Logs:It's Dangerous To Go Alone

From X-Men: rEvolution
It's Dangerous To Go Alone
Dramatis Personae

B, Peter


Take this.


MIT, Massachusetts

Typically, the dorm room is neatly delineated; it's clear two people live here, although it's never clear which is which. One thing is for certain, though: They're both nerds.

One crucial hint: Peter's side is the one with the soldering mat, complete with a mounted magnifying glass on a pivoting arm. There's also a poster on the wall for Young Justice, a poster of an old Captain America comic cover (where he's punching what looks like a Nazi dinosaur), several books on engineering and computer science, and bed-sheets with Batman symbols. Listen: You're never too old to enjoy Batman.

The door opens. Peter is flustered, his bright pink face flush with warmth -- dressed in an untucked blue-collar shirt and black slacks. He has a death-grip on the doorknob; he has to remind himself not to squish the thing like tinfoil. He's not even entirely inside before he's speaking: "B, I'm sorry. I didn't know that he was like that --"

Peter doesn't finish the sentence. Instead, he stops in his tracks, watching B with growing anxiety. It's probably not the first time they've had this conversation since coming to MIT. It may, however, be the last.

Engineering and computer science books proliferate on the other side of the room, too, though B's desk has vividly bright artwork looking down at the half-dismantled bug-like robots whose guts lie scattered on its surface. The bedsheets on hir half of the room have the Flash's lightning bolt stretched across their surface so -- kind of a tossup on that front.

It's the Flash bed that B is heading for as ze pushes (a little roughly) through the door past Peter. The fact that she stops, sits, struggles for a moment to tug off hir chunky platform shoes before casting hirself facedown on the bed kind of ruins the drama of it, but ze does heave a large sigh once she finally WHUMPS onto the mattress. Hir gills rasp scratchily against the inside of hir jacket collar before ze sits up long enough to shuck the wool coat. "-- I'm sure he's not." A long beat. B's voice is muffled once she flops back down, face mooshing into the pillow, but it's still easy enough to hear the clipped-short tenseness of hir words. "To /you/."

Crrrnk. There is a slight popping sound that follows the clunk of those platform shoes. Peter steps in, drawing the door shut and releasing it. The knob now has a shallow thumb-shaped groove along its top, curling around its surface. Fortunately, it still works -- though even if it didn't, it wouldn't be the first time they had to replace it.

"Well, he's not going to get the chance to, to -- I mean... Just. Fuck," he says, proceeding to mop his face with both hands. Peter is not typically prone to cursing. He takes a moment to relish it, striding from his side of the room, then back to hirs. He's grinding both fists into his sockets. "M'sorry. I thought he was -- like, he knows I'm one. He never said anything like that before, but with you, all of the sudden he's just like -- God this would be easier if they just, I don't know. Wore name-tags, or something."

He's still grinding as he hovers near B's bed -- almost hovering over hir -- not sure what to do. His hands fall from his face. He reaches out -- tentatively -- for B's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."

There's a slow prickling-tearing, B's claws digging into the pillow beside her head, scrunching in, squeezing down. Carefully extricating themselves before ze makes ribbons of hir pillowcase.

Under Peter's hand, hir shoulder is tense. Ze drags hirself up slowly, scooches back to slump against the wall with hir knees pulled up against hir chest. "He knows you're a mutant." Hir voice is low and a bit raspy, but hir eyes are clear as they fix on the opposite wall. "That's a whole different thing than having to deal with a monster."

Thunk. Hir head falls back far too heavily against the wall, eyes briefly tightening in a wince. "It isn't just him, Peter. I mean, he's a jerk. But even the people who aren't calling me slurs to my face are -- are --" Hir lips clamp hard together. It takes a long while before she lifts coal-black eyes to meet Peter's. "... I'm sorry, too. I thought I could just. Tough it out through next year. But I --"

Peter squeezes that tense, clenched shoulder; he sinks down to sit on the edge of the bed, across from B as ze scooches up to that wall. When B says the word 'monster', Peter's response is immediate: "You're not a monster." But there's something automatic about it; like it's a thing he's had to say so many times that he's almost forgotten what it means. Not just to hir -- to others: Ze isn't a monster.

