Disclaimer: X-Men belong to Marvel.
The story and Lydia belong to me.
This is a sequel to 'A Talent for Reality.'
It was fun to write, and frightening to post, 'cause you never be
sure that people will find in a sequel what they liked in the original.
Still, I hope you enjoy it!
Something Like Closure
Scott Summers walked into the Danger Room, and surveyed the room
with no little satisfaction. He had worked hard on the redesign, and
the capabilities of the room seemed endless. Stifling a smug little
smile, he began to direct the X-Men in the procedure for their next
session. He stepped over to say a word in his wife's ear, when his
shin encountered something soft, moving- living. He let out a gasp
of surprise, and threw his body weight the other way so he wouldn't
squish whatever it was. Under the gaze of five or so bemused X-Men,
he toppled over.
The thing that had caused him to fall came over and started rubbing
against him, purring. Scott looked around and his teammates. "Would
someone tell me why there is a cat in the Danger Room?"
Unsurprisingly, Bobby Drake stepped forward and picked the creature
up. He smiled at it, and commented, "Oh, I brought it in for Lydia.
I wonder where she is." Cradling the cat, he glanced around.
The lady in question appeared suddenly in the middle of the room,
and went up to Bobby. "There you are! Hello sweetums! Did the bad
man hurt you?" It took Scott a moment of extreme confusion to realize
she was talking to the cat, and not Bobby.
Scott, rising to his feet with the help of his amused-looking wife,
glared at the trio of Bobby, Lydia, and the cat. "This is too
much, Bobby. We simply cannot keep live animals in the Danger Room."
"But, Scott, it's Lydia's!"
"Don't worry, Summers," Lydia said, casting him a scornful glance.
"I'll keep it with me on the couch while you guys train."
Scott blinked. "Couch...?" he said faintly. Then he at last noticed
the old couch in the corner. And the television. And the -- good
Lord -- mini-refridgerator. "What the hell? Where did those come
"Oh, I found the TV in one of the storage rooms, along with the
fridge," Bobby explained ingenuously. "And the couch was in one of
the unused bedrooms." He turned back to Lydia, and handed the cat
over to her. She held it possessively, and retreated to her corner.
Bobby called after her, "When we're done training, we can watch the
rest of 'Grosse Pointe Blank.' And I brought 'Batman', too. Can you
believe she's never seen 'Batman'?" he asked Scott cheerfully.
"Anyway, what were you saying before you tripped over the cat?"
Scott, finding himself without a conveniently placed wall on which
to bang his head, proceeded to patiently repeat his instructions.
The Professor entered just as John Cusack arrived at his high school
reunion. Lydia had met Xavier a couple of times before, and didn't
think much of him, since she had a instinctive dislike for, well,
everyone. Xavier, for his own part, found the fact that he couldn't
sense Lydia's presence without a conscious effort unnerving, but didn't
mind her since he had assured himself that she wasn't a threat to
He looked around Lydia's little corner. "This is -- ah -- interesting."
His eyes alighted on a framed Japanese print on the wall, and he looked
mildly distressed. "Bobby, have you been nailing holes in the Danger
Bobby was shocked. "Good God, no! I could barely dent that thing."
Xavier looked relieved. "Lydia nailed it."
"Of course you just assumed that a man did it," Lydia spat.
The Professor rubbed his forehead. "I appreciate your situation,
I really do Ms. Hawk, but you just can't go nailing holes into the
Danger Room wall."
"Yes I can. I just did," she pointed out reasonably.
Bobby felt sure that the Professor's shiny head would soon implode.
Somehow, though, it didn't. Instead he continued patiently, "Then
I ask you not to do so again." Lydia shrugged indifferently, and the
Professor sighed. "You can't keep all these things here, either. They're
a hazard with energy beams and lightening bolts hurling around."
"But, Prof," objected Bobby, "it's good practice for not harming
civilians. We've been lucky so far, but you never know when a stray
kinetically-charged playing card will blow up right in some poor sap's
"Actually, you guys haven't been that lucky," interjected Lydia.
"You don't know about Wes Roberts."
"How did you know about Wes Roberts?" the Professor inquired sharply.
