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Help is bright green [1/13]

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  • saschaian
    help is bright green by Sascha e-mail: lady_sascha@hotmail.com story website: http://www.tentative.net/sascha/wmf/ disclaimer: All characters (sans the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2002
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      "help is bright green" by Sascha

      e-mail: lady_sascha@...

      story website: http://www.tentative.net/sascha/wmf/

      disclaimer: All characters (sans the Corner people) belong to Marvel
      Comics and who-ever-made-the-movie.

      thanks: To everyone at the Corner, especially River, Lise, Jono, KG
      and Mel. Merci beaucoup, people!

      dedicated to: River and Lise.

      extra thanks to: Maelstrom, River and Trisha for the spellchecks.

      note: Reposting since it's been a year since I posted chapter 9.



      "help is bright green"
      by sascha

      part a

      p r o l o g u e

      You can try blending in all you like. Won't work much when you're a
      nice shade of green. Oh, there's body make-up and stuff like that,
      but honestly, who has the patience or the will to apply that every
      bleeding day?

      Not I, that's for sure.

      I look pretty normal otherwise. When you look away from the green
      skin, I reckon I look... Well, not exactly handsome, but certainly
      passable. Slavic features with a hint of well built Scandinavian.
      Polish grandfather, Norwegian grandmother. Mutant myself.

      The green skin is pretty much a dead give away, yeah.

      Don't have much of a power, really.

      I see hidden things.

      Yup. Secrets, and safes hidden behind pictures, and secret passages.
      Stuff like that.

      No, I haven't a clue why that warrants a green skin.

      Someone up there is having a mighty big laugh at my expense, I'm sure
      of it.

      Not that I would've been "normal" even sans green skin, but, you
      know, it's so damn obvious. Pretty much the first thing I hear from
      people is; "Oh, but you're... green."

      Duh.

      I never hear people say; "Oh, but you're... gay." Okay, but that's
      pretty rare so it doesn't really count. Or; "Oh, but you... write
      weird stories for equally weird people online."

      Of course, if I splashed my picture up on the web, I might get that.
      Apparently there's a lot more weird people out there than I would've
      guessed. Not that that's a bad thing, mind.

      Like this girl I met on the subway. She was sitting next to some
      kids, reading a print-out of one of my favorite stories, smiling to
      herself and completely ignoring those she was with until one of them
      whacked her over the head and shouted: "Kitty! For chrisake! Pay
      attention!"

      She growled distractedly in reply. She seemed completely caught up in
      the story. Just my kind of person.

      I was about to commit a killing offence, asking a complete stranger
      on the subway what she thought of the story, when one of the people
      she was with bumped into me.

      *Kind. Steel claws. Feral look. Bare chested male in a cage. Don't
      touch me! Don't touch me! Scream. Kiss. He's so cute.*

      I winced at the assault of images in my head. Oh yes, this one had
      secrets. I suspect I must have moaned as well, because the next thing
      I heard was someone yelling: "Rogue! What did you do?"

      "Nothing! I just bumped into him, that's all!" She sounded worried.

      I opened my eyes and gave her a weak smile, which was, quite frankly
      the best I could do at the time. Surprise attacks of secrets,
      especially something this powerful, leaves me with a pounding
      headache and a deep desire for licorice. Don't ask.

      "I'm all right, really," I assured the people who were looking at me
      with varying degrees of worry in their faces. "Just bumped into...
      something."

      "You sure?" The girl with the white bangs and the red scarf asked,
      biting her lip.

      "Absolutely."

      Her face lit up and she looked relieved.

      In the mean time, one of the boys had come to a startling
      conclusion. "You're a mutant!"

      I looked at him. Pretty blue eyes. "Oh, gee, you think?"

      "And you're here, in public and...And..." He gestured with his hands,
      looking semi-shocked.

      Wonderful.

      The next sentence will probably run in the lines of "Freaks like you
      should be locked up somewhere, away from normal people."

      My luck sucks. Actually, I'm starting to think I have none. I leaned
      against the wall and waited fatalistically for the "I Hate Muties
      speech." There are times like this I truly regret moving to New York.
      I'd never would've gotten this speech back in good ol' Norway.

      Partly because I lived in Nowheresville, but never mind.

