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 3

"I still can't believe you've passed every test so far," Bobby told Ryo. "And you scored perfectly on all of them too. It's just not fair. I mean, you're like almost perfect or something."

Ryo gulped down his apple juice and licked his lips. "I'm not perfect Bobby. I'm only just doing the things I know I'm good at, that's all."

"I still think it's your powers," David grumbled, his mouth still half-full of chicken.

"Maybe they should put power dampeners in class or something," Skids suggested. "That way no one can use their powers to cheat in class."

Bobby looked amused. "And if the school gets attacked, and no one has powers to fight back?"

"Oh, does that happen often?" Skids asked, surprised.

"Not too often," Bobby said. "But it has happened a few times." He drank a spoonful of the mashed potato gravy. The teens were silent for a moment as they ate. Ever since the previous night's anime marathon, the number of people at the table had dramatically increased. Jubilee had moved a few tables together so there was space enough for everyone. The group today consisted of Ryo, Bobby, Jubilee, David, Skids, Rusty, Molly, Shiro, Leyu, Sam, Theresa and Noriko.

Sam broke the silence. "I heard Betsy came back last night."

"Who's Betsy?" David asked, dropping the bare chicken bone onto his plate.

"Betsy Braddock is our English teacher," Jubilee said. "She was gone on some mission, so Hank was taking over all English lessons for her temporarily."

"Isn't that bad for schools in general?" Rusty asked. "To have teachers substituting one another?"

"You should've seen it in the past," Sam said. "Before they assigned a squad of juniors to a teacher, whenever there was a mission to be completed, half the teachers would be gone from school. As it is now, only one or two teachers will be gone so studies don't get disrupted too much."

"Except for the poor students who have to go with them," Ryo said.

"Students in the squad get a little leeway. Not like you need it," Sam said, then jerked his thumb at Bobby. "In his case, he gets a LOT of leeway."

Bobby rolled his eyes, created a small chunk of ice and flicked it at Sam's head. Sam blocked it with his lunch plate, dripping gravy down onto his jeans. "Perfect," he scowled. "Now I've got to change my jeans. Excuse me for a moment."

The whole group laughed at Sam as he left. After a few "gravy" jokes by David and Bobby, Sam flashed his middle finger.

"He was right, though," Jubilee teased. "Bobby gets too much leeway. And Mr Perfect Ryo doesn't need any."

"I'm not perfect at all," Ryo said. "I just know what I do best and avoid the stuff I suck at. It's good though. Bobby can use the extra leeway that I don't use." Ryo deflected Bobby's ice shard with his fork.

"Are you sure she said to meet here?" Bobby asked, glancing at David's watch. Ryo was pacing near the pond under the shade of the trees.

"She said to meet her after school, and that I'd know where she meant," Ryo said. "This is the only place I can think of."

The three friends were waiting in the shadowy grove in the school's backyard park where Ryo normally did his morning exercise. For some reason, Betsy wanted to speak to Ryo after school and was being mysterious about it. Ryo felt nervous, but he wasn't quite sure why. Betsy seemed somehow familiar to him. There was something about her Asian looks and purple hair that seemed familiar, but he just couldn't recall anything. The fact that she spoke with a British accent seemed somehow out of place.

"If you boys wouldn't mind, I'd like to speak to Ryo alone," Betsy said. Ryo spun around, surprised that he hadn't sensed her coming. She wore a deep purple, nearly black outfit that looked like a female version of the uniform he received from the X-Men. Like his, it was tight but flexible, allowing for ease of movement without excess cloth getting in the way of fighting. A few pouches hung from her belt. He focused more power into his eyes and looked at Betsy. Her energy pattern was somehow familiar...

