A/N: Marvel at my ability to copy-and-paste dialogue! Yes, this is precisely the same story, just told from Jean Paul's PoV. When I came up with the idea for this it was all Northstar's PoV, but when I sat down to write Iceman's came out. Finished that, and decided to do the Northstar version, just for kicks, and I felt they made quite a satisfying little pair, one after the other. Iceman definitely has to come first though, Northstar's got rather more depth.
Jean Paul threw himself into the cramped seat. He had always hated being told what to do, but being told what not to do chafed more. He wasn't allowed to fly on his own, unless he was willing to carry a student all the way to Japan. He wasn't allowed to pilot the X-jet unless he could rustle up a few more similar fighters to take the rest of the students. And he wasn't allowed to sit in first class, even if he paid for his own ticket, because apparently he was being rude and apparently that was a good enough reason.
There was one perk, though. Bobby Drake, all to himself, for hours upon hours. All he had to do was not fantasise about seducing Bobby into the Mile High Club was he was in such close proximity to the young, straight, man. That was proving the toughie. He pressed the headphones over his ears and flicked through the 'stations'.
On the other hand, Bobby did fidget a lot. Jean Paul wondered if he'd be that active in bed, and mentally chastised himself very firmly. It was an irritating aspect of his personality, not an endearing one. At least, it would be by around the fourth hour or so.
Bobby turned up the volume on the radio.
Make that minute.
"Please don't tell me you're bored already?" Jean Paul sneered.
Bobby didn't deign to answer. Jean Paul chose to ignore his rudeness, and made another attempts at pursuing conversation, having abandoned the headphones hastily. The boy tended to sit still when he was talking. Apparently he was pretty, but not bright enough to concentrate on both moving and talking at once.
"The film's Sleepless in Seattle," he suggested. The reviews made it look tolerable, though Jean Paul got the impression the reviewer had been rather transfixed by Meg Ryan to actually understand the plot.
"I wanted to sit by a window," Bobby grumbled.
And I wanted to sit in First class, Jean Paul snapped mentally. He'd have said it out loud, but he had no desire of reminding his teammate of that just yet. Their relationship was icy enough as it was. Eventually he settled for: "I wanted to sit on the wing, literally." His joke amused him, and he smirked. "We don't always get what we," the smirk disappeared and Jean Paul regretted ever starting the sentence, "we want in this life," he finished weakly. He stared dully at the seat in front and prayed he wasn't blushing.
"The students are fine," Bobby whined, apparently having failed to notice Jean Paul's odd behaviour. "Look at them. I don't see why we have to sit in the middle just to babysit. I can't even see half of them."
Jean Paul secretly agreed, but he was walking on thin enough ice as it was. "Are you always this grouchy, or is just when I'm around?" No need to make Bobby even more suspicious of his intentions. Annie had told him that the boy hadn't even realised he was gay previously, and might even be homophobic. At least he hasn't asked to change seats, Jean Paul consoled himself.
Bobby shut up after that, and Jean Paul concentrated of breathing and thinking about, oh, potatoes, and women, and Logan naked. It seemed to work.
"How long's this flight?" Bobby intruded on his thoughts. Jean Paul was actually quite relieved. The imagery was getting a bit 'creative'.
He shrugged. "Long?" he offered.
"Might was well get some sleep, I guess," Bobby sighed. "Pity it's not a night flight." Jean Paul's gut clenched at the idea of sharing seats on a night flight with Bobby. To wake up next to him. To share a few solitary moments when the rest of the plane was asleep. To just lightly wrap an arm around him while he slept and pretend, for a few precious moments, that for once in his life he had got what he wanted.
"You might want to check with Cyclops if he minds you putting the seat back," he said, glancing through the gap in the seats. Apparently this was an invitation for Bobby to turn and stick his butt in Jean Paul's face. He stopped breathing.
"I'll sleep upright," Bobby sighed, sinking back down. Jean Paul snapped his head around to stare across the aisle at a startled Jubilee. Next to him he heard movement, and he felt Bobby brush against him seven times before it became unbearable.
"You can put the arm up and lean on me, if you want," he suggested desperately.
