Cotton Sheets, Country Music and Clam Chowder

Summary: This will be a Bobby/Sam slash fic (BAM), eventually. I'm hoping that's enough to draw you in, but if it isn't, I promise danger, angst and kissing. Yay! I've increased the rating to PG-13.

Chapter Summary: Bobby, Sam, Ray, Tabitha, Amara and Roberto head out for a night on the town but something unexpected happens.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Someone else does, probably Marvel or WB. Let's move on.

Disclaimer #2: My writing is based primarily on Evolutions. I may or may not stay true to comic canon.

Author's Notes: Thank-you for your words of support. You're too kind. No, seriously, you're too kind. I could use a healthy dose of critism now and then.

Chapter Four: Blame

Sitting on the carpeted staircase, Sam waits for Storm and Scott to return with Bobby. Sam is trying to picture a way to greet his friend but he has discarded every single one of his make-believe scenarios because they seemed either too cold or too corny.

Sam is almost convinced that this is his fault. Bobby's not here because he left him behind. His fault, even though he didn't have much of a choice and Bobby would have approved. His fault even though it is not.

Then why do I feel so guilty? Sam questioned, thinking back to that night, last week.

Friday Night, 7:13 pm

"I'm bored." Tabitha announced to everyone in the rec room, and was basically ignored. Tabby was usually bored.

It was after supper and the new recruits were lazing around the rec room, enjoying the fact that all the week's work was over and it was to early to worry about the homework due Monday. All except for Jamie, who was up in his room, grounded.

Bobby and Sam were playing anti-chess, the purpose being to, well, lose. Bobby, bested at every single board game in the mansion, was determined to beat Sam at this. Unfortunately, losing seemed to take just as much strategy as winning.

"I'm going out." Tabby continued, oblivious that everyone was ignoring her. "Anyone wanna come?"

No one bothered to mention that no one was allowed to leave the mansion after seven without permission because Tabitha seemed to believe that such rules did not apply to her. Probably because she didn't technically live at the mansion any more. No one really knew where she lived exactly, though everyone had their suspicions. Ever since she'd left the brotherhood, she'd been on much more friendly terms with the X-Men and had been coming more and more often but she was still adamant that she and the X-Men weren't a good fit. That didn't stop her from visiting every other day though.

"I'll come." Amara spoke up but these days, rebellion and hanging out with Tabitha were her main hobbies. No one else spoke up. And that pretty much would have been the end of that. Tabitha and Amara would have sneaked out for a movie and ice cream and would have arrived home in time for a lecture.

Suddenly, from the reading chair in the corner, Roberto spoke up, "There's that new zombie movie."

Ray looked up from the tv. He didn't care much for Roberto but zombie movie, he was there.

"I'm in check-mate. Want to play again?" Sam offered with a smile. Bobby shook his head. That zombie movie was starting to sound good.

And even though Sam wasn't a big fan of horrors, he really didn't want to be left all alone to explain the disappearance of the others.

The six of them took the bus into town. Much faster and easier on the feet than walking. But even so, they still ended up missing the early show.

So, if we end up at the nine o'clock show, we'll be out by eleven. Since the buses don't that late, an hour walk home, which put us back at the mansion at midnight. They might not notice we're gone. Sam snorted, Yeah right, we are going to be in so much trouble.

Sam shook his head. He never used to get in this much trouble. But that had been before Bobby had become his roommate. And it seemed hanging out with Bobby you were bound to get in trouble. Some days, Sam really did miss Jubilee.

Ah, who was he kidding, he was getting into trouble with Bobby long before Jubes, left like with the whole joyriding incident. After that, he'd be lucky to get his drivers license before he turned 21.

"Is anyone else hungry?" Bobby asked, which was a bit like asking if you liked food. More likely than not you're gonna say yes. Supper at the mansion had been weenies and beanies which, even at their best are not the most appetizing meal, had also been burnt. So no one was about to object to a second supper. The question was where to go. Eventually they settled on KFC.

All six of them managed to squish into a single booth. Sam found himself between the wall and Bobby. To Bobby's right was Robert and across from them were Ray, Tabby and Amara, equally squished.

Sam was half way though his fries and most of the way through his chicken when he suddenly stopped and just watched everyone, laughing, talking, teasing, being teenagers. And he became very aware, especially Bobby. It was very surreal.

They were all pretty squished, of course, but was Bobby closer to Sam than Roberto? And was that Bobby's arm behind Sam's head? When had that gotten there? What was going on here?

The surreal moment was instantly broken when, out of the blue, Bobby began to snicker.

"What?"

"Kentucky Chicken." Bobby replied with another snigger.

Sam rolled his eyes. This was not the first time someone had made that reference since he'd come to New York.

Amara and Roberto shared the same confused look.

"Sam's from Kentucky." Tabby explained, "You know, Kentucky Fried Chicken."

"Why's that funny?"

"It's not." Sam said to Amara, giving Bobby a glare. But a friendly glare, which Bobby returned with a friendly punch. And then food started to fly and things kinda escalated from there. And that is why none of the New Recruits were ever let back into the KFC across from the theater from then on.

