FIC Bobby's Monster 4/5 PG Bobby (Bobby/Rogue?, Scott/Jean - Scott/Logan arc) (pre-slash, angst, friendship)
- I wanted to get the whole thing out by the weekend, so you get an extra part today. Finale tomorrow. <g>
Headers and warnings on part 1.
Additional warning of potential romantic breakup.
Part 4/5 - 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@...
* * *
I had sat at Harry�s for several hours, nursing a series of Cokes and hoping the sugar buzz would make me feel better.
After blowing up at Scott, I�d taken one of the hypercycles and fled. I�d needed someplace to think, somewhere where I wasn�t going to be interrupted or �accidentally� overheard by Jean. Harry�s was the closest thing that fit the bill.
Mac had given me the hard eye when I walked in alone in the middle of the afternoon. I�d been coming in with Jean and Scott or Warren for a couple of years now, but I had always been with an adult before. She knew the Professor because she was a mutant too, and she kept an eye out for the Academy students. The bar and pool hall was pretty much the only real hangout on the Six between the Academy and Salem Center.
I gave Mac a nod, and as she watched I took up residence in a booth away from the door. After a minute or two, she came over and slid into the other side of the booth.
�So what�s up?� she asked.
�Rough day,� I told her. She looked at me with sympathy.
�Want a Coke?�
She wandered away for a minute, then returned with an icy soda. I didn�t even look up, thinking about how badly I screwed up today. She watched me for about a minute, looking like she wanted to say something, but when I didn�t acknowledge her presence, she went back to the bar, giving me some space.
I sat there the rest of the afternoon. I thought more about my Dad than anyone else, the father that I rarely saw these days even though Professor Xavier had arranged for him to move up to New York after I had fled Lakeview, Ohio. Jean and Warren had actually pulled me from the lake just in the nick of time, from the jagged hole in the ice that I made when my neighbors had chased me out too far. I had accidentally iced up the neighborhood bully, Jason Jameson, because he and his cronies were going to beat up my me and my friend. I hadn�t been concerned for myself, but Matt was a small guy and he was the only friend I had. It turned out that Jason had been OK, but the town had freaked. My dad had always been really strict, and it had gotten worse after mom died. It got to the point where there was only silence or yelling. The whole mutant thing had brought everything to a head and we have barely spoken since the Professor has agreed to take me on at the Mansion, now the Xavier Academy.
I had seen too much of my father in me today � it was like I was channeling the parts that I hated about him. Not that I hated my dad, but I couldn�t live with him. The silences and the shouting were just too much for me to deal with, especially after mom had died. Maybe that�s why I tried so hard to make everyone happy. I had grown good at being the best friend, the class clown, and the guy everyone depended on. Maybe I�d gotten too good. Now, I felt like I was locked into this role that I had invented.
Everything was just so much right now. I rubbed my eyes then my neck, which had stiffened from lack of sleep and the bad jujitsu match. Mac brought me a burger and a fresh Coke, and when I looked up at her in thanks, I saw the concern in her eyes. I waved my hand to let her know that I was OK, and she just nodded sagely and went back to the bar.
I sat and pondered a while, and getting nowhere fast, I noticed I�d been gone a long time. I threw down a few bills to cover my tab plus a nice tip, and nodded to Mac as I left. I kind-of-smiled my thanks and she had just nodded, understanding.
Outside, I stopped and stretched. Knowing that the Professor could hear me this far out, I mentally reached out to him to let him know that I was alright. After assuring him that I was fine, I told him that I was going to take a ride to clear my head, and that I�d be back to the school in an hour or two. He�d sounded concerned, but I was firm. I�d never done that with him before. I think he was surprised, but I was thankful that he didn�t pull rank.
I�d rode for an hour or so, going up and down the back roads around the Xavier Estate. The cool, fresh air and the beauty of the spring foliage helped clear my head. I still hadn�t decided what I should do when I pulled into the garage.
