Author's Note: Happy birthday Too Late – one year old today! Good grief…

Chapter fifty-five: Burning Love

Bobby couldn't help but cringe as the sporty car he was a passenger in skidded round yet another corner. Next to him, Jamie arched an eyebrow.

"I have done rally driving before you know," he assured the ice mutant. "And I've been driving since I was ten."

"That's reassuring," Bobby mumbled. Sighing wearily he glanced out the window at the passing scenery. "Do you think he's gonna…I mean…"

"He doesn't need his power to start a house fire," Jamie replied dryly. Bobby frowned heavily, closing his eyes and tilting his head back against the headrest.

"Is that why you dragged me along? Fire fighting?"

"The way I remember it I didn't need to drag you," Jamie replied lightly before taking a serious tone. "No, if he's having parent issues I don't want him to get distracted from them by seeing me and…" he let a slight sigh escape his lips. "I'll admit there is still a little part of me that would rather he never saw you again but I know that's just being unreasonable. He still thinks the world of you and I would never want to take that away from him."

A small smile pulled at Bobby's lips. He opened his eyes and glanced over at the other mutant.

"Thank you."

Jamie returned the glance briefly, returning the friendly smile before a more mischievous one took over his lips.

"Well I'd rather he came running to you if we fight than Mystique. She'd kick my ass even if John started it."

"And who says I wouldn't kick your ass?" Bobby arched an eyebrow. Jamie laughed heartily.

"Oh come on, we both know I would wipe the floor with you."

Bobby just chuckled slightly and rolled his eyes, returning his gaze to the surroundings. A thoughtful expression took over his face as he noticed the fields and grasslands slip away into houses. They must be getting close…

"I thought John didn't know where his parents were?" Bobby said, frowning slightly. Jamie sighed.

"So did I," he replied. "Mystique found them once but she decided not to tell John. She only told me so I could keep him well away from them."

Bobby nodded slowly.

"He must be feeling really bad before he'd go and see them," he muttered. Jamie just stayed silent.

Finally Jamie drew the car to a stop in a quiet little suburban street, a line of houses down one side of the road with a hill on the other side, a gentle slope leading to a summit almost as high as the houses opposite. The multiplying mutant looked up at the house next to him to check the number.

"That must be it there," he pointed to a house a few doors down. Sighing quietly, he shut off the engine and turned to the ice mutant. "At least it's not smouldering. Shall we?"

Bobby nodded apprehensively and joined Jamie in clambering out the car. Slowly the two made their way down the street, both pausing as they got to the bottom of the drive of the house in question.

"Eh…" Bobby frowned slightly. "Now what? Just walk up and knock on the door?"

Jamie too frowned.

"I guess so," he shrugged, turning to head up the path. Inhaling sharply he raised a hand and rang the doorbell, Bobby hovering behind him. The two stood for a couple of minutes before Jamie rang the bell again. Still no reply. The multiplying mutant raised an eyebrow, stepping back to look over the house more thoroughly. "I suppose I could always go in and have a look around…"

"What?" Bobby looked horrified, but Jamie just laughed.

"Don't worry Iceman, I've done this kinda thing before," he glanced around his surroundings. "Maybe you should wait out here," he waved his phone at the ice mutant. "Call me if anyone shows up."

Bobby just nodded and turned to head back down the path. He looked up to the slope opposite, deciding to take shelter under one of the many trees where he would be able to see the house and anyone approaching. Quickly he made his way up the hill, looking back at the house apprehensively. Where the hell was John?

x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x

Jamie smirked as the sharp beep confirmed he had de-activated the security system. He hadn't lost his touch…

Slowly the multiplying mutant made his way through the downstairs hallway into what appeared to be the lounge area, his eyes immediately drawn to the photographs on the wall. He frowned slightly as he looked at the pictures, casting his eyes over the numerous photos of what appeared to be a happy couple and an infant daughter. Was he even in the right house?