"Boys," she said again, looking pointedly at David and Bobby, who began to back away uneasily. She turned her gaze onto Ryo. Moving swiftly, she sped towards him. Instinctively, Ryo swatted away her attacking hand and side-stepped two steps to his right. Ryo saw a shadowy image of her left leg moving towards his face. He ducked out of the way before Betsy's leg could connect, then pressed a forward attack with his left palm, his left leg leading for extra momentum. His attack almost hit the woman's belly, but with a swift twist and fancy footwork, she rotated herself off to his left and positioned herself behind him.

Shit, he thought, recognising the move. Before he could react, Betsy had grabbed his right arm and arm-locked him, kicking the back of his knees to knock him off balance. Ryo stumbled and landed on his knees. He would have landed on his face, but Betsy's arm-lock held him upright. If she had kicked him forward onto his face, she would have twisted his arm off. Ryo's face twisted as he struggled not to cry out in pain. He knew that particular manoeuvre well, having seen it in action once when he was very young. It was the same manoeuvre that killed his mother's eldest sister.

He hissed at Bobby and David to leave. Both of them looked stunned, but quickly backed away towards the closest bench. They were out of earshot, but they could still see what was going on. As soon as Ryo's friends sat on the bench, eyeing Ryo and Betsy carefully, Betsy let Ryo up. He rubbed his right shoulder as he turned to face her.

"How many years has it been, Ryo?" Betsy asked. "Or should I say Uryuu?" She spoke in a slightly playful tone.

Ryo forced his face to remain calm, but his heart was beating frantically. "What's that?" he asked calmly, struggling to keep his voice from cracking.

"Uryuu Natsuba, or in proper Japanese form, Natsuba Uryuu," Betsy said in a matter-of-fact voice. "Eldest son of the tenth child of the Natsuba clan's leaders."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Ryo said. He took a deep breath and let his body relax.

Betsy smiled. "Don't bother. I know you recognised the move."

"I thought you were dead," Ryo said bluntly. "We thought you were dead years ago, Kwannon. Or should I say, Revanche?" he asked, copying Betsy's playful tone.

"Kwannon is dead," Betsy said. "What do you remember of that night?"

"The Hand invaded our clan home," Ryo said. "Kwannon led them in their attack, and she killed my eldest aunt who died trying to save all the clan children born at that time. I was four, and carrying my sister in my arms while my older cousins tried to get us to safety."

"And you saw something that no one else saw except for your mother," Betsy said, leading him on.

"I saw that her energy was fragmented," Ryo said. His eyes widened. "Yours. She was merged with you."

"It's a little more complicated than that," Betsy said. "My body was genetically twisted to match hers, and my half my mind was fragmented into hers to save her from dying. When she died, she returned my fragments to me and vice versa. But I still remember parts of what happened." Betsy sat cross-legged on the grass, then patted the grass in front of her. Ryo took the hint and sat. Betsy continued, "After she died, I thought I was trapped in her body and she in mine. Later, Hank conducted a test that proved it was my DNA and that this was my body, albeit with added enhancements."

"The Hand's style of martial arts," Ryo commented. Betsy nodded.

"As well as an understanding of the tricks of the ninja." Betsy waited for her comment to sink in. Ryo stared hard at her for a moment, then dropped his expressionless facade.

"Tell me, Ryo," Betsy asked, "why does your clan put so much importance into the family ties? And why does The Hand not do the same?"

"The Hand seeks power," Ryo recited the teachings his parents and relatives had drummed into his generation constantly. "They will do anything necessary to gain that power, and because of that, they trust no one, not even themselves. They think it makes them stronger, but they are weak in the long run. Our clan fosters love for our relatives and our clan. Our common goals and setbacks bind us together and keep us anchored to ourselves. Without anyone to trust, we become lost in our own illusions and become no better than The Hand that seeks to destroy us."

Betsy nodded. "The Hand attempted to destroy all the clans that would not join them. They set your clan up against both the yakuza and the emperor. Your clan fled and hid all over the world, destroying all traces of existence. Officially, your clan is dead. Am I correct?" Ryo nodded. "And now you are here alone," Betsy said. "Your family has left, and you are cut off from your clan."

"Your point?" Ryo asked.