Entering the building, I passed by the lab, and I immediately thought about Hank. He was a smart guy, and he knew Scott. Best of all, he wasn�t in the middle of the situation, and he didn�t have any preconceived notions about me. Maybe he�d know how best to explain this mess to Cyclops.
When I got down to the main lab, Hank was still working. During our handful of visits, I had come to find out that he was a night owl, and he worked nearly around the clock sometimes. He was still on the computer in his office when I arrived.
�Blue!� I called out.
�Is that you Robert? I�m in my office,� a deep voice replied after a moment. I grinned, forgetting my troubles for a minute. He must be working � he called me Robert.
I walked into the office and plopped down into the open chair. Hank turned from his computer, to look at me and an eyebrow when up.
�Is everything all right, Bobby?� he asked, concern coloring his voice. �Jean was looking for you earlier this afternoon. She seemed very concerned.�
I groaned. I hadn�t realized that needing a couple hours of to myself would cause them to call out the search party. �I�m OK.�
�You look tired,� he chastised me, but after I wince, his toned changed to concern. �Is there anything I can do for you?�
I had come down for some advice and now that I was here, I wasn�t sure how to ask.
�Bobby, you can talk to me. We are friends, are we not?� Hank said softly, leaning forward slightly to lean on his knees. His bright blue eyes were open and kind.
�Yeah, I guess we are,� I told Hank.
I sighed and leaned back in the chair, closing my eyes. I started to explain, but I felt I had to start at the beginning. I told him about my mom, and dad and how things changed after she died. I told him about Jason and the accident and the mob that had gathered later and chased me out onto the ice. The words just kept coming � the rescue, how the Professor set things up with my dad so I could stay here, and my relationship with Scott, Jean, Aurora, and Warren. I told him how much I liked being at the Academy, and how I did my best to take care of everyone, and how I felt that I was failing everyone the last few months.
Hank had listened carefully, nodding with sympathy and letting me ramble until that point.
�Bobby,� he said gently, interrupting, �Don�t you think that�s a bit much to expect of yourself? You�re only seventeen. When I was your age, my biggest worry was where I was going out on Saturday night.�
I had to admit that he was right, I mean most high school seniors didn�t have to pencil in time for eight-year old orphans, friends with deadly superpowers, and irregular combat training sessions into their school schedule. The observation was helpful, though I wasn�t sure that it would change a whole lot. It made feel a little better, though.
Hank continued, �I�ll talk to Charles about making sure that there are more adults available in the evenings.�
He raised his hand to ward the objection forming on my lips. �I know that you want to be there for your friends. That�s admirable. But it is your primary responsibility to be a student, and you can�t learn if you don�t sleep.�
His tone was firm at the end, and he looked hard at me, waiting for my nod of assent, which I reluctantly gave. I sat for a minute, thinking.
�But, Bobby, what happened today to make you leave?�
I let the question hang in the air, but Hank was a patient man, and I could tell he wasn�t going to let it go. I reluctantly related the incident in the gym.
�I couldn�t believe that I did that to Scott. When he started yelling, I�d just snapped. Scott is nothing like my dad, but it made me feel the same way, except this time I fought back. I yelled at _him_, laying out all his flaws just like my dad did to me. Now I feel horrible because I know what it�s like to be on the receiving end,� I explained, ashamed. �I wasn�t fair.�
�Why wasn�t it fair?� Blue asked.
�Because something bad is going on with Scott and Jean, and he�s upset, and I didn�t know what to do, and nobody is talking�� My comments trailed off, unshed tears welling in my eyes.
I think that�s what had me freaked out the worst � the not knowing what was going on with Scott and Jean. There were just to many silences, too many camouflaged emotions. It was like when mom was sick � no one would tell me anything, but the air had this heaviness of anger and sadness and dread. That�s how it felt to me right now at the Academy, and it was stifling. I loved Scott and Jean, they were the core of my new family. They had been like my big brother and sister, or maybe more like parents at times. Except this time, they were ones I couldn�t handle. Maybe that�s what it made it so tough. I knew that they were going to break up, I felt it. I�m just not sure that I could deal with it.
