Hurt & Comfort

Book 8: Seeking Comfort

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Chapter 10: Shopping

After dropping Dr. McCoy off at the mansion, we were on our way.

"Mr. Summers?" I asked hesitantly.

"We're outside class Clark, you can call me Scott." Mr. Summers said gently.

"Scott? Mr. Burroughs asked me to be a reporter on the school paper and suggested that you might be able to give me a name to use in my 'by' line." I said hesitantly.

"I guess I could. Let me think about it for a while." Scott said in thought.

"Jimmy needs one too. He said he doesn't want his Borg name connected with his writing." I said quickly.

"Good idea. I'll need a while to think about it. If anyone has any suggestions for a name for Clark and Jimmy let me know." Scott said to everyone in the van as he drove.

"Perhaps you could call Clark 'Vision'." Trey suggested.

"Vision... I think I like it." Scott said in thought.

"Why vision?" I asked curiously.

"Since your ability is optical, it conveys that obvious meaning. Deeper than that, to say that someone has vision speaks of their desire for a better future and commitment to make that future possible. I believe you have those traits." Trey said as he looked in my eyes.

"Thanks Trey... that's a good name." I said with a tender smile.

"Guys, don't leave me out." John said from Trey's other side.

Trey immediately put his arm around John and pulled him close.

"I think we should call Clark 'Heat Vision'." John said firmly.

"Why do you believe that?" Trey asked curiously.

Trying to match Trey's expression and inflection, John said, "Because Vision sounds a little girley by itself. Clark's ability *is* optical, but it is also heat. And deeper than that..." Then his voice dipped into a seductive growl and he said, "...He's so fucking hot."

"John." Mr. Summers said sternly from the driver's seat.

"Come on Scott. When it's just us guys can you leave the teacher at home?" John asked hopefully.

"Okay John. But I don't like that kind of language, even from other adults." Scott said quietly.

"And now that you know that cussing makes Cyke uncomfortable, then doin it in front of him is showing disrespect. Think about how you feel about Scott and make your own decision." Logan said from the passenger seat.

"Got it. I'll keep a lid on it." John said seriously.

"Just tellin you cause I don't know if anyone explained it to you like that before. I'm not raggin on you." Logan said, then turned his attention back to the road.

"No. No one did. Thanks Logan. And I'm sorry Scott." John said timidly.

"No reason to be sorry, you didn't know. Now you do." Scott said in a tone of voice that said more than his words that he wasn't angry or offended.

I couldn't help it. I leaned across Trey and gave John a big kiss, then kissed Trey as I made my way back into my seat.

"So what about Jimmy?" Scott asked as he drove.

"What about him?" I asked in confusion.

"His name, do you guys have any ideas?" Scott asked with a smile. He'd seen us kissing.

"Our fathers call him squirt." Trey said in thought.

"That's fine for fathers, but from anyone else, it could be seen as an insult." Scott said carefully.

"It's just going to be for writing, right? More like an Internet ID than a mutant name." John asked in thought.

"Yes, it'll just be for the newspaper." I said and flashed John a curious look.

"How about 'Mr. Roboto?', like from the old song?" John asked seriously.

"But Jimmy is not a robot. In fact, he demonstrates the least Borg behavior of any of us." Trey said defensively.

"I didn't mean it as an insult. I just thought it would be a cool name, it has something to do with him personally, since he has machines in him, and the Mister says that he is also organic, since you don't call a machine mister." John reasoned to Trey.

"We'll ask him. If he likes it, that's fine, if he doesn't, we won't push it on him." Scott said firmly.

I gave Trey a quick kiss then whispered, "Give that to John for me."

Trey smiled and gave John a quick, gentle kiss.

"You guys experimenting with sex?" Logan asked from the passenger seat.

"Not at the moment." John said carefully, looking at Logan.

"Not what I meant, and you know it. Come on, if we're going to be living together, I need to know what's going on." Logan said simply.

"We've kissed some. That's it." John said seriously.

"You and Clark?" Logan asked to be sure.

"Yeah, and Trey." John said, watching Logan closely for his reaction.

"You know about safe sex?" Logan asked without a flinch.

"Yeah, but Clark and Trey aren't human and probably can't get any human diseases anyway. Besides, I got my test back today and I'm clean." John said and noticed Ronny's wide eyed gaze.

"Okay. Ground rules. What you do in your room is your business. Me and tha kid will stay out of it. But keep it in your room. I find you humping on the couch, I'm gonna throw a bucket of cold water on you." Logan said firmly.

John nodded, then asked, "What about overnight guests?"

"Scott needs to know if Clark stays over, and you be honest about what you'll be doing. Trey will need to tell his fathers. As long as you're honest with everyone. It's fine... but don't let it interfere with your schooling." Logan added firmly.

