Author: kaly (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Archive: if I've given you permission before, go for it. Otherwise,
Classification: angst, gen.
Characters: Bobby, Hank
Warnings: character death.
Summary: Bobby reacts to the loss of his best friend.
Note: This is me hoping I'm not totally messing up the characters
;) This is me waiting on your feedback to hear what you think.
Thanks: Kris and Ossian for the read overs :)
Disclaimer: Marvel owns these guys. I just make 'em do what
I say for a little while.
It's snowing. That wouldn't be a very odd thing, if it wasn't September.
Even in New York it doesn't snow in September. Until now. Until the
XMen lost one of their own. It's Storm's way of weeping, though why
she chose snow instead of rain I have no idea. I doubt I'll ever know,
but right now I can't bring myself to care.
It's comforting in a way. I've always felt more at home in the cold
- in the snow and the ice. I shake my head at the thought. I don't
want comfort. I don't deserve it.
The man leading the service is droning on and on, but I can't hear
the words. Everything is far away, like I'm stuck at the bottom of
the pool. It's as if he isn't speaking but just moving his lips, his
arms moving in slow motion. Nothing makes sense.
Instead I stick my hands into my pockets and stare up at the sky.
In a way I wish it were storming, then I might taunt the lightning
to find me. Cosmic retribution. Instead the snowflakes continue to
bite my face, but I can't feel them.
I don't want to feel anything right now. I don't want to care.
The service must be over, because the others standing and moving
about finally grabs my attention. Some are crying, some aren't as
they talk quietly. They could be yelling and sobbing for all I can
tell. Not me, though. There's not enough inside me to cry I don't
think - maybe I've gotten lucky and it's all frozen.
And all the while, some part of me still wants to crack a joke or
pull a prank. Another larger part wishes that's all this was, one
huge practical joke on Bobby. It's not, I know that, but it doesn't
stop me from wishing. Foolish Bobby, hanging on till the end.
There aren't that many of us here. It's sad really, how few there
actually are. But I guess that's part of the whole superhero mutant
thing. You have so little time to make 'friends' and there're only
so many that bother to mourn when you die. But that's not right --
not for him. Here was this great guy, but in the eyes of most people
he was barely a man at all. Less than a man -- no more than a mutant.
A monster. A beast.
I barely notice as everyone leaves, ignoring the feeling of their
eyes on me. Before long I'm standing alone. But I've been alone all
along -- even among my friends and this family we've formed. Maybe
it's all I deserve. Looking at the closed casket where it sits waiting
to be lowered into the ground, I know it is.
Ever since it happened, the others have kept trying to talk to me.
To tell me it's not my fault. That I shouldn't feel guilty. It was
an accident, they say. It could have happened to anyone, they tell
me. They're wrong. And only I know it. So I nod. I play along. I've
even faked a smile or two, but even I know it's just a mask over who
I'm supposed to be.
Whenever they do corner me, I wait just long enough before slowly
pulling away when they're distracted. Jean and the Professor are the
hardest to dodge, but I've managed it somehow. It's not even on a
conscious level that I avoid them, anymore. They want to look inside
my head but they always ask first -- I can't let them do it. Then
they'll know that it really was my fault. I don't know if I could
stand it if they hated me too.
It is my fault. All of it. It doesn't matter that I wasn't there
when it happened. I caused him to be there. If it hadn't been for
me he wouldn't have left. See? It's obvious. All my fault, simple
as that. Just one more time Bobby screwed up.
Something inside me cracks, finally. I can barely see, the landscape
swimming in front of me. I reach out my hand, feeling as though I'm
spanning the gap between life and death. Hardly daring to touch the
dark wood, my breath catches in my throat. My knees shake and I lower
my head. A tear finally breaks free, frozen on my cheek before it
even reaches my chin.
He was my best friend. And I killed him.
It was late, but Hank was still working in his lab. Nearby, Bobby
was watching him work, muttering under his breath about missed dinner
and obsessive scientists. Hank, naturally, ignored the steady stream
Sighing, Bobby kicked his feet and looked around for something, anything,
to do. He had offered to help Hank out, if it meant he would actually
be sociable and eat dinner outside of his lab for once. Hank, for
his part, had accepted the offer. However, he'd soon become engrossed
in his latest project.
"Hank." When the other man didn't respond, Bobby tried again. "Hank?
Come on, I thought I was supposed to be helping here." He poked at
the stand of test tubes next to him. "Tell me something to do already."
Bobby rolled his eyes, wondering why he bothered to offer his help.
