Pathetic Disclaimer: Marvel's. Mine. No
money, of course.
Thanks to Dia (it's always her fault), JB (for
prodding when I'd just about forgotten about it), Lise-who-does-titles
and Kael (as always). Lise and Cosmic_Lemming did very good to beta.
The Art Of Basking Well
"You look like shit."
There was no response other than a pulling of the blankets in a useless
attempt to pull them over his head. Useless, because Alex was sitting
Alex grinned to himself. There was something just so appealing about
someone who was even less of a morning person than he was. And Bobby
was known for not being a morning person. This discovery, among others,
was one of the things that were so cool about being in a new relationship.
A very, very, not-even-twenty-four-hour-old new relationship. With
Bobby Drake. Alex took a gleeful moment to relish that thought, then
poked Bobby again.
"Get your lazy ass outta bed, Drake. I've got plans."
Bobby groaned and shoved his face deeper into his pillow as though
not breathing would mean that he didn't have to wake up. He mumbled
something along the lines of "piss off, and shove your plans", but
Alex ignored it as sleep-talking, and therefore irrelevant.
Having considered this from all angles, Alex decided that gentle
wasn't working. So, giving it his full strategic attention, he pulled
the blanket back up, and slithered in beside Bobby. Bobby sighed happily
and wrapped himself around Alex, though still firmly asleep. Alex
smirked and gradually increased the temperature of their cocoon. Degree
by degree, it grew more stifling, until sweat was dripping off both
of them. Still Bobby kept his eyes closed.
Then, finally, with a gasp, Bobby reached up and dragged the blankets
down, breathing in the cool air with relief.
Alex cooled down and had to laugh at Bobby's red face.
Bobby swore and looked back down the bed at Alex. So, yesterday and,
for that matter, last night hadn't been a dream. He hadn't thought
they'd been. His dreams weren't normally so detailed. And he remembered
every detail, from blowing up of balloons to the way that they hadn't
been able to hide their laughing collusion from the others at Hank's
party. There had been more than a few strange looks, but then Bobby
and Alex were used to those. They'd danced a little, Bobby had presented
Hank with first the surprise, then the balloons, a large foam base-ball
bat labelled "Med-lab clearer" and finally an antique fob-watch that
could be tucked into his belt. Bobby was pleased with himself for
his careful choice of presents, and he'd thought that Hank had genuinely
liked them too, not just being polite. But he'd been kind of distracted
by looking at Alex. Alex had been happy. His eyes had lost
so much of the shadows that Bobby hadn't even realised were always
The shadows hadn't returned during the night either and Bobby couldn't
resist the urge to gloat a little, smirking at Alex, whose hair was
mussed from their interlude under the blankets. His eyes had so much
less fog of pain and confusion, sparkling blue in the ridiculously
early morning light. Bobby glanced over at the clock.
"It's eleven?" he exclaimed. "When did that happen?"
Alex tilted his head to one side. "I don't know. One minute it was
three in the morning, and the next ping! it was eleven." He crawled
up the bed and sat next to Bobby. "I have plans."
Bobby blinked, suddenly much more awake. "Plans? What sort of plans?
Because if they're 'take over the world' plans, I really think you
should have started earlier."
"Not that sort of plan," Alex said, tugging on a tuft of brown hair
that stuck straight up. "This is much more important. This is what
we're going to do today."
Bobby blinked at him. "What we're going to do today? You've got an
Alex nodded. "I have. And a very good itinerary it is too." He rubbed
his hands together. "An excellent itinerary."
Bobby laughed and sat up. "I'm very exclusive with itineraries, you
know. You'll have to tell me all the details, so I know if it's good
enough for me. High class enough, y'know."
Alex grinned. "Oh, I don't know about high-class. I was thinking
about getting some breakfast at a café and laugh at other people as
they go by. Then I'm going to teach you ice-skating, because I'll
bet you still don't know how."
Bobby squirmed. "I never really had to."
"That's no excuse. Today you're going to learn." Alex tried to look
firm, not terribly successfully. "Then we're going to go to a pool-hall,
and we're going to beat the pants off everyone else, because I kinda
like you even if you win."
