Hurt & Comfort

Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

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Chapter 13: Big Fish

"What's wrong love?" Alan asked as Andrew returned to the table.

"I just phased Bobby and Robert into your dimension so they could talk to Ronny." Andrew said with worry.

"You don't seem happy about it." Alan said with his own concern.

"I'm not. Ronny is an evil, nasty, hateful, mutant hating, homophobic, xenophobic piece of shit and I don't want Bobby or Robert anywhere near him." Andrew said as worry furrowed his brow.

"Um, but how do you really feel?" Alan asked with a teasing smile.

"He really pissed me off, love. That kid pushed all my buttons and I phased him into your dimension so I wouldn't hit him." Andrew said quietly.

"Andy, the kid's messed up. He was raped today and he killed his dad today... I think he has a right to be upset. He just took it out on you." Scott said quietly.

"I guess. Gods above and below, I never felt like punching a kid before... I hate feeling like this." Andrew said in frustration.

"Andrew?" Alex said in a quiet voice.

Andrew looked up with question.

"Are you feeling so bad because what you did was wrong?" Alex asked in a voice that was barely more than a whisper.

"No... I don't know what else I could have done. He can't stay here. And he's not going anywhere near the boathouse..." Andrew rambled.

"Andrew." Alex said, still barely louder than a whisper.

Andrew stopped his ramble and looked Alex in the eyes again.

"In your heart. Were you wrong?" Alex asked quietly.

Andrew sat quietly for a long minute, finally a tear fell down his cheek and he nodded.

Alan pulled Andrew close for a hug.

"Then you've got to make it right." Alex said with certainty.

"How?" Andrew asked.

"Not for me to say. I just know that when I feel like I've done something wrong, nothing feels good again till I've put it right." Alex said with concern.

Andrew fell silent again and thought. Finally he said, "You're right Alex. I was wrong... in my heart. I put him in a dead world to hurt him, because he hurt me and my kids."

"So what are you going to do to make it right?" Scott asked seriously.

"Can you guys help me with that? I mean, he's really awful, I need a place to put him where he won't call the cops or hurt someone else." Andrew said to the group.

"With all of us helping, we should be able to come up with something." Scott said with assurance.

"Uncle Scott, may I speak with you privately for a moment?" Icheb asked with apprehension.

"Uh, sure. I'll be right back guys." Scott said to the others at the table as Icheb led him into the kitchen.

"I am unsure of my sexual orientation and my father suggested that I speak with you." Icheb began nervously.

"Why me?" Scott asked with genuine puzzlement.

"Because you have been attracted to both males and females." Icheb said honestly.

"Oh. Well I can tell you how I feel. It doesn't mean you should feel the same way..." Scott began.

"Please." Icheb whispered.

"I'm attracted to a person, not a gender. I generally find females more attractive but sometimes I find a man who attracts me." Scott said in thought.

"Then I don't have to choose?" Icheb asked in wonder, never having considered that possibility.

"No Icheb, spend time with the people you like and if romance should develop, let it happen and enjoy." Scott said with a smile at the expression of relief that came over Icheb's face.

"Thank you Uncle Scott, my fathers could not advise me in this situation." Icheb said and pulled Scott into a hug.

"You're welcome Icheb. I'm glad I was here to help you." Scott said with a peaceful smile.

* * * * *

Xander and Remy walked into the dining room and were surprised by the silence that fell over the room.

"You guys have a big blue furry doctor and it doesn't phase you but honeymooners taking a break to eat freaks you out? You have a really messed up sense of weirdness." Xander said to the silent hall.

Laughter ran through the room as William walked up to the two men.

Please take a seat and I will bring you some dinner. The main course has already been returned to the kitchen.

"Thanks William." Xander said happily and went to sit with Andrew and Alan.

"Hey guys. Did we miss anything?" Xander asked as he pulled Remy close to his side.

"Let's see... A rape, a murder, a threat against the mansion..." Andrew said absently.

"Don't forget about the lightning and the fire to cover up the murder." Scott said in his own considering tone.

"And you exiled a homophobic brat to a dead dimension." Alan said offhandedly.

"Where do you guys come up with this stuff?" Xander asked with a laugh, then looked around the table.

