prodigalflame: (Default)
John had been curious about ever since Bobby had unpacked. He'd found the toy amongst Bobby's things, and slipped it aside into a drawer while Bobby was in the kitchen. He wasn't about to confront Bobby about it: for someone with thrilled to the idea of getting caught, actual sex and actual sexual habits could still make him clam up like the boy next door Bobby wanted to be.

Boys next door had dildos, though. They had toys, and fianc├ęs, and they fucked like rabbits in the men's room of at least three pubs John could name. As far as John could tell, there was nothing incompatible with helping old ladies across the street and being the biggest dorky dad ever, and having a healthy, active, and mildly kinky sex life. All Bobby needed was to bridge the gap.

And besides, John really wanted to try the fucking thing. Bobby certainly hadn't taken it with him back to Boston, and so he must have bought it there, played with it under covers and behind closed doors, mouth clamped shut even as he'd thought of John, John, John.

"You're an adventurous slut there, sweetheart," John had muttered when he'd had an afternoon to himself, and gotten it out, checked all the settings, the batteries, all of it. He propped up the pillows on their bed, kicked away the covers, and slid back, slicking his fingers up with lube to play with himself gently. But that wasn't enough, that was not going to be enough. Eyeing the thing (it looked bigger now he was gonna use it, all glossy black and sleek), John took a breath, lowering himself down, and found with a bit of a noise that the head slid in easily. He moved around a bit to find the right angle and - yeah. That was good. Panting a little in anticipation, John grunted as he got it all the way in, and only then did he turn it onto the lowest setting, a near-instant sheen of sweat coating his face, body unable to do more than rock as it set up waves of pleasure deep within him, face going slacker and slacker in ecstasy.
prodigalflame: (mommy dearest)
It was well past time. Ellen Allerdyce been sitting in her car for twenty minutes, considering how and what to say. War gaming various approaches was simply another delay, and she'd never thought of herself as a shrinking violet. So she fixed her hair in the small rear view mirror, checked her jacket, and ensured everything was as good as it could be. A woman's wardrobe was her armour. While the clothes were perhaps a few years (more than a few) out of fashion (much like the family car, a small hatchback), they were clean and in good condition. She may have looked a bit old-fashioned perhaps, a bit too perfect, but she had been an Avon saleswoman. She'd done a lot of things for her family. And she could make this sale.

So, taking a breath, she keyed the motor off, got out of the car, locked it, and marched up the small pathway to knock at the door.
prodigalflame: (Default)
These days, the evening meal was quiet in the Allerdrake household. There were the usual, half-hearted attempts at conversation, a cursory 'how was your day?', while John poked at his food and pretended to not notice what Bobby was eating. Or pretended not to hear about what a great workout he'd had at gym.

The evenings were like that too, more than most, and the days stretched, filled in by uncomfortable silences that even John didn't want to interrupt. When they had sex, or cuddled, or brought a sudden, impulsive smile to each other's lips, it felt good, so shockingly good and rare and true that for John at least it threw the other, dreary-dull-polite times into stark contrast.

While John had never, could never, would never do the crazy vegan thing, he wasn't doing a lot of frying or roasting. Instead, he was making a lot of salads: mostly with grilled haloumi, or chicken tossed through, or couscous and roasted vegetables, stuff like that. It was the closest he could come to a compromise. And salads seemed to suit the summer.

Besides, Bobby was judging him well enough, for not being ridiculous in his culinary habits, so John sat at the table in muted silence and speared a cube of cooked haloumi with his fork.

Some nights he could across at the living room and almost pretend he was alone at the table, alone in the house.
prodigalflame: (quietly pleased)
They had left London from St Pancras on the Eurostar early on the Thursday morning, one suitcase between them and just a couple of bits of hand luggage: this was a short getaway, John had said, not an exchange program. Bobby had made a list, of course, and John had groaned and kissed him anyway.

He'd made sure to get decent seats on the Eurostar too - standard premiere class so they had enough leg room and space and food that wasn't crap - although he'd spent most of his time with his nose in one of his texts, a hand absently stroking along Bobby's forearm as it rested on the seat arm between them.

Disembarking in Paris had been a bustle, with Bobby trying to remember his high school French and John popping open the phrase book and pointing to maps on his phone. Fortunately they arrived at the boutique hotel a little way off Avenue Victor Hugo without much more fuss, and John had promptly dived onto the bed for respite after they'd checked in. It was a nice room, all wood paneling and space and kind of grand, the kind of thing John had picked out (and Bobby had said 'Fine, that looks good' to), but he hadn't been allowed to flop down for too long before unpacking, and then hitting the pavement, mostly to gawk.

