Mourning After: Part 3

by Red Monster



Disclaimer: Man, I'm getting tired of this. Marvel's characters, all of 'em. No profit, so don't sue. Sequel to Samy's Who's the Boss?, which you should read. Pop-Up if you want, but don't MST. Feedback me or all your house plants will rot in their pots. Bold means emphasis, italics means thoughts.

Domino and James set aside the kitchen for their surprise meeting, and parked Dani in the game room, just beside the kitchen, so she could hear what was said. When Theresa, Sam and Jesse got home from lunch, Domino and James brought Theresa and Roberto into the kitchen, and asked the others to leave them alone for an hour. James motioned for Theresa and Roberto to sit down at the table. Theresa did so, looking rather confused and nervous, but Roberto resisted.

"Why don't you tell us what's going on first?" he demanded.

Domino cocked an eyebrow at Roberto. "DaCosta, sit down. You'll find out what's going on very soon."

Roberto, looking affronted, took a seat beside Theresa, and looked up at Domino. However, it was James that spoke up first.

"Despite your best efforts to cover it up, we know something's not right around here, but you two seem to know the story. So, would you inform us?" he asked.

Jimmy, don't do this to me. I thought I could trust you, thought Theresa.

"We don't know what you're talking about," said Roberto. "How long do you plan to detain us here?"

"For as long as it takes to wring the truth out of you two," said Domino. "For instance, Roberto, you spoke up immediately, and used the pronoun 'we,' rather than pausing to collect your thoughts and referring only to yourself. You don't think I can see through that?"

Oh, God, he's going to sell me out now, isn't he? Theresa braced for the worst.

"I have no secrets to keep," Roberto began. "And I do not see why you'd suspect Theresa would be hiding anything from you either. I have spent little time with her since we came home after our bout with the FOH, but in that little time she has not acted the least bit suspicious."

He didn't sell me out!

"Look, guys, the sooner you tell us what's going on, the less it's going to hurt. When you came home from your 'bout with the FOH,' I was able to smell each of you," said James. "Roberto, you'd been tied up to Theresa all night without clothes. Theresa, you'd just had a shower. Exactly what did the FOH do with you?"

"Jimmy, you must have misinterpreted what you smelled on us. As soon as we got free of the FOH and defeated them, we came right back home," said Theresa.

Nice move, Terry. Call the boy's powers into question, thought Domino. "Look, Theresa, as well as you and James have told your story of being a couple for the past month, I just can't believe it after seeing the way you've both been behaving. So why else would you need morning-after pills?"

"Jimmy, you didn't go back on your word, did you?!" Theresa cried.

"Sorry, Terry. I'm not going to tell a lie when I don't know the truth. And, she saw right through me."

"What Theresa does outside this team is none of our business, but she and I have done nothing together that you have not already been informed of," said Roberto. "We went jogging together, and were attacked and detained by the FOH. How else could my arm have been broken?"

James grasped his left arm and pressed his thumb into his radius. A loud *pop* filled all their ears for a quick moment. James' face squinched itself up for a few seconds while he took a few shocked breaths. "Like that, maybe?" he said, looking at Roberto with a lopsided smile.

The punk just busted his own arm! What do these kids smoke when I'm not around?! Domino faced the wall for a second so her young charges couldn't see her grit her teeth.

"Jimmy, why did you just do that to yourself?!" Theresa cried out, standing up from her seat.

"Because DaCosta's question needed an answer," said James. "Don't worry, it doesn't hurt that much. It'll heal."

"You're nuts, boy..." Theresa muttered as she sat back down.

"So, when do you two plan to explain yourselves to us? We can stand here and wait for days, though we'll all be a lot better off if you tell us sooner.

"I honestly don't remember it all that well," Theresa said sullenly.

Now, why did you have to say that? I was prepared to stonewall for at least a few more minutes, thought Roberto. "I suppose you already have figured out what we did that day, you just want us to admit it," he said.