      The boy surprised me however. "Man, you've got guts."

      I blinked. "Huh?"

      "Aren't you afraid?" Yellow raincoat and pink gum.

      "Eh..."

      "Yeah, after the whole Magneto thing, even I'm kind of worried and
      I'm normal good looking," blond boy said.

      The one with the blue eyes whacked him amicably over the
      head. "Difference of opinion on that topic."

      "Eh..." I repeated, getting the feeling of being backed up in to a
      corner by eager, inquiring teens.

      "Though the Senator Kelly thing probably helped some," the girl who'd
      been reading the print-out said. She looked at me with serious brown
      eyes. "Don't you think so?"

      "Quite frankly, I have no idea... I don't pay much attention to
      politics," I admitted and frowned thoughtfully. "Though I suppose I
      should, if I'm going to be living here for a while."

      All five of them looked disappointed.

      Looking around, I noticed that the cart we where in where more or
      less empty except me and the teens. I decided to be social. If I just
      worked at it, I was sure I could do it. "You're a mutant too?" I
      nodded towards the girl with the white bangs.

      The odd 'mutant-bonding-us-against-them' phenomenon kicked in, and
      she nodded. "We all are, actually."

      I must have looked surprised, because they grinned amusedly at me.

      "Not all of us have oddly colored skin or strange - yet attractive -
      haircolours, you know," the one with the blue eyes pointed out with a
      grin.

      "No, some have pretty blue eyes," I replied.

      He first looked surprised, then turned red. "Eh..."

      I snickered. "Hi. I'm Alex. You are?"

      "Uh... Bobby." He quickly pushed the blond boy in front of him. "And
      this is John."

      John grinned at me. "Hey."

      "I'm Jubilee," yellow raincoat and pink bubble gum said, popping her
      gum a few times. "And this is Rogue..." White bangs. "And Kitty." The
      one with the print-out. "Nice t'meet cha."

      "Likewise."

      "Oh this is our stop!" Kitty got on her feet, almost losing her print-
      outs. "Come on, guys. Mr. Summers won't be happy if we're late."

      They all pushed their way past me, barely giving me the time to jump
      to the side. I wasn't quick enough however, and was hit with a jumble
      of secrets.

      *Leaned against a tree, panting. Smirk. Red-brown hair. Black
      sunglasses.*

      *Big happy smile. Don't be late. Dark eyes. I got the card.*

      *Not bad, kid, not bad. Ferocious. Up, spin, kick. Can you teach me
      that?*

      *Laughing. Pool. Where is she? Pretty girl.*

      *I definitely shouldn't have seen that. Kisses. Bodies behind the
      pavilion.*

      Do all of these kids have serious, big secrets?

      I winced and rubbed the bridge of my nose. I was going to get all the
      bloody store had of licorice. Then I was going to veg on the couch
      for at least a day. Maybe two.

      * * * *
      A week later I opened my front door and ended up face to face with a
      white haired black woman. I blinked at her. "Yes?"

      She looked down at a piece of paper in her hand, then looked up with
      a smile. "Are you Alexander Olson? Freelance graphic designer?"

      "...Yeah. Well, it's Olsen, actually." Americans never get that
      right. Wonder why? I gave her a curious look. "Why?"

      "My name is Ororo Munroe, I'm from the Xavier School for Gifted
      Youngsters, and I might have a job for you."

      Oh. Oh cool. I opened the door further to let her in. She wanted me
      to make a web-page to represent the school. I'll spare you the
      further shop talk and just say that I took the job (without doing
      flip-flops out of joy. Though, I think I would've if I knew how).

      "Do you know when you can begin?" Munroe asked, pen poised on a piece
      of paper.

      I went through my date-book in my head. Almost finished the Carmelie
      deal, wasn't going to work for Blyth, Tims and Gerald until next
      week... "I could start right away, if you like."

      She smiled. "That would be wonderful."

      I followed her out to the school, (recon, she said) and ended up in
      the computer room, working with Kitty.

      Someone up there is having fun with me life.

      I can tell.

      c h a p t e r _ o n e

      I hate getting involved.

      The mere thought makes me break out in cold sweat.

      Okay, getting involved romantically speaking, can be fun. But when
      the involved thing doesn't have anything to do with romance (at least
      not for me), I start squirming.

