Disclaimer: This story is fictional, and says nothing about the orientations of any member of the X-Men, or any other character related to Marvel, any celebrity or otherwise. If you are under 18 or 21, or live in a country where it's illegal to read something like this, leave, though I seriously doubt you will. If you don't like the idea of two guys in a relationship with each other, or having sex with each other, what are you doing here in the first place?

X-Men and all related characters, Copyright Marvel Comics, Created by Stan Lee

Mutant High

Chapter 2

Julian blinked, his eyes slowly getting used to the daylight streaming into the room. The curtains were drawn back, and the warm sunlight shone on his face. He smiled, remembering how Ryo held him the whole night. He couldn't sense anyone else in the bed next to him though.

He stretched and yawned, then got out of bed. He spotted a note on the bedside table and picked it up telekinetically, floating it in front of his face to read it.

If you're reading this, you're awake and I'm not back from my morning exercises. There's some instant coffee near the kettle, you can help yourself to it. If you're gone before I come back, good luck for your tests today.


Julian winced. Seven tests to take today, and he had blown three hours watching cartoons with Ryo last night. He sighed, and crumpled the note with a thought. He grabbed it and tossed it in Ryo's wastebasket near the desk. He spotted the kettle and some cups on table near the door and helped himself to some of the instant coffee. He made another cup of coffee when he heard footsteps approaching.

Ryo was dripping with sweat. He just finished his regular morning training, and had also run Molly through some of the basic movements he'd promised to teach her. He wiped his face with the sports towel he brought along with him. Thankfully, Molly was sensible enough to have brought her own "just in case". As Ryo walked up the stairs, he spotted Bobby, fully dressed and ready for the day. A little early in the morning for that, Ryo thought.

"Yo, Bobby," he called out, increasing his pace to a slow jog. Bobby turned around and smiled.

"Hey Ryo, I was on my way to your room," Bobby said once Ryo had caught up. "I wanted to see if you were up for some breakfast."

"I need a shower first," Ryo said, running a finger over his bare chest. He playfully drew a sweaty line down the centre of Bobby's forehead.

"I can see that," Bobby laughed, wiping the sweat off with his sleeve. He looked over at Ryo, taking in the sight of the lean body and tight muscles. Ryo was only wearing sweats, his towel draped across both shoulders.

"Bobby, you're staring," Ryo said a moment later. Bobby snapped out of his reverie.

"Sorry," he said. "I was trying to read the kanji on your towel." Hopefully Ryo wouldn't know that was a lie.

"You can read Japanese?" Ryo asked, apparently taking Bobby's statement at face value. The pair began walking towards Ryo's room.

"Not that much," Bobby admitted. "I love Japanese anime and music though."

Ryo smiled. "Have you heard of Bleach before? I got the DVDs for it from Japan, and they have English subtitles."

"I guess I could come watch it tonight or something," Bobby said. "If you don't mind watching it from the beginning, I guess."

"I started watching last night. Technically, we watched until episode six, but I suspect we didn't catch more than glimpses after episode three."


"My butler," Ryo winked. He glanced through his room door and saw Julian pouring a second cup of coffee. "Pour us a third, will you?" he called as he opened the door.

Ryo and Bobby entered the room as Julian finished pouring a third cup, still in his boxers. Bobby looked suspiciously at Julian. He was more cheerful than normal for the troublemaker.

Julian passed one of the coffee mugs to Bobby. "Morning Bobby." He passed the second cup to Ryo with a smile. "I'd better get going, I need to take a shower and change for class later." He grabbed his clothes from the couch and put them on quickly, then left.

"He stayed overnight?" Bobby asked.

"He came to apologise," Ryo said. "We watched Bleach for a while, but we were both burned out by yesterday's Danger Room incident and we started dozing off. I let him stay the night since he could barely keep awake while standing."

Bobby nodded. "Just be careful around him, alright? His codename isn't Hellion for no reason. He's a well-known troublemaker."

"I kicked his ass yesterday," Ryo laughed. "I don't think I have anything to worry about from him. He was a little scared of me when he first arrived to apologise last night."

Bobby smirked. "I just realised that if he was here watching anime with you, doesn't that mean both of you didn't study?"

"I don't have to study. And Julian was in a rush to leave, remember? I think he's going to try and cram everything into his brain right now." Ryo glanced quickly at the clock on his wall. "I'd better go shower. Help yourself to more coffee if you want."

