Was a Tangerine Birthday Present! Though she's innocent, honest, this was in no way her idea. Thanks to the people-who-know-who-they-are. AlterU-post "Any Kinda Breath", sort of. Most definitely isn't canon KJ Mooks, though done with her kinda-permission. ;)
Warren tries to reach out to Bobby when Remy dies.
WARNING: Slash themes. At least PG:13, strong language, etc.

People Kinda Change
by Lise

I woke up this morning, and I was alone. It's not the end of the world, I know, and it's not unusual, but somehow ... I didn't expect it from him.

I want to laugh at myself. 'I didn't expect it from him'. What kind of a cliche did I walk into, anyway? I went to find him once I woke up, to see where he'd ended up. Maybe he had training; maybe he wanted to make sure no one saw the two of us, naked in my room.

All good possibilities. All ones I would have picked over the truth. I walk into the kitchen, and gulp.

I can't believe it. He's eating Corn Pops out of that stupid Winnie the Pooh plastic bowl, crunching them down like there's no tomorrow. I thought maybe there'd been a mission, or someone had been hurt, or something important at least.

I start off with a grin, "There you are. I was wondering where you went." It was a patented Warren-grin, light, and undemanding, and when had it failed? I thought it was a safe beginning, but apparently I stepped into a no-no boundary somewhere in those two innocent little sentences. The reason I know this is because he looks up at me, and I see an iceberg in his eyes I've never seen before.

It's only a look. A look can't break hearts. He freezes me with his gaze.

I cough, and go over to the counter. My back is to him, at least for a moment, and so I can't see his face ... and for that, I'm glad. I get a small respite from the unfamiliar. I pour a cup of coffee into a mug, and inhale the aroma. That problem done, another arises. Do I sit down, face the stranger at the table, or do I go out of the room?

I choose to sit, because if he were a woman, I would sit.

If he was a woman, he would still have been in bed, and we would be engaged in something far more interesting right now, but that's beside the point.

He doesn't look at me. I drink my coffee, black, and he keeps eating his cereal and reading a book like I'm not even there. Well, this is new. I stare into my cup, and don't think about the warmth that I thought I saw within him last night.

I remember last night, and I know it wasn't a dream. I was giving, oh so giving, and I know that because I never once made him do a thing. I bowed my pride and my head and tried to connect to Bobby, and when it didn't work and we ended up in bed, I tried to connect with his body, hoping his mind would follow. He was hard beneath the sheets, and he issued a moan every once and a while, but ... My god, did he ever smile?

I can't remember if he smiled. Why didn't I notice last night? It might as well have been a dream.

Yesterday started out normal, your every-day run of the mill training and practice session. And then, well, Bobby and I hadn't spent nearly enough time together, so I offered to take him out for a nice dinner, some time away from the mansion.

Would I have seen a strange look on his face if I'd looked hard enough? Maybe I didn't want to, maybe I was stubborn enough to get the old Warren'nBobby back that I never saw what was really there. It's all water under the bridge, when you come down to it. We ended up in bed, that much must be obvious. If you asked me, I don't actually know who initiated. Normally, I wouldn't hesitate and say I did. But Bobby ... well, he's changed, hasn't he?

Bobby might have initiated. It might have been his hand, reaching out oh so hesitantly for my shoulder, instead of the other way around. He might have whispered, 'Warren, I'm so lonely right now ... I don't know what to do without him. I can barely believe he's gone...'

Is that my ego talking? I don't really believe that Bobby would have come to me, of all people, to ease the pain of loss. So no, it must have been me. Bobby wouldn't have risked everything we could get back by doing something like last night. That's more like me.

I was really hoping to get some quality bonding done. Whether I'll admit it or not, I miss him. Dinner seemed innocent.

A lot of things seemed innocent. Bobby does. He looks just like he's always looked, eating from that stupid bowl. I sneak a glance at him, just in case he's looking at me, or looking away, or looking...

But he's just eating his damned cereal.

I just ran out of coffee to drink. I can look into the bottom of my cup, and see ceramic. Now what? Do I refill it, and in doing so, get up and interrupt Bobby's breakfast? Do I try to find out why he wasn't there when I woke up this morning, or do I simply go away?