Bobby felt his face heat up. "Sounds like you've planned everything."
Alex looked very smug. "Right down to where you're going to take
me to dinner with your pool winnings."
Bobby decided that he would have to get rid of that smug look, and
flung his arms around Alex and dragged him down into a heavy kiss.
The itinerary was held up a little.
Kurt looked up from his book. One of the things he didn't miss about
Scotland was the weather, and he was outside practising his basking.
He was getting extremely good at it, if he did say so himself.
He had been concentrating so heavily on his basking that he almost
didn't notice the approach of Rogue and Warren.
"Hello, Kurt." Rogue got those pleasantries out of the way fast.
"What do you think about Bobby and Alex?"
Kurt didn't think anything at all about Bobby and Alex. In fact,
he'd been quite enjoying not thinking about anything at all, until
this interruption. However, he was saved the bother of answering,
because it seemed that Warren and Rogue were in the middle of an argument.
"I just can't believe that Bobby would do that," Warren said. "It's
not like him at all. Alex, on the other hand--"
Rogue shook her head firmly, her hair bouncing in denial. "You know
how Bobby is. He can get you to do things just by being earnest."
Kurt blinked up at Rogue. "Are you telling me that Bobby corrupted
Alex? Isn't that against several natural laws?"
Rogue looked at him. The look on her face said 'You don't know what
you're talking about, and I will have to save you from your ignorance
if it takes me all day.' Kurt felt his hard-won basking training time
slip from his fingers under the pressure of that very eloquent look.
He smiled interestedly and suppressed the whine that bubbled up to
There was something comforting about the ordinariness of having breakfast
at a café. Like maybe they could do something that other people did,
without having to lie and pretend.
Plus, of course, there was toast and coffee and orange juice. It
was hard not to feel comfortable when eating toast and coffee and
Bobby sat back and relaxed. "Okay, this is just about worth giving
up Presidentship of SCSA."
Alex picked up a piece of toast from Bobby's plate thoughtfully.
"What if I changed my name?"
Bobby paused mid-sip of coffee. "You ... you would?" He looked like
he wasn't sure whether to laugh or be serious.
"I would. If me being a Summers bugs you so much." Alex nodded solemnly.
Bobby threw his arms out, spilling his coffee and narrowly missing
the waiter. "That'd be great! That would be perfect!" His eyes narrowed.
"Who could we get to adopt you?" Alex sat back in his chair to enjoy
the floorshow, sipping his orange juice.
His face scrunched in thought, Bobby looked heavenward for inspiration.
"What about if you were a Dayspring?" His eyes lit up. "It's a cool
name, even with the overtones of big-gun-compensation, but I know
you don't have to compensate, so that's okay."
Alex shook his head. "I already asked Cable. He said no way."
"You asked already?" Bobby's tone was incredulous.
"Yeah. I was having a Bad Scott Day."
Bobby looked instantly understanding. He patted Alex's hand absently
and went back to careful thought and munching on his toast.
Kurt didn't have as much difficulty escaping from Rogue and Warren
as he'd thought he would. He left them exaggerating more and more
about the characters of the two men. He thought, though he could have
been mistaken, Warren had blamed the sinking of Atlantis on one of
Alex's bad moods as he'd slipped away quietly.
He really hoped that he'd misheard that bit.
He hadn't given up his basking plans however. What he was going to
do was go somewhere no one ever went in the middle of a warm sunny
With an only slightly irritated *BAMF* he teleported off the ground,
up to the roof of the Mansion. And right into another 'discussion'.
"It is never a good idea to get involved with someone on your team,
my friend." Ororo sat comfortably on the roof, her arms wrapped around
Remy waved a hand in front of his nose, part in greeting, part to
dispel the smell of brimstone. "But, Stormy, it must be a joke. Bobby
an' Alex? It's very unlikely, no? One of Bobby's jokes, surely."