"No, no, don't tell me all that went on while we were..." Xander began to say when Remy put a hand over his mouth.

"Dere be a child at de table, you best not finish dat sentence." Remy whispered, then kissed Xander on the ear.

Xander responded to the kiss by turning and pulling Remy close for a full, deep passionate kiss.

"Is that what we look like?" Andrew asked as he watched the two... basically making out.

"Pretty much. Don't worry, you'll get used to it." Scott said without concern.

"Yeah, we did." Alex said in the same tone of voice.

Dawn walked to the table and said, "If you two go past second base, I'm gonna throw a bucket of cold water on you. There are still kids in here."

Xander and Remy broke their kiss. "Okay, okay... but are we going to have to behave ourselves ALL the time?" Xander asked in a whining tone.

"No, when the kids are regenerating and we're in our own home, we can relax however we want. But the dining room of the school is not the place to be examining Remy's tonsils." Andrew said in his fatherly tone.

"Got it. I never knew you were such a prude Andrew." Xander said with mock hurt.

"Only when it comes to my kids." Andrew said with a smile and turned to peck Alan on the cheek.

"Perhaps I should leave so Uncle Xander and Uncle Remy can feel free to express their sexuality." Trey said with worry.

"Don't worry about it Trey. We're just playing. Sometimes we're overly dramatic and exaggerate our feelings to make a point. I know Xander and Remy wouldn't do anything inappropriate in front of the kids, but it's funny to see them so expressive when they hardly touched before the wedding." Andrew explained carefully.

"I understand. By exaggerating the response, attention is drawn to their actions to emphasize the contrast between yesterday and today." Trey said carefully.

"Yeah." Andrew said with a smile as Alan hugged Trey close.

"Den maybe it be time for you to fill us in. Who been raped?" Remy asked seriously.

"His name is Ronny, I don't think you know him." Andrew said quietly.

"He be Bobby's brother. I not know de boy, but I heard de name. Who be dead?" Remy asked without emotion.

"Ronny and Bobby's dad." Alan said flatly.

"De poppa, rape de boy, de boy kill de poppa... de boy threaten de mansion?" Remy asked carefully.

"Yeah, he said he'd call the police and the reporters and tell them we're a terrorist camp if we don't let him stay here." Andrew said tiredly.

"So you put de boy... you have to tell Remy dat part." Remy said in defeat.

"I phased him into your dimension, just not enough so he can get the virus." Andrew said with a note of pain.

"I see why your such a good man to have on the team Remy. That wasn't very many clues and you figured almost all of it out." Scott said with an impressed voice.

"Remy figure tings out sometimes." Remy said with a shrug.

"I got me a smart husband." Xander said with pride as he snuggled close to Remy again.

* * * * *

"Ronny?" Bobby asked carefully as he entered the common room.

"Bobby? Are you dead too?" Ronny asked, then noticed someone following Bobby.

"We're not dead. Andrew sent us here. We're just phased out of existence." Bobby said calmly.

"Okay. So why are you here?" Ronny asked defensively.

"I just wanted to let you know what's going on and find out if you need anything." Bobby said carefully.

"Who's your friend?" Ronny asked with caution.

"This is Robert, he's one of Andrew's kids." Bobby said with a smile.

"Did Andrew send him to check up on me?" Ronny asked with accusation.

"My father did not send me, I asked to come." Robert said simply.

"Why? What's there to see here?" Ronny asked, looking around.

"I have never met a bad person before. So I wanted to meet you." Robert said without emotion.

Ronny wanted to be offended but saw that there was no malice in Robert's statement.

Finally Ronny said, "Take a good look. This is me, the bad person."

"I do not understand. You seem a bit hostile, but not mean or hateful." Robert said with slight confusion.

"I'm not up to being mean and hateful at the moment, the best I can do right now is annoying... is that okay?" Ronny asked with a smile.

"Please do not feel that you must be annoying for my benefit. I was just curious, my primary purpose for being here is to see that Bobby isn't hurt by you." Robert stated honestly.

Ronny was taken aback by the frank statement and thought back to the things he had discussed with Logan. Finally he said, "That was nice of you. I've been hurting Bobby all day, I'll give it a rest for now."

Robert nodded and looked at Bobby expectantly.