"I heard you lecturing Summers a couple of years back." She turned
to Bobby and sighed, "Poor man'll never walk normally again. Summers
blasted his left shin off."
Bobby's eyes brightened. "Really? I never heard about that..."
"With good reason," said the Professor hastily. "Ah, Bobby? Would
you come with me for a moment? I wish to talk to you outside."
"G'luck Drake," murmured Lydia with a evil smile.
Bobby walked down the hall besides the Prof's chair, as Xavier gathered
his thoughts. After all, Bobby was in no hurry to hear whatever the
man had to say. However, it wasn't very long before the Professor
"Bobby, you seem to be on very good terms with Ms. Hawk. I was wondering
if you would do something for me."
"Depends on what it is." Always the safest answer. Except with parents,
'cause then they'd give you that and-since-when-is-this-a-democracy-kid?
"How much do you know about Ms. Hawk's origins?"
What was he getting at? "Nothing, really. She doesn't either- or
so she says, at least. Jean has a few guesses, though, and they sound
as good as anything."
"Bobby, we cannot keep an actual being, whatever type of being she
may be, trapped in our Danger Room. Some attempt must be made to return
her to wherever she belongs. She does not seem to remember her past,
and I'm reluctant to probe into her mind. I was hoping that, perhaps,
you could research her history a bit..."
"I don't think Lydia would appreciate it," Bobby said doubtfully.
"She hates it when I bring up the subject. In fact, she's been known
to throw stuff at me on occasion." I, on the other hand, would
be thrilled to find out what the hell she is where the hell she came
"Ms. Hawk doesn't have to know," Xavier said ruthlessly. "I just
want the comfort of knowing we did what we could. And," he added,
mainly to himself, "I don't want people nailing holes in the Danger
He had always wanted to know more about Lydia's past, but he had
never wished to go against her wishes. Now it was a job to do -- assigned
by the guy who founded the team, and not optional.
It might have been a little paranoid, but he decided not to use
any of the computers at the mansion. Of course, it probably wouldn't
be a problem, but Jean had once hypothesized that Lydia was a telepath
who had been trapped on the astral plane and -- as she had later explained
to Bobby -- she had linked herself to Cerebro, which could enhance
telepathic abilities. Jean had wanted to say more, but Bobby had cut
her off since he was going somewhere with Hank. The point was, if
Lydia was connected to Cerebro, she might be able to see what was
going on on the other computers. Okay, so I'm really paranoid.
He finally went to the Westchester Library on the off-chance that
he'd find some sort of article on a certain Lydia Nicole Hawk. Fortunately
his left arm was the one in the cast, so he didn't have too much trouble.
He found quite a few Hawks in the archives, but none of them seemed
to be or be related to Lydia. There was a strange feeling in his stomach,
as, at last, he searched the obituaries. The feeling grew even more
intense as he actually found it.
So she had lived in the area. Or at least, he thought glumly, gazing
at the screen, died in it. He glanced around nervously, as if he'd
suddenly find Lydia, watching him angrily. It was impossible, but
He turned back to the obit. She had died at the age of 17, after
a month in a coma, eight, nine years back. It didn't say anything
else about the cause of death. Her mother lived in California, and
her dad -- he lived in Westchester. Or had, anyhow. She also had an
older brother, who lived in Manhattan. Bobby chewed his knuckles,
and scrolled down. Not many personal comments, except the usual BS.
No 'She will be remembered for this and that,' or anything particular.
Feeling just a bit traitorous, Bobby scanned the article one more
time, then closed it.
It was strange to find out that one of your friends had been dead
for as long as you had known them. Bobby had never realized just how
strange, though, until now, since it had never happened to him before.
He flirted lightly with the idea of going to see the father. But
he couldn't -- what would he say, after all?
He went home, wishing very much Xavier hadn't asked him to do this.
"Oh, good idea. We're alone in a dark house chasing a psycho killer!
Let's split up, Scully! Idiots."
It was a familiar sound, but one Jean hadn't heard in a while. She
followed the noise to where Bobby was comfortably ensconced on the
couch, watching X-Files and talking to the TV. Since Lydia had developed
her David Duchovney obsession, it was rare that Bobby didn't watch
the show in the Danger Room. Yet here he was.
