|Pryde on the Rocks
Author: ScarletScriber PM
Bobby Drake and Kitty Pryde try to make the transition from friends to something more in the aftermath of an attack on the mansion. The task proves to be difficult as new responsibilities and new students stand in the way. Companion piece to the fic "The enemy within".Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Katherine P./Shadowcat & Robert D./Iceman - Chapters: 5 - Words: 28,080 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 05-30-12 - id: 8166770
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/\N: I KNOW! This took a long time! I was having difficulty capturing the flavor of Kitty Pryde and I hope I did a fairly decent job of it!
-Danger Room, X-men Black Training session-
"Shadowcat, you were undisciplined and sloppy. We've gone over this simulation so many times you should be able to run it in your sleep!"
This was the problem, of course.
I was just going through the motions during the exercise, expecting things to play out the way they always do during the simulation. Cyclops obviously added some wrinkles; which has led to the scolding I'm currently receiving.
In my time at this school, I've learned there are few things are more upsetting than the disappointed glare of Cyclops. His default setting is supportive; he simply doesn't know how to be critical or judgmental. Unless your name is Logan.
So when he is angry with you, it means you really screwed up.
Scott was really working up a sweat with this tirade, but when you've been scolded by Wolverine; you've been yelled at by the best.
His reputation as being the least sociable person here is deserved, if not completely accurate.
He's not the consoling type like Ororo.
Nor is he the big brother sort like Scott, but he cares about everyone here just as much as they do.
After Stryker attacked us in the mansion, he made it his personal responsibility to make sure all of us were trained in basic hand to hand techniques. It made sense, given that there were ways to neutralize our powers and the people who wanted to harm us the most knew them. During those sessions he was especially hard on me; singling me out time and again.
And of course, I hated him for it.
-Danger Room, one year ago-
"Pryde! If you give me another sloppy, lazy kick like that again I'll make you hold that pose for the next hour!"
No one in the room dared even make a sound. When Wolverine's fury is directed at someone else, you try your best to not be noticed. And since I tended to be the focus of his anger, my friends had become adept at it.
"Yes sir…" I mumble. Never mind that we've been at this for over an hour. My legs feel like they weigh a thousand pounds. "Not everyone has a healing factor…" I whisper as low as I possibly can.
"You say something Pryde?" With those enhanced senses of his I may as well have yelled at the top of my lungs. I know he heard me; he wanted to see if I had the guts to repeat it.
I'm tired of him always coming down on me the hardest.
He doesn't get all in Tabitha's face like this or Jaime's and they by popular consensus; suck. Rogue had the extremely unfair advantage of having an echo of Wolverine's skills and memory in her mind. So of course she excelled at these sessions. Bobby was probably the next best among us but I certainly wasn't the worst. The rest were sort of middle of the pack, so why am I always the one he yells at?
I didn't snap my fist the right way. I dropped my shoulder too early. My balance is off. Nothing I ever did was good enough.
"Why don't you leave me the hell alone?!"
The collective gasp that filled the room made me realize I'd said this out loud. I thought people blurting out stuff they were supposed to only think was just a plot device for movies and TV.
I guess that art really does imitate life.
All eyes turn to Wolverine to see his reaction, except mine of course. I think if I look his way I may just faint and that would be worse.
"Everyone except Pryde, clear out." Wolverine announces to the class. No one moves at first. "Don't make me repeat myself…" That seems to get the message across. Slowly everyone files out of the Danger Room. I shoot Booby a pleading glance and my heart sinks as he mouths the words: Sorry.
Once the door closes behind them I finally risk looking up at Wolverine only to find a smile on his face.
"Bout time, kid."
-Danger Room, now-
It wasn't until later I realized why he was so hard on me and I'm grateful for it.
"Easy, mon ami I'm sure de chile didn't-"
"It's okay Gambit…" The last thing I want is Mr. Creepy defending me. Most of the girls here literally swoon over Lebeau, but for me the fact he's like, constantly eye raping you is off putting. "Cyclops is right; I was… distracted and it cost the team. It won't happen again."
Cyclops stares at me through his visor for a beat. I hope he decides to let it go at that, because the truth is I've never been a good liar. And I would definitely have to lie to him about why I'm distracted in the first place.
