*Long Island, New York*
“Hey, this place looks nice! I wouldn't mind living here”, Angel said as he got a grand view of the neighborhood.
”Yes, I feel the full conviction of the heir to the Worthington fortune on their oh so positive review of my humble beginnings”, Hank said with a roll of his eyes.
“Hey, ‘they‘ is still here! I am completely serious, Hank. Yeah, I am grateful for my parents success in using grandfather’s family fortune properly, but I didn’t really have much of a normal childhood. Until Emma, I didn’t really have friends. Girlfriends, I had, but not real friends to play with and get dirty in the mud with. You know, normal kid stuff”, Angel said as he flew back to his friends.
“Yes, I’m sure Hank would love us to recount the trials of being served hand and foot and eating caviar like the most painful upbringings, but I suggest you put your coat on so that I have no need to scan the area constantly for witnesses of your giant wings!”, Emma says irritably.
”Okay, mom, I‘m putting it on”, Warren said sarcastically.
”Good boy. Now, let’s find this childhood friend of Hank’s. You mind telling me about this boy you have been suspiciously quiet about”, Emma asks with a raised eyebrow.
“I have been quiet about him? Huh....well, his name is Robert Drake, Bobby for short, and like I said, we have been friends since we were kids. We‘d play pranks on each other, I’d assist him with homework, and well, we were just close. Unlike most mutants, my powers formed a lot subtler, with my hands and feet growing bigger with my age and my physical prowess naturally forming as I got older, so I came off as a normal kid going through early puberty, which meant my strength impressed the kid. I was his hero”, Hank said with a small smile as he thought about those times he had with Bobby.
At some point, the three made it to an ordinary house that Hank recognized to be Bobby's house. It looked relatively the same, with small differences to it that somehow blend well with Bobby’s mothers taste. As much nostalgia as this gave Hank, a feeling of trepidation was also present that he tried to tuck away ever since he found out Bobby was a mutant. He was rather successful until this very moment, where he could see the reality that he probably would face more people who probably knew about him being a mutant. Then again, his parents could very well had kept it a secret still in hopes of keeping face, but the Drake’s were closer than most neighbors in their neighborhood through Hank and Bobby’s friendship. So, it seems unlikely that they wouldn’t have talked about the subject of Hank.
“Hank, you don’t have to do this. Warren and I could-“
”No, Emma”, Hank interrupted before taking a breath. “I will be fine. I just needed a minute.”
With a look of more determination than he felt, Hank walked up to the house and knocked at the door. They waited a bit before a woman with greyish-brown hair came to the door. Yet, despite being in her mid to late-30’s, she looked remarkably younger than she should.
“G-Good evening, Madeline”, Hank stuttered out with a forced smile.
“Hank? What are- Do your parents know you’re here?”, Madeline answered with a perplexed expression.
“No. Uh, d-do you know?”, Hank asked as he fidgeted with the hem of his shirt.
“Yes, I do......”Madeline said. She studied the three of them for a good minute before relenting with a sigh. “Come in where it’s warmer. Then you and your friends can tell me and William what this is about, Hank.”
“Thank you”, Hank said.
“Maddie, who is-“
An middle-aged man turns back from his chair in the living room to see the guests his wife had invited in. He has well-kept brown hair with his age showing moreso than Madeline. The look of surprise was evident, but what Emma could feel from both of them was pity for Hank.....Not because of how his parents treated him though....
“Mr. McCoy. W-what brings you in the neighborhood?”, William asks with a fake friendly demeanor.
“Hello, Mr. Drake. I uh-....I came to talk to you all and Bobby. Where’s-“
“He’s out. He’s picking up some groceries for Madeline”, William interrupted.
“Please, Hank, sit down. Do would any of you like some tea?”, Madeline offered.
”No, thank you. I assure you Mr. and Mrs. Drake that we don’t intend to stay for long”, Emma said with a little more bite than she meant to. The irritation of these people just got to her though. A bunch of judgmental nobodies who would go on being kind to your face while talking about you with their ‘friends’ behind your back before talking to their other ‘friends’ behind their back. The exact kind of people Emma‘s parents talked with regularly. Hell, they were those people! It just proved Emma’s thought. No matter what walk of life you came from, these kind of people existed. A bunch disloyal, backstabbers who couldn’t-
“Emma”, Hank whispered warningly before nervously going back to his friendly demeanor. “No thank you, Mrs. Drake. Like Emma said, we won’t be long.”