"Hope you understand," Ryo said as he and Bobby headed for the cafeteria. "My friends and I did plan to meet up for old times' sake every Thursday. If they don't really want to have you around, I can't do much."

Bobby nodded. He had asked Ryo to join the rest of the team for breakfast, but Ryo had declined. Bobby had then offered to join Ryo at breakfast, but was met with a "maybe".

Ryo spotted Skids and Rusty over at a table in the corner and made his way towards them, Bobby following close behind him.

"Morning Ryo!" Skids shouted cheerfully as they got closer. "Morning Bobby! Come one and join us."

"Well, I guess it means it's fine," Ryo whispered. Bobby snorted a laugh, then joined them at the table.

David arrived not soon after. "Morning guys. Hey, can I bring a friend to our group time?"

Ryo raised an eyebrow and pointed at Bobby. "You have to ask?"

David glanced where Ryo pointed, and Bobby gave him a cheesy grin and wave. "Oh, hi Bobby. Didn't realise you weren't Molly."

"EXCUSE ME?!" Molly said from behind him. She grabbed him from behind in a choke-hold and lifted him off the floor easily. She was a lot taller than David was, and his feet were dangling inches above the ground as he struggled to get loose.

"Hey," Bobby chimed in, "you're not the only one who has the right to get angry for that remark."

David gasped for air. "S-sorry! I'm sorry!"

"You know you're gonna have to call me 'your Majesty' for the next two weeks, right?" Molly loosened her grip only slightly to let David breath, but firmly enough for him not to escape. "And you're calling Bobby 'Mr President' for the next two weeks too. Understand?"

"Y-yes," David said. Molly grip tightened and his face began turning red. "Ack! Yes, your Majesty!"

"Good, you learn fast," Molly laughed, letting David go. She snorted as David rubbed his neck. It was turning a deep shade of red. "Humph. Imagine getting me mixed up with Short-stuff over there."

"I'm not that short," Bobby protested.

"When you're my height, almost everyone is short," Molly laughed. She put her hand on the chair David was about to sit in. "Excuse me, but doesn't the Royal Court get seated before their servants?"

"Aw man," David moaned. "You're such a bully, Molly." But he waited for her to sit down before grabbing another chair and sitting next to Rusty.

"So where's the friend you wanted to bring?" Ryo asked David.

"Nowhere," David said. "It was a question for the future in case I actually do make friends here."

"You forget you don't have to shy away from people anymore just because you're a mutant," Ryo pointed out between mouthfuls of pancake. "Our town's proud of you, and everyone here is a mutant. You don't really have an excuse for not mixing anymore."

David stabbed a sausage with his fork. "I wasn't exactly a loner, you know," he grumbled. "I was friendly to people and mixed around."

"Of course you did," Rusty said. "They usually just stop hanging around you because of your dumbass jokes."

Bobby raised an eyebrow. "What sort of jokes and pranks did you pull?"

"Nah," David gestured dismissively. "Nothing much, really." He narrowed his eyes onto Bobby's shirt, then pointed at it. "Hey man, you've got a spot of ketchup on your shirt."

Bobby looked down. "Wher..." He was interrupted by David's finger moving upwards to flick his nose. Bobby slumped his shoulders and rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, those kinds of jokes," Rusty said, groaning.

"How the heck did you not get beaten up in school," Bobby asked. "If you pulled a whole lot of lame jokes like that, I'm sure people would've been screaming for your blood."

"Bullies didn't last long in our school," Skids said. "Anyone caught bullying had to answer to Ryo and Shawwwmbpppth!" She pulled Molly's hand away from her mouth. "Cut that out, Molly."

Ryo pushed his breakfast away and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He pushed back in his chair and got up.

"Where are you going?" David asked.

"I'm going for a walk," Ryo said.

"You didn't finish your food," Bobby said, his eyes revealing his concern.

"I'm not hungry," Ryo said. "You guys take what you want." And he left the table.

"Ryo, wait up," Bobby said, rising quickly and following after. He caught up with the redhead and put his hands on Ryo's shoulders. "What's wrong?"

"I need to be alone," Ryo shrugged Bobby's hands off. "Sorry."

"Kurt said you might be here." Ryo turned to face the speaker. Jean smiled at him and walked over. They were in the grove near the pond where Ryo did his morning exercises. "May I join you?"