Kurt rolled his eyes. Not again. What was it about his teammates
that meant they could never leave anyone else's business alone? He
was about to give an apologetic bow and leave when Ororo turned to
"You have been team leader for a time, Kurt, what do you think?"
Kurt did his best to hide any sense of being hunted with a mask of
real confusion. "About what, Ororo?"
Remy kicked his heels over the edge of the roof. "This thing about
Bobby and Alex, it is a joke."
Kurt gave a shrug. It wasn't a question, but he answered anyway.
"I don't know. You'd have to ask them, I suppose."
Ororo evidently did not appreciate his levity. "It is obviously not
a joke and it is not wise to move too quickly into a relationship
with a fellow member of your team." She looked at him, confident in
his leadership experience.
Kurt thought about 'his' team. Megan and Brian, Kitty and Pete, even
himself and Amanda. He felt a rather silly smile fasten itself to
his face and tried to think of somewhere no one would be at this time
of day. Basking was officially over.
Bobby's butt was wet, his ankles hurt and he had taken out three
ten year-olds in his last skid on the ice, but he was having a pretty
good time. He clutched onto the wall of the rink and beamed happily
at Alex. "I've had a great idea!"
Alex came to a stop, just out of reach of Bobby's flailing skates.
"I have. What if you were adopted into the thieves' guild? They do
things like that." Bobby's eyes were glowing with humour.
Alex thought about it. "And be a LeBeau?"
Bobby nodded. "I think I'd kinda sorta like being involved with a
Alex thought about it some more. "Sorry, can't do it."
Bobby blinked. "Don't tell me he's refused you before, too?"
"No. I just have my limits. You don't get involved with Summerses
and I don't lower myself to being a LeBeau." Alex's voice was nothing
if not logical.
Bobby shrugged, discarding the idea, and slid to the ice, his skates
going in opposite directions. He fell forward, grabbing at Alex's
skates before pulling them both back onto the ice. For a superhero,
he had really bad balance. Or possibly, Alex thought, lying across
Bobby's body, a really good sense of strategy.
The kitchen was a safe place. Surely. Kurt bid a polite adieu to
the people on the roof and bamfed back inside, pleading starvation.
He walked down, getting changed on the way, having given up entirely
on his basking. Even at Muir he'd managed more basking than it looked
like he was going to get today. Still, he was not the sort to be pessimistic
for long. He'd cook up a lovely stroganoff for the team and if it
was a little early to be cooking dinner, then it would be all the
better for the wait. Plus, of course, he could toss people out of
the kitchen for upsetting genius if they started gossiping at him.
Unless, of course, the person who wanted to gossip was Jean. It would
be nearly sacrilegious to toss Jean out the kitchen, so he listened.
She didn't need anyone to argue with, he noted, she was perfectly
capable of taking two separate sides all by herself.
"It's not that I've got anything against Bobby's lifestyle," she
disclaimered loudly, chopping up potatoes. "It's just that Alex is
so very ... straight. I just don't see this lasting very long."
Kurt could see that he was going to have a lot of potatoes, so he
sighed and nodded vaguely.
"I just don't understand, is it too much to ask that just a few other
people here fall in love and stay in love?" Her knife slowed. "It
can be really good to be happy with another person like that. To have
Kurt heard an echo of pain in her voice and sidled up next to her,
wrapping an arm around her waist. "But sometimes people aren't like
that, Jean. Sometimes they just want a little fun and friendship.
And it has to be their choice."
Jean lay the knife down carefully. "But they're doing it wrong, Kurt.
Bobby and Alex just couldn't last."
Kurt looked at Jean, at her fingers gripping the bench, and her jaw
set. No, she wasn't in the mood to listen to concede anyone else's
happiness without permanence. He squeezed her in a hug once more,
then silently went back to his cooking.
Bobby waved at a few people around the pub who knew him. It didn't
take long for a few people to come and join him and Alex at the pool
table. Alex leaned over to Bobby's ear. "I betcha ten bucks you can
beat all of them."
