Hurt & Comfort

Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

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Chapter 35: Movements in the Dark

Dr. Hoffman walked into the library to find Kurt reading and making notes.

"I'm sorry I took so long, they had something of a crisis in the BioLab." Dr. Hoffman said as she took her chair.

"It vas no problem Herr Doktor. It has given me time to read ze notes Warren had for ze meeting." Kurt said seriously.

"Anything interesting?" Julia asked curiously.

"Ja, very much. Ve vill have to discuss many things." Kurt said seriously and handed Julia the papers.

Julia began to read as Kurt awaited her reaction.

* * * * *

"Father, I do not feel well." Jimmy said in a quiet voice.

"What's wrong?" Andrew asked with immediate concern.

'I am feeling pressure in my abdomen, the sensation is unpleasant." Jimmy said with a note of worry.

"We'll be home in just a minute and I'll check you out." Andrew said and speeded up the car.

* * * * *

"Okay, we're ready to start the fire. John? Do you want to do the honors?" Scott asked with a smile.

John nodded and lit his ever present zippo. When the flame rose up, John focused his power and made a fireball that drifted gracefully down to the pile of wood and immediately began to burn it.

"You've really learned some control John. That was perfect." Scott said in an impressed voice.

"Yeah, I've been practicing." John said shyly.

Everyone gathered around the fire, since the temperature seemed to be dropping rapidly.

"Bobby, you're in charge of the fun, what are we going to do first?" Scott asked as he settled into a spot before the fire.

"I had an idea, and since John just got to show off, how about stupid mutant tricks?" Bobby asked happily.

"I don't know what that is." Scott said slowly.

"You're always trying to get us to develop our abilities to be the most useful that they can be. Stupid mutant tricks are the things we've learned to do along the way that have absolutely no practical value, but are just fun." Bobby said in explanation.

"I guess this means you have one." John asked with raised eyebrows.

"Yeah." Bobby said with a smile and drew on his power to cause a cloud of freezing mist to form before him.

"Pretty." Scott said in a casual, not overly impressed voice.

"That isn't it." Bobby said as he rolled his eyes.

"Oh, okay." Scott said and waited.

Bobby concentrated his power, then looked carefully at Robert.

The mist began to swirl and flow until it resolved into the transparent form of Robert.

"You've been able to make ice statues for a year." John said simply.

"But they couldn't do this." Bobby said as the 'ice Robert' walked over to where John was sitting and proceeded to give him a 'wet willy'.

"Ewww, gross." John said as he tried to swat the ice Robert away.

When the ice Robert persisted in teasing him, John decided to try something and pulled a flame from the campfire, then made a flaming humanoid form.

Everyone watched in surprise as the flames became more and more focused, until the form could clearly be recognized as Andrew.

The flaming Andrew walked up to the ice Robert and shook his finger in admonition, then pointed away, indicating for him to leave.

Bobby made the ice Robert hang his head and walk away in a dejected posture, scuffing his feet as he left.

Robert, Scott and Ronny laughed at the scene as Bobby and John both let their powers go and the elemental forms dissipated.

"That was cool. My mutant thing don't do nothing like that." Ronny said to the group.

"I never got to see you use yours, what can you do?" Bobby asked curiously.

Ronny focused his power on a rock by the fire, intending on crushing it, then was assaulted by inspiration. Instead of increasing the gravity on the rock, he removed it.

Everyone watched as the rock floated straight up from the fire circle and hovered before them.

Then with a little concentration, the gravity began to pull the rock from one side and the rock floated through the air to hover in front of Ronny.

"That's cool. You've got telekenisis." Bobby said with excitement.

Fascenated by using his new ability, Ronny focused his power into the center of the rock and created a surge of gravity. The rock immediately imploded, becoming little more than a speck hanging in the air before him.

"Awsome." John said as the firelight glittered in his eyes.

"Very impressive." Robert said in wonder.

Ronny let the compacted rock fall before him and asked, "Do you know any tricks Robert?"

"I am not a mutant." Robert said shyly.

"Sure you are, what do you say guys? Let's make Robert an honorary mutant." John said with a genuine smile.

"Okay, and if you don't know any tricks, that's fine." Bobby said and sent a look of thanks to his friend.

"I know one." Robert said hesitantly.

"Go ahead." Ronny said with excitement.

"It is somewhat embarrassing." Robert said shyly.

"Guys, whatever happens tonight, we keep between us. Right? Everyone, even Scott, has gotta swear that whatever we say and whatever we do tonight won't be mentioned to anyone else." John said seriously.