      I have, on occasion, been known to run into my room and lock the door
      in order to not get involved.

      I'm not kidding.

      So you see how this whole working at Xavier's thing was causing me
      some conflict.

      On one hand, I had the job. Which was nice, I got to play with a web
      page and I got paid. Both very neat things which I fully support.

      But then, on the other hand, you had the secrets.

      Bundles of them.

      I swear, there wasn't a person in that place who didn't have a
      serious secret or another.

      And all of them seemed to be doing their damned best to get me
      involved.

      (No, I'm not pouting! I never pout!)

      First there was Kitty who seemed to be spending more time at the
      computer room than I was. She could make herself intangible and walk
      through stuff, by the way. Called it 'phasing', I think. Waaaay
      freakish to look at.

      She didn't really have that many secrets (serious ones or otherwise),
      so most of the time we could bump into each other without me getting
      the mother of all headaches.

      There was one big secret though. She'd seen something she most
      emphatically thought she shouldn't have.

      Not entirely sure what it was exactly. This power-thingy of mine
      works backwards, for one thing. I get the most recent image first.
      For another, I get impressions and images and thoughts and it all
      gets kind of jumbled together.

      I have the distinct impression it had something to do with sex,
      though...

      Anyway, except for the fact that she occasionally gave me headaches,
      she was a big help. She seemed to know everybody, and when I
      mentioned to her that I'd like some aerial photos of the school, she
      said "No problem!" and went and fetched a redhead and a blond boy
      with wings.

      I would have liked wings. Why couldn't I have gotten neat white wings
      instead of a green skin? Huh?

      No fair.

      She introduced them as Angelica and Warren.

      "Hey," I said.

      "Hey," they said.

      "You're fliers?"

      Warren looked at me with a 'duh' expression on his face and ruffled
      his feathers. I think he knocked over a speaker.

      "Right," I said, blushing and doing my best to ignore it. "So... Take
      as many photos as you can, from as many angles as possible, okay? I
      need something to choose from."

      Angelica nodded. "Will do. Cameras?"

      "Right," I said again. God, I'm turning into Giles. ...Wait, that's
      not a bad thing. If I turned into Giles, I'd get Ethan. And Ethan is
      definitely a good thing... That smirk... Those eyes... That nose...
      Oh, right, the kids. Work now, fantasize later. "I have a couple in
      my backpack."

      Kitty nodded and ducked under the desk to get the cameras. "The
      DigiCam as well?"

      "No, bad quality --" I changed my mind. "Wait. Yes, bring that one
      too."

      "Okay!"

      She reappeared from under the desk and started handing out the
      cameras. I have a lot of cameras. Not professional extra-super-
      doesn't-get-any-better-than-this type cameras, mind, just a bunch of
      ordinary cameras. I do a lot of small business/school webpages, and
      for some reason, they like getting their faces plastered online.
      Bringing the cameras myself saves a lot of work.

      Believe me, you have not known frustration until you've looked
      through 37 different albums and 52 piles of photos in order to find
      fifteen photos you can work with.

      (I now know far more than I ever wanted to know about the Leeman
      Association's employees private lives, by the way.)

      Angelica and Warren grabbed a couple of cameras each and walked out
      of the window.

      I have to admit my jaw dropped at that.

      Kitty snickered at me. I made a face at her (Twenty-five, five -
      doesn't make much difference when it comes to me) and she giggled and
      went back to her hotmail.

      Nice kid, really.

      Which of course makes it even more difficult for me to stay the hell
      uninvolved...

      And then there was Logan.

      Let me say... Wow. Much, much wow.

      Way out of my league, of course, but that has never stopped me from
      ogling before, and certainly didn't stop me now. First time I saw him
      without a shirt, Kitty had to whack me over the head in order to get
      my attention back on the screen.

      I have a feeling that girl spends a lot of time laughing at me...

      He's walked into the computer room a couple of times, looking for Dr.
      Grey (who I still haven't seen. Kitty says she's off lecturing or
      something), or Rogue (I still can't believe people are calling her
      Rogue. Everytime I say her name I feel like a dork).


      One of those times he, naturally, bumped against me.

      Shut up. I did not do it on purpose.

      I didn't!

