Drake's Pants and Total Mansion Domination

(R, profanity and sexual situations)

Because sometimes trying to be the Nice Guy, the Mister Mayor of the Mansion, really sucks, especially when a fallen social princess plots to regain her place in the Mansion student hierarchy.

Notes: Not all fifteen-year-old boys want to get laid. Being saddled with a deadly mutant power can change a guy's perception on sex. The point of Xavier's School is to learn how to control their mutant abilities and I wanted to explore Bobby's struggle with control and why he identifies so much with Scott. It also sets up his attraction to John because John's power is somewhat controllable/predictable (the whole "dependant upon outside sources" issue) and then later fascination and attraction to Rogue because, like Bobby, she has control issues.

For Alison "Dazzler" Blair fans, please be kind. Not everyone can be friends. I've made her less powerful that she was perhaps in the comics. Then again, she's only fifteen. Also, I couldn't find what her hometown was, but for this fic, I made it Miami. Plus, if you think fifteen-year-old-girls can't be this calculating, think again.

With regards to Freddy "Blob" Dukes, I know he wasn't actually identified in X1 or X2. Although there was some guesses that in the X1 scene where the kids watch the Blackbird leave the Mansion grounds that the heavyset kid was Freddy, I opted to make him more like his X-Men Evolution incarnation although not as big (he's still growing, you know).

After rewatching X1 and X2, I started having a different take on Jean. Ororo seemed to be more of the caretaker/den mom than Jean. We really didn't see Jean interacting with the kids like we saw Ororo. While both women have a certain aloofness to them, I would think the kids would generally be more shy around Jean because of her telepathy than the Storm Queen.

That brings up the question: just how powerful is Jean's telepathy? She admits to Logan in X1 that she's nowhere near the level of Xavier. I'm going on the presumption that since Bobby has been around awhile, Jean can pick his individual thoughts up much easier than the kids. I wanted Bobby to hold a more special place with Jean, to perhaps be the little brother she never had, hence how she allows him to address her as Jean instead Dr. Grey (but not in class). Bobby is hypersensitive about this special treatment, which is why he constantly corrects himself when addressing either Jean or Scott.

And yes, I realize that St. John has an unorthodox nickname for Jubilee.

******

Even though he had only attended "normal" school until the middle of sixth grade, Bobby knew that girls passing notes during class was a very common thing. One girl would scribble something on a scrap of paper, fold the note carefully, write the name of the recipient on the top, and hand it off when the teacher had her back turned. Notes captured by bullies, like Rocky Beasley, were ransomed; the usual payment was cash or homework answers. Notes captured by teachers meant detention.

When Bobby was eleven, he had determined the risks of passing notes just wasn't worth it. Jennifer had flicked a note onto his desk, mouthing "pass it to Judy." He had not wanted anything to do with it but before he could send it back, Mrs. Collins had caught him. The detention hadn't been all that bad, although his penmanship had steadily declined as he approached the one-hundredth "I will not pass notes in class" line. At least Mrs. Collins hadn't made him rewrite it.

The bad part had been when his mom picked him up from school, because detention had meant missing the bus. The bad part had been being sent to his room after his mother had ominously said, "wait until your father gets home". The bad part had been standing in the middle of his bedroom while his father began the lecture. The worst part had been when he tried to explain that it hadn't been his fault (because it really hadn't been) and his dad had responded with, "Men don't make excuses!" and a very hard slap across the face.

Hence, passing notes was a bad thing. Being associated with passing notes was a bad thing. Bobby hated note passing.

It didn't stop the girls at the Mansion from doing it anyway, but so far he'd been able to escape note-passing duty. The girls also usually refrained from passing notes in Jean's class because, well, Jean was telepathic and telekinetic. Jean had no problems with floating the offending note up to her desk and embarrassing the heck out of the girls. Today, however, the girls decided to risk it because whatever it was couldn't wait seventeen minutes until classes ended for the day.

Out of the corner of his eye, Bobby saw the folded pink paper slide from Alison to Tracy to Tabby. What was unusual was that Tabby didn't open it up. Instead...

No. Please, no. Not me. Please, don't give it to me, because he was sitting next to Tabby and he was the only person she could give it to. Jubilee, Allerdyce and Kitty sat in the row in front of them. Jubilee and Allerdyce were the sworn enemies of Alison and her cadre, and Alison and Kitty hadn't spoken since the argument eight days ago in which Jubilee replaced Alison as Kitty's best friend and Allerdyce had been part of the Jubilee package. Bobby knew there was no way the note was meant for those three. Maybe if I ignore her...

Tabby slid the note under the corner of his biology book.

Crap. It was Alison's stupid cherry-scented paper, too, the kind sometimes that made him sneeze. When he was nervous and he sneezed, he usually froze things. Just great. He'd draw attention to himself, of course, because Jean never ignored it when someone lost control of powers, no matter how "minor." Bobby didn't want the note, had no desire to open the note, and didn't care what was on the note.

He just wanted the note to go away.

Fat chance.

Tabby was giving him "the open it now before you get caught" look.

No way. There was no way he was going to read it because it was cherry-scented and he was going to sneeze. He would be caught and he was not going to endure another lecture over something that wasn't his fault. He had been subjected to two last week. He wasn't up for another one.

And although the professor's and Scott's lectures were infinitely better than his father's - neither had ever berated him or reduced him to tears or laid a hand on him - it was still a lecture.

Bobby didn't want to be a disappointment to the professor, Scott, Jean or Ro, after he tried so hard to be good about things. He didn't want to do anything to jeopardize what he had at the Mansion. He didn't want the other kids to see him as a favored student. He tried so hard not to do that. He addressed Scott as "Mister Summers"and Jean as "Doctor Grey" and Ro as "Miss Munroe" to avoid all that when those three really were Scott, Jean and Ro to him. Weird. But that was Mutant High.