"Yeah. I can live with that." John said in thought.

"It ain't just for you. That's the same for me and tha kid. What we do in our rooms is our business. We can have overnight guests as long as everyone is honest about it. No secrets, no lies." Logan said and made eye contact with John.

John met his gaze and broke into a smile.

"It's a deal." John said happily.

There was a long minute of silence before John finally thought of something to ask.

"What's the dress code around the house? I mean, I may need to buy some pajamas or shorts or something." John asked cautiously.

Logan thought for a second, then asked, "Kid, you got any problem seeing a dick or a bare ass?"

"No problem." Ronny said quietly.

"There you go. Wear some shorts or somethin around the house, but if it's just us in the house and you walk from the bathroom to your room naked, it's no big deal." Logan said without concern.

"Thanks Logan. I think this is gonna be cool." John said with a smile.

"You may not think so when you see me come out of the shower. I got a hairy ass." Logan said and turned his gaze back to the road ahead.

John, Ronny and I chuckled like a bunch of six year olds as Trey looked out the window without expression.

"What's wrong Trey?" I asked with concern.

"I don't want John to leave." He said, still not facing me.

"He needs a place to stay and it costs money to stay at the mansion." I tried to explain.

"I understand the reason, I just don't want him to leave. I want to be able to see him every day. The separation will be distressing." Trey said darkly.

"You'll see him every day at school, and you'll probably spend most every weekend together." Scott said from the front.

"It will be difficult for me. I am used to having all those I love near me. The distance will be uncomfortable." Trey said with difficulty.

"I know Trey, but we'll adapt to the change, and we can help each other." I said, trying to convey the sincerity of my words.

Trey nodded and went silent.

* * * * *

I walked into the bedroom carrying nearly a dozen bags, John followed me in carrying just as much. The shopping trip had been a lot of fun.

"I can't believe we bought all this stuff." I said in wonder.

"I can't believe *you* bought all that stuff. I thought you'd pick out one or two things at the most... off the bargain rack." John said as he started opening bags.

"Gee, thanks." I said before turning my attention to my own bags.

"I was just surprised, that's all." John said uncertainly.

"Yeah, well, Mom gave me a handful of money when she left, it was almost $400. I figured that I needed the clothes, so I spent it." I said, keeping my attention focused on my clothes.

I was surprised to feel John's hand on my shoulder, turning me.

"Clark, can I have a kiss?" John asked in a whisper.

I responded by giving him a full, deep kiss.

Everything else melted away as I lost myself.

Finally, the kiss broke and John pulled back to look me in the eyes.

"I love you." I whispered, looking deep into John's gaze.

"I love you too Clark." John said with a gentle smile.

John pulled me into a firm hug and we just stood there, holding each other, for long minutes.

"We'd better get these clothes put away so we can get to bed." John whispered into my ear.

"Now that's what I call incentive." I said with a smile.

John chuckled and released me from the hug.

* * * * *

John and I finished putting our clothes away at nearly the same time.

"You want to join me for a shower?" John asked tentatively.

"Is there enough room for both of us?" I asked, thinking that the shower stall was awfully small.

"I think we'll be able to manage, come on." John said with a small, peaceful smile.

* * * * *

I carefully pulled off my clothes and followed John into the bathroom.

John turned on the water and adjusted it to just the right temperature.

"You okay? You look a little nervous." John asked as he put a hand on my shoulder.

"Better than okay." I whispered.

We got into the shower and strangely enough, we got to the business of showering right away. Somehow I had imagined us having sex in the shower, but instead, we washed each other.

John washed my hair so gently and tenderly that it was an act of love. I did my best to be just as gentle and loving as I washed his hair.

The rest of the shower went by too fast. We *did* linger on a few choice parts of each other's anatomy, but not too long. Finally the shower was finished.

John dried me with gentle care. He toweled my hair, then moved to every part of my body, patting me dry with the most delicate touch. I dried John just as carefully and finally it was time for bed.

"Do you want to share my bed tonight?" I asked quietly.

"Do you want me to?" John asked, matching my quiet voice.

"Yeah, I do... but..." I trailed off.

"...You don't want to go too far. You want to wait for Trey." John said, finishing my statement.

"Yeah, I feel like we'd be cheating on him if we had sex without him." I said as we walked to my bed.

"Me too. I'm glad you feel the same. I was worried about telling you." John said with relief.

"We love him. We need to wait for him." I said as I crawled between the sheets.

"Yeah." John said as he moved to my side.

"Do you think this is wrong?" I asked as I pulled John close.

"No. It doesn't feel wrong. It feels perfect." John said as he laid his head on my shoulder.