      Anyway, I was hit with the most unholy mess of secrets I've ever been
      hit with. Had a pounding headache for days after wards. And I think I
      ate way more licorice than what's healthy.

      Only thing I can remember clearly is the impression of... a lion? A
      big cat growling? Something like that. Connected to an image of a
      tall, feral looking guy with blond hair.

      Weird.

      Apparently this school does 'weird' very well.

      I kept away from Logan after that. I didn't quit ogling, though.

      Couldn't get rid of the image of the feral man. Stuck in my head, he
      did. Reckon I got a crush on him, too.

      Never said I was particulary smart in that area.

      Two weeks later I saw feral-blond-guy on the news. Let's just say
      that seeing someone you kind of, sort of, in a way, have a crush on
      being on the 6 o'clock news, under the heading WANTED! REALLY COLD
      BLOODED KILLER! ...Well, it's not really all that much fun.

      ...Which reminds me, why would Logan have a secret about a cold
      blooded killer?

      Yes, I definitely kept away from Logan. That generally wasn't that
      hard, since he hardly ever was in the computer room and I rarely left
      it. Now if I'd been wanting to stay away from Pete Wisdom, then I'd
      have to work at it. The kid seemed to spend an awful lot of time in
      the computer room considering he had no business being there.

      Didn't take me long to figure it out, though. I might be a bit
      socially challenged, but I'm not that lost.

      His eyes followed Kitty's every movement. Covertly of course.

      I pointed it out to Kitty, and she blushed, denied it and called him
      a 'bloody wanker'.

      No, not interested in the Brit, she is. Not at all.

      I managed to suppress my matchmaking urges for an entire month,
      because you know, matchmaking qualifies as getting involved and
      getting involved is icky.

      Oh shut up.

      Yes, I did end up getting involved.

      And I blame that on pretty much anyone other than me.

      * * * *

      I stood outside the legendary "Smog", eyeing the door skeptically.
      Wisdom was bound to be there. I'd picked up that little bit of info
      in the cantina. You'd be amazed to know what you learn from spending
      a couple of hours in there, nursing a coke, watching and listening.

      The Smog was where you'd find the Brits, the smokers and the punk
      wannabes. For some, all three qualified.

      There was Pete Wisdom, who seemed to be a sort of unofficial leader
      of the bunch, the purple-haired Liz Braddock, punk-girl Ali Blaire,
      the grey-skinned Angelo Espinosa, dark-and-broody Evan Starsmore,
      dark-shades Remy LeBeau and airhead Lance Shot.

      (Sidenote: Lance had the fashion sense from hell. He even made me
      wince and I'm the expert of grabbing-what-ever-is-first-in-the-
      closet. I've worn some pretty weird combinations... Anyway, Lance =
      Hell's fashion sense. Shudder.)

      They were usually the kind of people I regarded with amused
      fascination from afar.

      Now I was actually considering knocking on the door, and walking
      inside to give one of them advice on his love-life. Which,
      considering my usual people skills, would probably suck majorly. I'm
      bloody insane, I am.

      I knocked on the door.

      Liz Braddock opened it and stared at me. She's the only Japanese-type
      person I've met who's able to stare directly into my eyes. "What?"

      "Wisdom? Is he here?"

      Suspicious look. "What if he is?"

      "Could I talk to him?"

      "Wait." She closed the door.

      I waited. Twiddled my thumps. Counted the tiles in the ceiling. Read
      the scribblings on the door. Ran through the lyrics to "The One" by
      Voodoobeats in my head. Took a couple of dance steps.

      The door opened and Wisdom's surly face looked out. "What you want?"

      "Talk to you. About..." I hesitated, then gave a mental shrug. I come
      this far, I might as well continue. "About Kitty."

      "What about her?"

      "Well, I... You want her, right?"

      He gave me a look I couldn't interpret. "What's it to you?"

      I shrugged. "She's a friend."

      "Right." Even I couldn't miss the doubt in his voice.

      I glared at him. If I wanted to consider Kitty a friend, who was he
      to draw that in doubt? I could call her a friend if I wanted to. So
      there. "Yes, a friend. And I want her to be happy."

      "Is this your way of telling me to stay the hell away from her?" He
      questioned, moving his hand up to take a drag of his smoke.

      "What?"

