Ok so for those of you reading this story, I wrote this WAAAYYYY back when, I have tried to fine tune it, and future chapters are much better, the next chapter and this chapter move at the speed of light, please bear with me? I promise it does get better...thanks =)
Disclaimer: “The X-Men” names, titles, characters and all other registered trademarks are the property of Marvel Inc. I solemnly swear that there is no monetary gain on my part by writing this FICTIONAL alternate universe to “The X-Men.” All original characters and plotlines are my sole property and I release them to GayAuthors.org for web-publishing.
Chapter 8: Never Let Me Go
I could feel the lust breaking free from its restraints, my passion began to overflow, my dick began to throb, and my body began to pull towards Bobby. I knew where we would be, and I wasn't complaining. I let Bobby take control, I let him do as he wanted to satiate both our lusts, I wanted him and he wanted me, there was no denying it.
Then in that state of lust, and eternal bliss I felt him, not Bobby, Keith. I felt the entire room become full of his scent, his evil, his unnerving presence. I opened my eyes, hoping that this was once again that recurring dream where Keith's ever present gaze ruined my moment with Bobby, but instead of finding empty space I found Bobby smiling at me. I knew that this would break his heart, but I had to do it for the protection of everyone around, including for him, the love of my life.
"Bobby, Stop...Keith's here. Get the professor, and the X-Men, we're gonna have to fight him, AGAIN! Hurry, they're at the Institute's Gate, they'll be through in a matter of minutes. Get the Junior X's, and tell everyone to evacuate. I'm gonna give you whatever window I can. Send Rogue, Storm, and Jean out, make the others hold the inside 'till all of the front defenses, including US, are down; GO!!!!"
"Yea, but why put yourself in danger?"
"Keith is my problem, he's my creation. If anyone's life should be on the line, it should only be mine. NOW GO!!!!!"
Bobby ran out of the room, I suited up, and sent a telepathic message to the only person that Bobby could not get to in time. Logan.
I knew Keith would be scanning for a message just like that, Logan was not bait, but he was precisely what I needed, incapable of even hearing the message. The trap was set, and now only the mice were left to hunt.
[Meanwhile at the Mansion's main gate]
"Mystique and Sabretooth are in there alright, and apparently they're under heavy wards, and from what I sense they're about to be put under even heavier ones. I just can't sense EXACTLY where they are."
"If I know Charles they'll be in that maze of his in the sub-levels of the Mansion, the protection however must be Chris's doing. Charles's trust in mutants overshadows his reason sometimes."
Keith moved confidently towards the 10 foot gate, knowing full well that the Institute's outer defense systems were going to trigger no matter what. He knew he HAD to get closer he simply had to beat Chris at his own game. And in this still December night he was going to become unique, one of a kind. He'd come here with only one objective: To Destroy Chris.
Magnus didn't need to be Psionic to know what Keith was thinking, it was simple; Keith wanted to be unique, unbeatable, unmatched, and behind this gate which kept his true Love hidden was the ONE mutant who could match Keith wit by wit, blow by blow, power by power, Christopher Grey. Magneto knew Keith's thirst for power would be both an advantage and a hindrance. He was going to get to his one true love; Keith's plans were of no importance to him. He wanted Charles Xavier back between his arms, and he would get him, either by force or by wooing him, the path didn't matter, all that mattered was the outcome, Magneto would have Charles.
"Alright then, what are we waiting for Shadow? An invitation? HAHAHA!!"
"Avalanche...SHUT UP!!! Patience is a virtue we cannot afford to lose now, not while Chris and the others have home-court advantage. I know him, he's laid a trap, but we know he's laid it, and he knows we know he's laid it, so he's laid others, so we have to keep our eyes, ears, and senses absolutely taut, and keen. Whatever my "twin" has set up won't be in full view." *Stupid boy, rushing into an openly set-up bear-trap, laid in full view of our eyes. His....eagerness can cost us dearly, I'll just have to be twice as careful with him, if not for all our sakes, for the sake of Lance's cock, his delicious, cock....*
"Keith is right Lance; we have to be extremely careful of our every step. Christopher and the others will have thought of every possible scenario by now, especially Charles, he wastes no time or thought in chance, he covers his every weakness before realizing and applying his strengths. Right now, he must be evacuating the youngest students. Lance, Wanda, Pietro, cut the evacuation party at the lake in back of the Mansion that's 1 of the three main exits."