"How are you?" Bobby asked carefully.

"A little bored, but I'm okay." Ronny said with a shrug.

"As soon as we can find a place for you, we'll bring you back. You won't have to stay here." Bobby said quickly.

"It's not so bad. It's given me time to think about stuff. I'm sorry I said all that stuff to you today... I didn't mean most of it." Ronny said with a sour look.

"Okay, what part *did* you mean?" Bobby asked.

"When that Andrew guy had his arm around you, that kinda bothered me. It was like you were gay or something and that was just creepy." Ronny said and sat down in a chair.

"Um, Ronny, I am gay." Bobby said timidly.

Ronny sat in shock for a minute and processed that information.

Finally Ronny seemed to come to an internal decision and said, "Okay. I don't like that, but it ain't for me to like. Will you do something for me?"

"What?" Bobby asked cautiously.

"Don't do gay stuff or talk about gay stuff around me. I think I'll be okay if I don't have to see it." Ronny said unevenly.

Bobby thought about it for a second before saying, "I can't do that. I can't pretend to be something I'm not, or edit out the parts of my life that offend you. But I'll promise to not throw it in your face every few minutes or start every other sentence with 'Since I'm gay...'. I'm still me like I was before, I'm just this too."

Ronny thought about it and finally said, "We can try it out for a while. But you gotta understand if I need to be away from it."

"Yeah, that's not a problem. I just don't want to feel like I can't be myself around you. So what are you going to do when you get back?" Bobby asked carefully.

"I dunno. The cops are probably going to be looking for me, so I'd better find somewhere to lay low." Ronny said with worry.

"The guys kinda fixed that. They made it look like the house got hit by lightning and caught fire. It was the only way they could make it look like dad died accidentally." Bobby said as he watched for his brother's reaction.

"You guys did that for me? God, after all the shit I gave everyone, you covered my ass like that. I don't know what to say..." Ronny said in wonder.

"Whatever you say, say it to the team. Scott was the one who decided what to do and Orroro, Tara and Dawn were the ones to make it happen. Ronny, you started off bad, but it's not too late to turn it around... I did." Bobby said in a voice so low it was almost a whisper.

"Everyone loves you, what did you have to turn around?" Ronny asked with a sour look.

"I used people. I hurt them to get what I wanted. I put on the Mr. Perfect mask and pretended to be nice, then used it to get people to give me whatever I wanted from them. After a while, I forgot I was acting. I'm sorry I hurt you Ronny, I can never make up for what I did, but I'll keep on trying." Bobby said regretfully.

"We're both pretty messed up. You became Mr. Perfect, the user, and I became a bad person and a parasite. Do you really think we can change?" Ronny asked with a whisp of hope.

"Yeah, I've been working on it. Everyone's been really cool. Just this week I've been adopted into a new family who really care for me. Robert's family." Bobby said with a happy smile.

"Damn. So you got adopted into the family that I insulted first thing when I got here." Ronny said with a laugh at the irony.

"If you're sorry, they'll forgive you. They're good people." Bobby said with assurance.

"But I'm not. Robert was right. I'm a bad person. I'm a bully and a liar. And I don't know any other way to be." Ronny said with pain.

"How do you want to be, kid?" Logan asked as he walked back into the room.

Bobby and Robert stared as Ronny said, "I don't even know how else I can be... this is all I've ever been."

"Logan?" Bobby asked with confusion.

"Yeah, how you doin, ice cube?" Logan asked as he took a drink from his beer.

"I thought everyone here was dead." Bobby said in wonder.

"Everyone else is... So I guess this means Ronny ain't dead. Bet you're glad to hear that." Logan said with a chuckle.

"Yeah, I guess." Ronny mumbled.

"Ronny, you're coming back with me as soon as we know where we're going to put you. When you threatened the mansion, you made it a lot harder on yourself. But you won't be alone. I'll come and visit with you as often as I can until we figure out what we're going to do..." Bobby said with conviction, then turned to Logan and said, "I'll let the others know you're here. We'll find a way to get you to our dimension without bringing the virus."

"Good luck with that kid, I still got it. I'm taking pain-killers to keep me from goin nuts." Logan said seriously.