Friday Night, 11:15 pm

Sam defiantly did not like horror flicks. He stumbled out of the theater feeling slightly ill. It would almost have been better to face Wolverine. Almost.

Amara didn't all that colorful either so Sam didn't feel too bad. He would have felt better if one of the guys looked as shaken up as he felt, instead of re-describing the goriest parts.

Not wanting to re-gurgitate the movie, Sam wandered over to the arcade and pushed a quarter into the first game. The quarter didn't last long. And neither did the second one.

"Here, let me try." Bobby said as he came over.

Sam gave a glance around, but he couldn't see the others anywhere. He did, however, get a glimpse of the clock, 11:18. Great.

"Where are the others?"

Bobby, his attention on the gave at hand, gave a distracted wave in the general direction of the front doors. "Amara was tired, so Roberto's walking her home. Tabby and Ray went… elsewhere."

That doesn't sound like a bad idea, Sam thinks to himself. Going home that is, not elsewhere. Sam wasn't even sure he wanted to know where elsewhere was. Maybe if I'm quick, I can catch up with Amara and Roberto. Or, I could just walk home. It's not like zombies really exist.

Sam took a cautious look out the double front doors. The night was completely dark, except for the half moon and the street lights spread far too apart for Sam's liking. It was a long, lonely walk home and even though Sam says he doesn't believe in zombies, he does, along with ghosts, vampires and psychotic serial killers.

With a sigh of defeat by his own coward ness, Sam leaned against the wall to wait for Bobby.

Friday Night, 11:47 pm

Ten dollars in quarters later, Bobby still hadn't beaten level nine and Sam was getting pretty bored watching Bobby loose quarters. So they decided to go home. It also had something to do with the fact that the theater was closing for the night.

Sam was glad he'd waited for Bobby. Bobby had this way of laughing at the darkness, telling stupid jokes and talking about stupid stuff. It was almostlike, if Sam stayed close to Bobby and didn't think too much about the stuff he couldn't see, everything would be alright. It almost made him forget that he thought they were being followed. Almost.

So, maybe there was no boogyman. But there would be Hell to pay when they got home, way passed curfew. No amount of Bobby's cajoling could make Sam forget that and Sam couldn't stop himself from checking his watch every ten seconds or so.

Bobby noticed Sam compulsive watch checking and suggested "Let's take the shortcut."

The short cut was through the elementary school play ground, which is something Sam would have no problem doing in the daylight. At night, it was a bit different. The only light here, where the street lights didn't shine, was the low glow of the moon, peering through the pine trees, throwing bars of moonlight across the dirt and sand. The playground equipment looked skeletal and dead, a mish mash of misshapen tombstones. It was far too easy for Sam to see zombies rising up from beneath the see-saws but before Sam could suggest they take the long way home, Bobby's already jumped the fence.

And face it Sam, he would later think to himself, you didn't want to look like a wimp in front of Bobby.

Looking back, Sam realized that he should have trusted his instincts. Wasn't that what Wolverine was always saying. Your gut reaction is usually the right one. Hadn't he felt himself being watched? Hadn't he just wanted to grab Bobby's arm and run? Well, yes, he had but then he also thought zombies are going to crawl out of the ground and suck out his brains. And besides, he had been far to worried about making it over the fence without looking like a fool and catching up to Bobby.

Bobby, unaware of Sam's nervousness, had decided to climb the jungle gym. "Man, I miss grade school. It was pretty fun." He said to Sam, who was standing on the ground, looking up, "No lockers. No algebra. No snobby girls."

"No freedom. No allowance. No Powers." No Bobby. The last one Sam thought, barely loud enough for himself to hear.

Sam walked over to the swings, sat down and watched Bobby play. There was no other word for it. Bobby Drake was playing. Sam wished he had a camera. This was prime blackmail material.

Yeah, Sam could totally see the monkey bars were Bobby's favorite. Was he surprised? Nah.

The monkey bars had never been Sam's thing. Even as a kid he'd been tall and the monkey bars just hadn't worked out. No, Sam was more of a swinger. Even before he became a mutant freak, he had wanted to fly. And swinging was the closest think most kids got to flying, unless, of course, they'd tried jumping off the roof with a bed sheet for either a parachute or wings.

Sam would bet 10 bucks Bobby had done that. Kids who liked the monkey bars did shit like that.

Kids who like to jump off swings like to do that too. Sam reminded himself as he pushed off the ground and began to pump. He'd been an excellent jumper, back in kiddie school.

Bobby had climbed up so he was walking on top of the bars, his arms out for balance. And he was laughing like a maniac.

Sam couldn't help but laugh with him and he pumped higher and higher. So high, he felt as if he could almost swing over the top, if only he tried a little harder.

Suddenly, without any warning, Bobby lost his balance and tumbled backwards. He fell six feet, landing in the playground sand. It had hardly registered in Sam's brain when he jumped from his swing. Sam hadn't timed it right and his technique was sloppy. His dismount was poor and he ended up in the sand, the wind knocked out of him but otherwise okay.

He was over to Bobby in seconds, who visibly, was okay. Except he was unconscious.

Something stung Sam in his back. He tried to grab it but just couldn't reach. Unconscious came to him as quickly as it had come to his friend and he slumped over Bobby's already motionless form.

To be continued…