Disclaimer: The X-men are not my toy box, I'm merely borrowing and promise to put everyone away when I'm finished. The title does not belong to me either, it's a song by Counting Crows on their "This Desert Life" CD. I also don't own the reference to Sandman or Star Trek.

Warning: This is Bobby/Jono and mentions Jono/Ang so it's slash, if you don't like slash please don't read.

Note: I wrote sometime reading Uncanny X-men 427 but before Weapon X 15. After reading the Weapon X I just let this sit and sit until I decided that I was either going to post it or delete it. Obviously I decided to post it. Please let me know if you think I made the wrong decision. Nicholas is from the Exiles crossover, Walter and Amber are from the Chamber icons. Also I figured everyone's aware that Chamber's a telepath and didn't distinguish the telepathy with Bobby's talking. I simply treated it as I would normal speech instead of putting different tags on it. If this doesn't work for you please let me know.

Review, flames welcome.

All My Friends

I'm having one of those can't get out of bed days that Ang use to be so good for. Paige was never any good on those days if only for the fact that she's too bright. She never knew when to let be, not on those mornings when it hurt too much. Normally I could take my love-lust-want (whatever you decide to call it) for her and force myself to deal, but on those days I always felt like more of a monster for loving someone so pure and beautiful when I am merely a shell of my former self. Now she's found herself another blond rich pretty boy to go girl crazy over and I'm suppose to shut down. Suppose I had it coming for letting Sugar use me.

On those days, on a day like now when it hurts too badly to even force myself out of bed, I could barely look at her for the amount of self loathing that would run through me. Now I can't even look at her without seeing her boyfriend. She's gotten everything she's ever longed for since Sam joined the New Mutants and I've got nothing. I don't even have the respect of that mutant kid Nicholas, the one I saved in Cleveland, she does.

I need Ang, he understood better then anyone. Maybe it was his mutation or just his easy going know when to kick me in the ass nature, but he understood. He knew on those mornings if he should drag me out of bed or if he should not say anything-just crawl under the covers and hold me. I'm a telepath and he knew my mood swings better than I did.

It was so a hard to love Paige and so easy to love Ang and now I've lost them both. I've lost them in such a short span of time that I'm back to feeling as low as my first days post-explosion. Just when I'm starting to feel good, comfortable-hell I turn Scott down for leading something to be a T.A.-my world comes crashing 'round my head.

It's so much easier to pack up and leave rather than watch Paige with Worthington. Stupid rich one of the first X-men pretty boy Worthington, last thing I needed. Annie's right-can't kiss, so what's the point? I can't even keep things straight with a girl I care for. Hell, I'd run from me.

And every time I go out onto the lawn I look up and see my best friend hanging there. I don't know how I'd stand if Jubes had died too.

Ms. Fros-Emma tried to give me a plane ticket. She ordered me to go clear my head, spend some time with Sean. I refused. Just because she's feeling guilty doesn't mean I want her pity. I made it to England on my own before I could do it again, if I wanted to. I figure I can get anywhere. I've got my car packed except for some of the clothes-couldn't decide what to wear last night.

Walter said he figured me better then someone who'd run away. I'm not running-I'm leaving so Paige doesn't have to look at her cast offs moping about. Every word Annie said was true. If he had my life he'd understand. I thought Amber was right, but now I know she was wrong. Beauty can be skin deep and sometimes it is all that matters. He just shook his head after I went off on him. He told me to write him. He rolled away and I finished throwing my stuff in my car, thanking myself every second for buying it. It's not much, but it'll me gone.

I'm going to pick a direction and drive, just as soon as I can force myself to get out of bed.

My door creaks open and before I work up the energy to tell him go away he asks, "Leaving?"

Bobby, my poor mans Ang, he could never understand me like Skin and I don't want to complicated things by going through some shit goodbye. It would be so wrong for the both of us.

"No, I packed my car just for the hell of it."

"Really?" he asks with a hopeful tone.

Somebody get me out of this mess.


Annie's little nickname works wonders, he cuts me off angrily, "Don't call me that!"

Maybe he'll be angry enough to storm away. He doesn't, bloody hell-I'm gonna have to deal with him now.

"I'm not the one who wants her."

"It was one kiss," he growls the door clicking shut. He's got this thing lately for leaning in doorways. He's gotten it into his head that it makes him look good.

"Am I supposed to believe that?"

"Hey, I still maintain that she kissed me," he defends his voice getting higher with irritation. Bobby's voice has this tendency to get higher when he upset. Not angry, upset. When he's angry his voice gets lower, quieter. It's a turn on when he's angry.