Scott noticed the look of hope in John's eyes and an almost identical one in Ronny's.

"I'll agree, but this doesn't mean that you can do anything. It just means that whatever is said or done won't be mentioned outside this group." Scott said carefully.

"Okay. Everyone agree?" John asked as he looked at the group.

Serious nods went around the fire.

Robert looked around and finally said, "I will need a piece of cloth."

Bobby took out a handkerchief and handed it to Robert, saying, "Don't worry, it's clean."

Robert handed Bobby his coat as he accepted the handkerchief.

The group watched as Robert bent forward and reached behind him to place the handkerchief on his butt.

Silence fell over the camp as Robert bent at the waist and spread his feet about two feet apart, then put his palms flat on the ground between his feet.

Robert began to walk his hands back through his legs until his chest was fully behind his calves.

Then with a slight sound of effort, Robert pulled his head up and grabbed the handkerchief off his butt with his teeth.

Robert quickly uncurled himself and stood expectantly, waiting for the others' reactions.

John was the first to speak and said, "Bobby, your boyfriend is double jointed."

"That was really cool Robert." Ronny finally said.

"Yes Robert, that was really..." Scott trailed off, not knowing a word to describe what it really was. He couldn't think of what word you use to describe something that was interesting yet mildly disturbing.

Bobby got up from beside the fire and helped Robert put his coat on before hugging him gently.

Robert smiled and walked back to his place by the fire, next to Bobby.

* * * * *

Orroro walked into the MedLab to find Tara examining some blood samples.

"Good evening Tara." Orroro said pleasantly.

"Good evening, how are you?" Tara asked with genuine pleasure in her voice.

"I am well. I have come to see Matthew Logan. How have you been?" Orroro asked curiously.

"Great. Working for Uncle Hank is the best experience I could ever get in biochemistry. Everything is so fascenating, such a challenge. I love it." Tara said happily.

"I am glad. You have been doing a fine job. Your uncle was becoming overworked before you arrived, you have truly been a great help to him." Orroro said with a gentle smile.

"Thank you Orroro, I'll walk with you to the BioLab. I need to talk to Uncle Hank about one of these blood samples anyway." Tara said and led the way.

* * * * *

Xander, Remy, Alex, Spike and Lee were sitting on the couches, each rooting for their favorite color to win the coming war when Andrew hurried into the house with Jimmy in tow.

"What's up?" Alex asked immediately.

"I'll know in a minute." Andrew said as they walked into his bedroom.

A moment later William and Janine walked into the house, each holding onto one of their dad's hands.

Xander and Remy immediately got up and cleared the space for Alan to sit on the couch.

"Thanks guys. These babies are really getting heavy." Alan said as he tried to lower himself gently onto the couch.

"What's wrong with Jimmy?" Alex asked in concern.

"We don't know yet, he's feeling some discomfort. Andrew is looking at him now." Alan said with a glance of worry toward the bedroom door.

"I hope it isn't serious." Alex said with his worry escalating.

"I'm sure he'll be fine." Alan said, trying to sound confident.

"Dad, I am feeling an unusual sensation... here." Janine said and pointed to her lower belly.

"Go tell your father." Alan said quietly, then closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Janine walked toward the bedroom door as Andrew stepped out.

"Do we have any way of getting in touch with Scott?" Andrew asked in worry.

"He probably has his cell phone, what's wrong?" Alex said, moving from worry to panic.

"William, get Trey and Icheb in here." Andrew said as he noticed Janine standing beside him rubbing her belly.

"Love, you'd better tell us or someone's going to explode." Alan said, then glanced at Alex.

William entered the room at a near run. Icheb and Trey followed immediately after. Trey was carrying a bowl of Jell-O.

"Okay, this may sound trivial to the adults, but just realize that the kids have never gone through anything like this before. It could be terrifying to them." Andrew said in prelude.

"Just tell us." Alex pleaded.

"They ate food today. It has to go somewhere. Their bodies are trying to figure out how to process it, so there is some discomfort." Andrew said as carefully as he could manage.

"So they need to use the bathroom." Xander said simply.

"Yes, and they've never done it before..." Andrew said with an imploring look at Xander.

"So it's going to scare the shit out of 'em." Spike said with a look of apology at the bad joke.

"They'll need to be told how. The subject never came up before." Andrew said intensely, trying to get the others to understand how traumatic this could be.

Alex looked around the room and said, "If everyone takes a kid, we can get this potty-training done before it's a problem."

