Handbasket V: Curve
by Janete
September 2001

Disclaimers: If they were ours, it wouldn't have taken
fifty years to dump the comics code.

Spoilers: Nope.

Summary: Later that day, Jean takes on.

Rating: R

Authors' notes: Coming at it from every possible angle,

Ultimate X-Men comics can be read on-line or downloaded
from Marvel.com

Feedback: Raises us to new plateaux:
janestclair15@hotmail.com & leytelj@gmail.com


Jean wonders if Scott's capable of walking around without
looking like a tragedy on legs. Like somebody ran over
his dog or something. He got up this afternoon before
supper and just sort of snuck through the house. Not
exactly leader-ly, though she does understand that he
doesn't have to behave like the tin dictator unless they're
all in uniform.

But *Jesus*. He looks like somebody hit him. Like he's
younger than Bobby and got called up in front of the class
to read something he'd rather forget he wrote.

Makes her want to hug him. Ruffle his hair until he pushes
her away.

See if maybe he could behave like a man if she pushed him
hard enough.

He ate supper without saying anything at all, and he wants
to do the dishes all by himself, apparently. She wonders
if it has something to do with the proximity of knives and
water, and surface scans him just in case she's right. And
yeah, the thought's there, but it's down far enough that she
probably doesn't have to worry about it.

Other, ugly thoughts close to the surface. Personal stuff
that she shies away from, all swirling around this image
of him fighting with Bobby this afternoon. Shirtless
Bobby, yelling Bobby, Ororo staring down at him. And.
Well. He does seem to have fucked up pretty severely,
though she can't figure out *how*, not without digging up
the ugly, very sticky thoughts lurking all around the

She should ask Ororo, probably.

She wonders if there's somewhere in particular that Scott
keeps 'Cyclops' when he's not using him. Whether you
could mix two of them to the point where you have a fairly
decent guy with a spine and no stick up his ass.

Remembers her third-grade ballet teacher and the bitch's
decision that the only way little Jean was ever going to
keep her back straight was if she had a broomstick duct
taped to her back. Boy, that was a lot of fun. Did
wonders for her grace.

Good lesson in telling people to fuck off, though.


Ororo's gone off somewhere on her own. She'll be easier to
find around midnight, when she's in bed and not sleeping
yet. Girls' night in the attic again soon. Pillows and
nail polish and a few of Ororo's better dirty jokes.

Hank's around, though. In the den with Bobby, sans
Playstation for a change, which means she might actually
manage to get his attention.  Dark except for the TV, and
there he is. Sprawled on the couch, and she thinks Hank'd
probably make a good pillow if she ever needed one.
Friendly and not after her ass, which is nice. Solid arm
and this low, constant thought process with prickles of
defensiveness at the edges.

Good guy. Good friend. Real live guy, acting a lot older
than her, with a birthday a whole two years before her own.

Wistfulness she kinda likes.

It's big, tonight. Big enough that she can hear it across
the room.  Happy and still wanting and this little ache at
the centre of it.  Ororo ignoring him still?

And she'd give him a hug, but his big, comfortable shoulder
is a big comfortable shoulder that's taken, apparently.
Bobby's dead asleep on his back with his head and
shoulders in Hank's lap.

Jesus, he looks so young. They should've been able to send
Bobby home, instead of making him live with this houseful
of lunatics. Even if he's the only happy one of them,
most days.

They look really fucking cute, actually.

And Jean lingers for a moment longer, just watching.

She's already seen this episode of Law and Order, but she
can't remember how it ends. Or any episode, really.
Thinks maybe she watches it for the build-up. And if she's
being honest with herself -- and no psi mutant has any
excuse not to be, since they know everybody *else's*
secrets -- she really just wants the cute.

Not a whole lot of cute in her world just lately.

Focuses on Bobby, that muzzy thick feeling of her power
when she's peeking on dreams. Yawns half-consciously and
looks closer and. Yelps.

Okay, maybe time to remember what fifteen year old boys
were like when she was fifteen, and also maybe remember
what a certain redheaded fifteen year old girls were like,
but *still*.



That really wasn't cute at all.

Shakes it off and finds Hank looking at her steadily. She
can't see his eyes, he's backlit, but Jean feels...


Oh, man.

Just this one, huge sound in his mind. Bobby calling Hank's
name in a way that really, really can't be mistaken for
*anything* else.

Holy fuck.

Some psychic *she* is and she opens her mouth to say...
*something*, but Hank brings a finger to his lips which
makes her want to tear his fucking *head* off until she
remembers. Bobby's asleep.

Bobby's asleep after doing God know's what -- no, *she*
knows what and holy shit holy shit "Hank?" Half a whisper.

Shadow of him bending his head and he should, he *should*.
He. Fuck, fuckity *fuck*.

Okay. Okay. Coping time.

Gestures Hank into the hall and walks there herself.
Waiting, unable to stop picturing him sliding out from
under Bobby and oh, man. So many things wrong. Or maybe
not wrong. Or maybe just really fucking out of left
*field* or --


"How long?"

He watches her. Steady and quiet and right now she's not
getting very much off him.

"Come on, Hank. How long have I been missing this?"

