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step one: don't be a loser

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There was a fly on Hank’s head. Oh, sorry— Mr. McCoy. Because, “Yes, Peter. I know we’re friends, I know we survived Apocalypse together. But in the classroom, I am Mr. McCoy. Yes you have to go to class.”  

Which was bullshit, because Peter was nineteen.

The fly moved from the top of Mr. McCoy’s head to his eyebrow, and finally he noticed it and waved it away. Good. Peter was getting bored of watching it.

His watch read 1:28. Only two more minutes! He was grateful that school worked differently here, because his attention span did not last eight hours of crap (aka, the American education system). Well, it worked differently for him and the other older kids.

What could he do in two minutes? A lot, actually. He could run down the hallway and grab a soda from the kitchen. He could run around the entire mansion a few times. He could probably find that fly and put it back on Ha—Mr. McCoy’s head. All in those two minutes.

1:29.

He could practically feel every other kid in the room counting the seconds. Yeah, school only lasted a couple hours, but it was Friday.

Hank was a great guy. But Mr. McCoy was so boring.

“Peter, Kurt, I’d like you two to stay after class.”

Fuck.

The bell rang, and everyone else left the room. Lucky assholes. Especially Scott, he was a dick. Peter was across the room from Kurt. The poor guy looked scared. Peter had his fair share of “Please stay after class” from his old high school (which he already finished, but for some fucking reason Charles thought he would benefit from taking classes). So he was used to this. But Kurt? The kid was an angel, so he probably had no idea what was happening.

He didn’t really know anything about Kurt. He knew that Kurt was there during the whole Apocalypse thing, but Kurt and the other teenagers who were also there mostly stuck together.

Did Peter count as a teenager?

“So, as you may know, we’ve been getting more students lately. As a result, Charles, Raven, and I are working on expanding. This is a mansion, but it can only fit so many people,” Hank said. Class was over, so Peter had no problems calling him Hank.

“What does this have to do with us?” Peter asked. Why not get straight to the point? He was already bored of being bored and he wanted to stretch his legs and run a few laps.

“Well, as for the time being, you two will have to room together.”

Um. Okay, no.

“But—But privacy! My rights as a human being to sleep in my own room!” Peter protested. He didn’t realize he was standing until he almost tripped over his desk.

“I’m sorry, but if it makes you feel any better, I have to room with Logan.” There was the Hank Peter knew, not the boring old teacher.

“Okay, yeah, that does make me feel better.” Hey, Logan smelled like a wet dog. “But you’re both covered in excess hair! And I’m used to a lot of space. I lived in my mom’s basement!” Peter complained. Okay, maybe he shouldn’t have loudly admitted that he used to live in his mom’s basement, but no one was around who didn’t already know.

“Are you done?” Hank leaned back in his chair, one hand folded over the other. That was the look of an exasperated adult. Peter knew that look very well.

He nodded.

“Now that we’ve heard Peter’s opinion, Kurt, what do you think?” Hank asked. Oh yeah, Kurt was there. He was so quiet that Peter almost forgot he was there.

“Oh, um. Anything is fine,” Kurt said. He was fidgeting with his cool-as-fuck tail. Damn. How come Kurt got a tail and freaky yellow eyes, and all Peter got was grey hair? It made him look like he had extreme premature greying.

“Alright. Kurt, you’ll be moving into Peter’s room this weekend. Peter, please clear half of your room the best you can,” Hank gave Peter a look. They both knew how messy he was, and of his collection of stolen Twinkies.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Thank you. You guys can go now. See you at dinner,” Hank said.

Time slowed, almost to a halt. Peter grabbed his backpack. Just for fun, he snatched a fly midair and put it on Hank’s head. As he ran out, he saw the smoke from Kurt’s teleportation slowly spreading. He paused a moment, and Kurt was gone. Watching Kurt teleport in slow motion was weird and he should never do it again. 

Peter took great amusement in strolling the halls at a normal speed (well, normal for him was running) while everyone else was borderline frozen. Very, very fucking slow.

He could steal whatever he wanted from anyone. He could, but he wouldn’t. He only stole from stores or rich snobs. Plus, Charles would be disappointed in him and it would be a whole thing.

Okay, he was done being slow. He ran faster, and let the world to streaks. Like when you’re in a car, and out the window it’s just streaks, unless you focus on a tree or something and you can see the tree.

