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    Lux Apollo
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X-men recognized characters, events and world belongs to Disney Marvel and 20th Century Studios

Running for Home - 72. April 7, 2022

April 7, 2022





 

Today fucking sucked.

Not that it’s a fucking surprise, of course. I mean, what the fucking hell else would you expect the day after one is telepathically violated?

Well, I did it. I went to each of my three classes and talked through what happened with my students, even the ones outside of Quentin’s class. They had all heard about what happened by now, and I needed to address it. Emma supervised, as much because she was worried about me as because she wanted to keep an eye on the kids in my classes and what they were saying and asking. I’m simultaneously grateful and annoyed that she was there. Emma actually fucking offered to do some telepathic damage control this morning, which floored me that she was willing to go to that length to protect me, but I told her I didn’t think it was necessary or the right way to go about things. She seemed pleased that I wanted to take care of things myself.

I’m still furious with her, and rightly so. She apologized for putting Quentin in my class, told me she had thought he was slowly moving down a path towards better behaviour and moral standards and needed to be given more privileges as a result.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

Quentin will be staying in the brig in a power-dampening cell for at least a month. Emma’s not sure whether it will do him any good, but it was the best they could do for now short of Emma using her telepathy to crack the kid’s mind open like a walnut and piecing him back together in better shape. I didn’t want her to do that. Fixing him telepathically so he would behave better while he was here wouldn’t solve anything. Any treatments would wear off eventually, and they wouldn’t teach him empathy or responsibility. They wouldn’t set him up for a future as a productive member of society. He’d still be morally problematic, and probably even more dangerous once he was out where he couldn’t easily be contained.

Fuck. What a nightmare.

Anyway, my talks with the classes went well. I didn’t break down, though my heart was racing before the start of each talk. Bobby was surprised I wanted to do this when I told him my plan. He thought I was being needlessly brave. I disagreed - if I didn’t address it myself, it would be completely out of my control. I thought the students would respect me more if I addressed it and was real with them than if I just pretended it had never happened.

Bobby told me that the School was on fire with rumours about what happened last night and it was all they could do to keep a lid on things. Liam didn’t understand at all what was going on, but he understood that something had happened to me and it probably hurt me. He was very upset that I left the School without saying goodbye to him and it took a lot of convincing from Bobby that it was okay, that I would be back the next day, that I wasn’t going to disappear like his mommy had.

I feel like shit for doing that to Liam. Bobby hadn’t told me last night about Liam’s reaction, and I was so wrapped up in my own head that I didn’t even think about it. Fuck, we didn’t need my own lack of self-control contributing to Liam’s abandonment issues.

Liam was very happy to see me this morning when I walked into our room just after 7 am. Bobby had let Liam stay with him overnight, which was understandable. I got a big hug from Liam, so tight that I thought he wasn’t going to let me go afterwards. But almost right away his smiles turned to frowns. Liam was mad at me and didn’t want to talk to me for the rest of the morning before I went to meet with Emma to prep for the class discussions that were to follow.

He seemed to have forgiven me at lunch when he saw that I was still there. He insisted on sitting with Bobby and me to eat, instead of with his classmates.

Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to mention that Liam had started classes. He says he likes his teacher, Miss Cameron. Neither Bobby nor I knew Heather Cameron very well since she taught in the Lower School and we didn’t interact with the faculty for those grades very often. She had sent a positive report to us about Liam’s integration into the class, however. He seemed to quickly be making friends with some kids named Carter Ghazikhanian and Samuel Paré. That, in particular, was a welcome development. Bobby and I had worried about whether he would continue to feel like he didn’t fit in because he didn’t have powers yet. Heather said they were really nice and well-behaved kids, too, so we didn’t have to worry about bad influences.

I guess the other big thing that happened today was that we had a first video call with Bobby’s parents, introducing them to Liam. And to me, too, really. Bobby didn’t want to do it after everything that happened yesterday and today, but I insisted. We weren’t going to tell his parents what happened to me, and I didn’t want him to lie to them to give them a reason we were cancelling the call. Besides, I didn’t think I was going to have to do all that much - Bobby would take the lead, and Liam would take centre stage, right?

