saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 10 (X-Men)
author: Alex L
rating/genre: (R) - Romance/Drama
warnings: het, language, adult situtations
summary: Set after the kiss in Homecomings, Bobby finds happiness with Jubilee. In progress. Please read and review!
comments/disclaimers: I forgot the disclaimer for this one---my apologies. All characters belong to Marvel. The story is mine.Feedback is always appreciated.
Chapter Ten: Open Book
Scott Summers sighed as he opened the door to the bedroom he shared with his wife. Navy and cream ticking stripes mixed with blue floral duvet and ruffled shams implied seaside cottage simplicity. The creamy cashmere sham Jean recently purchased was reminiscent of the classic Irish fisherman’s knit her father favored. The distressed hardwood floors, vintage drawings of various aquatic animals and maps, and brass light fixtures, completed the theme.
The room felt quite large to him lately. Jean was on yet another trip, acting as a liaison for the school. This time, she was on the West Coast, trying to recruit a couple of students with Lorna Dane. As much as he hated their time apart, he realized it was all a part of their duties. It was also reassuring to know that she shared his weariness of being separated. The late-night phone calls that lasted for several hours were a testament to that.
Scott had attempted to distract himself by searching a birthday present for Hank McCoy. He and Alex traveled to the local mall in the hopes of finding something for their refined, but athletic friend. After several arguments regarding possible selections (Scott wanted to purchase a first-edition copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’, while Alex was advocating for a case of wine), the brothers agreed on a set of golf clubs. Hank had recently picked up the game while he was traveling in Florida with Ororo and Kitty. Since then, he had constructed an indoor course with the Professor’s permission.
The elder Summers had studied the set of clubs with interest. It had been his idea to get monogrammed golf club links, wool and leather golf club head covers, and a matching golf caddy. Knowing Hank’s need for order, it was a good investment. As he stared at the present, Scott wondered if he should go back to the store and purchase a set of his own. After all, he had heard the sport was a great stress reliever. Scott, being in his position, was all too familiar with being overwhelmed.
His gaze flicked to the clock on his bedside table. It was still too early to call Jean. Jubilee was still at school, while Alex was running a Danger Room session for some of the younger students. Shaking his head, Scott began to rack his brain as to what else he could do to occupy his time. His train of thought was interrupted when he heard the front door slam.
“Aren’t you going to give me a hint?” Jubilee’s girlish voice floated from the foyer below.
Scott smiled fondly. He was about to make his way out of his room to greet her. However, he stopped himself when he reached the doorway when his ears picked up on something else.
“That would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it?” A male voice teasingly inquired.
Scott’s mouth formed a taut line. Like Logan, he was still trying to become accustomed to the idea of the two of them dating. It did not matter how many times he saw them together. Accepting the reality was quite difficult to accept. And while he attempted to tone down his disapproving parent routine at the request of his wife, Scott found himself constantly struggling to swallow the wariness he experienced. The stony glares he gave the other man were nothing compared to what he could have done.
Again, it was not that he thought Bobby was a bad person. In fact, he still liked the younger man. Had he been dating anyone else around the mansion, Scott was sure he would not be experiencing the same reservations. Hell, he would probably clap the young man on the back and congratulate him. There were plenty of single, attractive women who resided in the mansion. Bobby could, if he put his mind to it, be with any one of them.
Unfortunately, Bobby was not dating just anyone; he was dating Jubilee.
Scott’s forehead wrinkled with a frown as his mind reeled with the thoughts that ate away at him about this relationship. Over the years, he had watched the young man plot and scheme his way into getting Lorna back from Alex. Like many residents at the mansion, he had attended the wedding. He witnessed Bobby suddenly standing up and professing his continued love and affection for the bride. And now, he was with Jubilee, claiming to care about her and only her alone. For Scott, it seemed too incredible to believe. Not after all these years of pining for Lorna.
