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Face/Off

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The moment they see each other on what is rapidly becoming a battlefield, everything – stops.

They’ve both known this was coming. After all, it’s what both of them have been training for these past eight months.

They each have a plan. Well, St. John has a plan, a plan which involves sending large fireballs in Bobby’s direction and somehow winning without necessarily killing his former best friend. Perhaps Bobby had a plan, as well, one involving icicles and snow and sleet, but when the world starts moving again his actions could not be further from a plan. Within seconds he has frozen the lighter in St. John’s hand, and that was in the plan, but his next move was never included in any of Scott’s or Ororo’s or Logan’s training sessions.

St. John tries to flick his lighter but – it’s frozen, and he cannot believe the Iceman was faster than him. And Bobby is crossing the battlefield as if oblivious to the fighting going on around him and the multitudes of shards and stones and bits of concrete almost hitting him and he doesn’t have a plan but he’s determined, and then he’s standing in front of St. john and stepping closer still and hugging him.

St. John is too shocked to react. In this moment - without a working lighter in his hand – he is defenseless, but while Bobby’s arms are wrapped around him tight he finds they’re not actually restraining, and this is not a fight because all Bobby does is hold him.

Bobby ‘s brain has invented there’s a new plan, a pan which involves not moving, and St. John’s plans have frozen to ice because Bobby froze his lighter and Bobby is holding him. Holding him; he doesn’t know for how long but - around them people are shouting and crashing into things and causing pieces of buildings to fall down.

And somehow, through the torrent of background noises it dawns on St. John that this simple act of Bobby holding him and not moving replaces an entire conversation: a conversation they should have had at some point between fleeing Bobby’s house and St. John leaving the jet or, really, at any time before or after; a conversation they both know none of them was ready to have.

At present there is utter violent chaos around them; they can smell blood and hear screams, and behind some rubble there is a fire which St. John could take control of but – he doesn’t. He does, however, move his arms, finally, and it’s to push Bobby away but it isn’t and nothing is going according to plan, except according to Bobby’s plan which rose up from somewhere the minute he saw St. John.

Bobby, for his part, is gaining confidence that St. John knows what he means, what he couldn’t say before – and then he couldn’t have because St. John was absent – but he’s saying it now, he’s saying it without any stupid words that could never work; when he’s tightening his grip around St. John he’s shouting it – or whispering it? he doesn’t know which and doesn’t care because St. John gets it and Bobby believes this because St. John is hugging him back.

Perhaps one of their sides will lose because Bobby St. John isn’t fighting. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, since St. John Bobby isn’t fighting either, and aren’t they supposed to fight each other, anyway? Standing as they are, neither of them is about to get hurt, except maybe by a stray bullet or some falling junk of metal seeing as neither of them is moving and they’re in the middle of a battlefield, after all.

But there is a possibility that none of the falling debris will actually hit them. That all the other mutants and humans and other mutants around them will actually leave them unharmed. Eventually, the battle will be over and they will pull apart to find out who won, knowing that whatever the outcome, it will already have exceeded their expectations by far.