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Author's Chapter Notes:
disclaimer: All characters belong to Marvel and Fox and a bunch of other people, I'm sure.
dedication: Written for Mecca for the 2005 xmmficathon.
spoilers: Through the second movie
Twinkies make everything okay again.

Well, they don’t, not really, Dr. Grey is still dead, and Mr. Summers walks around the school with his head down, shoulders slumped (Bobby doesn’t even think he’s eating much anymore), and Ms. Frost is far more demanding in class than anyone else, and worst of all, Rogue still has that damn crush on Logan, and now she’s sent on missions with him because Professor Xavier thinks they team up well.

Bobby hates Logan, and calls him a jerk, but he knows he’s being an ass himself, if his biggest problem is Rogue breaking up with him when the world has gone crazy and people he knows are dead, or as good as.

But no matter what, processed sugar makes him happy again, and part of it is just the delicious food itself, but part of it is because Twinkies mean Hank, and that means a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s the type of fun which goes right over Bobby’s head, couched in words with ten syllables and mathematical equations filled with symbols he doesn’t know how to recognize, much less calculate, but it’s better than sitting around and feeling sorry for himself. All he’s lost is a girlfriend.

Well, a girlfriend and a best friend, and not in that cheesy she-was-my-whole-life kind of way. Rogue was the girlfriend, of course, and she was a friend, too, but she hadn’t been around very long, and they weren’t really close.

John, though, John had been there a long time, longer than Bobby. John was the first guy Bobby met when he arrived, and had showed him the ropes. (He’d also showed him lots of fire, how he could light something up and then pull the flames back before it could burn.) John watched tv with him, and played table hockey when they should have been doing homework.

If they’d been normal guys in a regular high school, they would have skipped school together (if they’d been friends, and maybe they wouldn’t. John liked to be the bad boy, act all tough, and Bobby really didn’t), but it was impossible to do it when they lived with their teachers and always had mind readers around.

(It’s like there’s a two-person minimum, just as soon as they got back from Alkali Lake, Professor X brought in Ms. Frost, and she wasn’t much like Dr. Grey, except she seemed to like Mr. Summers a lot and she knew everyone’s thoughts. She wore short skirts and tight shirts, and she smiled just a little too much whenever anyone stared. Professor X said he stayed out of their minds when it wasn’t necessary, and all telepaths should follow that rule, but Ms. Frost must have a different definition of necessary.)

The best change—the only good change—is Hank. First thing he told the whole school was not to call him Dr. McCoy, and though some of the little kids are scared of how big he is and all that blue fur, Bobby started spending time with him because he was new, and he didn’t mope around like everyone else.

Bobby understood the moping, it was part of losing someone, and even the people who hadn’t spent much time with Dr. Grey realized just how bad people hated them even though they were just kids, and for a long time all anyone could think about was how little they could do to protect themselves.

But moping made him feel bad, and Hank talked to him as if he could understand everything, even when he knew nothing.

Then they became friends.

Bobby showed him his favorite video games, and played music, but Hank’s favorite thing was junk food. Twinkies topped the list, but anything sweet or salty, soft or crunchy, and, most importantly, bad for them, was fair game.

Professor Xavier’s big on nutrition, and for a house full of kids, they have surprisingly little junk food on hand, but Hank keeps the lab stocked. Word gets out fast at a boarding school, and some of the others, the ones not afraid of him, sneak in and gorge whenever they can. Hank just laughs, turns his back, and buys more. It’s a great thing, like a sanctuary in the middle of the school, and everyone starts to feel a little bit safer, even though junk food isn’t going to save them the next time the government comes through with guns, and they all know it.

It’s great most of the time at least, but not when Bobby can’t sleep, heads to the lab for food and company, and finds only empty boxes and no Hank.

He curses and throws the Little Debbie box on the floor. It isn’t anyone’s favorite, and he hoped there would be at least one left, but it’s been ransacked too.

“Robert, such language only reveals a lack of intelligence and creativity.”

He’s told Hank a hundred times to call him Bobby, and sometimes Hank does, but mostly he does not.

“Yeah, well, intelligence and creativity don’t matter when there’s no more food.” Bobby kicks the box and turns around. Hank is wearing a big overcoat and a fedora pulled low over his forehead. It’s hot in the summer, even at night, and so much physical covering means he’s going out.

“Indeed. This is why I have prepared to journey into the city to purchase disposable comestibles.”

Bobby has to think about it for a minute.

“Twinkies,” Hank prompts. “Would you care to accompany me?”

He’s only wearing boxer shorts and a t-shirt with a rip in the neck. No shoes. Stain on the bottom hem of his pants, from slopping cheese fondue into his lap. He’d frozen it before it burned his skin, but it stained anyway.

“Can we take the jet?”

“Absolutely not.”

“What about Cyclops’ bike?”

“Logan has already acquired it this evening.” Bobby scowls at that, and at the image of Rogue sitting behind him, holding him so she wouldn’t fall off. Not that he wants her to get hurt. It’s just all complicated. “If you like, we can take one of the convertible vehicles.”

“Yeah!” Bobby flushes, and moderates himself. “I mean, great idea.” He keeps a pair of sandals in the lab, slip-on Adidas, because the floor gets cold at night during the winter. They sit under the line of coat hooks attached to the wall where Hank hangs his lab coats. He buys them special order, because of his size, and in bulk, because he always manages to tear them up somehow, stains or rips or any number of things.

“Perhaps we will be able to come to an agreement on what film to watch while we eat.” Hank grins and it flashes a lot of sharp, pointy teeth. “As long as you do not insist on low-budget cinema in which the blood is actually poorly-disguised corn syrup.”

Bobby always wins, though, so he’s not too worried about it. Once in awhile he lets Hank choose, and he usually enjoys the movies they watch, sometimes only after things are explained to him, and he has to be in the mood to read the subtitles, otherwise he can’t pay attention, but sometimes.

Not tonight. Tonight he wants Twinkies and soda so the sugar buzz will last all night. He wants mindless action and horror with lots of fake blood. He wants to forget he’s a mutant and an X-Man and wants to pretend he’s just any other teenage boy.

He thinks he knows why John left—after all, Bobby’s family sold them out, his family let the police come for them, and that makes him angry and sad all at once, so he understands a little better why Magneto hates the humans and why John wants to use his power—but he thinks it was the wrong choice.

After all, he’s with the good guys, and the good guys will win. He hopes they’ll win, anyway, and he feels right about his choice. Not that he made a choice really, but he could have left too and he didn’t. He could try to go home and try to not be a mutant, but he won’t.

Things aren’t so bad. Kitty smiles at him sometimes, and he goes on missions, ones the Professor thinks will be safe, and he heard Mr. Summers laugh for half a second the other day at something Ms. Frost said. Things change, people heal.

And no matter if he’s feeling good or bad, Hank’s always there. John might have played games and joked around, but he never really listened to the heavy stuff (Bobby didn’t have a lot of deep thoughts back then, when life was still pretty rosy, but John wouldn’t have listened too well even if he had), and Hank does.

Plus he’s always willing to go get Twinkies, and all that processed sugar helps. It makes things okay again, at least as long as he’s eating them. These days, Bobby will take what he can get.

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