mansion with "some Joan Jett wannabe." Well, he could kiss that hundred bucks away.
The only adult unaccounted for now was Miss Rogue, and lately, Miss Rogue was anything but predictable.
Come to think of it, Johnny hadn't seen Miss Rogue at dinner this evening. Maybe she left with Mr. Summers. Maybe they were trying to patch things up. Johnny shook his head. Damn, he hated when Kitty was right.
As he made his way down the hall, he noticed a light shining from beneath the professor's office doors. As he passed the double doors, he heard someone, a man, on the speakerphone, but couldn't understand him through the thick oak doors. He didn't dare linger. Considering the professor was using the speakerphone, he probably wasn't alone - though that really didn't matter. Creeping around the mansion while the professor was asleep was one thing, standing outside his office eavesdropping was something entirely different. He briefly considered returning to his room, but the professor hadn't yet popped in his head to scold him.
He continued down the hall and came to the dimly lit foyer. A soft glow and talk show band music emanated from the adjoining rec room. Conan O'Brien. The reason for his nightly stroll to the kitchen - via a not-so-brief stop outside the rec room - was not Little Debbie or her cupcakes. And, it wasn't to watch the sometimes funny, sometimes dull late night talk show. It was to catch a glimpse of Ororo Munroe. She would be sitting on the couch chuckling softly at Conan's monologue.
It was a sure thing. She would be curled up on the rec room couch clad in flannel pajamas and pink bunny slippers. The first time he saw her, she was eating a Fudgecicle, her shoulders shaking at the Moleculo: The Molecular Man skit. It made an impression. Not Moleculo, but the Fudgecicle. Unfortunately, the dessert-pop seemed to be a one-time indulgence. He felt himself blush just at the thought. God, he was pathetic. And truth be told, he was even scaring himself a little bit. But hormones were hormones, and some things just couldn't be helped including being head-over-heels in lust with the exotic Ororo Munroe. And if Bobby or Jubes found out about this - well that just wasn't going to happen. Stalker Dude didn't sound like a nickname that'd wear off anytime soon.
St. John edged his way quietly to the doorway and peeked in. The room was empty. Damn, this was downright disturbing. He stood there for a moment. Yes, it was Conan O'Brien on the TV. Maybe the professor had called her to his office. Okay, something was definitely up.
Not sure if he was disappointed or relieved, Johnny moved on towards the kitchen to grab something that might not be missed and could be stashed under his bed. Maybe a box of Triscuts and some Cheez Wiz. Frankly, Johnny was sick of Twinkies.
He pushed the kitchen door open and walked over to the pantry. The shelves were packed with a variety of eye-catching boxes. Let it be said, Professor Xavier, had a well-stocked kitchen. He grabbed a can of processed cheese and the box Triscuts, frowning briefly at the "Reduced Fat" label and silently complaining about weight-obsessed teenage girls. At the same time, the small voice in his head - unfortunately his own and not one of the mansion's telepath's - chimed in that he was a hypocrite. Fantasizing about a fine female figure like Miss Munroe's and then thinking the girls were too uptight about their looks was just - not right.
"Shove it Jimney Cricket," he said as he closed the pantry door. It was midnight, and he didn't feel like exploring the moral quagmire any further.
He jumped when the telephone rang. Still clutching the Triscuts and Cheeze Wiz to his chest, Johnny waited. Line 1 was already in use. Line 2 continued to ring. He gnawed on his bottom lip. It could be Mr. Summers and that would spell detention. If he never saw the inner workings of the Blackbird again, he'd be a happy camper. But the phone continued to ring which meant that whatever conversation was taking place in the professor's office, it was important enough that someone couldn't be put on hold. Maybe this call was too.
Johnny set the snacks on the countertop and stared at the phone, torn on whether or not he should answer it.
It stopped ringing.
For about eight seconds.
He sighed and picked it up.