"Everyone except Shadowcat hit the showers!" Cyclops announces clearing the room. Jean pauses to give him a warm smile and follows the rest out. It's good to see the two of them together again, but it just makes me think about my own situation.
Everybody in this place seems to be hooking up.
He watches everyone leave before turning back to me. "So…"
"Cyclops… is it okay if we like, don't get into the whole "What's the matter with Kitty" thing? I promise to be on my A game next time…" I watch him consider what I'm saying. It's also in Scott's nature to want to fix everything and I mean everything, even when he has no clue what's wrong.
Finally he sighs and shrugs. "Okay, but if this becomes a pattern…"
"It won't." I respond trying not to sound too relieved.
He nods stiffly and offers me a smile. "Good." He places both hands on my shoulders and the Scott we all know is back. "You're too talented to let… whatever has you upset affect you in the field. Do whatever you need to do to get a handle on it… Tomorrow we're back at it; 0900."
I manage to fight back the "Sir, yes Sir!" on my lips and simply nod. As I watch 'ol fearless leave, I remember something Ororo said to me once.
"Scott is great at all things tactical… for everything else Kitten… come to me…"
After lunch I intend to do just that.
"You shoulda seen us girl! We mopped the floor with Iceman's team!"
My new roommate Paige is very excited.
Apparently X-Force had taken the win during the first inter squad training session yesterday. Her excitement was only enhanced by the fact that her brother was on the other team. I couldn't get past the fact that Bobby had his own team.
I'm so proud of him, but so far I haven't been able to get him alone to congratulate him. I didn't even know that he had started training his team yet.
There was a time when we shared everything with each other.
"Aaron's such a great leader!" Paige exclaims, brushing her hair. She goes on to detail Aaron's "brilliant" plan, but all I can think about is how things have changed.
Peter and I were his closest friends here at the school, but now, thanks to me, he and Peter rarely speak. I didn't want Bobby to hate him because of what happened between us.
The other fallout from my failed relationship is that Bobby has kept his distance from me too. At first I told myself that it was because he was still recovering from the Sentinel attack and really couldn't be around anyone for very long. But now that he's fully recovered, things still haven't returned to normal.
Maybe they never will.
"What was that?" I ask as I put on my shoes. I missed the last few minutes of Paige's bubbly explosion. But I heard her mention Bobby again, so I was interested.
"Jeez Kitty ya'll- you are so out of it today!" Paige has made it a point to disguise her southern accent, but every now and then she has a slip up. "I said that Noriko was planning on doing something to cheer up your friend Bobby. On account of him losing so badly, I wanted to know if she let you in on it…"
At the mention of Noriko, a ball of anxiety forms in my stomach and makes its way to my throat. Since we rescued her and the others from Welling's facility she's been popping up more and more in conversations. The guys liked her because of her exotic electric blue hair and her curvy athletic shape. The girls liked her because, despite all the attention she got, she never flaunted or came off as conceited.
Under normal circumstances, we'd probably be friends; but nothing at this school has ever been normal.
"That's… nice… she's his teammate, so of course she would want to keep his spirits up… but no she didn't mention anything to me…" I mutter through clenched teeth. I've seen how she looks at him; Stevie Wonder could see how she looks at him.
Even someone as dense as Bobby will get the message sooner or later and when that happens, where does that leave me?
One of the many questions I have no answer to.
"Come on; let's head downstairs before we're fighting for bologna scraps. Again…"
Paige laughs and I do my best to laugh with her.
-Ororo's garden, after lunch-
"How long have you felt this way?"
I instantly think back to the first time we were really alone together...
"Storm told us to stay in our rooms…"
"Don't worry, we won't get caught…I mean you can walk through walls you know…"
After Bobby took me on an impromptu ice-skating trip around the school fountain, things changed for me.
I thought it was sweet that he would take the time to try and cheer me up.
He was the first guy at the school who even gave me a second glance. Once it got around that Kitty was not "giving it up" as Roberto once put it, I became the de facto little sister of every male at the school.
This meant I was largely ignored and only spoken to for information on the more "outgoing" girls at the school. He made the effort to be nice to me and I definitely appreciated it. It doesn't hurt that he is extremely easy on the eyes.
That solid, athletic frame.
