Bomb Pop
Chapter Ten: Rats
11052008 – 0231P

AN: I'm sorry for the monstrous, unforgivable delay between this chapter and the last one. I'll try not to let it happen again. But I was unsure of how to proceed… But now I know!

So now, enjoy.

XxX

I listened to the phone ringing, my jaw clenched.

"Hello?" the feminine voice answered.

"ALIX!" I shouted and I could just picture her reflexively pulling the phone away from her ear as she cried out in surprise.

"Holy shit, bro, what's your damage?"

"What's my—Alix! You haven't called in like a week!"

"Sorry, I do have other things going on, you know."

"Well, I just wanted you to know that I don't miss you or appreciate you yet."

"Okay?"

"Okay. Bye then."

XxX

"Hey! Mikhel!" a voice hissed and I spun around quickly, trying to locate the owner. I had been on my way to my room and now I was looking around the hall madly before finally spotting a door that was ajar, a pair of green eyes peeping out of it.

"What the—"

"Come in here!" the voice hissed again and I raised my eyebrows, trying to place it to a body. As I drew closer to the room I saw the person turn around and disappear further inside, her livid ginger hair swishing behind her.

It was, I saw when I entered the room, shutting the door behind me, Melissa. She was fiddling with her stereo and didn't look at me right away. Just then I saw something inside her jacket hood stir.

"Melissa!" I gasped just as "The Apology Acceptance Speech" by Battle Alaska filled the room.

"What? You don't like Battle Alaska? I mean, they're kind of emo but the music is—"

"No, it's not that. There's something moving in your hood!" I exclaimed. She visibly relaxed. Strange, it worried her more that I might not like her music than that inanimate objects were moving close to her neck.

"Oh, don't worry about that. It's just Icky."

"Icky?"

"Yeah," she said, reaching behind her and fishing something out of her hood. A small, wriggling, hairy something. With a tail.

Oh my god, it was a rat.

Only my considerable manliness kept me from running screaming from the room. I hated rodents, and rats were the ultimate in rodentry.

"What?" she asked, clearly seeing that I was uncomfortable.

"That's a rat."

"Yup."

"Why?"

"Because we're not allowed to have cats," she said and I could almost hear the 'duh' that she was dying to tack onto the end.

"But it's… well, you said yourself it's gross."

"When did I say that?"

"You named it ICKY!"

"…" she just looked at me for a moment as though I was the one losing my mind. "It's short for Ikemafuna. And domesticated rats are a lot like cats. Aren't you, baby?" she asked the rat, nuzzling its pointed little head against her cheek.

"How is that like a cat?" I demanded, unable to imagine.

"Well, they groom themselves meticulously like cats, and you can litter train them. I just got Icky here trained last week," she explained. "But that's not why I called you in here," she added, seeming to remember the real reason.

"Oh?"

"No. I heard what Ehrika said to you earlier."

"Oh."

"I just wanted you to know that it wasn't true," she said, taking a step closer to me. That wouldn't have bothered me if she hadn't still been holding the rat. "There is at least one person who wants you here."

"You want me here, Melissa?" I asked awkwardly. I never knew how to act around bi girls. It was all well and good in theory, but…

"I do. I think that you're very confused, and that being here can only help you. You need rehabilitation in the most extreme form, and this is just the place for it."

"Rehabilitation?" I asked stupidly.

"You know how when people are afraid of clowns, a therapist will take them to the circus, and make them confront that fear?"

"Yeah…"

"Well, that's it."

"What kind of rehabilitation could I get here? What could I possibly be afraid of that this is the best place to face it?" I asked, certain now that she was fucking with me.

She gazed at me sadly, worrying her lower lip between her teeth. Wordlessly she held Icky out towards me.

"Rats," she whispered, although there was something in her voice that hinted that 'rats' was the furthest thing from what she thought I was afraid of.

XxX

Two hours later, Melissa and I were sitting on her bed, our backs to the wall, a crystal ashtray between us. I lit up another cigarette and inhaled deeply.

"I do agree with Ehrika on one thing, though," Melissa said thoughtfully after a few moments of comfortable silence. I waited for her to continue as Icky scampered across my lap. He wasn't really that bad. "You're much to hard on Killian."

