Note: This is part of the fan-fic series "Happy Families,"
which is a subset of the series "Maturity in B Minor." Both
are available at Luba's
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, you know how it works.
Happy Families: Gone But Not Forgotten
The scream came, rather predictably, far too late to catch Iceman,
since by the time Cyclops discovered the Epsom salts in his tea the
culprit was far away and accelerating. There was an art to playing
pranks on the ol' squintmaster, and it was the art of escape.
Bobby sighed. Pranks just weren't as much fun as they'd once
been. Oh, sure, he'd put in the effort while he visited, but
he had a sneaking feeling that emotional maturity had crept up and
pounced on him sometime when he wasn't looking. Almost losing
a parent would do that.
Still. he turned up the radio, singing along to Natalie Imbruglia
in a tuneful baritone. Life could be worse. He had weathered
the storm, and come out again the stronger for it. That which
does not kill me will only make me stronger, he thought, and wondered
who had said it first. The thought reminded him of something,
and he pulled out his mobile phone, driving one handed as he tapped
out a number.
"Hello?" The voice was cool and dignified.
"Emma, long time no body-share." Bobby grinned.
"What're you wearing?"
"Juvenile." She snorted.
"Animal-skin-wearer." Bobby returned cheerfully.
"The ASPCA are going to storm your wardrobe one of these days."
Emma's voice was dry, with only the faintest hint of a smile.
"Not before they put you back in your pen."
"Oh, it's the little jibes that let me know you still love me.
How's the school going?"
"Reasonably." He could almost hear the doors slamming
shut. "All things considered."
"Uh. that's sort of why I called." Bobby's
bantering tone slid into a more serious note. "Have you
heard from Jubilee lately?" There was a chilly silence
on the other end of the line. "Look, Emma, I'm not
asking you to tell me where she is or what she's doing, I just want
to know if she's okay."
"She called me not long ago. At the time, she seemed to
be improving. Nice of you to ask." The chill was
Bobby sighed. "Don't start with me, Frost. I've only just
found out that Bastion had her at all, let alone that she's missing
now. Nobody thought to tell me."
"Oh." The voice thawed a little. "Jono
is with her. He seems to be taking good care of her."
"That's good." Bobby swerved around a corner, paying
little attention to the road. "I miss her. I've been
worrying ever since I found out. She's not as tough as she pretends
to be, you know."
"I have discovered that recently, yes."
"Aw, geez. I'm sorry, Emma, I didn't mean it like that.
I know you care about her. I've just known her a lot longer
than you have." He sighed. "Don't beat yourself
up over this, Emma. If Jubilee doesn't want someone to know
how she feels, they never even suspect. Trust me, I know."
"I'll take your word for it."
"Aw, that's so sweet. You trust me. Emma,
that's the nicest thing you've ever done for me. Listen... could
you do something for me?"
"What?" Emma always was the suspicious type.
Bobby smiled a little. "Next time Jubilee calls, tell
her I put Epsom salts in Cyke's tea just for her."
Emma chuckled quietly. "I will. I'm sure she'll
"Yeah, well, nothing but the best for my favourite partner in
crime." Bobby chuckled too. "And Emma?"
"Tell her I love her. Always have, always will."
His voice was quiet. "She knows, but tell her anyway."
"I will." Emma's voice had definitely softened.
"And thank you for calling."
"Anytime." He smiled. "You take care of
yourself too, you hear me? Don't you let the corporate life
let you down."
"And sack that Barnfather guy. He's going to cost you
"What do you know about--"
"I checked. I worry about you and the kids, even if nobody
else does. Get rid of him and hire yourself a decent investment
counsellor." He hung up without waiting for an answer.
"And don't lose faith. Not in yourself, or in your friends."
He set the phone down on the seat beside him, his eyes distant.
He missed Jubilee. He'd always missed her when they were apart.
She was his friend, his equal, the one person who had never fallen
for the cheerful persona he'd cultivated for so long. He hadn't
fallen for hers, either. They'd been comfortable with each other.
They had, after a fashion, relied on each other.
Lost in memories, he never saw the truck barreling towards him.
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