BY MADRIPOOR ROSE
Disclaimer: The X Men are the property of Marvel Entertainment, no copyright infringement intended.
Two weeks before the Xavier School prom, Remy Le Beau sauntered past the Common Room table where Piotr Rasputin was frowning over a thick copy of Art Of The First Cities: The Third Millennium BC From The Mediterranean To The Indies, and taking notes. Bobby Drake was seated beside him, doing his math homework.
Remy paused, and sneered. "Got your hotel rooms reserved? Eh, non, I guess you wouldn't need rooms, would you?"
Piotr frowned, unable to see the intended insult. Insult there was, from the tone of Remy's voice and the look on Bobby's face as he slowly and deliberately closed his math book, capped his pen, and got to his feet.
The front door slammed, and the newest and only non-mutant metahuman student charged into the Common Room, clutching a dripping SuperSoaker to his chest. He shoved it into a startled Remy's hands and flung himself onto the nearest end of the sofa, producing a battered Superman comic from somewhere, sprawling and generally managing to convey the impression that he'd been there for hours. Measured, heavy footsteps approached from the hall.
They all stared at Wolverine with appalled fascination.
Noone had ever seen his hair so...flat.
"Cajun," he growled. "Outside."
"What? But I...guys?"
With a small, evil smile, Bobby sat down. Piotr cleared his throat, and turned a page.
"Merde." Remy whined, and trudged off to his undeserved doom.
When they were gone, Piotr looked at the sneakered feet sticking out over the arm of the couch, and said quietly, "Wade. Come here."
With a heavy sigh, the hyperactive ten year old slouched over, standing in front of the table with the hangdog expression of the Caught. "Yes, Mister Rasputin?"
"You were playing squirt-gun sniper again and hit Mister Logan. And then you framed Remy for it."
"Yes, Mister Rasputin."
Piotr gave him a wide smile. "Good boy," he reached out and tousled Wade's fine blond hair, then pulled out his wallet and offered him a five dollar bill.
With a grin, the boy grabbed the cash and ran off.
Bobby raised his eyebrows. "You know he's just gonna buy candy with that?"
"And the question is: does Wade Wilson need more sugar? Deadpool is right, there's a bet on who's gonna try and kill the little brat first."
Piotr chuckled appreciatively, then asked, "What did Remy mean about a hotel?"
"Oh. Uh, it's kind of a unwritten tradition. Senior prom." Bobby sighed. "You get a hotel room, and uh, everybody's leaving for college and stuff. So if you and your girl...haven't...it's the big night. And since you and Kitty and me and Rogue can't, Remy was being a jackass."
"Ah." Piotr rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I meant to speak to you about this..."
The ballroom was decorated, full of loud music and louder teenagers.
Scott and Jean used to chaperone the dances, and take a couple of turns around the floor themselves.
Jean was dead.
Scott's last duty of the night was to make sure Piotr's vodka didn't end up in the wrong hands, or the punchbowl, and then he was going as far away from the ballroom as he could get.
And if he borrowed some vodka, he was sure Piotr wouldn't mind.
When he walked into the kitchen, the only teenager getting into the vodka was the one who was allowed to. Piotr was sitting at the table in his tuxedo, tie undone, bottle and shot glass in front of him.
Scott checked the level in the bottle.
"My last school dance," Piotr explained. "Counts as a special occasion?"
"Nazdrov'ya." Piotr saluted him with the shot glass and knocked back the vodka, tilting his head and squeezing his eyes shut as he swallowed. "Ahhh..." he sighed, as he put the cap back on the bottle and slid it across the table to Scott's waiting hand. "And I am not driving tonight."
"That's good. Isn't Kitty waiting for you?"
"Other way around. Minor hair emergency, I am given to understand."
Scott hadn't intended to interfere...but as long as he had Piotr here... "I heard you have reservations at the Old Stone Inn tonight. And a room."
Piotr straightened up. "I give you my word nothing improper will happen."
"I trust you, Piotr. I know you love Kitty very much. And I know that both of you are more mature than most kids your age. But you're putting yourself in the path of some serious temptation here. And I need to know that you're prepared. For if your resolve fails."
