FIC Bobby's Monster 3/5-6? PG Bobby (Bobby/Rogue?, Scott/Jean - Scott/Logan arc) (pre-slash, angst, friendship)
- Headers and warnings on part 1.
Additional warning of potential romantic breakup.
Part 3 - Events from the junior X-men perspective, primarily Bobby.
Feedback is wanted, desired, lusted after... well, OK, just let me know what you think. <g> Tarchannon@...
* * *
About a half-hour later, I made it back down to the basement hallway with a big duffel bag I had collected from the kitchen and from my own private stash of goodies. I shouldered the bag, thinking it was a necessary evil to escape notice � the girls had already stopped me, and I got away from them successfully by muttering something about laundry. Honestly, I didn�t want them to know about Dr. McCoy yet, and more importantly, that I screwed up yet again and probably upset him. Jubilee, in particular, wouldn�t let me live the latter part down for a long, _long_ time. Plus, I didn�t want to admit to screaming like a little girl. I�d hear about _that_ for the rest of my life.
Since I didn�t know what Dr. McCoy liked as far as munchies went, I went hog wild, packing every sweet thing I could find, including some of my special favorites � dark chocolate Toblerone from Germany, Aero bars from Canada, Smarties from Great Britain, and the ever elusive Charleston Chew from way down south - the rare strawberry kind, rather than the more common chocolate.
Hey, I know my candy, alright?
Jean had verified that Dr. McCoy was still in the lab, so with my bag filled like Santa on a mission, I stood in the hallway and knocked on the still partially open basement lab door. The lights were on this time.
No answer. I knocked again, louder this time.
�Come in,� a deep voice called out after a few minutes.
Must still be in the office, I thought, seeing no one in the main section of the lab. I ambled to the back, careful not to knock anything with the bag. No one came out to meet me, so I stopped in the doorway, glancing at the reflection in the glass to see if Blue was in there.
/Blue./ The word rolled around my brain, seeming a fitting nickname, especially for a person that I haven�t even really met yet. I grinned at myself, plotting one-liners already.
The sight of the reflection of a big, dark shape in the window brought me back. I set my bag down on the floor outside the doorway, took a deep breath, and lightly knocked on the door as I stepped around the filing cabinet.
The figure at the computer turned, swiveling in his chair, to face me. Linebacker. Blue. Lab coat. Tiny glasses. My brain had stuttered again, but this time not in fear - incongruity.
It must have taken longer for my brain to process than I thought, because my ears suddenly registered his greeting.
�Hello, young man. Welcome to my research laboratory. �
My mouth dropped. His voice was deep, but clear and pleasant. Gentle, almost. Very kind human eyes peered though tiny rectangular-lensed glasses, a keen intelligence evident. A gentle, well mannered man was reveled within a body that looked anything but.
�I�m Henry McCoy,� he extended a giant blue furred hand, �but my friends call me Hank.�
�H-hello�,� was all I could stammer, my mild surprise evident.
The almost-concealed wince sobered my mind. I automatically reached out to shake his proffered hand. It gave me a moment to look at him again and gather my thoughts.
Even sitting, Hank was tall. He was amazingly broad shouldered and had a deep, powerful chest. His arms seemed rather long, and his hands were big, warm, and fuzzy soft, with extended digits tipped in conical black claws. His handshake was strong, but very gentle.
Looking down, I saw that Hank was wearing black dress pants under his lab coat. He wasn�t wearing shoes or socks, but immense leather loafers lay on the floor beside his chair. His feet resembled his hands and seemed just as large. His lab coat was worn over a crisp white button-down Oxford open at the throat. Everywhere I could see, with the exception of his lips, was covered in blue-black fur.
�M-my name is Bobby Drake, pleased to meet you.� I shook his hand firmly and released it.
�Is Bobby short for Robert?� he asked.
Embarrassed by not introducing myself with my childhood nickname, I looked away for a second, cheeks coloring.