"The X-men won't leave you here alone. They'll find a way." Bobby said as a vow.

"And you won't be alone Logan. I'm here and I don't think I'll be leaving anytime soon." Ronny said quietly.

"We must leave. Father is in the dining room waiting to bring us back." Robert said quietly.

"No one introduced me to the new kid." Logan said gruffly.

"Logan, this is Robert Summers, Andrew and Alan's son." Bobby said proudly.

"Alan, as in the Scott from this dimension?" Logan asked to be sure.

"Yes, Dad has spoken of this place many times. It hurt him to know that he could never return." Robert said quietly.

"So One-Eye got a kid, good for him." Logan said with a note of happiness.

"Actually, there are six of us and he is expecting twins in six and a half months." Robert said with joy.

"Cyclops is pregnant?" Logan asked as he choked on his beer.

"He is now known as Gemini, and yes, he is two and a half months pregnant." Robert said with a big smile.

"So one-eye married that Andrew guy?" Logan asked as he relaxed back into the sofa.

"Yes, my father and my dad are very much in love. And he no longer has to wear the special glasses, so he is not 'one-eyed' anymore." Robert reported happily.

"Turn your back for a few months and everything changes..." Logan said in wonder, then said, "Ask your dad to stop by and visit, and that goes for Remy too... is he still around?"

"He is enjoying his honeymoon. I will ask him to visit when it is appropriate to do so." Robert said with assurance.

"Did he find 'im a hot blonde? He always liked slinky little blondes." Logan said from a place of fond memory.

"No, Xander is a brunette. And he is far from slinky or little." Robert said seriously.

"The Cajun married a guy? Okay, now you *got* to get him to visit. I need to know what happened to turn him around." Logan said and finished his beer.

"I will tell him. We must go now, it is past time for us to return." Robert said with an imploring tone directed at Bobby.

"Ronny, I'll be back. I'll visit every day until we figure it out, okay?" Bobby asked and waited for a response.

"Yeah, thanks bro. I'll be right here waitin for ya." Ronny said with a tired smile.

Bobby nodded and followed Robert back to the dining room.

* * * * *

"Father, Dad, May I go with Uncle Warren and Uncle Kurt?" Jimmy asked quietly.

"Sure, where will you be if we need to get in touch with you?" Andrew asked Warren.

"Here's my card, you can call the cell number if you need anything." Warren said quietly.

"Okay, thanks Warren. Jimmy, we'll meet in the common room at nine o'clock." Andrew said with a smile.

"Thank you Father." Jimmy said with a smile and left with Kurt and Warren.

"Did you see the look?" Alan asked.

"Yeah, if they were a couple, I'd say they were about to decide to have a kid." Andrew said with a laugh.

"Let's see what happens." Alan said in a considering tone.

* * * * *

"Hank, may I speak with you privately for a moment?" Orroro asked distractedly.

"Of course, what can I do for you Orroro?" Hank asked as he followed Orroro into the hallway.

"Hank, I have been waiting for months for you to make some type of advance toward me. You finally admitted that you found me attractive while you were in your self imposed exile, but have not made any attempt to speak with me since. I have to know if you are interested in me at all." Orroro asked in an almost angry tone.

"Yes, of course. I'm just not very good at making my feelings known." Hank said shyly.

"Could any of those feelings of yours lead to the possibility of the two of us spending some time together and getting to know each other?" Orroro asked a little more tenderly.

"Yes, many of them could." Hank said quietly.

"You are shy, I accept that. I am not. But I will not carry the relationship all by myself. When we go on our first date, you must participate... It won't be any fun without you." She finished with a smile.

"You have a deal. Would you like to go for a walk with me tonight?" Hank asked hopefully.

"Yes Hank. I would like that very much. After a walk in the chill of the evening we could come back here and have some hot cocoa." Orroro said in a dreamy tone.

"That sounds wonderful. Perhaps we could start a fire." Hank said as he joined her in her dream state.

"Yes. That would be perfect."

* * * * *

"Is it time for us to talk yet?" Scott asked Alex quietly.

"Yeah, I guess so." Alex said hesitantly.

"Come on." Scott said and led Alex out of the room.

* * * * *

Andrew noticed something at the edge of his vision and let loose a tendril of power to see the unseen.