Giving a slight sigh he turned towards the coffee table, noticing a small stack of unopened mail. Picking up the top letter he glanced over the address label. Mr D. Allerdyce. Arching an eyebrow he cast one last look over the pictures before turning to head for the stairs. May as well have a proper look around…

x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x

Bobby sighed heavily and tilted his head back, gazing up at the sky through the tree leaves above him. Frowning slightly he looked back down, casting his eyes over the house, studying for any signs of the intruder he knew to be in there but there was no sign of him. The ice mutant inhaled in order to sigh again but a slight movement to the left caught his attention. What would have been a weary sigh became one of relief as Bobby saw John slump down against the tree just along from him, pulling his lighter from his pocket, flicking it open and shut absently. Slowly the ice mutant made his way over to John, sitting down carefully beside him. John glanced up at him only briefly before returning his attention to his lighter.

"You know, I was half expecting the house to be on fire when we got here," Bobby said softly after a few moments of silence. He frowned slightly as John did not reply. "You're parents aren't home by the way."

"I know," John finally replied, his eyes still fixed on the lighter flame. "They're at the park."

"The park?" Bobby arched an eyebrow. John frowned heavily.

"Yeah, the park," he muttered. "With my new little sister."

"Sister?" Bobby's eyes widened. "Your parents had another baby?"

John laughed dryly and nodded.

"Yeah – she's about one. I asked around - according to the neighbours she's their first child," the lighter continued to be flicked open and shut although neither noticed that with each flick the flame grew slightly bigger. A disgruntled sigh escaped John's lips. "They never took me to the Goddamn park."

Bobby's expression softened as he looked across at John, the other males face contorted with an angry frown.

"Is that why you haven't done anything?" Bobby asked gently. "Because of the girl?"

John's frown somehow deepened.

"I was all ready to go marching in there and yell and kick and scream and burn them to the ground and…" still neither noticed the lighter's small flame flare up. "I had a speech all worked out in my head about how it was their fault I screw everything up and that they were wrong and someone can love me and that the blood on my hands is on theirs too and…" the fire mutant still did not notice the flame from his lighter flare up as he shut his eyes tightly but this time Bobby did. A concerned frown pulled on his face as John continued. "And then they came out the door pushing a buggy and they were laughing and smiling and…I never saw my dad smile, I never…"

Suddenly a torrent of fire shot towards the houses opposite them, the flames quickly taking hold of the Allerdyce household.

"John!" Bobby leapt to his feet, instinctively reaching his hands out to try and douse the flames. "John, Jamie's in there!"

The torrent dissipated, the fire mutant's eyes widening in horror.

"Wh…Jamie?"

"He woke up, he went into the house to see if there was any sign of you," Bobby explained quickly, running towards the street. John stood, rooted to the spot for a moment before quickly running after Bobby. He tried to douse the flames he could see but only seemed to manage to make them bigger. The fire mutant cried out as the fire licked at his arm, burning through his shirt. Bobby spun round, quickly icing over the burnt skin, pushing John back. "You stay out here."

"But Bobby! I…"

"You're power will come back slowly and sporadically," Bobby explained quickly but gently. "Think of how it developed. You can't control it yet."

John just bowed his head, clutching at his arm as Bobby iced over and ran into the house. The panic inside him swelled as he looked back up at the house. His eyes widened in horror as the fire too swelled, flames licking out the window, and for a brief moment John saw Taylor in front of him again, the flames around him growing the more John screamed…

"Jamie…" the name slipped off his lips as he backed away from the fire, never taking his eyes off the house. For what felt like an eternity he just stood at the foot of the path, gaze fixed on the door, trying to contain his panic but it was a losing battle. The fire in the doorway previously cleared by the ice mutant flared up again, blocking the exit with a wall of flame. His breath caught as ice started to form round the doorway, Bobby appearing through the fire. A knot tightened in John's stomach at the sight of the lone mutant but a relieved sigh escaping his lips as Jamie appeared behind the ice mutant, coughing and spluttering but standing. A smile pulled on John's lips as the two made their way towards him but the frown returned as Jamie swayed unsteady.

"Jamie!"

Bobby spun round, catching the multiplying mutant as he fell. He ushered John back as the pyrokinetic rushed forward.

"It's ok, it's just the heat," Bobby heaved the older mutant up. "Stubborn bastard wouldn't let me help him though," he frowned slightly as the sound of sirens grew closer. "Come on. Let's get the hell outa here."

x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x

John desperately fought the urge to pull out his lighter as he led Bobby into the run down motel room that had become his temporary shelter. He hung back to close the door as Bobby crossed the room and lay Jamie down on the nearest of two single beds.