He shrugs. Pushes an image up to the front of his mind of
the night they brought Bobby home. Of this slick, naked
little body wrapped around Hank and. Whoa. She probably
wasn't supposed to see that.

Learning pretty fast that other people's sex thoughts give
her a headache. This huge intensity like a really bright
light. That she should probably talk to the Professor
about except, well, *Jesus*, how do you ask? He probably
knows, and maybe he just gets off on it.  Hard to tell.

Which means he almost certainly knows about this. Hasn't
stopped it or anything.

Cocks her head and looks at Hank. Who looks. Tired.
Aching.  Nothing like a guy getting laid on a pretty
regular basis should look.

She hugs him. He stiffens, leans away from her like an
angry little kid, and she has to hang on for a long time
before he relaxes. Leans into her a bit. Big,
heavy-muscled guy with this big grin that she sorta wishes
he'd give her right now.

He says into her hair, "I should've stuck to pining over
Storm, I guess."

Pushes him back. "Okay, why?"

Self-mocking little grin. "'Cause she'd've either let me
follow her around like a dog or told me to fuck off, and
either way I wouldn't be fucked six ways from Sunday."

"At the risk of being really, really crude, I would've
thought that was Bobby--"


Ooooh. Cold. Even if she was out of line, that's a bit
over the top.  He's actually glaring at her, not touching
anymore. And he's big.  Big enough to scare her a bit if
he's gonna insist on looming like that.

Gonna make her retreat. Just down the hall a couple of
steps, but she's given up the ground, and she wonders if
this is what it's like for the guys, all the time. These
power games and all of them beating the crap out of each
other over who's gonna be alpha male for the week.

Not her game, anyway. Perq of being a girl and all that.
Hank can just lick his ego for a sec and then decide if
he's gonna talk to her like a person or fuck off and
scent-mark his lair.

Or just make her wait.

"Okay, neither of us said that, Hank. Tell me what's so
wrong. I was kinda getting love-and-cuddles vibes from
you guys."

"Aside from the fact that we've freaked the Fearless

"Fearless Leader freaks over global warming and bad hair
days. He'll live."

Hank sighs. Runs those great, big hands of his through his
hair.  Jean wonders if he'd let her cut it for him. Long's
not really his look. Something a bit more symmetrical,
just brushing his jaw or something, and he'd look a lot

Not that she'll let him go over a bad haircut. "And now
that you've taken care of the aside, what the hell's

Hank glares at her. "You're like a pit bull, you know?"

"If the collar fits..."

"Jean --" Stops, looks back toward the den.

"He's still asleep, trust me. Having some interesting
dreams, there." She risks a smile.

Hank snorts. Looks like he's going to scrub his hands
through his hair again, but just looks at them instead.
Like they've turned purple or something. Jean restrains
herself from peeking.

Internally pats herself on the head. Someone needed to.

"Jean, in some ways Bobby is about nine thousand years old,
in others..."

"He's about nine."

"Yeah. Isn't that enough reason to be a little upset?"

"Hank... Yeah, he's a kid, but you're obviously not
screwing. Uh. With his head." Blushes a little. Doesn't
really want Angry!Hank back anytime soon.

"How can you be sure?"

"Hey, psychic friend hotline, right here. He's all warm
fuzzies and ooh, Hank."


And there's that wistfulness, right there. Wow. Such a
sweet bright feeling pouring off him in these *waves* that
Jean can almost see. Loses herself in it for a too-long
moment. Wistfulness is probably a lot more fun from the
outside. "Yeah, Hank. He is."

A tiny half-smile that makes Jean want to pet him, but he's
already looking back toward the den. Sudden and clear:
'Bobby must not wake up alone,' loud like a command to

So cute she's going to have to hit something soon. Or call
home and tell Mom to send her stuffed animals, something.
Ick. "Hank?"


Has to laugh a little at how distracted he is. "Don't worry
about him, okay? At least, maybe not about this?"

Fierce waves of something not quite definable. "There
aren't very many things I can protect him from, Jean."

"Yeah, but would he thank you?"

Hank sighs. "Maybe he should."

"You're just gonna be all broody guy about this, aren't

"I think Scott would approve."

"Oh, *fuck* Scott. Jesus, Hank, I don't see how this is a
bad thing."

"I know, I know. I'll start feeling better as *soon* as he
turns eighteen, I swear."

"Do I have to smack you?"

Little private grin. "I don't think so. Bobby is really
rather gifted at the whole 'make Hank not brood' thing."

Neon clear image in his mind of Bobby. And him. And doing.

Ooooo-kay. That's definitely. Well, visceral.

Yeah, that's quite a good word for it.

Because in Hank's mind, this is a thought all wrapped up
with warm Bobby thoughts, but it's also pushing a lot of
her oh-jesus buttons.  Cuddly, sleepy, cutie-pie Bobby,
bent over and sucking Hank.

Closes her eyes and sits. Hits the floor when she fails to
find a chair.

Buries her head in her arms.

There was this point, a while back, when she learned that
people's sex fantasies are a lot cleaner than real sex.
And she's got a lot of that stuff floating around in her
head, but it's really all candy for her, since the ugly
bits are mostly gone by the time she gets them.