Piotr met his gaze evenly. It was hard for Scott to tell, with the lack of visual clues, but he thought the young Siberian was blushing slightly.
"Yes," he said quietly. "It's part of taking care of Katya, to be prepared. But she is still underage, and I assure you, sir, my conscience will be our chaperone. I do not intend to do anything in that room we do not do here...just with a bit more privacy."
Scott smiled a little wistfully. Given the size of the Xavier mansion and grounds, and the relatively small number of people living here, it could be remarkably difficult to find a quiet corner.
"All right then," Scott said simply. "Have fun."
"Peter? Sorry I took so long." Kitty Pryde was standing in the doorway. Piotr stood up so fast he nearly knocked his chair over.
The sixteen year old girl was wearing a spaghetti strapped celadon green gown encrusted with an intricate arabesque of pewter seed beads. Her chestnut brown hair was piled on top of her head in a complicated froth of curls, with two ringlets coming down to frame her face. A single black pearl on a silver chain dropped into her cleavage, drawing attention.
"You're beautiful," Piotr breathed, going to her.
"You don't look half bad yourself," she dimpled, reaching up on tiptoe for her kiss.
Ah. Young love. "Hey Pete."
The boy turned, and Scott reached up, and did up his bow tie for him. "Go on, you're missing your dance."
He patted the tall boy's shoulder, and watched the young couple leave. Still troubled. Piotr was a proud young man, with a bit of an inferiority complex.
Not so much of a contradiction as it sounded.
He set himself impossibly high standards. Jean had told him once that it was a subconscious decision on Piotr's part, a desire to return to a normal code of ethical behavior after growing up the way he did in the mafiya.
On some level, Piotr believed that if he wasn't Good, he'd be Evil. After meeting his friend Irina, who the children had found refuge with after Stryker's attack. Scott knew where Piotr had learned that from. Irina was a frighteningly self-possessed young woman.
Piotr believed that he could keep his romance with Kitty chaste until she was of legal age.
Piotr was a teenage boy with a healthy libido.
Kitty was a teenage girl with a healthy libido.
And despite what the anti-mutant bigots claimed, they were both only human.
"You have to let them make their own mistakes, Scott. You can't protect them from growing up."
Jean's voice. As clear and as close as if she was standing beside him. His hand tightened on the neck of the vodka.
He'd buy Piotr a new bottle for graduation.
It was a quieter school dance than usual, and not quite a normal senior prom. Given the relatively small size of the student body, all of the kids who wanted to were allowed to attend. Usually only the teens and preteens bothered. And a few of them had been removed from the school by protective parents after Stryker's raid.
They danced, drank fruit punch, and around nine Piotr, Kitty, Bobby, and Rogue left the mansion in the green Jaguar the school used for Driver's Ed.
Kitty felt very elegant and sophisticated, all dressed up and going out for dinner at a four star restaurant. And on the arm of the handsomest man in the world. Piotr in a tuxedo was the stuff every teenage girl daydreamed about.
They were seated at a table facing the wall sized fieldstone fireplace large enough to roast an ox that gave the Inn the name.
Peter even pulled her chair out for her. Bobby was starting to sit, and hurried over to do the same for Rogue. She smirked at him, then drawled to Kitty, "We're dating such refined gentlemen."
"They certainly know how to treat a lady. This is the fanciest place I've ever been to. You know how many kids end up at McDonald's or something?"
"Hey! It's fun to show up at McDonald's in formal wear," Bobby protested. "We're gonna have to get used to dressing funny in public anyway."
The menus arrived, delivered by a waiter who wasn't really hiding good natured amusement at the party of teenagers trying so very hard to be all grown up.
Kitty noted there was an interesting vegetarian section, then spotted something else. "Ooh, look, Peter. They have Royal Caviar for appetizers."
Left out of the private joke, Bobby snorted. "And speaking of McDonald's, you could feed all four of us for what you're gonna pay for what, two tablespoons of that?"
Kitty had a mushroom bisque, spring greens salad, and herbed risotto with an asparagus torte. The gourmet vegetarian menu surprised her, even in trendy Westchester it could be tough to find dining options.