"Trust me," Betsy said. "We have similar shared experiences in training, similar powers, though mine is psi and yours is ki. And we have a common goal, Xavier's dream."

"Your point?" Ryo asked, although he was beginning to suspect where the conversation was heading.

"Allow me to be your surrogate clan," Betsy said. "Someone who you know has shared the experiences you will go through. None of the others have the experience that we share, despite our differing backgrounds. Let me bring your training to a new level. I have cleared it with your mother already, and she has approved, but allowed you to make your own choice. If you take it, I will become your legal guardian until you turn eighteen."

"How do I know you've spoken to my mother?" Ryo asked suspiciously.

"How do I know your name?" Betsy asked with a wink. "The name only known to your clan. The name that only the members of the clan's council, of which your mother is part of, would know. She told me that if you didn't believe me, I should also reveal another three more names."

Ryo was silent for a moment. "And the other three names?"

Betsy rolled her eyes. "Why did I suspect you'd be difficult? The other three names are Aya, Hideo and Yukari."

Ryo nodded once. "My mother's, father's and sister's clan names." He reflected on his choices for a moment. "Very well, if my mother thinks it best. I agree."

"Good," Betsy said, standing up. Ryo followed soon after. They began walking towards David and Bobby, still on the bench. Betsy said, "You realise I know what training you have received, and that I'm also the school's guidance counselor?"

"Oh no," Ryo said, stopping short. His mouth opened slightly at the sight of the devious smirk on Betsy's face.

"Oh yes," Betsy said.

"What do you think they were talking about?" David asked Bobby as they neared Ryo and Betsy. Bobby just shrugged in reply.

"Judging by the look on Ryo's face now, I don't think it's something good," Bobby commented. David smirked. The pair caught snippets of conversation now that they were getting closer.

"You want to put me into Accounting?" Ryo said. "Chemistry?"

"Yes," Betsy said. "And I'm pulling you out of all language classes as of now. Instead of taking English, you'll be doing literature. We're making an exception for you."

"But I don't want to do literature," Ryo wailed. David blinked and stared at Ryo in shock. In his entire life, he had never heard Ryo wail. "At least let me keep German as a third language."

Without warning, Betsy yanked hard on Ryo's arm, putting him into another arm-lock. David winced when he saw Ryo's face turn red and grimace in pain.

"I already told you not to try those tricks on me," Betsy said cheerfully. "Tell me, now, in front of your friends, what languages do you speak?"

"English and Japanese," Ryo said, then let out a gasp of pain as Betsy tightened her grip and pulled his arm further back. "Ch...Chinese, Irish, French, Italian, Spanish, Finnish, Russian, Korean, Greek, Icelandic, Quenya, Sindarin and..." He looked up at David, an apologetic look on his face. "...and German."

David's jaw dropped. "You lying bastard! How many times have I translated thing for you in German?"

Ryo grinned sheepishly as Betsy released his arm. David just shook his head. "You lied to me all those years? I can't believe it!"

"Your clan members are supposed to learn at least twelve languages," Betsy said smugly. "As I said, I'm taking you out of all language classes." She removed a folded sheet of paper from one of the pouches at her belt and passed it to Ryo. "That is your revised timetable."

David snatched the paper from Ryo and unfolded it, Bobby peeking curiously over David's shoulder. David scanned through it, then glanced up at Betsy. "Except for Art and Music, Ryo didn't take any of these classes in our old school."

"Exactly," Betsy said as David handed the timetable back to Ryo. "All the classes he chose placed a lot of emphasis on memorising, but not on analysing and putting the knowledge into practical use. The only thing Ryo is good at is memorising."

"So that's why he did so well in class," David said, understanding. He narrowed his eyes on Ryo. "You're a bastard! I thought you were smart."

"No wonder he keeps saying that it was just that he chose to do things he knew he was good at," Bobby said. "He's been relaxing the whole time because he knows he can memorise well."