She really wants not to have seen that.

Makes it that much harder to look Hank in the eye.

And the thing is, she likes him. Friend-wise, Hank's high
on the scale, being both mostly uninterested in fucking
her and just about as sarcastic as anybody can be.

*Fuck* him.

Looks up at him and doesn't like the tears in her eyes at
all, and how exactly did she really believe that this was
all going to work? Joy to the world, Hank's fucking Bobby?

Probably says something about their fucked-up lives that of
everybody in the house, only Bobby and Hank mostly manage
to be happy.

Enough to make her cry if she's not careful.

Way up above her, Hank mutters, "Oh. So you get it."

Fuck. And it would be so far beyond wrong if she turned on
Hank *now* after all that c'mon, get happy shit. But damn.

One-more-cute-detail-away-from-being-team-mascot *Bobby*.

And the Professor knowing and not doing a damned thing and
it's both reassuring and not. Rocking her little world.

And Hank's eyes are so *sad*. So clearly thinking that
she's gonna hate him, and if not she *should*. She doesn't
even need to be psi for that. So.

So what?

Suck it up. Official saying of her high school field hockey
team and maybe the official saying of the whole fucking
world. "Hank, I don't --"

"Respect me any less? Forgive me if I doubt that."

"Yeah, well, I'll get over it, and don't tell me that I
shouldn't. Just... Don't. You can't make up anyone's mind
but your own."

"Which would be the source of the problem."

"Bullshit. You'd want him even if he didn't want you, and
you *know* it."

"Ah, but then it wouldn't be anyone's problem but my own,
now would it?"

Dr. Know-It-All voice like armor, and Jean fucking. Hates.

But Jean's also pretty fucking worked over right about now.
Fuck. Make a decision. "Just don't hurt him, Hank. Even if
you think it's for his own good."

"Even if it *is* for his own good?"

"Not your choice."

"It's *my* choice whether or not I do anything about his
feelings, Jean."

"Yeah, well, remember there's another *person* on the other
side of things. That's all I ask."

"He's *fifteen*."

"He's falling in love with you."

Hank looks like she's just punched him, and hell, maybe she
has, but it needed to be said.

At least, she thinks it did. Fuck. Never anything clean
about sex. Never.

Defeated look. "Why can't you let this go?"

Because I can't. Because I don't want to. Jean works up a
smile. "We've already got one hideously unhappy mutant
because of this. Maybe I just don't want two."

"As if there aren't two already. Or three, if we count

"Bobby's happy with you and I'll *get over it*. Scott
doesn't count. Scott's not even fucking human most of the
time. Don't worry about us. Worry about yourself."

"I already do."

"Then *stop* worrying about yourself, fuck, I don't know.
*Fuck*. Look. I'm. I'm going to crash, and you're going to
fucking just *deal*. And you're *not* going to hurt Bobby."

Long, heavy sigh. "You know that I... if I thought there
was *any* other way --"

"Just *don't*. It. It's not worth it, Hank."

Not even sure if she means it, but if his misery spreads
any farther she's gonna have a headache for *days*.
Shivery and hurting somewhere deep in her chest, and she
isn't totally sure why.

Whisper at the back of her head.


"If you don't get your ass in there, he's gonna wake up

Wow. Gone just like that. Back into the dark, sliding in
beside Bobby, and she hears him mutter something
incomprehensible into Hank's chest.

Not that she really wants to go diving back into the
teenaged sewer of Bobby's brain, but she wants to be
sure. Different kinds of thoughts that people think when
they're conscious.

And without the happy Freudian unconscious at work, it's
not so bad.  Bobby's thinking very clear, very bright
thoughts at this point. Mostly relating to Hank and the
way he feels against him. How tight Hank holds onto him.

The sheer joy of cuddling up to somebody who's prepared to
hang onto him.

Stuffed animal country. Time to get hers from home.

Flash of a few other things that're going to keep her from
ever looking at her stuffies quite the same way.

Warm darkness and faint TV-flicker hitting the wall beside
her and some wet, quiet noises that probably involve the
kind of wet, serious kissing she'd like to be involved in
and doesn't want to think about Hank and Bobby doing.

Catches the edge of Hank's brain as she's pulling back.
Warmth of Bobby-kisses and that ache's still there.
Wanting Bobby and not having him, and Hank feels really,
really old, and also really, really not. Like maybe what
he wants more than anything is somebody old enough to hold
him back.

Which is.

Really, really sad, actually.

But Jean's maybe had enough of playing junior shrink for
the night.

Backs off quiet as she can and heads up the stairs, trying
for that quiet the Professor taught her. That saved her
life, probably. Like putting in earplugs and blindfolding
herself and curling up in a dark, dark room.

Hasn't wanted to go there for a while, but Jean's pretty
abruptly remembering the unfun parts of being telepathic.

Doesn't bother turning on the light in her room.

Closes the door firmly and quietly behind her and picks her
way to the bed, barking her shins twice and cursing herself
for being an idiot, but finally making it to her bed.

Works on her shields until she can sleep.


Will dance for feedback.