Bobby leaned against his tree, eyes closed, lawn mower sitting fifteen
feet away. He'd been home for three weeks. He was seriously considering
going back to the X-Men. He was trying very hard to forget about Jamie.
(It wasn't working.)
He didn't bother opening his eyes. "Yeah, Mom?"
"You almost done mowing?"
Wouldn't it figure that his parents would take out the shed in back, the
tomato plants and fruit trees and plant grass instead? And the Cold that
had been promising to come had passed over already. Bobby hated hot snaps.
The screen door opened with a rattle, like Colossus gargling rocks in his
armored form. It banged shut almost as loudly. Footsteps were quiet
through the grass, but Bobby could hear them. He took after his father
Long strided, someone light. His mom hadn't announced who it was.
Probably Warren, then. She didn't announce any of the original X-Men, and
only Warren was that light and long strided. He'd visited several times
The footsteps paused just behind him. Bobby wiggled, scratching against
the tree before settling.
"I should probably tell you that I died once," a hesitant, young voice
Bobby opened his eyes and tilted his head; saw slender legs encased in
"You know. In case I end up being a Summers or something."
Bobby smiled and slowly, slowly let his gaze travel up those long legs to
narrow hips. A black T-shirt covered a muscled but slender chest, hands,
stuffed into pockets, leading to shoulders that were small, but not too
small. A slender neck went up to a face with a smattering of light
freckles, a flippity nose, high cheekbones and expressive brown eyes. Dark
brown hair fell in that delicate face, and a hand slipped out of a pocket
to tuck the strand behind a small ear.
"'Cause, you know, that's important stuff."
Bobby nodded against the tree. "Then I should tell you that I've been in
space. So I could be a Summers, though it's less likely."
"Oh. Yeah. Yeah, that's important." Jamie nodded solemnly. "I should
tell you that I worked with a Summers."
Bobby frowned. "Me too. So, you know, it's highly likely that one or
both of us somehow got Summers DNA or something."
Bobby nodded and contemplated the grass. Finally, he looked back up.
"I'm willing to chance it."
Jamie itched his neck. "Me too."
Bobby sat for a moment more, then looked back up at Jamie. "But if you're
the Phoenix, I'm going to be upset."
"Damn," Jamie said, shaking his head. "Guess I better go, then."
"No, no, wait," Bobby said as Jamie turned away. "I think I can learn to
live with it."
"Okay," Jamie said, then crouched down.
Bobby looked at him, and smiled. "I thought you weren't going to talk to
Jamie looked at the lawn mower. "I wasn't going to. I mean, not because
I was mad, but..." his voice dropped to a whisper and he looked down at
his shoes. "Bobby, you kissed me."
"I know," Bobby said, and couldn't suppress his smile. "I was there."
Blush. "I am very aware of that." Dark eyes flickered toward Bobby,
still uncertain, but without denial, and without that shadow. "I could
have ignored it for a long time if you hadn't done that. Well, if you
hadn't done that and if I didn't have a dupe that really liked you..."
"I'm serious. I mean, they're different facets of my personality
sometimes and that one ... well, he didn't mind being gay. And he did
mind that I was angsting."
"A sure sign that you're a candidate for a Summers," Bobby commented.
Jamie nodded solemnly. Then he blushed. "I couldn't stop ... I mean,
every time I closed my eyes ... and whenever I got sad I remembered
something you'd said."
Bobby looked at him curiously. "What's that?"
Jamie met his gaze, and for once his eyes didn't shy away. He was very
solemn, but then started to laugh. He shook his head and looked away,
dimples creasing his cheeks. "Damn. I was gonna give you some bull about
something, but I can't keep my face straight." He dipped his head and
shrugged, then looked back at Bobby, still smiling. "I'd remember
different things. Sometimes a joke. Sometimes your face when you fell in
"When you pushed me in the pond," Bobby corrected, grinning.
Jamie just shrugged and smiled. "I did remember one thing, though. You
said we were friends. And you said you wouldn't leave me." He grinned,
looked down, back up, and blushed. "And you said I was gorgeous."
Bobby laughed. "You are."
Jamie shook his head and looked at Bobby. "I'm not. But it's nice to
Bobby smiled, accepting that at least Jamie wasn't arguing with him quite
as much anymore. With time, he'd start to accept it, maybe. "Know what I
"I remembered that you pushed me in the pond."
Jamie laughed, brown eyes sparkling merrily.
"And I remembered that you're ticklish."