Ryo shot Betsy a dirty look. She laughed and raised both hands slightly. "Hey, it's my job as a guidance counselor to make sure you're as well-rounded as possible. I know that it means you won't be able to sleep in class anymore, but I'm sure it's a sacrifice you're willing to make, right?" Her voice had a slightly dangerous edge to it on the last syllable, and David laughed when Ryo gulped visibly.

"Bobby, Ryo's completely new to Accounting. You're the top student in class, so I want you to coach him every night until he catches up."

"I don't think I'm the best choice for that," Bobby said. "I'm not really that good of a teac..." His voice trailed off at Betsy's stern stare. "I'll do it," he said.

"Good," Betsy said, her voice cheerful once more.

"No, no, no, nonononono," Bobby growled. He clutched at his hair in frustration. "That's the Credit column. You're supposed to put the entry in the Debit column." The tuition that evening was not going well. Bobby felt like strangling Ryo for the twelfth—or was it twentieth—time.

"But I thought you said..."

"I said it switches over when you're not doing a Cash Balance," Bobby said in clipped tones.

"But what about the depreciation?" Ryo asked.

Bobby threw his hands up in the air. "There is none! We're not touching until later." He let out a guttural cry of frustration. "Come on Ryo, you're not that dumb."

"Bobby," Ryo said. "I haven't studied for more than ten years now. It's not as easy as you think."

Bobby took in a deep breath and let it out slowly through his mouth. "Okay," he said, "let's try this from the beginning again."

"This is no way to be spending a Friday night," Ryo sighed. Bobby couldn't help agreeing whole-heartedly.

The constant pounding at the door was driving Bobby crazy. Ryo had come back from his morning exercise and was in the shower, so Bobby had to open it. He crawled out of the bed in his boxers and dragged himself to the door, groaning as he opened it.

"Good morning," David said cheerily. He held a jug of orange juice in one hand and a paper bag in the other. The smell of freshly baked bread wafted from the bag, making Bobby's stomach growl. He stepped aside to let David in. "Man, you look like shit. I see you didn't get much sleep," David laughed as he entered. "You and Ryo must've been up all night, eh? Naughty naughty!"

Bobby rubbed his eyes. "Don't I wish it," he laughed tiredly. "It was more along the lines of trying to teach Ryo accounting almost all night." He closed the door behind David, then turned and noticed David giving him an odd look, one of his eyebrows raised slightly. "What?"

"You must be more tired that you thought," David said. "I could swear you just said you wished that you and Ryo had done the naughty last night."

Bobby's eyes shot open and he cut himself off in mid-yawn. A look of panic crossed his face. "Don't tell anyone, especially not Ryo," Bobby pleaded, his voice a whisper. The sound of running water in the background stopped.

"But..." David tried to explain, but Bobby cut him off.

"I know the two of you are best of friends," Bobby said. "But please don't tell him. Promise!"

David sighed. "Okay, I promise, but I assure you..."

"Hey David," Ryo said, coming out of the bathroom. The morning sunlight reflected off his slightly damp skin. The light caught his damp red hair, making it seem like liquid fire. The only thing covering him from sight was the white towel wrapped around his waist. Bobby caught the gasp that threatened to escape his throat at the sight. Ryo didn't seem to notice as he walked over to his closet and rummaged for some clothes. "What brings you here so early on Saturday morning?" Ryo pulled a pair of khaki cargo pants and a pale blue t-shirt from the closet and shut it.

"Gaming Saturday," David said enthusiastically. "Now that I'm not back home, I don't have the mandatory family lunch, so I can actually come over earlier. And you're only just down the hall anyway. So we have more time to play." He smiled at Bobby. "Why don't you join us?"

Bobby shook his head and yawned. He quickly covered his mouth. "Nah, I think I'll just head back to my room to sleep again." He glanced at the paper bag in David's hand. "Err, could I have one of those buns?"

"Go ahead. There's more than enough." David put the jug and bag on the table. "Help yourself. I know Ryo has paper plates around here somewhere."

