Residual - the 100's Stories

(R -- Adult. Profanity. Sexual situations) 12 years post X-2, Iceman/Northstar (Bobby/John)

What happens when Northstar's former lover writes a tell-all book?

Notes: This is an alternative take on the future FDoE. Each section is 100 words. For a verbose writer like myself, this was a challenge as well as a learning experience.

Inspired by talktooloose's wonderful 100 word X-Men short "Missions" which can be found at http://www.livejournal.com/community/x_men100/434521.html#cutid1

See endnotes for more explanations.

******

Chapter Two, Page Twenty-Six, Paragraph Three.

Jean-Paul held the photocopied page in his hand as his anger soared. A quarter of it was directed at the student who had found the passage and passed it around. The rest of his fury was aimed squarely at the author. Five years ago, Jean-Paul had been in a three-month relationship with the man; now, their brief liaison had become a tell-all book.

With Xavier away, the scandal had fallen to Cyclops to manage. Neither Emma Frost nor Beast were especially helpful, barely masking their disdain, but ultimately their opinions didn't matter.

Bobby's did.

******

"It is not about lifestyles," Beast sputtered, surprisingly prudish. "It is the fact that-"

"For Christ's sake," Logan harrumphed, "it's not the first damned time someone's made a buck writing about a fuck."

"Mr. Beaubier is identified directly by name," Beast continued. "Not by his code name but by his given name. Therein lies the difference. There are children whose parents may accept that we are mutants, but having a gay teacher whose trysts have been published is entirely different."

"There's been worse, Blue," Logan said flatly.

"Tabloids don't count."

"Enough." Cyclops set his coffee mug down. "Where's Bobby?"

******

Bobby knew the instant he pulled into the garage that it was going to be one of those conversations. Jean-Paul was hovering at least three inches off the ground.

His lover only did that when he was extremely upset or pissed off. Judging from his inability to stay still - wobbling up and down - Bobby guessed it was both.

Fantastic. Just what he needed today.

Things always seemed to happen whenever Bobby went to the grocery. Next time? Logan would have to get his own damned beer.

He opened the car door. "Jean-Paul?"

A hesitation. A dark blush. "We must talk."

******

A blur of words. A stuttered apology. This was new for Bobby because before, it had always been him begging forgiveness from Jean-Paul:

I'm sorry I'm not more open about our relationship.

I'm not embarrassed of you, I swear. Get me some Bibles, the Torah and the Koran. I'll swear on all of them. It's just that... it's no one else's business except ours, okay?

I love you, Jean-Paul. You have to believe that. Please.

Ten years ago, the furniture would have been coated in hoarfrost. Now, Bobby kept his power in check as Jean-Paul implored: "Please forgive me, Robert."

******

Jean-Paul had made the confession in their private suite. Speechless at first, Bobby then went to the bookcase, pulled a book from the lowest shelf, and handed it over.

Role-reversals were never kind. Bobby had learned that at sixteen during a nervous breakdown on the Mansion's rooftop. Now, he wondered how Jean-Paul would react. The words hurt to say: "You're not the only one."

"Robert?"

"You knew him as Pyro, but he wrote books as Louis Aller," Bobby explained, sitting wearily. "He came back here six years ago when he was dying from Legacy. He's buried next to John Proudstar."

******

A year ago, over glasses of pinot noir and Bombay Sapphire gin, before Jean-Paul had even attempted an overture, Angel and Gambit had warned him: tread carefully with Bobby.

Jean-Paul had been insulted. How dare they?!

He had always known that Bobby was ferociously secretive. Yet now, Jean-Paul wondered if the two men had known about the books and had "gracioiusly" given him a forewarning.

Every X-Man had a past. Some were more colorful than others.

Staring at the pristine paperback cover of the best-selling romance novel Hearts Afire: Breaking the Ice, Jean-Paul finally met his competition: St. John Allerdyce.

******

"Mon dieu," echoed in their suite.

Bobby cringed, forcing the words: "This is the part where you go ballistic and tell me that we're through."

Instead, "You never said-"

"You never asked."

"You are private," ground out indignantly. "I have always respected that."

"What could I say?"

"Something!"

"Like what?" Bobby spat back. "I was going to tell you when I unpacked but then you made fun of every single volume! You called him a whore for Harlequin."

Jean-Paul paled. "Had I known--"

"What did you want me to say?" he demanded suddenly. "Here, live up to this?"

******

Shock made Jean-Paul ask the question: "How much of it is true?" Pride made him continue, "No, don't answer that."

