Hurt & Comfort

Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

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Chapter 8: Lepus Vengeance

After a quick talk with Scott, Andrew returned to the MedLab in time to see Bobby run from the surgery room in tears.

"Bobby, come here." Andrew said in a commanding tone and opened his arms.

Bobby didn't even think to protest, and ran into the waiting arms of Andrew.

"Shhh. Don't let him get to you, it only makes him want to hurt you more." Andrew said quietly as he rubbed Bobby's back.

"He... he keeps on and on. I tried to remember that he's hurting and has been through a lot today but... he knows just which buttons to push. I... don't want to give up on him but... I can't be around him like this." Bobby said and tried to pull himself back into emotional control.

"Yeah, he found a few buttons I didn't even know I had." Andrew said as he pulled out of the hug to look Bobby in the eyes. "I know what it's like to have to give up on someone in your family. The only advice I can give you is to find a new family where you'll be loved and accepted."

"Like yours?" Bobby asked in a hopeful whisper.

Andrew smiled and pulled Bobby close again. "You're already a part of my family Bobby. I've told all the kids about you and my son Robert is named after you." Andrew said with love in his voice.

"Really?" Bobby asked in wonder.

"Yeah, after we talk to Ronny for a minute we can go upstairs and you can meet him." Andrew said with a tender smile.

"Thanks Andrew, and thanks for trying to help Ronny... I don't know what we're going to do next. I was hoping he could stay here but..." Bobby shrugged.

"Not going to happen. I talked to Scott and the Professor. Ronny is to be invited to leave as soon as he is medically able." Andrew said seriously and pulled back to see Bobby's reaction.

Bobby nodded in acceptance and said, "Yeah, that's best."

Andrew put his arm around Bobby in support and guided him back into the MedLab's surgical theater.

* * * * *

"Is the surgery done?" Andrew asked with surprise as he and Bobby walked into the room.

"Yes, I had sufficient motivation to proceed quickly." Hank said as he put things away.

"What you doin with your arm around my brother?" Ronny asked from the bed.

"He just needed a hug." Andrew said offhandedly.

"He don't deserve nothin but a punch in the face." Ronny said with a sneer.

"I pray the day never comes that we get everything we deserve." Andrew said quietly.

Angel nodded in agreement and walked for the door.

"Where you going, you can't leave me with the mutie fag and his bitch." Ronny said to Angel's retreating form.

"Angelus likes him." Angel said to Andrew with a smile as he continued out of the room.

Andrew smiled at that, then let the emotion fall off his face when he looked toward Ronny again.

"Hank, is there any medical reason that Ronny has to stay? I mean, do you want to keep him for a week of bedrest?" Andrew asked Hank without a hint of humor.

"Oh God no!" Hank exclaimed, then noticed a mischievous twinkle in Andrew's eyes.

"That is to say, as long as Ronny gets sufficient rest, he is not limited in his actions. He is free to leave." Hank said professionally.

"Then all we need to know is where you want to go and we'll send you on your way." Andrew said to Ronny.

"I've had a few minutes to think about it and I decided to stay here. I've got no place else to go." Ronny said without concern.

"No. That is not an option. Don't you know a nice 'Friends of Humanity' stronghold where we can drop you off?" Andrew asked with hope.

"Well, if you decide to throw me out, I'll just tell the reporters and the cops that this is a mutant terrorist camp and they'll tear this place apart before you know what hit you." Ronny said with a cruel smile.

"And what good would that do?" Andrew asked, stalling for time as he thought.

"It would rid the world of mutie scum like you and my brother. The more of your kind we have safe in prison, the better off everyone else is." Ronny said with certainty.

"Isn't there someplace you'd like to go? I hear Hawaii is nice." Andrew said hopefully.

"Naw, I'd have more fun watching the feds tear this place down. Maybe they'd even let me watch them dissect your alien freak kids. Face it, I got you by the balls. There's nothing you can do to stop me." Ronny said with a happy smile.

"What about Bermuda? I can send you anyplace you'd like to go." Andrew asked, trying to decide what to do.

Ronny looked at Andrew with exasperation and said, "I said no. I wish you'd just leave me alone."

An image of Anya and Hallie flashed in Andrew's mind at the words and a cruel smile fell over Andrew's face as he said, "Done."

A flash of golden light erupted from Andrew's eyes and Ronny was gone.

* * * * *

"What did you do with him?" Bobby asked as he looked around.