"He'll be ok," the ice mutant turned to John, a reassuring smile on his face. "He just needs rest. I think he's still weak from being out for so long before."

John nodded meekly, tearing his eyes from the multiplying mutant to give Bobby a grateful smile.

"Thanks Bobby," he said quietly. Bobby smiled and approached the smaller mutant.

"It's ok. Now," he cupped his hand over the fire mutant's cheek to keep his gaze. "How are you?"

John opened his mouth but shut it again quickly. He laughed quietly and shook his head, knowing Bobby wouldn't take I'm fine for an answer…

"I don't know," he admitted. "I just…it's all just…"

Bobby nodded understandingly as John waved his hands randomly.

"Well you know if you need to talk…" he paused to allow the fire mutant to nod before pulling away. "Anyway. How did you get here?"

"I have a car. It's down the road from…" John's face contorted into a scowl.

"Do you want me to go get it for you?" Bobby offered. "Unless you guys are coming back to the mansion we'll both need a car."

John nodded slowly.

"Yeah I guess," he delved into his pocket and pulled out the keys. "Thanks."

"No problem," Bobby smiled and retreated out the room. John sighed heavily and returned his attention to the unconscious mutant. Slowly he made his way over to the bed, gently running his hand over the other mutants arm.

"I'm sorry Jamie," he whispered. "I'm so so sorry…"

x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x

"Mmmmm…"

"Jamie?" John leapt off the other bed and stood over the multiplying mutant, watching intently as he stirred. Slowly Jamie opened his eyes, blinking blearily, his eyes widening slightly as he tried to sit up. John gently eased him back down. "It's ok Jamie, we're in a motel, you're safe."

Jamie settled back down, coughing slightly.

"Ow…" he muttered, raising his hand to his head. John just bit his lip and waited as slowly the older mutant pulled himself into a sitting position, glancing around the room before settling his gaze on John, a faint smile pulling at the corner of his lips. "Hey."

"Hey…" John smiled apprehensively. "I am so sorry Jamie, I didn't mean to…" he inhaled deeply. "Are you ok?"

Jamie paused briefly, looking at the fire mutant thoughtfully.

"I'm cold," he replied. John turned back towards the other bed.

"I'll get you the other blanket."

"I don't want the other blanket."

John stopped and turned. Jamie just smiled as he opened his arms invitingly. A quiet laugh escaped John's lips and slowly he made his way towards the other mutant, clambering gently onto the bed, slipping his arms around Jamie's waist as he sat up further. His breath caught as Jamie's hand cupped under his chin, pulling him carefully forward into a soft, lingering kiss.

"God I've missed you…" Jamie murmured against John's warm lips. John smiled and leant forward for another kiss.

"I've missed you too Jamie, I…" the fire mutant's voice shook slightly. "I just…"

"Shhhh…" Jamie smiled and captured John's lips, silencing him instantly. Pulling away slowly, he tapped on his forehead. "I may not have been awake, but I was in there, somewhere," he brushed his lips softly over John's. "And I was listening to every word."

"Really?" John bowed his head sheepishly. Jamie laughed quietly.

"Really," he tilted the fire mutant's head back up, smirking slightly. "Although some of it's a bit fuzzy. I can't properly remember the end of that really long speech you gave me."

"No?" John tried to keep a straight face but he couldn't help the colour creep up his cheeks. "Well it was a rather long speech, I can't remember everything I said so…"

John let out a startled cry as Jamie just laughed and pulled him up onto his lap, capturing his lips and holding him tightly. The fire mutant melted into the older mutant's embrace, sliding his hands up into his hair as he responded to the deep but tender kiss.

"I love you John," Jamie whispered softly as they slowly parted, running his hands carefully through the fire mutant's hair. John could not keep the broad smile from his lips.

"I love you too Jamie," he replied quietly but definitely, kissing the older mutant softly, brushing their lips together again, and again, and again... "So much…"

x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x

John sighed contentedly as Jamie's hand absently circled his side and waist. Smiling he snuggled back into the taller mutant's embrace.

"So what now?" Jamie whispered in his ear. "Back to the Brotherhood?"

John's eyes widened slightly. He sat up straight and turned to look at Jamie.

"Oh shit, did Mystique send you two looking for me?"

Jamie frowned slightly.

"You haven't called Mystique?" he shook his head and laughed as John bit his lip guiltily. Reaching into his pocket he handed John his mobile. "Call her. Or she'll be after my balls."