"Xavier's School," Johnny answered. He always left the Gifted and Youngsters off. One was too politically correct and the other just offended him.
"St. John? Is that you?"
It was Miss Rogue. It could have been worse - much worse. "Yeah. I - uh - no one else was around to pick up."
"It's all right." She sounded a bit breathless and excited. "I know it's late, but is the professor still awake?"
Very curious. Johnny wondered where she was. It didn't sound like a pay phone or a cell phone. He could hear a TV in the background. "Yeah. The other line is in use, and I noticed a light on in his office."
Johnny heard a soft sigh. "Could you transfer me to his voicemail then and mark it urgent?"
"I'm in the kitchen. I'm not sure how to do it on this phone." Johnny winced. It was sort of the truth. He could probably have figured it out, but Jubes would kill him for missing an information gathering opportunity. "Where are you - I mean, are you somewhere he can call you back?"
Subtle Johnny. He could almost picture her rolling her eyes. "I'm staying at the Hilton in Westchester for a few days. *Alone.*" She paused. "Got a pen and paper?"
His stomach flipped. She knew about the bet. Damn.
"Hold on." Johnny rummaged through the junk drawer by the phone and pulled out a pad of fluorescent green Post-It Notes and a pen. "Go ahead."
"Here's the number. (914) 555-0700, extension 313."
"I got it." Johnny hesitated. "Miss Rogue, are you okay? I mean, well."
"I'm fine, Johnny. I'm actually better than fine." She never called him Johnny. It was always St. John.
"Okay. I'll, uh, give the message to the professor."
There was a long pause on the other end of the line. "Actually, Johnny, there is one more thing." The earlier excitement held in her voice was gone, replaced by forced casualness. "Just out of curiosity, how much did Logan bet?"
Crap. Where was Jubes when you needed her? A little weird Jubes-style spin control wouldn't hurt right now. Johnny looked around. Yep. Alone in the kitchen with no help in sight.
He grimaced. "It would be kinda pointless to deny any knowledge right now, wouldn't it?"
"It's not as bad as it sounds." He added hurriedly, "At least not from where I'm sitting - but, see, I'm a guy."
"How much, Johnny?"
"Every one is in for the same amount." No need to mention that Logan was the one who upped the ante.
"St. John." *There* was the tone of voice he was used to hearing from her.
"A hundred bucks."
"But I think it was to show his confidence -- Jesus, that's not what I mean. Um, to uh, show how much he wants to be with you," Johnny finished lamely.
"A hundred bucks?"
Good going, Johnny. Yeah, she'd find *that* complimentary. It made the dude sound like a john and her like a whore.
"I mean, does he seem like the kind of guy who would lay down a bet like that just to get laid?"
He heard her gasp. Johnny slapped his hand to his forehead and prayed for someone to shoot him. Now.
"I suppose he might if he thought I was a sure thing. The idiot nearly got himself killed though," she snapped back.
Johnny banged his head on the cabinet door. "Christ, I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm just a horny teenage boy. I'm going to hang up now. I'll give the professor your message. I'm sorry."
"Johnny, wait. It's okay. I've been kind of on an emotional roller coaster lately, and it's been a hell of a ride. I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm sorry, too. Give the professor my message. Ask him to call me - it's important." He heard her hesitate. "I saw Erik Lensherr."
"Erik Lensherr?" Johnny must not have heard that right. "Magneto?"
"Yes, Magneto. So now you know why I need to speak to the professor." The excitement had crept back into her voice.
"He's still in prison, right?" He hated sounding like a wuss, but he considered a fear of Magneto a healthy thing.
"Yes. He's still under lock and key, but I still need to talk to the professor."
"Okay, I'll give the professor the message as soon as I hang up."
"Great. Thanks Johnny. Bye."
He heard the phone click, and he hung up the receiver. He headed towards the professor's office, Triscuts, Cheez Wiz and even Fudgecicles forgotten.
