No money. Don't sue.
A Different Kinda Craving
Bobby felt his heart race, pounding against his ribcage in response to the hands caressing his body. It was too much... too wonderful, still. The stimulation overwhelmed him, and it was all he could do to manage a whispered-- "I'm... so glad I came back quick..."
A rough chuckle, then a low murmur from somewhere down, down-- down?? "In a sec y' gon' be a whole lot gladder, mon cher."
"R-Remy... I, uh... I haven't unpacked the... the groceries..."
That same murmur-- "F'get de groceries."
"But... but I got ice cream..."
Something very deliciously cold came to rest against his thigh. "I know dat."
Bobby's eyes widened. How had the man managed to get into the groceries in the moment between ridding Bobby of the bags and wrapping himself impossibly tightly around the younger man on the floor by the front door? "I... see." Actually, he didn't see. He didn't see because his eyes were closing and he was biting his lip to keep from making any sound that might draw more attention than they needed to have right then. "Um... Remy?"
His shirt was pushed up. Lips pressed against his stomach teasingly. "Quoi?"
"I, uh... shouldn't we, y'know... go up to the room...?"
The man's tongue trailed a warm, wet line lightly across his navel. "De room, cher? But it's so... comfy, here..."
Comfy. It was awfully comfy. The throw rug in front of the doorway was delightfully thick, and quite soft, and wonderfully cushy. And that lithe, warm body pressing against him was certainly... nice. Yes, nice. Nice was a good, safe word. Nice didn't mean that he was sprawled at the main entrance of the mansion with his lover teasing him into undeniable arousal. Nice didn't mean...
Nice certainly didn't mean that said lover had just unbuttoned his jeans, and was slowly trailing the zipper down while pressing warm wet kisses against shivering skin...
"I, uh... don't you think we should... I mean... oh, god..."
"Y' wan' me t' stop?" came that low, sultry voice that never failed to make his blood tingle. "I can stop..." But of course he said this while a hand was smoothing down Bobby's side, fingers slipping beneath the loosened waistband of his jeans, lips pressing so, so close to the part of Bobby that had no qualms about doing this here, now, anywhere, anytime...
A motor grumbled outside -- Logan, then, coming back from his night out early. He was part of the skeleton crew the mansion was running on while most members of the team were away running training exercises over the Rocky Mountains with the Blackbird. Bobby -- who secretly thought that Scott was only making them run these exercises so he'd have a chance to indulge in his fancy flying -- had managed to get out of it by falling 'mysteriously ill' with some severe and brief twenty-four hour virus. Remy, on seeing his lover's poor, sick self in need of care, had insisted on staying behind as well. Logan'd had something 'personal' to handle, so had volunteered to make sure 'the kids' didn't wreck the place while the grownups were away. Other than the three of them only Ororo -- who really did have the flu -- was still in residence, and she'd retired to bed right before Bobby went to the store.
Bobby, skin flushed, pushed himself up to his elbows as he listened past his rapid breathing. "It's Logan."
"I know who it is, Bobby. I ain' deaf." With reluctance showing in every motion, he scooted back a bit to let the younger man sit up. "We could give him de surprise of his life, y'know..."
"Remy!" Bobby's already reddened skin deepened to what he was sure was a fascinating shade of crimson. "Look... you may be completely impossible to embarrass and utterly shameless and everything, but I am still getting used to the fact that my teammates didn't send me to the loony bin the moment we told them about us. I don't wanna push it."
Remy gave an exaggerated sigh. "He ain' gon' get all funny about it..."
With quick fingers Bobby fastened his pants over the obvious sign of his arousal, lunging to his feet as he heard footsteps outside. "The ice cream... put it back in the bag!"
Sighing again, Remy opened the bag and dropped the ice cream in. He was still sitting comfortably on the floor, though, and looked as if he had no intention of standing anytime soon. Bobby shot him a desperate look as the key turned in the lock. Remy only raised an eyebrow, not budging.
"Remy!" Bobby whispered pleadingly.
The door opened. Logan's hair was wilder than usual after his typically helmetless ride on the Harley, and he smelled of smoke and booze. Quite a bit of both, actually. His eyes swept a bit tiredly over both of them, and he didn't look the least bit surprised to see them there. Well he wouldn't be, would he? Bobby's mind insisted on chattering. He had to have known we were here as soon as he started... walking up the steps... oh geez... Bobby held his hands cupped innocently in front of him, trying to hide his physical reaction to Remy's touch. If he even looks at me funny I'm gonna die.
"Somethin' wrong with your feet, Cajun?"
