Title: I've Got Your Picture
Rating: T for language and the theft of Twinkies
Summary: One rainy, gloomy, dull morning secrets are found out and new flames are lit.
Warnings: Fluff, with some language thrown in for fun. There's also the whole slash thing...
Note: this system doesn't seem to like astrica so instead Jono's speah will be inside of slashes (/.../)
Feed-back: is more than welcome. You see, for me, reviews are like cookies (or perhaps crack. The effect is the same either way) I get one and I need another hit. So then I write more. It's a win-win situation (and it does keep me off the streets, after all, and we know that just has to help the community. Think of the children!)
Being a superhero could be taxing, and saving the world can wear quite badly on one's nerves. Can't humanity stay out of trouble for one day? Or maybe they could deal with one or two of the supervillans themselves. Was that too much to ask? Bobby Drake often wished for these pleasant dreams to come true. They never did, of course, but it was a nice thought.
For Bobby Saturdays were the worst. For one reason or another Saturday (especially in the morning) seemed to be the day to take over the world and ruin an otherwise wonderful weekend. A Saturday (or any day for that matter) when Bobby got to sleep in was a rare and wondrous thing. He cherished those days when the world wasn't in absolute chaos, no one seemed up to training, and Some One Up There smiled upon him and said "Ok, Bobby, shut up. I get it. You need a break." On those days Bobby could be found a) laying in bed b) watching cartoons c) eating himself into a sugar coma d) all of the above. 'd' was a very popular answer.
On one of those previously-mentioned precious days rain began to fall and thunder clapped. This was what pulled Bobby back into the land of the waking. He knew, then, that it was going to be a good day (though had he been awakened by thunder, or anything else for that matter, on any other day on which he had to work, teach, or save the world he would have deemed it a very bad day). Rolling over, a lazy smile on his face, Bobby found that his alarm clock was blinking. It must have been raining for longer than he'd thought. He knew that back-up generators would have kept the med-lab and security systems running. "Still, being the responsible adult and I am, I should check on the children," he thought, though in a much more mumbly and incoherent fashion. Well he knew what he meant, and the rest of the world would too, after he'd had his coffee.
Damn mother-hen instincts.
Bobby wasn't at all surprised when he didn't encounter anyone in the halls or on his way to the kitchen. Even with the cloud darkened sky he had the feeling that it was still early in the morning. He didn't mind though. It was always easier to wake up early when he didn't have to. Bobby jumped when he saw a dark figure huddled on the floor of the rec-room.
/Morning/ the figure said with a thick Cockney accent inside Bobby's head. By then Bobby had realized that it was Jono, and felt silly for having let himself been caught off guard. Well it most definitely could have been worse. Jonothon Starsmore, the newest member of the X-family and Scott's latest student-teacher victim -- ah, volunteer. He was, judging by the papers surrounding him, grading papers at that very moment.
Bobby's stomach did a back flip, then a front flip, and finally a jig. His heart was pounding so loudly that he could hardly think (perhaps this was his heart's way of applauding his stomach's acrobatics, but this is very unlikely). It was close to common knowledge that Bobby Drake, longtime and loyal goofball member of the X-men, was gay. Frankly? It was obvious. What was nowhere near common knowledge and was, in fact, a dirty little secret was that Mr. Drake had fallen in love with Mr. Starsmore. Love was a word that Bobby used cautiously. He and love had never been good friends, nor had love and Jono. In this case, though, love was the only word that fit correctly.
It had all happened quite suddenly. Jono had arrived on a dark and stormy night. Bobby sometimes suspected that Jono had planed it that way, but nothing had been proven. Jono had stomped around in his heavy 'fuck me' boots in a way only a boy proud of his gloom could do, told Bobby, and anyone else who dared speak to him, to piss off, and went to bed. That was all anyone really saw of Jono for a while. He spent a majority of his free time in his room listening to music. Then, one morning, Bobby was watching cartoons and Jono walking in. He said something with his dry British humor about Bobby's childishness, and left. It was the first thing that Jono had said to anyone of his own free will, without being provoked, and because he wanted to.
Since that morning Bobby had taken it upon himself to get Jono to talk to him whenever he could, even doing stupid things just so Jono would laugh at him. He also made a point to get Jono out of the school, not an easy feat. It was even getting easier, and the Brit was getting less hostile toward him. Bobby could even poke fun back at Jono, mood permitting.
/You sleep walkin, mate/ Jono asked from the floor.
"Oh, what? Sorry." He moved closer to where Jono was sitting. "What cha doin?" Bobby asked, even though the answer was clear.