Bobby looked around at the people he played against regularly, and
lost. He leaned back to Alex. "Hey, I'm not betting against a sure
thing." Something inside him -- probably, if he remembered that picture
Hank had up on the wall correctly, his liver -- warmed up at Alex's
Alex clasped his shoulder quickly. "I'll just go get something for
us to drink. Beer?"
Bobby nodded, then bit his lip as he watched Alex leave, mostly because
he suddenly realised that this would be the first time Alex had bought
alcohol since That Night about a week ago, and just slightly because
watching Alex's jeans-clad butt called for some lip-biting.
Bobby got the break, on the grounds that he sucked. Some ten minutes
later, he potted the last ball and grabbed his beer out of Alex's
hand. He glanced over the rim of the glass as he drained it. Alex's
blue eyes sparkled at him, and he raised his glass of lemonade (Bobby
heaved a sigh of relief) in salute.
"So," Bobby turned back to the other two men, picking up the twenty
dollars off the edge of the table. They gazed at him, their yet to
be used pool cues hanging laxly in their fingers. "Do you want to
play again? Double or nothing?"
Kurt was about to give up and hide in his room until someone sane
turned up or the apocalypse came and knocked on the door, whichever
happened first, when he realised that there was in fact someone sane
around. Of course the Someone Sane was probably being more successful
at avoiding dealing with people who couldn't leave well enough alone,
and was practically famed for telling people to leave well enough
Hank turned around his eyes blinking away from the pages of printout
he was reading. Kurt, unfortunately, mistook his look for his usual
abstraction in the face of science. He didn't have any way of knowing
that Hank had been looking at the same page, same paragraph for twenty
"Good day, Kurt. Is there something I could be doing for you?" he
Kurt smiled, disarmed. "Not a thing, my friend, I was hoping you
would join me in a coffee." He held out one of the mugs he had carried
Hank accepted with a smile. "Thank you, I appreciate it enormously."
He sipped, then gestured with one huge, broad hand at a chair. "Please,
Kurt accepted the offer and curled up. He looked around the comfortable,
gossiping X-Men free lab and smiled. "So, what great and ponderous
thoughts have you been pondering."
Hank's liquid brown eyes rested on Kurt for a long moment, and he
tugged on his bottom lip with his free hand. "There is something."
Kurt put his cup aside, this sounded serious. "Please, if you need
an ear, I am here."
Hank sighed. "It's just..." Kurt tilted his head to the side and
listened. "It's just that I really think that Bobby is making a mistake.
I mean, Alex?!?"
Kurt helplessly felt his eyes roll back into his head, unable to
stop them. He closed his eyes hurriedly so Hank couldn't see them.
"Oh?" he commented mildly.
"Now, I think I could just about manage being a Guthrie." Alex watched
Bobby flutter his eyelashes at a waiter, getting faster service than
anyone he'd ever dined with, with the possible exception of Madelyne
and her demons.
Bobby looked helplessly at the waiter, who, under the onslaught of
those big brown eyes, promised the best meal that could be prepared
and left, reeling a little. Bobby turned back to give Alex his full
attention. "You could certainly pull off the blond thing. Do you think
Sam would let you?"
Alex shrugged. "Sam'll do anything if you offer him cookies. It's
a rare fact Rahne told me once."
Bobby sipped contemplatively at his wine glass. "You know."
Alex waited, then nudged Bobby's foot with his own. "What do I know?"
Brown eyes wrinkled at him across the table. "You know, I think that
I could live with you as a Summers."
Alex felt a smile stretch across his face in return. "Thank you."
Hank put down his mug. "I haven't spent that much time with Alex
Summers, but we've all heard about him. Scott used to come down and
talk about what was going on. He had that thing with Madelyne, for
This, Kurt was afraid, would indeed be only a start. "Scott or Alex?"
"Alex, of course. Although, Scott was married to her and then..."
Kurt felt something snap. It was the tip of his tail against the
edge of the bench. With a yelp of pain, from his tail, the impending
history of the Summers Family, and the sheer horrible lack of basking
in his day, he leapt upright. "Hank? You are one of the cleverest
and wisest people I know. But why can nobody in this place leave well
enough alone? Bobby and Alex are sleeping together, and that is all
that we know. Why should we know more? They're grown adults. I would
like to treat their privacy with the same respect that mine would
be treated." He paced back an forth, his tail curling in agitated
question marks behind him.
