Disclaimer: Not mine. Marvels. Good Marvel. Bad Mel. No Money for Bad Mel. Oh, and the tv shows belong to someone not-Mel too. VERY Bad Mel.
Notes: For this story I set out to write Slash. This isn't Slash. Sorry.
Grovelling: Luba? Please, don't kill me. Kaylee? Please, don't kill me.
Thanks: Kaylee, Lynx. I owes ya!
Feedback: As long as it doesn't include flames, loved and nutured and given a nice home.

"Are you and Remy going to come out with us tonight?" Ororo asked.

His head deep in the fridge, Bobby rolled his eyes. It just went to show how ironic the world was, that after all his stressing about people finding about him being gay, and with Remy, none of them could understand that it was over. Well, the Remy bit, anyway.

"I dunno about him, Ororo. I haven't seen him round," he said, managing to keep his voice level. "I guess you'll have to ask him. I was kinda hoping for a night in, myself."

He could almost feel her shaking her head at him. She'd, eventually, decided that he and Remy made a cute couple, and now didn't understand why they'd broken up. He purposely didn't look back at her, as he grabbed a carrot, and walked off munching. She kept looking like they should be together. So many people did, actually. There seemed to be some inherent and unwritten rule in the X-Men that said "If you're in a 'relationship' with another member of the team and you don't break up violently, then you're destined to be together forever."

Which didn't leave much room for 'amicable breakups'. It was a bit hard when everyone expected your first to be your one and only. It was scary how sentimental these hardcore hero types were. Probably some kinda philosophical reason that only Hank and Jean would understand, and they'd talk about it in that way of theirs as though no one else could understand, even if they wouldn't and ... Bobby was well aware that he was babbling, but he happily followed that train of thought as he wandered back towards his own special place on the couch in front of the TV.

Absorbed in his own thoughts, he didn't notice Remy coming the other way until he almost ran into him. Startled out of his musing he looked up and smirked. Remy was in his prowling clothes. Tight, very tight black jeans, with a black shirt that only emphasised the pants. It looked like he was going out this evening, though probably not with company. Not to start with, anyway.

Remy frowned at him. "What's that look for, ami?"

"Oh, nothing," Bobby said chirpily. "I just thought I'd wish you luck tonight. Happy hunting, or whatever." He gave Remy another long slow look-over. "Not that you'll need it."

Remy looked at Bobby in return with a show of disappointment. "And you? I 'ope you are spending the night in." He dismissed Bobby's track pants and tee with a single roll of his dark eyes, which were so easy to read once you figured out the trick.

"What? You don't like my dancing clothes?" Bobby held the carrot like a microphone. "I thought I might go karaoke-ing with you."

Remy gave a staged shudder. "No! You enjoy your evening in, no?"

"I'd hope so! Twelve hours of UK comedy, how could it miss?" Bobby crunched on his carrot again. "Have fun yourself." He was about to go, when he remembered Ororo. "Oh, Ororo's in the kitchen, asking what 'our' plans are," he warned.

"I'll keep that in mind, ami." Remy smoothed down his pants, not that there was any room for a wrinkle there. "I was not planning on leaving in company."

"That's what I thought," Bobby acknowledged, and continued to his destination, the TV room.

As he approached the door, he took a deep breath, then dove in the door at the couch, with a yell.

According to their dispositions, his fellow TV watchers reacted. Kurt 'bamfed' just out of reach, Kitty phased, still holding her bag of cookies, and Hank only shifted one arm to protect his bowl of chips. Bobby cheerfully bounced over the top of the couch, through Kitty and with a muffled 'whump' into Hank's lap.

"Oh, Bobby, I was unaware you felt so strongly about me," Hank grinned at his rather breathless team-mate.

Bobby scowled and pushed himself away from Hank. "You," he said accusingly, "took my special place."

Hank blinked mildly at him. "I did no such thing."

"You did! I was sitting there, wasn't I?" Bobby turned to appeal to Kitty.

"Not when he sat down." Kitty shrugged.

Bobby's jaw dropped. "But, but! That was my special watching-UK-comedy-marathon place."

"I'm afraid that, to use your words, Bobby, 'you snooze, you lose'," Hank said, settling his large frame more comfortably into the corner of the couch.

