Trellises, Romeo and Juliet, and Other Romantic Things
L. Burke

"Wait till I get my hands on you, Bobby Drake!" Scott Summers warned coldly as he leaped for his roommate.  "I can't believe you sold me our for a box of Twinkies."

"I didn't sell you out."  Bobby objected as he leapt away.  "Besides it was for a case of Twinkies not just a box."

Scott's response was to leap for Bobby again.  "Who uncrated you when Warren and Hank tried to ship you one-way to Alaska?  Who cut you down from the basketball rim when you were hung up there?  Then you sell me out for a case of Twinkies!"

Bobby just gave Scott a guilty expression.  "Well it was a whole case.  I'd never sell you out for just a box."  And with that remark Bobby, opened a bedroom window, climbed out onto a ledge and started running.

Scott stuck his head out the window.  "Don't even think that running away is going to save you.  I happen to know where you live."  Bobby's response was to start climbing the trellis on the side of the house, up towards the roof.  "You get to the roof and I'm throwing you off it.  The brain damage will only be an improvement."

Bobby started climbing the trellis faster, and Scott climbed out onto the ledge himself.  "Stop running, you coward, and take your deserved beating like an X-man." He headed up the trellis after Bobby.

"Jean -- it's for you," Warren Worthington shouted.

"Who is it?" Jean shouted from across the house.

"Your date for Valentines Day. What's his name? Oh, yeah, Mike."  Warren rolled his eyes.

Jean came running into the kitchen to get the phone. "Mike's probably calling to confirm times for tomorrows performance, we're going to go see Romeo and Juliet." Jean took the phone from Warren. Warren went back to doing his homework, pretending not to be listening in to Jean and Mike's conversation. "Hey, Mike. It's great to hear from you. You're calling to cancel. I see. Shelly called and asked you to the dance instead. Yeah, I understand. Have a great time." Jean slammed the phone down. "Men!"

Warren looked up from his homework. "Something wrong?"

Jean nodded angrily at him. "I just got stood up. Apparently Shelly asked Mike out, and he jumped at the chance. What do men see in that woman?"

Warren smirked at her. "Shelly puts out."

Jean glared, saying again, "Men!" with great disgust.

Right at that moment, Hank McCoy walked in to the kitchen. "I hope that you are not drawing conclusions about the whole male side of the species by whatever Warren is saying to you."

"Jean wanted to know why Mike would cancel a date with her so he could go out with Shelly."

Hank blinked at Warren like the answer was obvious. "Shelly puts out."

Warren looked at Jean. "See? I told you so."

Jean glared at both of them. "Men!" she said for a third time. "So tell me something. I need a quick trip into the male mind right now. Is there ever a time that men get tired of dating shallow, dizzy, big-busted bimbos?"

Warren and Hank just exchanged looks. "I don't know, is there?" Warren asked Hank.

"Maybe when we mature at about forty and start taking up golf? Dating intelligent woman would require conversation skills, right?"

They both turned back to Jean and announced at the same time. "We don't think so."

Jean threw her hands up in exasperation. "Sometimes I think I'm at a disadvantage living with four teenage boys. There are just somethings a woman shouldn't know about the male mind.

"If you examine the evidence," Hank butted in gleefully. "Women are looking for meaningful long lasting relationships. Men on the other hand are looking for --"

"-- shallow, dizzy, big-busted bimbos," Warren finished for Hank with a smirk.

Jean glared at them. "Great that leaves me dumped for a bimbo the day before Valentine's, with two tickets to a performance that I have no idea what I'm going to do with."

"Well if you don't have any back-up plans," Hank announced, "I would love to go see one of the Great Bard's plays."

Warren glared at Hank, then shot Jean his most charming smile. "Really, Jeannie, I'd love to take you. I'll even throw in diner."

Hank glared right back at Warren.

"Don't you think trouncing me for this is going a little overboard?" Bobby asked from the far corner of the roof.

Scott glared from where he'd just climbed off the trellis and was trying to keep his footing on a very slippery, icy roof. "No. Running is just making it worse on you, you little weasel."