"Hey, Jean. Oh, for God's sake, Mulder! Of course you're going to
get attacked when you're alone in a creepy attic! Sheesh!" Jean knew
Scott was probably watching the same show on the TV in their room,
but for Scott it was a religious experience rather than an interactive
one. She sat down beside Bobby, tucking her feet beneath her. She
awaited for commercial break to breach the subject of why he was out
here. She knew that, occasionally, her sympathy was unwanted, but
besides having many years of intimate observation of human behavior
at her back, she had the ability to sense people's emotions, and thus
a duty to try to help others. Scott had a very well-developed sense
of duty, but with Jean it was something deeper, more instinctive.
When at last questioned, Bobby said that he thought Lydia wanted
to be alone for awhile. When further pressed, he said, more rushed,
"I know it sounds stupid, but I'm feeling kinda guilty. The Prof had
me look into Lydia's past, which is bad enough in itself, but Jean,
she's -- she's dead. I can't tell her that..."
Seeing immediately that this was no time to point out that this
came as no surprise at all to her, Jean soothed, "It doesn't change
anything, Bobby. And she probably wouldn't care either way."
"Yeah, she'd say something like 'You want people to treat you equally,
but then the first minute a dead person comes along you treat 'em
like dirt. X-Men!'" Bobby's impression of the blonde was very
good, if a little exaggerated, and Jean had to smile when he finished
it up with one of Lydia's favorite swearwords: X-Men!, second
only to a disgusted exclamation of Men!
"Bobby, from what I know about Lydia -- and it's a fairly good amount,
since I've shared a body with her -- the only thing she'll mind is
that you even looked into her past..."
"Yeah, and that's quite enough, thanks," said Bobby, rubbing his
head as if in memory. "I just -- I just don't feel like doing this
right now. Another day."
"I think that you'd better--"
"Shhh!" said Bobby quickly. "Show's back on."
The fact that his (second-best?) friend was dead was irrelevant
though when Bobby woke up the following morning to see the grounds
blanketed in snow. Upon finding that basically everyone else in the
mansion was well aware of the snow (and would you please stop screaming
it in our ears, it's morning for God's sake, Bobby) he rushed into
the Danger Room to find Lydia.
"Hey!" he called cheerfully to the empty room. "It snowed last night!
The place is covered!"
Lydia appeared, and said sardonically, "Thanks for the info, Drake.
For your next trick, why don't you run in and out of the door yelling
'Look! I have a body even when I'm not in the Danger Room!'"
Bobby was unabashed. "I figure Jean could take you outside," he
replied cheerfully. "So y'wanna go? It's stopped snowing and the sun
is already starting to come out. The snow might not live that much
longer. Anyway, it had to be like forever since you last saw snow.
Jean and you didn't see any on your little road trip, right?"
"No, but can't Munroe just call some up?" she asked plaintively,
as if she had something better to do. Of course, for all he knew,
she did. He had no idea where she went when he disappeared. When he
had asked, she had tossed her head and said it was none of his business.
"I'll ask Jean, 'kay?"
Lydia pressed her lips together for a moment, and then smiled her
half-smile. "Sure. Sounds good."
Warren watched his friend tiptoe around the snow-covered ground
outside mansion until he could no longer contain himself. "What are
you doing, Hank?"
Hank gave him a condescending look. "It is a demonstrated scientific
fact that, if someone should desire to pummel a specific rather than
a random individual with snow, the snower must first be cognizant
of the location of the snowee."
"So," said Warren, after digesting this for a moment, "you're trying
to find Bobby so you can throw snowballs at him?"
Hank looked at Warren, chagrin distorting his blue features. "Yes,
but don't say it that way."
"I'll help you," said Warren.
He crept over one step ahead of Hank, who was humming the Mission:
Impossible theme as they flattened themselves against the side
of the house.
"I hear them," he hissed. Hank nodded and motioned for silence.
"...wouldn't work," said Jean's voice. "He already knows about this."
"Aw." Bobby sounded disappointed. "Well, there's gotta be someone
this'd work on! It seems a shame not to take advantage of it. This
is the best opportunity for a practical joke ever."
Warren turned to Hank, who murmured, "It seems that Ms. Grey and
Mr. Drake are planning an attack of their own."