"I granted his wish." Andrew said and turned to leave.

Bobby thought about Andrew's words as he followed him out of the MedLab.

"He wished you would leave him alone." Bobby said slowly, trying to figure out what had just happened.

"Yeah, come upstairs and I'll tell you while I explain to the Professor and Scott." Andrew said and got into the elevator.

* * * * *

"Missed you love." Alan said and pulled Andrew into a kiss.

"Thanks, I really needed that." Andrew said with love and tenderness.

"Everyone just got back, you want to close the portal in the dining room?" Alan asked quietly.

"Oh yeah, I forgot." Andrew said and pulled his power from the portal. "So what's been going on up here?"

"Not much. The kids have been waiting here in the common room... no one's been in except Scott and Alex since you left." Alan said with a shrug.

"Oh, I figured the whole house would be in here to meet the kids." Andrew said honestly.

"I asked them to wait until the crisis had passed." The Professor said as he entered the room.

"I guess that's best Professor. Is Scott on the way?" Andrew asked as he looked around.

"Yes, he and the rest of the team are changing back into their regular clothes, they'll be here in a moment." The Professor said and motioned to the couches to invite Andrew and Alan to sit.

A minute later Orroro, Dawn, Scott, Alex and Logan walked into the room.

"Can you tell me now?" Bobby asked with worry.

"Sure. Ronny was talking about calling the media and the police and saying that this is a mutant terrorist camp. I didn't know what to do until he said that he wanted to be left alone..." Andrew said to the group.

"Where'd you put him?" Alan asked hesitantly.

"In your world." Andrew answered quietly.

"But the virus..." Alan began with horror.

"I left him phased out of existence enough so that he can't get the virus. He can't touch anything or hurt himself. He's like a ghost." Andrew said emotionlessly.

"He'll starve." Bobby said with worry.

"No. He's in a state of interdimensional flux. He won't need to eat, sleep or use the bathroom. He'll just exist." Andrew said to Bobby with assurance.

"For how long?" Logan asked, getting an uneasy feeling about this.

"Unless he meets up with an interdimensional traveler... for as long as we choose to leave him there... or forever, whichever comes first." Andrew said.

"It would've been better to kill him. It ain't right." Logan said to the group.

Andrew quirked his head in inquiry.

"I got a better idea than most people of what forever feels like. The thought of existing forever ain't a bed of roses, but put being alone forever on top of that... bring him back and I'll make it quick. No one deserves forever alone." Logan said with pain in his voice.

"Okay Logan, you're right. We won't do forever, but we need to keep him there for now until we figure out what else to do with him.

"Perhaps with some telepathic alteration, I can reengineer his memories enough to allow him to leave here with no knowledge of our existence." The Professor said to the group.

"That's risky. Telepathic blocks have been known to break after a while. Then he'd have that to hold over our heads too." Scott said seriously.

"What about our world?" Dawn asked the group.

"What about it?" Andrew asked, intrigued.

"We could toss him through a vortex into our world and let him fend for himself. He should love it, it'll be just what he always wanted, a world free of mutants." Dawn said to everyone.

Hank walked into the room at the statement and said, "As nice a thought as that is, it wouldn't work. Andrew came from your world, and he is a mutant... an omega class mutant. The omega class doesn't emerge until the beta and alpha classes are established. That means there are other mutants in your world too, you just haven't encountered them. And my tests just confirmed a suspicion... Ronny is himself a mutant."

"What?" Bobby, Marie and Dawn asked simultaneously.

"I suspected it when I saw the condition of his father. There is no way a fifteen-year-old boy could do the damage that was done barehanded... I tested a sample of his blood and detected the active X gene." Hank said to the group.

"So what do you think we should do with him?" Andrew asked Hank.

"Where did you put him?" Hank asked quietly.

"In Alan's dimension, phased out of existence enough so he can't catch the virus." Andrew answered with equal quietness.

"I say we leave him there and talk to him. Perhaps with time to think about it, he might change his ways." Hank said with hope.

"Or he might try and fool us into believing that he changed long enough for us to let our guard down." Marie said in speculation.

"That is a very real possibility, though I believe I could detect any attempt at subterfuge if I were to scan him." The Professor said in thought.

"Let's leave him where he is for now and talk to him tomorrow. Maybe after a night alone he'll be more receptive." Hank said in speculation.

