Disclaimer: I own nothing X-men. They are Marvel's toy box, I'm merely playing. I also own nothing to do with the movie Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer
Spoilers: Sometime after Bobby's secondary mutation thing, but in this he's managed to control it. I won't chose exact book numbers as I haven't read in awhile.

Note: Much thanks to foggynite for the plot bunny cause mutant reindeer just begged to be played with.

Spoilers: Sometime after reloaded and AU if only for the Cloud content.

Warning: This opens with a 100 word drabble that is Bobby/Cloud. Cloud is very gender fluid and will at one point be a girl and then a boy, if this is going to bother you then please don't read it. Also this is slash, if that's going to bother you then there is a back button. Also the drabble is in a different tense than the story.


100 word drabble:

Bobby can tell where Cloud is headed just by the way she leans into him as she asks, "This is your favorite movie?"

"Christmas, yeah."

"It's about accepting differences," she tilts her head, biting her lip regarding him before she changes into a man and asks, "Why can't you accept me?"

"I…"Bobby manages to stutter.

"You still want me in this form, I can tell. You maybe want me more," he says leaning in, his eyes darting everywhere over Bobby's face.

It takes Bobby a moment to realize Cloud's right. As he does he slowly leans in and kisses him.


Cartoons and Confessions:

Bobby pushed back into the couch, trying to get comfortable. He wrapped his arms around the couch's pillow and sighed. He's determined to enjoy tonight, even is Hank is standing him up to work in the lab. He's worried about Hank, part of him hopes his friend will join him later, even though he knows he won't. It felt odd to not be watching the movie with someone, but he'd decided that wasn't going to stop him. As he finally started to become engrossed in the puppet almost cartoon a voice interrupted him, "Would you turn that monstrosity off."

Bobby twisted up to look at Jean-Paul and frowned, "Shouldn't that be a question? It's not a 'monstrosity' it's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, its tradition."

Bobby wondered quietly at the brief pained look on Jean-Paul's face.

"If you were so concerned with seeing it you could've watched it when they showed it to the children."

"I was supposed to watch it with Hank," he sulked.

"This movie's childish, I find it hard to believe someone of Dr. McCoy's…"

Bobby interrupted, "Hank has a sense of humor."

Jean-Paul merely crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. Bobby scowled, he was supposed to be watching the movie with Hank. They'd almost always got together late at night, fell onto the couch and watched it. It was a time for jokes, comradeship and generally getting in each other's personal space. It bothered Bobby that most people didn't look beyond Hank's appearance or intelligence to see the loyal, funny somewhat insecure man inside.

"Hank, is my best friend. Best friends do things together and…"

"Yet, he isn't here."

Bobby rounded up and sat on his knees to look Jean-Paul in the face wondering if the man was merely pointing that out or if he'd meant the comment as the insult it'd sounded like. He wanted to snap at Jean-Paul, but paused, captivated as he noticed a quick series of expressions ranging from reflective to sad cross Jean-Paul's face as he stared at the screen. Bobby glanced at the screen, then back to the man standing just behind the couch. Jean-Paul's looked almost vulnerable and Bobby wasn't sure what he was supposed to do with that. He wasn't sure what was going on with his teammate, but he knew it wasn't the time for witty comebacks and digs at the other man's ego.

"Hank's going through some things right now," he ventured.

Jean-Paul looked away from the screen, and met Bobby's eyes. The vulnerable look was gone, he'd gone back to looking like the same arrogant, aloof, man he always was as he pointed out, "You would be too if you'd suddenly…"

Jean-Paul cut himself off, as if he'd suddenly realize where he'd been headed with that statement, "Robert, I…"

Bobby pushed around and stared at the screen as he offered a blunt, "S'cool."

"No, it's not. Bobby, I shouldn't have brought up the secon…"

Bobby turned his head to glare at Jean-Paul who was coming around the couch, "Don't. Just don't bring it up. All I wanted was a nice normal night, where I didn't have to think about the whole I've turned to ice because of some crazy secondary mutation thing. I can't have that can I? Hank's off, has buried himself in work, because as much as he's laughed it off and as much as he's been through since Trish's broke up with him, what she did, really fucked him up. I mean who wouldn't be fucked up? Some stupid tabloid compares their relationship to bestiality and she bails. She was supposed to love him and she should have reassured him that she saw the man inside; instead she leaves him a message on his answering machine? She's lucky I didn't hurt her. I've tried to undo what she did, but I can't seem to get through to him. So I'm giving him his space even though I'd rather drag his ass out of that damn lab and make him relax and do something normal for a change. So it's already been a shitty night, and then you have to come along and bring up what I'd like to forget. So if you go and apologize my night will be ruined because the last time I checked you didn't know how to apologize to anyone."