Bobby gulped. "Since I know you're not the forgiving sort, I'm going to try the running thing anyway." Bobby bolted towards the door to the roof.

Scott bolted at the same time, but went sliding. Bobby Drake had, it seemed, a secondary mutant ability to run across any icy surface and not slip and fall on his butt. "You lock me up here so I have to climb down and you're going to Alaska. The hard way!" Scott bellowed as Bobby made it to the door, closed, and locked it behind him.

"I'm just going to let you stay up here until you calm down enough not to kill me," Bobby called from behind the locked door. "Or at least until I find the professor to protect me."

"Bobby!" Scott shouted as he pounded on the door. "Unlock this right now, or so help me, you're dead! Did it occur to you I could just blast the door in?"

"You won't!" Bobby shouted back. "You don't have your visor. That means you can't control how powerful your blast will be. You could just as easily rip the roof off as blast down the door. You won't risk hurting the others by mistake."

"Bobby! Open the door!" Scott shouted as he pounded on it again. But Bobby appeared to have left. "I am so stupid!" Scott grumbled to himself. "I fell for that one like an amateur."

"No, I insist that Jean should take me to the play," Hank growled at Warren. "You have no appreciation for Shakespeare."

"Why would she want to take you? You're a boring date," Warren shot back.

"What are you two fighting about now?" Bobby asked breathlessly as he ran in to the living room. "I'm not going to have to fish Warren's stuff out of the pool again am I?"

"Nothing!" Both Hank and Warren shouted back without breaking their glaring match.

Jean had covered her face with her hands and sighed. "They're fighting about who's going to take me to see Romeo and Juliet."

"Yuck! Culture!" Bobby made a face. "If you were going to go see The Rocky Horror Picture Show, that would be a different story. Besides, I thought you were taking Mike?"

Jean sighed at Bobby. "I was. Mike cancelled because Shelly asked him out instead."

Bobby gave her a pitying look "Too bad. The only reason Mike's going out with Shelly is because she puts out on a first date."

"So I've been told," Jean announced dryly.

"Have you seen the Professor?" Bobby asked, ignoring Hank and Warren who were still arguing. "I really need him to prevent a murder. Namely mine."

"He's in his study. Who's mad at you now?"

"My roommate. I want to put the professor between me and Slim as quickly as possible."

Jean blinked at Bobby. "Slim's mad at you? I thought the man didn't have a temper."

"It takes a lot to get him there," Bobby admitted sheepishly, "but I managed it. My best move right now is go straight to the professor, confess to what I did, and let Professor Xavier cool Scott down. Sometimes I love being the youngest. Professor Xavier has too much of a sense of fair play to let the older ones beat me. Now. if you'll excuse me --"

"When I get my hands on you Bobby." Scott growled under his breath as he tried to make it back across the roof towards the trellis.

He was just about there when he his feet slipped out from beneath him and he went tumbling down the other side of the roof.

"So Jean. Who do you want to take you to that play?" Warren asked.

Jean smiled at both Hank and Warren. "Maybe I won't go. I really didn't want to see Romeo and Juliet that badly. It was just for extra credit, anyway. Honestly, I think I might be coming down with something."

"No, we insist Ms. Grey. Who do you want to take you?" Hank said, but Warren objected and they fell to arguing again.

Jean smiled sweetly at her two teammates and quickly scanned the room for the nearest door. She wasn't even touching that one; she was getting the hell out of here. They were so busy with each other, they didn't even notice when she snuck out the door.

When the world stopped sliding, Scott found himself dangling by one hand from a gutter. He'd tumbled down the steep incline of the roof but had managed to catch himself on the gutter on his way down. He'd also managed to slice that wrist open on either a sharp patch of ice, or the gutter itself. Blood oozed down his arm.

"Wonderful. Just wonderful," he announced aloud. "You'd better be with the professor, confessing, Bobby, because that's the only thing that'll save you." A light in Jean's room suddenly came on, and Scott started inching over to over to Jean's balcony. The irony didn't escape him.