Even when he did he knew Hank wouldn't need any. It seemed to be a
pattern of late. Offer to help, be ignored for however long he stayed
in the lab before giving up and going upstairs.
Running a hand through his hair he ignored the urge to sigh again.
Looking over at Hank he grumbled under his breath, remembering how
long it had been since they had actually done something fun.
Something he might actually be able to do, too.
A smile turned the corner of Bobby's mouth as an idea began to form.
Hank was peering though the electron-microscope when he noticed a
flurry of movement out of the corner of his eyes. A quick glance at
where Bobby was perched on the counter a few feet away confirmed his
Having apparently given in to boredom, Bobby was creating an ice
sculpture on the counter next to him. A double take revealed that
who ever it was supposed to be -- ice or not -- was in dire need of
Hank had barely had time to roll his eyes and turn back to his experiment
when more movement caught his attention.
"Robert." Hank didn't look up from the microscope as he spoke. "I
would greatly appreciate it if you would move your creation away from
that particular piece of equipment before it's..." He paused at the
sound of shattering glass, looking over the tops of his glasses at
a guilty looking Bobby. "Broken."
Bobby jumped down from the counter and was half way across the room
in a heartbeat. He tucked his hands behind his back, and started whistling
in a vain attempt to look innocent. "Oops?" he asked a moment later,
trying not to grin.
"Oops?" Hank stood, removing his glasses and rubbing the bridge of
his nose. Glancing over at Bobby, he turned his attention to his test
tube stand. "Do you have any idea what can happen if you mix these
particular compounds?" Not waiting for an answer, he set about cleaning
the two distinctly colored fluids from the counter.
Once he was sure there was no immediate danger from the chemicals,
Hank reached over and pulled Bobby's hands out from behind his back.
Since he wasn't writhing in pain, Hank had assumed none had spilled
onto his friend, but he felt the need to make sure. Examining Bobby's
hands, he asked, "You didn't get any of it on you, did you?"
His smile gone, Bobby pulled his hands free and dropped them to his
sides. "No, I..." He shook his head. "I'm sorry, Hank. I was just
trying to help pass the time..."
"No," Hank interrupted, sparing another glance at the now smoking
countertop. "You were trying to cause trouble." Bobby pulled back
a step, causing Hank to shake his head. Hank cleared his throat and
took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. I know you weren't
just trying to cause trouble."
As he spoke, Bobby took another step toward the door. The confusion
on his face fading into hurt. "Yeah, sure."
"Please don't misunderstand me, my friend." Taking a step forward,
he dropped one large hand onto Bobby's shoulder. "As always, I appreciate
your attempts at levity. However, this is..." Another concerned glance
at the mess, and he continued, "Was a very delicate procedure. And
now I'll have to start over."
The younger man nodded, any faint trace of humor having faded from
his face. "I get it. Sorry I messed up your work." He shrugged his
shoulder to be free of Hank's paw. "I'll leave you to what's important."
"Bobby..." Hank sighed. "It's not that. But in this particular situation,
it might be for the best if you were to practice your ice sculptures
Hank couldn't identify the look that passed over Bobby's face in
that moment. Instead, he could only stare openmouthed as the younger
man turned and hurried out of the lab. Sparing half a glance behind
him, Hank turned off the centrifuge before leaving in search of his
Once in the hallway, Hank was just in time to see the elevator door
close. Hoping to beat Bobby to the main floor, he ducked up the stairs.
He ignored the startled look he received from Jean, who he met as
he ran up the stairs two at a time.
Meeting up with Bobby in the main hallway, Hank made a grab for his
sleeve, but missed. Just inside the living room he managed to get
a hold, and forced Bobby to turn and look at him. "Robert, if you
were to just give me a moment..."
"Hank, just get out of my face already." Bobby threw his hands up
in the air, turning away from the other man. He refused to look at
Hank. "I screwed up, I get it. At least it's something I'm good at.
I'll just be careful to make them elsewhere from now on."
Hank moved to stand in front of Bobby. "You aren't hearing what I'm
saying. Be reasonable, my friend."
Bobby shook his head and growled low in his throat. "I am being reasonable."
"No." Hank flinched at the brittle voice, his own eyes narrowing
as he met Bobby's cold, hard gaze. "Drop it."
Hank placed his large hands on Bobby's shoulders. "Robert, I'd appreciate
it if you'd just help me to understand what is going on inside your
head right now."
He met Hank's gaze for a moment before looking off over his shoulder.
