by Sarah Maria


Bobby rarely went out of line. He wasn't like that. But John, John was always pressing the boundaries, testing the waters. Sometimes, Bobby wondered if that's what he found most intriguing about John. The quote "bad boy" image that John carried himself through the school with.

And sometimes, only sometimes, Bobby would find himself staring after John when he would leave a room, with an odd feeling in his stomach that he couldn't describe.



"Fuck!" John screamed, pounding the bed with his fist. He sat Indian style on his bed and to an onlooker, he looked deep in thought, as though he was meditating. Until he screamed in frustration, and scared Bobby so bad that he fell out of his desk chair in shock at the noise.

"Sorry man," John said, his face twisting into a look of concern for a split second as he looked over at Bobby, then turning back to the frustration he felt before.

"Are you okay?" Bobby asked cautiously, as not to sound like prying, only to sound concerned.

"Honestly, no. There's nothing that you can do, though, so don't worry about it. I'm fine," he said as he wringed his comforter between his fingers.

Yeah. Bobby thought. He looks fine, alright. He looks like he's about to burn the whole school down. I wish he would just...

"Let it go, Bobby. I'm not going to talk to you about it," John said as if he had heard Bobby's thoughts.

"What the? I didn't even say anything... did you..."

"No I didn't read your thoughts, but I know what you were thinking. Just let it go."

That's just freaky. "Whatever, John." But he knew it wasn't whatever. He knew, he just wished he knew what it was.



"Where's Pyro?"

"He's with Magneto."

Bobby still remembers exactly how he felt that day.

When Jean said that, his heart nearly broke. Something in his image of John broke to pieces and he realized that maybe, John really was as bad as he let on. Maybe he wasn't going to 'fight the good fight' with them and maybe, John was never going to know that Bobby cared about him; a lot more than he had previously realized.



Bobby found it extremely hard to concentrate in class now that John was back. Something about John was making him look up every ten seconds; maybe just to make sure he was really there or maybe to make sure he wasn't leaving again.

John never told Bobby why he left or why he came back. In fact, he never talked about anything that had to do with his absence on the 'good side' and Bobby never had the guts to bring it up.

All that really mattered, Bobby figured, was that he was back and he did say that he was going to stay; for good.

Bobby felt his heart skip a beat when he looked up for another glance at John and he found John staring back at him.



Rogue noticed the difference in him. She noticed how he acted different, talked different, even walked different. It took her a while to actually figure out what it was, but when she did, she wouldn't let it go.

"Bobby. You shouldn't hang around hoping that he'll come back. There's a good chance he won't. I know you care a lot about him, but you are just going to have to let it go..." She placed on gloved hand on his shoulder as he stared out the window into the night. He shrugged, but not to remove her hand, just to show he was listening, even if he didn't want to.

"I can't Rogue. I can't. I'm glad you are so understanding about it, but I just... there's something about him that I can't... let go. I just... miss him a lot, that's all." Bobby sat down on his bed and put his head heavy into his hands and sighed.

Rogue sat down next to him and rubbed his back gently. "Do you think..." she approached the subject cautiously, as not to offend him, "that you may... love him?"

His head shot up and he looked into her eyes to see if she was serious or not. She was. He sighed. "I don't... think... I don't know. Maybe... maybe I do. If love is feeling like you are lost every time you see him and you can't think of anyone else you would rather spend time with but him, then maybe I do. I'm sorry about all this, Rogue."

"It's okay, Bobby. I wouldn't want you to be with me if it wasn't truly what you wanted. I'm just sorry that what you want... left."



John felt him looking. Every time they were in a room together, he was always looking. He can't say it annoyed him, per se, it just... made him feel funny.

Every time he would catch Bobby looking, he would get this feeling in his stomach, like he didn't eat enough before, or something.

He always knew Bobby wasn't one for letting this be as they are, but something was different about this Bobby. When he got back, Bobby just... wasn't the same. Something had happened while he was gone, he just couldn't figure out what it was.

He just wished he knew what he felt that he wanted to look at Bobby all the time and why he occupied his dreams.



It was the nightmares that brought him back, really. Sure there were other things that just didn't work out for him, but the biggest thing that made him come back to the school was the nightmares.

He would always dream about having to come up against Rogue and Bobby and he would always fail to do anything. He just couldn't. So Magneto would always step in for him and he'd always stand and watch as Magneto killed them. Always killed them.

