**Standard Mice Disclaimer**
Mice is in no way associated with the Marvel Comics Group. She is merely trying to write a story and this is all she has to show for it. A noble effort. Though she would one day like to be paid for writing, please don't send her any money (send mail to urmonkeyifudo@yeahright.com on instructions to send her money). Bobby Drake, Jubilee, Paige Guthrie, and Hank McCoy do not belong to her, but to the Marvel Comics Group. Annie Peckenpaugh and Harpo Lubbock are of her own mind. Any archiving of this story that is unaware of her attention will be ily received (Read: Tiki Curse). If you e-mail her, explain your intentions to archive the story and address of your archive, she will be MORE than gracious and will probably do something nice for you, like bake you brownies, not to mention permission to archive the story. In truth, she just wants to know where she can drool over the sight with her name. *G* If you want to e-mail her comments (read: FEEDBACK), do it at mice5k@hotmail.com. Good or bad, you'll still probably get some brownies out of the deal, but it's not really that great of a reward because she can't cook...except for spaghetti. She makes goooooood spaghetti.

Promotional Note: This is part of a larger series called, "Everyone Says I Love You" (Are the Marx Brother references getting through yet? *G*). It's mook-lite, honest! Where can you find the rest of the series? Why, at Alyson Hurt's (un)frozen!

(I know there are other archives, like the Wolverine and Jubilee archive and bless them, but I must suck up to Alyson. If it were not for her and her offer to archive a story of mine at a time when I wasn't on any archive that wasn't closing or defunct, I probably wouldn't have written "God ... er, Dog" or anything else that sprang from that. Thank you, Alyson!)

When in Rome
by Mice

Chapter 5

Annie stirred in her bed as she felt a pair of eyes on her and a short stack nearby in her cold and almost damp room. Doing a combination of a stretch and a yawn, she tried to form the word, "strawberries," but it came out sounding more like "snazzlepucks." And despite what Henry McCoy said, deep down, even he had to know that enunciation was secondary where pancakes were concerned.

With that thought, Annie surmounted all of her strength to lift open one eyelid and saw a spot of blurry blue -- her own gorilla in the morning mist. "Please tell me that I'm not dreaming..."

"You're not dreaming, Annie," the blue blur said while setting the plate of pancakes on her nightstand before joining her on the bed. He took her hand and wrapped an arm around her frame. "The pancakes just didn't fly themselves in here. You're not having that dream again."

Annie grinned as she brought her face up to his lips and kissed them gently. "I've missed you, Hank," she purred as she broke away and went back to sleep, snuggling with her pillow.

Bobby Drake, clad in his favorite blue sweater, slowly arose from the bed, the kiss still throbbing on his lips and the comment still stinging his pride.

Jubilee stared at her alarm clock click from 6:31 a.m. to 6:32 a.m. Even though it was a Saturday. Well, even though it was a day that ended with the letters d, a, and y. It was a well known fact that Jubilation Lee didn't do mornings -- they were something to be slept through.

Jubilee hadn't slept since the night before.

Three dates, she cursed privately in her head. Three dates and nothing but pecks on the cheek and forehead. No petting, no groping, not even hand holding.

He's gay, that's all there is to it. I mean, I've gotten further with Gambit than this guy!

6:33 a.m.

She punched her pillow for the twentieth time that night, no longer in a vain quest for sleep, but as an outlet for frustration.

"And she called me 'Hank', Warren. HANK!" Bobby pouted as he threw the decorative pillow across the room.

"As much as I enjoy waking up before eight a.m. on the weekends, Bobby--"

"I'm sorry, Warren. You know how much I enjoy being up before one p.m. on Saturday, right? And I got up really early and called my mother up and asked for her pancake recipe and cleaned up my mess and everything. Imagine my disappointment when she calls me 'Hank'."

Warren stopped and conceded to this point. "You never get up early on Saturday for anyone."