"So why hit only one? Pietro can take the lake exit, Lance can take another one, and I can cut them off at the other, that way we can create a bigger distraction!!!"
"ARE YOU DENSE?????!!!!! It'll be one against who knows how many! They may be evacuating, but that doesn't mean they're powerless, whether young or not they still have powers!! One of you would be no match for them, that's why I dispatched 3 of you, so you can at least have a fighting chance to create a distraction!!!! Now do as you are told and GO!!!!!"
The three mutants left, leaving behind Magneto, Toad, Blob, and Keith. Pietro carried Wanda and Lance, making them nothing but blurs in the night. Magneto knew Charles down to a T; they'd been lovers for a very long time, had it not been for Charles' unwavering love for humans they would've married long ago. But the time for their joint happiness had not yet passed, not if Erik, rather than "Magneto" gave this one last push to their already mangled relationship.
[Inside the Mansion]
I hurried out of my room, my uniform flowing as I flew towards the front doors, on my way to the gate, I landed at the top of the grand staircase, and there in the foyer were Storm, Rogue, and Jean, all ready to give Keith and Co a run for their money. I noticed 4 other people in the foyer however, all wearing off-blue outfits, and I could see one of them was made out
My eyes darted to another of the strangers, a gorgeous creature, with gloriously blue eyes, perfect muscle mass, gorgeous hints of blond hair clinging onto his buzz cut head, close-by was a woman, who resembled this amazing hunk, her hair blond as gold, her breasts were HUGE!! they stood proudly almost like a homing beacon, she was holding the hand of this gorgeous in his own right man, his jet black hair was streaked with white on the sides, but he didn't look old enough for that to be the passing of time. I was awestruck at seeing them there but my face remained unchanged, making it seem unfazed by what was going on inside of me the doubts, fear and precaution. I levitated to the bottom of the staircase and walked towards Jean.
The words had been spoken so softly, almost un-hearable, had it not been for my extra-keen senses I would've missed it myself.
"I'm sorry...did you just call me a show off?"
"Chris, calm down, they're our guests. Have manners."
"You'll have to excuse Ben; he's not exactly the epitome of manners. My name is Susan Storm-Richards, this is Ben Grimm" she touched the stone guy's shoulder "This is my husband Reed Richards" She hugged the white streaks guy "And this is my brother Johnny Storm" She pointed towards the hunk whose eyes had not yet faltered from the back of my head "We're old friends of Logan's, we're known as the Fantastic 4"
I realized that I had heard of them before, they were the protectors of Manhattan, although they'd caused a very big commotion on the Brooklyn bridge and later that same month in a street. I also knew that they'd acquired their powers during a cosmic storm up in space. I also remembered their..."nemesis" if you will, some guy named Victor Von Doom, he was the head of Von Doom Technologies, until Reed's project had driven the company into bankruptcy, now-a-days he went by the name of Dr. Doom, and had last been fought off 3 months ago. He'd acquired his powers the same way they had, but they had gone to his head, and he'd believed himself a God.
I knew the pleasantries were necessary, that however didn't change the fact that they irked the shit out of me, however Selena DiCarlo-VanCartier had raised me with proper manners, and seeing as how Susan was being so nice, there really was no need for me to be rude.
"My name is David Grey. I'm Jean's adoptive son; here in the institute I'm known as Core, I'm one of the Junior X's. Nice to meet you Mrs. Richards, Mr. Richards, Mr. Grimm, Mr. Storm."
"WOW my dad's Mr. Storm, I'm just Johnny."
"Yea, I'm just Ben"
"You can call me Sue."
"I'm Reed; Mr. Richards is just too......stuffy."
"Ok. Well no offense, but we have to move; we've only got a couple of minutes before Keith and the Brotherhood breach the first defense post. If I know Keith, and I do, he'll just short-circuit the mainframe to the defense post with thunder, that only gives us a timeline of 5 minutes or so, I've already alerted Cyclops to Wanda, Pietro, and Lance at the Lake exit, he's de-routing to the Blackbird, he and the 20 students will fly out along with Logan and his 20. Colossus, Gambit, Beast, Psylocke, Emma and Nightcrawler all have their shares of students, and will be back as soon as they reach one of the 10 safe houses. For now only the Junior X's you guys and I, and of course our guests are the defense lines for the mansion's mainframe, Mystique, and Sabretooth. We have to do everything within our grasp to stop them from reaching these doors, if Keith gets into the Xavier Institute it WILL be demolished, its secrets stolen, and Mystique and Sabretooth freed."