Andrew smiled at Alex and said, "Great idea. Jimmy's waiting in the bedroom, so I'm going to get back to him."

"I'll call Scott and let him know what's going on." Alex said quickly.

"Okay kids, who do you want to tell you about this?" Alan asked the silent children.

"I want you daddy." Janine said immediately.

"Okay pumpkin, come over here by me and I'll tell you what to expect in a minute." Alan said tenderly.

"Would you help me Uncle Spike?" William asked shyly.

Spike was surprised for a moment, but then looked at the young boy who had chosen his name and reluctantly nodded and motioned for William to follow him to the dining room.

"Uncle Remy, would you help me?" Trey asked hopefully.

"Oui, come wit Remy. Everyting be alright." Remy said and led Trey into the kitchen.

"Uncle Xander, could you assist me?" Icheb asked shyly.

"Sure, come with me to my room and we'll have a little talk."

As everyone went their seperate ways, Alex said with relief, "Scott, I'm glad you brought your phone..."

* * * * *

Orroro walked into the BioLab to a curious sight. Logan was sitting on his bed and Hank was sitting in a chair wearing a huge biosuit. They were both watching television and had such looks of concentration that one would think they were watching earthshaking news.

Her first instinct had been to join the men, but she decided to stand and watch through the window for a moment.

There was some conflict on the TV screen and both men sat forward to intently watch the ensuing action. They were obviously too engrossed in the show to notice her presence.

A feeling of warmth infused her being at the sight. Two men, literally from different worlds, sharing this thing that they had in common.

Carefully Orroro turned and said, "Is there any reason that you must disturb your uncle at this moment?"

"No, he doesn't expect the results until morning... it can wait." Tara said with a tender smiled directed at the men.

"Then let us leave them to their enjoyment. I can visit later." Orroro said and moved to the door.

"That's a good idea. I haven't seen Uncle Hank having fun for a long time." Tara said and followed.

* * * * *

"Do you think I should bring him home?" Scott asked with a concerned gaze turned toward Robert.

"It's your call bro. If you can handle it there, that'll be fine. If you want to bring him back, I'll help him when he gets here." Alex said with assurance.

"I'll play it by ear. Thanks for the heads up Alex. I would have thought he was having appendicitis or something if he'd started complaining of stomach cramps." Scott said with relief.

"I know. If anything out of the ordinary comes up on this end, I'll call you so you know what to expect." Alex said seriously.

"Thanks, and good luck." Scott said with a smile.

"Yeah, you too." Alex said and hung up the phone.

* * * * *

"I'm not sure where to start." Xander said as he paced the room.

"I have some memories of this bodily function, so I will just need to know how to use the facilities properly." Icheb said helpfully.

"Good, I don't know how I would explain it anyway. Come to the bathroom with me and I'll show you the basics." Xander said seriously.

"Thank you Uncle Xander, perhaps when you've completed your instruction, I might be able to help my brothers and sister." Icheb said seriously.

"Good idea. I think the others would appreciate the help." Xander said and led Icheb into the bathroom he shared with Scott and Alex.

* * * * *

Andrew led Jimmy quickly out of the bedroom and into the bathroom.

Alex listened carefully, hoping that Jimmy wouldn't be too scared by this new sensation.

Andrew stepped out the door a moment later and slammed it behind him.

"Get everyone in here." Andrew said with deep gasping breaths and tears running down his face.

"EVERYONE - GET IN HERE NOW!" Alex called into the air.

"Father?" Could be heard from the bathroom behind Andrew.

"I'll be right back Jimmy, stay right there for a minute." Andrew said over his shoulder.

"What's wrong?" Alan asked with panic at the sight of Andrew flustered and in tears.

As everyone reentered the living room Andrew quickly said, "It's horrible. I don't know what their bodies are doing with the food, but... we need to get some biohazard suits from the medlab."

"You're exaggerating." Alan said with a disappointed shake of his head.

"Go in there, then tell me I'm exaggerating." Andrew said with force.

"Fine." Alan said sharply and levered himself off the couch and to his feet.

Everyone watched as Alan made his way to the bathroom and gently knocked on the door.

"Jimmy, it's dad, I'm coming in." Alan said softly.

"Okay." Jimmy said in a timid voice.

Alan quickly walked into the bathroom, then one second later stepped out, gasping for breath.

"Get the biosuits." Alan gasped.

* * * * *

"Okay, thanks for the warning." Scott said and turned off the phone.

"What is it Scott? Who keeps calling?" John asked curiously.