Bobby knew that look, and also knew that there was no way of getting Hank loose with anything less than a high-pressure hose or a jackhammer. Instead he looked appealingly at Kurt, who was now ensconced in the single armchair.

Kurt interpreted the look perfectly. "No, my friend. I will not give you my special place."

Bobby didn't even bother appealing to Kitty who, with her legs curled up under her, was taking up the other half of the couch. "You do realise, he said, plonking himself down in the floor. "That there is a special hell for people who make it difficult to watch Black Adder."

Kitty grinned and leaned over to pass him a consoling cookie. "Never mind. I'm sure that you'll still enjoy it."

Many hours later, the room was dark but for the flickering light from the TV. People had come and gone, drawn by the laughter, and eventually leaving when exhausted or disgusted. Only the two diehard fans remained.

Bobby lay sprawled on the floor, his head on the cushion from the armchair, and scattered remains of the junk food littered around him. Kitty now took up all of the couch, and was lying with her legs over the back, head hanging down the front, absently dropping the last handful of popcorn in her mouth. There was an unfortunately timed gag in the episode of Red Dwarf they were up to and she inhaled sharply, catching some of the popcorn in her throat. For a long second she froze, her breath caught, then she hacked, and rolled off the couch into a tight ball trying to get her breathing started again.

She didn't have time to think how ironic it was she was choking to death on popcorn before two firm arms were wrapped around her and heaved. The first time it didn't work, but the second time she managed to cough up the popcorn, and start gasping air into her sore lungs. Bobby continued to support her as he gently sat back down against the couch, pulling her down beside him.

"That darn popcorn," he said, rubbing her back as she continued to wheeze. "Sneaky suckers, aren't they? Waiting for their chance then pouncing viciously and without mercy."

Kitty smiled, her breathing slowing more to a more normal rhythm, but not quite trusting it to support her voice yet. She rubbed her aching stomach where Bobby had squeezed.

Bobby smiled back, and then got distracted. "Oh, I love this scene," he said happily, resting his hand on her shoulder. He lowered his voice and switched on a remarkably accurate British accent. "They're dead, Dave. Everybody. Is. Dead. Dave." He sniggered at the sound of the computer being annoyed by human stubborn stupidity.

Kitty sat back and relaxed again smiling, not quite up to laughing yet, at Bobby's knowledge of the show.

By the end of the episode, though, she was laughing again at Bobby's so accurate copy of Lister's face. "That's me! Lister the Stu-upid?"

He grinned and patted her cheek. "Feeling better now?"

"Yeah," she shrugged, a little embarrassed. "Thanks."

It was almost impossible to remain embarrassed in front of Bobby for long, though. He shrugged. "We play pass the Heimlich. Hank gives it too me when I eat pizza too fast, I give it to you when popcorn makes its dastardly move, and you give it to Ororo next time I say a really bad joke at dinner. Deal?" He tugged on one soft brown curl of hair inquiringly.

Kitty nodded. "Deal." She sat up a bit straighter. "Actually, there was something I wanted to ask you."

"Your wish is my command," Bobby did a short headbob, as close as he could get to a bow while sitting down. "As long as I can do it in ad-breaks, you understand."

"Well, maybe another time, but I was wondering if you could teach me the basics of accounting?" she asked, then explained further as he looked at her disbelievingly. "I mean, enough to keep my own books, say should the mansion get blown up and I need to go out and get a 'real' job."

Bobby looked at Kitty properly. She was one of the few X-Men who had ever really shown any concern about the real world. And he was not about to discourage that. Now if only he could get people convinced that they lived in 'the real world'.

"I'd love to pass on my hard earned knowledge," he admitted. "But on one condition."

Kitty looked at him suspiciously, knowing him, and his legend, well enough to be wary. "And that would be?"

"You teach me how to do coding."


"You know, internetty-thingy coding."

Her eyes widened as she tried to figure out why he might need that. "Ah, sure. Why?"

"Like you said, you never know when you'll need a job ... Plus, I want my own web site to put all those incriminating X-Men photos," Bobby confessed.

They laughed, then hushed each other as a Best of Monty Python show started up.