"We have our assumptions, but we're not going to make any decisions until we know the truth," Domino said.

"You mean you're not going to pass judgment until we admit to what you've already decided," said Theresa.

"You're the one who's decided we're going to pass judgment, not us, Theresa. Now stop putting words in our mouths, okay?" said Domino.


"Are you going to tell Dani?" Roberto asked.

"It's up to you to tell her, whatever it is," said Domino.

"Very well, then," Roberto began.  "Theresa and I went out running together four days ago. It was a contest, to see who could keep going longer. When we'd run nearly thirty miles, she collapsed in Oakland. I checked us into a hotel room so she could recover, and both of us could rest. While in the hotel, I ordered some food and beverage from room service. I had several glasses of champagne, and Theresa had a great deal more alcohol." He paused. "Being drunk, we stopped thinking clearly, and had sex several times," he mumbled. "The next morning, I broke my arm to make it look like we'd been in a fight with the FOH. There you have it."

"Roberto, you sonuvabitch, how could you do this to me AGAIN?!!" Dani shrieked from the other side of the wall.

"She was listening the whole time?" Roberto said with the veins on his neck rapidly swelling. "You had me believe she couldn't hear us!"

"I didn't say she wasn't in the next room with her ear to the wall," said Domino. "I told you it was up to you to tell her, and you did."

"You told me it would never happen again, and I believed you! I should've dumped you after the first time!" Dani continued, while kicking the wall.

Domino stood up and left the room. After a moment her voice was heard much more softly from the other room, punctuated by Dani's sobbing.

"I'd better go in there and talk to her," said Roberto, about to go into the other room.

"Uh-uh, DaCosta, you've got some questions to answer in here," came James' voice through clenched teeth. Roberto turned around to see the Apache scowling red-faced at him, while squeezing a stainless steel table knife to a small blob of abstract art in his good hand.

"What?" Roberto asked haughtily with narrowed eyes.

"Would you like to explain why you took advantage of Terry?" asked James, standing up.

"No, Jimmy, don't do this--" Theresa tried to intervene, but James stepped right past her.

"And what makes you think I took advantage of her, Proudstar?" asked Roberto.

James turned Roberto around with his good arm and pinned him against the wall in a split second. "You got her drunk and then you fucked her! Is this how you treat all women?!"

Roberto powered up and threw James into the table and chairs. Theresa winced and stood back. "I did not make her drink all that alcohol, and I was also drunk, myself! No one took advantage of anyone!"

James stood up from the rubble and pushed Roberto back against the wall. "She's an alcoholic, DaCosta!"

Roberto's eyes widened to the size of saucers and looked at Theresa, who by this time had her face hidden in her hands. "Theresa, I'm sorry, I didn't know." He looked back at James. "Honestly, Proudstar, I had no idea."

"Of course. As far as you knew, she wanted to be drunk enough to sleep with you," James growled.

"I'm telling you, James, I didn't know she had a drinking problem! Theresa, why didn't you tell me?"

Theresa took her tear-streaked face out of her hands and took a deep breath to keep her voice steady. "Have you ever noticed the way you treat me, Roberto? As far as you're concerned, I'm no more the leader of this team than Artie and Leech. The last thing I needed you to know was that I can't drink like a normal person!"

"Don't think I haven't noticed that, either, DaCosta. I've seen you blow her off when she's trying to lead this team, and getting her drunk so you could fuck her really takes the cake," said James.

"Okay, I'll admit it! I'm a disrespectful, arrogant pig!" Roberto started. "But I didn't know she had a drinking problem! If I knew, it wouldn't have happened!"

"Why do I not believe that?" asked James. "What other purpose did you have in mind when you poured her a glass, huh? To celebrate your athletic feat?"

"Are you going to let go of me any time soon, James, or are you more content with accusing me of deliberately taking advantage of Theresa and her addiction?" Roberto shouted.

