Bobby Drake was lying in deep slumber when the sun rose and painted the lofty towers of New York rose red. He was still asleep when the sun slowly glided through the sky towards its zenith. He lay in bed at once warm and cold, the way only a man made of ice snuggled in the arms of his lover could be. His was a deep and perfect sleep, the sleep of happy contentment. He was asleep secure in the knowledge that he was right; he was gay and this was what he wanted more than anything else, all uncertainty had been blown away by that night (and what a night it was) leaving the sky of the future blue and clear. Not even a long range weather forecast could have warned him now, warned him of the dark clouds beyond the horizon, laying thick and heavy over Long Island. Yesterday had been a perfect day, and all the signs were that today would turn out the same.
And so Bobby Drake slept, slept safe in the arms of the Northern Star, possessor of the safest hands in the business. If you need ask what the business was, you are clearly not part of it, the business of the costumed adventurer, the hero who lived in that strange twilight world of masks and spandex (and in the case of one of our heroes, speedos). Those safe hands had delivered many from the jaws of terrible fate, and the Iceman from the dread security of lies into the living, breathing, loving world. A world so bright compared to the dark shadows in which he had, until now, dwelled; a world full of new sights, new sounds, new experiences. And new feelings; no one had told him that the sweetest sound was the breathing of his lover as he slept exhausted at his side, nor how his breath felt like the softest silk brushing against his skin. He had never known what flying felt like, flying under his own power to reach the highest vault of heaven, but now he knew that it must feel something like this, something like the very act of love as the stars reached down from heaven to caress his trembling flesh.
Bobby Drake slept in throes of nirvana, slept in the total bliss of suddenly seeing everything in one moment and seeing the simplicity at the heart of life’s complicated and unending design, seeing how very small one is in the sea that is the world and yet joyfull in this knowledge, joyfull at seeing how each tiny thing relates to the universe and has its purpose, he is but a cog in the machine of life and he rejoices in it.
He will, or at least his conscious mind will, remember nothing of that, nothing of this bliss, this epiphany, and experience will cloud his recollection of that night, the stars will tarnish somewhat with the rust of repeated visits, and he will never be able to fully describe or understand that ecstasy. The pitcher of his mind shall overflow and some of the contents of that night shall be lost. There is simply too much for him to understand, the picture is too large for him to see at once and the brightness burns at his eyes.
What will happen this morning won’t help either.
The slow and steady rhythm of the rise and fall of the sleeper begins slowly imperceptibly to become broken and erratic. His limbs drenched in sleep, yet slowly drying, begin to twitch. There is a shudder and then Bobby Drake is awake. He looks at the world with empty eyes, his still sleeping brain struggling to make sense of the world around him, the strange room with monochrome décor, the weight of his lover’s arm upon his chest. And then the reluctant mind is dragged from its slumber and begins to unravel what he sees into what we laughingly call sense. The strange room with the stark black and white colourscheme is ignored entirely, waking up in strange rooms is not an alien experience to an X-man, come to think of it waking up in alien rooms is not a strange experience to an X-man either, and he was an X-man for sure, the second to be exact and there were more than enough times that he wanted to remind people of that. A bedroom could mean anything. It could mean that you had been kidnapped by a usurper of the Shi’ar Imperium and be about to be used as her fairly willing sex-slave (an experience that the time-lost Bishop was strangely reticent upon), or that Magneto had once again returned from the dead and was about to carry out his epic and terrible revenge (nothing new there, then), or even that you’d just fallen asleep, but that never happened, did it? Now a strange arm, that was a different matter entirely, as Bobby’s mind paused to admire its taut muscles and the silver hair that lightly covered the milk white skin before following that arm with his eyes until he came to the rest of the Northern Star still sound asleep and dreaming whatever dreams that celestial bodies dreamt. And with that still fresh, the mind of the Iceman made a great and ambitious intuitive leap, strange bed naked body one night of passion and mind blowing sex.
Then he remembered. And to his eternal surprise, he was absolutely right. Even if Bobby had suddenly contracted the worse case of selective amnesia since a short hairy guy with knives growing out of his hands wandered into the cabin of a mysterious Canadian scientist completely coincidentally on his honeymoon, even then, he would have still had to come to this conclusion. There was more than enough evidence to make the conclusion that two men had been, well, shagging, very energetically in this room. Let’s consider the evidence, thought Bobby, the torn dinner dress on the floor, the creak of broken springs in the bed, the condoms scattered like confetti, and the friking naked man in bed next to me; who lives in a house like this?