"Yeah. I'm sorry if I made a mistake. It was the only thing I could think to do when he threatened the mansion." Andrew said shyly.

"Had you kept him here, our only option would have been confinement in the Omega Chamber. As it is, he is unharmed and is not a danger to himself or others. We'll leave him tonight and tackle the problem of Ronny Drake fresh in the morning. I believe you gentlemen wanted to introduce your children to the members of the house." The Professor ended with a smile.

Andrew nodded shyly and looked to Alan.

* * * * *

A few minutes later a group of students and X-men came into the room. They had obviously been waiting for the go-ahead from the Professor before entering.

"Clarissa, Theresa and Rachel, I was wanting you to meet my daughter Janine." Alan said with enthusiasm.

"Are these girls mutants?" Janine asked shyly as she hugged close to her dad.

"Yes, Clarissa is called Blink and Theresa is called Siren, Rachel doesn't have a mutant name yet." Alan said with a tender smile toward his daughter.

"Can Janine come up to my room to play?" Clarissa asked hopefully.

"It's okay if Janine wants to go. Be back here in two hours." Alan said quietly.

"Thank you dad." Janine said and followed the three girls hesitantly.

"This is my son Jimmy." Alan said and pulled Jimmy in front of him.

"That man has wings." Jimmy said in wonder.

"Warren, Jimmy noticed your wings, could he touch them?" Alan asked with a smile.

Warren shyly walked to Jimmy and Alan and extended a wing for Jimmy to touch.

"Can you fly?" Jimmy asked with wide eyes as he gently felt the silky smooth feathers.

"Yes, I like to fly... would it be okay if I take Jimmy flying?" Warren asked, dividing his attention between Jimmy and Alan.

Alan looked at Andrew who gave a small nod of approval.

"That would be fine Warren. Jimmy, be back in two hours." Alan said gently.

"I vould like to come as well." Kurt said from the back of the group of people.

"Jimmy, this is my friend Kurt." Alan said, waiting to see Jimmy's reaction.

"That is my favorite shade of blue." Jimmy said pointing at Kurt's skin.

"You are not afraid of me?" Kurt asked in surprise.

"No, Dad said that you are his friend... should I be afraid?" Jimmy asked curiously.

"No Jimmy, you need never be afraid of me." Kurt said and walked with Warren and Jimmy out of the room.

"William, come here and meet Angel." Andrew said with a smile.

"I have seen him when visiting Chris." William said as he stepped forward.

"Angel is Spike's sire, he knows more about Spike than I do. Maybe you'd like to find out about your namesake?" Andrew asked happily.

"Really? Would you tell me about William the Bloody?" William asked with uncharacteristic excitement.

"You named one of your children after Spike?" Angel asked incredulously.

"Spike saved a lot of lives and before he died he was a good person. William likes the name and I'm proud to be able to honor Spike's memory this way." Andrew said honestly.

Angel nodded and said, "Yeah, he found his soul again before he died. I'll be happy to tell you all about my childe. Let's go down to the MedLab and see if Chris is awake. He might like to hear about Spike too."

"If you're going to stay with Chris, send Tara up. I think she might enjoy being included in this gathering." Hank said to Angel and William.

"Two hours." Alan said quickly and received a nod from William as he left the room.

"Robert, how would you like to meet your namesake, Bobby?" Alan asked tenderly.

Robert nodded with excitement.

Bobby walked forward and looked at the young boy, dressed in bright colors and wearing a hopeful expression.

"It's good to meet you. I like your clothes." Bobby said in a friendly tone.

"Thank you. Father says my taste in clothing is like yours but..." Robert said and looked at Bobby wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

"I haven't been feeling like myself for a few days. If you want we can go up to my room and I'll show you my clothes. Maybe you'll get some ideas for your own wardrobe." Bobby suggested and glanced at Andrew.

Andrew nodded and said, "Two hours."

Trey stepped forward, knowing he would be next.

"Everyone, this is my son Trey." Andrew said briefly and moved to take a seat.

"You are not going to send me away like the others?" Trey asked in quiet confusion.

"No Trey, I thought you would enjoy being included with the adults." Andrew said with a smile.

"Thank you Father." Trey said with an answering smile and took a seat.

"And this is our oldest son, Icheb." Alan said to the group and put his hand on Icheb's shoulder.

Then Alan took a seat on the couch beside Andrew, the other side from Trey. Icheb moved to the couch and sat beside Alan.