“Very well”, Mrs. Drake said, confused at Emma’s reaction. “Why not speak with us then while we await Bobby’s return.”
“That sounds fantastic, Mrs. Drake. My name is Warren Worthington III and I am pleased to make your acquaintance”, Warren said with a charming smile that Madeline couldn’t help but a smile at.
“Wait, wait, Worthington, as in-“
”Yup. The same family”, Warren said as he took his seat between Emma and Mrs. Drake on the couch, hoping to get the positive attention on him and away from the negativity Emma and Hank seemed to had garnered without meaning to.
”Oh, I love your mother’s jewelry line. I have always wanted one of those gorgeous necklaces in that line”, Mrs. Drake said excitedly to Warren.
“And you, young lady. Who might you be?”, William said directly to Emma. Before answering, Emma studied William on both a psychic and physical level and deciding that while she didn’t like Mrs. Drake all that much, Mr. Drake garnered an ounce more respect on his waving away thoughts about how she looked in her outfit. Emma usually gained approving looks from the wrong people in her lifetime, but she had decided long ago they wouldn’t dictate what she’d wear. She looked good and liked looking the way she did. Though Emma was a little surprised to see Mr. Drake wondered how his wife would look in something like that. That caught Emma off-guard and ultimately, just a little more respect. Not much, but a little, given how well she knew of the pain it caused her mother when her father visited his floozies. So, Emma gave him a smile and answered.
“Emma Grace Frost. I am charmed by your home, Mr. Drake. You and Mrs. Drake must try ever so hard to make it look so....comfortable”, Emma said. Luckily, her praise seemed to warm Mr. Drake up a little more to her presence.
”Thank you. I am very glad of my wife’s keen ability to decorate with what little I make“, William said, feeling a little inadequate by the presence of a younger man with a trust fund larger than all the things the Drake’s owned in combination with whatever money they stored in savings.
“Nonsense, Mr. Drake. I myself have lived in a rather privileged lifestyle, yet I learned that it isn’t about what you have. It’s the home you make with what you have. It’s a wonderful place”, Emma said with a smile that earned one from William in return.
“Well, Mr. McCoy, it seems despite uh- what happened, you gained some rather higher class friends ever since you left home for college”, Mr. Drake said to Hank. That brought Emma backed to annoyed territory, but she managed to keep her smile pasted, enduring her face does not relay her true thoughts. “So, why don’t we get on with it then. Why have you all visited?”
“Well, Mr. Drake, we have come to invite Bobby to a school I go to”, Hank said nervously.
This felt unlike Hank, Emma thought. He always spoke so eloquently, yet around these people, he spoke more similar to them. Emma would ask him why he was doing it, but she wondered if he even realized he was doing it.....
“A scholarship to Bard? I thought your parents-“
”No, Mrs. Drake. It’s a different school. For people like....me”, Hank said looking down toward the carpet of the living room. There was a moment of silence before William raised his volume a little more.
“What? But-but Bobby isn’t a mutant. He is a normal teenage boy becoming a man. Not like those-“
”Those what, Mr. Drake”, Emma said as she sat back with her arms crossed, glaring right at William.
”W-well, not like the.....special people that you all are“, Mr. Drake said nervously.
”Mutants, William. We are mutants. It’s not a bad word. So stop dancing around it like it is”, Emma huffed.
”Emma, please”, Hank said.
”No, Hank. I understand their fears about how people will view them, but that doesn’t mean they can get away with behaving like we will infest their perfect lives with our very presence. By the way, Mr. William Robert Drake, my mutant power is that of telepathy. Can we have a show of hands on who knows what that is? Anyone?”, Emma asked standing up in front of the living room. “Come now, Mr. McCoy and Mr. Worthington. We’ve spent so much time together that I am confident your hands at least should be raise.”
While Hank has his heads in his hands, Warren nervously raised his hand, not knowing what to make of the situation.
