Timeline - The day after 'Pink Bedfellows'
"So, what would you like for lunch?" Jean-Paul asked, having a look into the fridge, biting his lip as he thought of what he could make for them. "Bacon? Bacon is always good." It was strange having all of this downtime after he had gotten used to having a full schedule at Xavier's. Jean-Paul didn't really have much to do with himself at the moment and it showed.
"Ummm, if it's all we've got, but I don't like eating meat if I can avoid it," Clarice sat at the breakfast bar swinging her legs, "are there any pickles? I like pickles!"
"Oh yeah, that's right. Been too long since I've fixed anything for you." He set pickles out but grabbed more vegetables for something to do, heading for the stove. "So, where have you been keeping yourself anyway? I think I fell asleep before we got to that."
"It's okay, I dropped off pretty quick as well, you make a good teddy," she giggled, "and ... around I guess, though I like to come back here to touch base sometimes, it's nice to sleep in a real bed and have a hot bath. I take jobs sometimes when I can get them, they're ... not great but new blankets are always good."
"You're welcome here any time. Heck, you could stay here if you want. My Aunt and Uncle complain enough about me being gone you'd think they were depressingly lonely." He shook his head, amused at the idea as he started a vegetable soup.
"I know, but I'd feel like I was taking advantage I guess, which is silly, but i'm a very silly person," she sniffed the soup ... smelt goooooooood, "but I thought you wanted me to come to your school anyways?" She gave him a warm smile.
"Well, you know, if you don't want to go there. I'm still trying to work out if I should or shouldn't go back...I mean, I should. I know I should."
"It's just...the actual going."
"You don't know if you can face up to it?" She asked him, head cocking to the side ever so slightly as she watched him cook.
He laughed, shamefaced, and nodded. "I know, I'm a pathetic coward."
Clarice vanished in a flash of pink light and appeared next to Jean-Paul, where she proceeded to poke his nose with her index finger, "Now that is just silly, you are a lot of things Jean-Paul Martin, but a coward is not one of them."
"I imagine people's mileage might vary on that one. Especially people at the school." He laughed though, poking her nose right back.
She shook her head vehemently, "Nu-uh! Would a coward have run straight at a terrorist with a bomb to save innocent people? Or gone up against a giant ooze zombie monster? Or even just gone out night after night to protect people from harm? Or even walk into a police station knowing they could be arrested 'cos it was the right thing to do?"
She winked her nose at the poke, "You didn't have to do those things, but you did, that's not a coward."
"I guess I'm just not afraid of what normal people are afraid of then...plus I'm afraid that I'm going to get too angry with people and say or do something I regret."
"So you're not afraid of dying, just of loosing your temper?" She shook her head, "That's not right, courage isn't the absense of fear, it's overcomming it, and I think you're strong enought to do that."
"Well...I'm not exactly looking forward to dying so I suppose I'm fearful enough of it." Jean-Paul gave a laugh. "These people are my friends. I just...don't like them thinking about me the way a lot of them are."
"Well not all of them do, do they? This Jay guy doesn't and I'm sure he'll surport you, and I bet you Reed doesn't either ... as for the others well I guess you can't really do anything about how they think, but not being there to defend yourself would just reinforce any negetive suspcions they might have about you," Clarice thought hard, her forehead creasing with the effort.
"Oh, I know, it definitely will. All ready heard all about that from Eddie actually." That earned a bit of a snarl there, Jean-Paul recalling that lovely discussion.
"You mentioned this Eddie last night," ... the snarl was slightly sexy, that was worrying, "do you wanna talk about it?" And maybe snarl some more? No! Bad Clarice!
"He was a good friend, it's Venom." He poked at the soup some, rubbing his temple. "It's just...making me angry and depressed all at the same time. And then how he accused me of abandoning 'the team' when nobody trusts or is a team. I just..I don't even know."
"Venom?" Clarice thought back to all the tv clips she'd seen, "He seems a bit ... I dunno, crazy to me from what I've seen, very over excitable ... which I guess is saying something comming from me!" She smiled at him before looking down at the soup, "I ... I wish I had some advice to offer you, but all I'm good at is kicking evil very hard in the face."
"So who else has been bit-being mean to you?" She asked, catching herself before she swore.
"Raven, Mystique...you wouldn't have seen too much of her on the news. Tigra, the catgirl though the name makes it pretty obvious. Adam, but, well...Adam isn't right sometimes so I don't think he really meant for it to come off that way. It's...complicated there."
"Was Tigra the girl who got stabbed? And was really rude to me?" Clarice thought hard, "And ... and Adam was the insane one with the dwarf rabbit?" She looked at Jean-Paul for confirmation.
