Disclaimer: Marvel's, in theory. In practise, we all know the Mooks belong to Kaylee, don't we? I'm not getting any money. I am getting bills however, so obviously I have a cashflow problem. *G*
Mooks are Kaylee's. Know this all.
This story might also be called "Coffee Lives", but it's not. So there.
I'm sure this is for someone. Erů if you think it's you, then it might be. It's at least partly for Kael-Mooklady.

A Kinda Quiet Moment
by Mel

Jean glanced around furtively, making her stealthy way along the corridor. She stretched out her telepathy just enough that she could 'feel' if anyone was coming towards her. She made it into the room she was aiming for, and slid through the doorway, only then allowing a sigh of relief escape her lips.

She was now, officially, In The TV Room. That meant no one could ask her to do anything for them now, nor could they pounce on her, now that she was out of the halls, and insist on a serious girl/house-mother talk. She was On Her Own Time.

With one more sigh, she went to flop on the sofa only bringing herself up short when she realised that Bobby was lying stretched across the couch, and she'd been about to land on his head. In that split second, she also mentally hushed herself as she realised that he was asleep. She shifted quietly over to an armchair and settled in, leaving the TV going softly in the background. Kicking off her shoes, she tucked her legs under herself, and opened up her book, letting her mind wander away to the world of manners and wit. She couldn't think of anything further away from her own life than Jane Austin, which made it the perfect form of escapism.

This time, however, she couldn't manage to escape. Finally, she gave up, and rested the book on her lap.

Bobby was still lying there, unmoving. He looked exhausted. Somehow, in his sleep, his tiredness showed more than it ever did when he was awake. His limbs lay slack, as though every muscle in his body had just let go of some enormous weight, and he'd stayed where he'd fallen, unable to move. His hair was smooth, too smooth, giving away, as his posture did, the fact that his complete depletion had driven him into unmoving sleep.

Jean's forehead creased as she realised that the sleeping figure didn't have the face of the little brother she'd almost grown up with. This was a man, with lines around the corners of his eyes and others faintly bracketing his mouth, both of which could develop into lines of pain or laughter. The kinds of lines called character lines. It looked like her little brother was growing up with a vengeance. He was no longer solely defined by the words 'class clown' or 'prankster'. He'd become many, many more things, 'lover', 'beloved', 'carer', 'supporter'. Even other things, 'gay', 'part of a couple', 'nurse', 'friend', 'team mate', and 'adult'.

Somehow those things had snuck in, past the little pigeonholes that Jean ruefully admitted that she as well as her team mates had placed him in. Now here he was, this man, this friend, this brother-no-longer-little, lying on the sofa with bruise-like rings under his eyes in the slanting light of late afternoon. Very quietly, without movement herself, Jean put up a TK shield outside the door, so no one else could come in. He needed, he deserved, he'd paid for this rest. Who was she to allow anyone to deny him that peace.

Later, she was debating between turning on a light, as the twilight had faded beyond use for reading, or leaving, when she realised that Bobby was awake again. He hadn't moved, but his eyes were open, watching an advertisement light its flashy way in the dimness of the room.

Jean lay her book down again, smiled and took a breath for a cheerful greeting. A glimmer of reflected light made the breath turn cold in her lungs, as icy as he could have made it, as another tear, crystalline and glittering blue in reflected glory from the flickering TV slid down his face. Her movement distracted him though, and he tilted his head to look at her, no shame, no wiping of the tear, not even acknowledgment.

"Remy had to go to the hospital alone today," he said, shrugging, indicating his supine form, his napping and the tears in one jerky sideways movement.

Jean nodded, her voice carefully controlled. "I'd heard that."

Bobby's eyes skidded back to the screen as though pulled on strings. He watched fascinated for a little longer, then sighed shakily. "Have you ever wondered, Jean," he asked, his gaze still on the movement and lights of the TV, "why life isn't like coffee commercials? Everything made better by love and caffeine?"

A tear, unbidden and unnoticed, rolled down Jean's cheek. "Yes. I have wondered that, Bobby. Sometimes."

Bobby watched the flickering figures on the television, Jean watched him and night drew in around them, hushed and uncaring.

The end.

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