John laughed but it was a little apprehensive. Quickly he dialled the shapeshifter's number.

"Hello?"

"…Hey…"

"Well it's about time!" Mystique's attempt at an angry tone was ruined by the relief in her voice. "Baby where the hell have you been?"

"I just…I wanted to…"

"Oh never mind. Are you ok? Is Jamie with you? Iceman?"

John laughed quietly at the multitude of questions.

"I'm fine. Jamie's here with me and Bobby's just gone to fetch my car," he glanced back at Jamie. "We'll be back in a few days."

"A few days?" the shapeshifter's arched eyebrow was audible in her voice.

"Yeah," John replied a little uneasily, a sheepish smile pulling at his lips. "We're just gonna…take a little time out."

"Oh…" Mystique's tone lightened knowingly. "Well you take all the time out you two want. If we really need you we'll call you. I'll just…leave you to it."

"Thanks," John bowed his head slightly. "I am sorry I ran off."

"Hey, we've all done it," Mystique replied reassuringly. "Just stay in touch, ok?"

"Ok," John smiled. "See you later."

"Bye baby."

Jamie smiled as John hung up the phone and turned back to face him.

"Why go chasing after a mother who hurt you so much when you have one waiting for you at the base?" he said softly, reaching out and running a hand through the fire mutant's hair. John smiled ruefully.

"I don't know," he replied honestly. "I just…I was so lonely. Too much time to think I guess."

Jamie nodded understandingly, studying the smaller mutant carefully.

"Do you want to go back? To your parents?"

John frowned thoughtfully before shaking his head.

"No," he shook his head more determinedly. "No. Setting fire to their house wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be. And I certainly don't think I'm able to talk to them."

"Well you know you can speak to me right?" Jamie smiled softly. John nodded, crawling forward to embrace the other mutant but a sharp knock on the door halted him. Both turned to look at the door, pulling apart slightly as Bobby eased the door open.

"Oh," he paused startled at seeing Jamie awake. "Sorry I…" he laughed slightly, smiling at the multiplying mutant. "Good to see you awake again."

"Good to be awake again," Jamie replied. "Thanks Bobby."

Bobby just smiled and delved into his pocket, throwing the car keys back to John.

"Well, I'll leave you two to it," he sighed mockingly. "I'll go get back to marking tests."

Jamie laughed.

"Just watch out for men with wings…"

"Don't start!" Bobby pointed a finger at him warningly. John looked between the two, confused for a moment but quickly shook his head, happy to see the two getting along.

"So…" Jamie tried to look at the keys in John's hands. "Please tell me you have a decent car?"

Bobby couldn't help but laugh out loud.

"It's eh…" he arched an eyebrow. "I don't think it's to your taste."

Jamie screwed up his nose and poked John in the side.

"I need to teach you how to steal a decent car."

"I'm going to pretend I never heard that," Bobby laughed. "Right. I'd better get going. I'll…" he frowned slightly. "I guess I'll see you around."

"Yeah…" John clambered to his feet, wandering to the door with the ice mutant, smiling gratefully. "Thanks Bobby. Really thanks."

Bobby just smiled back and with a quick wave to Jamie retreated out the door. John paused briefly, looking at the empty space before gently shutting the door and turning back to Jamie.

"So…Mystique's not expecting us for a few days?" Jamie arched an eyebrow. John smiled and clambered quickly back onto the bed, reclaiming his spot in his boyfriends arms.

"Yup," he grinned and captured the eager lips in front of him. "So what do you want to do?"

"I don't care," Jamie murmured against the warm lips pressed to his own. "As long as you're there, I'll be happy enough."

John grinned and threw his arms right round Jamie, pulling him back down on top of him.

"I promise…" he whispered. "I'm not going anywhere…"

x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x

Author's Note: THE END!!! Woo hoo! Yup – it's been a long year but it's all over. Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed and stuck with this story, I know it's been a long haul. This was supposed to end at chapter 41 and here we are at chapter 82!

I have got another long story ready to roll – a John and Bobby story and I do mean a John and Bobby. I have several little John and Jamie stories lurking in my brain to keep me amused and keep the other story purely John/Bobby.

Anyway, it's been fun (mostly!) thank you so much for reading and I'll see you at the next story! Bye for now!