With a small flash of power he phased Robert and Bobby back into existence.

Wesley jumped in surprise as two boys appeared in the middle of the dining room. He looked around to notice that no one else seemed to be bothered by the happening.

"How was your visit?" Andrew asked with a note of fear.

"Ronny calmed down. He's much better now." Bobby said with quiet worry.

"So he didn't hurt either of you?" Andrew asked to be sure.

"No Father, he was remorseful. I believe he regrets his behavior earlier." Robert said quietly.

Andrew thought about that for a minute, then said, "When we've decided what we're going to do with him, I'll bring him back and see for myself. Whatever happens, I promise that I won't leave him there alone."

"He's not alone. Logan's there." Robert said simply.

"WHAT?" Andrew asked in a yelp that drew the attention of everyone still in the dining room.

"Logan is with Ronny. He says that everyone else is dead and he still has the virus. He asked for Dad and Remy to visit when they have time." Robert said, wilting under the attention.

"Andy, can you do it now? I need to find out what's going on."

"Sure, I'm coming too." Andrew said as he stood with Alan.

"Remy comin too." Remy said as he also stood.

"You're not leaving me behind." Xander said and stood by his man.

"Anyone else?" Andrew asked as he looked around the room.

"Yeah." Logan said with a growl.

"Professor, we've got to do this, we'll be back soon." Andrew said and waited for Professor Xavier's nod of approval.

A golden light erupted from Andrew's eyes and the five men were gone.

"I must say, you people lead very interesting lives here." Wesley said as everyone else went back to their conversations.

"Where are Uncle Xander and Uncle Remy?" William asked as he carried two plates out of the kitchen.

"They had to visit a neighboring dimension for a few minutes, keep their plates warm in the kitchen and you can bring them out when they return." The Professor said kindly.

William nodded and took the food back into the kitchen.

"Neighboring dimension?" Wesley asked with wide eyes.

"Yes, Dawn, perhaps now is the best time to tell Mr. Wyndom-Price why we needed the spell components." The Professor suggested.

Dawn nodded and thought for a second before saying, "Most of the people here are mutants. A group of scientists and government officials conspired to create a virus to kill any active mutant it encountered..."

* * * * *

"So I need to know what you intend to do now." Marie asked as she walked down the hallway with Icheb.

"I plan to spend my free time getting to know you." Icheb said honestly.

"Why?" Marie asked curiously.

"I talked with my Uncle Scott and realized that I was focusing on the wrong aspect of getting to know you. I do not know if we will become friends or not, yet I was worrying about my sexual orientation. Uncle Scott made me realize that if we are meant to have that type of relationship, then we will." Icheb said with a smile.

"So you want to get to know me so you can find out if your straight?" Marie asked in confusion.

"No. I believe my orientation is currently undecided and will make itself known when it is appropriate. I want to get to know you to find out who you are. I wish to know of your life, what you do for enjoyment, and who your friends are." Icheb said with a peaceful smile.

"You were so nervous earlier, why are you so calm now?" Marie asked curiously.

"Before I was unsure. Now I know that what I am doing is right. Marie, please spend time with me so I may know you. When we know more about each other, we may become friends, or we may not. I am new here and it would be good to make a friend." Icheb said gently.

"Friends, as in we don't kiss or hug or anything?" Marie asked suspiciously.

"Correct... for now. Later we may develop feelings for each other and decide to take that step. But for now, please let me know you... or do you only wish for me to be your friend because I can touch you?" Icheb asked carefully.

"I don't know Icheb. After you told me you kissed Bobby, I thought about that. It's hard for me to know why I feel what I feel." Marie said seriously.

"I do not know if I can touch you because I am Borg or because I am Bruhnalli. If it is due to my Borg components, you could also touch my brothers and sister. That would give you a variety to choose from rather than automatically choosing me." Icheb said with a note of hurt.

Marie thought about that and finally said, "I'm not going to try. If I were to touch one of them it would be like admitting that I'm only interested in knowing you because you can touch me. And that's a shallow, selfish way to be. Let's try this thing your way... How do we start?"

Icheb smiled and said, "I believe that we begin to schedule our free time so that we may share activities when possible."

To Be Continued...