"Why not?"

"It is not important."

"Bullshit. You asked." Bobby met his stare. "You don't ask things, Jean-Paul, unless you want an answer. Give me credit for knowing that much about you."

He winced but continued, "It is in the past."

"So was this." Bobby waved the photocopy between them. "Yet you brought it up. What? The rules suddenly changed? Afraid you can't compete?" He crossed his arms as he lifted his chin. "Well, let me tell you a story."

******

Jean-Paul had never been intimidated about living up to the standards of a former lover. He had always had so much confidence in himself that it hadn't mattered.

Until now.

"John wrote those books because he couldn't have what he wanted. And when he was infected with Legacy and the Brotherhood ditched him? He came back to the Mansion because he didn't have any other place to go. He came back to me because he didn't want to die alone."

Jean-Paul could tolerate no more and sped meteorically out of the Mansion.

How could he possibly live up to that?

******

"No broken furniture," Remy commented as he closed the door behind him. "That's a good sign. But then he's a flyer not a smasher so that's not really telling." He opened the closet. "He didn't pack."

"Shut up, Remy."

He picked up the book. "Only the first installment, too. Wait 'til Volume Three! Oooeee! Steamier than the Bayou in August." He groped himself. "That's inspirational stuff there, Robert."

"What part of 'encasing you in ice' don't you understand?"

"Aw, that's not fair."

"Then shut up."

"His pride is hurt, that's all. No one's supposed to worship you like he does."

******

"Louis Aller?" Cameron fanned himself dramatically. "Of course, I've read his novels!" He grabbed Jean-Paul's sleeve. "Oh my God! You've met him!"

"Non," harshly. "He is dead."

"You know where his grave is!"

"Cameron!" he snapped, glancing around the bookstore.

A dismissive wave. "You should read those novels. Sure, they're a little purple, but the drama? It's there. In the second book, Dirk tries to go straight with this Texas princess-"

"Flora, that bitch!" a woman enthusiastically interrupted as she sat down next to Jean-Paul. "Do you blame Ian for leaving?"

"See?" Cameron grinned. "Drama. And the sex? Scrumptious."

***I**

Jean-Paul hadn't returned yet. Dinner was in fifteen minutes and Bobby did not want to show up alone. After fifteen years at the Mansion, he knew precisely what message that sent.

At least McDonald's was only twenty minutes away.

"Ah, perfect! You have your keys!" Hank's voice startled him. "Jubilation is in charge of dinner this evening but I fear it will be another Cantonese Catastrophe. May I propose a delightful repast of deep-fried entrees from Harry's?"

"Harry's," he repeated warily.

Hank held up a hand-written list along with some cash. "The other faculty - even Emma - have requested Take Out."

******

"Supersonic your butt back to the Mansion now!" The cell phone made Nurse Annie's angry voice sound tinny. "You missed dinner! Do you have any idea-"

"Is that all you called about?" Jean-Paul demanded loftily.

Coolly, "Hank and Bobby went to pick up dinner for us. When they returned? All the kids stared at Bobby because YOU weren't there." She sniffled. "When they whispered about him? Bobby grinned, asked if they had read any good books lately, and then played pool with Gambit."

Jean-Paul's belly twinged hard.

"Bobby doesn't deserve that, Jean-Paul. And you? You don't deserve that man."

******

At 1:33 a.m., Bobby finally cracked. He screamed into his pillow before vehemently cursing his power. Fires could be excused. Ice? That required apologies and explanations.

The Mansion had had enough drama in the last twenty-four hours. Therefore, black leather trousers. Skin-tight t-shirt. Motorcycle boots. Leather opera coat. Pale blue shades.

"Homme!" Remy leapt from the top of the stairs, landing in the foyer. "Y'going clubbing wit'out dis ol' Cajun?"

Defiantly, "I'm by myself. Period."

"While the cat's away, non?"

Teeth bared, "I don't like pussy."

Remy grabbed his shoulders. Forcefully, "Don't do this."

"Why not?"

"You can't go back."

******

"If Johnny's ghost so much as glimmers around here," Bobby sobbed into Remy's shoulder, "you kinetically charge his ass right back to Hell, understand?"

"Robert-"

"I hate him. I fucking hate him!" He pounded Remy's back. "I just wanted... I wanted something normal, something good, you know? I thought had it and now it's all fucked up. Oh sure, Jean-Paul will come back! He'll pack everything in under three minutes and then leave for good."