Piotr had lobster bisque, the same salad and a filet mignon with herbed new potatoes and a lentil-corn medley.
Bobby had the New England clam chowder, proclaiming himself an expert on chowder and wanting to see if it measured up to the family recipe. He had caeser salad and crab cakes with julienne carrots, snap peas and straw mushrooms.
Rogue took southwestern chicken stew, spinach salad with a vinaigrette, and duck in red wine sauce, with garlic mashed potatoes and glazed carrots and raisins.
"Might as well live it up tonight, the three of us are going to be living on ramen noodle for a while," she sighed.
Piotr shrugged and took a sip of his mineral water. "I've had worse."
"I'm really gonna miss you guys," Kitty sighed.
"Xavier's is still home," Bobby said quietly. "We'll be back."
Kitty looked at the pattern woven into the tablecloth, and at the centerpiece. Bobby hadn't heard from his parents since the Pyro incident on the front lawn. She suddenly felt like a spoiled brat for feeling jealous and lonely that her friends were going on to college without her.
Piotr took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "And we will have our weekends."
The first course arrived, and they switched to less emotionally charged dinner conversation.
"So what are you gonna study at the Art And Design Institute, Pete? How do they teach art, anyway? If you've got the talent for it, isn't that it?" Rogue asked.
"Hah. It is more than that, Rogue. It is about refining your technique and developing your own vision as an artist, your style. And you study other disciplines. I am already a fair hand at painting, but I will be taking classes in sculpture and photography as well. We will also study the masters, the history of great artists and great art. It is very exciting. I never dreamed I would be granted such an opportunity."
"You surely deserve it, Pete. One day we'll be seeing your paintings in a museum," Rogue sighed. Piotr smiled, but shook his head. She continued, "I just wish I could decide on a major."
"Pick something boring and practical like accounting, like I did," Bobby suggested.
Rogue just shrugged.
They gossiped a little about other kids at school, about Miss Munroe and the new blue German guy, Mister Wagner, who had chaperoned the dance together. The girls thought there was some romantic interest there, the boys hadn't noticed.
They had a wonderful dinner, fine food and good companionship. They were lingering over the remains of their selections from the dessert cart, having already paid the check.
Piotr had a bit of chocolate fondant at the corner of his mouth. Kitty reached over and dabbed it up with a fingertip, offering it to him. Piotr licked it clean.
Rogue knew she should look away, but she was riveted.
Watching Piotr's tongue flick out to touch Kitty's fingertip. Kitty and Piotr were looking into each other's eyes so deeply, shutting out the rest of the world. And then Piotr slowly sucked her fingertip, up to the first joint, then released it, to just barely touch her French Polished fingernail with the edge of the tip of his tongue.
It was the most erotic thing Rogue had ever seen in her life.
Didn't surprise her much when they excused themselves and a moment later she saw them go upstairs.
"Peter took a room tonight?"
"Tough to find privacy at school. A nice comfy bed to stretch out on and smooch," Bobby scraped his fork through what remained of his cheesecake, making patterns with the raspberry sauce. "I, uh, got a room too."
Rouge looked away. "Bobby..."
"We don't want to go home too early. Rogue...Marie...I just want to spend some time alone with you? Please? I...have a surprise."
Rogue sighed softly. They'd managed to kiss. She had to be very careful. Just being together...without being together...was maddening enough. She didn't understand why Bobby wanted to torment themselves with what they couldn't do. But it would be nice to have a little time alone, without the constant stream of students and teachers passing by.
She let Bobby lead her upstairs. The room was lovely, but it was the assortment of packages on the foot of the bed that caught her attention. "Bobby? What is this, Bobby? Long underwear...long...silk...underwear?"
Bobby was blushing. "We don't have to...not if you aren't ready...but, see, the thing is...it's not that we can't have sex. We just have to have really really really safe sex. As in, only one of us can be naked at a time."
"Bobby darlin' you are a genius!"
Latex gloves. Long sleeved silk turtlenecks...she could draw the neck up over her mouth and chin. Ankle length pants. Silk. So her skin would be completely covered...with cloth as thin as cobweb.