“Well, Madeline and William, I will tell you what it is. A telepath is someone with the power over the thoughts and feelings of others. Everything yours and their brains can do, I can access. I know what you are thinking at all times whenever any thought is created. So, don’t bother lying to us about this issue because you aren’t getting away so easy. If you don’t want Robert to go to this school, then put on your big boy pants and grown girl panties and say ‘No’. That simple!”, Emma ranted. When she finished, everyone was awkwardly silent, not knowing how to react to what just transpired. Thankfully for everyone involved, that was just when the door suddenly opened with a grown boy of 16 cane walking in with grocery bags in his arms.
“Mom! Dad! I am back from the-“, Bobby said before stopping at the sight of Hank. He stated with such wonder. It felt like it had been so, so long since he saw Hank. He thought he‘d forgotten by now, but now that he was there, sitting with two strangers and his parents.....
”Oh.....”, was all Emma uttered with wide-eyes as she stared at Bobby.
”What is it? Is something wrong with Robert?”, Mr. Drake said after Emma’s remark.
”No, Mr. Drake. Robert is absolutely perfect just as he is”, Emma said with a glare, which only caused a confused look from William.
“Hey, Bobby. Been awhile”, Hank said nervously as he went to stand in front of Bobby, not knowing how he’d react. That was quickly dealt with when Bobby saw Hanks expression, pulling him into a hug.
”I missed ya, big guy”, Bobby said. Though Emma could only see the back of Hank, she could feel the mixture of emotions flood his entire being. Relief, worry, contentment, and so much more that that Hank himself couldn’t describe. With so much of Hank’s life being cut off from him, he hid well just how much it hurt to know that what he is would cost him so much. Hank as thankful for Bobby being the one person who proved him wrong.
“Bobby, I want to introduce to you to my close acquaintances. That ball of glamour and chaos wrapped in a gorgeous heiress is Emma Frost. And that dashing party animal over there is Warren Worthington III. We’ve been waiting for your return to make conversation about events in your life that had taken place”, Hank said as he led Bobby to the couch with and arm around him.
”’Kay. What about, exactly?”, Bobby asked curiously.
”Its about your........condition, Robert”, Mrs. Drake said which got a sigh from Emma.
“Condition?....Oh. You mean my powers?”, Bobby said.
“Yup. What can ya do, by the way?”, Warren asked.
”Well, it’s a pretty cool power”, Bobby said with pride that he didn’t truly feel from what Emma gathered. Raising his hand, his hand began to change color before changing shape into a snowier version of a human hand with small ice particles floating about in the room. “All pun intended.”
”Bobby, not on the carpet”, Madeline said disappointingly.
”Oh. Sorry, mom”, Bobby said embarrassingly.
”So you make snow? Sweet! Speaking of which, can you make snow cones?”, Warren asked.
”Thats what I thought about! I tried one time, but I kinda ended up freezing my desk”, Bobby said with his cheeks blushing from admitting his failure.
”And that is a good segue to why we are here, Robert. You see, your powers, while a gift, can be dangerous if not honed properly. Deny all you want Mr. and Mrs. Drake, but at the end of the day, Bobby still is a mutant, with powers not many like him can do”, Emma said.
”There are others like me? Not like random mutant powers, but actual ice people?”, Bobby asked with sudden interest.
“Perhaps not exact, but your powers seem to work very similarly to a good compatriot of mine. Her powers deal with controlling the weather, which involves lowering and raising temperatures, as well as manipulating water molecules and air pressure to suit her needs.”, Hank says as he stares at Bobby‘s hand with interest. “From what it seems, your powers are more localized. Can you perhaps heat things?”
“Well, I never really tried. From what it looks like, I only make ice”, Bobby says truthfully as he blushed under Hank’s scrutiny.
“Fascinating. Do you feel that?”, Hank says as he taps on Bobby’s wrist with his finger.
”Yeah, actually. But not the same way I do with my regular skin. I can feel the heat and the tapping you make, but your actual skin I can’t feel. Nor my own in fact”, Bobby says as he begins to think a little more about his powers than he did previously.
“Yes, this would indeed require closer researching“, Hank declared excitedly.
”You mean, you’re gonna run test on me? Alone?”, Bobby asked.
”Well, I am quite sure Ms. Mctaggert would want to have hand in studying you further, but I definitely would be there”, Hank said as he began to think of different tools and tests he would need to study the conundrum that was Bobby’s powers.