"Non," Remy said again, rather politely. "Jus' waitin' f' my boyfriend t' quit bein' so skittish."
Bobby flushed an impossibly deep shade of red, which somehow deepened more when Logan raised an eyebrow at him. "It's... I... um." He cleared his throat nervously. "Did you have a good night?"
"Fine." Dark eyes swept from one to the other again briefly. "You boys got a room, y'know."
Remy smiled beatifically. "'S more fun t' play outside de room, mon ami."
"Fine. But don't 'play' where I gotta trip over ya."
"Y' wouldn' trip. Y're too good on y' feet."
Bobby wondered if he should save dying of mortification until after he'd gotten back to their room. "I'm sorry, Logan... it won't happen again..."
But Remy winked at him. "Sure it will. Y' got t' loosen up eventually."
Logan shook his head. "Of all the screwed up relationships..."
"Dere's not'ing wrong wit' our relationship." Said calmly, but there was steel beneath the level words.
"Sure there is." Logan jutted his chin towards Bobby. "He takes too much BS from you."
Seeing his lover accused of anything 'not-quite-right' was enough to snap Bobby out of embarrassment. "That's not true! Where do you get off judging how we relate?"
A hard look. "I don't. You ashamed o' your boy there, Drake?"
Logan shrugged brusquely. "Good. Then stop blushin' like a damned kid every time someone notices you're an 'item.'"
Bobby looked past Logan to meet Remy's crimson and midnight eyes. His lover was smiling faintly, something very knowing and serious in that unique gaze. "Oh," Bobby said quietly.
"Yeah," Logan agreed, stepping past him. "I'm turnin' in. You boys do anything that embarrasses 'Ro, we're gonna have some words. Got me?"
"Oui," Remy answered for both of them, as Bobby was too busy looking somewhat stricken. "We got y', mon ami."
Bobby waited until Logan had climbed the stairs, then spoke in an undertone. "I'm sorry."
Remy looked at him a long, long moment, then shifted his eyes to the grocery bag, grabbing it as he stood. "F' what?"
"I shouldn't... I didn't mean to act like I was ashamed of you."
"Oh?" It wasn't his tone that gave the skepticism away -- something beneath it, instead, that had to do with the fact that Remy wasn't looking at him at all as he turned towards the kitchen. There was injury in the too-careful set of shoulders and the determinedly nonchalant stride.
Bobby caught up and put a hand on his arm, halting him. "I'm not."
A half-shrug, eyes still not meeting his. "What's t' be 'shamed of, Bobby?"
"Nothing. It's just... still..."
Finally that burning gaze lifted and fixed on his. "Not'ing t' be 'shamed of, right?" And his eyes were saying please, please don't be ashamed of me, please don't let it matter, please don't let who I am or what I am matter...
And beneath even that, in direct opposition-- Hate me. I disgust you. You know what I did. You can't forgive me that. Hate me.
It was the last that hit Bobby the hardest, because it would have been so easy to oblige him. When he'd found out that Remy had helped those murderers...
But it hadn't been his place to condemn or forgive, and it wasn't now. He swallowed past the tightness in his throat. His thoughtlessness had caused this... had caused the man he loved to question himself and maybe even his love. "Remy..." What did he say to make it better? "I..."
"Y' 'shamed, Bobby? 'Shamed a me?"
What did he say? 'No' wasn't enough, was it? Not after he'd acted as if being seen close to his lover would embarrass him.
So he couldn't say anything -- couldn't think of anything that wouldn't sound like a lie or trite. Instead he took the bag from Remy's arms and walked into the kitchen, saying quietly, "We'll talk about it later, okay?"
"Bobby..." Hurt and withdrawal somehow conveyed in the same single word.
"I'm not, Remy, but... later, okay? Please?"
And then more withdrawal, more level coldness. "D'accord," he said simply. "Let's get de groceries unpacked an' get some sleep, neh? Team's gettin' back tomorrow... we got some cleanin' t' do."
"Okay," Bobby replied, his heart painfully protesting the word.
The groceries were unpacked in no time, the ice cream not even the worse for wear for the little game it had almost participated in. Remy was uncharacteristically silent -- in the time since they'd come together Bobby had discovered that the often brooding, sardonic, rebellious image... well, okay, it went way farther than skin deep, but it wasn't all there was to the man. When he was relaxed, not worrying, not wondering... during those rare, precious times, Bobby felt as if Remy was his, and he was Remy's, and none of the rest of it mattered. Not the past that sometimes kept his lover awake all night. Not the future that was too uncertain for either of them to want to contemplate. Just the moment and the warm body and the heartstopping smile beneath those flashing, dangerous eyes.