He wanted to believe that Bobby would not hurt Jubilee. His rational side recalled arguments Jean and Hank presented on the younger man’s behalf. These urgings included testaments to Bobby’s character, the fact that none of his romantic difficulties were his fault, and Scott’s own tendencies to overreact. Jean had even painfully pointed out that Logan, known for his ferocious temper and his overprotective nature, was taking the news in stride. Scott found that especially hard to believe, but did not bother to argue otherwise. He inferred that the loner was probably taking out his frustrations elsewhere and that someday, they would find some poor, tattered soul who ended up crossing paths with the angry man.
But there was something deep inside his chest that would not allow him to let things go. This something forced him to be hypervigilant. It drove him to lay awake at night, ruminating about what the other man’s motives could be; what the ultimate outcome was going to be. Seeing how happy Jubilee was with Bobby, Scott found himself torn. On one hand, he loved seeing her elated on an everyday basis. On the other hand, he wanted to do everything in his power to ensure she would never know the pain and sadness that often followed her in life.
So, as hard as it was, he kept his mouth shut when he was around her. This proved to be difficult as she often remarked about the relationship in his presence. Jubilee would often come floating into the room, sighing about Bobby and wonderful he was. Scott could feel the cords in his neck begin to strain at the mention of Drake’s name. It was almost an automatic reaction. Either Jubilee was oblivious to his nonverbal cues or she was unwilling to come down from her ecstatic high. Scott was unsure. All he knew was that he was struggling.
Granted, Scott knew his behavior towards Bobby was rather unbecoming. Jean had made several comments about this, inflicting an occasional headache here and there. He made countless promises to improve, to change, and to amend his ways. However, he often found himself in the same cycle of behavior: feelings of disapproval arising, questioning Bobby’s intentions, realizing he could not directly confront the other man, and consequently, taking out his frustration on Bobby in various ways. Scott wondered what good, if any, would come of approaching Bobby. Would things change? Would he have fewer reservations about this relationship? Again, Scott was unsure.
Scott found his thoughts shattered when he heard Jubilee drawl, “So, in order to find out what this awesome surprise is, I have to go back with you to your bedroom?”
What? Scott clenched his fists tightly.
To Scott’s disbelief, Bobby smugly replied, “That’s the deal.”
She giggled, the sound resembling the tinkling of a bell. “But can’t you bring it here?”
“No. That’s where the surprise is. That, and I want to get you alone. Have you all to myself...”
“A-ha! I knew it. How do I know there’s a real surprise? How do I know you don’t have some underhanded scheme to corrupt me? You know...warp my fragile, little mind?”
“Trust me, Jubes. There’s a surprise.”
There was a brief pause in the conversation. For a moment, Scott almost believed she was going to decline. In fact, he had been willing her to do so throughout their exchange. He held his breath in anticipation. Unfortunately, he heard her merrily laugh again. It was then that he lost hope.
Scott was so consumed in his disappointment that he did not hear the door open and close. A million scenarios as to what Bobby’s surprise could be flashed in Scott’s head. None of them were all that good. From the sly, flirtatious tone of voice Bobby had been using, it was as if he were referring to...
No, he wouldn’t.
And she wouldn’t.
Scott’s eyebrows shot straight up, almost reaching his hairline. Frantically, he pulled on his navy, poplin bomber jacket over his green crewneck sweater, chambray shirt, and chinos. He sped down the stairs. The adrenaline surged through his veins like live current in a lamp. Yanking the door open, he raced outside and across the lawn, hoping to catch the couple. The two were nowhere to be seen. Must be inside already, he mused, his face flushed. He continued his quick, efficient strides toward the mansion.
In spite of his mind screaming at him that he was only operating on a hunch, Scott internally rationalized that he could not take the chance. There was no way. If his worst suspicions were true, then he could not allow Jubilee to make this mistake. To give herself to someone who was possibly ambivalent about his own feelings would be traumatic. Jubilee had had enough traumas to last her a lifetime.
Scott’s lean legs carried him through the open French doors. Ignoring the curious stares of the students and support staff of the school, he darted past the recreational rooms and living room. Finally, he reached the spiral staircase. As he climbed the familiar steps, his calves suddenly felt heavy like lead. His lungs were tightening inside his chest and his heart thudded against his sternum. It took all of his mental strength to will some forward movement.
