by Zeelee

Old high school friends have a way of fading from memory until they're nothing but dusty names in a yearbook. It's slightly different for Bobby Drake, seeing as his high school memories include things like supervillains and saving the world, but his memories are still fuzzy.

He barely recognizes St. John walking down the pathway to the school. Bobby is staring, and knows he should stop but he can't help it: John's hair is cut short, he's painfully thin and he's wearing... well, he looks like a homeless person. His jeans and black t-shirt are full of holes; his jacket is worn and dusty with some suspicious-looking stains Bobby can see all the way from the mansion's front porch. He's still clicking that damn lighter, though; Bobby guesses that some things just don't change.

John is sauntering up the drive as if he still lived here, glancing sardonically around at the ivy-covered walls, sneering at the fountains in the front yard. He glances at Bobby and nods, smirking a bit as if they've only been separated for a few weeks, instead of... years. Too many years.

Bobby waves back automatically, his hand rising and falling limply, lifelessly.

"Hey," John calls out.

"Uh. Hey," Bobby replies.

John doesn't say anything, just looks at Bobby, that damn smirk still on his lips. Finally Bobby can't take the silence anymore and speaks.

"John--what are you doing here?"

"Well, this dump is open to any mutant that needs some help, right?"

Bobby's heart sinks for reasons he can't quite pinpoint. "You're here because you need a place to stay."

"Hey, I didn't say that--"

"You might as well have."

"... Okay, fine, that's part of why I'm here."

Bobby waits for John to tell him the rest of his reason, but John just shoves his hands in his pockets and looks away from Bobby, scowling. Finally Bobby says, "And the other part?"

John bites his lip. "Xavier died recently, didn't he?"

"... Yes."

"I missed the funeral, didn't I?"

"Yes. It was two days ago."


John sighs, and sits down beside Bobby on the porch. He smells faintly of charcoal and cigarette smoke. They don't say anything for a while; Bobby's still reeling from the realization that John is actually here, sitting beside him instead of a million miles away or six feet under or... who knows where.

In the months after John left and Jean died, Bobby had entertained many fantasies about John's contrite return. Depending on the day, some would end with him kissing John and some would end with Bobby punching him.

None, however, began with a 15 year gap and awkward silence.

John is the first to speak, his eyes fixated on anything but Bobby. "I figured it was high time I dropped by, you know? High school memories and all that bull." He runs his hand over the aggressive ivy plants that swarm over the walls. "Man, being back here is weird. You guys still doing that whole 'fighting for peace between mutants and humans' crap?"

"Yeah. You still doing that whole 'fighting futilely for world domination' crap?"

John snorts. "Nah. Got better things to do with my time than to be Magneto's lackey."

"Wow. It took you this long to figure that out?" Bobby hopes his voice isn't quite as bitter as it sounds to his ears.

John scowls at him. "I quit working for that whack job years ago. Guess you're still holding onto your childhood dream though, huh?" he says, gesturing at the mansion.

Bobby grits his teeth. He's not going to give into the urge to punch John. Not yet. "I'm a teacher, asshole. I'm doing everything I can to help mutants in need. This has nothing do do with some childhood dream."

John smirks as if he completely missed the anger in Bobby's voice. "I'm a mutant in need."

Bobby stands up. "If all you're going to do is slouch around and make fun of me, you can get the hell out of here."

John stands as well. "Hey, hey, lighten up! You've really turned into Scott while I wasn't looking, haven't you?"

"No. I don't have the right kind of sunglasses."

John grins. "I could get you a pair. I think you'd look good in red shades."

"Oh yeah?"

"Uh-huh. And then we could go and blow shit up together, because eye beams are so much cooler than stupid ice crap."

"You just think that because they're better at blowing stuff up. I can do a lot more with my 'stupid ice crap' than you think."

"Yeah, but you can't blow stuff up. And therein lies the problem." John is grinning at him, and for some reason Bobby is grinning--well, smiling at least--back.

Bobby shoves his hands in his pocket and stares at the ground. Leave it to John to make him feel like he's fifteen again--next thing he knows, he'll be icing up every surface he looks at and shuffling his feet and stuttering.

"So, you want to stay here," he says, not looking at John.

John shrugs nonchalantly, but Bobby can feel the tension radiating off him. John has always conducted heat naturally on a scale most humans can't feel at all, but for a mutant called Iceman who's hypersensitive to temperature as it is, it can be... disconcerting. Especially at times like this, when John is extra tense and practically assaulting Bobby with heat waves. "For a bit," John says, still playing it casual. "I'd like to see the old place again."