/Great job Drake. After screaming like a little girl, he�s gonna think you�re a 12 year old dufus./
�Yeah,� I confessed, looking back up and meeting his eyes. His eyes were the most human things about his face, I noticed. He had a thick neck and a wide face. Nice gentle eyes well spaced across a long wide nose that ended in almost cat-like nares. He had a wide chin, a strong jaw-line, and good, sharp cheekbones. Elongated ears, again cat-like, framed his face, but not strangely so. Thin lips surrounded a wide mouth filled with white teeth and elongated incisors. His dark blue fur looked like it had a black undercoat, and the skin of his lips and around his eyes was also black. He had a very feline face � kind of handsome actually.
I found him amusing; this giant blue man with the obviously custom white lab coat, the tiny granny glasses, and the gentle hands and voice. I couldn�t help but smile at him.
As I watched, tension lines at the corners of his eyes that I hadn�t noticed earlier released, smoothing his countenance. He had been worried about my reaction. After my performance earlier, I felt about three inches tall. Maybe two.
�About earlier,� I started, embarrassment coloring my voice. �I��
�No, no,� he cut me off gently, as I looked up from contemplating my shoes. I raised an eyebrow. �You could not have known that I was here. Jean thought it best to give me a brief period to acclimate to my new environment and fully unpack before she introduced me to anyone.�
He paused, as if considering whether to continue. �Really, I think she just wanted some time to prepare everyone for my arrival.�
He had said that last part a little too quietly. It was plain that he was uncomfortable with the reactions that he had gotten from people. I�m sure I hadn�t helped.
Hank drifted a bit, looking glum. That was something I could fix.
I took a big step forward, coming up right beside him and turned to lean against his desk. I was just inside his personal space, and the intrusion caught his attention back from wherever he had gone.
�Hank,� I started. �I can call you Hank, right? After all, we�ve already screamed at each other,� I joked.
That comment earned me a toothy smile and a faint nod, the shadows slowly receded from his eyes.
�I want to apologize. I should have known better than to sneak down here looking for you in the dark��
�Wait, Robert. The fact that you were looking for me implies that you knew that I was here.�
Caught me. Better fess up. �Yeah. I saw you come in the other night and I was curious. I mean how often do you see a trench coat that big?� I teased.
He looked a bit startled, but seeing the obvious twinkle in my eye, he relaxed and chuckled.
�Yeah, I knew you were, Blue��
Hank�s eyebrow shot up at my chosen nickname.
I hurriedly asked, �You don�t mind me calling you that do you? I saw you come in, and I didn�t know your name, so I just thought of you as Blue.�
Hank looked a little dubious. �But, how�,� he began.
�Briefcase. No gloves.�
He nodded sagely, still a little sad.
�Besides, blue�s my favorite color,� I gently teased, not being above adding a winsome look.
I was rewarded with a lopsided, toothy grin.
�I saw the boxes arrive, so I figured that they must have been yours,� I explained, continuing my description of my spy game. I neglected to tell him that I thought he might have been visiting Jean in the evening.
�So I snuck down when I could get away and followed the boxes ��
�And you� startled me while I was thinking.�
In hindsight, it was pretty funny. I cracked up.
�Thinking?� I sputtered, �While hanging from the ceiling?�
�You see, Robert, when standing or sitting upright for long periods of time, blood tends to pool in your lower extremities��
I did my best to keep a straight face, but I was failing miserably.
��Anatomical inversion eliminated the pooling and increases the blood flow to the brain, thereby��
At the last bit, my control snapped, and I roared with laughter.
Hank stopped his explanation and looked a bit embarrassed, coloring a bit purple. My laughter must have been infections, however, because a grin started to pull upward at his lips as I watched. It made me laugh even harder, and he ended up laughing along with me.
�Our earlier encounter in the office was amusing, was it not?� he admitted as our laughter eased.
�How about we make a deal � I won�t mention the screaming part if you won�t. I�m not sure the others would be impressed,� I asked playfully and stuck out my hand.
�Deal,� he told me, with a sudden solemn dignity belied by a wink. He had finally fully relaxed.
�Oh!� I exclaimed, suddenly remembering the bag. �I forgot something.�
I took a couple of steps and dragged the bag back into the office.
�Welcome to mutant high,� I proclaimed as I opened the bag and dumped most of the contents on the floor.
