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 Twelve: The Good One
Rain lightly pelted the snow-covered grounds of the mansion on a gray afternoon. By and large, the halls of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters were quiet. Many of the students had accompanied Betsy, Neal, Jean, and Storm on a shopping expedition at the local mall. Others remained at the mansion to catch up on final projects and study for exams before the end of the semester. Some of the instructors, like Hank and the Professor, were in the midst of preparing their lesson plans for the closing weeks before the holiday. Meanwhile, a field team composed of Scott, Rogue, Warren, Chamber, and Bishop was en route to California to investigate violent hate crimes against mutant businesses.
Bobby hated the quiet and inactivity he was surrounded by that day. Both forced him to contemplate the many thoughts that raced through his head. The holidays were soon approaching and his family, particularly his mother, was expecting him to come home. Instead of looking forward to the Drake family gathering, he felt a sense of dread. Before leaving, he and his father never really reconciled their differences that came between them over the years. Rather, it was more of an uneasy understanding that Bobby was a mutant and would always be different. There was no further communication beyond that.
Until his mother called the other night to remind him about the invitation extended to him for Christmas. During the thirty-minute phone call, he noticed not once did she mention anything about his father being pleased that Bobby was coming home. When he did manage to confront her about the glaring omission, she nervously dismissed his concerns and told him as she did many times before that the elder Drake was not one to express his feelings so openly.
So, as usual, Bobby had forsaken his own ambivalence to please a loved one. He would be leaving quite soon-right after administering his last trigonometry final to his class for the year. In anticipation of the trip to his parents' Long Island home, he had taken out his old duffel bag from his college days from the back of his closet. It was now hanging from the back of a chair in the room, empty.
Equally troubling was the return of Scott's brother, Alex, otherwise known to Bobby as "that dork who stole my girlfriend". The younger Summers was visiting for the holidays from Washington, DC, where he was attending graduate school in physics. Much to Bobby's dismay and irritation, the tall, blond Alex was staying with Scott and Jean for a couple of weeks until school started.
Despite the fact that Alex had broken off his engagement with Lorna Dane, Bobby could not help but still feel some lingering resentment and bitterness towards the other man. Lorna had been his first serious girlfriend, someone he had seriously considered proposing to until Alex came along. It had taken some time for Bobby to recover and to accept the fact she no longer cared for him the same way. To this day, he had been convinced that their breakup was a harbinger for the many disastrous relationships he would become involved in.
Not that he made any effort to make things work. He did. Maybe he tried a little too hard. According to Jean and Rogue, Bobby seemed too eager to please when it came to women. This approach always seemed to set up him for heartbreak. Whether it was Opal or Zelda, the result was still the same: he was alone.
He was still ruminating over those issues when there was a slight rapping at his door. Frowning slightly, Bobby walked over to the door. After opening it, his frown immediately disappeared.
"Hey," Jubilee said in greeting, sapphire-blue eyes twinkling as she smiled up at him. She had walked from the Summers' home to the mansion, which was evident from her flushed cheeks. To keep warm from the wintry weather outside, she was wearing a pair of boot-cut jeans, a pink, lambswool sweater that fell to her hips, and a dark-camel pea coat. Her long, dark hair tumbled down her slim shoulders, framing her delicate features.
"Hey, Jubes. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
She held out a pair of purple-tinted, wraparound sunglasses. "You left these in my room last night," she informed him, "Scott was kind of suspicious as to why they were on my desk. I told him they were part of an old Halloween costume. I didn't even want to explain how your version of a lawn ornament appeared outside my window."
Bobby grinned, taking the glasses, a part of his uniform, from her. He had visited her after returning from a mission, wanting to tell her about how Hank picked up some network reporter and asked her for cocktails. They spent the rest of the night, talking about their holiday plans and playing cards. He did not leave until late that evening, around eleven-thirty or so. As usual, he had formed an ice slide to her window and knocking for Jubilee to let him in.
"You should have told him it was an early Christmas present from me," Bobby replied, motioning for her to come inside. When she obliged, he closed the door and then said, "So, you came all the way here to return these, even though you're supposed to be studying? Did you miss my smile that much?"
