By: X


Disclaimer: Still don't own anything

Bobby smiled, bad guy or not, it was the same old John.  The friendly moment was broken by John coughing again.  The moment of lucidness was breaking up too.  John pulled the t-shirt over his head, got the jeans undone but pretty much faltered after that. 

Bobby sat down next to John, arm around his back.  He felt a blush creeping up and knew he was blazing crimson by the time he was done.  He pulled John up off the bed and with one fluid yank had the faded blue denim around the knees of their wearer.  Luckily John was going barefoot and the pants slid off easily.  Bobby helped the boxer clad invalid up onto his feet and towards the bathroom.

With John's skin pressed against his he could feel the heat coming off him and the sticky feel of sweat.  The fever was still going strong.  He was gentle lowering his friend into the cold water.  He was limp, and it added the worry he might slip under and drown to Bobby's already existing laundry list of worries.  Keeping one hand firmly on John's shoulder he twirled the other in the water, keeping the temperature cold. 

They sat like that for about ten minutes; just sitting in the quiet.  Bobby silently fretted and John mumbled to himself.  The mumbling was generally incoherent sounds, he wasn't talking.  The mumbling gained in volume and the Brotherhood member started twitching.  At first Bobby thought it was another nightmare, but when bright brown eyes opened he realized it was just the struggle back to the land of the living. 

Bobby touched John's forehead, he was defiantly cooler.  The fever had broken.  Bobby grinned widely.  "How you doing?"

"Am I naked?"

"You have underwear on"

"I'm in my underwear in a bathtub of water" he mumbled, ignoring Bobby.

"Do you feel any better?"

"A little bit" he admitted, coughed harshly, and made a move to get out of the tub.  Bobby grabbed his friend under the arm and around his back.  Bobby kept the reassuring smile on hi face but remained worried.  With his arm around his friend he could feel how weak he was.  He could feel him trembling, struggling to breath, and how he depended on Bobby to hold him up. 

The two made their way back to the main room and plopped down on the bed.  John got redressed with a little assistance and stared up at the ceiling.  Pale, breathing raspily through parted lips, wet hair plastered to his head, John still looked bad.  "Drake" he was interrupted when he coughed again.  It was followed by a moan.  He opened his mouth to speak again but was silenced by a knock at the door.  Thank God, Hank had arrived.  "Come in!" cheered Bobby.

The door opened and in front of the stream of sunlight was a large blue fured man.  "You made it"

"I did, I assume this is Mr. Allerdyce"

"Yeah" Hank looked down at the young man on the bed with professionalism.  He could see clinical symptoms, and they were definite cause of concern.

Hank pressed his stethoscope to John's chest.  "Breath in" John obeyed; but the act set off a coughing episode.  Before the young man could swallow Hank had produced a sterile swab and had it in John's mouth.  The fire manipulator looked perplexed, but that wasn't strange.  He was so weak, falling in and out of consciousness; he was still confused about what was going on.  The big blue man dropped the swab into the transport container.  "I suspect bacterial pneumonia" the doctor explained. 

Hank did a few more tests and all but confirmed his theory.  He still needed to get back to the X-mansion to get a few lab results.  But it was classic, though serious pneumonia.  Hank turned to Bobby, "I'm done here.  We can bring him back to the infirmary."  Bobby still looked serious.  "He'll recover with treatment, don't worry."  But Bobby did worry, what were they bringing John back to?  He'd left, gone off with Magneto?  What were the others going to do?  But, looking at his friend he couldn't keep that concern.

John was his friend, even now.  That's why he had come looking for him.  If John needed to go back to the mansion, Bobby would see that he got there and deal with the consequences. John opened his tired eyes wider and mumbled, "You can't take me back."  John had worked himself up on elbows. 

"Your illness is serious young man, it requires treatment."

John weakly shook his head.  "I took an oath, Magneto will find out I'm there; and I'll be dead."

"You'll be dead anyway if you don't get treatment."

"Magneto will defiantly kill me, it will be painful and a surprise.  Pneumonia will kill me, and it will be painful, but at least I'll know it's coming."

He coughed and collapsed against the bed, completely drained.   Bobby was exasperated.  "Magneto left you here, left you here to die.  He knew you'd die here!  He knew and didn't care."  John rolled his head towards his friend.

"He'll kill me"

"We can protect you John"

"No you can't, and you wouldn't want to anyway.  I'm a bad guy, evil …bad."  He was drifting.  "I'm a bad boy, nothing but trouble."  He was just a moment away from unconsciousness, more gone than there.  His mumbling reminded Bobby of the nightmare delusion from earlier.  What had people been telling him?  John's brown eyes slid the rest of the way shut.

Hank ended the bickering still going on in Bobby.  "There is another option Mr. Drake."


"We take Mr. Allerdyce away from here, but not back to the institute.  Do you think you could continue to care for your friend?"

"Of course" Bobby paused.  They needed to keep Magneto from knowing what they did.  Apparently he didn't want John, but that didn't mean anyone else could have him.  He looked down at his friend, lying motionless on the motel room bed.  He looked dead.  That sight gave Bobby his idea. 