"Non. He will stay."

But Bobby was beyond soothing words. "Why the fuck did I tell him?!?"

Finally, a question Remy could answer. "Love."

******

Sitting at the coffee bar in Cameron's bookshop, Jean-Paul sighed. Eight years ago, he had endured Aller's first novel because his then-lover had adored it. Now, he still stood by his initial assessment: whore of Harlequin.

He reflected on Bobby's words: "John wrote those books because he couldn't have what he wanted." Jean-Paul recalled how he felt the first time his private life had been rudely exposed without his permission. The humiliation. The questions. The expectation of answers.

He recalled his claim that morning of always respecting Bobby's privacy.

Jean-Paul set the paperback down. No. This was not the way.

******

"You missed Cyke's PSA," Logan said as he handed Remy a glass of gin.

"Don't stick your dick where it don't belong?" Remy asked as he closed the door. Bobby had finally fallen asleep. "'Cos y'never know who'll be watching?"

"Yep. 'Cept he used words like 'urges', 'intelligent choices', and 'situations'." Logan cracked open another beer. "How's the kid?"

"If Northstar does not return soon? You have your next mission."

"Fuck."

"Robert's been through enough, non?" Remy gulped the shot down. "Especially everything here." He eyed the empty glass. "Finally thought he had something."

"This place has too many ghosts."

******

Make-up sex was never part of the equation with Bobby; he insisted on Guy Time, which included ballgames, skiing, and Soul Caliber II. That was the reason Jean-Paul had purchased outrageously expensive Red Sox tickets.

But when Jean-Paul opened the door to their suite, he realized Bobby hadn't slept there last night. The panic fully set in when he discovered Bobby's lone club outfit missing.

He stumbled backwards; Logan grabbed his elbow.

"Easy, bub." Logan picked the tickets up. "Damn. Most people just fuck."

"We are not 'most people'."

"He's with Remy. The Cajun kept him outta trouble last night."

******

Bobby knew eleven synonyms for 'idiot' in French; it was the first word he brushed up on after Jean-Paul had initially asked him out. A native French-speaker, Jean-Paul probably knew more but still started with the basics: "Je suis stupide... idiot!"

Nevertheless, Bobby sleepily pulled the sheets over his head. "I heard you the first time. Now either get in bed or shut the hell up."

Jean-Paul's sputtered response made him bolt upright. Bobby realized that he was in Remy's bed with an apologetic Jean-Paul kneeling next to it.

Appearances were sometimes everything. Bobby blurted, "It's not what you think."

******

The headstones were meticulously tended - all except for Allerdyce's. It was cracked, the unkempt grass surrounding it scorched. Jean-Paul had never heard anyone mention of the man buried there.

"Jubilee said that I would never replace 'him'," Jean-Paul remarked quietly, realization blossoming. "I thought she meant Cannonball. Team leader. Fellow speedster. No one spoke of this man."

"John was her best friend. He was eighteen when he left with Magneto," Bobby explained, tentatively touching the stone. "And when he did, Jubilee blamed me. And when he died, she never forgave me."

Delicately, "Do you forgive yourself?"

"Sometimes. Not really. Never."

******

"They had me on suicide watch for three weeks after Johnny died." Bobby ignored the gasp. "Remy took me off campus so I could get it together without being in the fishbowl. Logan tagged along."

"Mon dieu."

"Yep. So when you showed up, orphaned, ex-terrorist-"

"I protest!"

"Shut up, Jean-Paul. You were indicted by your own government for terrorism." He met Jean-Paul's gaze but suddenly looked away. "Look, you have a whole bunch of shit in common with Johnny, okay? Why do you think my friends spazzed when you first flirted with me?"

"They still protect you."

"I know."

******

"You... You stayed with John, then. Until the end."

"Jesus Christ, Jean-Paul!" Bobby snapped as he stood up. "Of course I did. I'm an ass about a lot of things, but - fuck! -- he was dying!"

Defensively, "Yet you said-"

"I still loved him," he interrupted. "The first time I kissed him, he didn't set me on fire. You have no idea what that meant. And don't give me that crap about when you came out either. This was different. Very different." He kicked the dresser. "He was the first person to accept everything about me. No questions asked."

******

"Johnny was a proud man. It took everything in him to come back," Bobby hoarsely explained. "We didn't know much about Legacy back then. We had no idea what it could do. But Johnny? He allowed Hank to do whatever."

Jean-Paul held him closer, heart aching.