Those piercing, blue eyes.
His sandy brown hair.
But he was with Marie then and I was still nursing my school girl crush on Peter; the timing was off.
"For a while now, I guess…" I manage, trying to sound more nonchalant than I actually feel. It wasn't until things ended between me and Peter… until Bobby almost died… that my eyes finally opened all the way. But now that they have, I can't figure out what to do next.
"And how does he feel?" Ororo asks, carefully clipping a sickly Amaryllis.
Everything you need to know about Ororo you can find out by spending one afternoon in her garden with her. She's caring, nurturing and patient with her flowers, the same way she is with all of us. It's why I've always felt so comfortable coming to her with my problems.
And she's always been willing to help.
"I don't know…" I answer glancing over to the basketball court where the subject of our discussion is engaged in a game with his new rival; Aaron. Maybe Aaron has taken the place of Peter, filling the role of big brother. Even from here I can hear them egging each other on; if you didn't know them you'd think there was a chance they eventually would come to blows.
And Bobby is probably the only one at this school who would want to take on the son of Wolverine. That thought makes me smile.
"Do you wish to?" She asks removing her gloves to create a small shower above the flowers. It's been a particularly dry fall and I doubt that her plants would be able to flourish so well without her assistance.
"Of course!" I'd give anything to end the torture I put myself through every time I look at him. If it hadn't been for the Sentinel attack on the mansion I might already know.
"Truly?" She asks raising her eyebrow.
I knew what she was getting at.
I've never been the best at facing my problems head on.
When my abilities first manifested, I hid from them, denied them as long as I could.
Even when the Professor first came to me about them I told him he was mistaken. I'm amazed he didn't laugh his head off at the audacity.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I was holding out hope that these gifts would just go away if I never used them. That I could go back to my nice quiet life in Deerfield, be with my normal friends and revel in the mundane. Even during my first few weeks at the school I refused to use my abilities.
Storm helped a lot during those first few months, she became like the big sister I never had.
But I'm different now; I'm not a scared little girl any more.
"Even if it meant finding out that he didn't feel the same way… yes… I want to know. It's just… I don't want to be the one to make the first move…" I thought it would come across as desperate if I just walked up to him and told him how I felt. Plus, given the nice guy that he is, he'd likely say yes even if he meant no, just to spare my feelings. "What made Wolverine … you know… make a move…?" I ask deciding to switch gears.
The smile that lights up her face is indescribable.
If you asked me a few months ago who the most unlikely, mismatched couple would be, the two of them would have topped the list. But seeing them together now it seems so obvious they were made for each other. Given their seemingly smooth transition from teammates to lovers, I hoped to learn something from her experience.
"That's easy, Kitten. I was the one who made the move."
She laughs as my jaw drops. All this time I thought that Logan had pursued her. After all he was the one that went after Dr. Grey with reckless abandon. But now that I think about it I didn't see him openly flirting with Ororo the way he did with Jean. Still: "Really?"
"Yes." She answers looking over at me, still smiling. "It didn't go smoothly by any means…" She laughs, picking up on my thoughts. "Logan did not see me as someone who would be interested in him and I did not know how to make him see I was. He only saw our differences, not our similarities. Much like everyone else. Left to his own devices he likely would have never come after me. I imagine that Bobby may be in the same category."
Thinking about it, I can't help but see some truth in her assessment. We had a lot in common, but we'd played the friendship role so long, maybe I missed my window. Maybe would never see me in that way.
"Well that just sucks…" I grumble, taking stock of my feet.
Ororo laughs that musically light laugh of hers and forces me to look at her. "Men are many things, Kitten. They are strong, bold, protective; intelligent… they have many admirable traits. But when it comes to matters of the heart, matters concerning intimacy, many are still-"
"Emotional morons?" I offer with a giggle.
"Not my exact choice of words… but yes. So at times it falls to us to make it clear that we wish to be pursued and then they will chase us." She returns giggling lightly.
Girls like Tabitha and Dr. Grey never seem to have that problem. In fact, their problem seems to be getting men to stop chasing them. I point this out to Ororo, who frowns a bit before answering.
"There are certain women who crave… attention... They will always get it Kitten, but women like you and I… we're more… selective. This means we will never be the girl all the guys fawn over. But that's not what we want anyway is it?" She asks studying my face trying to see my reaction.