Ryo nodded slowly, wiping tears from his eyes. Jean sat down on the grass next to him and put her arm around his shoulders.

"Your first art lesson today and you skipped it," Jean said. "And I thought you loved art. Kurt wondered why you weren't in class, and David told him that they hadn't seen you since this morning after breakfast."

"I just needed to be alone," Ryo said. "I thought I was over the whole thing, but every time someone mentions Shawn, I feel like I've been punched in the gut. It's like two weeks ago all over again. I already said goodbye and thought I closed that part of my life before coming here." He paused for a while, lost in thought. Jean continued holding him in silence. Then she noticed he was crying again, softly and nearly unnoticeably.

"I saw him die," Ryo said softly. "No one knows I saw him die." He wiped another tear away.

"What happened?" Jean asked softly.

"I never saw the fight," Ryo said. "He walked me home that afternoon after school, and then said he'd call me when he got home. But there was no call." Ryo took a deep breath. "Shawn was a mutant too. I knew he was a mutant because I could see it. The only other people who knew were the people from the orphanage he grew up in. When he drew, he could make his drawings come to life."

"Quite a power," Jean said. Ryo nodded.

"He told me once that he'd never use it for battle. During the creation process, he could sort of program the drawing to do something, and after it was done, he could activate it any time he wanted. He drew a beautiful dove for me, and when he wanted, he would activate it, and it worked like a messenger between us. I spoke to it, and he'd hear me. He spoke, and it would repeat what he said. He said that a power like his should never be used for battle."

"What else did he use it for?" Jean asked.

"He drew cartoon animals to entertain the other orphans, especially the younger kids. For some of those that were scared of the dark, or of monsters, he drew fierce but friendly humanoid warriors that would stand by the kid's bed to protect it. My favourite was Popcorn, though."

"Popcorn?" Jean asked.

"Yeah," Ryo smiled at the memory. "He painted a cute little cat called Popcorn for one of the girls in the orphanage, Elise. She found a stray, but the orphanage wouldn't let her keep it, so Shawn drew one for her. It acted just like a normal cat except that it was like a hologram or something. It was solid but translucent and weighed almost nothing. Elise loved it very much, and she knew Shawn died when Popcorn melted into a pile of coloured ink."

"He must've been a very nice person to know," Jean said.

"He was," Ryo said. "In many ways, Bobby reminds me of him a lot and that hurts a little because they're not the same. And yet sometimes I want him to be. But I wish Shawn hadn't died. I wish he had the chance to come here to study as well. I think he would've loved this place."

"Is that why you skipped art class?" Jean asked. Ryo nodded.

"He knocked out most of the rioters that attacked him. He was excellent at boxing. After the battle, he called me with the dove he drew for me. He told me to look for him with my powers, so I did. When I found him, he was badly beaten and bloody. I wanted to go there right away, but he told me not to worry. He had used his blood to draw an Asian dragon on the ground, then he activated it. I felt as though it had come to life, even though it didn't move, and then my body burned a little. The burning sensation faded, and everything that Shawn drew that he imbued with his powers died. Shawn died from blood-loss after that."

Ryo wiped his eyes again. "Jean, don't tell anyone else what I'm about to tell you now." Jean nodded. Ryo swallowed, then said, "He gave me his power, Jean. The dragon he drew, he designed it to transfer all his power to me. I didn't think it was possible, but he did."

Jean nodded. "So you have a piece of him with you all the time."

"That's the problem," Ryo said. "I can't use it. I'm not Shawn, I can't use it only for the uses he did. I see so many potential uses for it for battle, so many practical uses for it to augment my powers. But if I use it that way, it dishonours his memory. And every time someone mentions him, I'm reminded of how different I am from him and his legacy."

Jean paused for a moment to think, then said, "You work with swords and weapons, right?"

Ryo seethed. "What does that have to do with anything? Yes, I do." His eyes narrowed on her angrily. "I was brought up with them and trained with them. I'm not some killing machine like you think."

"That's not what I meant," Jean said softly. "Please hear what I have to say first." When Ryo didn't respond, Jean spoke again. "Once, long ago, there were two great swordsmen. They were the best of friends, and would exchange tips on how to handle and care for their swords, as well as to train themselves better. The first swordsman was a great warrior and protector of the village. The second swordsman chose not to fight, but to entertain. He would display marvelous feats and stunts with his sword to keep the morale of the villagers high.