Still, enduring a third lecture within eight days was something he wasn't prepared to handle.

Bobby, you're projecting.

The only reason he didn't jump was because after almost three years at the Mansion, he was used to Jean's mind-voice. Most of the other kids usually gasped or dropped something or went slack-jawed. He usually didn't. It didn't stop him from blushing. Still, her mind-voice meant she was aware.

Great. She knew.

He was in so much trouble...

I'll let pass this time. She sounded amused, which did not match the serious expression on her face as she talked about osmosis. She must have overheard his train of thoughts, about his father and the professor because she added, I know it's not your fault.

Jean seemed to always understand him. Some of the kids thought her too snooty, but Bobby knew that she and Scott juggled a ton of things to make the Mansion run, as did Ro and the professor. There wasn't always time to really play Mom/Big Sister to everyone although he knew she tried. Some of the kids were just plain spooked by her. Thanks, Jean... I mean, Doctor Grey.

I don't mind you calling me Jean, Bobby, except when we're in class. It was what both Jean and Scott always said. There was a laugh to her tone. Now, open your note and get it over with.

Despite the reprieve by Jean, he still shot Tabby and Alison a look to let them know he wasn't happy about being the recipient of the note. Alison looked, well, anxious. He gave a small sigh and reached for the note, carefully though, because despite having permission, he didn't want to be obvious about it. He slid it to his lap and fingered the folds, wondering why in the world Alison insisted on folding her notes in such a weird way. He slowly opened it, careful not to make too much sound. When he finally had it undone, he glanced down.

B - Meet me at 3 by the Stones, please! - A

It was the first time in eight days that Alison had tried to talk to him. He did miss her company, because conversations nowadays at meals with Jubilee and Allerdyce now in the mix were decidedly stilted. There were lots of pauses and uncomfortable silences when there hadn't been ones before.

Alison also used to kinda flirt with him, and even though he thought she tended to be a bit mean, he had been still kinda flattered because she was pretty. He glanced over. She mouthed "please" and gave him puppy-eyes, the kind he always gave in to. He shrugged and nodded, crumpling the paper and stuffing it into his pocket.

Alison beamed at him.

****

"How in the fuck can you just ignore it, Jubilee? Jesus Christ, I thought I was going to freeze my ass off!"

"C'mon, John, it wasn't that bad. It was just a little temp drop. You'll get used to it."

"Then you sit in front of him, 'kay? Christ."

"Did you have icicles on your ass, babe?"

"No."

"Then quit bitching. The girlies were probably just messing with him anyway. You know how much Drake does the damned diplomat thing. No biggie, okay?"

****

Escaping to the lower garden without anyone noticing him wasn't that difficult. Jubilee had somehow talked Allerdyce to partner with her for foosball against Pete and Kitty. Bobby wasn't used to being the odd man out, and over the past eight days, he found himself being the fifth wheel more and more since Pete and Kitty tended to automatically pair up against the forces of Jubilee and Allerdyce. In this particular case, however, it worked to his advantage. He was able to slip away without having to explain why.

The Stones were a group of landscaping rocks on the far side of the secondary garden. It was one of several meeting places on Mansion grounds and it took about 5 minutes to get to from the main hall. He guessed she wanted to meet him there so they could talk and not endure venomous looks from Jubilee or be interrupted by anyone. Although he tried to make it on time, Bobby arrived a few minutes late, because he was always late for stuff.

Alison was already there and the thing he noticed right away was that she wasn't wearing a jacket. It wasn't particularly chilly, but then again Bobby was pretty much indifferent to cold temperatures. Alison, however, was a Miami-native and complained when the temperature dropped below 70 degrees. Her sweater was v-necked and clingy, and her nipples were outlined by the smooth fabric. He blinked. He knew it wasn't nice to stare, but it was difficult not to.

"Hi, Bobby," she said softly and took a step closer to him.

"Hey." Great. He sounded like Allerdyce now.

"How've ya been?" She pushed a blonde lock of hair behind her ear.

"Okay." Jeez. What was the deal? Conversations used to be so easy with Alison. And Kitty. And Pete. Nowadays, he struggled to find something to say. True, it was an awkward moment because of the rift between Kitty and Alison and Bobby had "sided" with Kitty because, well, he didn't know why. He liked Kitty better? Yes, he did. Kitty was just plain nice. Still, he and Alison had been friends. "Um... You?"

"Okay." She shrugged. The sweater was really clingy. Alison usually didn't wear clingy clothing. "I've missed hanging out with you."

"Well, me too," which was the truth. Although Alison could be moody, he felt more comfortable around her than he did around Jubilee and Allerdyce. Still, despite his earlier anger about the note, he was flattered that she had sought him out and she was kinda flirting with him.

She smiled. He noticed her lip gloss was a funky shade of clear red and, wow, the neckline of her sweater was awfully low. Alison usually wore turtlenecks. The tip of her cross pendant rested just above where her cleavage began. Alison wasn't all that well-endowed but still, well, it was nice to look at.

She made a playful grab for his left hand, wrapping her fingers around his and swinging his arm a bit. This was new. The flirting part wasn't, but the touching part was. Alison never really touched him all that much, and this kind of touching was Jean/Scott girlfriend/boyfriend territory. Oh jeez. What in the heck was going on?

She smiled at him again. "Wanna walk?"

"Sure," because Bobby had no clue what else to say.

Alison tugged on his arm and they began walking away from the Mansion, towards the orchard. She continued her hold on his hand, swinging it with each step. He glanced over and noticed the slight bounce of her breasts. Oh man. He began to really like that sweater. He never really noticed Alison in that way because, well, she was Alison and a friend and although she was a girl, she wasn't a girlfriend even though she flirted with him.

"I know you're really mad about the note."

He blinked. She was apologizing to him? That was new. But after a week of people not apologizing for making his life miserable, he found it very... nice.