Bobby flipped the arm between them upright and paused. Jean Paul froze. That wasn't forward, was it? It wasn't obvious?
"You sure?" Bobby asked cautiously.
"Wh- yeah, sure," Jean Paul panicked He had no idea whether he wanted this or not.
"Not worried I'll wrinkle your shirt or anything?" Bobby wrinkled his nose.
"As long as you don't drool I think I'll be fine," Jean Paul forced a smile. "Though if it keeps you still I might even tolerate that."
Which would be worse, prolonged contact, or unpredictable little brushes? Those brushes were to tantalising. Titillating. Bobby's head on his upper arm was warm and heavy, and safe. Unfortunately, he could feel his arm going dead. Unable to help himself, he moved it, and let Bobby fall against his chest. Now he had it loosely slung across Bobby's back, which wasn't too bad, but Bobby's head was sinking lower and lower and he didn't have a hope in hell of surviving that kind of torture. He sank in his seat quickly, ignoring the ache in his spine, and managed to halt Bobby's slow slide somewhere around the stomach area.
He had to breathe carefully to keep Bobby still. Slowly he relaxed. The warm weight was like an anchor. It was like being curled up in bed with someone on a Sunday morning, debating with yourself whether to stay in that nice warm bed or make a brief foraging run for a paper and cup of coffee.
Jean Paul thought he'd learned to stay away from those trains of thought, but apparently not. It seemed like forever since he'd had someone he could just put his arms around. And if the loneliness wasn't enough, he couldn't even sate his sex drive at Xavier's. He'd gone out once or twice, but he never managed to find anyone, even for one night. Jean Paul knew perfectly well that this had nothing to do with his looks. He was a catch, simple as that, but right now there was a distinct reluctance to be caught. And the cause of that reluctance was firmly snuggled against his abdomen.
Each wall of self-restraint slipped away with those sleeping breaths. Jean Paul closed his eyes and imagined every situation he'd come up with through the lonely nights. He caressed Bobby's back and shoulders and thought of leaving lessons early under false pretences and midnight picnics on the roof and ice-skating on the bedroom floor and Sunday mornings, one after another as far as the eye could see.
The person in these fantasies was Bobby-not-Bobby, as Jean Paul had dubbed the character. Looked just like Bobby. Sounded like Bobby. Moved like Bobby. Otherwise, didn't act or speak like Bobby in any way. The fact this character was gay was rather a hint that the whole thing was entirely fictional. Also the lack of any tension other than sexual between himself and this Bobby-not-Bobby. Jean Paul opened his eyes and stroked Bobby's shirt, trying to ignore the bulge in his trousers since there was no way he could get up now without it being obvious.
Bobby shifted in his sleep, towards that bulge, as the stewardess came trundling down the aisle with a cart full of drinks. Jean Paul eyed the wine suspicious. Might be better off with straight spirits if he wanted to dull his 'appetite' just now, even if they usually held no appeal for him.
The busty girl stopped next to them. She frowned at Jean Paul for a moment, then her eyes lit up. She blushed, and eventually managed, "Aww!" Jean Paul cocked an eyebrow, praying she couldn't see his erection from that angle. "You two make such a cute couple," she explained.
Jean Paul blinked, hard. His hand fisted in Bobby's shirt. "Uh," he stammered blankly, "thanks."
Even as the word slipped from his tongue he wanted to take it back. He had no idea which of his fellow X men might be awake, might have heard the lie. He wasn't sure which would be worse, being caught out and called on it or having people believe it. Either way, he'd have to talk fast to explain it to Bobby when he woke.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, he cursed internally, glancing at the man in his lap. He could have sworn Bobby moved, and that awakened new terrors. All Bobby had to do was open his eyes to see evidence of Jean Paul's feelings towards him. It didn't matter what he'd heard.
He became aware that the stewardess was talking. "...wish I had a copy now."
Ah, the book. Thank god, it was an easy save. "I'd carry copies with me, but that always seemed to cross the line between proud and vain." He smiled charmingly.
"All the girls on the flight would just love to get something signed," she enthused. "We don't normally get celebrities in economy."