Paris was Paris. It wasn't New York, or San Francisco, or London or any of the places John had been to in the UK (which consisted entirely of Brighton, Oxford, Leeds and Hull); it had a air and atmosphere of its own, with seemingly insane traffic, vaguely amused Parisians, other gawking tourists (so they fit right in); the Metro, the sidewalk cafes, the history, the sense that everyone local was somehow better dressed - John's hand found Bobby's and he held it as they browsed maps and tourist guides and took photos and wandered around. For his nerves (and he had been nervous the last little while, all too conscious of the rings he had back in a suitcase in the hotel), he was gonna hold that hand and be proud and let everyone see it, fuck 'em if they had an issue.

That day was Midnight Mass (Bobby's idea), and John who'd been raised in faith and torn it down like everything else he used to believe in was moved by the sanctity of it, the sense of community. Respect must be paid. And Christmas morning they had lingered long in bed before John had reminded Bobby to get his ass in gear, promising that his present would come later. There was after all, an Eiffel Tower to visit, an ice rink to skate on, and a proposal to propose.
prodigalflame: (Default)
John felt weary as he clambered up the couple of steps to the porch. His legs were lead; his brow creased; his spine stiff and uncomfortable. He'd only stopped for one drink and that had clearly not been enough. It wasn't that he was tired, for his head was chasing itself around with unproductive, dark thoughts at fifty miles an hour.

Fumbling in his pocket, he pulled out the keys and even sliding them home in the lock seemed too much of a task. Around him the London gloom seemed oppressive, and it didn't seem to lift inside the house, all dark rooms and black windows, papers not done, books unread, the products of a life - his life - aimless and artless.

He hid the rings behind some boxes at the bottom shelf of one of many bookcases in his study, safe in the knowledge that Bobby didn't really infringe upon his privacy, didn't really impose, didn't really push - but god, sometimes he wished he did. Sometimes he was just plain tired of hiding things, of sorting through the truths to tell and parsing them, of biting his tongue, of pushing it down, of being - well, not a good guy, but a dishonest guy. Because that what it felt like.

Who did he have to confess to, now that no-one could ever figure out his crimes?

Closing his eyes, he pushed himself back up, and god, he felt old. He'd set fire to two businesses earlier that day, and it had felt good. Enjoyable, even. Pure. He'd kept himself to strict limits, there'd be no casualties, and he'd walked away with a chuckle in his eyes, but...it was the kind of shit he'd pulled when he was a kid. Petty. Angry. Us versus them. And running into Em, and hearing her story; and then running into Jag - it reminded him there were different ways of using power, of loving fire, of being him.

Bobby was probably upstairs, but John didn't go up. It felt too much like forgiveness. Bobby always did, even at Alcatraz. Then, it had just made him angrier. Now, it shamed him. So he rummaged around in the kitchen for the bottle of vodka he stashed away for nights like this, and retired to the couch to drink, and drink, and drink.
prodigalflame: (Default)
After bumping into Em at the New Artist Fair, John thought about stalking around the streets of London for a while. He'd stayed to look at some of the other artists, but only as long as he thought necessary: now, especially now, he was just being a college kid again, just some irate doofus who made stupid comments about art. Nothing to see here, thank you very much.

If he hadn't have been so furious, he might have been concerned at how easily he dove into habits of a life gone by: checking where the CCTV was, keeping the collar of his jacket up, careful to cross roads in the thick of a crowd. Always assuming that someone might be watching. Just because that red-headed fascist hadn't shown up to put the word up him again didn't mean they weren't around.

Because now they were after Em, it seemed. And from Em, to him, and from him to Bobby.

In the end he'd moved from the fair back to the house with a predator's efficiency through the afternoon throng: kicking it around the streets wasn't the right thing to do. He was too intense for that, too cursed with dark thoughts and darker desires, and they kept stewing in his mind. And again, wandering around London while being stone cold sober was just asking for someone to wonder what the fuck he was up to.

So he let the gate latch close behind him with a clink, opened up the door like any normal person, and casually closed it behind him. Striding down the corridor, he was like a different man, in a different house; wary, coiled tight, the walking wounded, and practically hopped over the back of the couch to land there, knees pulled up, and didn't look at the TV or his boyfriend. Didn't especially care if he'd interrupted Bobby watching what the fuck ever.