�Twinkies!� he exclaimed excitedly, grabbing the box from among the other snacks. �My favorite!�
* * *
Jubilee had just finished practicing shooting pool. The last time she played with the boys she had gotten well and truly whomped, and she hated that. It just wasn�t her style, and style was important. So for the last few days, she had been sneaking downstairs to sharpen her skills.
She had just put everything back where she found it when she heard voices from the hallway.
�Jean, come on�,� she heard Mr. Summers say. His voice sounded strange. Heels clicked on the marble floor, then quietly thudded onto the stairs. A second set of heavy footsteps followed behind.
�Jean, please. Just stop.�
Jubilee quietly ducked back against the wall near the doorway, startled. Mr. Summers sounded almost� hysterical.
�Scott, you know this isn�t going to help.� Dr. Gray was speaking soft and low, but an edge of pain was evident in her voice.
�Jean, I-I can�t� I�m sorry�please!,� he stammered, begging her. Jubilee could hear the anguish in his tone. She knew there would be tears in his eyes, and her own eyes welled in sympathy.
�Doesn�t the fact that you feel you _can�t_ make you realize you have to?� she whispered in a voice so low that if it weren�t for the acoustics of the main hall, Jubilee would have had no hope of hearing them.
She listened as he made a sound somewhere between as gasp and a choke. Tears came unbidden to her eyes, and slid down her face.
�I�m sorry,� the older woman said in a quiet, firm voice thick with emotion.
Jubilee heard her footsteps as they climbed the stairway. She heard the thud of a man falling to his knees, then a quiet sobbing.
She had never seem him upset before, let alone cry. It just wasn�t his style. She stayed silent in the game room so as not to embarrass him, silently weeping in sympathy.
* * *
Another night of precious little sleep. I could barely function.
The alarm went off at 07:00, and I had to hit it four or five times before I had become fully conscious. Only then did I realize that I was still sitting up in bed with a certain blond 8-year old curled up beside me.
It had been another rough night. I was up very late finishing his history essay and studying for my physics test. My brain wasn�t working well, and I just hadn�t been able to get through the work like I normally could. Also, my control was slipping, making my ink pens pop as they froze. Not only was that annoying, but made a big mess. Then the nightmares started, and from the growling and screaming just one floor up, I could tell that my hopefully-girlfriend was having Logan�s dark dreams. It must have been bad, because she hadn�t wanted to see me, so I just tried in vain to ignore the sounds of her pain. The sound must have traveled somehow and triggered Nicholas� dreams, because just as Rogue was quieting down, Nightwalker had brought Nicholas to me. Tired beyond sleep at that point, I held him and quieted him with careful words until he fell asleep again. I remember looking at my clock - 03:30. I must have dozed off sometime after that.
I had begun to drift again as the sound of passing feet in the hall brought reality crashing back. I literally jumped up when I remembered that I had a mutant power training at 08:00 with Scott. I got Nicholas on his way back to his room, and ran to the shower. With a groan, I realized there would be no breakfast for me today.
I skidded to a halt just inside the door of the danger room, my hair still damp. It was 08:02, and Fearless Leader was already tight-lipped and tapping his foot. Inwardly, I groaned. /This was _so_ not the way I wanted to start the day./
By 13:55, and I was sitting outside the workout room waiting for Scott to arrive for hand-to-hand training. I was a few minutes early and none of the other older students had arrived yet. Exhausted, I leaned back against the wall, letting my head sag forward. I was so tired, and my day had been world-class bad. Not only was I late to my morning training, but I consistently screwed up the entire time. It hadn�t helped that Scott started in a foul mood that got exponentially worse as the lesson went on. I couldn�t focus. I kept either missing robotic attacks, tripping the fail safes, or I�d freeze the bloody things too hard, and the hydraulics popped. Scott wouldn�t even look at me when I was done. After that, I promptly forgot every last thing I knew about physics and miserably failed my test. I fell asleep in World History and caught flak from Ms. Munroe. I was starving by the time I got to lunch and I wolfed my food down, which I regretted immediately afterward. Mechanics class went pretty well, as it was hands on and pretty easy. Now I was waiting.
I slid down the wall to sit on the floor, pulling my knees in and resting my head on them. I closed my eyes for just a second, and the next thing I heard was Scott shouting.