He'd changed his whole life -- his image and his way of thinking and his buried prejudices that argued against what he was -- to be with this man. And still somehow he managed to hurt him more than anyone else ever could, and vice versa.
'The price of love is pain.' Didn't some smart guy say that? But he'd still somehow thought that finding 'love' meant finding automatic, ready happiness. He never expected it to take work. Scott and Jean didn't seem to have to try very hard to stay content. Warren and Betsy had the occasional argument, but nothing strong enough to hurt... just to anger. They've got the benefits of the psi-links, though... And he and Remy were just flying by the seat of their pants, trying to cope with each hurdle as it presented itself.
Bobby just hated that he was so frequently one of those hurdles.
Remy folded the bag and put it with the other saved paper bags in the cabinet by the sink to be reused for whatever need came up later. Didn't say anything -- only stopped briefly at Bobby's side as he walked out towards the stairs, planting a kiss on his cheek too quickly for Bobby to turn his face and meet it with lips.
Bobby wondered for the thousandth time why Remy put up with him.
"Real good," he told himself in a disgusted voice once the Cajun was out of earshot. "Doing your best to lose the one good thing that's come into your life in years, aren't you?" He was lucky Remy hadn't left him already. He didn't understand why the man stayed with him in the first place, and here he was pushing it farther? "Stupid idiot."
"You are still up, Robert?" asked a rich, level voice from the second doorway into the kitchen. He whirled, heart pounding and face flushing at being surprised so easily.
"'Roro, you scared the bajeezahs out of me!" Shouldn't have been so surprised, his pride growled at him. Woman could move almost as silently as Logan when she tried.
A snowy eyebrow raised. "Bajeezahs?"
He grinned half-nervously. "Nicer than saying 'shit,' right? Logan always says shit. Though he never, uh, says someone scared the shit out of him... it's more like 'bugged the shit out of...'" He trailed off as her expression didn't even flicker. "Um. Never mind."
"Ah." She walked in -- paced in, strides long and smooth and graceful. "I'm having trouble sleeping. I thought warm milk might help."
"I was just, um, putting away the groceries."
"Groceries? This late?"
"I had a craving for ice cream." Luckily she wasn't looking at him when he said that, because his face took another turn back towards red. It felt so labored now, talking to his friends. Like he was tiptoeing along the words, having to double-check every one for any innuendo they might infer from it. No one had shown open disapproval when he'd 'come out,' and even when he'd let them know his choice of partner they didn't have much to say against the pairing. It'd been too easy. The only difference in the way he was treated now that he was able to pinpoint was a certain body-consciousness from Warren and a strange, irrepressible grin from Jean whenever she happened to catch sight of Bobby and Remy holding hands. Scott hadn't even seemed to notice, really, other than a few brief questions as to how sure Bobby was... and Remy, too. Hank took into consideration that Bobby would have a date for any nights out they had, but otherwise was just... Hank. And the professor... well, the professor was away at Muir for a while, and Bobby saw no reason to call him up on the videophone just to tell him something he might already know anyway.
It helped, he supposed, that Rogue's final and irrevocable breakup with the Cajun had happened shortly after they found him following that Antarctica debacle. It helped even more that Remy had been the one to call it quits for good when Rogue was seeking to make peace, allowing Bobby to think that maybe, just maybe, he wasn't merely a poor substitute for what the other man couldn't have.
"Ah," she said again, breaking into his milling thoughts. "And Remy? Has he gone to bed so early?"
Bobby wondered briefly why it was 'this late' when talking about him, but 'so early' when mentioning Remy. That didn't seem quite fair. "He was tired," he half-lied. "And we've got a lot of work to do tomorrow."
"I see." She pulled a glass from the cabinet and the milk from the refrigerator. "Will you be joining him soon, then? You have a penchant for sleeping in if you have the excuse."
Since the latter part of the statement was true and the former spread that red flush all the way to his ears, he only mumbled a reply and rubbed at his neck self-consciously. She slanted him a cobalt glance, seeming almost amused.
"Is something the matter, Robert?"
He flushed darker. "Nothing."
"Your face is red."
Said face grew redder. "It's... nothing."
"I see." Definite amusement there. She almost smiled. "Would you please tell 'nothing' that I would appreciate it if he would finish redesigning that thieves' program as he promised me?"
"Sure," he mumbled, looking away. Remy would be playing up to this. Taking it all casually. Why can't I do that?
He made himself look at her. "Huh?"
"You're still blushing."
I know I'm blushing, thankyouverymuch for pointing out the obvious... "... Am I?"