"It's just that..." Bobby paused, wondering what he should say. This was Alison, and he'd always been able to talk with Alison. He was kinda comfortable around her and he could relax because they were friends. He wouldn't say this to Kitty because, well, Kitty was Kitty. Pete was now concentrating on making Allerdyce less tetchy around them. No one had once asked him how he felt about all the lectures since Allerdyce's arrival. "I've been in the professor's and Mister Summers' offices this week over stuff that wasn't my fault." Jeez, that sounded whiny and his dad would have whacked the crap out of him for making such a comment, but it was how he felt. Jean always said it was okay to say how he felt. "I didn't want a lecture from Dr. Grey, too."

Alison nodded and leaned her head against his arm. "I know. That whole boat dock thing was totally bogus." She squeezed his fingers. "I'm really sorry, Bobby. It wasn't fair."

For the first time, someone wasn't making the "new guy" excuse for Allerdyce. It was nice, because he was still angry about it and the forced "quality time" with Allerdyce and Jubilee had cancelled out his usual venting session with Pete. Jubilee and Allerdyce seemed to always be around, like annoying little brothers.

"Yeah," because he appreciated that she recognized what was going on. "Thanks."

"No, I mean it," she hugged his arm tighter. It reminded him of how Jean sometimes curled around Scott's arm. Oh jeez. The rest of his body responded to that implication. Alison was leading him towards Girlfriend Territory. He suddenly realized her breast was rubbing against the back his arm.

Oh boy.

They had arrived at the orchard, and Alison stopped them as they passed the second row of trees. Wordlessly, they both sat down with him leaning against the tree trunk. Alison was quite close to him and her hair smelled like apples.

"I know this is really weird and stuff," she said, resting her head on his shoulder. He didn't realize how blonde her hair was until now. "I mean, the stuff with me and Kitty." She let out a long sigh.

"What did happen?" he asked, because Kitty or Jubilee never talked about it.

"Girl stuff," she said evasively.

Of course. The mysterious "girl stuff". Girl stuff was something he didn't want to know about. He backed off.

Her hand, however, was now on his thigh. "I know it's weird of me to ask and everything..."

Oh jeez. She was drawing figures on his thigh. Thank goodness he was sitting down because he was now sporting some serious wood. This never happened around Alison. Kitty, yes. Alison, no. Until now. A clingy sweater, lip gloss, and a hand on his thigh had done him in.

"You know how terrible I am at math..."

Which was true. Alison wasn't really all that great of a student if Bobby wanted to be honest about it. She seemed to struggle with everything, Pete's grammar was better than hers (except when he got flustered) and English was his second language, but math was Alison's particular bane.

"And Kitty... well..."

"Yeah," he said just to keep the conversation going, because he was really tired of the 'say one sentence then wait for twenty-seconds before the next' crap that he'd endured at meals for the past eight days.

"Yeah," she repeated. Her fingers trailed along the inner-side of his knee.

Don't make me stand up now... please don't make me stand up now... and Bobby was thankful that Alison's powers were transforming sound into light, not telepathy.

"That algebra test is this Friday and... well... I know you're hanging out with Kitty and them and I don't wanna make you choose or anything because I'm not gonna... but, um..."

Part of him recognized what she was asking him. Normally, he would have made the offer automatically because he was good in math too. He wasn't at Kitty's level - nobody was - but Scott thought he was really good at it. However, Bobby was too concerned with the fact her hand was now resting on his inner thigh.

"... could you help me?"

"Uh..." because his blood supply was currently concentrated in his crotch, something he thought only happened in Penthouse letters.

"Tabby and Tracy are okay, but like, you can explain things better."

Holy smoke! She was drawing patterns on his inner thigh! His jeans were definitely too tight. Definitely.

Her voice had a sweet plea to it. "Please?"

"Um..." Because he couldn't remember the question was.

"Would you help me with math?"

Right. That.

"Yeah... okay."


(***((()))***)

"That fucking bitch."

"Whoa."

"Seriously, John. That fucking bitch."

"Ow! Watch the arcs, babe! So, Alison is jiggling at Drake. So fucking what? I thought you said, 'no biggie'."

"She's playing him."

"News flash, chica. You played him too."

Snap. Pop. "I was making nice, asshole. I didn't put my hands down his damn pants."

"Pissed that your plan of Total Mansion Domination isn't working?"

Crackle. Zap.

"OW! You fucking bitch! You aimed for my balls, goddammit!"

Zip. Fwoosh.

"Those are my cigs, motherfucker!"

"Gotta have a mother to fuck her, and I don't."

"..."

"..."

"Whoa, dude. I was way outta line. Sorry."

"..."

"..."

"... 'Sokay."

"Um... Where were we?"

"Drake's pants and Total Mansion Domination."

"Okay. So anyway, I know what that bitch is up to."

*****

Before the Kitty/Alison schism, they would have probably worked on algebra problems in Bobby's room. Bobby and Alison would have taken over the futon mattress on the floor while Pete and Kitty lounged on his bed. Perhaps the only advantage to having his own room at the Mansion was that there was space to sprawl out on the floor and the professor had been kind enough to allow him to have the comfy, extra mattress. Now, however, Bobby had a legitimate dilemma on his hands.

Tuesday night. Homework time. Alison needed help on her algebra and Bobby had agreed. They just had to find a place to study. Alison had suggested his room; Tabby and Tracy had nodded in agreement, ready to join them. Bobby didn't like it, knowing he was going to catch some grief from Kitty and pure hell from Jubilee for studying with Alison in the first place. Adding Tabby and Tracy into mix would be too much. Surprisingly, the girls hadn't argued and didn't act mad or anything.

"The arboretum?" Alison then suggested.

Safe. Neutral. Kinda quiet because it wasn't the usual place to study. Alison had said, after all, she wasn't going to make him choose between her and Kitty.