"Obviously, we've got to beat them to it," Warren whispered back.
"Snowballs, or something more elaborate?"
"Oh, elaborate, definitely ... Shhh. Our opponents seem to be engaged
in whispered conference." The two strained their ears to hear, but
neither Jean's nor Bobby's comments could be discerned, except one
chuckle from Bobby and an indignant "Like hell I will! That's sick!"
from Jean. Warren let out a snort of laughter, and quickly covered
his mouth to stop further noise. There was silence around the corner,
and Hank and Warren stood still, fearing they were about to be discovered.
It was not the case, however. Next they heard Jean coo, "Your sense
of humor is so much better than Scott's. That's what I love
about you, you know."
"What are you -- mmph!" Bobby's reply was muffled by something,
and, after a quick exchange of glances, Hank dared to venture a peak
around the corner. Warren followed suit.
His eyes were wide when he turned back to Warren. "Ah ... I think,
perhaps, the snow can wait for a more convenient time?"
Warren, not trusting himself to speak, nodded mutely, and the two
slid quietly and very quickly away.
Around the corner, Bobby finally emerged from the kiss, breathless
and rather dazed. "God, Lydia, what was that?"
Lydia giggled. "Didn't you hear McCoy and Worthington around the
"Oh, Christ!" Bobby quickly looked around the corner, but the only
sign that anyone had been there was Beast's familiar prints, and the
mark of Angel's boots in the snow. "How could ... They think you're
"Exactly! I can't believe I came out here just for the snow!
You're right -- the possibilities are endless. I think I'll go hit
on LeBeau now."
"Like hell you will! Jean trusted you with herself!. When she gets
back from the astral plane, or at least, her mind does..." It felt
weird, saying these things to Jean's body. Really weird. "Anyway,
she'll be really mad."
Lydia-Jean tossed her head, and stood up. "Well, I don't need your
help. But I am very disappointed in you." She began to walk away,
but then paused, to add, "Do you think Munroe would fall for it if
I made a pass at her?"
Somehow Bobby managed to reply, albeit in a very choked voice, "No,
I really don't think so."
Bobby stared at the phone book. He was damned if he'd give in first.
He'd make the thing blink first if he had to let his eyes dry out
and shrivel up and fall out of their sockets.
Here I am, having a staring contest with a phone book. Yes, I'm
sane. Why do you ask?
He sighed and picked up the phone book at last, and turned to the
H's. Scanning it, he at last found who seemed to be his man. Richard
Hawk. Right name, right area. God, he couldn't believe he was actually
considering doing this, but he needed to find out how Lydia had died.
It might hold the key to ... something.
Bobby scribbled down the address.
An aura of neglect pervaded the house, a dusty, musky odor of a place
forgotten by the world. It was damned depressing. Even more so was
the house's occupant- a man eroded and crippled by time, and much
too surprised to have a visitor. Bobby waved aside the offer of a
drink. "I don't intend to stay long, Mr. Hawk. A ... mutual friend
told me a few years back she was dead, and I was in town and I thought
I'd stop by. Give you my ratherbelated condolences." This felt about
as good as clubbing baby seals, but he pressed on. "Very belated condolences,
actually. I'm sorry, sir."
"No, no, not at all," said the man, misinterpreting his apology.
"It's no trouble. A surprise that's all. My daughter's old friends
don't come by often." The look he gave Bobby seemed to add, and
I don't want them to.
"Finding out she was dead was ... something of a shock. I'm only
sorry I didn't get a chance to come sooner. If you don't mind me asking,
just how did she die?"
"Coma," he replied curtly.
"I don't think that qualifies as a cause of death," Bobby murmured,
then adding, "But, ah, what caused the coma?"
"I don't know. The people she hung out with -- I don't even like
to think of the things they did." His tone was not encouraging, but
after a moment he continued softly, as if the words were a peace offering
to his daughter's memory, "Except for some stuff we got rid of, her
room's still like it was. Maybe you could find something to remind
you of her."
Bobby acquiesced, hardly believing how lucky he was. He hadn't been
sure if this was even the house she grew up in.
Even lit, the room was dark. The walls were white, but their brightness
was immediately negated by the reds, blacks, and purples of her room.