Her smile lingered, but her eyes showed something more wistful. "There is no shame in loving."
Oh, god, Ororo had just talked to him about Remy and 'loving' in the same thought... She had to have heard him when she was coming in. Why hadn't he just kept his big mouth shut? "I know that, 'Roro," he managed, wishing he was somewhere, anywhere else. "I'm not asham--"
"But no one expects you to forget years of ingrained beliefs instantly. Least of all Remy."
For the first time he looked at her solidly, shocked into forgetting embarrassment by the meaning behind the words. "He's talked to you about me?"
"He had to talk to someone."
That hurt, but made sense. "Is he..."
His stomach felt strangely tight. "... happy with me?"
Her dark, smooth face brightened easily. "Robert... he loves you."
His brow furrowed. "But is he happy with me?"
"How could he not--"
"He loved Rogue for a long time." His words were rushed, but heartfelt. "But he wasn't happy. He was miserable. And I keep screwing up with all these little things..."
"Robert," she interrupted calmly.
"You're building mountains from molehills."
"But he was so upset..."
"Perhaps his feelings were hurt, Robert, but not enough to impinge on what he feels for you. He loves you."
"And you love him." She smiled. "Therein lies the difference. You return his feelings; she did not. Not the same way."
"But..." He waited for her to interrupt him again, but she didn't. "I'm not..." She still didn't interrupt. Damn. "He deserves..." C'mon, 'Roro, don't make me say it...
Finally, she sighed and supplied the word. "Better?"
He nodded, relieved. There. It was out, and he hadn't even had to say it himself. That made it truer. "Right."
"He does not want 'better.' He wants you. Trust me... love does not come along so often that you can allow yourself to hold back too long."
And he knew what she was talking about. He knew it had hurt her to share it with him.
"I'm being a selfish coward, aren't I?"
"No," she said with a smile. "Only a young man who is uncertain about what is 'proper' and what is not. There is no crime in that. Simply remember that we are your friends; we will not judge you."
He found a grin somewhere. "If you keep up this 'wise sage' act we're gonna have to stick you on top of a mountain somewhere for people to come visit and sacrifice chickens to."
Her smile flashed briefly wider. "I have no doubts that you might happily stick me atop a mountain if only that meant you would be allowed to sleep late in the mornings."
Impulsively, he took two jaunty steps forward and kissed her on the cheek. "But then I'd be deprived of hearing that 'move or die' tone in your voice when I'm late for a session. I'd miss that."
"So would I, Robert." Her eyes were warm as she pushed him gently in the direction of the door. "I believe there is someone waiting for you."
He was almost out the door when he realized he was forgetting something. Ororo had put her cup of milk in the microwave to warm it, and turned with a questioning look when he opened the freezer.
Bobby held up the ice cream in one hand, loving the cold that somehow warmed his palm. "I'm having a craving," he said innocently. That familiar blush was stealing across his cheeks, but he grinned despite it and pulled out the silverware drawer to grab two spoons. "Remy might wanna share."
She smiled faintly. "Have a good night, Robert."
And oh, how he blushed at that! But he was starting to remember those first early fumblings in the dating area... the way he'd been so embarrassed to let others know that he'd be asking a girl out, or the way he'd find himself uncomfortable with holding hands in those days. It'd been unfamiliar and new, and he'd been an insecure kid who covered nerves with jokes.
He'd grown out of that. Mostly. And he'd grow out of this.
Remy was even giving him the time and space to do so.
He took the stairs, heart tap-tapping. Wound through halls and corridors automatically, following the path to their shared room with the ease of long practice and enthusiasm. And it was enthusiasm -- those nights when they'd just been finding what they needed in each other... when he'd crept through the halls, holding his breath to keep from making noise, knowing it made so much more sense for Remy to sneak into his room since the thief had far more natural talent at it, and wondering why he didn't do so. For a while he'd feared that the reluctance the Cajun had about spending the nights in Bobby's room was a sign of Remy's intention to not let this tryst move into something... more.
But whenever he tapped lightly on that door and heard the rich voice quietly say, "It's open"... whenever he saw that knowing, uninhibited smile and found himself wrapped quickly in a welcoming embrace... whenever they laid awake all night together, talking in low voices about this and that and nothing at all... he dared to believe. He dared to hope.
When Remy finally confessed that the only reason he didn't seek out Bobby's room at night was that he didn't want to take advantage of his willingness, it was all the younger man could do to keep from crying. Remy'd seen that surge of emotion. He'd lost his eloquence, speaking the words Bobby'd waited for so long to hear with heartbreaking hesitance. "I love you," he'd said, obviously trying and just as obviously failing to hold a safe distance between them. "I don' wanna lose y', Bobby."