The only way the nightmare changed was in the way Magneto killed the two. But every time, John would wake up with a start, sweating and panting and wondering why he couldn't keep the images from appearing in his mind.



They were in their room again, quiet and thinking. John was lying on his bed, arms folded under his head. Bobby was sitting on his bed, looking at the window, which conveniently had a reflection of John in it. It was a good cover up, Bobby thought.

"Bobby." John broke the silence and Bobby looked at him.


"What happened to you?" John asked, sitting up to match the other boy's position, only now they faced each other.

"What do you mean?"

"Something happened. You... changed some how. What happened while I was gone?" John looked intently at Bobby's face, wondering why he thought he looked so soft in the dimly lit room.

"I don't know what you are talking about," Bobby shot out defensively. "Nothing happened to me. I'm just the same. I didn't run off with Magneto to have a walk on the wild side. I'm not the one who abandoned my friends and then came crawling back in the middle of the night acting like nothing happened. I'm not the one... who left you. You left us... you left me. If anyone has changed around here, it would be you." Bobby had lost it. He quickly jumped off his bed and dashed out of the room, partly in anger and partly because he was afraid of what John might say.



Bobby knew he shouldn't be outside this late at night, but he had to get out and get some air. He felt so... suffocated in the castle, which wasn't usual for him, so he knew he had to get out for a while.

He was walking around in the small garden when he heard a noise to his left. He froze. He heard it again. Rustling of the grass and leaves; someone was coming out of the woods not too far away from him. He instinctively raised his hands, ready to defend himself against the unwanted guest. That is until he got a close look at who it was, then his defense and entire life fell down in shambles.

"John?!" Bobby asked shocked, not knowing if he should move or not.

"Hey, Bobby. I don't think Professor would like it if he knew you were outside this late," he replied with a smile as he came closer.

Bobby frowned. Why was he acting like he hadn't betrayed them all by leaving? Why was he there? Why did Bobby feel so damned happy to see him again?



Now Bobby was avoiding him. He rarely looked up during class like he used to and he always waiting until the last possible minute to go to bed, hoping that John was asleep.

He never was asleep, but he didn't ever let on that he wasn't. He just let Bobby play his little games.

Iceman. They were polar opposites, he and Bobby. Fire and Ice. Good and Bad. No, John shook his head, he wasn't bad. Not anymore. He made his choice. He didn't want to be... like that... like Magneto. It just wasn't him.

But Bobby. There were so many things about Bobby to dislike, and yet he didn't dislike him at all. He liked how Bobby was always so damn nice and he liked the way Bobby used to look at him all the time.

Now he wouldn't talk to him. Not after that night when John asked him about changing. He had gotten so defensive. John knew that there was something deeper in that reply. Something about John leaving Bobby, that made him think about things. Made him think about Bobby.



"Professor, has he said why he left? Why he came back? What happened to him while he was gone? He just won't talk to me... I'm afraid something happened to him..." Bobby rambled.

"Bobby, it is nice of you to be concerned about your friend, but any information disclosed to myself from John I cannot share with you. I suggest you try to get it out of him. You never know, he may tell you..."



"Bobby, why don't you just talk to him about it?" Rogue asked.

"I can't, Rogue. I practically told him that I was devastated that he left, or something. He's probably freaked out now. Probably thinks I'm some sort of psycho that likes him or something." Bobby was pacing around the room.

"Well, you do like him, but you aren't a psycho, Bobby. I'm sure he'd understand if you just explain what you meant... and what you feel. He's not going to hurt you. He wouldn't dare."

Bobby knew there were a lot of ways to hurt someone.



John remembers a time, just before he had left the X-Men, that Bobby had given him a hug. He never really thought about the them much, but when he did, it was usually about Bobby and that hug.

He had helped Bobby unfreeze something that apparently was important to him and Bobby had been so happy he had hugged him.

John would have thought he would think it to be girly, but actually, he really liked it now that he thought about it.

No one around here every treated him like a true friend, more like a side kick.

John realized that he wasn't Magneto's little pet that he could try and mold into a super evil power.

That's when he left.



John had played Bobby's little game long enough. He wanted answers, and he wanted them now.

So that night when Bobby slipped into bed, late as usual, John gave him a few seconds before he sat up and turned on the lamp, frightening Bobby into stillness. He just stared at John in shock.

"Alright, Bobby, I'm sick of playing these little games. It's pointless. Just talk to me and tell me why the hell you are avoiding me. What did I do?" John looked at him sternly.