So that's where they ended up, sitting in the corner of the arboretum with their books, pencils and notebooks. Alison wore another clingy, low cut sweater and her lips were coated in funky fuchsia gloss that matched the color of the sweater. Her hair still smelled like apples.

They had been working on the same problem for fifteen minutes and Alison still wasn't getting it. Bobby tried not to be too exasperated and wondered how in the world Kitty had the patience to deal with Alison. Well, Kitty didn't have to, not any more. She helped Jubilee and Allerdyce; those two seemed to pick up on stuff way faster than Alison.

Alison then scooted closer to him, her breast brushing his arm. "I like you, Bobby."

What the...? "I... uh... like you too, Alison."

"I mean... more than a friend 'like', like, you know?"

Oh boy.

"I just thought... everyone just thought that you and Kitty... I mean I know you're Catholic and she's Jewish but you... well... you know."

He didn't know. What did religion have to do with anything? "Huh?"

Alison's sigh had a slight edge to it, as if she were frustrated. Well, it wasn't as if she was being direct about things or anything. "I mean... you and Kitty were always, like, together."

"Uh... Together?"

She huffed a little. "Like... you know..."

Oh.

But...

Everyone thought of him and Kitty as a couple? Even Alison?

But she had been right there, the whole time. It wasn't as if Bobby and Kitty held hands and stuff. They did stuff together but they were friends. It didn't make sense, unless Kitty and Alison, well, talked about it which could have happened given that Kitty and Alison were roommates and all.

So maybe Kitty had claimed Bobby as her boyfriend. News flash to him. She didn't do the normal girlfriend-kind of things, the Jean/Scott kind of things.

Still...

Jeez, he felt stupid. "Oh."

Her hand was on his knee now. "But, like, she and Pete are now like... well... you know."

Kitty and Pete. He knew. Quite well. He wasn't jealous along the lines of boyfriend/girlfriend jealousy, not like Judy used to get when Bobby would smile at another girl. Now, the only reason that Bobby was hurt was because he felt, well, left out.

The Fifth Wheel.

Honestly, it sucked. The inclusion of Allerdyce in everything had royally screwed things up.

He could hear the hesitation in Alison's voice. "So, well... I thought that... maybe..."

Her fingers had trailed up his thigh.

He turned his head, surprised to find Alison so close to him. Her voice had a breathy quality to it, kind of like out of the movies. "I like you a lot, Bobby."

"I... uh... like you, too," because, well, he had to say something.

"No, I mean I really like you."

Which could only mean one thing, really, if things were like TV shows.

She leaned forward.

So did he because, well, her hand was on his thigh.

They kissed.

****

"That bitch got him."

"Jesus fucking Christ, Lee-Lee! Give a guy some fucking notice!"

"Hel-LO? Two a.m. The gazebo. Who else would be here? Hey... got a light?"

"What the fuck do you think?" Zip. Fwoosh.

"Thanks, babe."

"Whatever."

"He's such a goddamned mascot!"

"Sounds like you got the jones for the ice guy."

"Fuck off, flame boy."

"Seriously, babe. Since Ali-girl made her play, you've been a complete bitch. Others would say you gotta thing for Drake. I still say you're pissed about Mansion Domination, chica."

"And I still say you're a fucking asshole, asshole."

****

Wednesday night. The arboretum. The same corner as last night. They worked on algebra for all of twenty minutes.

Alison's sweater was burgundy. So was her lip gloss. Her hair still smelled like apples and her breath was minty. She leaned over him, hand resting on his hip as she kissed him. She had her eyes closed so he did the same. It wasn't a simple kiss like last night, lips pressing against lips. This time, she opened her mouth a little and he did the same because, well, it seemed like a good idea. He guessed he should have been bothered that she was the one kissing him, not vice versa. His dad would have scoffed at him, told him to be a Man and take charge, but Bobby had no clue what Alison wanted so he just let her, well, kiss him.

He kept his palms flat on the ground though. When she pulled back and they both opened her eyes, she gave him an odd look. "Um..."she bit her lip and gave him puppy eyes. "Do you like me?"

That was a stupid question. "Well, uh... yeah. We're, uh, well... kissing, right?"

She wrapped her fingers around his wrist. "Well... um... Sometimes when Mister Summers kisses Dr. Grey, you know when they think no one's looking and stuff?" She tugged lightly and he allowed her to pull his hand and place it on her bare collarbone. "He, like, does that. You know, like, um... touches her. You know."

Of course he knew. During that first year Bobby was there, Jean and Scott frequently stole kisses in the hallway and held hands and did all the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. The influx of kids had kind of put a dampener on all that stuff. But still, he knew.

The problem was controlling his power. It was dicey when he was under a lot of stress, and this whole new twist with Alison was really pushing him. He wasn't really sure how he felt about her but his body seemed to have decided this affection and touching and kissing was a good thing.

Still, he didn't want to risk freezing her. How in the world could he explain? "I... uh... I don't want to hurt you."

"Huh?"

He moved his hand away and pointed to the ground were frost had formed around his other palm. He was totally, completely and utterly embarrassed, but he'd rather explain to her now than to explain to Scott and Jean why Alison was entombed in ice. "I don't want to freeze you."

"Oh." She scooted closer to him again. "Um. Well. If you can't touch me, like, can I touch you?"

Bobby's brain promptly flat lined.

He prayed to God that he didn't freeze the arboretum because Ro had absolutely no problem with chasing him down with lightening. Her aim was legendary. She'd done it before when he was thirteen and he had played a prank on her. She loved her arboretum and messing with her arboretum meant facing the wrath of the Storm Queen.

"Uh..." because that was the only sound he was capable of getting out.

Alison's hand was back on his hip. Both of his hands were firmly on the ground. She began kissing him again.

"Ali..." he managed to finally get out, knowing that his tenacious hold on his control was rapidly slipping away. "Not here... Please. I could kill the plants and then Miss Munroe will kill me."