"No." I wouldn't care if no other guy in this school ever spoke to me again as long as the one that did was Bobby. And I could tell she was the same way when it came to Logan.
"Then let the Jean Grey's and Tabitha Smith's of this world have all the boys; as long as the Logan's and Bobby Drake's aren't among them…" She finishes with a wink.
I'm definitely feeling better about the situation. I decide I'm not gonna worry about how it looks, I'm just going to lay everything out in the open. Bobby and I were nearly adults. In fact, the argument could be made that given all that we've been through in our lives makes us more mature than adults twice our age.
"If I can stare down a two story robot bent on death and destruction and not blink, then I should be able to tell a boy I like him... right?"
Ororo places a hand on my shoulder and smiles. "I know you can. And I know you will..."
I nod and decide to do it now, while I still have the nerve.
That's when I look up to see Noriko purposely walking over to the basketball courts.
"Come on, Bobby, it'll be fun!"
I arrive in time to see Noriko, Bobby and Aaron talking together. Aaron notices me right away, I guess there's no sneaking up on those senses of his. Bobby has his back to me but he seems uncomfortable. A fact that Aaron is obviously exploiting.
"Yeah, Bobby," Aaron nudges Bobby. "It'll be fun!"
"What will be?" I announce my presence with a question, Bobby smiles at me the way he always does. Outside I'm my usual cool, collected self. Inside I'm ten seconds from exploding. Five, if I find out Noriko's asking Bobby out on a date.
"Hey, Kitty. Nori was just asking-"
"-Inviting." Aaron corrects, no doubt enjoying the situation Bobby is currently in, even if Bobby himself isn't.
"I thought it would be nice if we all went to see a Knicks game together, you know, the whole New Mutant squad… but Bobby acts like I offered him front row seats to an autopsy… instead of courtside tickets to a basketball game."
Aaron and I share a knowing smile and a wave of relief hits me.
Bobby is one of the most athletic guys here. He plays every sport you can think of and has, on occasion made up a couple, like the ever popular Iceketball. But he doesn't actually watch sports.
It became a well-known fact during the Super Bowl of two years ago.
It's a standing rule at the house that, unless otherwise reserved, whoever gets to the TV room first has right of viewing options. Well no one thought to reserve time for the Super Bowl, since everyone watches it.
Except Bobby, who had not only gotten to the media room first, but was four hours deep into a Stargate marathon he had no intention of stopping. Despite the passionate urgings of his fellow mutants, his resolve was unshakable.
Because of the brawl that followed, the day of the Super Bowl is now set aside as reserved.
And everyone in the mansion knows; Bobby Drake does not watch sports.
"Yeah, Bobby that does sound like fun…" I add deciding to tease him a bit myself. "After all with Stoudemire and Carmelo both healthy, the Knicks are actually contenders this year… and it'll be good to get out of the mansion…"
The blank look on his face tells me Bobby has no idea who either of them is, but Noriko doesn't pick up on it.
"Thank you Kitty! Plus ever since they added Tyson Chandler they can even play a little defense now…" Obviously Noriko had more of a passing familiarity with the NBA. Again; under different circumstances... but right now we were rivals, even if I'm the only one that knows it.
"Bobby; as team leader, you really need to spend quality time with your team mates…" I add, smiling at him. His icy blue eyes flash a bit of irritation but I keep smiling. Bobby loves to pull pranks, so I figure this is just payback. I can't count how many times I've bitten into frozen food or gotten hit with a snow ball in the middle of August. I kind of felt justified given him a hard time.
"No Drake, maybe Pryde has a point…" Aaron chimes in. "I mean, considering how my team roasted you guys the other day… you can use any edge you can get…"
I shoot Aaron an angry glare. I have no problem teasing Bobby, but that was hitting below the belt. If I know Bobby he was likely agonizing over that loss even now. The last thing I wanted to do was make him feel bad. Noriko looked like she wanted to fry him where he stood.
"You're right guys. It sounds like a great idea, Noriko. Gives us a chance to see how super stars like Studmire and Charmello work together as a team…" Bobby states nodding. "May give our team some keys to gelling as a unit…."