”Now, hang on a sec!”, William said suddenly, causing the two boys remembering that they were here. “Robert, I know you are excited to see Hank again, but don’t you think you’re jumping the gun a bit? You could have bright future ahead of you. I know that you can do things that normal people like your mother and I can’t, but wouldn’t you want to one day meet a nice girl with a house and kids and fulfilling job?”
Bobby was torn. He respected his father and mother. That’s a no-brainer. Would they lose their respect for him though if he left for....
“Wait, where was this place you were talking about?”, Bobby asked, remembering that they had mentioned a school but had not gotten to what it was exactly.
”The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. We are planning to make pamphlets, but until then, I will give you a mental image of the place”, Emma said as she put her finger to her temple, projecting the image of the mansion in a much more generously beautiful image than Hank or Warren remember. ”In basic terms, it’s a boarding school of sorts, where Bobby would be learning real academics in High School depending on where he is at on his GPA and what he plans for his future. The group is small for now, but varied enough to where Bobby will learn and grow to accept multiple kinds of individuals like any respectable young man would. This school is all funded by Charles Xavier, leading researcher in mutant genetics and human evolution and philosophies, and Moira Mctaggert, the second leading researcher in mutant genetics. Most importantly though, these people will give him the care that he would need to learn to use his powers effectively before going out in this world if he so chooses. You may value his education moreso than anything, but realize that unlike most special abilities like Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four, Bobby’s mutation will only grow whether he chooses to harness it or not. If he neglects that part of him, one day his powers could prove to become more dangerous than they are now, which could lead to injury of himself and others.....or worse”, Emma said as she showed the image of someone frozen solid in ice. A wake up call that she could tell without needing her powers, earned her a victory...........
*Xavier School for Higher Learning; A month later*
“Well done, Robert. And good work, Scott. Your continued training in the Danger Room has improved Bobby’s powers vastly from the time he had first arrived”, Xavier said over the loud speaker of the Danger Room as Scott continued to run drills with the rest of the X-Men.
“Hey, why aren’t you uniform, Scott? Ya finally ask Jean out or something’”, Bobby asked.
“SHHH!!! Quiet, Bobby! I don’t want her to hear!”, Scott whispered as he looked back to Jean, who was training with Emma in concentrated psychic combat.
“Come on, Scott. You know she likes ya. Why don’t you just ask her out? She seems to like you just as much”, Bobby says as his ice form melts away suddenly. “Damn it!”
”Robert! Language!”, Xavier said suddenly over the loud speaker.
”How did ya even hear from in that room?!”, Bobby yelled up there with no answer coming. So, with concentration he tries to reform that sleeker ice form. His previous snowman form was alright, pretty second nature as far Bobby was concerned, but why did this other form require so much more of his concentration. He can freeze things solid with a simple gesture. This should be a piece of cake! “So, the monkey suit. What’s with it?”
”Its not- whatever! I am going with the Professor to a meeting with some government officials. It’s a common thing we X-Men have been doing since the attack in the U.N.“, Scott explained as he fixed his tie using the reflection of the Danger Room wall.
“Cool! So you think Magneto or some bad dude is gonna drop by?”, Bobby asked excitedly. When he had found out about the X-Men being the secret team for the school, Bobby knew he had to prove himself to get on their. Though Bobby had been training with Scott, Orroro, Xavier, and Emma long enough to be accepted (on a “probationary basis“ according to Scott) , nothing has been going on to warrant the team to form lately.
”Not really, but its better to not chance it”, Scott said before heading to the door. “Professor! It’s time we head out!”
”Yes, Scott. I will be right with you in a sec. Robert, you’ve progressed very well. You are done for the day”, Xavier declared.
With a sigh, Bobby reverted back to human form and headed towards the elevator to the dorm rooms.
“Yo, Beast! How’s it going?”, Bobby said suddenly as Beast was writing down some genius formula stuff Bobby could never understand.
”Its been nominal. I’m rather engrossed in an equation, but I have time if that’s what you’re wondering”, Hank said without turning to Bobby.
“Great, cuz I just finished my Danger Room session and wanted to see if you would come with me to do, well, whatever!”, Bobby said.
“So, you don’t have a destination in mind?”, Hank said.
”I- well, who needs destinations and....plans....“
This was not going well. It was so hard to have a conversation with Hank when he was like this. So disinterested and focused on something else. Whats even the point?