She leaned back again, tilting her head as if thinking something through. There was an odd tick to her smile. He'd seen it once before but he couldn't recall when. He promptly forgot about it when Ali hooked her fingers into his front pocket, her thumb dangerously close to his hard on.

He didn't understand. Why him? Why now? Because she knew he and Kitty weren't an item? But he and Kitty never did the girlfriend/boyfriend thing. Ali should have known that because, well, she had been there. But she was kissing him and touching him and doing all the girlfriend things to him so... maybe... she realized she liked him when he wasn't around?

Girls were a complete mystery.

"You are really cute, Bobby. I mean, really."

She was staring at him. He noticed for the first time that her eyes were teal instead of hazel. Contact lenses. She chattered about them last month, how much she hated her eye color and was going to change them. He didn't know why she wanted to do that, but it had been important to her. At least his brain allowed him to process that much information and then allowed him to say, "Your eyes... they're really... pretty."

She flashed a dazzling smile. "Thanks, Bobby."

****

"I am not fucking reading Cosmo, Lee."

"Research, John-boy. Research."

"I know what the fuck to do with my own damned dick, okay? And this shit about how to drive your man wild? Jesus fucking Christ. It's fucking lame."

"Ooh... Tell me what you really think, babe."

"It's just that... well... shit. You don't have to do all that 'licking the ear' crap, okay? Your hand on my dick works just fine."

"Oh so subtle, Johnny."

"Don't fucking call me Johnny."

"If I fuck you, can I call you Johnny?"

"..."Jubes had a plan

"..."

"I fucking mean it, Jubilee."

"..."

"..."

"... Oh God. Dude..."

"Leave it."

"Okay."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"Ah... John... Um... Well... Two packs of cigs says Ali's following Cosmo."

"I don't smoke."

"You a gambler then? Make me deal. She's following Cosmo, babe. She has to be. It's the Suburban Girls' Sex Bible."

"I don't bet... and if you make some crack about being a goody-too-shoes, I'll barbeque your skinny ass, chica."

"..."

"..."

"Oh Jesus, St. John."

"Leave it, okay? Just fucking leave it."

****

Thursday night. Scott's classroom. Alison suggested it because it was a) neutral and b) had a blackboard on which they could practice equations. The equation from this afternoon's class was still there and Alison still hadn't figured it out. Bobby tried three times to show her but she just didn't get it.

Right then, right there, he decided that Kitty had the patience of a saint. Wait. They didn't have Jewish saints, did they? Who was the guy who had all the patience? Job? Bobby couldn't remember, but whoever the famous Jewish guy who had all that patience was, Kitty had the patience of him. If that made any sense.

"Ali, you know this," Bobby said, hoping he kinda sounded like Scott in that 'I have confidence in you' kinda thing. He hated writing on the blackboard because his handwriting sucked compared to Scott's, but he scribbled out part of the answer. The chalk broke midway through writing a seven. Half of it fell to the floor. He bent to pick it up.

"Wow. You really do have a cute butt."

He dropped the chalk.

Crap.

Swear to God, he didn't mean to do that. And just how in the heck was he supposed to respond to that kind of comment? Somehow 'so do you' just wasn't appropriate. He could ignore the piece of chalk on the floor because he could always retrieve it when they were done, right?

Kneel, idiot! his mind shouted. So he did, locating the piece of chalk and promptly coating it with frost.

He wanted Scott's power. Right then, right there. Bang. Red shades. Power controlled. End of story. None of this 'coating pieces of furniture with frost' crap that he had to endure whenever his nerves got the better of him.

He freaking hated his mutant power.

"Really. Swear." Alison sounded, well, amused. Haughtily amused. He knew that tone. The tone made him stand and turn, frost-coated chalk be damned. She was smiling at him, one of those dazzling smiles of hers. "Tabby thinks Petey had the best butt in the mansion, but Tracy and me... well... our vote... my vote..." she stared at his crotch then back up to his face "...is with you."

She stood, smoothing out the edge of her clingy dark blue sweater. Her nipples were hard and poking out against the fabric, proof positive that he'd lost control of his powers. Damn it to hell!

"Bobby? Alison?"

Crap. That was Scott. The lights were on in his classroom past 8 p.m. Of course Scott would wonder what the heck was going on. Scott noticed everything for Christ's sake.

Bobby stood up too fast. His shoulder caught ledge of the portable blackboard. The blackboard swung up and thwacked him squarely in the chin and the tip of his tongue just happened to be between his perfectly aligned teeth. Translation: he bit his tongue. Hard.

Just freaking great.

Scott opened the door all the way.

Bobby felt Alison cradle his chin before lightly kissing his jaw. Then, "Oh, Mister Summers!"

It was an 'oh my gosh, I just got caught' squeak. But, jeez, she had to have heard Scott so why would she be surprised? She dropped her hand and spun around to face their teacher.

"I take it you're studying," Scott said with that deadpan tone of his. To the other students, his tone was more along the lines of a threat, a quick ticket to Lecture-ville. However, Bobby saw the expression on his face, the slight quirk of his lips, and knew that Scott was doing everything not to crack a smile.

Great. Just great.

"The test tomorrow," Alison said. She kinda sounded unnerved. Then again, it was Scott in Teacher Mode for Christ's sakes, and all the students seemed to be intimidated by that particular persona. She plucked the chalk from Bobby's hand. "Bobby's helping me."

Scott raised an eyebrow over the edge of his glasses. It was the "yeah, rriiight" look because Bobby had been caught kissing in Scott's classroom. Bobby knew he'd never live this down.

Ever.

"We were working on the problem..." Bobby began to explain, taking a step forward.

It was the wrong thing to do.