"One day, enemies from another village invaded and attacked the second swordsman. Before he died, he saw his friend, the great warrior. Knowing he was going to die, the second swordsman passed his sword to his friend, knowing that once he died, it would do him no good, and that his best friend could use it if needed. Now tell me, Ryo, if you were the dying performing swordsman, what would you have wanted your friend to do?"

Ryo thought it over. "If I was the performer, and I knew that my sword was great and my friend was a warrior who could use it to his advantage, I would expect him to use it in the way he knew best. I wouldn't have cared that he didn't use it in the same manner as I did because I know him well enough that he wouldn't be happy."

"So you would knowingly give your friend your sword, knowing for certain that he would use it to fight and kill?" Jean asked. Ryo nodded slowly.

"I would expect him to use it in the way he knew best," Ryo said. "And that just knowing he had the sword I could not use would be enough for me, because he would still have a memory of me. The sword itself doesn't matter, it's just a gift given to a friend who would definitely have a use for it, even if it was different from what I used it for."

"So," Jean said, a slight smile on her lips. "Wouldn't it be the same between you and Shawn?"

Ryo thought it over for a moment, then smiled. "You're smart."

"I'm the school counselor and psychologist!" Jean laughed. "I'm paid to do this. I'm also your Team Mentor that genuinely cares about your development as a person."

Ryo smiled again. "Thanks."

"Anytime," Jean said, getting up. "So are you going to go in for the rest of your art class?"

"Yeah, I guess so," Ryo said. Jean grabbed his arm and helped pull him up. He dusted grass and soil off his cargo pants.

"So how was your day?" Ryo asked as David joined him and Bobby for dinner at their usual table. David snarled and set his tray down on the table with a loud bang. Ryo raised an eyebrow. "Someone's grouchy today."

"Oh, gee, I wonder why," David muttered angrily. "First, my best friend runs off without telling anyone where he's going and skips class, which, I may point out," David stabbed his carrots with every word, "he has never done before."

"Sorry," Ryo said. David cut him off and continued with his rant.

"Then," he said dramatically, "that same friend comes back from who knows where all red-eyed and refuses to tell me what was going on during class or during lunch hour."

"That's because I don't want to..."

"And to top it all of," David's voice reached a crescendo, "that bloody bastard of a best friend finished every test in less than ten minutes and slept until it was time to hand in the papers. And those tests were HARD, DAMMIT!"

"Chill out, man," Bobby laughed. "It's not that bad." David shot him a dirty look and continued stabbing the carrots on his plate with his fork.

Ryo rolled his eyes. "C'mon man, you should be used to this by now. Remember what you said to me when we were thirteen?"

"I said a lot of things," David said. "Which one are you referring to?"

"Specifically, the time when you said, and I quote, 'Ryo, I think the only reason for your existence is to piss me off and make my life miserable. Luckily I don't get upset easily.'"

"Yeah, and your reply was 'well then, I need to try harder', you damn bastard!" David's voice lost its angry overtones, and a smile finally appeared on his face. He shook his head when Ryo started grinning. "I just can't stay angry with you for long."

"I know," Ryo said. "Anyway, are you joining us tonight? We're going to watch Bleach on DVD."

"You finally got it?" David asked, nearly choking on a carrot. He coughed for a moment, then wiped his mouth with a napkin. "I loved that comic when you introduced it to me. Of course I'll watch."

"Manga," Ryo corrected automatically. "And it wasn't as fun for me as it was for you the first few times."

"Oh?" Bobby asked. "Why not? Will it be the same for me if I watch with you guys?"

"No, it's no problem," Ryo said. "I had to translate the entire comic from Japanese into English for David. The DVD has English subtitles."

David made a face. "You're not turning them on, are you? I mean, it's only fair for Bobby that he gets forced into learning Japanese. You're a cruel teacher!" David covered his mouth with his hand and whispered to Bobby. "If he ever offers to teach you something, say 'NO!' and run for your life. If he catches you, he'll hold you down and force you to learn and you'll suffer for weeks."

Bobby burst out laughing while Ryo rolled his eyes. "Hey, at least you became functional in Japanese in three weeks. How many language schools can claim that?"

"None," David said. "But none of them beat you up when you get something wrong either."

Ryo looked insulted. "I did not!" he protested. "Besides, what's a bruise or two when you're learning something new?"