Peter's brows knit together like two gears grinding in place. He meets B's gaze, but his eyes keep wanting to sink back down to the bed. "I --" His nostrils flare; his eyes close. He leans forward, bringing his temple down to gently bonk against B's. Bonk. "I hate this," he mumbles.

Then, much more quietly -- eyes still closed. "I'll go too. We can -- I don't know. It's not fair."

B's gills flutter more rapidly, hir forehead resting solidly against Peter's. "You're way too smart to be so dumb." Hir hand falls to rest cool webbed fingers over Peter's paler ones, and ze squeezes gently. "You shouldn't leave because people are terrible. People are going to be terrible everywhere. Stay here and show them all up. Graduate top of our class, that'll definitely piss off even some of the people who pretend they're okay with you."

Ze pulls hir head back. Smiles quick, smiles bright -- though the flutter of hir gills hasn't eased off. "And I'll be fine. It's not like I need a degree to be awesome, right?"

Peter grunts, but leans in to the contact -- both hir forehead and hir webbed hands. "I hate this," he only repeats, eyes still closed. When B pulls hir head back, Peter's just hovers in place; his eyes finally open only after ze finishes speaking. "I really hate this," he adds, once more. He's not smiling, but he's not frowning. He just looks tired.

His eyes remain focused on B's gills for several long moments before meeting hir eyes. This time, there's a focus to them -- a clarity. Suddenly, he stands up and turns to his side of the room, moving to kneel at his desk. He rummages in the space underneath for several moments, retrieving something from a compartment hidden carefully behind one of the drawers.

"There's something I have to give you."

B doesn't move from the bed. Hir shoulders slump a little, curl a little inward, when Peter rises. Ze pulls hirself back up straighter for a moment, but only a moment, ultimately sagging back and wrapping one arm around hir shins. Hir toes curl against the bedsheets, claws prickling slightly through hir striped purple and black knee-socks. "I didn't know people usually got, like, dropping-out-of-school presents." She's pushing for lightness in hir tone, but it comes out a little too flat.

Peter turns back to the bed, holding a shoebox. He crouches next to hir, right where hir tiny clawtips are poking out from those socks -- removing the shoebox's top and presenting its contents -- almost like he's presenting a sword to a knight.

Inside are a set of coral-pink web-shooters along with a dozen cartridges of fluid. They're small and sleek, with adjustable wrist-mounts; a tiny pad that fits into the small of the palm extends out their tips, used to control them. "It's dangerous to go alone. Take this," he announces. Then, he blushes at his own joke.

He hurriedly explains: "I know you could make your own set if you had to, but these are -- I've been tweaking them for a while. They've got a wide-nozzle setting that lets you spread out a layer, for emergency bandaging or nets, and..." His voice dwindles off.

When he speaks again, it's just above a murmur: "I know you can't promise me you won't, but... can you -- can you promise me you'll try not to -- to -- " His voice hitches. He tries again, spoken softly in Vietnamese: "{No killing?}"

This time the flutter of B's gills is just brief, small and quick and accompanied by a widening of hir eyes, a small curl of hir lips. "Oh --" Soft, but bright. Ze hesitates, but then reaches out a hand for the box. Picks up one of the sleek pink web-shooters, turning it over in hir hand.

Hir smile fades as Peter speaks, though. Hir heavy ridged brows draw into a pensive line, and ze pulls in a slow breath. Hir fingers close around the webshooter, head tilting slightly to one side. "{I'm not a monster.}" Even -- almost gentle. "You've gotta promise me you'll try. {Not to get yourself killed.}"

"{Not a monster,}" Peter repeats -- almost with an apologetic inflection. Even as he speaks the words, there's a ghost of a smile that lingers on his face at the sight of hir hand wrapped around the web-shooter -- the sight of hir skin against the pink surface is familiar and pleasant.

Then, slowly, that smile slips away at those final words -- before he nods, his mouth a thin, straight line. Tense, but firm: "I'll try. {No killing. No dying.}"