"I'll let you two duke it out in private," Theresa said, walking out.

"Wait! Theresa, don't leave me alone with him! He listens to you!" Roberto said.

"Yes, he does, which is more than I can say about you!" Theresa shouted at him, turned around, and walked out.

Theresa marched off to her bedroom and turned on the light to find Dani sitting in her chair next to her desk.

"Dani, what are you doing in here?! This is not your room!" Theresa cried at her.

"You wanna tell me what business you had sleeping with Roberto?" Dani asked.

"Get out, Dani! I'm not in the mood for this!" Theresa shouted while pointing towards the door.

"I don't care what you're in the mood for! Where do you get off screwing around with someone else's boyfriend?!"

"Why were you lying in wait for me? Why don't you go yell at Roberto? This is the second time he's done this, only the first time for me! And did you treat Tabitha like this when she was the one in bed with your man?!" Theresa demanded.

"This isn't about Tabitha! Why don't you answer the question?"

Theresa threw her hands into the air. "Because I was drunk and wasn't thinking straight, okay?!"

"That's not gonna cut it. I know about your drinking problem, James told me about it, but I've also seen you turn down drinks, so don't you dare think I'm about to believe you had no control over your actions that night."

"Well, I'm sorry, Dani, but we just had a little too much to drink and one thing led to another. It doesn't mean I was trying to steal your man," said Theresa.

"Yeah, you just wanted him between your legs for a night. What did you really think was going to happen when you took that first drink that night?" said Dani.

"Okay, so maybe, at the back of my mind, I was hoping to sleep with him," Theresa admitted.

"Yeah, that's what I thought. Do you think every taken man is up for grabs, or did you make an exception for my boyfriend?" Dani said.

"Look, Dani, why are you harping on me? Tabitha wasn't bombed off her arse when she screwed around with Roberto, and I never heard about you giving her the third degree! And what about Roberto? Even if I was looking forward to having sex with him, he had it in mind a lot more! It's the second time he's cheated on you, why do you bother with him?!"

Dani reached out and slapped Theresa across the face. "Don't you dare try to change the subject with me! This isn't about Tabitha and Roberto, this is about you! No matter what they've done in the past, it doesn't make you any less guilty!"

"Bull-shit, Dani! You forgave Tabitha, and you don't seem to notice Roberto's part in all of this, but you're taking me to task because your boyfriend can't control himself?! Give me a fucking break! You never liked me because I was never in your little New Mutants clique, so you'd rather blame me for your sex-crazed boyfriend's cheating!" Theresa railed. "Get out of my room! Now! Before I use my powers on you!"

"This isn't over yet," Dani warned as she walked out of the room.

Theresa shut the door after Dani was out of sight, and sank into a heap in the dark, closed-in security of her closet. She cupped the smacked side of her face in her hand and prayed to fall asleep from this nightmare.


Meanwhile, James and Roberto had taken their fight down to the training room in the basement to avoid destroying the kitchen any further. In the cloud of dust and smoke generated by his solar blasts, Roberto looked nervously around the room for his opponent.

Where IS he?! Come out, Proudstar, you overgrown coward! I didn't vaporize him, did I?

His thoughts were cut short when he found himself propelled across the room by the force of James Proudstar's foot connecting with his back. He hit the wall and quickly turned around to see James standing about 20 feet away, looking ready to finish him off. Roberto sent another, much harder solar blast at him, and kept it going for several minutes straight. Finally exhausted, he lowered his good arm and kept his back to the wall, waiting for the dust to clear. This time, he found James lying on his stomach a few feet back from where he'd been standing, while digging his fingers into the floor to keep himself in place.

James looked up to find Roberto no longer powered up, and took his fingers out of the floor. He was mildly singed, but fully conscious. "Geez, DaCosta, do you really have to make those things so hot?" he asked while slowly standing up.