The problem was: Bobby didn’t know what to do next. Well he knew what he wanted to do, but that was punch the air and scream, yes! I’ve had huge amounts of sex and still want to see the girl the morning after ‘cos she’s not a girl, he’s a guy and, boy, I want to do this again, now. He wasn’t sure about the etiquette but he was pretty sure that lacked a certain something, like tact, maturity and sexiness. He wasn’t sure what he was meant to do next, though, either. Was he meant to lie in bed and snuggle up to his lover, or could he gently slide out of bed and visit the bathroom, or, most of all, would waking his boyfriend now and jumping up and down on him until he agreed to more sex be a bit too forward.
Bobby thought for a moment. Should he go for tactful and romantic and watch his lover sleep, watch his chest rise and fall, and then when he awoke kiss him gently upon the lips and fetch breakfast in bed? No competition, really, thought Bobby as he pulled himself upright and laid his hand upon the supersonic speedster’s chest. This garnered absolutely no response from the comatose Canadian. So he grabbed the other side of his sleeping lover’s rib cage, caressed it gently for a moment, before shaking him vigorously, “Jean-Paul, Jean-Paul, wake up, Tinkerbell, rise and shine! The day is still young and there’s plenty of shagging time before breakfast!” he paused for a moment to assess the as yet unexistant response, “Levez-vous Vega!Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce.. er... morning? Come on, my little fairy, wake up and have sexy with Bobby! I’m randy, you’re randy, and we can both be randy together! I could pretend to be your secretary, even...”
“ermmm...mmm...” groaned Jean-Paul, and now he was awake Bobby could see that he had somehow missed out on the whole endorphin rush and wasn’t wearing the same ‘I’ve just had a night of wild sex and am up for more’ smile he was. “Hi, Bobby... arrgh... ma tete... I don’t feel so good” he was sitting upright in bed now but his slim toned body swayed disturbingly as he grasped at his temples and sent his already messy hair into further disarray.
Northstar was a morning person; that was one of the laws of the universe, the guy who breaks most of the laws of this plane of existence (and especially those relating to speed, light and gravity i.e. most of them) most of the time is most likely to do so in the morning, mostly. Bobby knew this because there was a grand total of two other morning people on the Xavier estate and one was an uncommunicative hairy Canadian and the other was a rather more communicative German who could normally be found hanging from the architecture and talking to Bobby’s boyfriend about God Knows What. And God probably knew what as Kurt would have almost certainly told him. Scott Summers didn’t count as a) he believed in six o’clock starts and all the real morning people were up by five b) he’d found a pretty damn good reason to stay in bed lately and she was blonde, evil and a qualified sex therapist.
Northstar was a morning person, but this wasn’t a morning. As Bobby looked out the plate glass window behind his lover and saw him perfectly silhouetted in the afternoon sun, as he realised he had awoken not to morning song but to the dulcet tones of car horns and taxi cabs; it became very clear to Bobby that this wasn’t morning. This wasn’t where he was meant to be. And a cold chill settled over his burning passion, as he realised that he was meant to be far from here, he was meant to be home.
“Robert? Robert? Qu’est ce est mal? Is anything wrong?” Jean-Paul looked up at his lover through blood shot eyes as he froze solid looking at the sky behind him, “Robert, what’s wrong?” And his voice took on a frightened note, creating a slight discord with the concern that was there before. What if, thought Jean-Paul, what if he’s changed his mind. Decided he isn’t gay. Decided that he isn’t like him at all. After he had shown him everything of himself, given him everything of himself. How could he do that? Change his mind. Become somebody else, somebody who does not love him in return, somebody sickened by what he is. He could cope with one person like that in his life, but two, loving two people who could not, would not love him in return, how could he cope with that? And his mind crept back to that dark, dark place within his heart. Jean-Paul did not fear the dark, not like his sister did, the dark was safe and secure and nobody would ever find him there. The light shrank back to his body as his soul began to hurtle back towards the solace of the dark, the security of despair and began to sing to him of making this darkness final and unending...
Then he saw the look in Bobby’s eyes that same distracted look and realised he was not alone, not alone in this dark place; that there was something tearing at his lover’s very soul as well, that they were together even in torment. Ma soeur, he thought, elle a dit que je brulerai en enfer, that I will burn in hell for my sins, but I will not burn alone, no we are together even now and shall be, I think, forever, and with him, I shall not be afraid, I shall not even feel the flames, which are so much weaker than those in my heart.
Knowing now that it could not be that his love did not love him in return, Jean-Paul hauled himself from that comfortingchasm within his soul and said, “Robert, cher Robert, please tell me what is wrong,” and with this words he moved himself so that he had his arms about the young man’s shoulders and was sitting at his side. He looked desperately through the window, trying to see the cause of his distress, and winced as the light burned his tender eyes.
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