His foot hit a small patch of ice from where he'd dropped the chalk. His foot slid, he lost his balance, and he promptly fell on his ass. He closed his eyes, willing himself to calm down and hoping to God that he didn't just flash-freeze Alison, Scott, and Scott's classroom. Regardless, he was absolutely mortified.

He heard a snort and cracked open an eye. Scott's face was expressionless, not even a twitch of a smile, and Bobby decided that was a good thing. If Scott didn't laugh, then Alison probably wouldn't laugh, at least not to his face.

"You okay, Bobby?" Scott asked, his tone conveying concern not amusement.

"Yeah," he muttered as he scrambled to his feet, noting that the frost now coated the blackboard, the first row of desks, and most of Scott's desk. He groaned because this absolutely, completely and utterly sucked. He spared a glance to Alison, who had covered her mouth. At least she wasn't covered in frost as well. "I'll clean this up, Scott. I swear."

There was a slight gasp from Alison. Then, Bobby realized what he had done. Crap. He'd addressed Scott by his first name. Damn! In the classroom, no less. Double damn. It was the first time he had slipped up in over a year.

Great. Just freaking great. What else could he possible do to further humiliate himself? He didn't know what it was, but at the rate things were going, he would probably find out.

"I know you will," Scott said and flashed the briefest of grins, the one which mean that his surrogate big brother really did understand things. He gave a nod to Alison. "I think you've done enough studying tonight," said with just enough emphasis on 'studying' to convey he didn't approve of kissing in the classroom. "Don't you think?"

"Yes, Mister Summers," Alison said, words muffled by her hands. She then dropped her hands away from her mouth, offered him a sweet smile, and grabbed her (thankfully not-frozen) books. "Thanks for helping me study, Bobby."

Bobby knew his face was the same color as Scott's shades.

Great. Just freaking great.

"Uh... you're welcome."

****

"You fucking embarrassed the hell out of him, you jackass!"

"I just asked if he needed help, chica. Damn. Hate to see what happens when he jacks off. No wonder he has is own room."

"You're such an ass, John. Don't you fucking pay attention? She had him in Mister Summers' classroom. Like I told you, right out of the Suburban Girls Sex Bible under 'dangerous locations for liaisons."

"Pissed that you didn't think of it first?"

"It's not about that, jackass. I told you."

"Then why the fuck do you care so much about the damned mascot?"

"..."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"Shit, John... Fucking hell... Drake... He never called me a... He doesn't like me, but he... he's nice, okay? Some of the guys... when I first got here... they asked me how much I charged for... stuff. They automatically assumed, you know? Fucking bastards."

"..."

"It's not about getting even, jackass. Those shitheads ain't worth it."

"..."

"Drake... Bobby... he didn't assume stuff about me. He doesn't like me, but he didn't think... Neither did you. It was... it's nice. Okay? I can be me and they don't think I'm a ... you know. I never was."

"I know."

"..."

"..."

"That's why, okay? Him and Kitty. And Petey for that matter. They don't think that way. Just because you and me got royally fucked over, St. John, doesn't mean everyone else has to be. Bobby and Kitty? They ain't like you and me. And maybe... well... maybe it's better that they stay that way."

****

On that first day when Alison had asked for his help with algebra, she had told him she wouldn't make him choose between her and Kitty as his friends. Kitty hadn't seemed too upset with him spending a little time with Alison, although she had been a bit more distant at mealtimes than she normally was. Jubilee, however, seemed a little more forgiving. Weird.

Still, Bobby believed he had been able to juggle everything quite well - hanging out with Kitty and the Crew except that hour he spent with Alison practicing algebra and kissing. He had managed to keep everything going smoothly until the day of the dreaded algebra test.

Friday. Five minutes until noon.

Alison bounced up to him in the hallway as he left Ro's history class with Kitty, Jubilee and Allerdyce; they were about to head toward the dining hall for lunch. Alison flashed a smile, a little cooler and sharper than the ones she usually favored him with. He heard Kitty's quick intake of breath, Jubilee snapping her gum, and Allerdyce snort. Alison hugged her books tightly to her chest and gave him puppy eyes.

"You know, like, Bobby... the algebra test is right after lunch," she said.

At that moment, Bobby knew he was royally screwed. No matter what he did, no matter how he did it, one of the girls was going to be mad at him.

Crap.

Was this how Indiana Jones felt when that knight said, "Choose, but choose wisely"? No Holy Grail here, though. Just, Holy Crap.

"Could we go over that one equation just one last time? Please?"

Bobby distinctly heard a quiet wah-peesh, the universal code sound for being whipped. He shot a look at Allerdyce who only shrugged in return.

But right then, right there, he wished he were John Allerdyce, skinny and scrappy, totally unapproachable John Allerdyce. John "It's a phoenix not a chicken" Allerdyce. John "I have no problem with setting you on fire" Allerdyce. John "I don't give a damn what you think about me" Allerdyce. John "My power doesn't flare out of control unless maybe there's a lit candle nearby" Allerdyce.

This was so totally not fair.

"It's okay, Bobby," Kitty said quietly.

Permission.

Kitty was giving him freaking permission to have lunch elsewhere. This would earn Lecture Number Three from his father: Real Men Don't Let Girls Boss Them Around. Jubilee wasn't the only one who had lectures numbered. It was still embarrassing as hell, though, to have one girl grant him absolution for potentially having lunch with a rival.

He didn't said a word, just stood there dumbly, as Alison and Kitty waged a weird little war over him. Perhaps he should feel flattered that they would do this, publicly no less, because he knew that girls didn't fight over Freddy or Jamie or Neal this way. He only felt extremely self-conscious about the whole thing because they were in the hallway for Christ's sake.

By this time, Tabby and Tracy had walked up and stood behind Alison. Alison brushed a lock of hair behind her ear and gave Kitty a particularly nasty look. "Bobby doesn't need your say-so."

The hallway had grown a little quieter as more students slowed as they passed by on their way to lunch. It was a rare thing, a girl fight in the corridor, and when the principal players just happened to be, well, them, it made it all the more interesting.