"It's Alex. Robert, would you come for a walk with me?" Scott asked carefully.

Robert looked at Scott curiously, then said, "Do you wish to walk to afford me privacy?"

"Yes Robert, that's why." Scott said seriously.

"I will not mind if you tell me in front of my friends. But if it would be more comfortable for you, we can walk." Robert said honestly.

"I guess, but guys, you have to act maturely. Just try to respect Robert's feelings." Scott said in warning.

"Yeah, sure. What's the big secret?" John asked seriously.

"Robert and the rest of the kids ate for the first time today. No one thought about what was going to happen next." Scott said in thought, trying to be delicate.

"So he's gonna have to take a crap. What's the big deal?" Ronny said immediately.

"Robert, since you've never had to use the bathroom before, the new sensations might be a little scary." Scott said carefully.

"Why?" Robert asked curiously.

"New things are sometimes scary, that's all." Scott said honestly.

Robert nodded in acceptance of that statement.

"So that's it? What are you so worried about? We're not gonna tease Robert, we like him." John said frankly.

"Yeah." Ronny added.

"I'm glad. If you weren't friends, you could really hurt his feelings by teasing him about something so personal." Scott said grimly.

"Yeah. I can see that." John said in a considering tone.

"Guys, to tell you the truth, I could stand to go behind a tree right now. Why don't I just show Robert how it's done?" Ronny said, looking at Robert.

"Thank you. That would be helpful." Robert said in surprise.

"Just a minute." Scott said and ran to the truck. He came back carrying a small shovel.

"You'll need to dig a latrine, and make sure that you do it far enough away from the camp." Scott said seriously.

"Sure thing. You got any TP? Cause I don't wanna think about having to use a leaf. I don't wanna get poison ivy on my ass." Ronny said frankly.

"Yeah, it's right inside the door of the tent." Scott said with a smile.

"I never dug a latrine before, how do I do it?" Ronny asked curiously.

"Just about three hand widths deep, three or four hand widths wide. When you're done, fill it back in." Scott said professionally.

"I can help with the digging since you are helping me." Robert said quietly.

"Sure, thanks Rob." Ronny said and went to the tent to get the toilet paper.

A moment later Ronny started walking away from the camp.

"Ronny?" Scott called out.

"Yeah?" Ronny asked.

"That way is down wind." Scott said pointing.

"Yeah." Ronny said and changed direction, followed immediately by Robert.

* * * * *

"Holy Mother of God!" Xander screamed as the foul stench wafted out of the bathroom.

"Open a window... open all the windows." Xander screamed as he proceeded to open every door and window on the second floor of the house.

On the main floor Trey said, "I cannot wait, I must go now!"

"Wait a moe, the little bloke isn't done!" Spike said quickly.

Trey barreled into the bathroom, a moment later Spike and William came running out gagging and covering their faces, William trying to pull up his pants as he stumbled from the bathroom.

"I've lived in graveyards and crypts. I've run with the spawn of hell and been through plagues but I never smelt nothin like that. How can something alive make that smell?" Spike said as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

"I didn't get to finish." William said quietly.

"Just hold it a minute. We'll get you taken care of mate." Spike said with assurance.

Lee held a towel firmly over his face and went to Jimmy.

"Are you all done?" Lee asked carefully.

"Yes.. I am much... relieved." Jimmy said as he choked on the acrid stench.

"Let's go to the basement then." Lee said and pulled Jimmy away.

Jimmy nodded enthusiastically and followed.

* * * * *

"Xavier Institute, how may I help you?" Orroro said sweetly into the phone.

"I'm not sure if you can. I'm trying to find my son and he used to go there. Maybe you have some idea of how I can get in touch with him." A man's voice said, filled with desparation.

"Who is your son, perhaps I can help." Orroro said with immediate concern.

"John Allerdyce."

* * * * *

"Hold on for a minute, let me clean this up and we'll be ready for the next one." Andrew said quickly.

"Please hurry father." Janine whimpered.

"I'll have it cleaned up in just a minute pumpkin. Check with Uncle Xander and see if the upstairs bathroom is free yet." Andrew said quickly.

"William and Spike are in there." Janine said with a whine in her voice.

"I'll hurry pumpkin, I promise." Andrew said through his biosuit as he carried the bucket and mop into the bathroom.

* * * * *

"Hello." Scott said quietly into his phone.

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do know how to get in touch with John Allerdyce, why do you want to know?" Scott said loudly enough to catch John's attention.

"Give him my number and I'll talk to him. Thank's for calling Storm." Scott said and hung up the phone.