Bobby sat hunched over his computer keyboard. He was doing homework. The scary thing was how much he was enjoying it. He'd never really enjoyed homework before, and he'd thought that it was something that strange people like Hank did. On the other hand, here he was, absolutely focused on what was in front of him. He squinted at the coding then went back to the print-outs Kitty had given him. Yeah, that looked like it was working. Probably. He frowned and ran his eyes down the page, and his mind slipped sideways in the way that minds do at ridiculous hours of the night.

Kitty was really pretty.

Yeah, that coding all looked okay, maybe he should try it?

She was really clever too.

He stuck it in, rearranged it nicely, and waited for the page to load.

She had a great sense of humour.

This was taking forever, maybe he'd made a mistake.

Her laugh was so contagious.

Finally! The page showed ... a complete mess. With the patience of someone beginning to become accustomed to pure mess, Bobby went back and looked over his coding again. And fervently ignored the little voice in his head.

She's really nice, you know?

Kitty scowled at her calculator. She knew, she just knew, that she'd tapped in the same numbers. Each of the five times. So why was she getting completely different answers? She sighed, and this time did it on paper, in her head. Maybe this way might work better. Maybe an abacus?

She frowned at the example, and decided to start again. Maybe she'd put something in the wrong column or something. She felt her forehead furrowing as she concentrated. She was going to get the damn exercise right by the next time she saw Bobby or ... or...

A very tiny part of her brain, possibly the bit that suggested using an abacus, pointed out that not only were the good guys always taken, evil supervillians, or clones, but there was at least one of them that was gay.

She bit her pencil hard as she tried to work out whether the $23.46 was a debit or a credit.

Kitty was being pushed around by a giant pencil. It was red, and someone had bitten it a lot. It was trying to push her off the narrow road she was on either into pit of boiling red lava or a huge black void. She was, distantly, aware that it was a dream, so she didn't really object when someone scooped her up and away from pencil. She wasn't surprised that his eyes were brown, either. Which made her dreaming self wonder a little, vaguely. The man in her dreams laughed, and put her down, and showed her how to make the narrow road wider. She'd just managed to get the trick, when she was jolted out of sleep.

Blinking, she looked up at the dark shape looming over her.

"I can't do it," the figure said mournfully. "I tried everything, and it hates me."

Kitty pulled back her frazzled hair with one hand and squinted. The dark figure now sitting on the edge of her bed had a certain Bobbyness to it, she decided. She tried to shake the clinging edges of her dream from their stranglehold on her mind.

"Bobby?" she managed.

"It does it deliberately, Kitty," he sounded disconsolate.

No one with a heart could ignore that tone, Kitty thought.

"Show me?" she suggested, sitting up, and swinging her legs over the edge of the bed. She could feel the brightening of his face, even in the dark.

The walk to his room made sleep, and that bizarre dream, drop their hold on her, and by the time she was seated at his computer she was wide awake. Dragging over a box, Bobby perched at her knee, pointing out what he had done in a hopeless tone. She had to smile at some of the mistakes, and she carefully went through and showed him where he was going wrong. There were only a few errors, and it took only minutes for her to scan through and find them, in the basic set up. She could even continue without her voice changing much at all, she thought proudly, after he accidentally rested a hand -- a very nice, callused, warm hand -- against her leg.

Bobby looked at the finished product with open awe. He'd been doing it for hours and hours, and it had taken such little time for her to find his few mistakes and voila, all fixed. He glanced at the clock and his eyes widened.

"My god, Kitty, it's half past three," he announced.

Kitty smirked, smoothed down her nightshirt and patted her ruffled hair. "I'd noticed."

"Then why'd you let me drag you out of bed?" Bobby asked. "You should have kicked my ass to Tuesday and back." Bobby frowned, his brown eyes filled with concern.

"A nice guy came into my bedroom in the middle of the night, all helpless and at my mercy." She smiled and ran her little finger down his nose. "How could I resist?"

Bobby didn't smile in return, though.

She's the nicest, loveliest woman I've ever seen.

He reached up and gently, so gently, wrapped his larger hand around her fingers. He saw Kitty's smile falter as he leaned in towards her very, very slowly. His free hand reached out, his thumb, trembling slightly, smoothed over her cheek under those amazing wide brown eyes.

She even smells nice.

His heart stuttered as she turned her face, only just perceptibly, into his hand. There were only two breaths between their lips.

One breath.