"Me too." I said as I enjoyed the feeling of being held and loved.

"Goodnight Clark." John whispered in a sleepy voice.

"Goodnight John." I said and drifted into sleep.

* * * * *

The day flew by.

Classes and power training just flew by. I don't know why Marie feels that the day drags. It seems to go by in a heartbeat to me.

The first time all day I had time to stop and think, we were all in the car, Scott, Trey, John and me. Logan needed to stay and clear up some things to do with buying the house.

We were about ten minutes away... from John's father.

"Guys... I'm... I'm kinda scared." John admitted. He had been silent up to now so I figure he's been coming to grips with everything he's feeling.

I was really regretting the choice for John to ride shotgun. He was in the front seat beside Scott and I wanted to hug him so bad.

Scott must have known what I was feeling or recognized John's need because he pulled off the road and came to a stop.

"Get in the back seat John." Scott said seriously.

"What?" John asked in a worried voice.

Scott smiled to let John know that he wasn't upset and said again, "Get in the back seat."

John looked at Scott curiously, then did as he was told.

I hurried to get out of the car and let John sit in the middle.

I guess he was expecting me to trade places with him and sit up front because I had to nudge him over to sit in the middle.

Once we were all belted in, Scott brought the car back onto the road.

Trey and I moved as one to hug John.

"Guys..." John whispered.

"We love you John. We know you're scared and this is all we can do to help." I said as I hugged him tightly.

"You looked like you needed it John." Scott said from the front.

"Thanks Scott. I mean really, I never would have expected you to be okay with this." John said as he relaxed in our embrace.

"We all support each other. It's how we get through." Scott said peacefully.

John nodded and seemed to be soaking in the comfort.

* * * * *

We walked into the building and John led the way into the elevator.

"We're on the fifth floor." John said and pressed '5'.

We stood silently, ready to face the unknown.

As I watched the numbers increase, I grabbed for John's hand and found it.

I gave his hand one quick squeeze before the doors opened and we separated.

John led the way out of the elevator.

Trey followed on his left as I followed on his right and Scott followed behind us.

"Over here." John said and walked to an office door.

John hesitantly opened the door and walked in.

* * * * *

I looked around the small office and noticed that it was the impersonal, sterile environment of any other office. This could easily be the office of a dentist, lawyer or tax preparer. Somehow I thought the office of a therapist would be more... inviting.

"Hi Dad." John said in nearly a whisper.

"Hi John." Mr. Allerdyce said, matching John's tone.

"Gentlemen, come in, the Doctor will see you now." The receptionist said in a professional and somewhat bored voice.

We all moved into the inner office.

* * * * *

"Hello, which of you is John?" The plump, thirty-something woman asked warmly.

John raised his hand a little.

"And who are your friends John?" the woman asked delightedly.

"Um, this is Scott, one of the teachers at the Institute, and this is Clark and Trey, my friends." John said in a broken meter.

"Well, I'm going to ask your friends to wait in the outer office." The woman said assertively.

"No." John said firmly.

"What?" The woman said, surprised at his non-compliance.

"No. If they leave, I leave." John said as a statement of fact.

"Okay... how about one of your friends stay? How's that?" the woman asked hopefully.

"Yeah, that'll work." John said and looked at me.

I nodded and took one step to stand at John's side. Trey and Scott quietly left the room.

"Where are my manors? My name is Susan, please, have a seat." Susan said, once again comfortable and at ease.

John and I sat down side by side on a couch as Mr. Allerdyce sat down in a chair.

"Rick's been telling me about your history and we've been trying to work out a way that you two can have some sort of a relationship." Susan said in thought.

"Why?" John asked without emotion.

"Excuse me?" Susan asked in surprise.

"Why should we have a relationship? I've been emancipated, I've got friends, I've been adopted into a family that wants me. I'm doing fine the way things are." John said coldly.

"But he's your father..." Susan said in disbelief.

"He knocked up mom. That's the only tie we've got as far as I'm concerned." John said, not looking at his father at all.

"John... please... can you work with me? Just give me a chance? Maybe you can have all that and a relationship with Rick too." Susan asked hopefully.

"I'm here. It's your move." John said firmly. I was surprised at John's cold attitude. I'd never seen him so closed off.

"Okay... Rick, why don't you tell John about your feelings?" Susan asked, turning her attention to Mr. Allerdyce.

"Yeah, John... I'm real sorry. I got no excuse for treating you bad. I was wrong, but I'm trying to be better. Will you give me a chance?" Mr. Allerdyce asked with hope.

John remained silent, and I could see the icy, impassive glare on his face. I touched his arm hesitantly.