"What's that all about?" John asked as soon as the phone was turned off.

"Your dad is trying to get in touch with you. Do you want to talk to him?" Scott asked carefully.

"No. Not really. But I'd kinda like to know why he's trying to get in touch with me after all this time." John said honestly.

"Okay John. I'll talk to him. And if I can get him to tell me, I'll find out what he wants." Scott said with assurance.

"Thanks Scott. I appreciate that." John said apprehensively.

* * * * *

Ronny and Robert made their way deep into the woods, Robert holding the flashlight.

"Thank you for being nice to me Ronny. I'm glad you've stopped being a bad person." Robert said into the silence.

"Yeah, sure. You're important to my brother so I figure I should try to be your friend. You're probably going to be around for a while." Ronny said casually.

"Are you going to look for someone to be your mate?" Robert asked curiously as Ronny pointed to a spot, well off what might be considered a path.

Robert began to dig as Ronny held the flashlight and said, "Not for a while. Too much stuff has happened to me. Besides, I never met anyone that I felt... like that... about."

"Bobby was the first one that I ever noticed in a romantic or sexual context. But before him, I was as you are." Robert said seriously.

"I guess." Ronny said and shined the light so he could see the depth of the hole that Robert had dug.

"I think that's deep enough. I've really got to go now." Ronny said seriously.

"How can you tell?" Robert asked curiously.

"I don't know, it's like pressure. Here take the flashlight and I'm going to show you. I'll answer your questions when I'm done." Ronny said quickly.

Robert took the light and shined it on Ronny's bare butt as his pants were pulled down.

"Remember that you promised that you wouldn't tell no one about this... right?" Ronny asked with the need for reassurance.

"Yes, I promise." Robert said immediately.

Ronny carefully squatted at the edge of the hole as Robert watched.

* * * * *

Andrew hurried out of the bathroom and said, "It's ready for whoever's next."

Janine and Alan went into the bathroom as quickly as they could manage.

A minute later Alan came out and said, "Love, I can't do it. You've got the biosuit, would you help her through it?"

"Anything for you love." Andrew said and walked into the bathroom.

"Spike, where is everyone?" Alan asked as he looked at the empty room.

"Either in a bathroom or the basement." Spike said quickly.

"Would you walk with me outside for a minute? I really need some air and I don't want to go alone... in my condition." Alan said shyly.

"I could use me a walk in the night air. Come along mate and I'll walk with you." Spike said kindly.

* * * * *

"This is Scott Summers"

"Hi, I'm Rick Allerdyce, John's father. The lady at the Xavier Institute said you might be able to get in touch with my son." Rick said hopefully.

"Yes, I can get a message to him, I'm just not sure he'll take it." Scott said as he watched John listening to his every word.

"Yeah, don't hold it against him, I gave him plenty of reasons not to want to talk to me." Rick said darkly.

"Is there anything you can tell me that might make him want to listen?" Scott asked hopefully.

"Yeah. Tell him I'm getting help. I'm seein a doctor about my temper and the doctor wanted to talk to John, maybe help make things better." Rick said honestly.

"I can see how that might help to assuage some of your guilt over the past, but what does it do for John?" Scott asked carefully.

"Ass what? Mister, give me a break. I don't know the ten dollar words." Rick said helplessly.

"If he goes to visit your therapist, it'll make you feel better, but it will just cause him to relive things he's worked hard to forget." Scott said and noticed a nod from John.

"He's my son, I want to try and fix what's wrong between us." Rick said desperately.

"He's been granted emancipation by the courts. That means he's legally able to make his own choices and decisions. If he chooses not to work it out, you'll have to accept it." Scott said firmly.

"Yeah. I know." Rick said in nearly a whisper.

"Mr. Allerdyce, your son is a fine young man. When he first came here he was another student, but over time he became a friend. I'll give him your message, but I don't think you should get your hopes up. It's taken him some time, but he's finally got his head on straight, his life on track, he has friends, he has respect, and everything he has, he's gotten for himself. He hit bottom and came back stronger than before. He deserves respect. If you can't give him that, then you'd do best to stay out of his life." Scott said in a calm, clear voice.

"Okay. Yeah. Would you just give him the message? I know he might not want to meet with me, but I've got to try." Rick said helplessly.

"He'll get the message. Does he know where to reach you?" Scott asked and noticed John nodding again.

"Yes. He can call me at home or at work." Rick said quietly.

"Okay. Good luck Mr. Allerdyce." Scott said and hung up the phone.

To Be Continued...