Softly their lips touched, and two pairs of brown eyes flickered closed.

This isn't right.

The kiss deepened and Bobby slid his fingers into the long, sleep knotted brown curls that had been drawing his attention since he'd woken her. He shuddered as he felt Kitty run her hand down his side, trying to pull him closer.

This isn't fair.

Bobby broke away, slowly and reluctantly. He saw Kitty's eyes blink open, and his chest ached at the hazy look in them.

"This isn't right," he said softly. Her eyes widened in reaction, then somehow, as though shutters had been brought over them, they went distant and emotionless. The ache in his chest hardened, its edges almost cutting. His hand closed spasmodically tighter over her fingers.

"It's too fast." His voice was gentle, despite the tight grip he had on her fingers. "It's too easy to rush into things, Kit. Too easy to get hurt, or to hurt without thinking." He rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand, thinking about what he'd heard about her, from her 'destined to be' relationship with Peter to her painful break-up with her lover Wisdom on Muir. "I couldn't do that to anyone, Kit. I couldn't do it to you."

He watched those dazzling eyes drop and closed his own for a long moment in an unconscious attempt to close out her pain.

"We've got to be sure about this," he said, his tone pleading.

Kitty looked at her lap, and their intertwined hands.

What are you doing, girl? she thought. Bobby's struggled so long to admit it, sure, but he's gay, he's not ready for this.

Not even sure of her own feelings, she suddenly realised that Bobby had to be even more confused than she was. And he could be hurt and hurt terribly if she played, even unintentionally, with his feelings. She couldn't do that to him. She could to easily see that fragile self-confidence he'd grown over that familiar lack of esteem.

She looked up at him, and dredged a smile up out of her confusion. "Yeah, we should take our time," she said. "We have to be sure, you're right."

She squeezed his hand then let go, surprised at the sudden feeling of lack as her fingers left his. She could keep her smile steady and she stood under that heart-warmingly earnest gaze.

"I guess I should go to bed."

Bobby stood too, in a sudden rush. "I do like this, Kit. I just want us to be certain that this is what we want." He stood there, not close, not reaching for her, bidding her to understand what he hadn't quite said with nothing but his words and his tone.

She nodded. "I know, Bobby," she responded in kind. "We should be sure." Unable to think of anything to say, or what else to do, she left.

Without turning on her light, she returned to her bed. She didn't go to sleep, though. She sat curled up near the head of the bed, and absently clutched her bamf doll to her chest.

She wanted this with Bobby. The vehemence of the mental statement kind of surprised her. She liked Bobby, she knew, but she was becoming aware of more and more levels on which that was true.

Kitty, being the organised person she was, began a list in her mind. She liked his quick mind, and the way he never looked at her as though he was looking at a little girl.

He knew how to laugh too, and how to make other people laugh. For some reason that laughter was important to Kitty. Something about the way that he saw the world appealed deeply to her. He was one of the few people she'd known who could do that.

And he's just so cute, she admitted, smiling to herself and mentally checking requirements she hadn't been aware of having until that moment. Nice hair, cute butt, a body to die for, sincere eyes.

And gay.

The kiss hadn't been a mistake at the time, she knew that, but still it was the middle of the night and ... and...

And what? And he'd suddenly forgotten that he didn't like women under the overpowering spell of her womanly wiles? That was more than a little unlikely.

She rubbed a hand over tired eyelids, and decided that she wouldn't worry about that part. Classifications were a bit superfluous when it was obvious he kind of liked her. He was confused though, and didn't want to get hurt by some ill-considered fling started in haste. He had a point.

On the other hand, Kitty thought, she was fairly sure that she wanted it. So all she had to do was convince him that it was a good idea.

That thought made her smirk. It wasn't often a girl got the chance to court a man. It could be fun. She giggled quietly as she planned her attack on Bobby.

Kitty didn't get much sleep that night.

Bobby rested his head on the side of the shower and wished that he didn't enjoy cold showers so much. He knew he'd made the right decision. He knew that. Of course it didn't make the cold shower work any better.