Bobby smiled a bit to himself in the dark hallway. His determination not to cry -- not to be so 'girlish' as to cry -- had been shattered at those words.
And then had come a night when his lover's smoldering eyes had been distant, troubled. Bobby'd seen that look on him before, but not directed directly at himself. His heart had tightened in preparation for the rejection he knew was about to come... the 'thanks for the fun, but I've found someone else' speech. He'd been pretty sure that his heart cracked open when the Cajun said, "I don' want y' sneakin' in here no more, Bobby." He'd held up that front, though; he'd managed to keep from collapsing into sobs as he backed away, stuttering out acceptance, planning to save the bawling until he'd reached the safe aloneness of his room...
Until Remy's brow had furrowed in confusion, and then his eyes'd lit with understanding. "Non!" he'd said, shocked and amused and scared all at once, if his expression was to be believed. "Non, cher! I meant... I meant dat I don' want y' sneakin' in here. I don' want t' hide dis anymore."
For a little while that night, Bobby had let himself feel that everything was right with the world. Even if the thought of coming out to his teammates and friends did terrify him.
He grinned to himself as he rapped on the door in their old signal; the one they hadn't had to use ever since they'd made their relationship public. Maybe he needed to forget the embarrassment he felt so easily by recapturing that feeling of yesterday... that illicit thrill, that nervous anticipation, that nerves-jumping-heart-pounding-head-spinning excitement.
A moment of silence; maybe of surprise. Then, levelly-- "It's open."
Bobby opened the door, ice cream and spoons held behind his back. Closed the door behind him and stood in front of it, gazing at the man seated, still-clothed, on the edge of the bed. Remy looked tired. Conflicted.
"I'm sorry, Bobby," the other man said suddenly. "I didn' mean t' push y'... didn' want t' make y' feel like dat..."
"No!" Bobby cut in, shocked. "I was just, y'know, overreacting." A weak little grin. "It's one of the few things I'm good at."
Remy stood and crossed towards him; one long step, two, three. "Dere's lots y' good at, cher." A half-smile, lips tugging at cheeks. "An' oui, overreactin' seems t' be one a dose t'ings... but y' weren' overreactin' tonight. I shouldn' have--"
A single finger across his lips silenced him. Bobby looked into his eyes and tried to remember a time when that demonic gaze had scared him... and couldn't. "Hush," he said quietly. "I'm an idiot. I love you, and I'm an idiot. That's what downstairs meant. That's all it meant."
That smile came back, slow and heart-melting. A quick thief's hand caught Bobby's and turned it. Lips brushed his knuckles lightly, and Bobby's breath caught. "If y're an idiot, den so'm I."
"Impossible," Bobby managed, utterly enraptured in following the trail of slow, warm kisses as they traveled past his wrist, up his forearm... "I can't... be in love... with an idiot."
A flick of the tongue at the inner junction of his elbow made him shiver. "Make up y' mind, den," said Remy almost absently, attention absorbed with tracing the light definition of muscle along the upper arm. "'Cause it takes an idiot t' love an idiot, non? An' if y're an idiot..." He was rolling up the sleeve of Bobby's T-shirt, alternating featherlight kisses with unpredictable tongue-strokes. Bobby closed his eyes and shivered, smiling. "... den I have t' be one. See?"
"Oh," Bobby said between shortened breaths. "It all... makes sense now..."
Remy had apparently tired of working his way up. He stepped in close and pressed Bobby back against the door-- Yaie, that ice cream's cold when you're not ready for it! --lips finding his mouth, tongue wasting no time in stroking inside. Bobby wrapped his free arm around him tightly and let himself return the kiss in full measure. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll... I'll kiss him in front of everyone or something. I don't care if I blush 'til my face burns. I'll do it.
A tad breathless, Remy drew his upper body away, blinking. Bobby's hand on the hollow of his back held his hips still against him. "Y're into dis," he said, sounding a bit surprised. "I t'ought y'd be upset... wan' go t' sleep..."
Bobby found that special grin -- the one that he only ever gave to Remy at a moment like this. He shifted to free the ice cream from behind him, holding the slightly crushed carton with the spoons jutting out between his fingers like a trophy. A short, loud bark of laughter from the other man -- quickly stifled as it always was, but for just a moment entirely unfettered while alien eyes danced with pleasure and amusement and mischief.
"I had a craving," Bobby told him in explanation, grin twisted to match the devilishness in the other's eyes. "How 'bout you?"
Turned out that Remy did indeed have a craving, too.