Jean-Paul for a moment looked like he'd been slapped. He crossed his arms and scowled, "I apologize when I'm wrong and since I'm rarely wrong it may seem that I don't know how. Don't make assumptions, Bobby, it makes you look like an ass."

"How original."

Jean-Paul unfolded his arms and began to walk away.

"JP, wait." Bobby had said his piece and he felt as if that weight had come of his consciousness. He also knew shouldn't have taken all his frustrations out on Jean-Paul.

The other man turned to look at him.

"I'm just used to watching this with someone, usually Hank, but now he's not here and I, well, do you want to watch it with me?"

"We just insulted each other and now you want me to join you?"

"Yeah, it'll be fun," Bobby smiled, "We can makeup."

Jean-Paul rose an eyebrow as he very obviously bit back the response he'd come up with for that, instead he sat down and asked, "Can we watch a different movie?"

"Can you sit still through an entire movie?"

"Most likely, no."

"Well this is sorta the movie I watch every year on about this day, if there isn't a bad guy interrupting it."

"Do you always watch it with Hank too?" Jean-Paul asked in a mock sickly sweet way.

Bobby smirked, the trading insults had now turned into a game and it wasn't meant to hurt. He responded, "No, sometimes other people. This has got a good message, you can't never have watched it and realize how parallel's our being mutants."

When Jean-Paul didn't respond Bobby titled his head to look at the other man. He frowned as he rested back onto the pillow and brought his feet up onto the couch. He sat there for a moment watching him. Jean-Paul wasn't saying anything, he merely glanced at him once before looking back to the screen. Slowly Jean-Paul told him, "Raymonde would have me watch it when I went through periods of self-hate."

Oh, Bobby thought, oh fuck.

His first instinct was to offer to turn the program off, but he didn't when he saw how engrossed in the program Jean-Paul appeared to be. Instead he said, "You loved him a lot, didn't you?"

Jean-Paul's head whipped around and he stared, "How…"

"I read your book, it was obvious."

Jean-Paul seemed almost confused by that. Their eyes met.

"Yes, he used to mean the world to me. There was a period when I'd have done anything for him."

"You did, didn't you?" Bobby wished he could take the statement back the moment he said it.

"You really did read my book, didn't you? Why?"

Bobby shrugged, "You're my teammate."

"I'm not on any active team."

"Yeah, well you're one of the few qualified teachers we have. So they have to use you everywhere don't they?"

"Don't insult my newfound respect for your intelligence Bobby. I think we both know why Scott took me off the team rosters."

"Ah yeah, because you're not easy to get along with and have been really vocal in the past about hating the superhero gig," Bobby pointed out.

"Really, you think that might be?"

"It's as good an explanation as any, and I think the least insulting one."

"Yes, that's true."

Bobby drew his knees up, glad that he'd worn clothes and that he wasn't sticking to the sofa. He glanced at his socks as he wrapped his arms around his legs and asked, "So why did you do it, why did you join the X-men?"

"Bobby, Peter, you know why."

"Maybe that was the initial reason, but why would you stay if it makes you so miserable?"

Jean-Paul frowned slightly and tilted his head, "It's true, I don't like being a hero. However many times you do manage to save the day, you know you'll have to go do it again. It's a cycle, a grim game, one you'll eventually lose."

Bobby nodded, "But you can have done so much good before then."

"Idealist. People still hate us, we can go out there and save their lives, but at the end of the day they still misunderstand and fear us. These children though, it's different with them and I'd like to believe that they can have a better world then we did. I look at them and I see more potential than most of them know what to do with."

They both remained quiet, the sound of Yukon singing about silver and gold filled the room before Jean-Paul admitted quietly, "I look at them and wonder if that's how my daughter might have turned out. That maybe they'd have an aspect of the personality she might have had, or the same interests."

Jean-Paul closed his eyes, "Can we change the subject?"