"Wow, big family." Marie said without taking her gaze from Icheb.

"Yes. I can't even imagine my life without all of them." Andrew said happily.

"Who is making dinner tonight?" The Professor asked the group.

"Kurt and I were scheduled to but Kurt left..." Marie trailed off.

"Perhaps I could help you?" Icheb offered genuinely.

"Are you a good cook?" Marie asked with interest.

"No. I have never prepared food." Icheb said shyly.

"Perfect, I don't like someone who thinks they know it all in the kitchen with me." Marie said with a smile.

Icheb looked at his Dad with question and received a nod in response.

* * * * *

Janine, Clarissa, Theresa and Rachel walked to a room and Clarissa said, "This is Artie's room. If he's feeling okay he might want to join us."

Clarissa knocked on the door quietly and heard a quiet 'come in'.

The group of girls walked into the room and Artie looked curiously at Janine.

"This is Janine, she is Portal and Gemini's daughter." Clarissa said eagerly.

"But they didn't have any kids last week, how'd that happen?" Artie asked in wonder.

"My fathers adopted me." Janine said simply.

"Do you want to play with us?" Clarissa asked Artie hopefully.

"Sure, what are we going to be doing?" Artie asked as he got up from his bed, and carefully put the sling on his arm to protect his injury.

"Listen to music, maybe play a game." Clarissa said in a bored tone.

"Do you know how to play Kadis'ka?" Janine asked hopefully.

"No, I haven't heard of that." Rachel said, intrigued.

"If you want to learn, I will get my game and teach you." Janine said hopefully.

"Sure, that sounds like fun." Rachel said with a smile.

Janine walked toward the door when Theresa tapped Rachel on the shoulder and motioned to herself, then Janine.

"Theresa wants to go with you. We'll all meet in Clarissa's room since she has the best stereo." Rachel said before Janine could leave.

"That would be acceptable." Janine said and left with Theresa following behind.

* * * * *

Jimmy walked outside into the chilly autumn air with Warren and Kurt.

"I didn't think about the cold, we need to get your coat Jimmy." Warren said with concern.

"I do not have a coat. We have been living in an environmentally controlled ship for the past three months." Jimmy said with apology.

"Maybe one of the kids has one you can borrow, Kurt would you mind?" Warren asked quietly.

"I vill return in a moment." Kurt said and bamfed away.

Warren expected Jimmy to be surprised by Kurt's exit, but noticed that Jimmy didn't even flinch.

A minute or two later Jimmy quickly turned his head just before Kurt appeared beside them.

"You can see his teleport?" Warren asked curiously.

"Yes, this device on my face allows me to see interdimensional variations." Jimmy said and accepted a coat from Kurt.

"Ethan said you can keep this coat, he has outgrown it." Kurt said as he helped Jimmy put it on.

"Thank you... I am unsure what I should call you. My fathers told Robert that you are both their friends and I am to call their friends Aunt and Uncle, but we were not introduced that way." Jimmy said in confusion.

"I think in this case it's whatever you want to do. You may call us Kurt and Warren or Uncle Kurt and Uncle Warren, whatever feels right to you." Warren said warmly.

"I think I will call you Uncle Kurt and Uncle Warren. As I understand the custom, it is a term of respect." Jimmy said and looked around.

Warren and Kurt looked at each other with surprise at the blunt honesty of this boy before Warren asked, "Are you ready to fly?"

Jimmy nodded with a happy smile and moved into Warren's opened arms.

* * * * *

Angel and William walked into the MedLab to find Tara talking with Chris.

"Dad! Tara was just telling me that you got to go on a mission. Will you tell me all about it?" Chris asked with excitement.

"In a little while. Tara, Hank said that since I'm staying with Chris, you're free to join the meeting upstairs if you want." Angel said as he took his place at Chris' side.

Tara muttered a shy 'thank you' then left the room.

"William, I didn't think you'd be visiting again tonight." Chris said happily.

"My Father told me that your father knew the man I was named after. Your father suggested that you might also enjoy hearing about William the Bloody." William said and looked at Angel expectantly.

"Are you interested in hearing about Spike?" Angel asked Chris carefully.

"Yeah, he's the vampire you were telling me about right?" Chris asked William who nodded.

Angel sat back in his chair and thought for a moment before saying, "William was a kind and gentle man with a great heart. He was a poet, a really bad one. He took his name from a comment that someone had said when they were insulting his poetry, they called him 'William the Bloody Awful Poet'. When he was turned into a vampire, he shortened the name to 'William the Bloody'..."