He nodded at both questions. "Yes, that would be them. Adam and I dated for a while, hence the complicated...though it'd still be complicated because it involved him probably. He's actually a nice guy though. Bit is pretty awesome as well."
"Bit was the rabbits name," she nodded, "Yeah, he seemed to be a bit ... unhinged, cute though with those big blue eyes," she smelt the soup, smelt soooo good, "and that Tigra girl just sounds well ... catty (hahaha) so she's probably just doing it to be mean rather than actually believing you're part of that group, I can't speak for the ... Raven girl though, has there every been any ... I dunno, bad feelings between you and them?"
"I mean, I know you have a temper on you once you get riled," she said thoughtfully, twirling a strand of hair around her finger and looking at the cealing.
"I never had much to do with her, really. I mean, she's not all that socialbe from what I've gathered and she's nearly graduated, doesn't go out with any of us anyway and doesn't exactly hang around so I never gave her much thought." He shook his head. "There's no reason I can think for bad feelings from her...Adam yeah there might be some bad feelings but I had thought we had moved beyond it."
"I did lose my temper with him a few times though."
"I don't remember anything specific." He shrugged. "I can't think of anything anyway."
"Hmmm," Clarice frowned in thought, "And it's just those three and Eddie who have been making your life difficult? What about the rest of the student body at large?"
"Getting the side-eye from people to be certain. I hear mutterings and that sort of thing so it's definitely not helping."
"But it's not just you they're muttering about, right? You said no one trusts anyone else there anymore?"
"Yeah, there's definitely rumours about everyone else as well."
Clarice gave him a sympathetic smile, "I don't blame you for running away 'cos of what they said to you, Jean-Paul, but from the sounds of it you're not the only one, maybe your just getting the brunt of it 'cos yeah ... you have a history. People will hear the word terrorist and not think beyond that, not in the current world climate."
"But, every day you're not there, you're just gonna make things worse for you, especially if you do want to go back one day ... so, I think you should go back (not that I don't want to spent lots of time with you) and be with your other friends, so you can suport each other."
"And if people start being mean to you or saying things ... just run, you're the fastest man I know, their words won't be able to keep up with you and your friends won't think any less of you, in fact it'll prove you're the better person, since you're not letting them make you angry, which is what they want, bullies always want a reactions."
She then stopped, then laughed, "Wow, sorry, I didn't mean to lecture you there!"
"Nah, I needed a lecture." He admitted, taking a breath and nodded. "Right then, tonight's the last night. What do you want to do to celebrate?"
She bounced forwards and wrapped him a hug, "Yay! I'm so proud of you, you really are brave!" She bounced back, "Umm ... I dunno, I'm kinda broke ... unless you'd like to go somewhere a bit more tropical after lunch?" She said mysteriously.
"Tropical? Sure." He nodded. "We can definitely do that."
"I've been working on my range with teleporting, I can teleport across the country with very little effort now! How do you like the sound of the Carribean, or the Bahamas, or even just Miami or something," she bounced excitedly.
"Oh I am most definitely up for a trip." That earned a laugh. "You can finally show me where you're from, yeah?"
"I could take you to Cartusia! I can show you where we used to live, it's right next to the beach and you can pick bananas and oranges and stuff right off the trees and eat them, it's amazing! If the weathers good we could even go swimming ... well I could swim and you could watch, the beach is amazing!" She pratically vibrated with excitement.
"But first that tasty smelling lunch! I'd cook for you one day if I could manage to cook, I turn everything into charcoal, it's like my second ... no ... third mutant power, the second is the crystals, do we have bread? Is it nearly done?"
"Yes, soup is on." He assured her, zipping over and getting the bread for her as well. "One day I'll teach you to cook then when you're at the school? I think I still have swimming things here, if not I can jusst run into the schoolk grab them, and run right back."
"Yay! I have a costume somewhere, I'll go find it, but after lunch, lunch first!" She had to keep on reminding herself of that before she got so excited at the idea of spending the day at the beach with Jean-Paul she forgot, she didn't wanna try a big 'port like that on an empty stomach.
"In that case, bon apetit." He grinned, putting a bowl of soup down in front of her and sitting down with his. "I'll try not to burn your eyes with my northern whiteness when we're down there."
"Oh and there was me thinking that burning eyes would be the result of sea water, merci Jean-Paul," she smiled, tucking in and inwardly giggle-snorting, Jean-Paul in his bathing suit? Whatever her eyes would be doing, they certainly wouldn't be burning!
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