He dropped his backpack off in his room and was outside in less than two seconds. He slowed to the speed everyone else was all the time (which was so slow. His brain moved way faster than that. Probably the reason for his ADHD and anxiety. Who was he kidding, definitely the reason for his ADHD and anxiety. Or because of his ADHD and anxiety. He wasn’t a doctor, he didn’t know).

He took a couple minutes to stretch his legs. He had too many lectures from Hank about the importance of stretching. Whatever. 

He finished and ran. Sometimes, he allowed himself to see the world in slow motion when he ran. Sometimes, he just wanted to go fast.

It couldn’t have been too long. Not more than ten minutes, right? Wrong, apparently.

Raven stood directly in his path, arms crossed. He had to skid into a tree to avoid hitting her.

“What’s up?”

“How long have you been running?” Raven asked. It was clear by her tone that she already knew the answer, which was weird because she usually didn’t get mad at him for running.

“I dunno, ten minutes. Why?” Peter gracefully picked himself off of the tree and walked over to her. Gracefully, meaning the opposite.

“It’s been two hours,” Raven said. “Look at the ground.”

Oh shit. Two hours? Man, he didn’t even realize. Regardless, he looked at the ground. He had left an indent in the dirt. It was easily deeper than six inches. Pretty cool.

“Come on,” Raven softened. She laid a hand on his back and led him in the direction of the house. “Let’s go inside. You’re probably starving.”

She was a thousand percent right.

“I could eat a horse,” Peter groaned.

“Logan made chili for the whole mansion, and then some. So there’s a lot of chili,” Raven told him as they walked inside. She was in her normal blue form. Fortunately, she was wearing clothes. Peter had asked her, a few months ago, if she was a nudist.

“Dinner already? It can’t be later than 4:00,” Peter said. Although, he wasn’t going to complain about chili.

“Logan doesn’t play around about chili.”

That was true. A few weeks after the school was rebuilt, Logan came to the school. He looked different than Peter remembered, more wild and almost uncontrollable. Peter didn’t know the whole story, he just knew that Logan didn’t remember him or anyone else (which was kind of insulting. It’s only been four years. Peter isn’t that forgettable, is he?).

“Are you rooming with anyone?” Peter asked.

Raven gave him a strange look, “Peter, I’m way too old for you.”

“What—No!” Peter sputtered, “No! I just asked because Hank said that Charles said that we have to have roommates now. I’m rooming with Kurt. I mean, I guess it’s not as bad as it could be. But I don’t know him at all! Actually, I hardly know anyone around my age. Anyway, Hank said he was rooming with Logan, so I was wondering.”

“Okay,” Raven said slowly, “There’s a lot to unpack there. Kurt is a sweet boy, I’m sure you two will get along. Peter, what do you mean you don’t know anyone your age? You’re surrounded by teenagers. And I think you should know that we have our own rooms and Charles didn’t tell the adults to room together. Hank and Logan obviously want to live together.”

“Well, I know their names, but I don’t hang out with them. They probably think I’m weird, and I don’t blame them,” Peter said. And what the fuck?! “Hank said, and I quote, ‘If it makes you feel any better, I’m rooming with Logan’. He said that like he didn’t want to! That—That bastard! He manipulated me!”

“Hank is a sunshine golden boy. He’d never do that,” Raven teased. “And we are definitely having a conversation about your self-esteem later.”

Peter decided to start mentally preparing himself for that conversation now.

As they rounded the corner, he saw Logan in the kitchen. The dude was stirring what Peter assumed was the chili in a giant fucking pot. 

“Second batch, already?” Raven greeted.

Logan grunted in response. Even before his amnesia, he was a man of few words. Peter really did not fucking understand how Logan could just grunt and be totally fine with not talking. He must have the best brain-to-mouth filter. 

Peter grabbed a bowl and held it out to Logan. After Logan gave him multiple ladlefuls (almost overflowing the bowl) Peter shouted “Thanks!” and walked at a normal human speed, which was really slow, but hey, he didn’t want to spill the chili.

He claimed a spot at the table in the dining room. Usually, he ate in the cafeteria. The dining room was where the adults usually ate. Sometimes, the adults ate in the cafeteria, and sometimes some of the older students ate in the dining room. He was very grateful that most of the ‘rules’ here were very loose.

He should really stop referring to Kurt, Jean, Scott, Ororo, and Jubilee as the “older kids”, but what else did he call them? They weren’t friends. And he was pretty sure that Ororo was eighteen or nineteen, Peter’s age.