"I'd agree with you if I was learning martial arts or sports," David shot back. "Learning languages doesn't usually include mandatory bruising."

"I won't bruise you, Bobby," Ryo said. "It'll hurt a little at first, but you'll get used to it. You won't get bruised at all, and you might like it." Bobby glanced at Ryo, an amused expression on his face. David just shook his head and groaned.

"So what time are we watching it tonight?" David asked. "I know Team D and Team F are doing Danger Room tonight, so Molly, Rusty and Skids won't be free until later."

"Nah, they're not joining us," Ryo said. "They're not all that interested in anime. I'll have to check with Julian though. I don't know if he'll want to watch with us."

David growled. "Julian's a dick. I'm not watching if he is."

Ryo sighed. "Well, he did apologise to me yesterday. I think that if he knew you were my friend, maybe he'd stop tipping you into the trash bins."

David put on a fake grin. "Tell him he's welcome to join us."

"He really threw you in the trash?" Bobby asked. "I got my head dunked in the toilet."

"And none of you guys fought back?" Ryo asked.

"And get pounded by those fiends he calls friends?" Bobby asked. "I think not. Not all of us are as powerful as you are. And before you say it, don't."

Ryo shut his mouth and shrugged. "If that's the way you want it. I won't say anything more."

David downed the last of his drink. "Gosh, you two are really grouchy today. Hopefully you'll both be more cheerful tonight."

Ryo and Bobby pointed to each other and spoke at the same time. "It's his fault I'm grouchy!"

Ryo left for his morning exercises with an amused expression on his face. He had spent a little longer than usual leaving the room, mostly to avoid the sleeping bodies all over his floor. He couldn't help grinning at the memory of the night's events.

Bobby had leaked to Jubilee about the cartoon session, and she wanted to watch too. David had told Shiro Yoshida, one of his teammates, about the screening. And since Shiro was Leyu's brother, he had told her as well. And being part of Ryo's team, he didn't feel nice if he had to turn her down, especially since Bobby and Jubilee were both watching as well.

Julian had laughed at the number of people in the room. Luckily, everyone decided to tolerate him for Ryo's sake. Julian had mostly kept close to Ryo the whole night, being generally uncomfortable with the other students. And just when Ryo thought that was the last of the party, Bobby decided to prank him. When Ryo was digging through the mini-fridge under his desk for more canned drinks for his guests, Bobby had set the TV volume to maximum without anyone knowing. The Bleach opening song had blasted out like a siren, drawing the attention of one of their classmates down the hall. Noriko Yashida had recognised the song and the language, and came to check it out. She decided to stay and watch as well, and Ryo had just accepted it with resignation. He had double-checked the sound before starting the DVD over again, much to Bobby's endless enjoyment. And he locked the door so no one else could come in.

The killer moment was when everyone kept watching and decided to sleep over. Leyu, Jubilee and Noriko had shared the bed while the guys slept on the floor, except Julian, who snagged the couch before anyone else could.

Despite the mayhem, Ryo felt strangely contented with life. Other than David, Shawn and a couple of others, he never really had friends in school. Just younger students that admired Shawn and himself for protecting them. No one was ever sure if they were liked for who they were, or for the protection they offered. It was a relatively new feeling to Ryo, and he liked it.

He moved stealthily across the room, almost ghost-like in his silence. Taking one last look at the sleeping guests in his room, he smiled one last time, then shut the door behind him. He hoped his room would still be intact when he got back.

Bobby yawned, nearly cuffing David's temple as he stretched. His whole body was stiff from sleeping on the floor. He glared angrily at Julian for a moment, then stopped. It's too early in the morning to get angry, he decided. He still thought Ryo should have gotten the couch to sleep on since it was his room after all. Ryo didn't seem to mind, however. Bobby was a bit jealous of Ryo and Shiro. Both of them fell asleep within minutes.

Bobby had tried to sleep, but the floor was still uncomfortable and he wasn't used to sleeping without a pillow. David seemed to have a similar problem, and Bobby heard him moving around.

"How can they sleep like that?" Bobby had whispered to David after what seemed like an hour. He knew David was still awake.

"The same reason why I never stayed over at Ryo's house," David told him. "He sleeps on a Japanese futon. It's just a thin cotton mattress on the floor."

They hadn't said much to each other after that, and Bobby had soon fallen asleep.

