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Long Distance

by Nestra

[Story Headers]

Professor Xavier wouldn't let it go.

"You should call them. They're probably worried about you."

"I don't think so," Bobby said. He wished he could just get up and walk out of the professor's office, but he wouldn't be that rude. There'd been a time when he wouldn't even have dared to think something like that in the Professor's presence, but he didn't really care anymore, and he didn't think the Professor did either.

"Reconciliation will require effort on both sides, Bobby. If you never talk to them again, you'll never know how they feel."

"I don't need to talk to them to know how they feel." He only noticed his hands tightening on the leather armrests of the chair when his fingers started to cramp. He let go and gently flexed them. "Can I go now?" he asked, not caring that it would hurt the Professor's feelings. Bobby knew he only wanted to help, but the Professor still felt guilty about Jean, and he was driving everyone in the mansion nuts, trying to solve every little problem he could get his hands and mind on.

"Of course." Professor Xavier said, that gentle smile on his face. Bobby figured he had a couple of days at most before the nagging started again. He managed not to slam the door behind him, although he shut it hard enough that the sound echoed through the hall.

He took three steps and nearly ran into Kitty. "Next victim?" She rolled her eyes and didn't bother to knock on the door -- or open it -- before she walked through it.

Usually the Professor was pretty good about not using his powers to interfere in his students' lives. Bobby just hoped he'd get over his guilt soon so things could go back to the way they used to be. Or as close as they could get.

As much as it sucked that John was gone, it was nice to have his own room. He'd never had to share a room before he'd come to the school, and it'd been difficult to get any privacy. Now when he and Marie wanted to be alone, they could, without having to worry about John sticking his head in the door and smirking when he saw them lying on Bobby's bed. They'd never really been able to do anything, but at least now they had time and space to experiment.

Problem was, he barely saw Marie these days. They were still going out -- at least, she hadn't broken up with him -- but with Logan around, it was hard to get her to concentrate on anything. Add that to the grief and distraction Jean's death was still causing, and he didn't have a chance of holding Marie's attention.

He tried not to resent her for it. She'd never deliberately hurt him, but he didn't have anyone to talk to about what had happened. About John, about Dr. Grey, about how he still woke up during the night and wondered if that noise he heard was a bunch of soldiers coming to take them all away.

About the look on his parents' faces last time he'd seen them.

He did slam the door to his room, but it didn't make him feel any better. Neither did the sight of his calculus textbook sitting on his desk. With Dr. Grey gone, he was supposed to be studying on his own until they could find a new teacher, but he hadn't touched the book in weeks. He didn't want to. He didn't want to study, or figure out where he was going to college, or wonder how he could be so pissed at John and miss him so much at the same time.

Maybe he would call his parents. It would be better than staring at the walls or sitting next to Marie, watching her watch Logan. And he missed them. He'd never gone weeks without talking to them, let alone months.

He wanted to know that they hadn't cut him out of all the family photos. Or maybe he could talk to them about Marie, now that they'd met her. He'd let himself have stupid little daydreams about taking her home to meet his family, but it hadn't actually turned out the way he'd hoped.

Mostly, he wanted someone to tell him that everything would be okay, and wasn't that what parents were supposed to do?

He picked up the phone and dialed before he could talk himself out of it. The ring sounded unexpectedly loud in his ear, and he decided that if no one picked up after three rings, he'd hang up instead of letting it go to the answering machine--


Shit. Ronny. He must have answered the upstairs phone. The one without caller ID.

"Ronny?" He heard his brother breathe in, like he was about to slam the phone down. "Wait, don't hang up!"

"What do you want?"

"I...I was just calling to see how things are, I guess."

"Things are great. Bye."

"Wait!" Damnit. "How are Mom and Dad?"

Ronny huffed in his ear. "How do you think they are? Everyone in the neighborhood knows now. Everyone at school knows."

"I'm sorry. I tried to keep you guys out of it." Professor Xavier hadn't liked lying to Bobby's parents, but he'd done it. Every few months, he'd dropped gentle hints about the importance of open and honest communication, but he'd understood why the lying was necessary.

"Yeah, you tried real hard, bringing all your freak friends to the house." Ronny's voice got louder and louder until he was yelling through the phone, and Bobby found himself yelling back.

"I didn't have a choice! The goddamn military was after us, Ronny! They broke in here in the middle of the night and started shooting kids with tranquilizer guns. Kids younger than you. What was I supposed to do? Where else was I supposed to go?"

"I don't care! Anywhere else!"

"Thanks a lot, asshole. You turned us in! We could have died!"

"I wish you had." Ronny wasn't shouting any more, and Bobby didn't know what the hell he was supposed to say to that, so they spent a couple minutes in silence.

"Look," Bobby finally said. "I know you're mad at me, and I'm sorry if you're having trouble at school or whatever. I just -- I didn't ask for this, but it's what I am. And it's pretty cool most of the time. But I don't want you to hate me."


Bobby gritted his teeth and kicked at some dirty clothes on the floor. Yelling wasn't going to get him anywhere. "Look, can I just talk to Mom and Dad?"

"They're not here." The line clicked in his ear as Ronny hung up on him. Bobby stared at the phone for a second and then thumbed it off.

He'd gone home for Christmas last year. He and Ronny had played ball outside in the yard, tripping over their feet in the snow. Ronny had insisted they go inside after about twenty minutes because he was cold, and Bobby had pretended he was too.

Next time the Professor mentioned the word "reconciliation," Bobby would just tell him to go to hell.

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Fandom:  X-Men
Title:  Long Distance
Author:  Nestra   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  gen  |  6k  |  09/24/04
Characters:  Bobby
Summary:  "Reconciliation will require effort on both sides, Bobby. If you never talk to them again, you'll never know how they feel."
Notes:  Written for the X-Men Movieverse ficathon. My recipient, Seldear, requested Rogue, Bobby or Logan, gen. Spoilers for X2.

Disclaimer/Other:  These characters are not mine, and believe me, I'm not making any money off of my fanfic.
Thanks to shrift and grit kitty for beta duties.

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