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise fair Sun and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief."

Scott started chuckling humorlessly as he inched his way towards the balcony. "I must have hit a vein and be losing a lot of blood, because I really hate that play. Why didn't anything like this ever happen to Romeo?"

"What is going on out here?" Professor Xavier demanded as he wheeled his way in to the living room. "I am trying to correct your research papers."

"Jean was just going to tell us who she wanted to take to the play tomorrow night," Warren stated calmly, though glaring at Hank.

"Did it occur to either of you that Jean should be the one to decide?" Xavier asked irritably. But Jean was nowhere around.

"She can't decide," Hank interjected.

"It could be that you're both acting like fools, and that's the reason," Xavier told them bluntly. Then he caught sight of Bobby trying to sneak out of the room. "Robert, don't even think about it. We are going to go get Scott off the roof, and then you are going to apologize. Or I will lock you both in the danger room -- alone. Do I make myself clear? You are in big trouble, young man."

"Yes, sir." Bobby announced miserably.

Hank and Warren just continued to glare at one another.

"That's it. " Xavier announced exasperated. "You two are both grounded. That means that nether of you can take Jean."

"That's not fair!" Warren and Hank both protested at the same time.

"I have spent the last six hours correcting research papers, and the last two days correcting tests. I'm not feeling fair right now," Xavier responded icily.

When Scott tried to swing down onto the balcony, he slipped. "Oh, son of a --" At least he managed to snag Jean's trellis to slow his fall on his way down. He landed on his ass in a big fluffy snowdrift on Jean's balcony. "Romeo makes that look so damned easy. One of the many reasons I hate that play." Scott muttered to himself as the trellis with the climbing rose bush came falling down on top of him.

Jean had just walked into her room when she heard a strange noise coming from her balcony. Hurrying to open the door, she found that her trellis had fallen down, and from underneath it, she was hearing language that she didn't think Slim knews. Jean lifted the trellis off of him and asked, "Are you all right?"

He lay there and blinked up at her for a moment, then muttered, "O she doth teach the torches to burn bright. It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night. As a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear-- Beauty too rich for use, for earth, too dear."

"Are you all right?" Jean asked again.

Scott started chuckling humorlessly. "Oh, this one is going to be ranked right up there with 'Marvel Girl, get clear!'" Scott cleared his throat. "Yes, I'm fine. I just got knocked silly."

Jean helped him to his feet. "I've got to give you one thing, Slim. You sure know how to make an entrance."

"And one day," Scott added dryly, "I may even make one on my feet."

Jean smirked at him. "I think you'd better come inside and let me take a look at you, to see if you're still in one piece. You're bleeding."

"Well I think you need stitches," Jean grumbled as she inspected the wound on Scott's wrist. "It's pretty deep and bleeding freely. I don't know if you nicked the vein or not." She looked up at Scott "I'm going to pack it, then we're going to have Hank and the professor take a look at it."

Scott wasn't really paying attention to what she was saying. He was just studying her intently. Jean wondered for a moment if he felt the tension in the room building, too. He asked quietly, "Something wrong Red?" And Jean wondered for a moment if she were that easy to read.

"Why would you ask that?" she replied. "You're the one bleeding all over my bedroom."

Scott shrugged. "You're just not yourself tonight."

Jean sighed, "I got dumped for a bimbo."

"A bimbo -- the cause of many a great man's fall. You almost sound jealous."

"Why would I be jealous of a dizzy, big busted bimbo who puts out on the first date? . . . just because I keep getting dumped for them."

"Don't be jealous. Bimbos bore me."

Jean sighed. "You're the wonderful exception to the rule then, Slim."

"Funny, most people call me cold, prickly, moody, and displaying antisocial behavior. Remember, Jean. Beauty fades. What's inside doesn't. Watch an older couple someday. If the man still looks at his wife when thy're eighty like she's still the most beautiful woman in the world to him, you know there's more to her than just looks. And I can almost guarantee she didn't put out on the first date, either."