So older kids it was.

Peter was enjoying his chili with his depressing thoughts, perfectly fine by himself, until the “older kids” filed into the dining room with bowls of chili. Huh. They had to eat here today? And leave Peter to sit awkwardly while they talked amongst themselves? He should’ve brought his walkman.

“Hallo, Peter,” Kurt sat across from him. Was it hard for him to eat with his three fingers (and did he ever use his tail for mundane tasks? Because that could be pretty funny)? 

“Hey,” Peter said. He must have sounded confused, because Jean explained why they decided to sit with him today.

“Kurt said that he’s rooming with you, so we thought we should get to know you.”

That… made no sense. Peter and Kurt were just gonna be roommates. They’d only see each other before they went to sleep. It’s not like Peter was going to be hanging out with Kurt’s friends.

“Um, thanks?” He probably could have said something way more witty and intelligent, but this was all his brain supplied. Thanks, brain. Maybe he did have premature greying, and it was making his brain stupid.

Kurt offered him an awkward smile. Peter had no idea how to respond to that, so he just nodded. He wanted to slap himself for being so weird.

Dinner continued as expected. The others talked and laughed. Jean and Kurt tried to include Peter in the conversation, but he just nodded or shook his head. He didn’t know what was wrong with himself. Usually, he couldn’t stop talking. He hoped his voice wasn’t broken. That would seriously suck.

“What do you think, Peter?” Jean asked.

Peter wasn’t really following their conversation, so he just shrugged and said, “Nothin’.”

“Okay, what’s your deal, man?” Scott dropped his spoon into his bowl and crossed his arms, “You’ve been rude all dinner. We just want to talk to you! Are you too good for us or something?” By the end, Scott was almost shouting.

What the fuck? Where did that come from?

“Scott,” Jean warned.

“No, I’m serious. What is wrong with you!?” Scott stood and glared at Peter.

“I don’t need this right now,” Peter said. He returned Scott’s glare for a split-second then ran out. He thanked every deity he could think of for his mutation.

He left his chili in the dining room. Damn, that was some good chili. With the amount Logan had already made, there was sure to be leftovers, thankfully.

Peter ran to his dorm. He wasn’t trying to be rude, he just didn’t like sixth-wheeling their friend group. It made him feel awkward and sorry for himself for not having friends. Except for, like, Hank and Raven, but they were adults so they didn’t count. 

Jeez, did Scott have anger management issues or something? Because blowing up at someone for not participating in a conversation was pretty out there.

Peter decided to forget about it and focus on something else. There wasn’t anything to do except— fuck, he had to clear half of his room. Well, why not just get it over with and use superspeed. Within seconds, half of the room was empty and Peter’s half felt very cramped. At least the bathroom was on his side.

The collection of stolen Twinkies was now safely under his bed. He grabbed one and stuffed it in his pocket for later, falling back onto his bed. If he was already in here, he should get his standard four hours of sleep now, right?

He was going to, until somebody decided to knock on his door and give him a heart attack. Not cool, man.

“Peter? I want to talk to you—” The door was open before Charles could finish talking. “Oh, thank you,” he wheeled himself inside, “I wanted to let you know that Erik is coming home tonight.”

Peter froze. Erik—Why would Charles tell him that if he didn’t know? How did Charles know? Oh, right. He’s a telepath. Peter is really fucking stupid. He should’ve known that it would get out eventually. Or Raven told him. But she wouldn’t do that, right? Peter wanted to tell Erik. It would be fucking awful if Erik found out some other way.

Why should it matter, anyway? No matter how Erik found out, he would be disappointed to have Peter as a son. As he should, of course, but it would hurt nonetheless. Like a kick in the balls. But being kicked in the balls constantly, nonstop, his whole life. So, like, childbirth.

“Peter, are you all right?” Charles asked, his eyebrows pinched in concern.

“Oh yeah. I’m totally fine. Everything is fine. Everything is fine,” Peter’s fingers blurred as he tapped them against his thigh.

“Why don’t you sit down?”

Good idea. Peter all but collapsed onto his bed.

Charles wheeled next to the bed, “It’s okay. You’ve already made him proud. You don’t have to tell him this time, but I do think you should tell him soon. Erik values his family above all else, remember that.”

“He doesn’t know me,” Peter said, “He thinks I’m some crazy kid who broke him out of prison and got my leg broken by Apoca-bitch.”