And that’s basically how it went, at least initially. We signed on, and Bobby greeted them, introduced the two of us - me as ‘his partner, John’, Liam as ‘your grandson’. They were all smiles about Liam, but they weren’t nearly as thrilled with my presence. I guess that’s to be expected. Bobby just came out to them over the phone a week ago. It’s not like they’ve had time to adjust to this latest blow to their image of him, their perfect son. Not only was he a mutie, but he was a faggot as well. Must have really grated on them and their Republican family values, especially since Ronnie was too dead to rely on for all their hopes and dreams.

Well, they seemed happy enough to have a grandkid, now. They asked Liam all kinds of questions - when his birthday was, what his favourite colour was, what it was like growing up in Idaho in the middle of nowhere, on and on… Bobby and I got a little annoyed and tried to curtail it a little bit, letting Liam take a break from the inquisition while Bobby told them about our trip to New York and about Liam starting classes. Madeline asked me what I do, so I told them about being an author and journalist, in addition to teaching English and Writing here at the school. Neither of them had read any of my stuff, but that wasn’t all that surprising since they got their news from the Washington Post and Fox. Bobby’s parents then asked Bobby how he was liking teaching at the School again. They made it seem like they thought he’d made the wrong decision to leave his career at the accounting firm in New York. Bobby sighed and told them he hadn’t been happy at his old job for a couple of years now, and this was the right change. He felt at home here and felt like he was making a difference for his students and their futures. Work at the accounting firm just felt like a daily grind of repetitive tasks that didn’t add up to much of anything important.

That was all fine and good, but then William interrupted Bobby and asked me if we’d met before. He thought I looked familiar. Without thinking, I said yes, we had, since I was Bobby’s roommate in high school. They both nodded. William was about to say something but then you could see it dawning on both of their faces who I was. I was the bad influence on Bobby at Xavier’s. I was the one who went ballistic on their front lawn and almost murdered some police while doing massive property damage. I was the one who turned into a terrorist. William’s face hardened and Madeline brought a hand up over her mouth. I turned and looked at Bobby, shooting him an apologetic look. He sighed and shook his head. He told his parents that it was time to get Liam ready for bed, so it was time to say goodbye for the night.

Liam didn’t seem particularly upset that we were ending the call. He could sense something was up, I could tell, but he didn’t say anything about it. We said our goodbyes and Madeline mentioned how much she was looking forward to meeting Liam in person at Easter. We hadn’t told Liam we were going to visit them in Boston on Easter Sunday yet, so that came as a bit of a surprise to him. He asked her if she was going to make a turkey and everything. Madeline said she usually made ham, but if Liam wanted a turkey she would try to cook one. That got Liam excited. Apparently, turkey was his favourite meat.

We signed off the call and I offered to get Liam ready for bed on my own since Bobby looked really drained after I derailed the call with my carelessness. I wanted to tell him it would be okay, that everything would work out, but considering how many years it took his parents to accept that he was a mutant and that was okay who knows how much longer it would take them to accept that Bobby had chosen to be with another man and someone like me on top of that. Bobby shook his head, though, and helped me corral Liam to take his bath and then go to bed. We took turns reading to him, a cool little graphic novel he’d picked out on our last day in New York. We got him to try out reading some of it to us, as well. He did great, not really hesitating on anything but a few more complicated words. Not bad for an eight-year-old.

After Liam had settled, we walked back into our room. Bobby put a hand on my shoulder and pulled me into a hug. He was clinging to me, really, and laid his head down on my shoulder. I could tell he was on the verge of tears. I apologized to him for making the video call difficult. He shook his head, saying they would have figured it out eventually. He had hoped they would have some time to get to know me as I am now, not as the teen who got Bobby into mischief and burned up their front lawn attacking the police, the teen who went on to become a terrorist. Bobby was about to say something else when his cell phone started ringing.