He felt like a madman---crazed and wild, not thinking, but only operating on instinct. Had he had some time to reflect, he might have mused that this might be the way Logan often felt. Pausing at the top of the stairs, Scott attempted to catch his breath. He wanted to collapse to his knees, but realized there was something to attend to. As he continued to collect himself, his ears picked up on some sounds at the end of the hall. He soon remembered that this was where Bobby’s room was located. Slowly and cautiously, Scott made his way towards the noises. When he was closer, the sounds were more defined and discernable.
He heard voices: one male, the other female. Frowning, Scott located the door where the voices were coming from, and gingerly placed his ear near it. They weren’t engaged in any conversation that he could pick up.
Instead, he heard other things.
Moans, groans, and sighs.
The bedsprings of a mattress squeaking ever so softly.
Scott’s eyes narrowed from behind his visor. He had to put a stop to whatever it was Bobby and Jubilee were doing. There was no way he was going to allow her to make some gross error in judgment by committing herself to someone like Bobby. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed the doorknob and shoved his entire weight against the door to break inside.
“Stop it right now!” he barked, scowling in disapproval. Scott wanted to show Bobby his reserve and commitment against this relationship. Enough was truly enough. He was going to take Jubilee away from all of this. “Get off of her!”
This approach would have been somewhat effective had Scott targeted the right room.
That might have explained as to why there were none of Bobby’s trademark comedy movie posters on the walls. The walls were a bright shade of watermelon pink. Instead of standard blinds, flowing, yellow curtains streamed from the window.
And why there were white-gray feathers flying around the room.
And why Paige Guthrie was shrieking at the top of her lungs, pulling the hot- pink, plaid sheet to cover her nude form.
Scott could feel his face drain of all color. Immediately, he jumped back into the hallway. Then he slammed the door behind him. A string of curses sprang forth from his lips. No matter what, there was no graceful way to explain or bow out of this one. He was about to make a quick exit when Paige’s bedroom door opened.
Warren Worthington’s classical Adonis features were arranged in a furious expression. His face was a mottled red, contrasting against his gold locks. He was clutching a colorful, patchwork duvet cover around the lower half of his body. His knuckles were almost white from the intensity of his grip. Warren’s lean, sinewy shoulders were heaving as he struggled to compose himself. His other hand was holding onto the door itself, as if to obtain some support.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he demanded, feathers flying around his blond head. His usual calm, cool voice trembled with the rage that was quickly bubbling over. If he could get away with murdering Scott Summers at that moment, he would. He then started to contemplate it. After all, he could hire the best attorney to represent him. The case for justifiable homicide could easily be made.
Before Scott could respond, he heard a door open two rooms down. Jubilee stepped out, fully dressed in a chino blazer over a pink blouse and red slacks. Behind her was Bobby in a Hawaiian shirt with martini glasses and playing cards with a pair of chinos. Both stared with their mouths hanging open as they gazed upon a half-naked Warren Worthington coming within inches of strangling a very shocked Scott Summers. Bobby frowned in confusion, putting his new Gamecube booklet back in his bedroom.
Jubilee’s sapphire-blue eyes widened as she stared at Scott and then at Warren. Instantly reading the situation for what it was, she placed a hand over her small mouth. Then she peered up at Bobby, her eyes conveying what she had learned. In response, the boyishly handsome man next to her simply sighed.
Turning back to Warren, Scott attempted to save face. “Warren,” he began carefully, “I can explain...” His lower lip quivered nervously. The images of seeing Warren and Paige nude and very intimate flashed through his mind. He was not sure if that was any worse than if he had caught Bobby and Jubilee in the same manner.
Warren snarled as his hand shot out to grab a fistful of sweater. “I don’t want an explanation,” he snapped, his scowl deepening when Scott ducked out of his reach. “I want revenge!”
In a flash, Jubilee darted from Bobby’s doorway. She inserted herself between Scott and Warren. The young girl with the delicate features stared up at the glowering face above her. She sometimes wondered what her best friend was really doing with this guy. Granted, he had a right to be angry, but somehow, he was taking it a little too far for her liking. She shook her head, forcing herself to focus on the situation.