Bobby heaved a sigh that was visible to John. He sat quiet for a while making John frustrated with the situation even more. "Well?"

"I was afraid... of what you thought about what I had said. It had slipped out... I hadn't really meant to say it... but I did. I'm just so... frustrated when it comes to you. You won't tell me anything and you act like nothing ever changed when it has. It all changed and yet you want to act like it's all the same. Why? Why can't you just tell me what happened... why you left and why you came back?" Bobby let it all out and it felt good for him, really, like a major load off his shoulders.

"I don't want to talk about it," John said shortly.

"Why? Why the fuck do you act like you are mad that I'm not talking to you... like I'm your friend and yet you don't even want to talk to me? What the hell is your problem?" Bobby was losing it again, but he wasn't going to leave this time. He wanted answers and he wanted them now.

"Dammit, Bobby. Don't you ever think? Did it ever occur to you that I didn't want to tell you anything because I didn't want you to think less of me? That I didn't want you to think that I was some sort of evil mutant that wanted to take over human kind and rule alongside Magneto? Did it ever occur to you that I didn't want to tell you because you are my friend... my best friend?" He didn't sound angry; he wasn't angry. Just mad that he had already revealed so much.

Bobby was quiet. "I... I guess I didn't think of it..."

"No you didn't. But if you want to know that bad, I'll tell you, though there isn't much to tell. I was angry. I was angry that you guys never got mad at the humans... never felt any sort of resentment for them no matter how badly they treated you and your friends.

The idea that they didn't deserve what we did to them was just so suffocating. I couldn't believe that you guys didn't want any sort of revenge.

I knew Magneto felt that. So I decided to go with him. I knew that he felt the humans would never stop condemning us unless we ridded ourselves of them.

But it was never enough. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't succeed and every day I realized that it was easier to just try and be peaceful than to try the other way.

And all the time, I would have these dreams... nightmares about having to fight you and Rogue... and I could never do it. And Magneto... he would always kill you for me... right in front of my eyes and all I would do is watch.

After that I couldn't say anymore. I had to leave. I didn't want to come back here; I didn't think you'd want me back here. But I had nowhere else to go and I knew at least Professor could understand.

I was mostly afraid of you and Rogue not wanting me here; feeling that resentment for me because I had left you... but I took that chance and here I am.

You seemed to be okay with me being back and yet there was something different about you. That's why I said something to you. I just want to know what changed... if you really don't want me here..." John breathed in deep, finishing his story.

Bobby stared. His mouth was halfway open. "You thought I would think lesser of you?" He asked, as if he hadn't heard John's story.

"Yeah. You are just so... nice... I just thought you would think I was low now or something for leaving you guys... for leaving you," John added at the end... wondering if it would trigger Bobby to explain what he had meant by it earlier.

Bobby stood up and went over and sat at the end of John's bed. "I couldn't ever... think of you any less than you are, John. It couldn't happen because... I think I... like you." Bobby looked down at the floor, afraid of John's reaction.

John was silent. Like me? As in... like me? But surprisingly, he didn't find this all that shocking. For some reason, he didn't think it to be weird at all. Maybe because you feel the same way? Because you have felt the same way since even before you left?

John touched Bobby's arm and Bobby looked up. "I think... that when I look up and see you looking at me... I get this feeling... that I like it when you are looking at me. My stomach sort of drops when I think about it... and maybe that means... I like you too. I'm not sure, but there's something... about you that has been bugging me since I got back."

Bobby looked away again. "You see me... look at you?"

John didn't say anything for a while, so Bobby finally looked up at him. He was just... staring at him. "What?" Bobby finally asked, getting a little flustered under John's eyes.

John reached out his hand and touched Bobby's cheek. John's hand was warm and steady, unlike Bobby who felt cold and scared.

John leaned forward, slowly leading Bobby's face toward his own, touching their lips together for the first time.

The kiss was slow at first, but it grew in intensity as Bobby began to respond to John's actions and found himself wanting to explore John's mouth with his tongue.

They pulled away after a while, panting and scared.

"We are opposites, you know. Completely different," John said, really for no reason.

"I know. I think that's why it will work," Bobby responded, his hand still on John's arm.

"Things are going to change, you know. They can't just be the same..." John stated.

"I think they have already changed. But I think I'm okay with it. If you will be, that is..." Bobby looked up questioningly.

"I think... for the first time in a while, this castle doesn't seem so stuffy anymore."


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