The sheets were so cold, like ice. I was curled up on one side of the bed, like if Betts were there, and his half was empty, and somehow, the chill from his half had made its way onto mine. And it followed him out into the kitchen this morning, because I can feel it in my bones right now when I look at him.

When did Bobby get so cold? He was never like this before.

What would I want, if I were Bobby? I'm sitting here, in a cold kitchen at the table with a one-night stand, and I just lost the love of my life to cancer. I'm angry as hell, withdrawn, and just shared a magical experience with one of my best friends.

Hell, what do I want?

"I think ... well, I think we should talk about it, Bobby." There, I said something. At least I'm not staring at my cup, and wishing he was looking at me. I try and ignore the subtle increase in my heartbeat, and the trembling in my stomach. It's just because I'm hungry. This is just to get it out into the open, where we can joke and laugh about it like always.

"Talk about what?"

That was said with a mouthful of sugary junk, nonchalant as hell. Bobby didn't even look up when he said it. The potency is in what he didn't say, even though it's crystal clear, all those flat cliches about casual sex, just sex, nothing to discuss, no friendly touches in the morning. He didn't even look up when he ... God. I don't want to be sick at the kitchen table. I think I'd better leave.

I move to go out of the room, but turn slightly, to look at him and his face before I leave. I didn't see the hardness there last night, but I must have been stupid not to have. Anyone could see those wrinkles, that...

That's still just Bobby's face -- I'm just imagining the horrible changes. He didn't really just say that. Bobby never would have said that. Any minute now, he'll come over and laugh, and punch me in the arm, and say, 'Hey Warren, calm down, I was just hungry, and you sleep like the dead...' I could handle that, I know. I wasn't hoping for anything else.

He puts his bowl in the sink, and rinses out the milk casually. I can't stop glancing his way from the doorway. He passes me on his way to his room, and he doesn't touch me, doesn't brush up against me as he does.

He didn't even smile.

That twist of his lips isn't a smile, the way the corners droop down even as his eyes twinkle a little bit.

I don't think I ever saw Bobby without a smile, back in the old days. I owe him a lot, both from those times, and from recently. I know he hated how things have been lately. How painful it must have been for him, I can't even begin to guess. I wanted to help, I really did.

I really care about him. I just want to know what's going on, but I guess I overshot that one.

All those little signs -- were they there, and I just didn't see them? Or did he change over night? Am I blind? I didn't notice anything different, anything ... wrong. I thought that maybe last night had helped, a little bit. He seemed more cheerful, certainly. Most people in my bed are, but nothing is ... I mean, how can I explain...

I can't even guess what's going through his head. I used to be able to read Bobby Drake like an open book. A picture book, even.

The only thing I'm getting now is smugness. But Bobby Drake is never smug -- maybe when he's playing video games, perhaps in a snowball fight. I didn't even know Bobby could wear that when it came to being with someone. I've never seen him want to.... I don't know. He's rubbing my face in something, and I have no idea what. He's never been smug before.

He never was with Remy.

So. I'm hiding out in the War Room, and Bobby's God knows where, and this morning I woke up, expecting him to be beside me. That face in sleep I've seen a thousand times, I know his sleeping face. And instead, I got a cold bed, a colder shoulder, and it doesn't matter, really and honestly, but I don't know where Bobby's gone.

Because that's not Bobby. Bobby isn't like that. I know Bobby. He's not ... not...

And now he's coming towards me. I missed him coming through the door, I was so deep in thought. I almost wish I could scrunch down into the chair, but first off, my wings are too big, and second of all, it's just not Warren-like to face away from anything that's scary and painful and surprising and might hurt like hell.

He wanders over to me, and I swear, I can't read his face. The dark circles under his eyes -- were those really there last night? Last week? The whole year? I couldn't tell you. His eyes are red, but I don't know if that's from lack of sleep, or crying, or illness, or something else. I opened my eyes this morning, and instead of my friend, I found a stranger.

I try and brace myself for a possible shoot down, but it just doesn't work. I can't be wary around him. Aside from the cold demeanor, it's still Bobby's face, still Bobby's mouth, still Bobby's...

Those aren't Bobby's eyes, but everything else is the same.

He says to me coolly, "I'm sorry if you had any misconceptions about last night, Warren."