Hank reached out to wrap and big blue paw around my knee. �It will all work out in the end. I know that Scott and Jean love each other, and they both talk about their �kids� all the time. Sometimes love is complicated, as you are just finding out. Scott and Jean may not end up being a couple. It happens, even to the best of people. It does not mean that they don�t love you. I know that you are special to both of them because they have told me so.�
I think my doubt must have been plain, because Hank paused, considering.
�You know, in a strange way, I knew you before I met you.�
He saw the look of surprise on my face. �You don�t think that they could have forgotten to pass along the tale of Angel stuck in the swimming pool�,� he snorted with laughter, rocking back in his chair.
As upset as I was, I couldn�t help but smile. Warren Worthington the Third, international playboy and gazillionaire, frozen to the waist in the lap pool was a great prank, after all. It must have been the unrepeatable vocabulary pouring out of that well bred mouth that did the trick for me.
That had been a good day.
After Hank stopped chuckling, he continued. �If I know Scott, he thinks this is entirely his fault and he�s probably off brooding somewhere.�
�But�,� I started, but Hank interrupted.
�Just talk to him, Robert.� Hank�s formal tone indicated seriousness, he had discovered. The big man got to his feet and gently rested a big paw on my shoulder. It was comforting.
�Come back tomorrow and tell me how things went. But, you must be off to bed. No arguments. I�ll talk to Jean about keeping your distractions to a minimum tonight.�
I started to object, but Blue simply gathered me out of the chair and was escorting me out of the lab before I realized what was going on.
�Robert. Bed. Now,� he ordered with a toothy grin.
* * *
I didn�t have English the following day, nor did I have a training session with Scott scheduled. I did, however, have to play twenty questions with virtually everyone in the building about my little trip. I�d managed to dodge the more serious inquiries of my persistent comrades, begging a need to catch up on homework. After class, I tried to track Scott down, finally spotting him alone on the basketball court. I wandered over toward the court, still unsure of what to say.
He spotted me as I crossed the road from the main building, but he kept on playing. I stopped at the side of the court and watched him for a minute or two. I noticed that he was really good at making baskets, something I hadn�t noticed when he played with other people. I just thought he wasn�t a very good player, but it suddenly became clear to me that his problem was that he was too timid on the court. Maybe he was afraid that he�d hurt someone if his glasses got bumped. Though many of us had deadly powers and were tougher than average people, we were all kind of fragile in a way, I guess.
�Hey,� Scott called out to me, casually rolling the ball between his hip and wrist.
�Hey,� I said with a nervous smile.
�About yesterday�,�he started.
�I�m sorry,� we both said simultaneously.
The ease of his apology caught me by surprise and I paused. It was so uncharacteristic. OK, it was downright strange.
/I must have really upset him./
�No, Bobby, I really have to�,� he started to explain.
�How are _you_?� I inquired with concern, interrupting him. He looked genuinely surprised at both the interruption and the question.
He thought a minute, considering a response and looking younger than I remembered him looking in a long time. He quietly confessed, �Not great.�
I walked up to him, just to the edge of his personal space, and looked into his goggled eyes. �Me either,� I told him honestly.
A moment stretched as we simply looked at one another. Things we didn�t really want to voice passed between us.
�You know I�ve got your back,� I told him gruffly.
�And I�ve got yours,� he told me, a small, surprised but genuine, smile coming to his lips.
It was a small thing, that exchange, but it ran deep. Things were forgiven on both sides. I think it reminded both of us that it was OK to let other people help when things get tough. It was an easy thing to forget and a hard thing to do.