Mr. Hawk had spoken the truth when he said that they had left everything
like it was: the novels on her bookshelf were stuffed in sideways
and backwards, her music tapes were arranged in an order only comprehensible
to the owner of the room, and her papers were still on the desk.
Mr. Hawk stopped in the doorway, and let Bobby go ahead. "She was
a good enough girl," he commented, as Bobby looked around. "Not athletic,
or very good in school, and the friends she had I didn't think much
of. Nice to see she had some decent friends, too. What'd you say you
did for a living?"
"I'm an accountant," he murmured, picking up a picture of a blond
girl from off the dresser. It looked to be a school picture, and the
girl in it wore a lot of eye-makeup and bright red lipstick. A rather
contemptuous smile curved her lips -- whether for the photographer,
the school, or the world in general, Bobby wasn't sure.
"You can keep it, if you want," Mr. Hawk said, eyeing Bobby thoughtfully.
Bobby shook his head, feeling suddenly guilty as this man who would
never see his daughter again offered a valued memory of her to someone
who could see her everyday. He shouldn't be here; he had no right
to trespass on Lydia's ground, and he had no right to dredge up past
emotions for this man. Mr. Hawk might not be the most loving father,
but still, it had to hurt to lose a child. Morally convenient as it
might be for Bobby to imagine him as a bitter, hateful man who considered
himself well rid of his daughter, it probably wasn't the case.
"I'm sorry to do this to you, sir," Bobby said impulsively. He wasn't
quite sure the comment conveyed all he wanted it to -- I'm sorry
I lied, I'm sorry you're hurt and alone and I'm adding insult to injury,
I'm sorry for doing this to Lydia, though she may never know.
Mr. Hawk's shrug gave Bobby the impression he took the word's at
face value, alas. Deciding it would be better not to root through
Lydia's wardrobe in front of her father, Bobby said he was finished,
and followed Mrs. Hawk out of the room. While leading the way down
the hall, Mr. Hawk stopped abruptly and turned to Bobby, a shadowy
reflection of his daughter as he looked the younger man over with
that familiar calculating expression. "Just how well did you know
"Um, uh," and just how was he supposed to take that? "Pretty
well," he said lamely, and added, after a beat, "Well enough to come
Mr. Hawk nodded. "I don't know if ... Huh. You want her diary?"
Bobby looked at him, opened his mouth to speak and... his mouth
just stayed there.
She had a diary?
Why's he offering it to me?
Lydia kept a diary?
As in a gee-I-have-such-a-big-crush-on-so-and-so-and- I-hate-life-and-my-mom-and-I-got-so-drunk-I-passed-out-last-
night-and-so-and-so-is-a-lying-slut diary? Or whatever the hell
girls wrote in those things.
Mr. Hawk, watching Bobby's face anxiously, added, "I've never looked
at it, and- well- I don't want to, but I don't want it to sit up their,
either, rotting away, holding all her secrets. I don't care if you
read it, destroy it, whatever..." His voice dropped. "I just want
the damned thing out of here."
Already feeling guilty enough, Bobby had been about to refuse, but
then the man had to go and attack him and his poor conscience with
that -- that raw display of emotion that he didn't seem able to put
into words. Maybe he should take it, and just never open it. Ha.
And since when do you have that much will power? "Are you sure...?"
"You'd be doing me a favor," the man insisted.
Dazed, Bobby followed the man as he turned around and went to remove
a crimson-bound book from Lydia's desk. It didn't have a lock, but
the thing seemed to have an aura privacy, forbidden ground ... or
maybe that was the effect of the words 'Top Secret' written in a childish
scrawl. Which ever.
He took it gingerly, as if it might be poisoned or booby-trapped.
Then, with some polite farewells, Bobby left.
Jean hummed to herself as she took the champagne bottle by its neck.
Walking to the other side of the kitchen, she paused as someone entered.
Making sure her bathrobe was secure, she looked up to see Bobby enter.
She smiled brightly and falsely. "Hi Bobby. Where have you been all
"Around," he replied vaguely, sitting down at the kitchen table.
"Oh, that's nice. Well, excu--"
"I feel terrible Jean! Terrible! I got Lydia's diary, you know ...
and I, I read it..."