“Hey, guys”, Jean said walking in with Orroro following.
”Hey, Jeannie. Hey, ‘Ro”, Bobby greeted.
”Salutations, ladies. What brings you?”, Hank says still working on the equation, causing Bobby to roll his eyes.
”Well, we were hoping if you two aren’t free, that you would come with us for a little mini golf and then pizza”, Orroro said.
“Well, I got nothin’ better to do. I’m in”, Bobby said casually.
”I shall accompany you all as well. I don’t know if you know, but I was quite a master mini golf player in our neighborhood. Had my picture on the wall for a good while before some random kid took my place. I could have reclaimed my place, but I was quite busy”, Hank gloated.
”Really?”, Jean said before looking to Bobby.
”Amazingly, he isn’t wrong. We were like...what, twelve?”, Bobby asked as they began walking out.
“You were twelve. I had crossed the line into adolescence at the age of thirteen”, Hank corrected Bobby.
*Later that day*
”Oh my god, Hank, I swear I didn’t cheat!”, Jean laughed.
”I am just saying that the way my golf ball turned was rather sharp and highly suspect. Though there was a slight breeze....”, Hank trailed off.
”Oh no, you don’t! I will not be dragged into this”, Orroro said with a smile.
”Who knew you took your mini golf so seriously, Hank?”, Jean teased.
“It is how I won after all”, Hank said with a proud smirk.
”That wasn’t what the score board said”, Jean mocked further. ”Alright, me and ‘Ro are gonna get the pizza. You two can look around the plaza for a bit”, Jean said as she and Orroro headed towards the pizza parlor.
”What was life like while you were away?”, Bobby asked while looking in the store window.
“Nothing really to tell. I had my studies and I won a good number of games throughout the season. Then some random psychopath kidnaps my parents and Jean, Scott, and Emma help save them. You know, like every growing young adult person in college“, Hank said so casually that for a second Bobby almost thought he was serious, until he saw the smile containing his laughter.
“Wow.....so, that’s how you got roped into this X-Men business. I don‘t care how cheesy I sound, but hat is really cool”, Bobby said.
”Robert, there are times when I do regret inviting you to the school. This is one of those times”, Hank says deadpanned.
”Oh. Really?”, Bobby said nervously.
”.....Nah. As a subpar as your pun game is, I am rather glad you had decided to enroll”, Hank said.
There was a comfortable silence between the two as they looked at the different store windows. While they were still waiting, a loud scream was suddenly heard in the distance.
”Whoa, where’d that come from?”, Bobby asked looking around.
”That way!”, Hank said taking off.
Not wanting to be left behind, Bobby transformed into his snowman form and started creating his ice slide. Luckily, all the time snowboarding, ice skating, skate boarding, and Danger Room training made it feel natural to Bobby. This way, he can truly go from being boring ol’ Bobby Drake, to the up and coming superhero, Iceman!
Down a long alleyway leading to different smaller alleys between buildings, Beast and Iceman slowly maneuver before hearing the scream once more. When they come across the right alley, they see a green-haired woman huddling in the corner away from a rather large overweight man and another man dressed in a yellow and red outfit.
”Come on, luv. Don’t be like that. Me and the Blob ‘ere are your friends! We just wanted to bring ya with us to good ol’ Genosha, where people like us can-“
”I am not going anywhere with the likes of you creeps”, the woman says angrily.
”Aw. I guess we will have do this the hard way, Pyro”, Blob said as he took large steps forward that produced resounding thuds.
”Shame. She is quite the looker”, Pyro said as he took a step back to let Blob do his thing.
”Hey! Step off, creeps!”, Iceman said before blasting Blob with a cover of ice in the back.
”What the?”, was all Blob uttered before jumping onto his back, causing the area to tremble hard enough for everyone to lose their balance and the ice to fly everywhere. “Whose the not very wise guy who blasted me?”
”A couple of white knights from the looks of it, down there. Don’t worry Blob, Pyro will handle the popsicle“, Pyro said as he pointed his dual flamethrowers attached to his arms at Iceman.
Before the fire could reach him, he puts up an ice wall to block the flames. Unfortunately, the wall is not sturdy enough, so the ice shatters on impact.