"Exactly! I even squeezed the orange juice myself!"



"You really like her, don't you?"

Bobby pouted in the chair. "I dunno. I guess, yeah. I mean, she's just so nice and we have a lot of fun when we're together ... and last night ... it was just incredible."

"What happened?"

Bobby began to beam as he talked. "We came home from looking for a car, and I had my arm around her the entire time, right? And we were both still so awake, we decided to watch movies, and we began sitting kinda far apart, but then we just got closer and closer, and before long, I'm holding her again. And her taste in movies ... it's like we share the same brain or something, and we had seen the ones we were watching a million times -- "

"You guys watched 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' and you're calling it romantic?"

Bobby growled. "For your information, Warren, we didn't watch it because the tape broke while she was rewinding it and it is too a romantic movie!" He sighed. "It was just amazing. We talked until three a.m. and the movies were more background noise than anything else ... to be honest, I haven't gone to sleep, yet. I just couldn't wait to see her again. I mean, I tried, but she's right there down the hall, and I wanted to be up incase she woke up ... then, I decided that if she were to wake up, she'd be hungry ... it was just so amazing, Warren."

Warren went over to his friend and pointed to the nearest mirror. "Check yourself out, Bobby Drake. You are smitten."


"You juiced oranges for this girl, you are thoroughly smitten."

Bobby took a minute to smile before reality came crashing back down on him. "But she called me Hank and kissed me. I'd say it was early and she was blurry eyed, but you don't confuse me with Hank. I'm part Swedish, I don't have the body hair problem, y'know?"

The contents of Hank's brain sloshed around in his head like a load of laundry as he slowly got up from the couch. The room would have been all right except for the glaring brightness of the light from the v.c.r. And there was noise; loud and penetrating and coming from the refrigerator. "Ow..."

Hank McCoy was experiencing his first hangover in five years and possibly his first one night stand since college.

Warren snorted. This was a very rare occurrence for the former playboy. For Warren Kenneth Worthington, III to snort, planets had to be aligned in such an order or a jade monkey had to be uncovered from a secret mine in Machu Pichu. But a sight more glorious and an event much more momentous was watching Bobby Drake trying to walk down the hall.

"You are not helping, Warren."

"What do you want me to do? Fly you out the window and to the first floor?"

"If you were a true friend, yes."

"Well, why don't you just ice slide yourself out the window?"

"That's a bit immature, don't you think?"

Warren rolled his eyes. "Bobby, what is your problem?"

"The door is open. Annie might be in there and see me and I might do something stupid and--"

"Bobby ... "

"Okay, I'll definitely do something stupid."

"See, I thought you didn't even like Annie. That you thought she was a dumb hick."

"And I drove across the country with Rogue because I am such a good friend. Sure. Whatever, Warren." Bobby looked his friend in the eyes. "She's just cute ... and nice ... and almost normal. How often do women come in this package?"

Warren blinked. "Really? That's all you're looking for in a woman? Because Scott and I thought that your tastes were a bit more ... uh ... exotic."

"I'm not gay, Warren."

"And I'm not Jubilee, Bobby. We just thought that you liked the more ... bear with me, I'm trying to be gentle..."

"You thought I liked the more aloof, condescending, puppy kicking type?"

"Couldn't put it better myself."

Bobby sighed as he leaned up against the window in the hallway. "Well, then I guess it's time for a change."

"Fake ... fake ... fake ... damn! Au natural, por favor!" Angelo threw the Fredericks of Hollywood catalog across the room in frustration.

"Careful, Ange, that isn't mine," Jubilee growled as she went to pick it up.

"It's not ... " Angelo pointed to the bed across the room.

"Skin, the Sears catalog is too racy for her."

It was Angelo's turn to growl. "Then whose catalog is it?"

Jubilee pouted. "Harpo's."

"Not Mr. J. Crewe, Hayseed Part Two!" Angelo laughed.

"Cut that out, it isn't funny!"