My mouth drops open for the second time today. If I keep this up my jaw may permanently unhinge.
"Stoudemire and Carmelo…" Aaron corrects. "And Drake you can't be serious. You hate-"
"-Missing an opportunity to bond with my teammates? Yes Aaron, I do hate that. Noriko, when are the tickets for?"
"Tomorrow night!" She practically squeals in delight. "Ms. Blaire called in a favor for us…"
"Well if you ever want to be able to ask her for a favor again, don't let her hear you call her 'Ms. Blaire'…"
She and Bobby share a laugh and I feel somehow worse than before.
"We should get together as a team before dinner. Iron out our plans…" Bobby was obviously enjoying the looks of confusion on our faces. "I gotta hit the showers... but let's meet up in the common room in about an hour..."
Noriko nods her head a little too emphatically. "I'll round everyone up boss!" Noriko waits until Bobby is out of sight before attacking me with the world's most unwanted hug. "Thanks Kitty! I don't think I could have convinced him if you hadn't helped…" She whispers in my ear.
She scampers away happily and I feel dirty.
"Man... things are not going well for you at all today, huh?" Aaron asks smugly.
"That depends: if I phase you halfway into this black top and let you go, will you grow new legs?"
Among Aaron's enhanced senses, he must also have some sort of warning sense, like Spiderman, because he wisely leaves me on the basketball court without another word.
Dinner is a lively affair, with mansion buzzing with the news that Tony Stark, billionaire industrialist is coming tomorrow. The only one who didn't seem genuinely excited was Alison, but that's to be expected.
I spend most of the dinner sneaking glances at Bobby's table.
He seems so at ease with his team… so at ease without me in his life…
After fulfilling my basic nutrient requirement, I head down to the Danger Room to fill my basic violence requirement.
I decide to load up one of Logan's training programs.
When Scott lost Jean, he went into a heavy mourning period. It surprised all of us that Logan had taken over most of Scott's training duties. During that time he took a personal interest in my fighting skills. Or lack thereof.
"Ya can't phase through all your problems Pryde; at some point ya gon' have to stand and fight…"
I don't know what was worse. The stench of the cigar smoke he was always blowing in my face, or the fact he was right. But by the time he finished with me, I felt pretty good about my combat skills.
"Rahh!" I grunt as I lay out the last enemy with a hard right cross. In my anger I didn't land the punch cleanly. I wince as pain throbs in my wrist.
"Gonna pay for that tomorrow, kid."
I can't help but yelp at the gruff voice behind me. "Jeez, Wolverine! You trying to, like, give me a heart attack or something?" In reality I should have expected this visit. The only person who spent more time in the Danger Room then Logan was Hank and that was only because he was always repairing or updating the systems.
"Shoulda heard me coming, kid. Or did I waste my time training ya?" He steps from the shadows pressing the control panel on the wall to stop the simulation. The recently unconscious Toad fades as if he was never there to begin with.
"You wanna find out?" I respond dropping into a fighting stance and facing him. Part of me is screaming that I must be out of my mind, but the other side is dying for someone to hurt. There's only so much satisfaction you can get from pummeling hard light 3-D images. No matter how life like they seem.
He raises an eyebrow of amusement at me, before uncrossing his arms. "Careful, Kitten, I-"
I hit him as hard as I can in the nose. I know better than to try that Adamantium jaw of his.
I catch him by surprise and he staggers back briefly. The satisfaction I feel at mashing his nose is short-lived. He tackles me with uncanny speed, pinning my arms to the floor. I phase from his grip and he leaps away, allowing us to face each other again.
He rubs his already healed nose and smirks. "You never used to hit that hard before…"
I smile back. "Forge gave me the idea…" I admit.
It was his theory that if by concentrating I could turn myself intangible, then by the same token I should be able to increase my density beyond normal as well. It was hard at first; like trying to solve a math problem with your right hand and writing a poem with your left, but eventually I got a handle on it.
I couldn't go as dense as Peter, but I'd been able to get close to three times normal density. It didn't increase my strength but it did make me more durable.