“Then make him know you.”

“What about you, hm? What are you gonna do about that whole ex-lovers-but-we’re-still-in-love thing you’ve got with him?” Peter crossed his arms, staring pointedly at Charles.

“I—What—This conversation is over,” Charles said, face turning pink. “Have a good night, Peter.” He left Peter’s room and closed the door behind himself.

So. Erik was coming back tonight. That could be anytime from right now to 4 o’clock in the morning. Peter can’t tell him, he can’t. He’s tried before, and the words stuck in his throat. What the hell was he supposed to do?

Knock, knock.

Jesus fucking christ. Was everyone in the mansion trying to give Peter a heart attack? He sighed louder than necessary and opened the door.

Scott stood there with his hands shoved in his pockets, not looking at Peter (of course, it was hard to tell because of the glasses, but Peter could). Well, this was a surprise.

“Are you coming to yell at me more?” Peter asked warily.

“No, I… I’m sorry,” Scott finally looked at Peter, wringing his hands, “I shouldn’t have blown up at you. We shouldn’t have pushed you to talk to us. Um… sorry.” He held his hand out, “Are we cool?”

Peter raised an eyebrow. He grabbed Scott’s hand, “Yeah, we’re cool. Sorry for being so aloof.” Awkward chuckle.

“Do you want to hang out with us? We’re gonna play Uno and eat junk food.”

“You had me at junk food,” Peter grinned.

If there was anything Peter learned (ew, learning) from playing Uno with them, it was that Jubilee cheats at Uno. You’d think it would be Jean, but no, it’s Jubilee. And that Kurt is really cute when he wins. Peter decided not to think about that.

“Juby is cheating again!” Jean threw down her cards. It was the middle of their fifth game.

“No she’s not, I haven’t seen her cheat since the third round!” Ororo argued.

“Shouldn’t you children be in bed?”

Ice shot through Peter’s veins. Ohhhhh no. He lost track of time, and now Erik was here. How long had they been playing? What time was it? He didn’t even notice Erik enter the mansion.

“Guten Abend, Mr. Lensherr,” Kurt said. He placed his cards face down on the table, “Would you like to play Uno with us?”

“Not tonight, sorry. Perhaps tomorrow,” Erik said. He looked at them a moment longer and then walked away.

Peter stood abruptly, the chair scraping on the floor.

“Peter?”

“I’ve—I’ve gotta go,” Peter said eloquently, definitely not stuttering and stumbling over his words.

Peter didn’t need to use his speed to catch up to Erik. The dude was power walking, but he wasn’t very fast. Erik’s expression almost made him want to give up and go back to Uno, but he persisted.

“Hey,” Peter said.

“Aren’t you playing Uno?”

“Nah,” Peter watched Erik as they walked, “I got bored. You’re way more interesting right now. What are you doin’, man? Where even were you these past weeks?”

“I am going to the kitchen because I’m starving. It’s none of your business where I was,” Erik said. True to his word, he walked into the kitchen, going straight for the fridge.

“Logan made chili,” Peter said. He leaned on the counter. What were these, marble? Nah, Charles was rich but he wasn’t a priss. Probably tile. Oh yeah, they were tile. Apparently Peter can’t see.

Erik pulled out a pot of chili and set it on the stove top to warm.

“So,” he said, “Why are you bothering me?”

“I told you. I got bored of Uno,” Peter gave him a lazy smile.

“The real reason, please.”

You’re my father. My dad. You’re my dad. You banged my mom nineteen years ago—or would it be twenty? Because of the whole nine month thing. Then you left her and you left me and my twin but I guess I can’t blame you because you didn’t know. I guess you’re just my sperm donor, but I’d really like you to be more than that because my ex-stepdad was a shitbag who hit my mom and I haven’t had a father figure my whole life. Unless you count my third-grade Little League coach but I don’t because I sucked at baseball and I think he got arrested for drugs and child pornography.

Peter didn’t say any of that. Instead, he just shrugged and said something dumb and forgettable like “Thought you’d need help with your bags, but you don’t have any.”

“You’re right, I don’t. But thank you for the thought,” Erik said. He stirred the chili, and when it was warm enough, poured some in a bowl. “Would you like some?”

“Hell yeah.”

Erik handed Peter a bowl and put the chili pot back in the fridge. Apparently he had no intention of eating in the dining room, because he leaned against the counter, like Peter was.

