Author Notes: Obviously, I own nothing. I'm also new to ffnet. I'm attempting to write a much larger piece, and this scene popped into my head. It's in keeping with the universe I'm spinning elsewhere, but I figured it can stand alone and will serve as my literary introduction to the site.
Normally, Robert Drake was as cool and calm as his other name, his working name.
Yet, a bare month into his first year of college, as he stared down at the numbers before him, he felt that cool slipping away rapidly. Accounting had seemed like such a sensible major in August when he filled out his class schedule. Now, as numbers, credits and debits swam before his eyes on college ruled notebook paper, he was having second thoughts.
The sound of laminated cardboard rustling against each other from a desk not too far away from where Bobby failed at comprehending Business Math 101, provided both a welcome distraction and another problem.
"Do you have to do that?" He snapped, delighted when the card shuffling paused. "Some of us are trying to study."
Bobby wasn't sure what he thought of the older man. On the one hand, he was a self proclaimed thief and scoundrel, brought to Xavier's months ago through his shady connections to Logan. On the other hand, Rogue threatened to drain him dry if he didn't at least try to get along with her new boyfriend. Ever since their attempt at a romantic relationship disintegrated around them, they'd discovered that an intense friendship was much more suited. He couldn't deny that Rogue had been happier, more extroverted and content since spending more time with the annoying Cajun.
Didn't mean he had to trust the guy though.
The other man made a show of looking around the library carefully, gestures and eyebrows exaggerated before he commented.
"Looks like just the two of us, homme. Wasn't aware the snowflake was in the habit of speaking in plural." He resumed shuffling his ever present playing cards once again, watching Bobby with raised brows and an unreadable expression.
Bobby sputtered a moment before breaking eye contact to look at his textbook again.
"Yeah well, this is hard enough without that sound all the time, ok?"
It wasn't jealousy - at least, not any sort of jealousy over Rogue that set Bobby on edge around the man. He's moved on, found his own relationship, and glad that she'd found someone who made her happy. But the guy was a lot older than his friend - hell, he'd known Logan more'n a dozen years ago. That made him a lot older. And he was a flirt - Bobby was certain that when the older (ancient) man grew bored of his conquest over the untouchable girl, he'd move on and Bobby'd wind up holding his friend's hand through a broken heart.
Bobby hadn't been aware of the silence until Remy broke it.
"Que-ce que vous fait, that's heated your icy temper?" A few deft clicks of his mouse, and Remy's computer screen went blank before he rose to peer over Bobby's shoulder. "Accounting math?"
Without waiting for confirmation, the lanky man pulls a chair beside Bobby and studies the problem more closely.
"Ici. You're forgetting to balance this transaction, open another account to keep track of . . . Que?"
"You understand accounting?" Bobby can't keep the disbelief out of his voice. Remy grins, impishly in return.
"One t'ing this t'ief learnt long ago." He leans back in the chair, hands behind his head as he stares at the ceiling. "You can bypass an alarm, charm a guard, crack a safe. . . Steal as much as you want. But if you can't find a legitimate way to account for the money on paper? That's when you get caught, for true."
Bobby shakes his head, pencil scribbling across the paper as he tries the advice, not as surprised as he would have been moments ago when the numbers add up properly.
The next several problems make more sense under the older man's tutelage, and Bobby begins to actually enjoy his homework. Somewhere he wonders if it would have made sense if his teacher cracked as many jokes while explain the process in the first place.
Another silence descends sometime later while he's working on the last problem, sense of accomplishment as the numbers line up perfectly with the answer in the back of the text. About to whoop for joy at completion, the expression on his companion's face steals it away. With it, the realization dawns that he'd just enjoyed some hours worth in his company.
"Looks like I'll be staying' around for a while. If you need help again, jus' ask, oui?"
All joking is aside on his expression, in his voice. Red on black eyes taking on an intensity Bobby had until this moment associated with the battlefield or training sessions in the Danger Room. He turns to see what's captured the other man's gaze, looking out the large windows of the library and smiling.
Rogue, barefoot, wearing black sweatpants, a white tank top and short black gloves is sparring in the yard with Wolverine. She's flushed, sweating, with a fierce joy lighting her features as she holds her own against her mentor.
"Has he threatened to shish kabob you yet?" Bobby asks, glancing at the other man through the corner of his eye while he gathers up his books.
"Qui? Monsieur Claws?" The other man's voice is distracted, eyes watching every movement of the girl outside.
"Yeah. Logan's fiercely protective of that girl. When we were dating, he threatened to chop me up if I ever broke her heart."
That snaps Remy's attention away from the window, and back on Bobby. The younger man isn't sure if he likes the fact that the same intensity remains, or that Remy's now flipping a card between his fingers.
"You used to date her?"
Trying for nonchalance, Bobby waves his hand dismissively.
"Old news. We're better friends. Just saying." Bobby stands, books under one arm and looks out the window again before speaking. "If you do break her heart? I'll help him."
Whistling off tune to himself, Bobby heads towards the doors of the library, leaving an intense, stunned Cajun behind.
He wasn't such a bad guy after all.