"Well then I guess we have our work cut out for us, so Storm what do we do?"
"You're asking the wrong person Johnny, Chris is running this operation, he's team-leader. He knows every one of Keith's moves, so only he knows how to evade and conquer this enemy, his directions are to be followed by the letter Johnny, don't pull a Human Torch on us today, got it?"
"Listen here model boy, you don't like the way things are being done, then you can go ahead and wait in the sub-levels with the others, but know that as long as there’s breath in my lungs these doors will not be opened by anyone from the Brotherhood!!!!!"
"Hey, hey don't get an attitude with me you little bitch, I'll sweep the floor with you before you can even blink!!!!"
"Rogue, report to third post with Sue, Reed and Ben you guys can take second post, Jean, Storm, and myself will take first post. I deal with Keith, so unless I fall unconscious you all have to keep Magneto and the others from interfering between me and Keith, and from getting inside the house. Now report to your posts."
"OK, let’s go."
And just like that, right before my eyes Susan Storm turned into nothingness, and so yet another fight with Keith and the Brotherhood began.
I levitated to make my way to the Gate, I flew out and two words caught my attention, they surprised me, and at the same time re-assured me, I knew then that even if I fell the Mansion would still be protected.
These words were the last I heard, I could still see Johnny, standing at the Doors, shooting arrows at me with his eyes, and suddenly bursting into flames. I knew a fight was coming and I hoped Johnny could be someone I could count on.
[Mansion’s Driveway, 3minutes from the front doors]
Keith fumed when he heard from Wanda that Chris had outwitted him yet again. His anger ran fast and deep-, his every fiber vibrating with anger and hatred. How was it that Chris always stayed one step ahead of him? How did he know where they were going to hit? Why was he always at the right place at the right time? These questions swam through Keith’s mind with such intensity that he forgot where he was and what he was doing, that is until one of the sharpened frisbries grazed the left side of his face, he snapped out of his trance-like state just in time to dodge another one coming straight for his neck.
He was still enraged but now he was going to use that anger to beat Chris at his own twisted little game. He was going to become unique again, no matter what.
"Magneto, I want you to get rid of these forsaken things, NOW!!!!!"
Magneto opened his hands and crushed all 5 launchers, he knew there were other defenses, but for now, they had to keep their eyes open for Chris's trap rather than for Charles’s already known ones, plus, there was very little to no point in trying to disable all of Charles’s defenses, considering the real defense systems, were going to show up soon. The outer defenses were nothing more than a distraction to give the X-Men and their trainees, time to assemble, think and respond to any intruders. Magneto knew this, it was one of Charles's favorite tactics, even in their relationship he'd been the same, always creating a complicated distraction before revealing the true nature of his plans.
I saw them. There they were, simply waiting, I saw the school's defenses activate, I saw Keith almost be hit by one, and then I saw Magneto, but what was more I saw Joshua, my dearest friend Joshua, hiding behind the gardenia bush. My heart fluttered, what was Joshua thinking?!?!?!?!
I had clearly made a point of them NOT coming to the front gates. How could he simply show up, and try to hide behind GARDENIAS!!!!!!!! I was trying not to boil over, but I could feel my every impulse pull me towards my thunder powers, I let myself be submerged into my impulse, and hard as it was to keep the crackling under control, I let go. I saw myself reflected in Jean's eyes and saw that I had turned into pure thunder. I flew one inch forward, or so I thought. I found myself at Keith's side, my anger boiled and he flew; first high into the December chill, then far across the open plains outside the institute's ground. I figured to do just the same to Magneto would be predictable, and plus, with his magnetic powers, he would wound me beyond my strength, and so I let my thunder die and let my water power take over, although Magneto could easily counteract my earth, and metal powers, and he could protect himself against my fire, water flowed so well, it danced an eternal dance, unlike air which flowed so, but yet still escaped my commands at every turn, wood was simply too unpredictable, time was not what was necessary although it would later come in handy. And so I was left to fight Erick Lensheer with nothing but water, wit, and hell of a lot of physical strength.