/Grading some Bio tests...kinda ironic, ain't it/
/Well they've got me teaching Biology, the study of life and I ain't even livin meself./ Jono hadn't looked up from the papers since Bobby had walked in, but the Iceman knew that the younger man had that deep, dark, gloomy look. The statement made Bobby pause for a moment to remember Jono's past. To have been through so much in such a young life...
"I don't think that's true at all," Bobby said in a soft voice, lowering himself next to Jono while watching for any signs of protest. There were none.
/You don't think that's ironic/
"No. I meant that part about you not being alive."
/Well o course it's true! I ain't even got a bloody heart/ The red ink was flying. There were going to be some unhappy students come Monday.
"That's not what makes someone alive." Jono looked up at Bobby with those big, pleading, doe eyes. When their owner didn't say anything Bobby continued, "You have emotions, you think, you're...just you. right? It doesn't matter if you don't have a heartbeat or whatever, all that matters is that you're here. Right now." Bobby looked over to Jono. The soft eyes had fallen to their owner's hands. Without even seeing them Bobby knew, just knew, they were filling with tears. "I'm sorry," Bobby said quickly, "I didn't mean to upset you." He moved to get up, but found that he couldn't. Jono's arms were wrapped around his waist, and the other man was once again looking at him.
/Come off it. You don't mean that./
"I wouldn't have said it if it didn't." Bobby settled next to Jono once again.
/I don't...no one's ever...it's just.../ He looked away, embarrassed.
"It's ok, you know you never have to hide from me, right? Jono?" Bobby said in the same gentle tone he had been using all along. Jono nodded and placed his head on Bobby's shoulder. They stayed like that for quite some time. It was surprisingly comfortable and natural for Bobby to put his arm around the younger man. He moved so that Jono was resting on his chest, and his hand snaked up into Jono's silky but tangled auburn hair. After what could have been fifteen minuted, or an hour, or any amount of time really, Bobby realized that Jono had fallen asleep. His hand, which was still stroking Jono's rat-nest locks, stopped. Sighing, Bobby picked up Jono and was actually thrown off balance. Bobby had been prepared for the weight of a normal nineteen-year-old boy. But then again, Bobby thought, Jono's not normal, and his weight, or lack there of, made perfect sense. Jono had no organs, after all.
He placed Jono on the couch and began to clean up the papers Jono had on the floor so that he could return Jono to his bedroom. The quizzes were all spread out, and yet oddly neat. It didn't take him long and soon he picked up Jono's worn leather bag to put them in. He stopped when he saw a photo flutter out and fall to the floor. He bent down to pick it up, and was more than surprised to find that the picture was of a swim-trunks clad and sopping wet Bobby with his arm around an annoyed looking, and slightly soggy, Chamber. He remembered the exact day that picture was taken, and he also remembered bribing Jubilee to run around the BBQ taking pictures of everyone just so he could get one of Jono. Juvenile, yes, but also effective in theory. Why should Jono suspect anything when everyone else was subject to the same? He had waited and waited for those pictures to get developed and for Jubes to give him that photo. He had never gotten it. Apparently Jono did.
Bobby choked on air. Jono had the picture and he'd kept it with him. No way. Bobby tried to breath again, but it didn't make a difference. It all had to be a joke right? A cruel joke, it couldn't be anything but. He turned the photograph over in his hands. On the back, in Jono's neat quick handwriting, was 'Bobby' with a heart next to it. Well that was just the cherry on the sadistic cake, now wasn't it?
But what if it wasn't a joke? What if...No. Can't think that way. Shaking his head Bobby banished those thoughts from his mind. It could never happen, he told himself. Whenever he got optimistic he was shot down. Right back to the fucking ground. It was tempting to wake Jono up and ask him, confront him, yell at him, kiss him, right then and there. It was very tempting. Bobby was going to give in, too. His hand was on Jono's shoulder, and he was about to shake him, or perhaps say his name lovingly. He hadn't decided yet. It was really a spur of the moment kind of thing.
Jono's chocolate eyes fluttered open. /Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep/ Jono said, his mental voice sleepy and quiet.
Any words that Bobby was going to say died on his lips. He slipped the picture into his back pocket, hoping Jono didn't notice. Judging by Jono's reaction (which there was none of) he hadn't seen, probably still more asleep than awake.
"It's ok, I was just going to bring you back up to your room," Bobby told the sleepy boy, surprised by how easily he was able to speak despite the emotional mess he was on the inside.
"No! Um, no, nothing's wrong." Great, start tripping now. "How long were you grading those papers?" Bobby asked, deciding to stay on neutral ground.