He'd managed quite successfully to come off as a drivelling idiot, he thought. Not that it was an unfamiliar feeling. He'd always come off as a drivelling idiot with women. Must be something about their smell or something. It sucked out his brain the second he came close. He grinned as he remembered discovering that he didn't have the same trouble with men. Well, aside from the crippling shyness thing, but hey, you could sit on that long enough to not look like a moron if you tried hard enough. On the other hand, he could generally manage a conversation after he figured out that he liked a guy.

He frowned. But that didn't change things. He still wanted to get closer to Kitty. He liked the way she talked, the way she got his jokes. She watched the same TV shows as he did, for goodness sake. She didn't have all that great taste in music, true, but no one was perfect.

She was also very good at kissing. He was no slouch himself, but that kiss was special. He lost a few more minutes contemplating the kiss.

Okay, so the kiss was good, and he definitely wanted more of the same. On the other hand he didn't want Kitty to get involved in something on the rebound and then get more confused and hurt. He couldn't let that happen. Not when he was her friend first and whatever-else-he-might-be second.

On the other hand there was nothing to say he couldn't persuade her that he was a good bet. He grinned. He was going to make Kitty very happy, and of course, that meant making her laugh. He was good at that.

He looked down and saw that his toes had gone all white and wrinkled. Perhaps it was time to get out of the water.

As he dried himself off, he plotted his wooing of Kitty.

Bobby didn't get much sleep that night either.

Kitty arrived at the Coding/Accounting lesson a little early, pleased with herself for finally having worked out the last of the exercises, and for thinking of how to start her campaign for Bobby's attention.

She blinked in surprise. Bobby was already there. He was early? Had to be nearly unheard of. He was peering at the computer screen distractedly as he checked over what they'd done the previous night. Kitty shoved her blush forcibly down as she thought about last night. Bobby finally heard her come in, and turned to greet her. His smile was bright and happy, and didn't seem any different from any of his other smiles.

"Hey," she said. "Here." She dropped a pack of ten disks into his lap. "I thought you might be needing these now. They always come in handy," she commented.

Bobby looked at the disks and grinned. "Thanks. I was just thinking I was going to have to get some." His eyes sparkled at some unknown joke. He reached over to the other side of the desk, and pulled out a pencil. A pencil with a pony on the end in bright pink. "I noticed that you liked chewing your pencil, and I thought you'd like this." He offered it up.

Kitty couldn't hold back a laugh. "Just what I always wanted! Thank you, Bobby."

The gift giving began. They tried to out do each other with funny, appropriate, unusual, or subtle unexpected gifts.

She gave him a pet mouse.

He gave her a wind-chime.

She gave him a pirated copy of Photoshop.

He gave her a graphics calculator.

She gave him a Red Dwarf t-shirt.

He gave her a Monty Python baseball cap.

She gave him tickets to a basketball game.

He gave her tickets to a modern dance recital.

She gave him a packet of lollipops.

He gave her a bag of gummi snakes.

She gave him a candy cane.

He gave her a small pot of violets, still growing.

And they laughed.

The Danger Room powered down, and Bobby leaned against a wall, casually trying not to show how completely exhausted he was. He wasn't meant to work hard in these sessions, and it'd be terrible to break tradition. The trick was to stretch as far as you could go, and make it look effortless and careless.

Of course you had to be careful to leave breath for a running commentary. He wheezed gently, and then stifled it as Kitty wandered in his direction. Logan grunted something at her before she reached him though, and she turned away with a sharp grin. They squared off, and Bobby realised he was going to get to see them spar. What a treat! He didn't bother smothering his avid interest, as it seemed that neither was going to pay any attention to him.

His eyes flickered as he kept up with the movements. Anyone with less experience would have soon gotten lost, missing important flickers of movement, and sharp turns and tumbles.

Almost mesmerised by the almost dance-like, yet vicious, give and take, Bobby sighed. It had all been so clear when he'd finally shouldered past his mess of inhibitions and 'come out'. Everything made sense, the way that his relationships with women had failed, not completely unexpected, and probably mostly his fault because he'd been following an internal script that didn't work in real life. It was amazing how just a little change in your thinking could make you see yourself in a different light. He snorted aloud. Little change? All those nights of pained self-examination, the recriminations and accusations he levelled at himself, faggot, queer, pansy, fairy ... And after that the slow building of his confidence until he could tell his friends, and their support, if not initially unconditional, then certainly there.