John turned his attention to me and I looked into his eyes. John seemed to be looking for something in my eyes and I felt my eyebrows raise in question. A small smile fell over John's face, so I guess he found what he was looking for.

"Okay dad, but let me spell it out for you." John said and waited for Mr. Allerdyce's nod of confirmation.

"I'm a mutant and I'm gay. Either you can accept me as I am or not. If you can accept me and not try to change me, I'll give you your chance. If you can't, then I don't need you in my life. I'm happy and I won't let you change that." John said with strength.

Mr. Allerdyce sat silently with wide eyes.

"John, is Clark your significant other?" Susan asked quietly.

"No, not yet. If I'm very lucky, maybe we'll be ready to take that step sometime. But for now we're friends... if it's any of your business." John finished in nearly a snarl.

The attitude seemed to roll off Susan without notice.

"Just wanting to understand your relationship." Susan said with an unconcerned shrug.

"John." Mr. Allerdyce said with a thoughtful expression, drawing our attention.

"I can do it." Mr. Allerdyce said, looking into John's eyes with hope.

"Okay dad." John said with a softer tone to his voice, then he turned to Susan and asked, "What now?"

Susan seemed a bit flustered by the development and paused before saying, "I guess we should set up some boundaries... ground rules for you both. That way you'll be able to deal with each other in a mature and productive way."

"I'm listening." John said, returning to his impassive voice.

"What do you see as Rick's roll if he's part of your life?" Susan asked hesitantly.

John thought for a second, then looked at me. His impassive expression faded to one of caring when he caught my eyes.

John looked at his father and said, "I think the father/son thing is pretty much shot. I'm considered an adult by the state of New York. I'm going to be moving into a house that I'm going to share with two other guys. If dad wants to come over and visit or go out and do something... as friends... we could try that."

Susan seemed to be surprised by the statement, but eventually nodded and asked, "Rick, how do you feel about that?"

"Yeah, I could do that." Mr. Allerdyce said quietly.

"What kind of things would you two be doing as friends?" Susan asked cautiously.

"I don't know. Maybe go to a monster truck rally or a wrestling match. Dad and I both like things like that." John said in thought.

"I'd like that." Mr. Allerdyce said with an almost happy expression.

"Good, good." Susan said with a gentle smile.

"But I think I'd need to take one of my friends with me. I don't think I could be comfortable with just the two of us yet." John said seriously.

A pained look came over Mr. Allerdyce's face but he eventually nodded.

"Okay, it sounds like it's worth a try. But if things don't go the way you expect, will you come back and let us try to work something else out?" Susan asked John hopefully.

"I'll come back, and I'll listen. I'm not promising any more than that." John said firmly.

"Good enough." Susan said with a nod and made a note on a pad before her.

"Do you want to do something for Thanksgiving?" Mr. Allerdyce asked John hesitantly.

John thought about the question before saying, "Let me ask Scott something. Give me a second."

John left the room and I sat looking at Susan and Mr. Allerdyce.

"Do you love him?" Mr. Allerdyce asked in a quiet voice that I could barely hear.

I nodded.

Mr. Allerdyce nodded back and hung his head.

"Scott says it's okay. If you want, you could come to the mansion and have Thanksgiving dinner with us. It'll start around two." John said as he came back into the room and sat beside me again.

"Yeah. Okay." Mr. Allerdyce said in a whisper.

"Well, that went better than I expected. John, Clark, it was nice to meet you. Rick, I'll expect to see you next Tuesday." Susan said as she got up from her desk.

John stood, and I followed.

Mr. Allerdyce walked to face John and gave him a questioning look.

John hesitantly took one step closer to Mr. Allerdyce and was pulled gently into a tentative hug.

John didn't respond at first, just stood stiffly as he was hugged. But finally he brought his arms up and returned the hug... a little anyway.

We left the office. Scott and Trey stood immediately and had twin expressions of concern.

I nodded a little to let them know it was okay.

"Let's go home." John said and led the way out of the office.

* * * * *

"God, I was so nervous. I didn't know if I was going to pass out or throw up." John said when we got into the car.

John, Trey and I automatically got into the back seat.

"Is everything alright?" Scott asked with concern as he started the car.

"I guess. Clark, how did I do?" John asked with uncertainty.

"You were perfect. You stood up for yourself, you told them exactly what you expected and were willing to listen. There's no way I would have done half as good." I said with pride for John.

"Thanks, I tried to remember all the things all three of you told me. There's no way I could have done that by myself." John said in an exhausted voice.

"But you did it. I can't think of anything more you could have done or said." I said as I held close to John's right side.

"Are you guys going to be up to 'family time' tonight?" Scott asked from the front.

"Yeah, I think I need some serious family time." John said as he enjoyed Trey and I holding him.

To Be Continued...