"Some people came looking for Em," he announced, in a hard tone. "Possible kidnap attempt, possible damage intended." He wasn't sure which would be worse. Finally then, he pulled his lighter out, rubbed it across a palm. "I think someone's looking for us." And only then did he let himself look at Bobby.
prodigalflame: (Default)
Heathrow was a bitch. Okay, that was discriminatory. Heathrow was a fucking nightmare. "It would have been so much easier to just take the train," John muttered to himself as he drove around the short-stay car park. But while taking the rail link to and from town would have been convenient and cheap, it would have also meant exposing Bobby to a bunch of people in a train carriage. And for all that the trip had gone well (or so he'd been told) and the flight across the pond was not so long (or so he'd experienced), John just couldn't do that to his boyfriend.

After having to spend happy fake time with his family and probably lying through his teeth all the while (which John didn't question, even if he took some umbrage in the back of his head), John wanted him to have some privacy and the capacity to relax a little.

So he'd hired a car. He didn't have one in London; didn't need one. They were close enough into town to use the Tube, walk to the shops, and get to college. But that day he'd gritted his teeth, picked up a car from the lot and remembered to drive on the wrong side of the road.

About half an hour later he was inside the surging mass of humanity, found the gate Bobby's plane was arriving at, and then he stood there in chinos and a t-shirt because it was still warm in the London summer, tapping his toe anxiously with no lighter to flick.

Whereas some of the starched shirts in the crowd held up signs for the people they were picking up, John did as well - but his simply read 'my boyfriend'.
prodigalflame: (Default)
While they'd only been living in the same room for a while, it was clear to anyone that John was mildly messy. His clothes might be folded and stuffed in a drawer (not always the same drawer, or with the right things), but there were piles of books that only made sense to him, as well as associated music stuff over in the corner. He kept most of his marking in the study downstairs, deliberately trying to wall off 'work' from the more enjoyable things that happened in the bedroom. Mind, enjoying Bobby seemed to happen in every room of the house, so it was probably a futile quest.

Still, in the wardrobe there was a plastic storage container with a snap-lock top, the type people used to store socks, or spare handyman equipment (batteries, bolts and nails), and a million other little things.

The container was on the top shelf; it could have held anything, wasn't stuffed under the bed or anything private. But it was John's porn collection: a couple of DVDs, one military themed, one office themed, both involving taking the new guy out for something beyond a simple hazing, with some bondage and some rough fucking, based on the DVD covers; a bundle of spank mags which tended to show men and women in authoritative poses, the men in suit and tie, the women in uniform, and a few with riding crops or paddles or cuffs on a nearby chair or hooked in belts. There were a bunch of mags with men in submissive poses as well, or as part of a couple. But just as the more authoritative figures were softened by smirks or crooked grins or the hint of a smile, the submissive partner was typically being held or pinned, chin in the other's hand as a kiss was offered, a lot of full body contact. There were also a fair few shots with hands close around someone's neck as they kissed, and a lot of leather. Like, a lot.

(Both DVD covers featured boyishly handsome guys with blue eyes, not that that meant anything.)

And there were items, too, in the container: some rope, leather gloves, a riding crop, some padded leather cuffs with a loop to make them easier to fasten to whatever was handy, a ballgag, an eye-mask and a dildo. All of John's sexual history (and much of his fantasy life) laid out for anyone to see.
prodigalflame: (Default)
They were snuggled up on the couch watching an animated movie, because it had been a long week: a long week of marking and frustration for John, and a long week of studying and planning for Bobby. But things had started to take shape, now that there was a List, and an increasing determination to hold onto this, to hold onto London, as if the rest of the world was on another planet.

Because here they could be dorks and live together and snuggle on couches. Here John could drop a kiss to Bobby's hair as his boyfriend rested his head on his shoulder. Here John could actually be a sappy-as-fuck asshole who could admit to liking animated movies. Here, nothing else much mattered beyond their shared language of grins and kisses and morning coffee and lazy blowjobs.

Here, John had said 'I love you', and meant it.