Bobby nodded, not sure what to do with this glimpse into his normally private teammate. He asked the first thing that popped into his head, "Who'd you get for Secret Santa?"

Being that the teams were at times so large and generally scattered most of the members agreed to do a Secret Santa, it was a good way to save money and get to know teammates they'd might otherwise not interact with very often.

Bobby waited for Jean-Paul to tell him that sharing wasn't part of the deal.

"Shatterstar."

"That kid in X-force, the one with the red hair?"

"I thought you'd say the one with the boyfriend."

Bobby leaned back against his pillow again, smiled and shrugged, "They make a good couple I hear, what'd you get him?"

Jean-Paul looked surprised for a moment before he said, "Gift Certificates."

"Where to?"

"Places his profile indicated he'd like."

"What'd he ask for?"

"Weapons, he was very detailed. I wasn't sure his team leader would appreciate me getting him something long and pointy. Who'd you get?"

"Someone who only put the word tie on their list, really, JP, do you know how much trouble you could've gotten into with that? Imagine if Jubilee had gotten you?"

"And yet I still shutter to think what you came up with."

"Little Santa's standing with their sleigh and reindeer. It even has Rudolph on it, oh and I hope you like classic Star Trek."

Jean-Paul raised an eyebrow.

Bobby laughed, "Well I tried to get Annie to tell me what'd you want, but all she did was tell me to put a bow on my head."

He stopped laughing when he saw Jean-Paul's slightly horrified look. Concerned he pushed Jean-Paul with a foot, "Hey, you're supposed to laugh. I told her you had better taste in men."

Bobby was surprised when Jean-Paul's face said it all. He stopped, "Oh."

His mind seemed to whirl. Jean-Paul liked him? No, Jean-Paul wanted him? Wait…Jean-Paul had made an excuse to leave.

"Hey wait! Give me a second to wrap my mind around this."

"I'd rather not."

"Why me though? I mean, yeah I can be funny guy and you do seem like you need a laugh every now and then, but mostly I've been a jerk to everyone. And haven't you noticed the whole secondary mutation thing?" Bobby asked, slightly confused.

Jean-Paul stood there regarding him a moment before he stepped forward and place a hand on Bobby's cheek.

"Part of my mutation, the cold doesn't bother me," he said before he pulled away.

Bobby wanted to grab Jean-Paul's hand and keep it there, it'd been so warm. How long had it been since anyone had just touched him like that, like it wasn't difficult?

"That wasn't in your book."

"It was if you cared to look, the cold is one of my favorite things. Bobby, I don't want things with you to be uncomfortable, I…"

"You haven't read my profile have you?"

Jean-Paul titled his head confused, "How does that have any relevance?"

Bobby smiled, "You really think you…whatever it is you have for me is going to bother me? I dated Cloud and yeah, okay, I freaked when she turned into a guy on me a few times, and it took me awhile to get used to that, but I'm not a bigot and it doesn't bother me."

"Doesn't bother you," Jean-Paul repeated, "Wait you…"

"Dated Cloud, who was sometimes a woman and sometimes a man, which is a long story," Bobby explained. It was odd he thought, just a short time ago he'd been feeling insignificant, but now he felt important if just for the fact that Jean-Paul was interested in him. He'd been spending most of the last few months thinking he'd be alone for the rest of his life, but now he was seeing possibilities.

He stood, "I think maybe we need to, um, could, try and…"

"Yes," Jean-Paul agreed as he stepped toward him.

"I'm not a good boyfriend," he warned before he could stop himself.

"Neither am I," Jean-Paul agreed before he rested his hands on Bobby's hips and pulled him into him. Bobby wrapped his arms around him and closed his eyes as their lips met. It was a careful kiss at first, exploratory. Their mouths opened together as Jean-Paul sweep his tongue into Bobby's. His hand came up to touch Bobby's neck as his other pulled the man closer against him. Bobby pushed into the kiss eagerly as his hands slide into the back pockets of the jeans Jean-Paul was wearing.

The kiss ended slowly and Jean-Paul rubbed his nose against Bobby's before they paused to look at one another.

"You can still have the ties," Bobby babbled, "but I think I have a stray bow somewhere in my room."

"I don't need a bow," Jean-Paul told him as he kissed first Bobby's cheek, then his neck.

Bobby smiled as he moved into kiss Jean-Paul again. Then he disentangled himself, reached for the remote and turned off the TV.