Jubilee smirked at him, peering around the room. She noted the framed posters of the Three Stooges as well as movie posters from 'Animal House', 'Blazing Saddles', and 'Porky's'. The room was reasonably neat, compared to other males she had known (who could forget Jono's underwear hanging from his bookshelves?), but still had a disheveled quality to it. Clothes were haphazardly piled on a chair and on his king-sized bed, while issues of Sports Illustrated and Maxim were stacked on his black lacquer desk. CDs and loose papers were scattered on top of his 32-inch television. His collection of his favorite comedy movies and standup comic performers on DVD was proudly exhibited in two black-framed, glass display cases that flanked the television.
"Um, you wish," she finally retorted, "I'm also looking for a movie to watch on my study break."
"Do you want to look through here?" He motioned towards the two display cases. "There are a couple movies I could recommend."
She peered into the case, dropping to her knees and eyeing the titles inside carefully. "As long as they don't have any gratuitous nudity or any smutty stuff, I'll be OK."
"If want any of that, you should visit Gambit." Bobby laughed.
Jubilee opened the sliding glass door and pulled out a copy of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. "I heard Dr. McCoy talking about this one with Scott. They both seem to think it was funny, but the production quality doesn't look so good." Her blue eyes narrowed as she inspected the back cover.
"Well, it was the seventies, you know. The production quality takes nothing away from the yuks." Bobby lowered his voice, surprised at how defensive he was about the film. It was on his top-ten list for favorite film of all time. Then he asked, "Besides, what do you know about movie production? I didn't think we offered those classes here."
She continued reading the back cover. After a brief pause, she answered, "I have first-hand experience."
His gray eyes were puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"When I was living in L.A. with Angelo after Gen X broke up, I decided I wanted to be an actress," Jubilee began, facing Bobby who was now kneeling next to her on the floor. "So, I got a couple of gigs in these movies."
Bobby remembered that time. Jubilee decided to follow her good friend Angelo to the West Coast to get her thoughts straightened out after the school closed for good. As she was talking, he was beginning to sense he wasn't sure he was going to like where her disclosure was going. "What kind of movies?" he asked, his voice concerned.
"Just these low-budget Asian flicks. They were bit parts, you know. But, they still helped to pay the bills." Jubilee shrugged. She studied the increasingly troubled expression on his face with curiosity. "What's with you?"
He ignored her question and pressed on. "What did you do in these parts?" He was hoping they didn't involve the images flashing in his head at that moment. If they did, he was going to personally ensure the people involved were going to pay.
"Well, in one I was a waitress and had one line about picking up the check. Then in this other movie, I was a secretary but I had no lines. The last one I was in, they made me play a Geisha girl, even though I clearly do not look Japanese."
Jubilee shuddered as she recalled spending long hours in make-up and wardrobe for that particular role. To make things worse, she still looked quite ridiculous. She didn't even recognize herself in the mirror when the crew was done.
Bobby was relieved. "No, you don't," he said quietly. After a brief silence, he seated himself on the floor and inquired, "So, what made you leave show business?"
She bit her lower lip before responding. "I was on an audition for this action movie," she began, "and one of the producers says I could use make more of my talents if I only wanted to. I asked him what the hell he meant by that, to which he said my clothes were holding me back from making it.
"After I kicked him in the crotch and tore the toupee off his bald head, I made a decision that being an actress was not in the cards." She rolled her eyes and eased herself on the floor.
He fought to suppress a smile, pleased to hear how she was able to take care of herself. "The world truly missed out on the next Meryl Streep," he commented teasingly, "if only we could see the early work."
"Well. I guess.Never mind."
"No, what is it?" Bobby leaned towards her, his gray eyes solemn. Whatever secret she was keeping, he wasn't going to let it go.
Jubilee stared into his boyish face, which was uncharacteristically free of any mockery. She sighed when she realized he was not going to laugh or make fun of her. "I still have the tapes," she admitted, two pink spots coloring her cheeks.
