Author's Notes -
I don't own these characters, and no copyright infringement is intended here.
Thank you to Denisia for beta testing
"Of course we have every reason to be here. It's like on St. Patrick's Day, right – everyone's Irish on March 17, sooo…" Jubilee began.
"So…what does that mean? Everyone's gay today?" Bobby quipped. "Or, oh, excuse me – everyone's LGBT today. Or whatever crazy term this community's using right now," he added, muttering.
Eight X-men sat at an outdoor café on a warm day in June, directly on the route of the annual Pride Parade. Northstar had powerful connections; he was friends with the owner and had gotten the group this prime piece of real estate so the group could have a front row seat at the festivities.
Joining Bobby, Jubilee, and Northstar were Rogue, Gambit, Hank, Jean, and Cyclops. Cyclops's presence had raised an eyebrow or two. Northstar told himself that it must be the result of Jean's regular suggestions that Scott ease up and spend more time with the others as a friend instead of as their leader. Northstar shifted his gaze from Cyclops to the man he was now dating. Bobby was biting his lip and looking nervously around. Northstar wasn't sure who looked more uncomfortable, Cyclops or Bobby.
Northstar placed his hand on Bobby's and was about to respond to his lover's comment when the waiter approached to take their drink orders. The waiter apologized for taking so long to reach their table, but the café was so packed with parade-goers that nobody could be annoyed with him. Bobby removed his hand from Northstar's to pick up the menu again and the team members ordered their drinks.
"Okay, I don't get it," Bobby began again, leaning into the table once the waiter had departed. "There's gotta be 2,000 lesbians in town today. Why do they all have the same three haircuts??" His comment provoked a few smiles from the others and a giggle from Jubilee.
Hank shrugged. "Regardless of your opinion of this community's taste in hairstyles, my friend, I must say that I am enjoying myself. Rarely am I able to partake in a day in public without experiencing harassment, and yet no one has hassled me in the least today."
"That's probably because you can't compete with drag queens in feather boas – or the Dykes on Bikes," Bobby remarked. "You look downright normal today. If I were you, I'd go to more Pride events."
"C'mon now, sugar," Rogue began. She looked content in the day's heat. "If I didn't know you, I'd think you were a touch homophobic."
"Me? Can't be," Bobby responded. With a bit too much enthusiasm he added, "I'm sitting right next to my handsome boyfriend!"
Northstar returned the smile. Five months they had been together now. He was Bobby's first male lover. "There are plenty of people here not wearing feather boas or leather," Northstar said. "In fact, I think there's a gay investment banker group here as well."
"Really? That I'd like to see."
The waiter soon returned to the table with the group's drink orders. "Here we go," he said, setting the drinks down. "Three beers, one diet Coke, one regular Coke, one sweet tea for the lovely lady with the stripe in her hair, water with lemon, and a wine cooler."
Jubilee eagerly reached for her wine cooler, thrilled to not have been carded. She ignored the warning look that Cyclops gave her, knowing that he was going to ensure that she had no more than one of the forbidden beverages today.
"So, you're all mutants, right?" the waiter asked. "Queer mutants?"
"No, just me and him," Bobby quickly replied, tilting his head towards Northstar. "I mean, we're all mutants but, um, he and I are the only gay ones."
"We're allies though," Rogue added. She turned to Northstar. "Do ya like the way I picked up the term?"
Northstar returned her smile. "I do. It is good to have allies."
The waiter added, "I wonder if someday there'll be a Mutant Pride parade. You can show the world how many of you there are and how diverse you are. Why not?"
"Dat is a wonderful idea," Gambit replied.
Bobby flopped down onto the hotel room's bed. He tossed his sandals onto the floor. "What a day."
Northstar surveyed the room – it was large and its furnishings conveyed a crisply modern feel. He was glad they had decided to splurge on this treat for after the Parade. He then walked towards the side of the bed and slowly sat down next to his boyfriend. Many thoughts swirled around his head. `Am I pushing it too fast?' he wondered. `He hasn't been out that long. Things that look normal to me might really have been overwhelming for him. Disturbing, even.'
He decided to attempt to make a joke out of it. "Perhaps you are all gay-ed out today, yes?"
Bobby groaned. "Leave the humor to me, okay?"
Northstar smiled. He stroked Bobby's forehead and hair. Despite the warmth of the day, Bobby's skin was still naturally cool.
Northstar didn't know what to do. He wanted to probe a bit, see how his newly out boyfriend really was doing. Talking about emotions and feelings, however, was neither man's strong suit. Northstar wasn't much for confiding in others, either, but he had had lunch with Rogue a few days ago. She had encouraged him to try to open up with Bobby, to have these types of meaningful conversations; she said they would help the relationship grow and deepen. One couldn't argue that with her either, given how well she and Gambit were doing.
"You're hot and sweaty," Bobby noted, tugging at Northstar's T-shirt. "Come on. Let's check out the shower. Then we can test drive the bed."
Northstar wasn't about to argue with that. Deep and meaningful conversations could wait.
Later, the two men lay spooned in bed together. The sheets were satiny. Northstar tightened his arms around Bobby and gently kissed the back of his neck.
"So gentle," Bobby teased. "You weren't quite as gentle a little while ago."
"You liked it that way," Northstar smiled languidly. A memory then resurfaced. "And you are the one who gave me a hickey on our first date!"
Bobby giggled. "That was fun. Seeing everyone's reactions the next day."
"It did not bother you?"Northstar asked.
"Nah. And I would've given anything to see old Cyke's eyes when he saw it."
The two men were silent for a few moments. It had been a long day and their energetic lovemaking had left Northstar pleasantly drained. He felt his eyelids grow heavy and the prospect of sleep felt good.
"Hey, Jean Paul?" Bobby began. His voice took on a more serious tone.
"Nobody minded that we held hands today, did they?"
"No. And I certainly did not mind either."
"That friend of yours who owns the café we ate at? Does he have a boyfriend?"
"Yes. In fact, they have been together for nearly ten years."
"Wanna double date with them sometime?" Bobby asked. "It'd be kinda neat to meet some other gay guys, get to know 'em. And he's a friend of yours; he's gotta be cool."
"He is. His partner is a bit, shall we say, flamboyant though. Will you be okay with that?"
"Yeah," Bobby said. He then added, resolutely. "Yes. I am."