It had been a long slow haul, but he knew that he was more settled now. He could feel himself thinking more freely. And somehow, he didn't seem to have to put so much effort into proving himself. He rolled his eyes at the self-satisfaction in his mental tone. He wasn't exactly Mr Confidence even now.

He shook his head. But it had been so simple. He was gay. Badda bing, badda boom. Everything made sense. Now ... He looked at Kitty. This didn't make sense. This tore up quite a few of those self-satisfied conclusions. Tore them up, shredded them, stomped up and down on them, and set them on fire. He liked Kitty. He liked her sense of humour, her sense of honour, her bravery, and, in moments like this when she was wearing her costume, he really liked her figure too. None of which made it any easier to work out what was going on in his own head.

He watched the sparring a bit more. She was holding her own against Logan. That just added to her coolness points, which just about took her off the scale. It was definitely time for a kinda, sorta, maybe officialish date.

He was shaking his head sadly when she finished the match and made it over to him.

"What?" she asked, leaning heavily on the wall beside him.

"You're just so ridiculously competent."

She turned, her eyes narrowed. "And it's ridiculous because I'm young? Because I'm female?"

Bobby blinked mildly at her, though not totally surprised at her vehemence. "No. Because I'm not."

Kitty's shoulders let go of tension she hadn't realised that she'd had. "Oh."

Bobby grinned. "Do you feel like you could deign to accompany this humble incompetent out to dinner tonight?" he asked.

Kitty's smile slowly grew. "I think I can handle that."

Bobby smiled back at her in obvious pleasure. A joy that had been a long time coming.

Unlike the baseball game, the dance recital, the odd movie, this was different. They were going out not to do something, but to be with someone. With each other. Which made it all the more strange that they hadn't for a single moment felt even remotely awkward. That wasn't how first official dates were meant to go. There was some kind of official law of nature that said that this wasn't possible.

But Kitty and Bobby were flagrantly and gleefully breaking that law.

Over a dinner of Thai, they talked about everything, of combat boots, and spaceships and how a century ago the postal service was better. Over ice cream they discussed cabbage rolls, Hellfire Club Kings, and why the Savage Land waters were so warm.

They were just up to talking about how it was that Warren got everything, riches, good looks and then he got lovely wings, when they decided to drop in at a bar. Naturally, Bobby got carded. Kitty didn't.

Kitty was waiting for Bobby to get back to the table she was defending with her life and their coats, when a strong whiff of tobacco smoke drifted by. Suddenly, unexpectedly, she was catapulted by a rogue memory back in time and across an ocean. A series of images of other pubs, of other crowds, flashed briefly in front of her eyes.

And it didn't hurt. Well, it didn't sting, anyway. Sometime, she wasn't sure when, Pete Wisdom had ceased to be a sucking sore, and simply become an ache. An ache she knew would probably never go away, but something had changed. Or rather, she had changed. She looked at where Bobby was elbowing his way to the front of the bar. And this was definitely one of the more odd aspects of the change.

Sure, he was really good, he was funny, he was smart, he listened, he paid attention to her and accepted her skills and cheerfully didn't even think about patronising her ... Wait, where was she going with this? She was nearly positive that there was a 'but' in here, until Bobby turned to catch her eye and wink before going back to getting the barman's attention.

She was still smiling when he made his way back to the table without spilling any of either of the beers down anyone's backs.

He quirked a half-smile at her. "What are you grinning about?"

"Myself. Nevermind," she shrugged.

Bobby looked at her questioningly for a second then shrugged. He understood about personal jokes.

For the first time that evening, the conversation lagged. Mostly because someone turned up the music, and they could barely hear each other's words. They sighed wry acceptance, and watched the people around them, minds wandering down mirroring personal paths.

Bobby suddenly smiled at an idea. He leaned forward, his cheek a bare inch from hers and bellowed over the music. "You like ice skating, right?"

She frowned but nodded, startlingly aware of his skin so close to hers. He pulled back, and mimed drinking quickly, and nodded to the door. Mystified, Kitty nodded again, and did as he suggested.

They left the music and yelling people behind them, heading back to the car.

"What have you got planned?" Kitty asked him, as her hearing adjusted to the quiet.

Bobby grinned mischievously. "But that'd be telling."