Fuck, it was his father. He asked Bobby to go somewhere private so they could talk, but Bobby refused. Anything they talked about was fair game for me to hear. Well, I could hear what his father was saying perfectly well without Bobby even having put it on speaker, his father was talking so loudly, essentially shouting into the phone. His father laid into him about me, spouting all the conservative news network talking points about my past as a terrorist, about the Brotherhood, about Magneto and the Acolytes. Bobby listened patiently, something that I would not have been able to do. But with every passing moment, I could tell he was getting more and more incensed.

Eventually, William paused for a breath and Bobby let loose, asking his father if he was still unaware that mutants were being harrassed, terrorized, viciously beaten, or even hunted down and killed by normal humans. He asked his father what it was like to be able to go to sleep at night, not having to worry about whether or not you would be safe and live through another day. Bobby told his father that he was a privileged son of a bitch and he would never understand the hell that I went through as a child, nor what it was like to be kidnapped and radicalized by someone like Magneto when you already thought the world was against you. Bobby told him that I’d served my debt to society in jail, that I’d worked for the CIA to help stop more terrorism from happening to America after I got out, and that now I was a journalist trying to contribute to making a more equal and fair society for all of us, let alone the fact that I was a teacher contributing to the future of the next generation. He told his father that if he couldn’t take the time to get to know me, the real me, then Bobby wouldn’t be spending any more time with his parents. This wasn’t up for negotiation.

Bobby hung up, throwing his phone down on the bed with a great big sigh. His phone started ringing again. He reached for it, and I asked him if he really wanted to answer that. He shook his head and said he was just turning the ringer to do-not-disturb for the rest of the night. From what Bobby has told me, his father always had to get in the last word so it was probably galling that Bobby hung up on him.

I walked over to Bobby and started to massage his shoulders. He leaned into my grip, moaning softly. I asked Bobby if him not spending any more time with his parents over their attitude towards me included Liam as well. I asked him if he thought it was right to hold Liam hostage from getting to know his grandparents over a spat about me. Bobby shook his head, saying he hadn’t thought of that. He’d let Liam visit them, of course, but if they weren’t going to make an effort to be respectful of Bobby and his choices, then it wouldn’t happen very often. If I wasn’t invited to Easter, the visit was off the table. We could go to Michigan and see my parents instead.

I sighed, muttering that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that quite yet. Bobby turned around and kissed me, bumping his forehead against mine. He asked me if I was a little afraid of what I might uncover, going there. I nodded. I wanted to think the best - my parents had turned their lives around to try and get me back, after all, but after I fucked off with Magneto and they got their payout from Xavier, what would have happened? Would they have continued to be good citizens, or would they have fallen back into old habits and wallowed in their misery until the cash ran out?

Bobby rubbed my back, saying that if we just stayed at the School over Easter and just celebrated here, that would be fine too. We’d be here with people who cared about us and cared about Liam, people who didn’t question our motives and our choices, people who loved us just the way we are.

We made gentle love after that, me bringing Bobby to a trembling climax accompanied by a deep, searing kiss. In the aftermath, he started crying and I held him tightly until the tears stopped and he fell asleep against my chest. I wasn’t sure how we were going to make things right again between Bobby and his parents, but I knew I would try my hardest to make things work. I was heartened that his love for me wasn’t conditional on his parents’ acceptance, but after everything he’s shown me about the man he’s become over the last twenty years and everything he’s shown me about the depth of his love for me, that wasn’t really a surprise. Maybe what surprised me more was that I wanted to show his parents that Bobby wasn’t making a stupid choice to be with me. That I was worth living with, worth loving. I can’t be anything more than the man that I already am for them. I’ve changed so much, worked so fucking hard to be a better person, to live a life with meaning, to do more than just survive… I just hope that Bobby’s parents can budge enough that, given the chance to see me for who I really am now and not who I was in the past, that they can find a way to accept me. For Bobby’s sake, for Liam’s sake.

 

If Bobby’s parents can find a way to forgive me, maybe my own parents can too.

Copyright © 2017 Lux Apollo; All Rights Reserved.
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X-men recognized characters, events and world belongs to Disney Marvel and 20th Century Studios
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5 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

Uh fuck you old man drake!

Bobby's father was someone who needed a swift kick in the pants in the comics, so I felt obliged to keep him that way. We'll see what happens over Easter.

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