Johnny ambled into the foyer and froze when the front door opened. Logan, Warren and the Joan Jett wannabe entered. Holy shit. Was that purple scrap of fabric really a shirt? And the boots? He'd only seen those in a catalog. No one actually wore boots like that - which in Johnny's opinion was a damned shame. He realized he was gawking when she gave him a wink. He tore his gaze away from the woman, his ears on fire. Logan was staring at him, eyebrow cocked - looking some combination of amused and irritated. And Warren? Warren looked like shit. Rumpled and beaten. Warren never looked rumpled or beaten.
Logan strode forward with a Gucci leather bag - obviously not his - in his hand. "Kid, where's Chuck?"
"Um, he's in his office."
Logan thrust the bag into Johnny's arms. "Warren's going to stay here a few -"
"Warren!" Miss Munroe interrupted as she entered the foyer. She quickly embraced him. Johnny thought Warren Worthington was one lucky bastard - that is, until he heard a sob muffled against Ororo's flannel pajamas.
Miss Munroe broke from Warren and turned to Logan and his friend. Her eyebrows lifted, but that was the only reaction she showed.
"Ororo, this is my business partner, Betsy Braddock." Logan cast Betsy a look that clearly said *behave*. "Betsy - Ororo."
"Hello," Ororo greeted politely. Betsy nodded in return.
Warren Worthington took Betsy's hand lightly in his own. "Betsy, Logan, thank you."
Betsy gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "Get some sleep Warren."
"Yes. Sleep." Warren turned to St. John with a tight smile. "I'll take my bag." Johnny nodded and handed it to him.
"I'll help you get settled," Ororo took his arm and led him down the hall.
Betsy's heels clicked as she crossed the marble floor. "You dropped something." She stooped over to pick up the scrap of green paper, giving Johnny a view that was *almost* indecent.
He heard Logan chuckle. "Betts, give the boy a break."
She tossed Logan a warning look before quickly scanning the note and handing it back to Johnny. No one gave Logan a warning look. Well, no one but Mr. Summers and the professor.
Johnny felt a gentle brush across his mind.
<I know, I'm your new hero. Let's have a little fun, shall we?>
Wide-eyed, St. John watched her turn her attention back to Logan, lips pursed and arms folded across her chest. "Logan, I need you to go back to my hotel and get my bags for me?"
Logan laughed. "You're not staying here."
"I sure as bloody hell am." She smiled sweetly at him. "I told you I wouldn't miss this for the world. Now go fetch my bags at the Hilton - room 313." Johnny's jaw dropped to the floor, but Logan seemed to miss it.
"Fetch your bags? You're shittin' me."
"I am not *shitting* you," Betsy answered, completely nonplussed. "Do you remember why I knocked you off my Yule card list?"
Logan fumed and Johnny suddenly realized he should probably make himself scarce. In a hurry.
Betsy, unaffected by Logan's building fury, began rummaging through her purse. "Ruddy-Nora! Where's my hotel key?" Logan relaxed slightly and rocked back on his heels. He even smirked, figuring he was off the hook. Johnny knew it was premature.
"No matter. You know what to do. Room 313." She gave Logan a pointed look. "Like the job we did in, Cannes. Except that one was a clanger, wasn't it? You looked like a slapped arse after you -"
"Betts," Logan growled.
Betsy gave him a fierce smile. "Payback's a bitch, isn't it, love?"
"Fine. I'll get your damn luggage, but we'll be *discussing* this later." Logan stalked out of the mansion and slammed the door behind him.
Betsy gave a throaty chuckle and then turned her attention to Johnny. "St. John, is it?"
Johnny blinked and swallowed. "Johnny. Uh, John. Whatever."
She gave him a coy smile as she approached. She fished something out of her purse and handed it to him, her smile widening into a self-satisfied grin. "John, here's a hundred. I'll wager that Logan and Rogue Marie will be nobbing like randy rabbits soon."
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