Logan snorts. "Figures…" He watches me warily, no doubt noticing that I'm still on edge. "Okay Pryde, ya obviously got some anger to get out so here's what we'll do…" He backs towards the entrance, still keeping both eyes on me. I feel a bit of pride at the fact that he considers me an opponent that he needs to keep his eyes on. "Load Savage One…"
I'm familiar with this program. He used it to give me, Peter and Bobby a crash course in stealth and evasion. We had to survive as long as we could without using our powers while he stalked us. It was both exhilarating and scary at the same time but tonight I didn't want to play this game, I wanted to hit something.
"I'm not really in the mood to play hide and seek, Wolverine…"
"Good. Cause we ain't playing games…" He charges at me with speed that should be impossible. I mean the guy is literally carrying around two hundred plus pounds of the densest metal known to man in his body. Yet I'm barely able to duck the haymaker that he tosses my way. Ditto the front kick that would likely split me in two as easily as his claws.
If you made the mistake of judging Wolverine by his rough exterior, you'd assume he was simply a brawler. Until you actually faced off against him. Over his lifetime he's learned and mastered so many forms of hand to hand combat he's melded them into a style all his own. It's like a hodgepodge of Ali, Bruce Lee and Jason Bourne. Either way you gonna end up unconscious or worse.
I unleash a series of combinations that I just used to take out a Toad and he avoids each blow effortlessly. Still wearing that same cocky smirk as he does. He knows my moves; he taught me them so I have to be able to improvise.
I feint left and try to sweep his legs, but he sees it coming a mile away and steps back. In anger I swing wildly.
"Unh!" He manages to tag my shoulder with a nerve strike, doesn't hurt much, but I'll need a forklift to move my left arm for the next ten minutes. Provided I last that long.
Stupid! You can't afford to make mistakes like that!
"You can quit this any time Kit-" My foot finds his midsection, cutting his insult short. Unfortunately I let my foot linger a second too long and he grabs it and flips me in the air. With an arm already useless, it's gonna be tough to break my fall gracefully. Twisting in the air I manage to right myself and land on my feet. Using the momentum, I spring forward into Logan.
If he had decided to simply stand there, I likely would have bounced off him, instead he rolls with it and allows me to pin him to the floor. Too late I realize his intent.
He flips me over and his weight is oppressive. Twin claws extend on either side of my neck.
"Phase or die, Pumpkin…"
"I choose option C…" I drive my knee as hard as I can into his groin. Dirty play, I know, but it has the desired effect. I scramble from underneath him, trying desperately to get my other arm to work. I look over at my opponent utterly disgusted that he's not even winded. "Stinkin' healing factor…"
"You better be glad that I got it, darlin'. Anyone else might have some permanent damage…"
I snort. "You think I'm scared of you?"
"Ain't me ya gotta worry about…" He chuckles and realization dawns on me. Anyone who thinks Logan has a bad temper, haven't seen Ororo mad. "End program…"
"Who says I was done?" I ask defiantly. I want to sound brave or at least angry, but the fact is I'm sore, tired and going another round with him is the last thing I wanna do.
He looks at me with that same amused look. "Come on, girl…" He grabs my left arm and presses hard in a few places and I feeling starts to return to my left hand. "Cyke told me about what happened earlier… but I doubt that's what's gotcha punching everything that moves…"
I sigh and slide to the floor in an exhausted heap. "It's stupid…"
Logan snorts and squats in front of me. "Maybe… but whatever it is has you willing to risk life and limb sucker punching me…"
I chuckle a bit. "You couldn't hurt me if you wanted to. Besides...I'm your favorite student."
"What happened to the insecure quiet girl who used to sleep with a teddy bear and a night light…?"
"She grew up..."
My answer to Logan kept running through my head, but Wolverine, not to allow anyone the last word, did me one better.
"Then act like it..."
I guess I had that coming.
Here I was pouting over Bobby showing Noriko more attention than me, when he had no idea that I wanted anything more than friendship from him in the first place.
Should he know that I care about him as more than a friend? Maybe. But I can't condemn him because he doesn't.
And I also can't hate Noriko because she's interested in him.
He's handsome, fun and intelligent and he saved her life. If she didn't have some feelings for him then I'd worry.
"Kitty, quit pacing and go to bed! We both got a training session in the morning!"
Paige was right, but I couldn't sleep.
A/N: Updates will come quicker I promise! To everyone following and reading any feedback is welcome and appreciated!