Moving slowly, Bobby slowly stood and looked around the room. Where's Ryo, he wondered. A burst of panic shot through his body. He was about to wake David, then spotted a note on the mini-fridge.

Help yourself to coffee or milk in the fridge. There's cornflakes for the hungry, but I suggest going to your own rooms to shower and prepare for breakfast. I'm out exercising.

Bobby shrugged, then opened the fridge slowly and grabbed a paper cup from Ryo's desk. He poured himself some orange juice and wondered whether he should wake any of the others up.

David stirred, then slowly woke up. He spotted the dark patches below Bobby's eyes immediately. "I see you didn't sleep that well either."

"I'm stiff all over, and I feel like I'm not going to last the day without at least ten cups of coffee," Bobby said.

"Twenty," David corrected. "Lucky today is a Friday. We should've had this party tonight instead of last night."

Bobby groaned. "Oh man. I have Danger Room this evening too. I'm upping the coffee count to fifty." David laughed out loud, then quickly covered his mouth.

"Could you guys be a little more considerate and keep your voices down?" Julian called sleepily from the couch. "Some of us are trying to sleep."

"Oh, a fine one to talk about consideration," Bobby snapped back. He wasn't in the greatest mood this morning. "You could at least have let Ryo take the couch. It's his room after all."

"I didn't hear him complaining about anything," Julian said, sitting up in the couch and facing Bobby.

"He's too polite for that," David joined in the verbal battle. "Unlike someone else I know," he added under his breath.

Julian heard the remark and stood up. He was about a head taller than David, and he looked down on David threateningly. "Do you have a problem Short Stuff? Want to tell it to me to my face or just talk behind my back?"

"It's kinda hard to tell the difference between your ass and your face," Bobby said. "I'm sure that's a valid reason to talk behind your back."

Julian turned on Bobby. "You seem to have a death wish, Drake. If you don't shut your mouth, I'll do it for you."

"Give it your best shot then, bastard!" Bobby snarled, then grabbed his throat as his body was lifted off the ground.

"Put him down, Julian," David shouted. "Or I'll..."

"You'll what?" Julian sneered as he telekinetically grabbed David's neck and lifted him off the ground. Bobby was clutching the empty air around his neck in a futile attempt to dislodge himself from Julian's grasp. David was choking and kicking in the air. Julian kept his mental hold on them as he moved both of them in front of him. "Not so tough now, I see?"

A burst of flame at his back caused Julian to release his grip. Bobby and David hit the floor and curled up on their knees gasping for breath. Julian turned to face Shiro. Shiro had an angry expression on his face and was floating above the ground slightly. The air around him rippled slightly from the heat he was giving off.

"Lay a hand on them and the fire will be a lot hotter," Shiro told Julian, his tone flat and serious. Julian huffed and took off his leather jacket, examining the damage done to it. He examined the several still-smoking holes, then slung the jacket over his arm.

"Five hundred dollars down the drain," Julian muttered to himself, then glared angrily at Shiro. "Don't think this is over, Sunfire." He stormed out of the room, bumping into Ryo on his way out. Shiro stopped floating, and the air became cooler as the heat he produced faded.

"Okay, so what the heck just happened here?" Ryo demanded. He wiped the sweat from his face with his sports towel. "I'm gone for less than an hour and hell seems to have broken loose in my room."

"I'm not entirely sure what's going on," Shiro said. "I only woke up when I heard David shouting. The first thing I saw was Julian using his powers to choke David and Bobby."

"It's nothing," David muttered. David's face was dark with anger, but he remained calm. He got to his feet slowly, then helped pull Bobby up. Bobby's face was twisted with rage and he barely seemed to be in control of himself. A few drops of frozen sweat clung to his face.

"I'm going to kill that Julian," Bobby growled, smashing his right fist into his palm.

"Chill out, man," Ryo said, placing an arm on Bobby's shoulder. "I don't know exactly what happened, but it's probably not worth getting expelled over."

The guys heard the girls giggling from the bed. Jubilee sniggered. "What fine morning drama! Maybe we should stay over more often."

"Not to mention that we get to see four shirtless hunks first thing we wake up!" Noriko pretended to wipe drool from her mouth.

"Three!" Leyu said. "I'll never think of my oniisan as a hunk."

"Then I'll admire him for you," Noriko said. The girls began laughing again when David pretended to flex in front of them. Jubilee whistled a catcall.