And then the house phone rang, and John shifted a little to look at his boyfriend, one hand still on the side of Bobby's head, keeping him close and warm. He certainly wasn't expecting any calls: most people in London used his cell (sorry, mobile) number. It was mostly his mom who used it, and ugh. There was an unspoken question in his eyes: You want me to get that?
prodigalflame: (Default)
Two nights ago, John had signalled a time out on account of how tired he'd been after teaching three classes and catching up with his load of marking. Last night, he'd begged off with a headache and a wan smile. Both nights, there had been snuggling, and kissing, but nothing too intense. It wasn't that he didn't want Bobby - quite the opposite, he wanted his boyfriend all the fucking time, he wanted him in every goddamn room in the house and across half of London and he wanted to bend over the couch and practically order Bobby to fuck him hard more often than not.

Which explained why movie night that night involved John being hard and uncomfortable and sitting apart on the sofa, trying to disguise his boner with a bowl of popcorn. He knew Bobby wouldn't be ashamed of things, wouldn't judge him, would never judge him. (Okay, he might judge him for some of John's kinkier fantasies, but he wasn't going there. Yet.) And that made it worse, because John knew that the only person who was liable to embarrassed about what a slutty bottom on poppers he'd become was himself.

He didn't know what to do about that. He didn't know how not to be embarrassed guy with awkward boner.
prodigalflame: (Default)
There was something oddly satisfying about cooking. It was like getting back at his mom and showing up everyone he ever knew all at once. Chopping ingredients and sorting through recipes - sure, he was a lot more haphazard than his mom had ever raised him to be, but he got shit done. The actual act of cooking was restorative, using his powers in a fashion that didn't lead to ash and char and devastation.

Mind, right now, his mind wasn't entirely on the recipe he was preparing. After all, he was standing there in his apron and a pair of socks and not much else. Trying to ignore just how aware he was of his bare butt, John 'hmmm'd like it was any other evening, and turned the page of his tattered old recipe book, glancing between the ingredients he'd roughly chopped on the counter and the illustration.

Fuck it, Italian food was always supposed to be a bit rustic. He'd wing the rest, he decided, and got on with it, igniting the gas under the pot of water with a flick of a switch - and then keeping it going with his mind. Cooking with powers was trickier than most people would assume, especially with his powers - he was still dependent on something else igniting the flame, and then he had to manually control the flame despite the flow of the gas through the stove. He'd been doing it since he was 14, though - so that was something. And he sang a little to himself, snatches of stupid dorky love songs, as he decided to chop up some salami and olives.

At least when Bobby came home he'd have two surprises waiting for him.
prodigalflame: (Default)
John was in what he personally called the library, the long L-shaped room that curved around the front of the house to the side where the main entrance was. It was one of the reasons he'd bought the place: between the library and the little study, the house was full of more shelves and crooks and spaces for books than he frankly knew what to do with.

For all the (unfortunately 1990s) renovations that modernised the kitchen and the bathrooms, this part of the house still smelt musty. Old. Like paper. Like books. And being the academic he was trying to be, the afternoon found John sitting on one of the window seats, book propped open against his raised knees, all but wedged in the window frame. There was a stack of books next to him on the carpet. From time to time he added little sticky flags or took notes on a notepad. He'd managed to get all his marking done for the week, but narrowing down his dissertation topic was still slightly out of his reach.

And for all that, he glanced every so often out the wrought iron setting of the large window, peering to see if his boyfriend was home yet. They needed to have a talk.
prodigalflame: (Default)
John was on the mostly-unused landline, his hip leaning against a kitchen cabinet, legs loosely crossed at the ankle. There was a faint anxiety to him: while the phone was cradled in his left hand, his right absently played with his hair, and he chewed on his lower lip in those moments in which he simply had to listen.

Which, were anyone there to see, were frequent and long. Indeed, John was able to punctuate things with an appropriate number of "Uh-huh", "That's nice" and "Sure, Mom" - hurriedly changed to a more polite "Yes, Mom" when he could all but feel the significant pause down the line. God, he thought, hurry up - except it was early afternoon there, a few hours behind, so Mom had all the time in the world.

And considering it had been seven years, she had a lot to say. It wasn't like he hadn't heard it - or some of it - before. But as the afternoon wore on, John's face grew more stony and rather than chewing his lip he pressed his mouth into a thin line, saying less and less and trying to keep one eye out for Bobby getting home and coming down the hall.
prodigalflame: (quietly pleased)
It was a night like many other nights. John got home from classes with a grumble that mostly disappeared when he saw Bobby. He heated up the pumpkin soup he'd cooked the night before, and declared it better the second time. His grumbling returned when he retreated to the study to pore over open books, make jagged notes on several different pads and promptly strike them all out. Turning to marking and taking some notes on the tutorial discussion he'd lead earlier that day went better; as he told Bobby, he did actually like the 'dingbats', as he called them, although John could never quite imagine himself being that young.