On mischievous impulse, I quickly lunged forward, passing him on the left and knocking the basketball from his grip. I took a couple steps, turned dribbling, and stopped a little more than an arm�s length away. He spun, surprised, and I grinned like the Cheshire Cat.
�So, do you want to play?� I offered. We hadn�t played one-on-one together in more than a year, and that was a mistake I wanted to rectify.
Scott grinned back, looking almost happy, and assumed a defensive stance between me and the basket.
* * *
There was only five days to go when I had the idea.
The last couple of months had been rough on us all, and I had been thinking that we could all use a little fun. Halloween had never been a favorite holiday here at the Academy as it struck a little close to home for some of the students. But this year was going to be different � I was going to organize our own little Monster�s Ball. It was time to bring some monsters to light.
Besides, I had the perfect �monster� to honor.
I had my brainstorm in History, so I had to wait until class was over to ask Jubes, Kitty, and John if they were on board. The fact that I was half deaf from the shrieking and that I had two lip-shaped patches of lip gloss on my cheeks was a good sign. John just grinned like a fool.
With the girls on board, I felt a little more comfortable approaching the adults. I thought Jean would be the best bet for an ally on the faculty since I knew Halloween was her second favorite holiday after Christmas. Plus, I wanted to see if she thought Hank would go for it.
The girls had blabbed at lunch and got about half of the students excited, so by the time biology was over and I could approach Jean, she already had an idea of what was going on. I waited until everyone had filed out of the classroom before I went up and perched on the edge of her desk. I noticed the poorly suppressed smile as I waited for her to finish packing her briefcase.
�Dr. Gray�� I began.
�Bobby, it�s Jean outside of class, she interrupted, gracing me with a genuine, stunning smile.
�Jean,� I smiled back. I had forgotten how beautiful she actually was � flawless pale skin, flame red hair, sparkling green eyes. I remember thinking that same thought the first time I saw her, back in my old room in the Mansion on my first day here. After that, I hadn�t really thought about it � Scott and Warren mooned over her, and she became like an older sister in my mind. She was a beautiful lady, though, especially when she smiled.
�I have a proposal.�
�A Halloween party?� she teased. News traveled fast around here, especially with the telepaths.
�Well, I was thinking, with Halloween coming up, and things have been a little tense lately�,� I began.
�And you thought that everyone ingesting a ludicrous amount of sugar would help things,� she finished, a glint of mischief in her eye.
�I was thinking more along the lines of a costume party in the Mansion ballroom with games and dancing and snacks,� I said firmly, wanting my request to be taken seriously.
�You have a good costume idea already?� Jean guessed.
�Well, not exactly,� I said, being a little evasive. She raised her eyebrow expectantly.
/Damn, telepaths,/ I thought softly, shielding. �I was also thinking that it would be a good opportunity to introduce our new faculty member.�
I held my breath, not sure whether she�d like or hate the idea, or worse, if she thought Hank would be offended by the suggestion. I thought it would be a great idea to introduce Blue to everyone in costume, so they could get to know him without being as intimidated by his appearance.
Jean looked like she was a million miles away for a few moments, and when her eyes refocused on me, she still looked thoughtful. �I think the party idea is a good one, but you�ll have to ask Hank first about �coming out�, so to speak. Let me ask the others if they�ll support the event, and I�ll let you know at dinner.�
Suddenly the twinkle reappeared in her eye, and before I could react, her hand shot out and messed up my hair like she used to do. I just stared at her, teasing, the practiced expression of a wet cat on my face. I managed to hold the expression for about five seconds, just long enough to draw a laugh from her. I couldn�t help but laugh along,
�Thanks,� she said fondly, after the laughter had trickled away.
�See you at dinner,� I told her as I moved toward the door, smoothing my hair back down. I wasn�t quite sure what the thanks was for exactly, but it made me happy nonetheless.
********************* End of Part 4 - feedback - Tarchannon@... ***********************
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