"Will the professor get mad?" Rogue smiled. "It's a little late for that." Bobby shrugged.
It was past park hours. The wind whistled through the closed metal gate that loomed over the lush flora. The boy smirked at the enormous billboards surrounding the area with the smarmy visage of Graydon Creed. Child's play.
In the morning, volunteers would arrive with their red, white and blue balloons and "Creed for President!" buttons. A pity there'd be no place for them to string Mr. Creed's slogan banner of, "Fighting for a Brighter Tomorrow."
He snapped the expensive Zippo lighter open. The small flame flickered to life and he quickly snuffed it out with a click of the lid. It had been a gift from an old friend whose touch was ice. A poetic irony, the boy reflected as he thumbed a fresh flame. Almost as ironic as a man who secretly tried to obliterate the mutant race under the guise of helping and supporting them.
With a carefree wave of his hand the fragile flame grew, greedily devouring first a few wisps of grass and then moving to the flowers, bushes, trees. He wondered briefly what the police would think of the ruin. There would be no careless cigarette found, no trace of gasoline at the fire's heart, nothing but the will of an angry mutant to be blamed for the cause of the arson. He shrugged and allowed the thought to fade back into the recesses of his brain.
His job done, he shut his Zippo and tucked it into the back pocket of his jeans. He strolled away from the park, but couldn't resist and waited patiently around the block. A smirk played across the boy's shadow shrouded face as screams of panic were followed by the wails of fire engines. He truly was a god among insects.
"Hey." Rogue set the book she was reading down on her bed.
Her roommate, Jubilee, sprawled out on her own respective bed, glanced up from her magazine before she cranked the volume to her Ipod up.
Bobby crept into the room and offered his girlfriend a wave before he joined her on her bed. "Hi," he said softly.
"What're ya up to?" she asked.
"I came up to see you." Bobby smiled and put his hand on the sleeve of her t-shirt. "What have you been doing? I haven't seen you all day."
"Well, ya know." Rogue's eyes fluttered away from his and focused on the yellow and green quilt on her bed. "Studying an' stuff. Mr. Wagner's got a German test planned t'morrow and Ah just realized there's more than masculine an' feminine forms-"
"So you trapped yourself up here all day?" Bobby exclaimed. "You need a break."
"Ah don't know..." Rogue trailed off.
Bobby brushed aside her weak protest and gripped her gloved hand. "Come on," he commanded.
"Bobby!" Rogue drawled.
Jubilee rolled her eyes and turned the volume of her Ipod up another notch.
"No," Bobby insisted firmly. He yanked his girlfriend from her bed. "You need a break and now."
"Fine." Rogue stood stiffly beside him. She sulked. "What do ya want t'do?"
Bobby flashed her a grin. "Has a Southern Belle like you ever ice skated?" he asked.
"Ice skate?" Rogue cocked her head to one side. "It's still autumn."
Bobby's blue eyes brimmed with excitement. "So?"
Bobby tugged at Rogue's hand and pulled her from her room. Her loud objections eventually melted away to laughter. Perhaps what Logan had said earlier had some truth to it. Bobby continued to drag the timid girl through the corridors to the elevators.
The couple got out on the basement floor and headed towards the pool. By the pool the humid air and stink of chlorine hit Rogue and she raised an eyebrow at Bobby. His grin widened.
Rogue sat by the edge of the pool and yanked a glove off. She dipped her fingers into the water and smirked.
"Bobby-" she began.
"Shh!" he urged. "Just watch."
Bobby Drake knelt by the poolside and took a deep breath. His brows furrowed with concentration and his palms hovered above the water.
Rogue gasped as Iceman froze the contents of the pool. He flashed his teeth wide in a smile.
"Will the professor get mad?" Rogue smiled.
"It's a little late for that." Bobby shrugged.
The teen slid across the frozen surface in sneakered feet until he was in the center. He brought his hand out and beckoned Rogue forward.
Rogue brought a hand to her mouth to hide her sniggering. She stood up and brushed herself off. The Mississippi born girl gave the ice a dubious look before she gingerly stepped onto it.
"See? It's not hard," Bobby reassured.
Rogue shuffled her feet forward slowly. As her confidence grew, her strides became larger until she slipped and came crashing down. She skidded, bum-first further towards the center.
"Easy!" Bobby urged.
He glided effortlessly over to Rogue and held his hand out for her. She scowled.
"Here." Bobby offered his hand again. "Let me help you up."
Rogue finally accepted Bobby's hand. With a quick jerk of her arm, he tumbled down next to her on the ice.
"Did I really deserve that?" Bobby laughed.