What a line. I couldn't have said it better myself. I'd expect it of me. I never expected it from him, even though logically, I knew it was coming. I swallow, and shake my head. Those aren't Bobby's eyes. Bobby isn't like this. He doesn't have this casual approach to sex. I might. I often do. Bobby takes it seriously. He didn't once cheat, or even think of cheating, on the love of his life. It never crossed his mind.

Sex means something to Bobby Drake.

He continues. "Obviously, I've been going through a lot recently. I think I might have jumped the gun. You understand." He rubs a hand through his hair, and I think I see the circles under his eyes get bigger. It must be terrible to be him. I remember back to when Betsy almost died, and while things aren't ... aren't the same as before with her, it's still tough to think about.

But sex means something to Bobby Drake. He might not be able to handle the idea, but he can't just brush off last night like it was nothing, because I know it has to be something to him.

To his unspoken request to drop the subject, for now and possibly forever, I nod. "Of course. Listen, I know last night wasn't maybe ... the best idea, but you know ... I'm here for you, Bobby."

Only now does he smile, and I think it's colder than the blank face he was using before. "Warren. Thanks."

But the words are hollow, and I know he won't talk to me anymore. Bobby can't think that last night was nothing. He just...

How do you get from sweet and innocent to this? And why on earth did I think that dinner would solve anything. I don't want to see him hurting like that, but I guess there's not much I can do, is there? I tried so hard. I sigh, and he leaves the same way he came. The same person that came in.

But that's not the Bobby I know.


That about sums it up, I think. Yep. That'll do.

I want to kill him, but I can't. That's not me, and I won't let it be me. I won't go that route, no matter how much I want to wipe that happy smile off his sleeping face.

What right does he have to be happy about life?

I burn inside, slowly, and it's eating me up. I look at him, naked, and I look at me, naked too, and I feel so sick inside that I almost want to kill myself instead. I don't believe this happened, at least I don't want to.

I still want to kill him. It would be so easy, to grasp his perfect throat and squeeze the breath out, just take out everything on him. He seduced me last night. He played on my loneliness and my grief and he got me into bed for a one-night stand.

How utterly, perfectly Warren. I hate him, and I hate me, because we're in bed together, and even though it's almost six in the morning I can't get back to sleep because I hate us so much.

I get out of his bed. I might as well. Finding my discarded clothing is almost too easy. I almost go into our ... my room, to change, but having to face the ghosts in there is too much to bear. Remy's fingerprints are everywhere in there, and I just can't look him in the eyes this morning. Yes, I know he's dead, and it's just figurative, but being in there will just remind me of what a bastard I am for cheating on him.

It must be cold this morning because I'm in nothing but boxers and a tee-shirt, but I don't honestly feel it. It's strange, but I don't. I used to notice warmth and heat, but I don't seem to need it anymore.

Maybe I don't want it anymore.

I still feel sick. In some bizarre way, I decide that cereal will help, Remy's favorite. I go into the kitchen, anywhere to get out of Warren's sight, and get a bowl down. It happens to be my Winnie the Pooh bowl, back from the days of the Five. It doesn't really matter what I eat from; it's all the same food going into the same wavery stomach.

It's being absorbed by the same blood, feeding the same body, allowing me to flourish in the world.

It's quite quiet this early. I count my blessings that Scott isn't around -- he'd probably say something gentle and understanding, and make me want to hit him for being so goddamned balanced about the whole thing. Yes, he understands loss. Yes, I know he's here for me. Shut the fuck up already, Scotty. He doesn't want me on active duty for 'a while yet', and it's starting to bug me. I can hold my own with the team, and I'm still able to keep up, even if it's not in top form. I don't need 'grief leave', for crying out loud. I still have my sense of humor, I'm not fragile. Remy's the one that died, not me.

Saints. It's enough to drive a man to another man's bed.

I know eventually Warren's going to come down here, and I'm going to hurt him as soon as I open my mouth. Part of me doesn't want to, remembering how kind he tried to be last night, but most of me just remembers his sneer when he first came back and found out that Remy was sick. His attitude didn't change much, until the bitter end.

I know he wanted to help, especially in the last few weeks. I won't say it's to try and clean his conscience -- that would be petty ... but Warren, old buddy, it was far too little, far too late.

