author: Alex L
rating/genre: (R) - Drama/Angst
warnings: Het, language, adult situations, attempted rape
summary: Not all homecomings are happy ones. R for language, disturbing imagery, and references to attempted rape. Featuring Iceman, Wolverine, Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, and Storm, as well as other favorites.
comments/disclaimers: While I don't own any of the characters (Marvel), this story is mine, mine.
Chapter Ten: When You Sleep
The Professor had sent six members of the group to investigate possible mutant phenomena in a small farming town in Pennsylvania. The town in question was encased in darkness that was traced back to one of the inhabitants. While the townspeople were able to access to electricity, their crops, the source of their livelihood, were dying.
Scott had been assigned to lead the group. Logan, Bobby, Kurt, and Sam Guthrie were sent to collect information from the townspeople. Finally, Hank McCoy accompanied the group to consult on scientific aspects of the phenomena. To keep themselves as inconspicuous as possible, the team used Sam Guthrie's navy-blue Ford SUV for the road trip and Kurt used his image inducer. Meanwhile, Hank opted not to use one, relying on the perpetual darkness and bulky clothing from the local Big and Tall to conceal his features.
The winter weather was making it difficult to continue any sort of reconnaissance work. In addition, most of the group was tired from the long car ride from New York. Scott decided that the team should get a good rest for the night to start their investigation the next day. Quickly, they located the nearest inn for a relaxing respite.
Or so they thought. Scott found himself in a lengthy conversation with the innkeeper about the rooms. The others opted to wait in the lounge to watch the local news and polish off a round of beers and a plate of potato skins and Buffalo wings.
"Okay," Scott announced when he rejoined his teammates. "This is going to be hard to deal with, but the innkeeper only has two vacant rooms for us tonight. This means we're all going to have to sleep three to a room. Logan, you're with Bobby and Hank; and Kurt, you're with Sam Guthrie and me. Anyone have any problems with those arrangements?"
Logan grunted, narrowing his green eyes. "I do. I've had lots of experience roomin' with the Odd Couple, and I already know it's not gonna be fun. Can I switch with someone else?"
Scott struggled to hide a smirk. "Sure."
Logan turned to Kurt, who was fiddling with his image inducer. "Okay, Elf, switch with me."
"Right, Herr Logan. I'm not stupid."
"Fine, then." Logan next turned to Sam Guthrie. "Hayseed?"
The tall young man from Kentucky swallowed nervously, wishing for some more beer. He was known for his politeness. However, he knew there was no way to provide a graceful response in this situation.
"Um, Mr. Logan, sir," he began, running a thin hand through his sandy-blond hair. "Ah'm gonna to have agree with ya about roomin' with those two not bein' fun. So, Ah'm afraid Ah'll have to say no."
Logan growled at him, but received a warning look from Scott, who was struggling to hide his amusement with the situation. Meanwhile, Bobby and Hank exchanged looks.
"I don't know why no one wants to room with us," he said to his old friend, popping the last potato skin into his mouth. "Just because you snore and I scream in my sleep." He and Hank immediately broke out into laughter.
"All right, everybody get to bed," said Scott, hoping to cut off the duo's loud chuckles. "We have a busy day tomorrow."
The team went into their respective rooms and settled down for the night. Each room contained two queen-sized beds with a TV, desk and armchair. This meant that one person would have a bed to himself, while two would be forced to share.
Bobby decided to take a shower before retiring for the night. He wanted to clear his head and warm up from the cold outside. As he stood underneath the stream of water, he thought about Gambit's comments from the other night. For the last few days and nights, all he could do was think about what the Cajun thief had said. While no one else caught on as to what was implied, Bobby still uncomfortable nonetheless. He wasn't sleeping well and found himself tensing up whenever he saw Gambit, who seemed to have that coy and knowing smirk permanently affixed to his face. What made things worse was the fact that he was unable to figure out why he was so bothered by the other man's comments.
"Seems like Iceman find luck in more than one place, mon ami. Mebbe you ask Monsieur Drake why his latest favorite song is 'Tank Heaven for Little Girls."
Maybe all that cold weather's gotten to Gambit's brain, Bobby snorted, turning off the water. He never knows what he's talking about. So I visit Jubilee. Logan does it all the time. Hell, sometimes, he sleeps over at Scott and Jean's just to spend time with her. No one makes anything out of that.
He had been tempted to tell Jubilee about it. She would have found it hysterical. He could picture them laughing over the whole thing. Yet, he did not. Looking back, he wasn't sure why.
While Bobby was in the bathroom, Logan and Hank crawled into their beds and drifted off to sleep. They didn't remain that way for long, however. Bobby came out of the bathroom, clad in his boxers and a Georgetown University T- shirt, and rolled a pajamas-clad Hank over next to the wall. Then he plopped himself down on the bed.
"No, Bobby," said a groggy Hank, pushing him away with a large, furry hand. "You're sharing with Logan."
"He's still pissed about that impromptu snowball fight. I think he wants to make me into a Picasso painting."
"I don't care. I'm not sharing the bed with you. Besides, Logan doesn't bite...hard."
"Fine." Bobby attempted to crawl into Logan's bed, only to be greeted by a rumbling growl and a flash of adamantium claws.
"Get outta here, Icicle. I don't share my bed with anyone."