"Ah just figured it'd be easier getting ya down here, than getting me t'stand back up," Rogue said.
Bobby chuckled. "Oh?" he said. "And what do you think of ice skating so far?"
"It's cold." She frowned.
"Well the object is to skate on it, not soak our pants on melting ice," Bobby replied. "Do you want to try again?"
Rogue's frown deepened.
"Hey." Bobby twined his fingers around her sole shock of white hair. "Is something wrong?"
"No." Rogue shook her head. "Ah'm fine."
"Talk to me," Bobby pleaded.
"Ah was just thinking about Dr. Grey," she murmured. "About how cold that water must've been."
Bobby wrapped his arms around Rogue and she sagged limply into his arms. She smelled like soap and he appreciated that. Jubilee often smelled of the sugary bubble gum that she used to cover the scent of the cigars she swiped from Logan and Kitty tended to use numerous hair care and make-up products to hide the fact that she was relatively plain.
"What's wrong?" he asked softly.
"Ah don't know," she sighed. "It all just happened so fast, Ah guess."
"I know," Bobby whispered.
First his parents, then John and ultimately Jean. They were all working together unconsciously to make Bobby Drake the loneliest mutant on the face of the Earth.
"Ah was so scared," Rogue continued. "Ah could barely move. But Dr. Grey was strong enough t'run out there an' save us all. Even when she knew she wouldn't come back. Ah don't think Ah'd be able t'do that."
"But that was Dr. Grey's decision," Bobby said. "Why are you beating yourself up over a choice she made?"
"She wouldn't have had t'make that choice if Ah hadn't broken the Blackbird," Rogue replied.
Bobby tightened his grip around his girlfriend. "You don't really believe that do you?"
"What else can Ah believe?" she asked miserably.
"That if you weren't brave enough to fly the Blackbird where you did, Dr. Grey still would have died," Bobby told her firmly. "But so would have Logan, Mr. Summers, the professor and everybody else."
Rogue sighed. "Ah guess," was her reluctant answer.
Bobby gave her a final squeeze, then hopped to his feet on the ice.
"Let me help you up." He offered her his hand.
Rogue allowed him to pull her to her feet on the slippery surface. Bobby held her wrists securely as she steadied herself. Once she was confident with her footing, he moved Rogue's hands to his shoulders to free his own hands. Bobby began to dig in his pockets.
"I was going to save this for later." Bobby glanced shyly at her slush dampened jeans. "But you look like you could use some cheering up."
"What is it?" Rogue wondered.
"A surprise," Bobby replied. "Close your eyes."
Rogue raised an eyebrow, but complied. Bobby dug deeper in his pockets still.
"Are ya ready?" she asked.
"No! Keep them closed." Bobby laughed. "Trust me."
"Okay," Rogue drawled.
Bobby found what he was looking for and pulled it from his pocket. A yellow, nylon scarf. He unfolded the translucent material and draped it over Rogue's head.
"Ready?" Her voice was anxious.
So simple, the scarf veiled her face like a geisha or princess. She waited impatiently, with her eyes clenched shut.
Bobby leaned forward and found her lips with his own, protected by the thin layer of material. Rogue gasped and her eyes fluttered open.
He kissed her again. This time a small smile formed on her full lips. Rogue reached out and stroked Bobby's cheek with a gloved finger. Bobby nuzzled his face into her fingertips.
"You're sweet." She kissed his cheek. "Thank ya."
Bobby produced a pair of black silk gloves from his back pocket. Rogue's eyes widened in delight as he carefully slipped his hands into them.
"Let me touch you," he whispered.
"Ah..." Rogue stammered as a blush blossomed on her cheeks.
Bobby's silk covered fingers were soft as he traced her collarbone and neck. The girl felt a shiver travel down her spine and her blush deepened. His hands crept beneath the hem of her top and began to explore the contours of her stomach.
"Bobby," Rogue very nearly squeaked. "Just hold me."
Rogue buried her face into his chest and Bobby's arms fell around her back. Bobby bit his lip. She had always pushed him away before, but that had been because of her power. Now that he had figured out a way around it, she still pushed him away.
"Is the water cold?"
Rogue jerked her head up to watch Peter and Kitty walk out from the locker rooms. Peter had a towel flung over his broad shoulder, while Kitty had hers wrapped around her slim hips. Both wore swimsuits.
"In a manner of speaking." Bobby chuckled nervously.
"I don't believe this." Kitty eyed the frozen pool doubtfully.
"Ice skating," Rogue replied.
"Can you unfreeze it?" Kitty asked.
Bobby grinned sheepishly.