"You panicked and kissed the first person you could," I accuse.

"I thought we already had this argument," he mutters.

We did. My accusing him of wanting the French-Canadian and kissing Annie over it had me receiving Drake's method of torture, the kind that doesn't include him icing you. He held me down and tickled me (which isn't right as far as I'm concerned, but I let him have his fun anyway) till I could barely laugh in his head anymore, then he started kissing me, everywhere.

"You sure you don't want to have it again?" I'm tempted to pull the covers down so I can watch him blush.

When he doesn't say anything I tell him to go away. He sighs in this defeated/annoyed-with-me fashion and kicks off his shoes. Then he starts opening drawers. I know all this by noise and sense. I reach out as gently as I can to see what he's after.

"Don't go peaking in my head, anything more than talking from you and I end up with a migraine."

Sorry I think automatically, but don't project.

"S'okay," he tells me. Did I or didn't I? I never apologize. Angered I burrow myself deeper into my covers and tell him if he doesn't go away I'll migraine him by project no trespassing signs into his head.

I hear clothes get tossed on my desk and boots thunk against the floor as he tells me, "Shut up."

I ignore him as he packs the rest of my bag. He really just needs to leave, I can't deal with some shit goodbye, not when I've lost so much already, not when he's best friends with Worthington. Why can't he just go away? Why did I ever start anything with him?

Because he was there and I wanted him and I needed someone at that point. He was there, how could I not take?

Eventually I hear him zip up my bag and toss it onto the floor. My protest is met with him telling me none of my clothes are that fragile. He sits down on the bed and I pull my covers away from him.

"You say goodbye to Jubes?"

"Oui." I'm such an ass.

"Stop it," he growls, "I don't want him."

Please. He and I have the same sense of humor and we have similar anger, except I brood more and he's has a mouth. After I leave, they'll probably work something out.

"You could kiss him," I point out.

"Or I could kiss you."

He always does that, says thing that make ache inside.

"He could kiss you back."

He lets out a frustrated growl, "I don't…"

I don't let him finish, I reach out and drag him under the covers with me, which isn't hard as he's willing to help.

"Hey," he tells me softly running his finger down my nose.

I push the covers down, reach up to touch his face and stare. He's got the most gorgeous eyes. People are always telling me about mine, but I'm the first to tell him about his. They're this pale brown, like the color of tiger's eyes and there's this pain in them if you actually take the time to look. Sometimes I just stare at them, gets him nervous, but I do it anyway.

I get his thumb brushed across what's left of my cheek and he asks, "What's with your new obsession with kissing?"

"Same as always," I stall as I pull the covers back over our heads and wrap myself around him. He's only a bit shorter than me, but broader in the shoulders. He's also somewhere around room temperature if you don't count the ice coldness of his chest. I place my hand over the center of it and feel the coolness radiating from under his shirt, it reminds me of the flame I've got under mine. I ask if he's had anyone look at it other than that nurse.

"Hey, Annie's okay. I admit I was skeptical, but…"

"It was that good a kiss?"

"Stop, Jono, would you just stop? She does her job and that's what matters. Stop trying to change the subject. What the hell is up with you lately? You're obsessed with the whole 'I can't kiss' thing, so why not tell me why?"

So I tell him about Annie's words and I mean to leave it at that, but instead I find myself going on about how I wish I'd never gone to that the stupid meeting, that I should have stayed in the room with Ang. He tells me to ignore Annie's words, she doesn't understand. He says he wishes he'd said something to get me out of that meeting. He starts running his fingers over mine, making me aware of my hands. It's this habit he's got, not sure why.

I tell him that I think Annie understands better than anyone.

"You don't always need a mouth to kiss Jono," he tells me half-heartily, there's desperation in his tone.

I stare at him, not comprehending and ask him what he means. He blushes and tells me I'll think he's a geek. I tell him I already think that and to just get on with it already.

"I'm such a geek," he mutters, "Shouldn't have opened my stupid mouth."

I run my thumb over his lips and wait for him to come to his senses and just show me what he meant. He reaches for my hand, shaping it the way he wants it, then his hand folded in the same way he begins to lightly run his fingers over mine.

"I watch too much Star Trek," he mumbles.

I'm suddenly very hyper-aware of my hands, and I know what he's referring too and am wondering why I never thought of it before, why Paige or Ang didn't. His fingers are still running over mine and it's enough of a sensation that I close my eyes and just feel it. This is as close to a kiss as I can get, as I've ever gotten, and coming from Bobby it feels like one.