Roberto, furious that James had so easily recovered, extended his good arm in front of him and threw all the solar energy he had at his opponent. Unfortunately, what he had left amounted to a sparkler-sized trail of flame blowing out of his fist and curving to the ground a few feet out.

"Oh," James mused. "I'm a little tired, but Rich Kid is all out of energy. This should be fun."

"I can go right outside and regenerate, Proudstar. Then you won't be so confident," Roberto said.

James was up in his face in a second, and pressed his right hand to the wall on the side of Roberto's head. "You'll have to get past me first."

"So what are you going to do to me?" Roberto asked. "Are you going to hit me now that I can't fire at you? Are you going to smash my head into the wall? And what kind of man will that make you?"

"I'm not going to hurt you, don't worry," James said. "Just as long as you stay in here, and talk to me. Try to leave to get someone else or regenerate your energy, and I will bring you pain."

"Fine. I won't leave the room. Now, may I stand somewhere other than in the path of your breath?"

James took his hand off the wall and stood back, and waited for Roberto to speak.

"Now what do you want from me?" Roberto demanded.

"I want to know where you got your license to treat women the way you do."

"What way? You think I'm disrespectful to women because I've had a few of them in my bed?" Roberto demanded.

"A few? How many is 'a few'? And how else did you think of those 'few'? Or did you think of them at all, as anything other than objects?"

"Now I see! You never got anywhere with Theresa, or any other woman, so now you're trying to make me feel bad about being successful with women! This must make you feel much better about your total ineptitude with the opposite sex."

"For your information, I've had sex several times before," James said. "There was a girl on the reservation, a few at the Massachusetts Academy, and, as much as I regret it, Risque. That may not be as many as you've shagged and bagged, but I don't want to compare myself to you, DaCosta."

"So what's the difference between you and me, other than sheer numbers? Would you have me believe I'm more sexist than you because I've slept with more women?"

"The difference is that I didn't play any tricks. I treated those women like human beings who were not put on Earth just so that I could stick my dick in them."

"You've got some nerve, Proudstar--" Roberto began, but was cut off.

"Do I, DaCosta? Do I?! Do I have some nerve to sleep with women without manipulating or drugging them? For being just as good to them the next day? Because I didn't need to get in their pants? For not cheating on anyone in the process? For doing it for no reason other than that I liked them? Is this something I should be ashamed of?"

"Is that what you really think? You think that because I've had as many women as I have, I must have manipulated or drugged them all? Sound logic, Proudstar, really," Roberto said sarcastically.

"What about Theresa? I know how you got her into bed."

"How many times have I told you already? I didn't know she was an alcoholic!"

"That's right, you didn't know that much! But you did know that you could separate her from her clothes if she had enough rum, or whatever it was that she drank. And why did you even WANT to do it, anyway? You've made it perfectly clear that you don't think very highly of Theresa, you don't respect her, you don't care about her! What did you want, other than her body?" James asked.

"Oh, I get it. You're still in love with her, and you can't stand that I got her in the sack before you did!" Roberto grinned.

James stood there and glared at Roberto for a few seconds. Then he looked down at his left arm, which was now inflamed and slightly bent. He finally spoke, but did not immediately look up. "Fine. You got me. I'm not over Terry. I'm still pathetically, hopelessly in love with her." He looked up. "But even if I should be getting over her, I'm not going to stand for seeing her used for a notch on someone's bedpost."

"That's very chivalrous of you," came Roberto's flattened voice. "Though some women might call that 'patronizing.'"

"That's a risk I'm willing to take for someone I care about," James said, and headed toward the door.

"Is that all, Proudstar? Are you finished lecturing yet?" Roberto challenged.

"Actually, one more thing. If you want to measure your masculinity, try counting the lives you've saved instead of the women you've gotten in the sack." The door swung shut behind him.

Roberto snorted. "And the one Most Likely to Turn Out Gay: James Proudstar!"

Part 4

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