* * * * *

Bobby and Robert walked into Bobby's bedroom. Bobby went to the closet and pulled out a few things to show Robert.

"Uncle Bobby, I have a question to ask and I am unsure if I should. I only know that I do not feel comfortable asking my fathers." Robert asked shyly.

"First of all, I'm only a few years older than you so please call me Bobby. And you can ask me whatever you want, I'll do my best to answer." Bobby said and motioned for Robert to take a seat at the table by the door.

"It is a matter of sexual orientation... I do not understand my own." Robert said hesitantly.

Bobby sat stunned for a moment before saying, "I don't know how much help I can be with that. I have been in denial about my own orientation until this week. But if you want to tell me what you're feeling, I'll do what I can."

"Thank you... Bobby. William, my twin brother, has expressed interest in females. He finds them fascinating and wants to look at them all the time. I do not share his interest." Robert said with worry.

"What about men? Do you find yourself wanting to look at men the way he looks at women?" Bobby asked and tried to assume a more comfortable position in the chair.

"No. I have not noticed that desire." Robert said in thought.

"Then I think your problem doesn't have to do with your orientation as much as your maturity. You just aren't ready for that yet, and that's okay. William is growing up and discovering his desires. You'll probably be discovering your own before very long. You just have to let it take its natural course. These things come in their own time." Bobby said with assurance.

"But what if it doesn't?" Robert asked with concern etched on his face.

"We'll worry about that if it becomes a problem. Right now you are the person that you're supposed to be, it won't help you to stress out about what might or might not happen later. Just be yourself and you'll be fine. I wish I had learned that lesson a few years ago." Bobby finished with a weak smile.

"I feel confusion and... like something is hurting inside... but I don't understand what the feeling means." Robert said brokenly.

"That's called puberty. It happens to everyone. I don't know how it's going to effect you, but I can tell you what I went through... I would worry about things that seemed so important at the time, but now I look back and understand that I was worrying about trivial things that I couldn't control. I would feel that I was too skinny, too gangly and goofy even though I look back and know now that I was perfectly normal. I felt like people were looking at me all the time and watching everything that I did. It wasn't true, other people were living their own lives and didn't notice most of what I thought they were staring at. I felt alone... well that one was true enough, but you don't have to worry about that. You have a big wonderful family who love you and will do whatever they can to help you. And you can include me in on that too." Bobby finished with an encouraging smile.

"Thank you Bobby. But I do not know how to feel better, what will make the hurt stop." Robert said with tired pain in his eyes.

"Okay, come here." Bobby said and stood up.

Robert walked to face him.

Bobby pulled Robert close and said, "Tell me about your pain. Something is hurting you deep inside. You don't have to make sense, just say whatever words you can to tell me about what is wrong. I'll never tell anyone else whatever it is that you tell me, just let out your pain."

"I remember being Borg." Robert began.

Bobby had no idea what that meant but stroked Robert's back and said in a whisper, "Tell me about it, tell me what hurt you."

"I do not remember the time before I was Borg, but I remember what it felt like to be changed. They injected my neck and I began to lose myself. I remember them drilling holes into my head and putting devices inside me. I wanted to scream but I couldn't use my voice." Robert said as a tear fell down his face.

"Go on." Bobby said as he kept up the soothing hug.

"They hurt me... I could feel them putting things into my body and I couldn't stop them. I wanted to scream and cry but I couldn't move." Robert said as tears began to flow.

Bobby looked down and noticed the tears and said as gently as he could manage, "You couldn't cry then, but you can cry now. Go ahead, let it loose and I'll hold you and keep you safe."

"After they finished putting things in my body... they... they started... taking away my mind..." Robert said between sobs.

"Go on." Bobby whispered.

"I could feel myself... being broken into pieces... and they were killing him... the person I was... they broke him into little bits... I am what is left of him." Robert said and finally broke down into full sobbing.

Bobby held Robert close and said, "Go on. Let the pain out. You couldn't cry then, but you can cry now. You couldn't scream then, but you can scream now. Let all this old hurt out so you can heal. You don't need to keep it inside anymore."

Bobby and Robert held close to each other as Robert cried out his pain. Bobby felt tears falling down his own face as he began a gentle rocking and placed a kiss of comfort on Robert's head.

To Be Continued...