“Don’t!” she cried, placing her hands up. She was careful not to touch him. From what she heard from Bobby and Paige, Warren was still processing issues relating to his body. There was no telling how he might react from a benign gesture at this moment.
“Jubilee,” Warren began sternly, blue eyes very steely as they peered down at her and then past her at Scott. He was trying to keep himself as even as he could, as he did not want to take out his anger on her. He forced himself to focus on the true target of his ire. “Step aside. This has nothing to do with you.”
While that icy gaze might have worked with hostile shareholders and various employees at Worthington Industries, Jubilee failed to be impressed. She returned his stare, crossing her arms over her chest. A grim line formed by her lips replaced her usually cheery smile. From the hardening expression that clouded her bright features, there was no way the young girl was backing down.
“Actually, Warren,” she answered coolly, “it has everything to do with me.” She then nodded at Bobby, who returned the nod rather glumly. Next, the young girl stared up at Scott. For his part, the leader was uncharacteristically deferential at this moment.
Warren narrowed his eyes into razor-thin slits. While he was furious beyond words, his ability to comprehend what Jubilee was saying to him was not lost. As one of Bobby’s closest friends, he was all too aware of Scott’s disapproving gestures toward his friend. He observed the strained interactions between the two on a regular basis, wanting to intervene but being told not to by Bobby. He shook his head bitterly, realizing that he was only a mistaken target for Scott’s behavior. Retaliating would simply do nothing to remedy the situation. Besides, he was having a hard time keeping the blanket around him. He wasn’t in the mood to engage in a physical fight with Scott while naked.
Jean-Paul was strolling past the scene, a copy of the Financial Times tucked under his arm. The handsome French-Canadian surveyed the situation in front of him with some faint interest. He raised a finely arched brow at Warren, whose sculpted and well-tone physique was definitely something to be admired. However, that did not detract from the reality that Worthington’s irresponsibility caused Jean-Paul to lose some substantial amount of money in the stock market recently. He could not help but be somewhat bitter about that.
Smirking slightly, he inquired, “Eh, Bird. What’s up?”
Warren glared at him and then at Scott. He continued to clutch the sheet around himself. “Nothing now!” he barked. With that, he slammed the door shut. Behind it, there was a muffled, but distressed wail, which presumably came from Paige.
Jean-Paul suppressed a throaty laugh, playing with the collar of his yellow, button-down shirt. His china-blue eyes flicked over to the child, who was now leaning against the wall outside of Paige’s door, and then at Summers, who was shaking his head. Amusement lit up his normally peevish expression as he came up with various theories as to what happened. Then he turned on his heel, continuing to make his way downstairs. The snorts of laughter were now echoing throughout the hall.
With the laughter of Jean-Paul fading, a silence fell in the hallway. It lasted several minutes, but seemed like much longer than that. The three individuals remaining continued to process their shock and disbelief. Had the circumstances been slightly different, Jubilee and Bobby would have been on the floor, laughing hysterically. Their friends interrupted in the middle of getting it on by of all people, Scott Summers? Unfortunately, neither one was finding much humor in anything at that moment.
Finally, Jubilee raised her face to peer over at Scott, who appeared as if he wanted to disappear. “Stopping people from having sex, huh?” she asked wryly, “I guess you know how Pat Robertson and the 700 Club feel.”
Scott grimaced, wincing at the sarcastic remark. He could feel his face burn with embarrassment. Deep down, he realized that he had deserved that. He simply sighed wearily in response.
Jubilee turned her gaze to Bobby. He was still stunned over what occurred. His expression soon took on a perplexed quality as he stared at Scott. Bobby’s mouth was open, as if he wanted to say something as well. Then he snapped it closed and shook his head. She nodded at him, relaying that she shared his confusion and shock as well. Next, she returned her attention to Scott.
“I think we need to talk,” she told him quietly, dark ponytail swinging behind her head.
He pressed his lips together in a tight line. After several seconds, he nodded in agreement. “I need some air,” he muttered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket.