”Iceman! Look out!”, Hank yells as Blob rushes towards Iceman. On instinct, Iceman forms under himself a pillar of ice, which Blob crashes through, destroying the base of the pillar with no effort and causing Bobby to fall. Before he could hit the ground, Iceman points his hand at the ground and forms a blanket of snow to soften his landing.
”You seem rather chilly, mate. How’s ‘bout we warm ya up some?”, Pyro says as he shoots more fire at Iceman. This time, Iceman uses his cryokinesis to match Pyro’s flamethrower with a beam of ice and frost.
“Ha- I mean, Beast! I need.....oh”, Iceman utters as he looks around to find Beast evading attacks from the Blob.
“Hold on, Iceman! I will be there in a jiff”, Beast said as jumped over Blob and then went for a kick that ended up having no effect other than plunging Hank’s foot in Blobs belly fat.
“So much muscle proved absolutely useless to the Blob”, Blob utters as he grabs Beasts head and throws him into one wall after another repeatedly.
“Look’s like you’re on your own, mate”, Pyro says as he directs part of the flames to form branching out flames to maneuver around the main blast of fire and ice colliding and straight at Bobby. The resulting blaze begins to melt the snowy covered teen.
”Come on, concentrate....”, Iceman chanted to himself as he endeavored to keep the structure of his icy form stabilized. Yet, this resulted in Pyro’s flamethrower winning out as Bobby’s divided attention weakens the ice beam produced.
”Iceman!”, Hank yells as he sees nothing but flames enveloping the area where Bobby used to be and a cackling Pyro relishing in his victory. Angered, he tanks the kick Blob deals to him and gets up to ready his counterattack. When Blob makes his move, Beast jumps on the giant flabby arm and uses it as a spring board to reach Blob’s head. Beast then proceeds to squeeze his legs around Blob’s neck, choking the giant brute to unconsciousness. With a resounding thud from Blob, Hank runs over to stop Pyro. Seeing Beast coming, Pyro maneuvers his flames to attack Hank, only for a sudden whirlwind to disperse the flames away from Beast and suck the oxygen from the fire. This same whirlwind then lifts Pyro from his place and throws him into the wall of the alley.
“Do not despair, Beast. I have come to assist you. Jean is contacting authorities as we speak....and holding our pizza. Check on Robert. I will keep watch of these two”, Storm says hovering above Hank’s head.
Without further arguments, Hank runs to Bobby, only to stopping as he sees the boy manage to stand in his sleeker ice form. When Bobby’s ice form melts away to human skin, Beast goes to catch him as he nearly doubles over.
“Bobby? Do you need any medical attention? Any burn wounds? Any-“
”Beast! Codenames”, Bobby reminded. “No. My ice body saved me from any real damage. Maintaining in the flames did exhaust me a bit. You’ll just have to carry me back to the mansion.”
”That is an option”, Hank says before lifting Bobby in a bridal carry with no effort.
“Hey! Put me down! I was kidding!”, Bobby yelled as he flailed his arms and legs.
*At the mansion*
“....and what if the poor lass?”, Moira asked as she poured Lemonade for the group.
”Disappeared in the commotion between us and the ingrates. Many thanks, Moira for the lemonade”, Beast says as he takes a sip.
”My pleasure”, she says kindly.
”Are you sure they are Brotherhood members, Jean?”, Bobby asks.
”One of the perks of being a telepath is that almost no one can hide from my abilities. From what I gather, Magneto instilled in them to not let this mutant get away in particular compared to the other mutants. Had he not been busy with some grand plan of his, he would have sent better mutants, or at least gone himself. We gotta find her and convince her to let us help her before the Brotherhood come for her again”, Jean said thoughtfully, remembering the image of the girl in her head for future reference when she used Cerebro.
”On a more positive note, Bobby, dear”, Moira said placing a hand on the boy.
”Hm?”, was all he could get out since she inconveniently called him as he took a bite from his pizza.
”From what Hank described to me, you did quite well in protecting the lass and yourself against those dangerous mutants. I am sure Charles will be quite proud of ya and see ya as an invaluable member of the team. Assuming ya still want to be on the team after the danger you encountered”, Moira explained.
“Oh, make no mistake. You guys couldn’t get rid of me that easy. I am all in”, Bobby said confidently to everyone as they enjoyed the rest of their night.