Hank sighed, feeling sympathetic for his friend. He knew he was going to regret his decision in the morning. Cursing himself for being a pushover, he said, "All right, you can share my bed then. Just don't drool on me, kick me or even breathe on me."
"Fine." Bobby plopped himself down on Hank's bed and settled in. Hank rolled over and faced the wall. The room was silent, but only for a short while.
"I can't sleep."
"What kind of answer is that?"
"Just go to sleep."
"But I just told ya--"
"Bobby, go to sleep!"
That silenced Bobby for only a minute. "Hey, Hank?"
"What's your favorite bar?"
Hank didn't answer. He hoped that ignoring Bobby would discourage him. Unfortunately, he underestimated how persistent his young friend was.
"Aren't you going to answer?"
Hank sighed heavily, clutching his pillow tightly. "If I do, will you shut your mouth and go to sleep?" he demanded warily.
"Yeah." Bobby replied innocently, blinking his eyes.
"Okay. Tony & Joe's in Washington, DC."
"I like that place, too."
"That's nice. Now go to sleep."
"Yeah, go to sleep!" Logan barked and pulled his pillow over his head. One- Eyed is gonna pay for this.
Hank rolled over and started to finally fall asleep. His snores were rhythmic in the dark. Even the ever-vigilant Logan was peacefully slumbering.
However, Bobby found the silence less than comforting. It forced his mind to replay Gambit's sly comments in head over and over again. He could feel his apprehension and anger wash over him as they did many nights before. Still unable to find rest, Bobby broke the silence again. "Hey, Hank?"
"What?" Hank growled between clenched teeth.
"What's your favorite kind of beer?"
"Bobby, who cares? Go to sleep!"
Bobby rolled over away from Hank, flipping on his side. He was immediately greeted with Logan glaring back at him from his bed. "Hank?"
"Logan's looking at me weird."
"Ignore him and go to sleep."
This time, Bobby was quiet for almost five minutes. However, his anxiety began to seep in, which forced him to start the conversation again. "Hey, Hank?"
Hank cursed himself for not bringing a set of earplugs with him for this trip. "Now what?" he asked flatly.
"Do you think the Mets are going to win the World Series this year? I mean, they've been looking pretty good this season." Bobby asked, staring up at the ceiling.
"Shut up!" Logan hissed.
Bobby gave him an indignant look. "Hey, I'm askin' my buddy a question!" he snapped, and then he turned back to the big, blue lump of fur next to him. "So what do you think, Hank?"
"I think you should shut up and go to sleep, that's what I think."
No longer able or willing to contain his anger, Logan interrupted. "For the love of all that is good and holy, shut the hell up!" he barked, sitting up in his bed.
"Well jeez, I just wanted to ask Hank a question. Is that a crime?" Bobby responded matter-of-factly.
"No, but you know what is? What I'm gonna do to you if you don't shut your hole and go to sleep!" Both sets of claws sprang from the back of Logan's hands. In the dim moonlight, they shone brightly, highlighting their sharpness.
Yikes, Bobby thought, his eyes widening at the sight. Then he rolled over on his back and closed his eyes. He sighed, willing himself to go to sleep. Unfortunately, his body was not complying. Instead, he decided to take a walk around the inn to relax. He pulled on a pair of jeans, socks, a green roll-neck sweater, and his brown leather boots before leaving the room.
Bobby wandered downstairs to the gift shop. To his surprise, it was still open at ten o'clock at night with several straggling customers. Like the rest of the inn, the shop boasted natural wood furnishings, which gave it a European country feel. In addition to quilts, stuffed animals, and other assorted items, the store boasted a collection of vintage jewelry. He found himself browsing the glass case and the surrounding shelves.
"See anything you like?" An older gentleman, presumably the manager, asked Bobby. His dark eyes were kindly as they scanned Bobby's face for an answer.
"I didn't think stores were open this late. At least in the country."
"Since the blackout, it's hard to tell what's late and what's early. To my surprise, it's been good for business. Since I live at the inn, I can open and close whenever I like."
"Must be nice." Bobby observed, studying a necklace that had caught his eye. A slim strand of pink beads with a sterling silver lobster clasp surrounded a small, silver flower. It looked like something Jubilee would wear.
The manager followed his gaze and nodded approvingly. "That's a pretty one, isn't it?"
"It sure is." Bobby agreed, tapping his fingers against the glass. Christmas was coming soon and he had not started shopping yet for anyone. Shrugging, he figured he could use a head start. "Could I take a look at it?"
"Sure thing, son." The manager quickly unlocked the case and gently slipped the necklace out of the case. He held it out to Bobby. "It's made by a local artisan. One of a kind piece, you know. The woman who receives it as a present is guaranteed to love it."
Bobby took the necklace from the manager. His gray eyes inspected the delicate piece carefully. Then he checked the price tag. Reasonable, he mused. "I'll take it," he announced, handing it back to the manager. He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket.
The manager looked pleased. "This for someone special?" he asked, walking to the register.
Bobby watched him ring up the necklace. Handing the manager his credit card, he said, "It's for a friend."
The older gentleman carefully wrapped the necklace in tissue paper before placing it in a small box. "Must be a special young lady," he observed.
Bobby found himself blushing. For the first time that evening, he had nothing to say.
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