"Not much, to hear everyone tell it. You're the smart one, what don't
you get?" Bobby threw his hands up to push Hank's arms away. "It's
my life, Hank. Not yours. So just let me mess it up as I see fit,
Trying to smile, but giving up on the attempt before he had even
really tried, Hank shook his head. "I want what's best for you. And
the experiment you broke, had it gotten onto your skin, would have
hurt you badly."
"No." Bobby shook his head, on a roll and not listening. "You want
to tell dumb little Bobby how to run his life. Just like everyone
else around here. Like always. And I'm sick of it." He moved away
from Hank, so that the coffee table stood between them. "I wish you'd
just stop it. I'm not a pet project."
Taking a step to follow him, Hank stopped when Bobby moved to keep
the distance between them. "You've never been a project, Bobby." Hank
lowered his voice, shaking his head in disbelief. "You're my best
"Some friend," he complained, rolling his eyes. "You're not my friend.
You hardly notice anything outside of your lab anymore." Bobby pointed
toward the door, ignoring the shocked look on Hank's face. "Why don't
you just go hide yourself away in the lab again and butt out of my
Shock colored Hank's eyes, and for a moment he found himself without
a comment. He opened his mouth, closed it and opened it again. "You
don't mean that." He paused, staring at the younger man. "Where did
all this come from?" he asked, mostly to himself.
If he heard the question, Bobby ignored it. "Yes." Standing up straighter,
he shoved his hands in his pockets. His voice was as cold as the ice
that itched to burst forth. "I do."
Sighing in defeat, Hank nodded. "Okay. I'll go." When Bobby turned
to leave, he held up a hand and continued speaking. "But we are going
to talk about this later."
Bobby shrugged, ignoring the hurt in Hank's eyes. "Whatever." Not
sparing another glance at Hank, he stalked from the room.
After watching his friend's hasty retreat, Hank stood motionless
for a long moment. Shaking his head, he took a different route from
the living room. Turning toward the garage, he decided that a drive
was exactly what he needed to try and figure out what exactly had
He was supposed to go back downstairs. He wasn't supposed to leave
and never come back. I never even got to say good bye...
I killed him.
My legs shaking too badly to support me, I drop to my knees beside
the grave. The loose earth is warm beneath me, a living mockery of
the death that will soon be within it. Hank would have laughed at
such melodramatic comments coming from me. Probably would have told
me how and why they were wrong. And I would have laughed, not caring.
For the laughter was more important than the words.
Almost before the thoughts are even formed, a sob tears past my throat
and I close my eyes. The finality of it all rips through my chest,
tightening like a vise. Wanting to do nothing more than breathe, I
hit at the ground with my fist.
Lost. Gone. Forever. I pound the earth with both hands to mark the
words, as if it were her fault and not my own. Forever never before
felt so final.
I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it, damn it. I wasn't thinking.
I give up trying to punish the ground below me, and instead wrap my
arms around my chest. The hold around my chest tightens with each
gasping breath. It wasn't supposed to happen. Not now. Not like this.
We never fight ... Why'd we have to fight? Why'd I have to refuse
to back off?
The spinning of everything around me slams to a halt with a single
thought. What if he thought I meant it? God I hope he didn't believe
me. He couldn't think I meant it. He knew me better than to take me
seriously ... Right?
I didn't know. Pressing my fists into my eyes I shake my head, short
jerky motions to block out the thoughts. But they come anyway, unforgiving.
I didn't know I'd never see him again. I never imagined...
Doubled over, laying on the ground, my head is starting to swim.
I still can't breathe, spots forming on the backs of my eyelids. Maybe
it's just as well. Vaguely, a part of me worries that one of the others
might sense that something's wrong. I hope not, but Jeannie's been
getting more persistent the last day or so.
I don't spare the time to think about it, it's not what's important.
What -- who -- is important is right next to me.
Everything is coming undone, out of control. The one constant of
my life here -- at the mansion -- is gone and it would appear my center
has gone with him. The only thing that is working is the continued
merciless flow of thoughts -- taunting me from the back of my mind.
All my fault. It repeats in my mind like a mantra, eventually drowning
out all other thoughts. My fault. Mine.
I don't have time to wonder if I'm passing out or falling asleep
when the blackness begins eating away at my vision. I don't want to
hurt anymore. I don't want to hurt anyone else anymore.
I'm so sorry, Hank. Please forgive me.
When the darkness surrounds me, I surrender unthinkingly. After all,
it's for the best. Right?
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