I launched forward, wanting to tear him apart, but from the shadows behind him I saw a light lurch towards him at such speed that in truth it was nothing but a blur. Magneto was propelled forward, a pained look on his face, and a trickle of blood eking from his head. I was astounded, and frankly curious as to where the weird light had come from, and then I saw the source. Susan materialized from thin air, Johnny, Reed, and Ben close on her trail. Then I saw Rogue, and to my surprise and torture, Bobby and the rest of the Junior Xs were also on their way. I didn't know what was going on, but my nerves were shot. Why didn't everyone understand that all I wanted to do was keep them safe? And why were the Junior Xs here when they were supposed to be in the sublevels, protecting Mystique and Sabretooth? Why was all of this happening?
I saw Jean glance my way and I felt her touch my mind.
I looked behind me and saw a column of fire headed my way, I could sense Keith's hatred and rage fueling that fire, I quickly dodged left, in my water form fire would essentially kill me. I turned to air, and shot a tornado to where Keith was. In his fire form only a strong air attack would even faze him, although water could potentially leave him with no strength; it was too big a risk for me to take. Keith and I were both levitating over the sprawling lawns outside the Institute's gates. I was glad to see that the rest of the brotherhood's members were already tied, or otherwise controlled.
And just like that it was over. We had won, and Keith was retreating, alone. He'd left behind all of the Brotherhood. I knew what the professor would do, it angered me, but hey I was in his house, so I would have to live by his rules.
We all went back inside, my anger for Keith was gone, but my anger that my orders as leader had been disregarded was just beginning to boil. Everyone went to the Cafeteria; I knew the professor would be contacting the others, the ones who'd left, to tell them it was safe to come back to the Mansion. I spotted the Junior Xs at a table, both ranks finally acting like one.
Copycat and Longshot (AKA Arthur and Vanessa) looked at me, and their faces were all I needed to know that they knew what was coming.
"Junior Xs, I would like a word with you in the game room...if you'd all please follow me."
No one even made an attempt to get up, my anger which had only simmered now threatened to boil over.
"I know y'all heard me...NOW!!!!"
I got ugly looks, sideway glances, and a couple of snarls. I knew I wasn't their favorite person, but the fact remained that when it came to Keith my orders were to be followed, unless the professor instructed otherwise. Not wanting to make a fool of myself I telepathically contacted the professor.
I walked into the game room last, scanning everyone’s face for a hint of regret, or shame, or a reason as to why they had all disobeyed me. I didn't have an ego-trip, I was simply scared, they were my family, and all I wanted to do was protect them, but how could I when they disregarded my every order to remain safe?
"Who wants to play defense attorney?"
"Fine. Now John, can you please tell me what the professor said TODAY when we came back from the Funeral?"
"He said that we should report to our dorms, and relax."
"I mean in regards to me, Keith, and attacks."
"He said you were appointed 'Crisis Leader' at those moments."
"OK. Meaning that my 'orders' were to be followed just as if they were Storm's or Cyclops's. Am I right?"
"Then, perhaps you can explain to me why all of you were at the main gates, when the explicit order was to wait inside, where the actual secrets to the Mansion were."
"Because.....we felt that we had every right to protect the Mansion, just as you were."
"OK. Now another question. Who was the leader of this.....ambush?"
"I was." Alex stepped forward.
"OK. So you saw it fit to expose all of your friends to mutants like Magneto, and Shadow?"
"I didn't 'see it fit' I simply thought that if you were out there we should be too. This Mansion is OUR home not just yours, so it’s OURS to defend, not just for you."
"All right. So I can tell the professor that YOU take full responsibility for Kitty, Joshua, and Boyd, landing in the med-bay right on the end of the second semester?"
"Yes. I take FULL responsibility for anything that happened during the so-called 'ambush' Chris"
"All right. Now, as of now, I relinquish all command as 'Crisis Leader' and give Alex Summers, AKA Havoc all command over the Keith et al attacks. I see now that you all think I am unable to deal with the responsibility, or maybe you think I like the attention, or whatever the fuck it is y'all think. YOU deal with it Alex, and see how much this so-called 'Attention' wears you out. I'll be happy to stop being 'Core' and be just Chris again. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have."
"Chris, don't be like that. We did what you would've done had you been in our shoes."