      "Don't worry. Won't touch the kid. Happy? Shoo." He closed the door.

      What the hell?

      I stood there blinking for a while. What the hell was that guy
      smoking, anyway?

      I pounded on the door until someone tore it up. It was Wisdom. He
      stared at me.

      "You still here?"

      "Yeah. Still haven't done what I came here for."

      "Look, I told you --"

      "Yes, I know. I'll figure out what the hell you were talking about
      later. Now. Go ask her out. See a movie. Have a burger. Do what ever
      it is that you do on a date. Preferably today."

      He stared at me with a 'you're mental' expression on his face. I get
      that a lot. Didn't quite see what I'd said to qualify for it this
      time.

      "What?"

      "You don't want her?"

      Light bulb above head time. I snickered. "No. And you can believe me
      on that."

      "Why?"

      "I'm gay."

      "No, I meant, why should I-- what?"

      I grinned at him.

      "You are?"

      "Uh-huh."

      "So you're not...?"

      "Nope. And besides, she's way too young for me anyway."

      "I'm twenty."

      "Your point?"

      "She's sixteen, I..."

      I gave him a disbelieving look. Did he want her, or didn't he? Hadn't
      it been for the constant gazing at Kitty he did, I'd be willing to
      swear he didn't. "Go ask her out," I repeated.

      I walked away, figuring I've done enough for this time.

      * * * *

      A whole week, and no headaches. New record. Woohoo.

      I celebrated it with a coke and a pizza slice over at JB's Diner.

      The gods were against me, however, and just as I'd finished eating,
      dark-shades Remy LeBeau and punk-girl Ali Blaire entered.

      I sank down in my chair.

      They would touch me. I just knew it. This was way to good to last, so
      one or both of them would touch me and we'd have secret heaven. I
      grumbled and looked around to see if this place sold licorice.

      Surprisingly they both passed me without even noticing me, never mind
      touching me.

      I brightened a bit, figuring that the gods might, possibly be on my
      side for a change.

      Then the blond guy from the subway a month ago entered and I tensed
      again. I think his name is Sinjin, or something, even though Pretty
      Blue Eyes called him John. 'Least I think he did. My memory when it
      comes to combining names and faces leaves a lot to be desired.

      He walked past me, headed in the same direction as LeBeau and Blaire.
      Not touching me. Much rejoicing on my behalf. I was busy promising
      the gods pretty much anything I could think of, so when a short, dark-
      haired man dropped down into the chair in front of me, I gave a start
      of surprise.

      "And where were you, babe?"

      "Heaven," I replied with a grin. "Izzy, what are you doing here?"

      Izzy laughed and wiggled his brows suggestively. "Anyone I know?"

      "Is there someone you don't?"

      "Point. Now. Tell me. Everything. In detail." Izzy gave me his
      best 'I'm utterly cute and innocent and you must succumb to me' look.

      I laughed. "There's nothing to tell, you berk."

      "Uh-huh." Doubting look thrown my way.

      "Honest! I was just thanking the gods for small mercies."

      Izzy looked surprised. "No headaches for a week again? Man, this is
      getting to be a habit. Can't have that, now can we?"

      I grinned. "No, we certainly can't. Now, what are you doing here?"

      "Oh, I'm heading home after a party and I saw you sitting here all by
      your lonesome, decided to say hi," Izzy grinned at me. "You should've
      been there. Rick got really, really drunk and sang."

      I snickered. "You get it on tape?"

      "Of course I did." He looked affronted that I'd even suggest that he
      wouldn't have caught that priceless moment on tape. Granted, the day
      Iz goes anywhere without his camera is the day I stop reading
      fanfiction, so I suppose it was a stupid question.

      "What did he sing? 'You're the one that I want'? 'Truly, Madly,
      Deeply'? 'Falling in love again'?"

      Izzy snickered. "Yup."

      "Which one?"

      "All of them, and more," he said with obvious relish. "And I have it
      on tape. I have Rick crooning 'I caaaan't help falling in looooove
      with choooo' to Stacy and Kallie on tape."

      I gaped at him. "You're kidding?"

      Izzy stretched and shook his head in blissful happiness. "Oh no. Have
      it right here." He patted his backpack. "You wanna see?"