"I was scared shitless because Johnny was so fucking passive about the whole damn thing. He hadn't been like that before. You had to fucking earn his friendship, his trust... everything." Bobby suddenly sobbed, "He didn't betray us. He bought into the whole Mansion Ideal because of me. And then I fucking betrayed him."

******

"How old were you?" Jean-Paul asked.

"When Johnny first left? Eighteen." Bobby wiped his eyes. "I was 'dating' Rogue. Everyone thought that Johnny and Lee were a couple, so I decided I wanted a girlfriend too. When Johnny broke up with Lee, I stayed with Rogue because I was pissed at him."

"So he was not open about being gay."

"Johnny wasn't 'open' about anything. Lee knew one side; I knew the other. Scott and Jean had some clues. The Professor may have had the whole thing, but he never said. The Professor was the first to welcome Johnny back."

******

Bobby shifted his weight, thigh tangling with Jean-Paul's. The kiss was passionate; Jean-Paul was surprisingly hesitant. Bobby sighed, "What is it?"

"This is not you."

He delivered another kiss before nipping his way down Jean-Paul's throat. "It's called 'fucking away the demons'. As I recall, you like that kind of thing."

"You do not."

He cupped Jean-Paul's ass, pulling him forward and grinding a little. "What has passed is in the past. I can't change it. I can only learn from it. I love you, Jean-Paul. I don't want to lose what we have. And I'm tired of being haunted."

******

If someone dared ask and Jean-Paul deigned to answer, he would haughtily declare that sex with Bobby was spectacular. In reality, while it was good, it was vanilla sex limited to three positions and always in the bedroom. Although Jean-Paul had tried, Bobby had stubbornly stuck to the familiar.

Tonight, this new Bobby - adventurous, hungry, and playful - made Jean-Paul come so hard that he saw stars, which was definitely a first. He may have even blacked out. He wasn't sure.

"Robert?" He opened his eyes, finding Bobby grinning proudly.

"You liked that?"

"Oui."

"Wanna to do it again?"

Breathlessly, "Oui."

******

Bobby added the exposť to the bookshelf with the Aller novels. He had browsed through it, mainly because Jean-Paul had insisted. "I don't care," he had told him earnestly. "It's in the past."

But Jean-Paul's argument had made sense; he wasn't cloaked by fictional names and events. It was all true - at least from one man's perspective.

"You may ask me questions," Jean-Paul offered, his trepidation clear.

"It's in the past," he repeated before kissing him. "Me? I've finally learned to live in the present. And if I'm going to be making history, I want it to be with you."

*** FINIS ***

THANKS TO: talktooloose for making me stay on track and reminding me the purpose of the 100's exercise. It was a difficult choice to edit out the subplot I had written, but in the end, your direction I think makes the story much crisper. To mikhale for insightful commentary and the push to make it better. The Soul Caliber II line is for you.

ENDNOTES, mainly because this is an A/U and a guide for those who may not be familiar with comicverse or FDoE.

Yes, I included Emma Frost, who in the current run of X-Men comics is Scott's lover, but I make no direct reference the resurrected Jean Grey. I'm lazy.

In the comicverse, St. John Allerdyce wrote romance novels during his on-again, off-again stints with the Brotherhood before succumbing to Legacy. As for his six published best sellers in less than six years? Why not? I guess it's the dream the professional author in me has.

Beast's "prudishness" does seem out of character, but it was seen from Jean-Paul's perspective. In FDoE, Beast and Iceman don't have the deep friendship they do in comicverse because Beast wasn't around in X1 or X2. They develop a friendship while they care for John.

Flora, the name St. John assigns to the 'Texas princess' whom Dirk tried to go straight with, is a nod to Anna Paquin's character in The Piano.

"Harry's" - the place where Hank suggests getting take-out from - is a nod to the comicverse Harry's Hideaway, a bar/tavern close to the Mansion. For FDoE, it's more mutant-friendly than perhaps its comicverse counterparts.

Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian has been imported from the comicverse. She was the one who needled Jean-Paul about his crush on Bobby. I ignored comic canon in that she and Bobby had a one-night stand.

Bobby's opera coat/trenchcoat and shades are a nod to his more recent comicverse couture.

The reference to Cannonball (Sam Guthrie) is a nod to his comicverse incarnation. He eventually co-leads the New Mutants and then belongs to various groups. In no particular order: X-Force, X-Corporation, X-Treme Sanctions Executive, Bratpack, Hellions.


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