He couldn't quite hear her since she seemed to mutter her response. "What was that?"
"I still have the tapes," she repeated crossly.
"Really? Why didn't you show them? I'm sure everyone around here would have a kick out of seeing you on the screen."
"No, no. No one knows. You're the first and only one I've told."
"Really? Not even Logan?"
"Not even Wolvie."
"Wow. Um, why not?"
"Are you kidding? I mean, he would totally get the wrong idea and explode. He'd yell and scream at me about how I could be so stupid to be taken advantaged of even though I wasn't. Next, he'd try to go after every single person at the studios and tear them all new ones. I think we're all better off if he doesn't know. In fact, I think we would be better off if no one else knows about this, OK?"
"Then why do you keep the tapes?"
"I don't know. They're like souvenirs of the whole experience. I mean, I guess some day, it would be fun to watch them."
"Let's watch the tapes. You and me."
"I don't know, Bobby.."
Bobby stared into her blue eyes, which were filled with uncertainty and wariness. He edged closer to her and whispered, "Listen, I know it took a lot for you to tell me about the movies since this is the first time you've mentioned this to anyone. If you we watch the tapes, I'm not going to laugh or make fun. It's up to you, Jubes. No pressure, OK?"
She looked intently at his face and realized the second time since she had come in to see him that he was being completely serious. It threw her off somewhat because she, like many in the mansion, was used to the Bobby Drake who constantly cracked jokes. This was a sensitive, thoughtful version of the man who won the mansion's St. Patrick's Day contest by sticking two green markers up his nose. While this part of him was unfamiliar to her, she found herself surprisingly comforted. It was as if it were easy to tell him everything and anything on her mind now.
"OK," Jubilee said softly, nodding. Other than Logan and even Scott, she never thought she could trust another man the way she did Bobby at this moment.
"Really? I don't want to pressure you."
"You're not, Bobby. It's about time I saw them, too. And, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather see these cheesy movies with than you."
"I'm not sure if I should be flattered or offended by that last part." Bobby snorted, but was thrilled inside that she was willing to share this deeply private part of her life with him.
She grinned at him. "Flattered, I would think," she replied, tossing her hair over one shoulder.
"So, when do you want to do the premiere?" he asked, the scent of bubblegum and cinnamon suddenly filling his nostrils. "I need to know since I have to roll out the red carpet and make the popcorn."
She rolled her eyes at him, still grinning. "Oh, please."
"Come on. This is important. It's not everyday I find out one of my friends is a movie star. So, when are you going to premiere your work?" His gray eyes were teasing as he spoke.
Jubilee looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Why don't we do it now? I could go home, grab the videos, and the rest of my stuff. I could say I'm going to be studying over here. I don't think Jean is going to have a problem with that."
"Then I'll make the popcorn and get sodas while you're gone and we can meet back in my room," Bobby informed her, rising to his feet. He extended a hand to help her up. She took it and he pulled her up gently.
"Sounds like a plan," she agreed, finding herself still holding his hand after she was on her feet. To her surprise, it was warm, not at all icy, as she would expect. Quickly, she released it and began to head to the door. "I'll see ya, Bobby."
He smiled after her, watching the door quietly close. As he was clearing space in his bedroom for them to sit to watch the tapes, he began to feel his spirits rise. She saw something inside of him that she did not see in either Logan or Scott or even Jean that she could open up to. The fact that Jubilee, someone who was constantly wary of the world for good reason, was willing to trust and share with him this secret she had been harboring for some time was extraordinary to him. It made him feel special and important-feelings he had not experienced for a long time.
Several doors from Bobby Drake's bedroom, Remy LeBeau leaned against the doorframe, shuffling a deck of cards. He had watched the young girl walk into Iceman's room. The Cajun thief began to become concern regarding how long she was in there until the door opened again. He noticed how flushed her cheeks were as she made her way down the hall and down the staircase.
Staring after her, Remy was tempted to march into Drake's bedroom and confront him as to what happened. However, he managed to restrain himself. After all, he was not Logan. There were other ways to handle things.
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