Great. Just freaking great.

From the corner of his eye, he saw Scott emerge from his classroom. Ro was on her way out as well, stopping in the doorway and glancing from the trio of Kitty, Jubilee, and Allerdyce to the other of Alison, Tabby and Tracy. Bobby was standing squarely in the middle. He wanted to pry up the floorboards and crawl beneath them. Better yet, he wanted to dig himself a grave in Ro's flower garden and bury himself there. Worm food. Natural fertilizer. Anything had to be better than this.

"Chill out," Jubilee directed the comment at Alison, but there really wasn't any challenge behind it. She moved next to Bobby and playfully boxed him on the upper arm. "Look, Bobster, the extra cred project's not due 'til..." she glanced at Ro who nodded slightly and then to Kitty before continuing, "What? Wednesday? Plenty of time, dude. No biggie."

Extra credit project? Wednesday? What project due on Wednesday? Crap. When had Ro assigned a project due on Wednesday? And why in the heck was Jubilee calling him Bobster? What the heck kind of nickname was that?

Jubilee had made sure he was between her and Ro and that she was facing Alison. He saw the small spark dancing along her fingertips.

Crap. Unspoken Girl Code. He couldn't figure out what the heck was going on here, but he certainly recognized Unspoken Girl Code. Jubilee was warning Alison, but he had no clue why.

"C'mon, kiddies," Jubilee called and spun on heel. She draped one arm around Allerdyce and then the other around Kitty. "Chow time."

****

"In case you're wondering, Jubilation Lee, you scare the shit out of me."

"Good."

"Oh, and that spark at the end? Slick, babe."

"You weren't helping, John-boy."

"Come on. The set up was perfect."

"Look, you make that wah-peesh sound again, jackass? I'm aiming for your balls."

"... Shit. Sorry."

"Leave it."

****

Bobby decided the bruise on his cheek wasn't too bad. The front of his sweatshirt and jeans, however, sported serious grass stains from the football game. Since Pete and Kitty had squared off against Jubilee and Allerdyce for foosball, he had opted to join some of the other guys for a quick game. Neal had been particularly enthusiastic, claiming him to his team the second he had waved to the group.

At least he felt like he fit in somewhere.

Sort of.

Freddy had arm-barred him across the gut as he had come back down from catching Neal's perfect spiral pass. Bobby had managed to hold onto the ball, but had found himself landing face first on the ground and sliding a few feet. Freddy had grinned as he had gotten up. The tag had been intentionally hard. Bobby hadn't said a word, just had sucked it up and had gone on with the game because it had been football and hard hits were part of football. The ground hadn't even been frosted from where he'd hit.

He had grabbed a quick shower and had changed into a pair of sweats. He hurt all over because 195 pounds of Freddy had crushed him into the hard ground. As he tossed his grass-stained clothes into the hamper, he heard his bedroom door open, the click of shoes on the lacquered floor, and then the door shut.

"Hi, Bobby."

He spun and found Alison leaning against the door.

He was tired. He was hurt. His cheek was bruised and in an hour, he'd have to deal with the fallout over having lunch with Alison. He'd have to thank Jubilee for bailing his ass out of the whole "permission" thing and not ask what the hell the Unspoken Girl Code was about. Pete would probably know, but Pete had taken Allerdyce in as the Kid Brother and therefore, was unavailable to talk to. He didn't want Allerdyce to be there, to give the other guy fodder to make fun of him.

Bobby discarded the manners drilled into him by his mother and reinforced by his time at the Mansion. "You're supposed to knock first," he spat out, in a tone that could almost rival Allerdyce's condescension. "Oh, and that whole 'wait for the invitation to come in'? It would have been nice, too."

Her eyes widened in surprise and then she blinked rapidly, as if trying to hold back the tears.

He was unmoved. Upsetting Kitty was one thing. Upsetting Alison, he suddenly concluded, was something else. He didn't want to necessarily hurt her feelings, but she certainly didn't seem to care about his. He didn't want to be cruel, but the week-long stress over the whole Alison study-thing had made him short-tempered. "What do you want?"

Alison took a few steps closer to him, hands clasped in front of her. She wore another clingy sweater, this time in dark rust, and her lip gloss matched it. The color, Bobby decided, made her look paler than normal, and the way she had her hands and arms looked as if she was trying to make her breasts look, well, bigger. She didn't have much to work with.

"I'm sorry," she said with a slight break in her voice. "It's just, like, Neal said that Freddy tackled you, like, pretty hard and, like..." She wrung her hands and then pushed back a lock of hair behind her ear. She did that a lot he realized. A nervous habit, perhaps? "Oh, gosh, Bobby, I just wanted to make sure you were okay, you know, and not make Jubilee and Kitty mad at you because, like, I like you and stuff and I know they don't like me. I just wanted to see if you were okay, okay?" A soft squeak, as if she were trying not to cry. "And I didn't want them seeing me seeing that you're okay so they won't take it out on you because, well, I really like you, Bobby."

And faced with that twisted "like, you know" explanation, the upstanding young man his father wanted him to be, who was lectured time and time again that making girls cry was not what a Real Man did, Bobby Drake relented in his anger.

He sighed, limped over to his bed, and sat down. He tried not to wince or inhale sharply because he really did hurt all over. "Look, Ali. I'm just tired, okay?" He scooted back so that his back was against the wall and his legs were stretched out. He closed his eyes. "And you made me choose. You said you wouldn't but you did, okay?"

"I know," she replied. He heard her shuffling over and felt her tentatively sitting on the edge of his bed. "I wanna make it up to you."

His eyes snapped open. "Huh?"