"I'll be appreciated for the great catch I am when I'm eighty?" Jean asked, sighing, and really wishing she could see his eyes. That way, she'd know if he meant what he was telling her.

Scott just studied her for a moment, then said, "You know how long it takes men to grow up. The really lucky ones are those who find someone who tolerates them for being true to themselves. You know -- someone who'll put up with your little obsessions at three in the morning. My advice to you would be, Don't settle. Be true to yourself first, and the rest will fall into place." For just a moment, Scott let his walls down so Jean could feel with her telepathy that he was being sincere.

Jean absorbed what he said, then asked, "How'd you get to be so smart? You don't even date."

"Brain damage." Scott stated dryly. "Now if you'll pardon me. I have to be going." He headed towards the balcony.

"Why are you leaving? You're still bleeding. And why are you leaving that way?"

Scott shrugged at her. "I have to go find Bobby, and I might as well hit him before I have to worry about ripping out stitches. I'm leaving by the balcony so none of the others get the wrong idea."

Before Scott could leap off, Jean blurted, "Do you want to go see Romeo and Juliet tomorrow night?"

He blinked back at her. "Not really. I hate that play. Every time I'm forced to read it, all I can think is, 'What a waste.' Romeo was an idiot. Juliet wasn't much better. The only way I'd have liked that play is if they'd strung up the Friar at the end for causing the whole disaster."

Jean smirked at him. "You're not much of a romantic are you?"

Scott was looking down at the ground, measuring distance. "Not really." Then he jumped off the balcony and landed on his feet. Turning, he saluted Jean. "Thanks for the bandage. I have to go find Bobby now. " As he vanished into the dark, Jean could have sworn she heard him say, "Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow."

"You can't ground us." Warren announced hotly. "We didn't do anything wrong. Don't you think you should be grounding Bobby for whatever he did now?"

"I'm in the mood to punish stupidity," Professor Xavier shot back. "I did just finish your research paper, which had very little research in it. As for Bobby, don't worry. I'll take care of it."

"Professor!" Warren and Hank protested at once.

Right then, Scott came in the front door, slamming it behind him, and his eyes fell on Bobby immediately. Bobby paled and let out a gulp. "Hey, Slim. How's it hanging?"

Scott shot Bobby a look. "Hanging was the last term you wanted to use."  And he leapt for Bobby, managing to grab him this time and put him in a headlock.

"Professor, a little help over here!" Bobby grasped. But as Scott had him around the throat, he plea didn't come out loudly, and Xavier was still involved with Hank and Warren on the other side of the room, his back to Bobby.

"Do you have any idea what I'm going to do to you?" Scott whispered in Bobby's ear.

"I have a pretty good imagination." Bobby choked back.

"Good. But it won't even compare to the real thing," Scott replied quietly.

"Uh, Slim?  Before you kill me?" Bobby grasped "Your bleeding through your bandage."

Scott glanced at his wrist, and it was still oozing through the bandage. "Yeah, I guess I am. I'm starting to feel a little woozy, too. This is your fault. I fell off the roof."

"Professor," Bobby called as he felt Scott's headlock loosen a bit.

"Not now,Robert. As soon as I settle this, we're heading up to the roof to let Scott down."

"He's already down, sir, and he's going to be bleeding all over your good carpet." Bobby replied.

Professor Xavier swung his chair around, and looked in Bobby and Scott's direction. " Oh, Good Lord! Bobby call the emergency room. Tell them we're coming. Scott, put that arm up and put your head between your knees so you don’t pass out on me. Warren, Hank, go get the med kit."

"Don't worry, sir. Scott put the emergency room in to speed dial," Bobby shouted as he headed towards the kitchen. "Hey, Nancy's on duty tonight. Isn't that cool. She want's to know if Hank's eyebrows grew back okay."

"Bid Nurse Williams my fondest regards," Hank calleded as he walked into the room, carrying the med-kit. "Is the alluring Dr. McKay on duty tonight, too?"