"Well, I'm not really a celebrity." Jean Paul actually blushed. He missed this kind of adoration. After years as an athlete, then the feedback he'd got after he outted himself, and finally the book signings, he'd always had some kind of attention lavished on him. It reminded him that there were some people he'd already pleased.
"Oh, of course you are!" He grinned at her large-eyed insistence. "And so handsome. We were just saying the other day how cruel it is that all the really handsome men are gay. It's like someone wants the genes out of the pool."
The cliché grated on Jean Paul, but he played along gamely. "The lifeguard's a gay man too, you see."
There was a moment's silence as the girl processed this, then she got the joke and laughed loudly. Bobby definitely moved that time and Jean Paul hastily covered his exposed ear. He really didn't need Bobby waking just now, though the strain was killing his erection just as it was killing him. He could feel the tension in the body against him and now the laughter had died to a shrill giggle he dared move his hand. Gently he stroked the fine hair, until Bobby relaxed again and even pressed closer. It made Jean Paul's stomach flip.
The girl continued to hover. In an attempt to get her moving again Jean Paul suggest, "If you've got a napkin and a pen, I'd be happy to oblige."
"Oh would you? You're such a sweetheart." She began to root around her trolley for the desired items, still talking. "Not like that actor guy we had on here the other day. I don't even know what show he's in, but he made such a fuss. I told him..."
Jean Paul tuned out. It wasn't that she wasn't nice, and he was sure if he was straight he would have loved to have the view he was getting down her top. While she talked and searched he concentrated on the feel of Bobby's hair between his fingers.
"...no one should expect special treatment just because they're in some la- de-da foreign show no one's ever heard of," she finished, handing him a pen and paper expectantly.
"So if I tip well I get the nice wine and a real glass?" Jean Paul smiled, eyeing the bottle on the trolley doubtfully. He knew he should have asked for an upgrade as soon as they got on board, regardless of what everyone else would have thought. "Who shall I sign it to?"
"Oh! Mandi. With an 'i'. That would be just swell."
He glanced around for something to lean on, but Bobby's head was in the wrong place to lower the tray. On a whim, now he was much calmer downstairs, he decided to risk it and, pressing the paper carefully against the side of Bobby's head, wrote quickly and lightly. Bobby didn't move, though Jean Paul wondered whether he was asking for a heart attack winding himself up like this. Maybe he did want Bobby to wake up and find out how he felt. Maybe he just wanted to get it all over with. Maybe he was entirely insane, since the idea he might want those things to happen suggested that somewhere, somehow, he still had a pinprick of hope that there could be a potential relationship.
He squashed the pinprick and handed back the napkin. He was slightly put out when the girl didn't say thank you, but she did hand him a tiny plastic cup of silty wine. Grimacing, he drank it in one go.
He was surprised at the exhaustion he felt. He could feel the knots in his shoulders and the tightness all along his spine. He hadn't realised how wound up he'd been by that. What idiot pretends he's dating the guy he fancies to a complete stranger anyway? He scolded himself sleepily. He could have woken up at any minute.
His eyelids drooped, some combination of the poor wine and his highly- strung mood of moments before taking his last reserves out of him. Sinking a little lower in the chair and lowering his head against Bobby's back he began to stroke that soft hair again. His fingers stilled and he began to snore.
When the stewardess woke him to check his documents she winked at him. Bobby objected sleepily to being woken, making Jean Paul's heart clench. Bobby mumbled some thank you for his services as a pillow and stretched, cracking each vertebra separately, or so it sounded to Jean Paul. His imagination refused to stretch far enough to consider it cute, but the cat like satisfaction of Bobby's face forced him to admit it would have been far more irritating had anyone else done it.
As they wandered through check out, herding half asleep and over excited teens towards the doors ahead of them, Jean Paul lost his grip on his passport. Annie dove for it first, almost pushing Ororo over, and handed it back to Jean Paul open. He frowned at her and glanced down. Tucked between the pages was a Polaroid of himself and Bobby. He forced a smile for Annie and tucked the passport and picture away. Just another reminder of what he couldn't have and why he was an idiot for wanting it. Glancing across the hoard of teens Jean Paul saw Bobby looking at his own passport and smiling. His relief was palpable as he concluded that there was no way Bobby had a copy as well.