She crawled over to him, sweater gaping a little to show the swell of her breasts and the gold cross glinting from the light of his desk lamp. She leaned slightly toward him. The full force of her perfume, heavy and almost sour, hit his senses. Jean favored crisper, sophisticated scents that just seemed to be there and not overpowering like Alison's was. Ro's perfume was more earthy but still always light, like a teasing hint of what it was.

"I wanna make it up to you." Her hand rested on his thigh.

Sweater. Lip gloss. Perfume.

Got it.

His crotch responded appropriately, however, the rest of his body protested as did his mind. "Ali, I just got tackled by the Blob and Steve McQueen was nowhere in sight, okay?"

It was her turn to say, "Huh?"

Well, that's what he got for watching B-Movies with Warren. References that only college kids and an heir to an empire would know.

Great.

"Just forget it," he said as he shifted a little so that her hand slid off the top his thigh.

She huffed a little, that little frustrated sound she made when she wasn't getting her way. She waited a few seconds before scooting even closer. "I meant, like, what I said, you know." Her hand was back on his thigh. "I wanna make it up to you."

"Ali..." Her lips brushed against his ear and he immediately pressed his hands, palms down, into the bed. He was not going to lose control. "Ali..."

"Shhh... I wanna..."

The kisses were weird. Tentative. She licked him right below the ear, exhaling as she did. Her breath in his ear was not sexy, just loud and annoying. Her hand was straying dangerously close to Hard On Territory and in his sweats, there was no mistaking what the hell was going on Down There.

She licked his jaw again. "I wanna make it up to you."

A sharp knock at the door startled him badly. He bolted off the bed, ignoring the protest of his muscles, and slammed his hip into the corner of the desk. He held back the yelp of pain but the desk lamp rattled, giving away his presence. Bobby prayed that it wasn't Scott, because if it was he would be dead meat. There was the very specific rule about being alone in his room with a girl: it wasn't allowed.

"Frosty?" Pete called out as he opened the door. Since the door opened out, instead of in, there was no hiding what was going on.

Please, just be Pete. No one else...

Pete poked his head inside and glanced around. He saw Alison on Bobby's bed. He saw Bobby standing next to the desk. One flick of his eyes downward and back up to meet Bobby's gaze met that Pete understood precisely what was going on; there was absolutely no way to hide Bobby's sweatpants-tenting erection.

"Hey, Pete," he managed to choke out, his voice slightly higher than he wanted it to be. Jesus, he felt like an idiot. His nerves got the better of him, he knew it, because he could see his own breath as he exhaled through his nose.

This was so phenomenally unfair. He knew he must have the cliched "deer in headlights" look by the way Pete was staring at him. Alison hadn't made a sound except for that huff that meant she wasn't getting her way. She had crossed her arms. He could feel her gaze on him.

"We are late for KP," Pete said evenly and then held up his hand and tapped his wristwatch.

Crap. Kitchen duty. Wait... Kitchen duty? He wasn't scheduled until two weeks from now.

"Remember?" Pete prompted. "We traded with Neal and Sam for the Friday after next for the movie premiere?"

Bobby certainly didn't remember agreeing to the swap, but then again, he seemed to be forgetting a lot lately. Like the extra credit project for Ro... "Uh, yeah."

It was then that Alison slid off of his bed, glaring at Pete. Her lips were set in hard, angry line. She was thoroughly pissed and directing it all at Pete. She took a few steps toward the door before giving Bobby a look. It wasn't sweet or kind or like any of the ones she had favored him with the past few days. She was mad at him.

The oddest thing was that while it kinda of bothered him, it didn't. He didn't understand why. Maybe his subconscious was doing all the work and forgetting to send the message to his conscious. Still, he knew he would be much more worried if it were Jubilee angry at him.

She stormed out of the room without even a parting comment to him.

Bobby just stood there, stupidly.

Pete raised an eyebrow as he entered the room, shutting the door behind him. "If I interrupted, you should have said something. I would have left."

"I..." he blinked a few times. "I know."

"Alison and new sweaters, dah? She has been quite..." Pete paused, as if searching for the words.

"She..." Bobby purposefully stared at the floor. "She kissed me. Kissed me and... stuff. She said she liked me. I don't know. It wasn't like this before."

"Dah. You are good looking, Frosty. Expect this. This is a good thing."

"I can barely control my freakin' powers, man," he said with exasperation, because the core of the problem really wasn't whether he liked Alison or not, it was that his nerves set off his mutant power.

"You like her?"

"Alison?"

Pete chuckled. "Who else? She was on your bed. You were alone with her. You were..."

His temper flared unexpectedly. The desk was suddenly coated in frost. He muttered a curse under his breath. He spared a glance at Pete, who was taking in the scene with keen interest. Bobby had no idea where his anger was coming from.

Frustration?

Perhaps.

The realization that it was the second time today that someone had saved his ass because he was too freaking clueless to figure things out on his own?

Ah. That was it.

He finally looked at Pete. "We don't have KP, do we?"

A small smile twitched at Pete's lips. "No."

"So you were saving my hide."

"You looked... uneasy." Pete always had a way of sounding tactful. Maybe it was because English was his second language, that he had to think of the words he wanted to use instead of blurting them out like Bobby tended to do.

Still, bailing him out because he was too scared/unsure/uncomfortable/whatever to handle the situation was still bailing him out. It burned his ego a lot more than he expected.

First, Jubilee. Now, Pete.

At the rate he was going, Allerdyce would be next and he would simply have to shoot himself.

"Thanks, Pete," because it was the polite thing to say. Bobby drew a line in the frost coating his desk. "Guess I gotta thank Jubilee too, huh?"

"She sent me."

Of course.

Crap.

He'd been reduced to the "Kitty Protection Program."

Wonderful.

His life sucked. Definitely.


THANKS: To Nakki for the wonderful crit and beta! Any mistakes you find are mind. To mitchpell and laniew1 for commentary and discussion on the ending.

To everyone else following the series - your comments keep me warm on these chilly winter nights.



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