      "Don't have to ask me twice!" I jumped up on my feet. I paused and
      watched Iz stumble slowly onto his feet. "You realise Rick's going to
      have you murdered for this?"

      Izzy grinned. "Oh yeah. Is all worth it too. You'll see."

      * * * *

      There's this place close to my apartment called 'Kay's Corner'. It's
      a weird mix of a writer's workshop, netcafe and a private home. I
      found it a couple of days after I moved here, and that's where I got
      to know Izzy.

      First time I walked in there, I found Iz and Rick curled up on the
      couch, Izzy's head in Rick's lap. They were mumbling to each other
      about Keller and Beecher and all sorts of weird, incomprehensible
      things.

      I gave them a sort of nod and went looking for a computer. Mine
      hadn't arrived yet, you see.

      Izzy and Rick gave me a curious look.

      "Who are you?" Izzy asked in the kind of frank manner I've now
      learned is all Izzy. Never beats around the bush, that one.

      "Ian," I said distractedly as I eyed the closest computer eagerly,
      wondering who to pester for access codes and such. Then I realised
      what I'd said and winced. "I mean Alex. Call me Alex."

      Izzy blinked at me and looked thoughtful. "Hey, you... Nah... But
      what if you are..."

      I gave him a puzzled look. "What?"

      "Are you Ian, as in Ian Rose? Does 'Helplessly' mean anything to you?"

      Now I blinked at him. "How did you know that?"

      Izzy beamed at me. "Ian! C'mere!" He straightened up and spread his
      arms wide open.

      I regarded him skeptically. "Who are you?"

      "Who am... Right." Iz grinned. "I'm Izzy."

      Obviously, I was supposed to recognize that. I put my brain in gear.
      Izzy... Izzy... Only Izzy I knew was a guy I'd done some betaing for
      on a story, but this couldn't possibly be... "Izzy? Epic Izzy?"

      Iz grinned brighter and nodded. "Is me!"

      I walked over to him and gave him a hug. I'm not really big on
      touching people, but this was Izzy! You understand, right? (And no,
      no big secrets there)

      Rick looked amused at us. "You two know each other?"

      "Yeah, from online," Izzy explained and let me go. He sat back down
      on the couch, leaned over Rick and grabbed a handful of
      popcorn. "Betaed story of mine."

      "Cool," Rick nodded. He looked up at me. "I'm Rick. Nice to meet you."

      And that's how I came to know Rick and Izzy. It seemed to me like
      everytime I was there, they were there. Either snuggled up together
      on the couch or seated next to a computer, giving each other evil
      glares at irregular intervals.

      They're the ones who introduced me to the rest of the regulars at the
      cafe, some of them so much regulars, I still doubt they ever sleep.

      There was Kay herself, who was treated like a minor deity among the
      Cornerians and considered an addiction they didn't want to be
      without. You should have been there for her birthday party. The
      Corner was filled to the brink with people carrying stories and
      storylets for her to read.

      Kallie, who stepped in when Kay couldn't be there and I have to this
      day never experienced her having a bad thing to say to anyone. She's
      something so rare as an actual nice person.

      Stace, who never seemed to move from her spot in front of the
      computer in the corner and had the tendency to come with the
      strangest facts and story ideas.

      Ron, who's a fellow Viking. Montgomery, Ellis, Moric, Jana, Lin,
      Cassie and so on, and so on.

      They've become my family, away from my family.

      Some of them are mutants, some are not. Some are gay, some are bi,
      some are straight. Some are religious, some aren't. Some are
      teenagers, some are pushing sixty.

      None of this seem to matter in the Corner.

      There's a reason I like this place.

      * * * *

      I spent the weekend with Izzy, snickering at his tape of Rick making
      an idiot of himself, watching old horror movies, throwing popcorn at
      Iz when he suggested watching 'Rocky Horror' for the n'th time, and
      making love.

      I showed up at Xavier's practically beaming.

      The first thing that happened was, of course, that dark-shades LeBeau
      and blond-guy Sinjin-John-something-like-than made their way out of
      the building, both of them bumping into me in the process. See, I
      knew this was too good to last.