Then the idiot pulls his hand away muttering about how stupid he is. I catch his wrist and tell him no.

Then I reach out and kiss him.

"Don't go," he says abruptly in an almost whine staring at me, pleading.

It hits me then this choking sensation and a pitch somewhere in my stomach, do I even have a stomach? It's wrong that I can still feel this way. I almost ask him to come with me and stop myself just in time. Instead I tell him, "I have to."

I can't ask him to come with me. He's left here before and always come back. He's been doing this superhero gig since he was a kid. At least I had something of a life, however short, before my powers manifested. This is all he really knows, I can't ask him to walk away from that. What kind of person would I be if I did?

He kisses my forehead and tells me, "I'm sorry."

"What are you being sorry for?" He does that sometimes, just says he's sorry. I don't pretend to understand.

"That things got so screwed up for you."

"S'not your fault," I tell him before prodding, "or is it?"

He laughs. He laughs so easily sometimes, I wish I could.

"Cause if it is, you and I have some serious discussion coming up."

"No, please no! Anything, but you being serious. You're already too serious."

"Anything?" I ask toying with the button of his pants.

His breath hitches and he protests.

As I unzip his pants I tell him, "One last time."

He agrees and after…after I'm finally feeling like maybe I can get out of bed. I start to tell him that I'm going and I get his hand over my face and him telling me, "Mmmm no, sleep."

"Very articulate, Drake, and just what purpose does your hand have in shuttin' me up?"

His arm tightens around me and he mutters, "I've decide that under the circumstances and for my own selfish reasons you're not allowed to leave so shut up and go to sleep."

"Bobby, get off."

He tilts his head giving a michievous half smile before telling me, "Already did."

I make an annoyed sound in his head and he winces.

"Robert…" I start.

"Jon," he throws at me.

"Jono." I correct.

He blinks down at me before pushing the hair off my forehead and telling me, "I understand that you have to leave. I don't think it's right and I don't want you too, but you're going to and I'm not going to stop you, so stop being a jerk and at least let me fall asleep first. At least let me live in my denial a little longer, kay?"

I really am the biggest jerk, I come up with about a dozen different reasons to push him away. Not dealing well, and feeling stupid I run my fingers over his and then my thumb over his lips and tell him to go to sleep. I close my eyes and let myself enjoy not wanting to get up for other reasons then feeling depressed.

Again it hits me, this want to take Bobby with me, to be selfish and convince him to pack a bag and leave all his family and friends just so I don't have to feel so low all the time. Strange memory of Angelo in my head, smoking, and one of our more serious discussions, him telling me that if I'm ever going to be happy that I have to learn to do it on my own, no quick fixes, no falling in love because you can't really love someone when you don't love yourself first. Which was the one real difference between Ang and me, he loved himself. I remember waiting till he was done with his smoke before dragging him into bed to simply shut him up.

I remember being happy in a strange unreal distant way.

When I actually do reach out and touch it, happiness, it refuses to stay for long. Things usually get worse after I feel it. It's such a strange thing to feel a slight fear when you realize you're happy, to will and wish it away in a vain hope for the next shoe not to fall.

I hold still a moment and listen to Bobby's breathing, which is steady enough that I know he's sleeping. Carefully I untangle myself, give him one of my pillows to hold onto and go take a shower.

When I get back I finally take a look at the clothes he's set out for me. They're what I normally wear except that the shirt is new. There's a man on it, pale and thin with odd hair and an angular face. I recognize him from some comic of Ev's that I remember flipping through. There's a saying next to the man: We do what we do because of who we are, if we did otherwise we would not be ourselves. Under that it says Sandman. The comic, Ev's so long ago when the world was brighter, when I thought I knew what loss was, but hadn't really yet learned.

I feel choked again, which really shouldn't be possible.

I put my pants and boots on and attempt to dry out my hair before going back over to the bed. I study Drake, sleeping, he really only looks that peaceful when he sleeps. I touch his lip again and his hand involuntarily comes up and catches mine. I lean down and breathe in, closing my eyes. I really, really, wish I could kiss him, a real lips against lips long open-mouth kiss. Moments like this I miss kissing more than usual.

I am gonna miss Bobby as much as the rest of my family from Generation X. I was never meant to be an X-men. I don't regret coming here, because than I never would've develop what small family I have from them, but I'm just not cut out to be a hero.

I put on the shirt, take my bag and go.

I just walk away.

I leave, pick a direction and drive in a vain hope of finding a way to learn to be like them.

Maybe, just maybe, one day I'll learn to shine.