Bobby had copied Shiro, David and Ryo when they took their shirts off to use as makeshift pillows. It was still uncomfortable, but better than nothing. He blushed furiously when the girls commented about his butt when he bent over. He quickly grabbed his t-shirt and pulled it over his head.

Noriko pouted. "You're no fun, Bobby. It's not like we haven't seen you in the pool before."

"You usually don't drool all over us in such an obvious manner either," Bobby pointed out. "If we did that to you guys, we'd all earn tight slaps and sexual harassment lawsuits."

"That's because women rule the world now," Jubilee said, smiling a little too sweetly.

"They always have," Ryo said. "They just used to be nicer and let us believe we men ruled over them."

Julian smiled at Ryo and gestured to the chair beside him. He managed to convince Brian to sit one seat behind his usual spot, leaving the seat next to Julian empty. Ryo smiled and mouthed "hi", but sat at his usual spot near the centre of the room next to David. Julian was about to shift to the empty spot on Ryo's right, but Bobby chose to sit there before Julian could move.

Julian scowled and glared daggers at Bobby's back. Bobby whispered something to Ryo, who covered his mouth and sniggered. Julian struggled with the urge to smack Bobby telekinetically. Thankfully, Ms Munroe entered the room, silencing the class. She carried a stack of papers with her as she entered. The test results! Julian groaned, as did most of the class.

"As you know, it's tradition for me to announce the top score," Ms Munroe began. "Congratulations to Ryo Summers for scoring a perfect 100% on your test."

Julian smirked. Ms Munroe sounded as enthusiastic about announcing the result as she did about locking herself in a dark closet. She was claustrophobic, after all. There were a few half-hearted claps, but most of the students were glaring at Ryo and muttering.

"He cheated," one of the bolder students said loudly. "No one ever scores 100% for a test, even if it was multiple choice." The other students began to murmur angrily. Julian could feel the anger rising in him. He just wanted to beat Ryo up. Some of the voices started getting louder. Even Ms Munroe seemed to care less about what was going on.

Ryo suddenly flicked his left hand, throwing two of his energy shuriken at the student who accused him of cheating. The first shuriken hit the boy's forehead, the second hitting his chest. Instantly, the feelings of anger faded from Julian instantly. The murmuring stopped.

Ms Munroe gasped, then faced the boy. "Manuel de la Rocha, I want you to report to the principal's office now." Her voice was stern, and her face dark with anger. Lightning flashed outside in the darkened sky. Manuel cowered before Ms Munroe. "You will explain to Professor Xavier why you felt the need to use your powers against a new student who scored a high grade on a test that you obviously didn't study for. I want you to apologise to Ryo and to the class for using your powers on them."

Manuel stood up to address the class. Sweat dripped from his forehead, matting the fringe of his brown hair. Normally fair-skinned, he was looking rather pale. Julian was disgusted with the boy. If you have the guts to do something as stupid as that, you'd better have the balls to face up to it if you get caught, Julian thought. He didn't bother to listen to Manuel's stuttered apology, and instead used his powers to tie Manuel's shoelaces together.

The class laughed when Manuel tripped trying to leave the room. Manuel stared at Julian angrily. Julian sneered and raised his middle finger at Manuel. Manuel looked furious, then undid his shoelaces and left the room to see the principal. Julian sighed and leaned back in his chair. Maybe today wasn't so bad after all.

to be continued

Yes, it's not as long as the first chapter. It was really hard to write this one, for some reason. *glares angrily at unco-operative characters*

I swear, these characters suddenly developed a life of their own! So many things I didn't plan on having them do, but they ended up doing it anyway. Hope you liked this chapter. Drop me a line at LeoHyuuga@gmail.com and let me know! Peace all!

Special thanks to:
Omar - For being you. 'Nuff said.
Backfire, Rash & Trip - The best friends a guy could ask for!
Stephystar - Online sister and most encouraging supporter =P
Klaranth - For the most exhaustive and detailed review ever. Answering your emails helped me get notes about my story down in typing that I was too lazy to do before! =D And for reading the draft of this chapter in advance. I pushed one of the scenes you expected to Chapter 3 instead, though. *blames characters for not co-operating*
Kandi, Adam, Chad, Rob, Sam, John, Ryan, Shank, Phoenix, RLH & A.Woodliff - Thanks for the compliments and encouragement!