Xavier grabbed the med-kit from Hank. "And to think, I believed I was done with emergency medical after I left the army," Xavier said dryly as he re-packed Scott's wound. "I've spent more time in emergency rooms since the four of you came here than all my years as a practicing doctor. Would you mind telling me how you managed this one, Scott?"

But Scott shrugged and raised his head. "I fell off the roof. I either cut it on a gutter or a sharp patch of ice on the way down. It's not to bad. It's not pumping and I can move all my fingers."

"Head between the knees. And I strictly forbade any of you to go up on the roof at this time of year. It's too icy and dangerous. You could have fallen off and broken you neck," Xavier snapped.

"I caught myself on Jean's trellis on the way down," Scott said, raising his head from between his knees again.

Jean suddenly appeared back in the living room and Xavier snapped at Scott, "I told you, head down. Robert, when you're done on the phone, bring a glass of orange juice. Jean, I have a solution to your dilemma. Scott can take you to go see Romeo and Juliet tomorrow night."

"I hate Romeo and Juliet," Scott objected, lifting his head from between his knees for a third time.

"Your objection is noted and ignored. Consider it punishment for going up on the roof. You will take her to that play and be a good date, not your usual moody, prickly cactus routine. You don’t get out enough. Besides, perhaps seeing it performed will give you an appreciation for the play that you didn't find when we read it in class. And I said head down~"

"Like you can talk about getting out," Warren grumbled.

"I heard that, Warren," Xavier stated coldly.

"But, sir!" Scott started to object.

"I said head between the knees. " Professor Xavier said that in his 'I'm-not-taking-any-arguments' tone. "Robert, tell Nurse Williams that we should be at the emergency room in about ten minutes."

Jean was lying in bed, reading a book when Warren stuck his head into her room. "So," he asked, "How'd the ordered date go?"

Jean put down her book. "It went fine. Scott was very nice and the perfect gentleman."

Warren smirked at that. "And we'll pay for all that forced niceness in the Danger Room in the morning. I think I'll make it a point not to set my alarm. So our resident cactus wasn't prickly?"

Jean chuckled at Warren. "Well, there was incident. The girl who took our coats gave Scott a strange look about the bandage on his wrist. Scott announced that he'd heard the BeeGee's were getting back together and he just couldn't take it." She giggled. "I dragged him to our seats and then he was good for the rest of the evening."

Warren chuckled, too. "I know Valentine's Day didn't turn out the way you wanted it to. If it makes you feel any better, the rest of us ended up doing double sessions in the Danger Room."

Jean shrugged. "I can't say I had a bad time. Scott just didn't say hardly two words together the whole time we were out -- well, beyond the BeeGees crack. I think his wrist was bothering him, and he refused to admit it."

"Add to that the fact he really hates Romeo and Juliet," Warren smirked at her. "Someday I'll have to pull out a copy of his essay. Professor Xavier made us write one on for that play. Let's just say Scott wasn't very nice to it. 'A view into human stupidity' was the nicest thing he called it. Sounds like you got off easy tonight."

Jean chuckled to herself. "Yeah. I guess I did. Did he really call it 'a view into human stupidity'?"

Warren rolled his eyes. "His exact words. If it makes you feel any better, too, Mike's a moron. Shelly doesn't have a thing that remotely holds a candle to you, Jeannie. If given the choice between a girl like you and a girl like Shelly, I'd choose you, hands down. No contest."

Jean smiled at Warren. "Thanks. That means a lot."

"Well," Warren said, looking embarrassed, "I have to get going. Lights out in ten minutes -- I'll talk to you tomorrow. Happy St. Valentines Day or at least what left of it."

"You too Warren." Jean replied.

Jean was just about to turn off her lights and go to bed, fluffing her pillows, when she found something tucked under her pillow. It was a small, wrapped package with a card attached. The card simply read: "This above all --"

Inside the box lay a little gold, heart-shaped locket with the words 'To thine own self be true' engraved on it. Jean started laughing. Even without a signature, she knew from whom the locket must  had come. "Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, Slim."

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