"In the drawer above the mini-fridge," Ryo said, walking over to the pair. "You're welcome to sleep in my bed, Bobby. Judging by the dark patches under your eyes, I don't think you'd make it down the stairs in one piece."

"Probably not," Bobby said with a slight giggle. He bit into the cinnamon and raisin roll before David found a plate for it. Savouring the flavour of the bread, he commented, "It's a good thing Jean loves to cook and bake, otherwise we'd starve every weekend. The caterers for the school meals only come on weekdays, and most people are too lazy to cook around here."

"Oh, we're allowed to cook?" Ryo asked as he poured three cups of orange juice.

"Yeah," Bobby said. He took another bite of his cinnamon and raisin roll and swallowed it quickly. "Five kitchens in the whole mansion and hardly anyone in them. Except Jean."

"Nice. I'll check it out sometime and maybe I'll cook something too."

"Yeah, your cooking's pretty good," David said, handing Ryo one of the cinnamon and raisin rolls. He took a bite of his own. "Mmmm. These are heavenly."

"The advantage of being telekinetic," Bobby said as he grabbed another of Jean's creations. "She can mix and knead and whatever all at once. She always cooks for an army." He proceeded to stuff the entire thing into his mouth.

"Careful, you'll choke," Ryo said, eyeing Bobby. Bobby somehow managed to swallow it down, then gave Ryo a grin.

"I've done it pretty often," Bobby said smugly. "Now I'm off to bed again."

"Will the noise from the games disturb you?" Ryo asked, concerned.

"Nah," Bobby said, waving it off. "I'm a pretty deep sleeper." He got into Ryo's bed and fell asleep almost immediately.

Bobby woke to the feeling of something soft and warm on his lips. Bobby's heart raced but he didn't open his eyes. He felt his lips being parted slowly as something slender pushed its way in, its warmth and moistness filling his mouth. He forced himself to remain calm, though his heart was pounding like crazy. His mind screamed out in anticipation. Is it Ryo, Bobby asked himself. Slowly, tentatively, he flicked his tongue against the flat, slightly rough surface and sucked on it lightly. It tasted of... cheese? Bobby's eyes shot open.

"Told you that would work," Jubilee laughed. "Wake up, sleeping beauty. It's lunchtime, and we've ordered pizza."

As Bobby's vision cleared, he realised Ryo's room was crowded with the usual gang, all of them silently peering at him. Ryo was still holding the pizza over Bobby's face, the tip of the slice still in his mouth. He winked at Bobby. Bobby smiled and bit the tip off the pizza and swallowed it. Ryo put the slice onto a paper plate on the bedside table.

"The sleeper awakens, at long last," David teased. "I thought I was going to have to ask Ryo to play Prince Charming and kiss you to wake you up."

Bobby shot David a panicked look. Jubilee laughed. "Well, Bobby does have a thing for Asians."

Not helping, Jubilee, Bobby thought to himself. The others went back to eating their pizzas. Ryo stood by the bed and waited as Bobby stretched.

"Noriko spilled coffee on your clothes by accident," Ryo said. "So since we're about the same size, I thought maybe you'd want to borrow some clothes after a shower."

"Sure," Bobby said, sitting up in bed. He felt a little self-conscious sitting there in just his boxers in a room with ten other people, all fully-clothed. Ryo opened his closet, then motioned for Bobby to get closer to him. The open closet doors blocked him from view of the others.

Ryo motioned at the clothes. "Go ahead, grab anything you want."

Bobby rifled through Ryo's clothes. "Don't you have anything other than cargo pants besides your X-Men uniform?"

"Unfortunately for you, no," Ryo said. "If you want, you could go take a shower and I'll go to your room and get clothes for you."

"Or you could just call my roommate Alex to bring some up for me," Bobby said. "It'll save you the trouble of going down to my room. You don't even know where it is."

"You have a roommate?" Ryo asked, surprised.