"He has no respect for the fact that I'm straight."

"You have no respect for the fact that he's gay," she countered, tapping ash into the crystal bowl. "I mean, think about it, in this day and age, would anyone choose to be gay? Especially a man? Especially as undeniably flaming as Killian?"

"Probably not," I conceded.

"Well… how do you think it makes him feel when he meets someone that he thinks he could be great friends with, and then they constantly break him down for who he is?" she asked.

"It's not even so much that he's gay. But it's like he thinks he can turn me, or something, and it annoys the piss out of me."

"Let me let you in on a little secret, Mikhel," Melissa mumbled. "No gay guy truly thinks he can 'turn' a straight guy. And no gay guy that's trying would spend as much time on it as Killian does. He's just trying to be your friend, and that's the only way he knows how."

"You're so full of shit."

"Think about it. Think back to every time you've seen him around anyone else. Does he act any different with anyone else? Ehrika? Me? Anyone? No. To Killian, he's just treating you like everyone else. He just feels like you'd be a good friend."

"I woke up with him in my bed," I muttered, mulling her words over in my mind. What she had said was true. He acted no differently with me than with anyone else.

"Then he just trusts you," she said softly.

Could that be true, too?

XxX

AN: For those of you who aren't in the US, Obama is our new president.

Mother. Fucking. Shit.

Don't get me wrong. I don't not support Obama. But I don't support Obama, either. But I guess I can't complain because I didn't vote because my work decided to go into über-psycho-bitch mode and made me work 11:30-6:00. Then I had to get to Beckley because I forgot to file an absentee ballot and didn't register in Charleston and I had to bypass the toll roads so I got to Bradley school just as the voting closed. I'm like… FUCK.

But I don't know who I would have voted for anyway. I didn't like anyone.

Anyway…

Chapter Eight Replies:

Projectile Cupcakes: I got your review AFTER I wrote chapter nine, but your guess was amazing. I wish I had gotten it before, because that would've been fun to write.

hpfreakout: Alice in Wonderland. Oliver Twist. Ethan Frome. The Great Gatsby. The Bell Jar. All of Shakespeare's works. Just a few classics that would have been so much better with slash. That's my long-winded way of saying that I so agree with you. And my characters do get more insane as they go, don't they? Hmm…

Rosuto Aki: Well, I'm certainly enjoying being in your mafia. And that well-rounded review thing has been there for a long time. It was just hidden before. It was sneaky. But yes, it is laugh-worthy, right? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love the reviews that actually talk about the chapter, but the chatting-about-nothing ones are fun too.

Shampain86: Your impression of Killian disappoints me. I can't believe you think so little of him. So sad. But since I love you (and make your life complete thus), I'll forgive you for your ill-formed opinion.

Catseye*Rose: Maybe he will. But I doubt it. He's pretty steeped in denial.

Feel the Waltz: Yes. Just macaroni. And cheese.

Jack! and that stuff: YOU NEED TO COME VISIT ME!

Chapter Nine Replies:

Projectile Cupcakes: Yes, VA is a cryptic society. But this particular trip was to Virginia. And I went to see my baby brother, his mom, her fiancé, and my dad. And NekoRinChan. It was delightful. And I totally got the Kool-Aid thing, as I was a child of the 90s, so I was thinking a June wedding?

NekoRinChan: Mmhmm. Most people should've stuck with their first guess. But I can't tell you who said the rehabilitation thing. Although I will say that, since Melissa said it in this chapter, it wasn't her. She's just the type of person who occasionally stumbles upon the truth.

hpfreakout: I know, isn't it? That was my thought, so I was like, let's put a stop to this… NOW!

OKAY! I AM BORED WITH REPLIES! To those of you who didn't get one for your chapter nine review… Review this chapter and I'll reply to it. Really. There were just a lot to wade through in this update.

Review because if you do, I'll put a special smutty chapter up that has nothing to do with the actual storyline in celebration of my 100th review. Actually, I probably won't because I feel like that would be a massacre on my story, but it's nice to dream, right?

Love.
Luci.