Bobby flew out of the room and down to the office.  Lenny was there, sitting behind the counter writing in his ledger.  Bobby slid to a halt in front of the desk.  Here's where the Xavier Institute production of Mac Beth paid off.  Actor's tears slid down his cheek.

"He's dead"

"What?  What are you talking about kid?  Who's dead?"

"John, John's dead"

"John, John was that kid that got left here?  He's dead?"  Bobby sighed and rested his head on the desk.  He didn't want to be too over the top, just convincing that the kid in 116 was dead.  "The druggie died at my motel?  Damn, dead"

Bobby looked up sadly, ignoring the druggie comment.  "Yeah"

"Damn, damn, damn, damn.  This is awful."  Bobby had a feeling Lenny would respond this way.

"John, John didn't have anyone"

"What about that Dad that dropped him off?"

"He left him because he was throwing him out.  He disowned his son!"  Bobby shook his head sadly.  "He won't be back"

"You sure?"


"Damn, damn, damn, what are we going to do?  I don't want this getting out."  Lenny didn't want the police involved.  Sure this seemed like a simple little town, and it was.  But the motel was the edge of town.  All the slightly off things went on at the motel, and they paid Lenny well.  But if a drugie kicked it there, they'd come.

"I could take him, take care of things."  Bobby offered softly.

"Really, not tell anyone he kicked it here?"

"Yeah, yeah I could do that.  But, if by some chance his dad did come back, you'd tell him."  Bobby acted hurt and righteous, "Tell him what he did to his son."

"Oh sure" Lenny quickly agreed.  Bobby angrily wiped away the fake tears.  He so disserved an award.  "You just get your friend out of here."

"Okay" Bobby sniffed and headed out.  Lenny followed, keeping watch for witnesses.

Hank was waiting in the Back of his rented station wagon.  He'd snuck into the vehicle while Bobby distracted Lenny.  Bobby disappeared into the room and emerged with the dark haired mutant across his shoulders.  He unloaded his burden in the backseat, got in and drove off.  Lenny sighed in relief.

Bobby parked the car next to the hidden jet.  Hank hopped out and the pair gently pulled out the pyromaniac.  He moaned softly and coughed.  They were careful as they carried him on to the plane and secured their passenger.  John himself did little more that cough and moan softly.  He was still fully out of it. Dr. McCoy had sedated him so he was expected to stay like this the whole trip. 

Hank looked at Bobby.  "You are aware your guise of a mind clearing road trip has pretty much been destroyed.  Where did the motorcycle go?"  Bobby struck his own forehead.

"It's outside their old hangout."

"You're lucky I retrieved it, you don't need to add any fuel to Scott's fire."  Bobby smiled Hank was a good friend.


"You're still sure about this plan, right?  You absence will be questioned."

"I need to do this"

"I don't mean to pry, I respect your decision.  But, may I ask why?"

"He needs me Hank."

"Alright then, we'll put you up at a motel near the mansion.  I'll stop by with more medication when I have the lab results.  Since you'll be near the mansion you can return when you're ready."  Bobby nodded and smiled at how accepting Hank was.

John opened his eyes.  He was still in the motel room, where Magneto had left him.  He felt better than he had in quite a while.  Had Bobby Drake actually been here?  He seemed to remember Bobby, and a bathtub.  He had a fuzzy something about being in a bathtub with Bobby.  "I didn't think you'd ever wake up Johnny boy" it was Bobby's voice.  John pushed himself up. He was very confused.  He was in a different motel room. 

"What are you still doing here?"  Besides the confusion from his new location he was confused by Bobby.  Bobby, Iceman of the X-men, was sitting in a chair by the bed reading and watching him sleep. 

"Making sure you get better."  John had left the X-men and assumed he'd burned the Bobby bridge pretty badly between the Boston thing and the Magneto thing.


"John, I'm not ready to give up on you."  Bobby smiled, just like he had when they were best friends at Xavier's.  John looked away.  "You keep asking that.  Why is that so hard for you to understand?"

"Because it hasn't happened to me before." He whispered.  He turned back to his friend, "Where am I man?"

"Back in New York, but we took care of things.  If Magneto ever gets out and starts looking for you he'll find you died."

He couldn't believe he was free of it.  The Magneto thing had been a mistake.  It was a mistake he had accepted would plague his life until he died.  He'd also accepted that he'd probably die young anyway.  The missions were dangerous.  Also, Sabertooth was in their organization and he had a violent temper.  Magneto had never cared about who the cat-man took that temper out on.  Magneto only cared about getting his missions done. 

That's why when he started getting sick, it didn't matter.  He'd kept coughing but nobody cared much.  But, when it was time to move on it was obvious John was too sick- useless.  So he'd been dumped off.

He'd been dumped by his father early in life.  After the divorce the man wanted nothing to do with his ex-wife and son.  His mom and her boyfriends dumped on him for most of his childhood.  Then it turned out that Johnny was mutant, and he got dumped off again; this time right onto the street. 

He snapped out of his thoughts.  Bobby had gotten up and was finishing heating a can of soup on a hot plate.  "I'm glad you're feeling better" he said.  He poured the soup into a bowl and brought it over to John.

"You really care about me" he marveled quietly.  But Bobby heard him.

"Yeah man" he laughed "You're stuck with me"