And like most nights, it had ended up with John feeling a lot better by sitting in Bobby's lap, fisting a hand in Bobby's hair, and making out like it it was going out of style.

"You're really good at kissing," John declared, pressing lighter kisses to Bobby's hair, squirming a little so Bobby had to feel the way his ass moved against that crotch. "A-plus, definitely. Same for your blowjobs. And hand jobs." But there was one thing John had yet to uh, grade.
prodigalflame: (Default)
John had woken early in his own bed, alone, and found that this whole 'sleeping together once or twice in the past week' thing was getting to be annoyingly habit-forming. Alone was starting to feel...odd.

Still, he made them a pot of coffee, leaving a mug out on the counter for Bobby, and took his own to settle on the couch with his thoughts and look out at the wintry landscape, little more than some paving and a few dreary shrubs and bushes, windows edged with frost.

The fire was warm, so he let his robe fall open, and simply cradled the mug in his hands. Underneath the tree he'd left a present in matte silver wrapping paper with a snowflake design and a small gift card with Bobby's name on it. Inside was a copy of Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks, although that wasn't the real gift. The real gift was the Sinatra app John had bought and sneakily installed on Bobby's phone after his boyfriend - god, boyfriend - had gone to bed that evening.

Tucked up inside the book was another present, although John wasn't entirely sure of the impulse that led him to place it in the front cover. It was an old photo, taken on the grounds of the Xavier Institute, with two teenage boys sitting on one of those benches they had dotted around. Bobby was leaning forward, smiling at the camera, either looking happy or clever enough to fake it; and John was sitting next to him, but at a distance, leaning back with arms stretched out along the back of the bench, one leg crossed over the other at the ankle, and looking anywhere but the camera, a picture in studied, deliberate angry-cool. It had been taken a couple of months after Rogue had arrived at the Mansion and everything had changed, but to John it was still a worthy memory, at least some of the time.
prodigalflame: (Default)
John had woken early and moved lightly under the sheets, to prop his head up on one hand and just look at the young man sleeping on the other side of the bed. Bobby Drake. Bobby freaking Drake, probably Robert, possibly Louis just for shits and giggles, sleeping in his bed, curled up under the covers after a night that wasn't nearly drunk enough to give either of them any excuses.

John just looked at him for a few minutes that felt like a lifetime, breathing quiet, speaking no words, and the smile that spread across his face was full of wonder. Even if no one was awake to see it.

So he snuck out of bed like a thief, grabbing a decent plush robe from the back of the door and tying it around his waist, and headed down the stairs to fry up some eggs and bacon for breakfast. Breakfast for two, that was.

The problem, he decided, after he'd gotten the eggs out and made sure the bacon was defrosted, was that there was no fucking point in cooking a romantic/cute/welcoming/what-the-fuck-ever breakfast if he got it wrong.

So he trooped 'round to the stairwell near the dining area and bellowed "Hey, asshole! Get down here and tell me how you like your eggs."
prodigalflame: (Default)
The roommate search wasn't completely awful. There were two possibles John thought he could bear to live with, and two others who were so inoffensively bland as to be offensive.

Emily was a bubbly little thing, all blond tips and cheeky giggle; and Tim was tall, pleasant, with a strong handshake and just the hint of a knowing smirk. Either of them could do, would do; neither had clued into his cheesy 'X marks the spot to your new place' in-joke he'd put on the poster, with a very distinctive X-symbol. And well, that just meant some more hiding, another day spent under the radar and with his head down - and John had never done particularly well at 'low key.'

So he'd fobbed the both of them off for another few days and lo, some 'Drake' had texted him. Hence why John was plumping couch cushions in the middle of the afternoon, with dishes clean and stacked, pizza boxes all in the recycling and his notes and marking neatly organised on the coffee table - people wanted to live with model students, didn't they?

"What else, what else...?" he muttered to himself, looking around the place. Porn was stashed, bathroom cleaned, laundry stuffed in the hamper: everything as tidy as it got with him. Which wasn't half-bad, these days.

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'John'. Just 'John.'

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