“Me, too,” she echoed, watching him stiffly stride towards the stairs. Then she peered over her shoulder at Bobby. He was desperately trying to hide his worry through what appeared to be an encouraging smile. It was all too clear as to how anxious he was feeling; she wanted to take that away. She gave him a broader, reassuring grin of her own. Without another word, she soon descended down the spiral staircase after Scott.
If any of the students, instructors, and staff heard any of the commotion from upstairs, they were certainly not showing any indication. All were consumed in their activities in the many rooms of the first floor. The blaring sounds from the television in both recreation areas probably muffled the screaming from above. Scott stared stoically ahead, his pace quickening. Jubilee jogged behind him. She finally caught up, walking briskly alongside of him. They silently made their way to the kitchen, where Cook was engrossed in a flipping through the latest issue of ‘Bon Appetit’. The two soon crossed through the laundry room and past the garage. Scott fished the remote for the garage door and punched the button. As the door retracted, he motioned for Jubilee to follow him outside.
The late autumn wind was brisk, swirling the fallen leaves around the manicured lawns of the mansion. Disappearing behind the thicket of almost barren trees was the sun. The sky overhead darkened in response, signaling the arrival of evening. Usually, some of the students would be playing various games of touch football on the property. However, the grounds were surprisingly empty that day.
Dead leaves crunched under Scott’s loafers as he slowed his pace. While the immediate humiliation of what he had done was lessening in intensity, he was aware that he was going to be the target of some immature jokes or comments. It seemed like a bad dream to him. Never had he done something so careless and reckless before. He was always one to plan, to consider the possibilities prior to acting. Now, he felt so out of control, like a victim of his own instincts, which in this case, proved to be terribly wrong.
His gaze fell onto the individual next to him. Jubilee’s arms were wrapped around her slender form. Despite the dimming light, he could tell she was shivering. Her chin trembled as she sniffled quietly. Pausing in his steps, he pulled off his jacket and draped it over her shoulders. Those old-soul, blue eyes stared up at him. There was no anger, no indignation, or any sign that she was still in shock. They simply stared.
He wanted to draw her close to him, to tell her how sorry he was. And yet, he did not. Instead, he remained fixed in that spot in the middle of the lawn with her. The silence between forced time to pass like rush-hour traffic in downtown Manhattan.
She brushed a few wispy tendrils of hair from her cheeks and suddenly asked, “Do you trust me?”
He was taken aback. Her question hurt him much more than he ever thought it could. After all these years knowing one another, she should know the answer to that. The time he and Jean spent raising her, as their own child should have made her aware of the answer to that. “You know I do.”
“You’re not acting like it,” Jubilee pointed out, pulling the jacket closer to her body.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know why... I didn’t mean to...”
“That’s not completely true.”
“You’re not sorry. You know why you did it. The only thing is that you busted the wrong room.”
“Don’t, Scott. Don’t try to tell me any different.”
“What do you mean?”
“You thought Bobby and I were... And you came upstairs to break that up, didn’t you?”
“Jubilee, it’s not like that.”
“Then what is it like?”
“From what I saw, it was pretty blatant that was your intention. I mean it wasn’t like you were hoping to play with Bobby’s new Gamecube. I heard you yelling ‘stop’ and to ‘get off of her’.”
Scott sighed, turning away from the earnest face of the young girl in front of him. He did recalling saying those things. There was no sense in trying to cover up that anymore. Reluctantly, he nodded.
Jubilee frowned, slightly dismayed. She studied Scott’s attractive, clean features thoughtfully. He seemed genuinely sorry about what he had done in the mansion. However, that regret did not extend to what was really behind his behavior in the first place. She decided to take him to task over that in order to make sure a repeat performance did not occur.
“It shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” she informed him, her voice low. She sighed heavily and shook her head. “I know... I know you’re not thrilled about Bobby and me. Hell, even Wolvie’s taken the news much better than you have been. You don’t see him threatening Bobby or trying to intimidate him.”
“No, wait and let me finish, OK?”
“I’ve seen you---the way you look at him, the way you talk to him sometimes. Neither one of you seems to think I notice, but I do. And do you know what? I hate everything about it. I hate the fact that my new boyfriend is being persecuted in his own home, a place where he’s supposed to feel comfortable. I hate the fact that a man, who I love and respect, is responsible for making my boyfriend feel that way. I hate knowing that I’m partly to blame for all of this.”
