Disclaimer: Everyone mentioned in this
belongs to Marvel. But ... Heh heh heh. They aren't making any more
money out of this than I am.
Notes: I knew that I hadn't finished with Bobby. Thanks
to KJ, Poi, Pebbs, Dia and Sparks who have between them helped to
get this fic out of my head.
This is completely unrelated to A Different
Theatre, other than the fact that they're both about our favourite
Feedback: Geez, do you think? Of course, I'm a fic writer.
I may not live for it, but it certainly makes me feel like I'm not
posting to a void.
You can practically hear it.
The sound of the bungie-strength cord, dragging me back.
Back to ... reminders. Reminders of what I'm not. It's not so hard
to hide the fact that I'm a screw-up from the rest of the world when
I'm not there. When I'm not home.
Home, home is where the heart is. I've tried, but basically, that's
where that faulty organ is buried. Deep down, under the labs, under
the Danger Room, there's a dysfunctional heart beating.
And I'll go back again. There's always someone around to laugh at
my jokes. To welcome the Bobster back.
Bobby. Can you think of any name less suited to an adult?
Okay, maybe Cindi. But that's just unfair bringing up that name.
Cheating by means of cutsy-ness.
Anywho, you can see that they like me. They laugh. They groan when
I come back into the Danger Room. Always late.
It used to be a joke, being late all the time. It wasn't, when I
first came to the school, because of sleeping up. I used to get up
before all of them. I'd have watched at least an hour of cartoons
before the training sessions. There was always just one more ad-break
though. Just one more episode. Then I'd be late, and still not dressed.
I'd rush down, and there they'd be. Started already. I didn't like
to say what I'd been doing. They might've stopped it. Stopped me watching
those early morning cartoons. So I grinned, and cracked a joke so
they laughed with me, and did it again. The legend of King Slacker
was born, and reigns unchecked to this day.
Even back then, the powers were so cool. Imagine being able to fly,
or shoot beams out of your eyes. Mine just never seemed to measure
up. Partly, let's be honest, because I was so busy staring at them.
They were just so together. Scott was already practically the fearless
leader he is now, Warren's like Mr Cool himself, even then. Not to
mention Hank. He'd been a football hero, he was so smart. And they
all hung out with me! Little Bobby Drake. I was so terrified of being
forgotten amongst these god-like creatures, I'd do anything for attention.
I can see all of that now. But more, I can still feel the almost
terror of being forgotten. Of being dismissed. Of not being noticed.
So I worked hard at it. I spent time constructing the most elaborate
pranks, and relished every single time they worked. With Scott being
so dedicated to the team, Hank so intelligent, just eating up any
studies, and Warren so ... Warren, I fell back on being the old favourite.
Class clown. I made sure that everyone laughed with me, not at me.
Noticed me. They were generally bright pink and scratching as they
chased me, but they certainly knew I was around.
Yeah, it's an old story. I feel no pride in it. But then about the
only thing I feel proud of, really, is the way I have something to
say on every occasion. It's not as easy as it looks. I have a stern
regimen. Half an hour making faces in the mirror every morning, followed
by an hour of quips. Later, I have half an hour of snappy rejoinder
recitals, and every night before I go to bed, I have to practise my
Yeah. That's almost as funny as gunfire, I know.
How you act is habit-forming. If I wasn't bad enough most of the
time, get me around the other 'original X-Men', and I swear I can
feel zits popping out, and my brain sliding comfortably back to 15.
What an age. What a laugh.
Someone always does. Laugh, that is. You can practically hear it.
Can't you hear it? It's silent, but my name is actually Bobby-the-joke
Drake. Bobby-the-fool, Bobby-the-hopeless.
Sometimes it isn't so silent.
When anyone talks about my love life, for example.
Not that I blame them for that. To be honest, I laugh at my love
life, too. After all, grown men don't cry.
We've joked about it. About why I have yet to have a relationship
that actually worked. That lasted. The theories coming thick and fast.
My accent, my hair, my dress sense, or lack thereof. Maybe it's the
way that I couldn't be a 'bad boy' if I dyed my hair black and wore
red contacts. After all, nice guys do finish last. Although from what
I've heard, women prefer that. Perhaps it's my sense of humour. They
tell me that women don't appreciate having their dinners frozen solid.
You need to joke about things like that, even if it sometimes seems
I'm the only one who knows that. So I try to share the humour. For
goodness sake, if you can't see the humour in a bunch of adults prancing
around in spandex, what can you laugh at?
Of course, it probably helps them, not to constantly see the silly
side. Can't they see how completely ludicrous it is for us, for me,
to be terrorists? To be fighting against Magneto, or the Phalanx?
Can't they see the lunacy?
They can't. You can tell by the way that they still stand and fight.
They still train every morning, happily matching themselves against
computer simulations of aliens, evil mind controllers, machines, nature.
That awes me. It frightens me, too. They invite me into this. They
want me to be there with them when they fight. They want me by their
Not at their backs though. They might want me there, but they know
me. They may trust me, but they don't quite depend on me.
Because you can't. I know that. I don't either. Bobby Drake just
isn't the kind of person you can depend on.
After all, I don't push myself. I'm not the best at what I do. Mostly
because I don't do much. Everyone knows that. Knows I don't ever bother
to put much effort in. Which I wouldn't deny, I don't bother. Having
to be shown what I could do if I wanted to by Emma was an eye-opener.
For starters, it was yet another 'could do better', amongst the 'must
try harder's on the great report card of life.
Definitely a straight C student, is Bobby Drake.
There are people who know me as Robert. Not many. In the 'real world.'
The world where Robert Drake is a responsible accountant. The world
which has so little grip when that umbilical cord snaps tight again.
And it always does. I used to think it would be easy to leave. To
go live somewhere I could start over. With so-called normal inadequacies,
like trying to make the rent, and getting a date without people like
Warren hovering over me. Funny thing, it felt worse.
Worse, because all of a sudden I didn't know how to act, which is
something that I'd always known before. I'd thought I always knew
my role. I always knew which character I had to play. Court jester,
to Scott's Leader, Hank's Wise-man, Warren's Playboy, and Jean's Noble
Queen. It even worked that way with the 'new X-Men.' Logan's the Wildman;
Rogue, the Steel Magnolia; Sean, the Irish Cop. Suddenly I didn't
have the back-up. The script changed. Which was exactly what I both
wanted and couldn't deal with.
Maybe it wasn't so funny.
I was keeping secrets, but that was only unusual because now they
were big ones. I couldn't be myself. No more than I could with the
X-Men. I've figured out since then that no one ever truly 'is themselves'
no matter what might be thought by hopeful teenagers. All you can
do is hope to cover how much of a screw-up you are. I'm a trained
terrorist. I know how to do protective camouflage better than almost
Still, there's always a hole. I still want to be with the god-like
Partly because of the awe. They trust in The Dream, to some extent,
all of them. Deep in my head, I know just how humorous that is. Just
how wacky, zany and down-right insane. The curse of the jester. Who'd
have thought there was a downside?
Not that I do what I do for selfish reasons. I don't think there's
anything about me that's important enough to do heroing selfishly
for. I do want to make someone's life better. I want to make it so
that other people don't need quite so much cover. Quite so much hiding.
So, back I come. Home. To friends, and more than friends.
To Iceman, the Bobster, everyone's bud.
To Bobby Drake.
Honey? I'm home!
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