Hank gaped at his usually mild mannered friend, unable to say anything,
as Kurt's arms waved for a moment in nonverbal frustration.
"I can't go anywhere, talk about anything, see anyone without coming
back to poor Alex and Bobby!" Kurt rubbed his hands over his face.
"And by now there's probably no sun left anyway!"
Hank blinked even more at this last non sequitor. "Er ... Kurt, I..."
He paused as Kurt turned to look at him, eyes wide.
"You wish to say that you only wish for the best? That you are concerned?"
His hands wrapped nervously around each other in his lap, incongruous
with their strength, Hank nodded, hesitantly.
Kurt tossed his hands in the air, and left them there, fingers wriggling
ceiling-wards then brought them down with a swish of an imaginary
sword. "Do you consider Bobby an adult?" He caught the tip of the
imaginary sword in his hands and bent the non-existent steel. "Do
you respect him?"
The non-sound of the sword filled the room. *swish* *swish* "Do you
trust him?" Kurt's wiry body came to a halt, every muscle still, the
point of the unreal sword resting against Hank's throat.
Hank swallowed, not saying anything. Kurt's eyes narrowed, and he
twitched forward just a micron.
"Yes!" Hank swayed back violently. "Of course I trust him!"
Kurt pulled his arm back, then sheathed the imaginary sword in an
imaginary sheath. "So?"
Hank rubbed his throat. "I ... see. You suggest I let my buddy make
his own mistakes?"
Kurt nodded, nonchalantly resting his hand on a hilt that wasn't
there. "Perhaps this would be wise? And kind."
Hank, frowning thoughtfully at the floor didn't answer for a long
moment, then looked up and smiled. "Kurt, I see now how you made such
a good leader."
Kurt smiled back, bowing floridly. "Ah. Something you must be born
Hank picked up his coffee and sipped it, eyeing Kurt over the rim.
"Would you like to watch Captain Blood? I do believe it's on tonight."
"It is? Most certainly, I'd like to watch it."
They smiled at each other, having reached an understanding. Kurt
patted the sword hilt once, then his hip. There was no sword.
Bobby put both hands on his hips and mock glared at Alex, who clutched
at his stomach with one hand and tried to unlock the front door with
the other. "Darling," he said firmly. "You simply must control
yourself, dear boy." He fluttered his lashes and shook his head sadly.
Finally managing to fit the key into the lock, Alex dragged Bobby
inside, wrapping one arm around Bobby's head and covering his mouth.
He marched a feebly protesting Bobby -- "You fiend! Unhand me! --
up the stairs and to his bedroom, where he firmly locked the door
behind them, and collapsed on the bed, doing something only just on
the manly side of giggling madly. Bobby leaned against the wall, giving
up his pose, and watched Alex, grinning hard.
Finally Alex rolled over, sprawled on his back and smiled happily
at Bobby. "Today was fun, wasn't it?"
Bobby sauntered over to the bed. "Yeah, but..."
Sitting up quickly, Alex frowned. "But what?"
"But now I'm going to have to repay you," Bobby said mournfully.
He reached out and hauled Alex to his feet. "I'm going to have to
repay you for the wonderful dinner conversation." Bobby's fingers
neatly undid the buttons on Alex's shirt. "And for the lesson in winning
at snooker." He dropped the shirt to the floor, and bowed his head
to kiss a smooth, sharp-defined collarbone. "I'll have to repay you
for the ice-skating."
His hands slid down to Alex's waistband, neatly undoing the fly-
button. Alex's head rolled back a little, his eyes slitted with pleasure.
"And, of course, for breakfast." Bobby's voice grew low and husky
and his hands crept back around Alex and under the jeans and underwear
to tighten around Alex's buttocks and pull him closer. He kissed his
way up Alex's neck to his ear and whispered. "But best of all, I have
to repay you for waking me up this morning." And he iced up his hands.
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