Startled, I jumped up, noticing that everyone had assembled and was standing around, watching me. Scott looked hard in my direction, mouth pursed in disapproval. I felt a bit woozy, and he was starting to make me mad. After all, I was the one up all night with Rogue and Nicholas. He was _supposed_ to be the team leader, for God�s sake.
I was angry and a little dizzy, and my mind just wasn�t on jujitsu. One second I was sparring with John, the next he was on the ground with a yelp. I was honestly surprised because I didn�t even recall what I had done. Scott was there in a flash, before I could even reach out to my closest friend. I tried to help, but Scott barked at me to back off. John had gone down hard on his ankle, so Scott had Kitty help him get to the med lab. As they left, I shot an apologetic look at John. Catching my look, he waved it off, shooting me a smile that told me all was forgiven.
Cyclops was another matter. He was staring at the floor turning red in the face. After John was out of earshot, his nearly unshakable control gave way and he started on me.
�What in the hell is going on with you?� he shouted. The other students, shocked, took that as a sign and, thankfully, withdrew from the gym.
I�m not sure whether it was his tone that reminded me of my father, or the fact that no one had raised their voice to me like that since I was rescued and brought here. Maybe it was that I was so tired. But whatever it was, it sparked fire in my normally glacial belly. It built with startling rapidity as Scott continued.
�You just aren�t paying attention. You broke three robots this morning, Aurora tells me that you weren�t paying attention in class, and now your carelessness caused an injury. You need to be more responsible��
That was it! The fire in my belly blew up through my brain, and I saw red. If I hadn�t been aware of the rapidly dropping room temperature, I�d have sworn that fire would have shot from my eyes.
�Responsibility? Responsibility!? Why don�t we talk about _your_ responsibility? Where have you been while Rogue�s been up half the night? She tells me that you haven�t been around in weeks. And were you aware that Nicholas has spent half the nights this week in my room because he�s having nightmares again?�
Scott stopped dead in his tracks, his breath visible in the rapidly chilling room.
�And what in the hell have _you_ done, Scott? Something is going on� the kids are freaked. You haven�t been around lately, and Jean looks like she�s about to burst into tears half the time��
My rant started with loud, furious outrage but ended in a quiet, plaintive tone. The thing that really made me stop was the look on his face. His look had fallen from anger to shock, then to a guilty sorrow. He gulped once, then looked down, the tension draining from him.
After what I said finally sunk in, I was shocked at my behavior. It was so strong, and he certainly didn�t deserve all of that. I quickly got seriously upset with myself. With a thought, I warmed the room, relinquishing my unconscious attempt to alter the ambient conditions to my advantage. It was a tactic that Scott had taught me.
I was suddenly ashamed about lashing out at him, he didn�t deserve it, and I didn�t know what to say. My cooler brain knew that I had really hurt him, which I didn�t intend to do. Not knowing what to do next, I ran out of the room leaving Scott staring at the floor in silence.
* * *
Kitty Pryde was just about to knock on Mr. Summers� door to ask him about the Advanced English poetry assignment when she heard voices, loud voices that could be heard through the heavy oak door. She hesitated a moment before listening.
�No, Scott.� Kitty heard a woman�s voice. /Dr. Gray?/
�I don�t agree. Isn�t there any other way?� Mr. Summers� voice. Angry.
�No, there isn�t.� Firm. Hint of sadness.
�I don�t want this.� Intense. Controlled anger.
�I know.� Sorrow.
�Dammit, Jean. Don�t you love me anymore?� Softly. Wrenchingly desperate. Pleading.
�Of, course I do. That�s why�� So soft. So very sad.
There was a drawn out pause. Kitty unconsciously held her breath.
�Get out.� His voice was cold, so cold, and so final that Kitty shuddered.
Heeled steps approached the door. Kitty, suddenly realizing that she was in a very bad place, launched herself at the wall and phased through. She listened as the sounds of Dr. Gray�s steps receded and vanished. After a moment, she phased back to the hallway. The big oak door was ajar, and through it she could hear her favorite teacher softly crying, the gasps occasionally punctuated by a fist being slammed on the desk.
********************* End of Part 3 - feedback - Tarchannon@... ***********************
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