And here he is, playing with the coffee, drinking it. I can see him trying to decide what he wants to say. I barely even look at him. I'm trembling with rage -- this is new. He dared to even consider the possibility that I might want him, now that Remy's gone, and it blinds me with anger, that presumption. I took it, too. I looked into his eyes, and didn't find anything I was looking for, only emptiness. But I spent the night with him.

It doesn't feel as important as it did earlier this morning.

He tried so hard last night to be giving, and I know it. I see it in his eyes this morning, he's trying to crucify himself for me, and I'm so grateful for the attempt, really I am.

I just don't believe him, and I don't believe myself.

Warren, oh Warren, so you think we should talk about it, eh? What should we talk about? The way you offered yourself to me as solace, and I took it, wanting to show you emptiness, just to connect with someone with the only thing I've got left? How Remy died in my arms, and we never got married, never went to the beach one last time? How I never talk about him, because I'm still angry with him?

"Talk about what?" The tone surprises even me, but I don't really care anymore. His face falls, mine stays impassive. I can't believe you did this, Warren, and I can't believe I did this. I want to apologize, but only a little bit. I know he deserves some of this, and so does he. It's in his eyes.

What's in mine?

Yes, this is about enough of old Bobby and Warren, sitting in the kitchen, hurt and angry and not speaking. I don't understand him at all, so I just rinse my bowl out and leave. I can feel his eyes watching me, trying to dissect me and figure out what I'm thinking. Good luck to you, buddy.

I don't care what you see anymore.

I go upstairs, have a shower, and try to rinse away Warren's smell from my body on all the places he kissed. I realized that I was enjoying what he did to me last night, and it makes me feel even sicker.

I get out of the scalding water to dry heave over the toilet.

It's a good thing no one heard that. I'd have Hank all over me for the next week, and that can really ruin a guy's fun.

I dry off, get dressed, and decide to go find the bastard before he goes off somewhere and starts crying -- mustn't have that. I don't want Scott to ask me what's wrong, or Jean to try and analyze, or something.

He's in the War Room, playing Brave Little Trooper Against Mean Scary Friend-Turned-Meany. But I know how fake you are, Wings.

I don't know what words I use, but I think they're fairly polite and calm. I just want him to understand that this is NEVER happening again. I'll kill him for sure, if it does. I don't want anyone to make me feel good like that unless his name's Remy. His lower lip is trembling I think, and a pang goes through my chest. If it were only that simple -- fuck, and then the world's alright again.

That's how you play things, isn't it Wings?

I'm not as angry as I was. It really shouldn't be that big of a deal, and I don't want to make something a big deal when it's not. That's why I let the anger drip away at Warren's pity fuck. That's all it was, and it was supposed to make him feel better, plain and simple.

It's not that simple. Don't get any ideas. I'm not going to let Warren Worthington the III give of himself so he can cleanse the past with Remy LeBeau. Things just don't work that way. I'm not interested in taking your comfort, and I'm not interested in being involved with you.

I guess he can read my eyes, if not my lips, because he looks at me strangely. His expression makes me look in the mirror on the wall, and I'm surprised to find my face.

That's just me, staring. That's just my nose, just my lips, and just my eyes. I feel like me. I don't feel any different, and for some reason, that's even more wrong. I should be ... changed, somehow. But I'm just me.

I miss Remy so much I want to die at least half the days I'm still here, I want to put a fist in Warren's face for expecting that he could ease my pain.

He offers me a friend. An ear, a shoulder. I smile, knowing what it really is. I'm too tired to hit him, and it's just not that important, so I just say, "Thanks," and leave.

I almost want to break down and cry, because he'll never be able to understand, but it's not quite possible anymore. I physically felt Warren's hands on me, and I felt the tears hovering behind my eyes because he wasn't Remy, but they didn't come. I didn't want to feel happier because he touched me, but for a fleeting moment -- own up to your sin, Bobby -- I did.

And it's burning in my gut. I can feel emotions, like fog, but I'm not going to cry because Warren's not Remy.

I cried at the funeral, and that was enough.

-(main) - (biography) - (discussion) - (stories) - (pictures) - (links) - (updates)-