/I don't really know. The thunder woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep, so.../ Jono sat up. I'm gonna go...yeah, thanks for the company, mate. Jono gave Bobby his trademark eye-crinkle-smile, something rarely seen, swung his bag over his slight shoulder, and left the room.
The others began to wake up not long after Jono left. Bobby had spent the short time he had to himself to try and analyze his situation. He didn't get very far. He was, in fact, reduced to 'he loves me, he loves me not'. It wasn't until Jubilee came in from the kitchen, with one of his twinkies in hand, that Bobby realized that he hadn't hit a dead end just yet.
"Hey, Jubilee!" he said from where he was laying on the couch. She jumped and stuffed the cream filled treat into her mouth before saying, "yeah, Bobby?"
"Whatever happened to that picture I asked you to get me? You know the one."
"I got a better offer!" she called over she shoulder as she left, obviously aware that Bobby knew what she was eating. Under normal circumstances she would have been right in fleeing. But, seeing as circumstances weren't quite normal, Bobby didn't even care that he had one less Twinkie.
"Oh," Bobby whispered to himself. Mentally he pulled off the flower's last petal. He loves me.
Bobby took the stairs two at a time on his way to Jono's room. It was the only place other than the rec-room he could imagine Jono spending a Saturday morning. As he got closer to Jono's closed door he was able to hear the music coming from the other side more clearly. He knocked on the door, though he wondered if that would be loud enough to be heard over the bass and drums.
/Sod off/ Apparently it had been. He knew that yelling through the door would do no good, so he knocked again. The clunk of Jono's boots was loud enough to be heard over the boom of the bass. Jono must have been in a really bad mood.
The door swung open and Bobby was glad it didn't open out. If it had he would surly have a bloody nose.
/What/ Jono yelled in Bobby's mind. It wasn't a pleasant thing to have a telepath yell at you. Their voices have a tendency to echo when they get loud, and too much of it can easily cause a headache (a technique Jono often employed to win arguments).
"I...just wanted to talk," Bobby said. Over Jono's shoulder he saw that the room was a mess inside. Torn apart even. As if... "Were you looking for something?"
/Might've been/ Jono said, eyes narrowing. /Why/
"Can I just come in?" Jono sighed and moved so that Bobby could enter. The room had, indeed, been ripped apart. Had Bobby not known better he would have said that some epic battle had taken place there, and then he would have laughed. But he did know better and he was in no mood to laugh.
"Why did you have my picture?" He asked outright. There was no point in putting it off. He had spent much of his life putting things off, homework, cleaning, growing up, he was tired of it now, though. He came to get answers so answers he would have. Bobby turned to see that Jono's eyes had grown wide. Too wide. 'Ready to cry, but not ready for anyone to see' wide. And as soon as that innocent look had appeared it was gone.
/Wot the fuck? You were going through my stuff? You prat/ More mental yelling.
"No! It was nothing like that! I was cleaning up your papers! It fell out!" Suddenly Bobby was the one on the spot and explaining himself.
/Why didn't ya just put it back/ Jono said, and another mood swing clouded the air in the room. Now he sounded tired, exhausted even. He sat down on the bed with a huff and flopped back. Bobby went over and sat next to him but as far away as he could. He not only didn't want to make Jono uncomfortable, but he wasn't sure when the boy would have another of his mood swings.
"You know I had Jubilee take that picture," he said, looking down at Jono, who had his arm covering the part of his face that wasn't wrapped up in bandages.
/Yeah, I was there, remember/
"I could do without the attitude, mister," Bobby joked, though he really wouldn't have Jono any other way. There was a snort of laughter in his mind. "Well anyway, I had her running around all say taking pictures of everyone."
/And Logan nearly killed her when she took a picture of his ass./
"I didn't want all those pictures." He pulled the photo out of his pocket and looked at it fondly. "I couldn't careless about them, actually. Not that they're not nice to have an' all, but this was the only one I wanted." Jono's arms moved slowly away and his eyes found Bobby's.
/You don't mean tha/ he said in a way that suggested he was used to people playing with him.Bobby remembered that he was.
"Like I said before, I mean everything I say to you. I love you, Jono." Jono's eyes grew wide again, but it was different this time. The change this time didn't say 'I want to hide my tears'. Instead it said 'I want to remember this moment for the rest of my life.' Then his eyes then crinkled ever so slightly.
/You're fucking mad, mate/ he laughed through tears. It was the second time that Bobby had made him cry. Fuck.
"Yeah, I know," Bobby said, a smile on his face that would have made any crocodile jealous. He lay down next to Jono, on his side so they were facing one another. Jono's arm slid around his waist and he pulled Bobby closer. Nothing more was said. It didn't need to be.