"Well, that was a mistake. I need to--"
"Damn right it was a mistake!" Bobby leaned back, gripping the table
to keep from falling. "I didn't want to know that much about
her, about what went on in her head. And just think, all that misery,
she doesn't even remember them ... It's bad enough having to tell
her she's dead, but to give her a glimpse of what her life was like
... I can't tell her, but I can't not tell her..."
"Be honest. Tell her everything. I'm sure she'll forgive you. Gotta
Bobby rested his head in his hands. "I don't want to be the bearer
of bad news, but, if I don't tell her her mistakes, isn't she destined
to repeat them?"
"No one is destined to repeat the stupid mistakes they made in high
school," snapped Jean. "Especially not dead people. And you're overreacting.
Go get some sleep or something. Now, if you will be so kind as to
excuse me, I have people to see and places to go."
Bobby shrugged. "Aw, if it's Scott, he can wait. He's only
your husband after all." He grinned. "And if it's not your husband..."
"Why, Bobby," she replied, batting her eyelashes, "the only person
I'm seeing who's not my husband is you."
Bobby started, and, recovering himself, glared at her. With a smirk,
Jean turned around and left the kitchen before he could reply..
"Hey Drake," Lydia greeted him cheerfully. "I haven't seen you since
... yesterday, in fact. When you brought the microwave in. And the
CD player. And the bonsai tree. If I didn't know better, I'd say you
His first natural impulse was to deny it, but, "Actually that's
what I came to talk to you about. Um ... well, might as well get this
all out, right?"
"Why don't you sit down, have a drink, or a cigarette to calm your
"Then I will," she said. He watched in silence as she poured herself
a drink, lit a cigarette, and at last sat down on the arm of the couch,
starting at him expectantly. "Well...?"
He proceeded to tell her the story, and, as he told it, her realized
he had been totally freaked out about nothing. He hadn't really done
anything really wrong. He did stumble a bit over the part where he
told her she was dead, but her blank expression didn't change at all.
He then moved on to the rest about her dad and the diary, and finished
more confidently saying, "But I only read four or five" or six
"entries, so that's okay."
"It is, is it?" Her voice was icy, as was her gaze. "Do you have
my diary with you, by any chance?"
"Yeah, I thought you'd want it, so I..."
"Spare me the tale of your tremendous foresight, Drake," she said
drily. "Just give me the damn thing."
He handed it over silently. She took it and very politely and oh-so
coldly to leave. As he left, he heard her mutter under her breath,
"X-Men." So she couldn't be that angry, could she? There wasn't
anything to be angry about, right? Of course, Lydia could get
mad at someone for looking at her the wrong way if she felt like it.
Bobby found his first bestest friend in the whole world taking a
no-doubt much needed vacation from his work, watching a movie with
Jean and Scott. As Bobby entered, Jean looked up at him through her
lashes and murmured, "Hello, my love. I've missed you, you know, and
your divine sense of humor." Scott looked pained, and Jean,
smiling, patted his leg reassuringly.
Hank chuckled at the look on Bobby's face. "You know, Ms. Hawk did
have me for a moment. However, on reflection, I quickly realized what
must have happened." His smile turned into a smirk. "Warren, might
I add, has been left to form his own conclusions. Don't be surprised
if he looks at you askance."
Bobby looked at Jean, and said, just to be certain that the seemingly
benign telepath wasn't planning future revenge, "You're not angry
that she messed with everyone's mind like that?"
"Well, personally, I think Gambit deserved to be scared like that.
I'm only sorry I missed it. And it's not exactly like Lydia wasn't
doing stuff like that all the time on our road trip." Scott was turning
very pale, and Jean murmured reassuringly to her afflicted husband,
"Don't worry. Then I was there to stop her before she got out
of hand." Scott made some sort of dying rodent noise in his throat.
Jean said, "So, Bobby, you give Lydia her diary back? How'd she
"Um, she seemed ... angry. Not only had I done something I all but
promised not to do, I told her she was dead. That has to come as something
of a shock. And somehow I doubt that the glimpse into her very twisted
teenage mind will help her mood much."
"Aw, Bobby, she's not an idiot. She probably has long suspected
that she's dead, and no doubt knows that all teenage minds
are twisted. Except Scott's," she added. "He's always been like this."
