It was one word. Four letters. An imperative command. And it changed everything.
He wasn't going to say anything - honestly - but in the second before too late Bobby saw the future spiral out around them. John would leave, angry and, okay, jealous. Maybe he'd make it inside the facility just to get yelled at by Logan or Jean and he'd finally have enough of being treated like a little kid. Or he wouldn't even make it inside before Magneto or whoever would find him and kill him.
Or recruit him.
Bobby wasn't stupid. He could tell John was frustrated with being relegated to the minor leagues most of the time and if Bobby could see it, he was pretty sure someone like Magneto could too. John was hurt and when he got like that, he was liable to do something reckless.
Sure, if John ran away or got killed or fell to the dark side, Bobby'd still have Rogue, sort of, but she'd eventually leave him for Logan or some as-yet-to-be-named mutant and then he'd be alone. No girlfriend, no best friend. Alone.
So he picked the other path.
"Wait. The two of us have a better chance." And the look on John's face ... It wasn't that annoying smirk Bobby hated more than just about anything. No, it was relief, a little disbelief, and something they were probably going to have to talk about later.
"Bobby, Logan said -"
"I know what 'Logan said,' Rogue." It wasn't that he disliked Logan. He actually kind of liked the guy when every woman in a five mile radius wasn't panting after him. Not that he could blame them and, wow, that was a thought to be examined much, much later. Like never. "But John is my best friend."
There was something hard in Marie’s eyes that hadn’t been there a few minutes ago, so she’d obviously seen the same thing in John’s eyes that Bobby had. "He's a delinquent, Bobby."
"Well, yeah, but -"
"Hey, I'm standing right here!"
" - I think a little delinquency is needed here, don't you?"
Bobby watched Rogue's gaze flicker back and forth between him and John for a second before she seemed to soften. "You're both delinquents. Get out of here and save the day."
"Come on, Pyro, let's go kick some ass."
The ass kicking didn't go as planned.
Between John's complete lack of tolerance for the cold, the crazy, debilitating headache, and Magneto's Faustian appearance, they were lucky to make it back to the Blackbird in one piece.
Not everyone was so lucky.
Bobby couldn’t do anything but watch as Scott collapsed in Logan’s arms. This wasn’t right. People like Jean didn’t just…die.