"Of course it'd be telling. That's what telling people what you're scheming is about," she explained patiently, getting in the car, no particular emphasis in her tone.

"That's what you say now," Bobby said, mock wearily. "But I'll bet you sing a different tune when I have to kill you."

As they arrived back, Bobby cut the engine and turned to her. "I ... I've got an idea. What do you say to some ice skating?"

Kitty looked out at the mild summer evening. "Ice skating?"

Bobby patted himself on the chest. "You have here a portable ice skating rink. Just add water and freeze."

With a sudden delight, Kitty understood. Before she could say anything though, he pushed got out of the car and opened her door.

"Go get your skates," he ordered.

"What about you?" Kitty asked.

He stopped, his train of thought interrupted. "What about me?"

"Aren't you going to get your skates?" she asked.

"My skates?"

"You know, boots with metal bits underneath? You do have some, don't you?"

Bobby looked down at the ground, then up at her again. "Actually no. I haven't been skating in years."

Kitty suppressed her disbelieving reaction and sniffed. "Well, I'm not going skating on my own. Isn't there anyone you can borrow skates from?"

"I guess I could borrow some of Scott's. I think he left them in the house somewhere," Bobby conceded. He was about to add that it wasn't necessary when Kitty leaned forward and kissed him quickly on the lips.

"Go get them then," she ordered, and was away.

Bobby stood, a grin of bubbling over enchantment on his face, before he dashed off to obey.

They met at the back door in the kitchen, stifling giggles in that late-night way. Bobby lead the way, burdened by a radio, a pair of skates and an interesting looking bag.

Kitty, carrying only her skates and a blanket followed as he led the way to the lake. The night was still, which she thought would probably make it easier for Bobby. She spread the blanket next to where he'd dumped his baggage, and watched as he iced up and stood next to the clear water of the lake. So smooth the stars were reflected, she saw, then she noticed that it wasn't water any more. Bobby froze the water, so hard and so fast that it was as clear and mirror-like as the water hand been. He stepped confidently onto the ice, and extended it out and deeper. A sudden breeze off the lake was cold, crisp, and then on the outer edge a white wall, just over a metre high formed, the only sign that the lake had been frozen.

Sitting on the blanket, not aware that Bobby had turned back to look at her, Kitty hugged herself in sheer glee as she surveyed her own private ice rink.

Bobby felt himself thaw as he saw her smile. Thaw and get warm inside.

By the time he reached her, she was tying up her laces. He sat down beside her and pondered the skates he'd scavenged. He sighed and started to put them on.

Kitty, unable to resist the call of the ice was up and on that glassy surface in moments, closing her eyes, and letting the feeling of flying catch her up.

Bobby, a little more resistant, was brought out the bottle of wine and glasses from his bag, and put the radio on, some soft gentle 'golden oldies' to break up the silence, and grinned to himself. If this didn't convince Kitty that he was serious, and that this was a good idea, he'd have to get really serious.

All that done, he looked dubiously at his feet. He hadn't skated in years, but he was sure it was just like falling off a log. Only hopefully less painful.

He tottered onto the ice, and for a few minutes concentrated on getting back the skills he'd had as a kid. Kitty, seeing him, glided up, and spun around him, all long-legged grace.

"This is great!" She couldn't keep the happiness out of her voice, and didn't even bother to try. "It's so beautiful." She spun around once more to encompass the frozen reflection of the night sky, the gently lilting music, and the entirety of the world beyond.

He spread his hands. "Was just an idea."

Kitty looked across the mirror surface, then back at Bobby, and then placed her hand in his. As his fingers closed around hers without the hesitation his mind felt, she smiled up at him, and Bobby suddenly discovered that he remembered how to skate. In fact, as they pushed off together, he thought that he might well remember how to fly.


Kitty was looking at him, and he smiled at her. They lay still and close, but somehow, and Bobby was almost awed out of speech by this, no closer than their minds were at this moment.

Almost speechless, but not quite.

"That was..." he started, then suddenly realised that there were too many adjectives in the world.

Kitty blinked up at him in the long-shadowed morning light. "Convincing?" she suggested.

Bobby laughed, happy and complete.

Kitty, feeling that chortle through his chest as she lay there, laughed too, letting the sound echo through the soft morning quiet.

In This Manner Wooed and Won
by Mel

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