"Yeah, and he's probably wondering why I haven't been to sleep in my room for two nights straight," Bobby said. "Most of the students here have roommates. The kids fourteen years and below are in rooms of four, and those above are in rooms of two. Not everyone comes from a family that knows they're mutants or are willing to pay for single rooms. As far as I know, only you, Julian and Alison have single rooms."

"David didn't say anything about a roomie."

"Well, he's on the second floor, so he's in one of the two-man rooms. If we get another male student, he'll have a roomie then."

Ryo shrugged. "Well, let me know how to call your roommate then. Then you can go take a shower."

"Hey you guys," David called. "No hanky-panky behind the doors!"

Ryo grinned at Bobby, a devilish look in his eye. "Play along with me!" Before Bobby could react, Ryo had yanked Bobby's boxers to his ankles. Ryo knelt on the ground, his face before Bobby's cock. He glanced up at Bobby, urging him to play along. Bobby felt his dick start to stiffen, but he put it out of his mind. He winked at Ryo and started to moan.

"Oh yeah... unh," he moaned loudly. "Oh God, Ryo!"

"OH MY GOD!" Jubilee shouted. "Are they actually doing it?"

"Fifty bucks says it's one of Ryo's lameass jokes," David said.

"Set," Jubilee said. "I say they're doing it for real."

"Easy money," David laughed. "Hand it over."

"Shouldn't you at least check first?" Sam laughed. "None of you guys know for certain, and Bobby's boxers ARE kinda on the floor."

Bobby kept up the moaning while Ryo moved his face a bit to make it look realistic. The thought of it was getting Bobby hard, however.

"I am NOT checking that!" David made a face.

Jubilee pointed at herself. "Hello! Lesbian." Everyone looked at her, stunned.

"You're a lesbian?" Shiro asked.

"I will be after I check whether they're doing it for real!"

"I'll do it," Noriko said. "Two guys getting it on with each other? Who could pass that up."

Ryo looked up at Bobby and winked. "We're bluffing, guys," he said as he stood up.

"Hah!" David shouted, grabbing Jubilee's arm. "You owe me fifty dollars!"

"Shut up," she growled. "I'll pass it to you tomorrow."

"I'll go call Alex and tell him to get you some clothes," Ryo said. He glanced down at Bobby's erect dick, then whispered, "Looks like someone was enjoying himself." Bobby blushed, but Ryo just winked at him. God, he has such lovely green eyes, Bobby thought. Ryo grabbed a towel from his closet and wrapped it around Bobby's waist for him. He reached up and flicked the centre of Bobby's forehead, then stepped around the cupboard doors to get to the phone on his desk.

Why does he always do that? Bobby wondered as he rubbed his forehead. He heard Ryo talking on the phone while the others played or watched the game in progress on the TV. Noriko let out a catcall as Bobby walked by them with only the towel. He noticed belatedly that his boxers were still on the floor near Ryo's closet. He ignored her and stepped into the bathroom, locking the door behind him.

Bobby hung the towel on the peg behind the door and stepped into the shower. He couldn't shake the feeling that Ryo had been hinting to him. It doesn't matter, he thought as he turned on the shower. I'm probably reading the actions wrong.

He felt the cool water wash over him and thought about it. Ryo hadn't even been here a week yet, but somehow, it felt longer than that to Bobby. He liked Ryo, but he had no idea why. Ryo was a mystery to him, and somehow exotic. Jubilee had been right; he did have a thing for Asians. Bobby thought back to the situation earlier. Ryo's face had been so close, and even though they were only joking, just the knowledge of that closeness had gotten Bobby aroused. Ryo hadn't minded at all, and the way he whispered to Bobby about enjoying himself too much, it was almost seducti... No! Bobby forced himself to think of something else as he soaped himself up. He was reading too much into the situation. He let his mind relax as the water washed the soap from his body.

Ryo opened the door. "Yes?"