Bobby frowns a bit and adjusts the outside temperature down a few degrees, enough so that it's comfortable for him again. John notices and frowns back at him, but says nothing.

Scott probably wouldn't approve of a former villain being allowed to just camp out inside the school. But John used to be one of them, he lived here for three years--Scott himself taught John in several classes.

Besides, Cyclops is still in New York City, sitting through boring meetings with Xavier's old associates and reassuring everyone that he is ready and capable to be headmaster of a place like Xavier's.

"Fine," Bobby says, sighing. "Your old room okay?"

It was their old room, but John says nothing, just follows Bobby even though he could find his way back in the middle of a pitch black night.


Three days and Bobby is already going insane.

John's presence didn't use to do this to him, Bobby's almost sure of it. Then again, his high school days are getting foggier by the hour, especially the parts containing John; maybe he always flinched when John's hands brushed his accidentally, maybe he always flushed and looked away whenever John looked him in the eye. Maybe the mere closeness of John was always enough to make him break out in a sweat, enough to make whatever he was holding covered in a thin sheen of ice.

It's not just that, either. In the fifteen years that passed, John has picked up a seemingly endless array of annoying habits. Oh, he was an annoying teenager, sure, but somehow it's even worse now.

He leaves food out. He leaves the TV on. He walks around like he owns the damn mansion. He flirts obviously with all the female students. He stays up at the strangest hours, and somehow Bobby can never fall asleep if John is still awake. He always, always, always has that stupid fucking lighter, and Bobby finds himself wondering if the ever-present 'click-clack' of it opening and closing is similar to Japanese Water Torture.

But Bobby can live with that. What he can't live with is John's silent, stubborn, infuriating refusal to talk.

It's been three days and Bobby still has no idea what the fuck John is doing here.

The few times Bobby has tried to ask him, John has either deftly changed the subject or given him some flippant answer that's nowhere close to the truth. He doesn't think John is in any serious trouble--the guy is proud, but not too proud to ask for help if his life was in danger. John certainly doesn't act like he's grieving for Xavier, and anyway, if that was the reason he came he would've made more of an effort to arrive in time for the funeral.

To all appearances, John seems to be just loafing around, mooching off the mansion's (Bobby's) hospitality. Bobby knows that if Scott were around, John would've been thrown out two days ago unless he broke down and begged for hospitality to save his life or something.

Scott left him in charge for these few days, and Bobby is letting an ex-supervillain lounge around unguarded in the mansion.

Bobby vaguely wishes that he actually felt guilty about this, but mostly he's just frustrated. Especially because it's one in the morning, and he came downstairs to tell John to turn the fucking TV off and get out of the kitchen, and how the hell did he go from there to grabbing an ice cream carton and sitting down across from his former best friend?

Bobby scowls into the ice cream. He can feel the heat waves radiating off John, though it's the only sign of tension John is showing: he's just chowing down on a slice of pepperoni pizza, and where did that beer come from, anyway? Logan was supposed to take his stash with him when he left a few months ago, and does John really think he can get away with bringing his own private alcohol stash into a high school he's only a guest in? Jesus christ, what's next? His own private fireproof training room? Who the fuck does he think he is, anyway?

"Um. Bobby," John says, and Bobby blinks, startled out of his mental rant. John's looking pointedly at the ice cream carton, an amused expression on his face.

The carton is frozen to the table, a delicate sheen of frost spreading out around it. Christ. Bobby hasn't done that on accident since he was sixteen.

Bobby blushes, and John snickers. "Something on your mind, 'Iceman?'"

Bobby stares at his ice cream as if it holds all the secrets to life. "Why the fuck are you here?" he says quietly.


"I said," and Bobby's shouting now, almost loud enough to drown out the blood pounding in his own ears, "What the fuck are you doing here?!"

He's standing up now, hands slammed down on the table, staring right into John's eyes. And John, for once, doesn't have a snappy comeback or trick up his sleeve; he just stares back at Bobby, eyes comically wide, jaw dropped open.

The silence stretches until Bobby throws his spoon down on the table and turns away. "Fuck this. You won't tell me? Pack your bags, asshole." Bobby ignores the curious ripping sensation somewhere in his gut and walks away.

"I missed you."

Bobby doesn't think he's ever heard a silence this loud.