"Do tell me, Jean," her husband murmured drily, "when I should thank
you for your comments and when I should be insulted, because I'm at
a total loss."
Jean grinned, but continued talking to Bobby. "Everyone went through
a bad time in some way in high school, and everybody did really crazy,
stupid, and sometimes horrible things. It's no biggie."
"Listen to the lady," Hank said solemnly. "She is wise beyond her
"You don't understand!" For that matter, I don't either, really...
"I took away her hope that she could have a body, and I presented
her with a past life as manic-depressive and slightly sadistic klepto
with a jerk boyfriend, a mother who abandoned her, a father who hated
her, and, worst of all, a brother who did everything perfectly. I've
given her a million regrets in a life where the only bright side was
at least she didn't have to regret anything. And it's no biggie?"
"Bobby, that's sweet, really. But sometimes remembering the stupid
mistakes is worth it. And sometimes it just makes a great story."
Suddenly Jean let out a crack of laughter. The men around her started.
"Oh my God! Do you guys remember when you were throwing eggs at passing
cars on Halloween, and then -- was it Bobby? -- well, someone had
the bright idea of throwing fruit and we cracked that person's windshield
and they were wondering who did it? Remember? And then Lisa said..."
She trailed off and said weakly, "Oh. That wasn't you guys. That was
before I came to live at the mansion."
The other three nodded bemusedly. There was a moment of silence.
"Returning to our previous topic of conversation," said Hank, "Methinks
the boy doth angst too much. Come with me." Without ceremony, Hank
took Bobby's arm, wrenched him to his feet, and dragged him towards
"Where're you taking me? I don't wanna go..." Bobby wailed.
Rogue looked up to see a determined-looking Beast followed by a
sulky-looking Iceman. Motioning for Remy, who she had been training
with, to cease and desist for a moment, she smiled wryly at them and
said, "Scott send you in for some extra training, too? Ah think that
sometimes he does it just for the hell of it."
"I believe our illustrious leader always does it just for
the hell of it," Hank replied. "Actually, I'm here to make Bobby talk
"She's upset," Bobby said candidly. "See, I just told her she was
dead, and she had a miserable life."
"Oh, poor girl!" Rogue exclaimed. "Where is she?"
A blond head rose above the back of the couch. "Um -- here. And
not deaf, incidentally. I'm reading." She held up a crimson book,
and Bobby grimaced.
Rogue flew over to her and began sympathetically, "Ah must say,
ah have no idea what it's like to find out your dead, but if you need
to talk about it..."
"About being dead?" Lydia snorted. "Not the most exciting
subject in the world. What is interesting is my diary. My favorite
entry is the one that says that something really exciting happened,
but I can't say what it is 'cause they could use it against me in
court.' So sad. I'll never know what I did..."
Rogue glanced over to Bobby, who was looking very bemused. "You're
"Well, I was pretty pissed at you for playing the little let's-go-dig-into-everyone's-
deep-dark-past X-Men game," Rogue heard Remy snort in agreement, "and
if this diary was boring, I might be angry -- but hell, I might not
have been that smart, but I was really fun! And watching my downward
spiral into degeneration is fascinating! Did you read my bar fight?"
Bobby was blinking more rapidly now. "You're dead and trapped in
here forever and you don't want to rant and rave?"
Rogue echoed the sentiment with a brief, "Huh?"
"Lydia," Hank said in rapturous accents, "have I mentioned recently
you are like a goddess to me?"
Lydia, sticking to the point, repeated, "Well, have you read my
bar fight? I didn't know people actually had bar fights. Come, sit
with me, share a Twinkie! Then we can watch the rest of Roger Rabbit,
if you insist."
"Of course you have to watch it! It's a classic."
"You think the Care Bears Adventures in Wonderland is a classic,"
Rogue murmured, giggling.
"It is!" yelled Bobby. He walked over to the couch and plopped down
next to Lydia. She handed him her diary open to the entry she wanted
him to read, and went over to the mini-fridge to get out some snacks.
He was glad she wasn't angry, but damn, he had done all that worrying
for nothing. "You are a mockery of all I stand for," he remarked sullenly.
"I try," replied Lydia.
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