"So, did he give this to you and that's why you're all moody?"

"No, I found it in his room." Jubilee's arms unfolded from her chest. "No wonder this guy hasn't touched me, Angelo! I still look like I need a training bra!"

"Knock it off with the Judy Blume angst! Ugh! Next thing you'll be tellin' me is that you're on your period or something."

"You are so sensitive, Espinosa."

Angelo shook his head. "Jubilee, I'm just trying to get you to smile or something, okay?"

"It wasn't funny."

"I came up with it in three seconds, what do you want, the Marx Brothers?"

With that comment, Jubilee took the catalog and threw it across the room. "He looks so damn innocent and unassuming ... he's just using me, right? I mean, he has to be using me, what other explanation could there be?"

"He wants to take things slow?"

"He kissed me on the cheek right after I asked him out! He hates me and just doesn't know how to get rid of me yet."

Angelo went over and put his arms around Jubilee. "Look, chica, honestly, I think you're just trying to sabotage this whole thing. Things didn't go so well with Everett and now, to you at least, things aren't going so well with Harpo. You just don't want to be hurt again, right?"

"Yeah ... "

"He's not going to hurt you, Jubilee. Everything's different. The rules have changed. I mean, just look at you, Pineapple Head. You've changed."

"I look good as a blonde."

"I know you do, but I'm still going to call you Pineapple Head." Angelo let her go and looked her in the eyes. "Just be patient Jubilee ... seriously, you don't want to rush into things too soon. Enjoy what you got now, okay?"

Annie bounced into the kitchen smiling with the plate that had once held the best stack of pancakes that had ever snuck themselves into her bedroom. Or ever.

"Good, morning, Warren!" Annie grinned as she began to rinse off her plate. "Hey, Kurt! How are you?"

Kurt Wagner sat stunned. Up until this point, he thought that the newest recruit had a speech impediment. "Just fine, Annie. Yourself?"

"Peachy keen, jelly bean!" With her glass clean, she turned to the two men at the breakfast table and waved. "See you guys later!"

Once the coast was clear, Kurt raised an eyebrow and looked at Warren. "Sex?"

Warren shook his head. "Pancakes."

"I hope you enjoy macrobiotics, Henry. It's a more efficient way of living up to our digestive potential."

Hank smiled politely as he took the drink that was handed to him. "Thank you."

Dr. Emily Clay-Poole sat gracefully in her ocean blue leather chair, opposite her companion. "I hardly ever get to entertain guests, Henry. Forgive me if I acted out of character last night."

"To be honest, Emily, I don't remember a thing about last night after those drinks we had at dinner."

Emily nodded. "I was surprised to find out that a man of your stature and size was so susceptible to the affects of alcohol."

"So please forgive me if I acted out of character last night ... uhm ... " Hank trailed off, embarrassed about what he wanted to ask.

"No, Henry. Nothing happened. You were playing the piano, attempting to be Billy Joel, when I went to bed alone." A sad smile appeared on her face. "In fact, I was surprised to see you on the couch and not asleep on the keys."

Hank let out a sigh of relief. "I'm sorry, Emily, it's just that I'm not one for one night stands and I am not into ruining friendships like that."

"Of course, Henry." Another sad smile. "But we did have fun, didn't we?"

"I do not remember much, but all of it does seem pleasant, Emily," Hank nodded. "Though one of the things I do remember is asking you for some assistance, though I don't recall you ever giving me an answer. Do you think you can help the friend I told you about?"

Emily smiled. "I am the single most gifted surgeon on the East Coast. I think I can do a simple knee surgery."

"A Night at the Opera" >>

continued >>

I have constant computer access now and have successfully moved out of my old place and into a new and glorious one. Sure, I sleep on the couch and my commute sucks (I take all three trains and a bus -- that means nothing to people who don't live in SoCal, but what're you gonna do?) but I'm a LOT happier. And there's tequila here ;)

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