"Yeah, I'm Alex," the blonde said. He carried a pair of folded jeans and a grey t-shirt with him. "I'm here with Bobby's clothes."

"Ryo." The two shook hands. Ryo looked curiously at Alex. "You look familiar somehow."

Alex rolled his eyes. "I get that a lot. I'm Scott's younger brother." He glanced inside Ryo's room for a moment. "Wow, having a party, I see."

Skids looked up from her match for a moment. "Hi, oh fearless leader!" The was a loud explosive sound from the TV and a cheer from Noriko. Skids quickly turned back to the game. "Dammit, Noriko! I was talking to Alex."

"I know!" Noriko laughed. "If you don't pay attention, you lose, simple as that."

"No fair," Skids pouted. She passed the controller over to Sam, who sat next to Noriko. He chose a character and the two of them began the match.

Alex watched them play for a while. "What game is that? It looks pretty cool."

"It's a game based on a Japanese cartoon called Naruto," Ryo said, watching the battle intensely. "The game is called Narutimetto Hero 2."

"Cool," Alex said. "How do you play?"

Sam groaned as Noriko's character trashed his. "Here Alex. Give it a go."

Ryo ruffled Noriko's hair, messing it up and pushing most of her dyed blue fringe over her eyes. "Play with your hair like that and maybe Alex has a chance of actually learning something."

"Alright already," Noriko groaned. "I'll go easy on him until he learns how to play."

Ryo took Bobby's clothes from Alex. "I'll go pass these to Bobby." Leaving the others to play the games on his PS2, Ryo walked to the bathroom door and opened it.

"God, Ryo!" Bobby shouted, covering himself up with a towel quickly. His hair was still damp and the smell of Ryo's jasmine soap permeated the air. "You could have knocked first, you know."

Ryo eyed Bobby, an amused half-smirk on his face. "And you're forgetting the fact that I just saw you up close just now. It was just in front of my face, remember?"

"That's different," Bobby said, grabbing his clothes from Ryo's outstretched arm. He lifted the t-shirt and grabbed the boxers hidden between the t-shirt and jeans.

"Alex seemed to know what to bring when I spoke to him on the phone earlier," Ryo said, leaning on the counter as Bobby changed into his jeans. "It's almost like he's done this many times before?"

"Yeah, he has," Bobby said. He paused for a moment to put his t-shirt on. "He had to do it pretty often because I often stayed in my ex-b..." he coughed for a moment, then continued, "ex-best friend John's room pretty often."

Ryo noted the obviously fake cough, but didn't call Bobby on it. Bobby's voice had a sense of both anger and sadness to it. Ryo's eyes caught sight of Bobby's slight fidgeting and decided not to push the matter further. He smiled cheekily instead.

"Damn, and here I thought I was special for keeping you in my room two nights in a row."

Bobby laughed. "Well, I never did stay in John's room for two nights in a row before. He was in one of the two-room dorms like me. David Alleyne, John's roommate, and Alex just couldn't get along. And if I stayed over in John's room, Dave would room with Alex, and the two of the would be grouchy the next morning. So yeah, I'd say you're pretty special."

Ryo was about to reply, but was interrupted by the banging on the bathroom door. "Ryo, Bobby, get out here now," Sam shouted. "Get changed into your uniforms. Jean just told me about a mission briefing."

Ryo opened the bathroom door just as Sam was about to pound it again, causing the blonde to stumble in. Ryo caught Sam's arm and prevented him from falling. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Sam said. "That's why we have briefing before the mission. Duh." The last word was added as an afterthought.

"Looks like I should've just gone to my room after all," Bobby sighed. "See you guys in the briefing room later."

to be continued

Yeah, I have no excuse for taking such a long time to finish this chapter off.

Special thanks to:
Omar - For being you. 'Nuff said.
Backfire, Rash & Trip - The best friends a guy could ask for!
Sisters Stephystar and Kyrasantae (who I know *isn't* reading this).
Everyone who emailed me and gave comments (there are so many of you).