"I fucking missed you, all right? It's been fifteen fucking years and yeah, okay you were the best friend I ever had and stupid Charlie's dead and I couldn't wait any longer."

Bobby doesn't have to turn around to know that John is doing his best to out-scowl Wolverine, or that John's fist is clenched around his lighter so hard his knuckles are white.

"You missed me," Bobby says, and wonders if his voice is as flat and dead as it sounds to his ears.

John snorts. "Yeah. Though now that you're actually here I'm kind of wondering why."

Bobby turns around to face John. "You... missed me, you... you waited fifteen fucking years!" And Bobby didn't really mean to start shouting again, he just--

"To hell with you! Was there some sacred Xavier's law that you couldn't look me up first, just because I left the fucking clique?" John is standing up now, striding across the kitchen to Bobby, and he looks exactly like he did on the day he torched those police cars in front of Bobby's house.

The memory just makes Bobby angrier. "Fuck you, you left, you left me, you left all of us and you wait fifteen years and think you can, that you can..."

"What? What, Bobby, what the fuck do you think I want to do, because I sure as hell don't know!"

It takes a second for Bobby to realize that John's face is only a few inches away from his own, and then John pulls him in and smashes their lips together.

"Mmph," Bobby says, or tries to say because somehow John's tongue is fucking his mouth, and somehow Bobby's hands are all over John, pulling at his jacket, grabbing and squeezing his ass.

They break apart, and Bobby realizes that he's bent over the countertop, the top of his head almost brushing the ice cream carton, and that John has icicles in his hair. Whoops.

John is breathing hard, staring into Bobby's eyes so intently that Bobby wonders if John picked up heat vision somewhere.

"Um." Bobby swallows. He's not quite sure how he got from yelling at John and wanting to kill him to making out with him, and maybe he should just get used to not being sure when it comes to John. "Do you think... can you let me up now?"

John thinks about it for a second. "No."

"Well. Okay."

John smirks and kisses Bobby again. Bobby moans into John's mouth, and sucks hard on John's tongue. John's ass is still in his hands, and now Bobby slips his hands inside John's pants to touch bare skin.

John yelps and breaks the kiss. "What?" Bobby says, annoyed.

John glares. "Your hands are cold."

"Oh," Bobby says, and then grins. "You could always warm them up for me."

"Mm. I am good at that," John replies, and leans in for another kiss. Now his hands are wandering, and fiddling with Bobby's fly and good christ where did John learn that and--

"Wait." Bobby breaks the kiss, gasping.

"What? My hands are a perfect temperature. You have no excuse."

"John, should we really be doing this on the kitchen counter?"

"So?" When Bobby gives him a Look, John shrugs. "Hey, it could be a lot worse."

"John. The students will be eating off this first thing in the morning."

"Hey, I'm sure it's always cleaned first-"

"Logan has kitchen duty tomorrow morning. You do remember how good his sense of smell is, don't you?"

"... Oh."

"Yeah. 'Oh.'" Bobby shoves John off and stands, wincing as he realizes just how badly the marks from being slammed into a counter are going to bruise.

John just looks at him. Bobby can't tell what is in that look: hurt? Confusion? Mistrust? Lust?

Finally John looks away, swallowing hard. "This isn't forgiveness."

On either end. "No."

John laughs, harsh and wild. "I don't know what the fuck this is, but-"

"Hey, man. You missed me."

John groans. "You are never ever letting go of that, are you?"

"Of course not. Would you?"

John gives him a tiny smile before going back to staring at something in the corner of the kitchen.

"Fifteen years," he says, so quietly Bobby almost misses it.

"I know." Bobby takes John's hand, running his thumb over unfamiliar scars on the back of John's hand. "Look... we can talk about this, about anything, in the morning. Right now, I--I need--we should-" Bobby gives up on words and just squeezes John's hand, as hard as he can.

John nods, understanding, and Bobby's hit with a wave of nostalgia. He remembers midnight snacks with John back then, when communicating was as easy as a shared smirk over pizza and the shared appreciation of Dr. Grey's anatomy, when world-saving was a profession best left to the grownups.

And somehow, Bobby knows that John is thinking the same thing. He catches John's eye and they smile.

Bobby likes being able to make John smile like that. He thinks he's probably the only one capable of doing so.

They walk upstairs to Bobby's bedroom, and Bobby doesn't bother to put the ice cream away on his way out.


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