"HA! now my boyfriend's against me!!!! Well I guess it's all my fault, right? even Esperanza's and Danielle's deaths. Well I'll be gone when the sun rises, no worries there!!!!!"
I ran out of the Game Room, tears streaming from my face, I got to the grand staircase and bumped into someone. My eyes clouded and I fainted.
Johnny was standing at the Grand Staircase of the Xavier Institute, wondering where Chris had gone, he wanted to apologize for the way he'd acted. He'd seen him head this way but where?
Then he saw him, running towards the Staircase, head bowed, and then they were bumping into each other, and then Chris had basically melted into Johnny's arms...or had he fainted?
"Chris...Chris....Oh shit!! C'mon dude wake up!!"
Johnny caught the scent of Chris's cologne, his favorite; Dolce & Gabbana Bleu. His loins stirred and blood began to rush to the wrong place, and in his tight blue unitard uniform, it would be all too noticeable, he remembered the way to the Med-bay, he hefted Chris's limp body into his arms and went to the elevators.
"You must have a password to access that part of the Mansion. Please say your Password"
Password? Johnny had no idea it would be this difficult, he figured that ALL of the students did not have a password so he said what came to mind.
"Entry Accepted, please watch your step."
The elevator zoomed downwards, making Johnny want to fly, he resisted his every urge, and then, just as it had begun it was over. He stepped out, Chris stirring in his arms.
I began to come to, I felt so warm, so safe. The arms that wrapped around me were so tender, yet full of strength, my every fiber vibrated with lust, my every nerve tingled. I regained full consciousness and found myself in the arms of Johnny Storm. I looked to his subtle features, so striking, yet so soft. His five o'clock shadow making him look all the much sexier, his gorgeous blue eyes clamoring for love, although his look said he clamored for nothing. I knew it was wrong but at that moment I loved him, I loved him more than Bobby. I lost myself in his looks, and closed my eyes, hoping to remain in his arms as long as possible.
I heard the Elevator Computer ask him for a password, I could either say it, or type it in, I opened one eye and telekinetically entered "Family" I heard him say "Emergency" and felt even safer. The computer accepted my Password and began to descend to what I imagined was the Med-bay.
When the elevator stopped I decided I had to stop, I loved Bobby, I had to do right by him, considering I had just outed us both in the Game Room, and left HIM to deal with it. Now was not a good time for me to fall OUT of love with him. I stirred in Johnny's arms ever so slightly.
"Shhh....We're almost to Dr. McCoy's office."
"I....It's OK Johnny, thanks, but I'm OK. Let's just go back up."
"I'd rather you'd be checked out by Dr.McCoy."
"He'll just tell me to get some rest, don't worry, it's sweet, but really I'm okay."
"If you say so..."
I dragged him to the elevator and said my password before the E.C. even asked for it. It went slowly up, I looked at Johnny, his eyes bore into me, almost digging, had he been Psionic he would've been reading my every thought of him and me rolling over on my bed, our bodies sweating, our hands grasping at the sheets, our tongues wrestling, our moans rising. WOW!!! it
was getting hot in that elevator, my mouth felt like a desert!!!!
"Are you sure you're okay? You’re sweating bullets!!!"
"Umm....yea, it's just the uniform; it wasn't designed for long elevator rides. Talk of which I think we're going back down."
"Are we? I think we are, but we never made it to the Lobby did we?"
"I don't know, be ready, just in case."
I heightened my every sense, Psionic powers at the ready; I scanned the outside of the elevator, but only found Beast at the doors. I relaxed, and turned to Johnny.
"It's just Beast...I mean Dr. McCoy."
I saw his shoulders drop significantly, and his features become softer. The doors slid open and there was Beast looking down to his notes, as always stumbling through the world with his nose in a book. I was astounded at his fur, it was always blue, at least as far as I'd known him, but today it was a weird shade of green, almost teal, but not quite mauve. I wanted to laugh, but I also thought of the possibility that this was Mystique, maybe being caged up had altered her power, and she'd made a mistake, but I would sense it. This HAD to be Beast, but then why was his fur this color?
"Dr.McCoy, I'm sorry to ask this, but why in heaven's name is your fur that color?"