Peter tried to not enjoy the chili. There was too much going on in his head to enjoy it. But, god, Logan made fucking good chili. He glanced at Erik occasionally. The nerd was wearing a turtleneck. He couldn’t believe that he was related to someone so lame. Because Peter was the epitome of coolness.

“I don’t need to be a telepath to know that you’re overthinking something,” Erik’s spoon paused halfway from his bowl to his mouth. “What is it?”

Okay. Well, Peter couldn’t say anything about the dad thing, but he could tell Erik about the other stuff, right?

“The Prof is doing roommates now, and I’m with Kurt. Which I guess is fine, because he’s, like, totally sweet and nice, ya know? But then his friends sat with me at lunch, which is super weird,” Peter said in one breath. He shoveled chili in his mouth.

“Why is that weird?” Erik asked with genuine curiosity. Huh. This day kept getting weirder and weirder.

“I mean, I guess it’s not, but I felt like I was just there with them, not with them,” Peter spoke through a mouthful, “Speaking of that, you ever get the feeling no one likes you?”

Erik grimaced at Peter talking with his mouth full of food, “Yes, I know that feeling very well. According to the media, I am a terrorist.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot,” Peter said lamely.

“I didn’t have the ‘teenage experience’, but I think if they are hanging out with you, that means they want to hang out with you,” Erik said, “Weren’t you playing a game with them?”

“I guess,” Peter said, even lamer (lamely-er? more lame?), “Thanks, man.”

It felt weird to call his father “man,” but he couldn’t really call him “Pops.”

Erik nodded in acknowledgement.

Peter gripped the bowl, knuckles white. Now. He should tell him now. When would he get another chance? This was the first full conversation he’d had with Erik. Telling him could fuck everything up or make everything better. Most likely fuck everything up.

“Uh,” Peter swallowed and the words died, “Ch-Charles said you value your family. What was your family like?”

Erik placed his bowl in the sink. He stayed there, facing the sink. His voice was tight, “...I think you should go.”

“Oh. Right. Sure, man. I can go, I can do that. Sorry, dude, I’m just gonna…” Peter trailed off. He glanced at the back of Erik’s head for a moment before he used his superspeed and left. He really fucked up. Like everything he did, so he shouldn’t be surprised at this point.

If he had a nickel for every time he used his mutation to run out of a meal and leave his chili today, he’d have two nickels. That’s not a lot of nickels, but it was weird that it happened twice.

He ran past Kurt’s friends playing Uno. They looked like they were having fun. He could join them… nah. He just wanted to go back to his room and wallow in self pity. He was in his room before someone at normal speed could blink.

Wait a fucking second.

There was a Twinkie in his pocket. At least he could have good food while he was rethinking his life choices and questioning everything he’s ever done.

The morning light was absolutely shitty and should be shot for being so bright. Wait, hold the fuck up. When did he fall asleep? Whatever. 

Peter fell out of his bed onto the floor and cursed loudly. He pulled himself up with much struggle (early morning legs are not fun).

“Guten Morgen.”

Holy fucking—What the fuck!” Peter yelped, falling on the floor again. Fuck! That did not feel good. He would not recommend falling, 0/10. “What are you doing in here, man?!”

“Oh, should I have come later? Hank said to move in this weekend. It is the weekend.”

“Yes, you should have come later!” Peter groaned, standing up, “It’s, like, balls o’clock in the morning!”

“O-Oh, sorry. I will come back later,” Kurt backed up. He rubbed his arm and curled his tail around himself.

Dammit, why did Peter have emotions?

He sighed, “Nah, dude, it’s fine. You can bring your stuff in or whatever. Do you need help?”

“No, thank you! I have already teleported most of my things,” Kurt said. His grin was fucking blinding and Peter really wanted to hate it, but he couldn’t.

Peter went into the bathroom and did his morning routine, you know, the usual. He was going to walk out of the bathroom naked and dripping wet, then remembered that Kurt was there. Ugh, was he going to have to use a towel now? Instead of running to air dry? Barbaric.

He dried himself and wrapped the towel around his waist. Now he could leave the bathroom.

Kurt didn’t notice him leave the bathroom. He was so focused on setting up his side of the room. His tongue stuck between his teeth, shirt ridden up. Peter exhaled sharply.

Wait.

Oh no.

Peter was frozen where he was standing. His feet were stuck to the floor and he almost dropped his towel from shock. His stomach dropped, and he realized that he was extremely and truly, absolutely fucked.