“Sweetheart, no. No, that’s not it.”
“Then why is it? Before Bobby and I started seeing each other, things were fine. You weren’t giving him these dirty looks or stalking us to make sure we weren’t doing anything we weren’t supposed to.”
“It’s more complicated than what you’re thinking.”
“I think I’ve summed it up just fine.”
“You’re not responsible for any of this. It’s just that.... It’s just that...”
“Just that I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“What? What do you mean? You know Bobby.”
“I’m not following you, Scott.”
“Listen, I know you must think Bobby is the greatest guy and I think that, too. It’s just that I’ve known him for a lot longer than you. I’ve seen him go through relationships. He’s not exactly the most successful in that area. The guy might not mean to do anything, but somehow, things don’t work out in the end. I would hate to see that with you.”
“None of that stuff was his fault.”
“Maybe. But what about Lorna?”
“What about the not-so-jolly green one?”
“He’s been in love with her for a long time. Why, just at her wedding---”
“That’s ancient history, Scott. Bobby doesn’t have those feelings anymore. They’ve even talked about the whole thing. He’s told me.”
“And you believe him?”
“Why the hell shouldn’t I? I’m not some insecure psycho, you know.”
“I never said that. I know you better than that.”
“Then you should also know that I really like him. He’s the best thing that’s happened to me in some time. Don’t I deserve my own piece of happiness?”
“Of course, you do, Jubilee. There’s nothing more I want than your happiness. But I also want to make sure you’re safe.”
“Scott, that’s not your job anymore. I’m not a child anymore. Remember a couple of months ago when I turned eighteen? According to the law, I’m an adult, meaning I can make my own decisions. I can decide whom I want to see. If there are risks involved, then that responsibility falls on me. Not on you; not on Logan.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“You’re also aware that Bobby is a good person. He would never do anything to hurt me. I would never be with him if there were the possibility of him doing anything harmful. I trust him completely. Why is it so hard for you to do the same?”
“I don’t know. I just get this feeling that this whole thing isn’t the best idea.”
“Do you ever think anything’s a good idea?”
“That’s not funny.”
“Sorry. Why are you so against me and Bobby dating?”
“I can’t help it. I’ve seen you hurt before. I’m not going to stand by and allow it to happen again.”
“Those times were different.”
“I appreciate the sentiment, Scott, but as I’ve pointed out before, I’m a big girl now. I can take care of myself just fine.” Her sapphire eyes bore deeply into his; hidden by the visor he wore. “I’m also capable of making sure those I care about are okay and safe as well. I’d do just about anything to see that through.”
Scott noticed that both of her small hands were clenched. Sparks of brightly colored lights jumped from her tiny fists. Fortunately for him, those fists were lowered away from him. However, he was able to grasp the point without question. Not a direct, menacing threat, but a threat nonetheless. As someone who trained in long sessions with her, he definitely knew what the firecracker was able to do. He had witnessed countless cameras and robots destroyed into millions of pieces as a result of those pyrotechnics.
As he looked her, he observed that same determined expression she wore to stare down Warren back in the mansion. Her sapphire eyes were serious, no mirth reflected in their brilliant depths. The smiling mouth he had become familiar with was now in a grim line. A slight frown creased her smooth forehead as she summoned the sparks back into her hands. It was a side to her Scott had never seen before, but often heard about through Jean and Hank, who were primarily responsible for her physical rehabilitation after her ordeals.
Watching her nonverbally emphasize her declaration, he realized that she was no longer the frail child he was first acquainted with. There was a strength that emanated from her---something he knew was always there, but never really took the time to recognize. He had always known she was resilient. Yet, there was something different about what she was radiating now. While he could not exactly identify what it was, he felt as if he were looking at her very differently that night.
It was at that moment that he believed her.
Scott pressed his lips together firmly. Then he pulled Jubilee close to him, holding her against his chest. He rested his chin on the top of her head. Cradling her in his arms, he whispered, “I know. I know.”
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