"Ummm....well you see.....I was looking for a way to re-unite you and Keith in to one person again, and the vaccine kinda....blew up in my face so.....it did THIS to my fur, now I'll have to wash it thoroughly, or remember what the potion, which gave it its unique blue color, actually had in it. It was so long ago I'll be very hard pressed to remember all, if ANY of those chemicals. Anywho, were you heading to the Med-bay?"
"Ummm...not really, we just got caught up in here. We're heading up."
"Is that your password?"
"Yea, I know it's very like me, but, isn't that just the point?"
"Hey it's you, be happy!!! And don't let Chris here put doubts in your mind."
"I wasn't trying to Model-Boy.....oops...I mean Alien Torch!!!"
Johnny shot me a glance and lunged for my sides, tickling me. I was suffocating, and just in time the elevator doors slid open.
"Here we are. See you love birds later."
"Ummm..Okay Hank, if you say so!"
Hank's words came like a cold shower, I realized how easy it had been to let loose of all my inset fears with Johnny. It was weird because as long as I'd been with Bobby it had never been this easy to simply BE. Johnny looked as shocked as I felt, we walked out, and almost by instinct I grabbed his hand, and began to pull him towards my dorm, it was only when we reached the first step that I realized what I was doing; I turned to Johnny, my eyes watery at the thought of betraying Bobby, I looked deep into his eyes and saw his yearning. I knew I had to stop this, whatever it was; I had to stop it, for my sake, and more importantly for Bobby's sake.
"I....ummm....sorry I kinda got carried away. I have to go see my boyfriend, I kinda outed us both to all our friends, and I also kinda left him to face them all by himself."
"Oh...right, well I'll see you later. I just heard that Sue and Reed want me to stay here for a while, there's a robot they want to test out. It's heat tracking, so....you know."
"Yea, well....I'll see you later. Take care."
I walked out towards the courtyard, casting out my senses to see where Bobby and the others had gone. I felt them at the edge of the lake, I walked gingerly, wanting to delay my confrontation, and wanting to calm my desire for Johnny. I finally came close enough to see them. There they were, sitting by the lake, all eyes on Bobby.
"Hey guys, what's up?"
"Hey Chris. Sit down. We're talking about many things, i.e. why you and Bobby waited this long to tell us you were going out!!!!!"
"AMARA!!!!! Don’t you know when to keep your fucking mouth shut!?!?!?!?!?!"
"Bobby, watch your mouth with my girl!"
"John, don't threaten my boyfriend and I won't fry you where you stand!!!"
"Chris, Bobby, John, Amara, calm the fuck down before I beat the shit out y'all"
"Jubilee why are you always minding someone else's business?"
"Why are we fighting? We were TALKING until Chris came. Now just sit down, and breathe."
We all sat down, and tried to relax, words went through my head, questions we would be asked, reasons we would give, answers we could give, things we should hide, question we would dodge. It all came so sudden, and so deep that I knew it was true, precise, and sincere. I relaxed, and let the others begin; I grabbed Bobby's hand to assure myself this was real.
"So....how long ago did this 'fling' begin?"
"You take this one, I'll take the next."
"K. Well it kinda began the day we won that training sequence challenge. We went out, and right before the brotherhood took me we kinda kissed."
"So is that why you were so intent on finding and saving Chris after that Bobby?"
"Yea, I had fallen for him before that, but that kiss told me I had a chance, and I knew I had to do all I could to get him back."
“So....what does that mean? Bobby, while Chris was in the med-bay and we had sex, you had already kissed him? So you used me?"
"Damn it Darren!!!!! I told you perfectly well that night that it meant nothing!!!!"
"I DON'T CARE!!!!! HE'S MY BROTHER!!!! Whether or not by blood, you knew him as such, you saw me treat him as such. You betrayed my trust, and at a time when I needed you the most. Dee, don't even think you're getting off scott-free, you knew I liked Bobby, you saw me drool over him at every chance, you saw me fuss over my so-called 'first date' with him....and at the first chance YOU SLEPT WITH HIM?!?!?!?!? Fuck you both!!!!!!"
I ran towards the Mansion, tears running freely from my eyes, I felt Bobby try to touch my mind, and did what was thought impossible, I severed our bond. I ran in and saw him at the steps talking to someone on his phone he looked down; I saw a tear fall from his gorgeous eyes, and felt like hugging him. He shot me a glance and I ran to him, his phone fell to the floor and snapped shut as I jumped into his arms, and finally felt at home, safe.