Jamie's eyes flew open, and he looked warningly at Bobby.
Bobby started to laugh again. "But mostly, I remember that you didn't
tell me if you were gay or not." There was a question in his light blue
eyes as he looked over at Jamie.
Jamie looked back down, then up, before gazing at Bobby. "Not like you
see in 'The Birdcage.'"
"But I never really had much choice in the matter. It just took a kiss to
wake me up." An eyebrow cocked up. "Call me Sleeping--"
"Sexiful," Bobby interjected.
Jamie laughed, blushing. "Okay. Sleeping Sexiful. I was gonna say
"Oh yeah," Bobby laughed, grinning. "We're gonna call you SS instead of
Jamie laughed and rolled his eyes.
"You know what's a really good idea?" Bobby asked, feigning nonchalance
though he didn't feel it.
Jamie looked at him expectantly.
"You and me having dinner. Lots of times. Together."
Jamie bit his lip and nodded. "Yeah. That's a good idea. If you can
stand me for that long."
"Phshh," Bobby snorted.
"I don't have any experience at this whole gay-dating-thing," Jamie
explained, looking worried.
"I only have a little. It's like straight-dating-things. Only with men."
Jamie grinned. "Oh."
"Know what's another good thing?"
"Kissing." Bobby grinned.
Jamie laughed, and glanced toward the house. "Your mom--"
"Will have to get used to it," Bobby answered, though he didn't really
feel that sure of himself. He watched Jamie closely, seeing the war in the
other man's eyes. He'd almost decided that Jamie was going to say no, and
then the man turned towards him and scurried closer, ducking behind the
Jamie looked at him very seriously, though laughter danced in his eyes.
"You're right," he said solemnly. "Kissing is another very good idea."
Madeline Drake looked up as her son entered the kitchen. "Is Jamie a
friend of yours?" she asked, smiling as Bobby gathered two glasses and
poured lemonade in them. "You boys have been out there all afternoon."
Bobby hesitated and put the lemonade pitcher down. His eyes were
sparkling, and there was grass in his hair. "We have a lot of catching up
to do. About twenty years worth on his part, twenty-six on mine."
"Ah," Madeline said. "So you two are new friends?"
Bobby picked both glasses up and leaned against the counter. He was
frowning slightly, the way he did whenever he wasn't sure how to say
something. "I like Jamie, Mom."
Madeline nodded. Bobby was looking at her closely, and she knew she
wasn't having the right reaction. But she needed more information than
"I like Jamie a lot. And he really likes me. We like
each other a lot."
Madeline smothered her smile. "Ah. Should I put an extra plate on for
Bobby looked frustrated. "Mom, Jamie and I--"
She put a hand on his arm, noting the pink of the sunburn that was
starting to stain his pale skin. "Bobby. Do you remember Opal?"
"I do, too. I didn't like Opal. I like Jamie. However, the same rules
still apply. He may stay as long as he likes. He has to obey the rules
in this house, too. And you two may not share a bedroom. There
are extra sheets in the linen closet. I'll put out an extra plate
for dinner." Madeline turned back to the sink and ignored Bobby's
blush. He reached over and pecked her cheek, then turned to walk out
the door. He stopped half out, looking back.
"Um, when do you think is a good time to tell Dad?"
Madeline smiled. "Don't you worry. I'll tell your father."
Bobby nodded and left the house, banging the screen door. Out by the
tree, Madeline could see a brown trenchcoat lying in the grass, and a
slender male figure on his back on top of it, looking up at the clouds.
She started to hum, and got out another plate.
The smile spread slowly across Hank's face, and then he nodded, pride
swelling his chest.
"What is it?" Scott asked, looking up curiously as Hank grinned. Jean,
cradled between Scott's arm and his side, cocked her head.
Hank, smiling, shook his head slowly, refusing to show anyone, and re-read
hi, Hank! dad's doing better, mom's doing good. i may come back
sooner than previously thought (oh please oh please oh please).
mind if i bring a friend? Jamie Madrox--Multiple Man--is at loose
ends since xfactor disbanded, and i thought that since he had legacy
maybe he could help or something. i dunno. anyway, attached is a
PS i'm in love.
PPS it's Jamie.
PPPS don't tell anyone yet, okay? he's shy, and i didn't tell him
i was telling you.
PPPPS i really, really like him, Hank.
PPPPPS kissing is fun. get a friend and try it sometime. you have
to leave the lab to do it, tho . . .
PPPPPPS this is the last PS.
continued in "Quiet
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