      *Hands sliding over stomach, down. Mouths touching tentatively,
      hotly. Want you. I want to look into your eyes. Removing dark shades,
      uncertain. You're beautiful. Surprised, grateful. You are. Closer.
      Grinding together. Faster. Harder. Love you! No, can't say that.
      Never. Don't want to lose you.*

      I collapsed on the porch.

      Nope. Not embarrassing at all. Really.

      Did you know that I turn dark green when I blush?

      Well, Chatterbox and Pretty Blue Eyes certainly know that now. As
      well as a young blonde girl, a Native American girl, a Native
      American boy, a guy with long red hair and a star on his face, a
      Latino looking guy... Should I go on? Didn't think so.

      They brought me to see Dr. Reyes even though I told them repeatedly
      that I was going to be just fine. When you looked away from that
      humongous headache of mine, that is.

      Dr. Reyes... She might be an excellent doctor, I'm not saying she's
      not, but she's scary. She has this way of looking at you... I swear,
      you feel like confessing to pretty much every bad thing you've ever
      done. She would've made an excellent police detective. One look and
      here comes the confession.

      Anyway, she asked me if me collapsing was related to me being a
      mutant. I said yes. She asked me if it had happened before. I said
      yes. She asked if I knew what had caused it. I said yes again. She
      wondered if I was on any kind of medication. I said a couple of dozen
      paracets would do. She gave me a quizzical look. I told her
      paracetamol, pills at that. She said ahhh, gave me a box and pointed
      towards the computer room.

      I happily escaped.

      Kitty gave me a worried look when I entered the computer room. "Are
      you all right?"

      "Yeah." I smiled to her. "Just a headache."

      "You get an awful lot of headaches," she noted.

      I tilted my head in agreement.

      "Who caused it this time?"

      I looked surprised at her. "What?"

      "Oh please. What am I? An idiot?" Kitty rolled her eyes. "Well?"

      "LeBeau and Sinjin-John-whatever his name is," I said too surprised
      to even think about keeping it a secret. Wait a minute... Two of
      them. Only one secret... 'Course that could mean only one of them had
      a secret, but it did't feel like that, it had been more like...
      Like... The same secret? "That can't be it," I said out loud. And
      when I think about it, it didn't seem backwards either...

      Kitty looked puzzled at me. "What can't be what?"

      "Nothing."

      "Most people call him John, by the way."

      "Blond guy?"

      "Mmm."

      "Then why Sinjin? I mean, I'm not really seeing the connection
      here..."

      "It's spelled S-T-period-J-O-H-N," she explained.

      I gave her a look.

      "I swear."

      "If you say so..."

      "And I do." She grinned at me and waited until I'd opened my coke
      bottle and taken a sip. "So... You got laid, eh?"

      I choked. "Whaaa?"

      Her eyes glittered. "I can tell. You're giving off 'I got laid'
      vibes. Kind of like Mr. Summers do when Dr. Grey's around."

      "Kids today," I said when I stopped spluttering. "No shame. No shame
      at all."

      Kitty rolled her eyes. "You deserve it, jenta."

      I stared at her in bemusement. "Jenta?" I repeated. Girl? Why's she
      calling me a girl? An in Norwegian to boot.

      "Pete."

      "Huh?"

      "You're trying to tell me you weren't playing matchmaker?"

      "No, but what has that got to... Yenta." Of course.

      "What I said."

      "Yeah, but it's not what I heard."

      She looked confused at me.

      "Never mind."

      "Okay..."

      "So how did your date go? I assume there _was_ a date?"

      Kitty beamed at me. "Oh yes! Was so cool! A real restaurant! And I
      got to beat up people!"

      "Riiight."

      "Pete said I was tough and he kissed me!" She practically bounced in
      her chair.

      I had to smile at the look on her face. She was really making it hard
      for me to stay uninvolved.

      Though... I wasn't sure if I wanted to, anymore.

      I felt this weird urge to... To... Try and fix things. Get involved.
      That sort of thing.

      Stuff that usually makes me queasy.

      Bad influence. Yeah, that's it. Being here at Xavier's is bad
      influence. Before you knew it, I'd be a bartender somewhere giving
      drunk people good advice about their
      wives/husbands/bosses/dogs/cars/trucks.

      I should have made a run for it. Could have saved myself a lot of
      trouble that way.

      But, I'm a total idiot, and I stayed.
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