DISCLAIMER: The X-Men belong to Marvel
Comics. This is an unauthorized use of the X-Men. I am not making
any money off of this so please don't sue me. This fanfic is copy-right
by me, Link.
I am continuing my GRE series. (Graduate Record Exam, for those who
are unfamiliar.) Since a couple of people voice their opinion that
I shouldn't be using so many big words, I'll be nice and include only
half the usual number of vocabulary words. Any less than that and
I am defeating the whole purpose of writing this story. If you see
a problem with any word usage, email me!
Zero Degree Celsius
Bobby Drake laid out on the cement surface by the swimming pool,
facing head down, staring at the water. Had anyone been around to
see, they would have thought he was lounging around, trying to catch
some rays. Though some people might find it hard to sunbathe while
wearing a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt. In truth he was hard
at work practicing. With the Danger Room out of commission, there
was very little he could do but practice by the pool. And practice
he must. Storm was a hard teacher and she expected results. No more
jokes or stunts. It was time to get down to business.
"Be all that you can be," he hummed half-heartedly to himself.
Bobby checked the temperature of the water with a thermometer Dr.
Reyes had most nicely given to him, which was a huge change from her
standard saturnine manner. He was still a few degrees off from what
he was aiming for. He sighed disappointedly and lowered the thermometer
back in the water again. He thought he had it right this time, but
again he fell short of expectation.
It wasn't so much that he needed practice freezing water. What he
needed was fine-tuning; at least that was what Ororo told him. Could
he lower the temperature of water to any point he wanted, not just
to the point of freezing? Could he, say, lower it to exactly zero
degree Celsius, but get the water as cold as possible without letting
it become solid? Bobby had never thought of testing his powers in
that fashion, to simply control the temperature of anything containing
water molecules. He always assumed making ice was good enough in the
Among other things, there was a lot to water than making water balloons
and snow cones. More than he realized. More than he really cared to
know, he grumbled. Hank was more than helpful with supplying all the
references he needed. Where he got the books was a mystery to him
since the mansion was stripped of everything. Bastion managed to even
steal all the dry paint and all the wallpaper. What was he going
to do with their wallpaper? Redecorate? He chuckled. Yet another
unsolved mystery, kind of like the mystery he was facing now. Why
wasn't the water at zero degree?!
Anyone who took high school chemistry would know that water normally
froze at zero degree Celsius, but very few would know that the density
of water was highest at four degrees Celsius. Besides that, there
were heat of fusion, vaporization, and sublimation to know, and those
wonderful hydrogen bondings to understand as well. All were impalpable
topics of thermodynamics he found entirely too hard to concentrate
on as a teenager. Still as an adult he found the subject much too
dry and abstruse. Why Hank willingly read any of the books he gave
him was beyond him. The authors of the physics book he read seemed
determined to obfuscate even the simplest of concepts.
He checked the thermometer again and groaned. Oh goody, he was almost
there. Two more degrees. He certainly made progress. Not! Bobby began
to question the accuracy of Dr. Reyes's thermometer. Maybe it wasn't
working right. Maybe he should test it on something else first. Calibrate
it, as Hank would say. He sighed. Or maybe it was just him. He let
his head sagged down, resting his chin against the inner wall of the
pool. A few strands of his hair make contact with the surface, breaking
the smooth exterior of the water. He then frowned at his nugatory
reflection and recited, "Water, water in the pool, who's the
dumbest at this school?" Why did he feel like such a nincompoop?
"Talkin' to yerself, kid."
Never expecting to hear a response, Bobby froze (no puns intended)
and lost his concentration. His reflection suddenly vanished as the
water took on a new form. Within a split second the entire swimming
pool solidified and transformed into an outdoor skating rink.
"Great!" Bobby shouted, clearly frustrated. It would take
forever for the ice to melt, and Ororo expected results by the end
of the afternoon. He flipped over onto his back and glared angrily
at Logan. His untimely advent wasted a whole hour's practice.
The vertically challenged Canadian, seeming apathetic to the whole
business, simply settled down underneath the shade of a tree. Dressed
in a pair of Bermuda shorts, he looked like he was heading for the
beach. He pulled the brim of a cowboy hat down and covered his face
with it before he mumbled some sort of an apology to him.
Bobby sat Indian-style and stared warily at Logan, who was in the
process of taking a nap. Well that was new. Logan was never garrulous,
so that wasn't the new part. He was a man of very few words to begin
with, but his adventitious arrival and his quizzical lassitude worried
him. Was Logan trying to beguile him into a false sense of security?
Was he in fact planning to waylay him for stealing his breakfast?
"Watcha ya lookin' at? Can't a man take a nap?" Logan spoke
bluntly through his hat.
"Just wondering what you 're doing here. Don't you"
"Takin' a break," he cut in abruptly. Silence followed.
"Okay Mister Grumpy," Bobby muttered quietly under his
breath. "Don't bite my head off."
More silence. He was sure Logan heard that last comment. With his
heightened sense of hearing, he should be able to hear Bobby breathe,
but there was no sharp riposte. He didn't know if he should be disappointed
or stunned. Maybe more of the first and less of the second. It was
pointless thinking about it. Obviously Logan wasn't in the mood for
games. He certainly wasn't that morning when Bobby snatched his food.
Whatever did possess him to swipe the cereal box like that? Did he
have some sort of a death wish? He guessed he was just being inane
Bobby stood up with his hands on his waist and viewed the pool. Dr.
Reyes's thermometer was stuck halfway in the ice. It would be there
for a while, but now what was he suppose to do until the ice thawed?
Too bad Bastion ran off with his ice skates, he mused. It had been
long time since he last skated. He could always find his best pal,
the giant blue fur ball, and hang out with him, but Hank was probably
busy with the Legacy Virus or something equally important.
Or he could keep Scott company. Bobby heard that old fearless leader
made a few attempts at escape from his room. Knowing him, he was dying
of boredom. Scott was never the type to sit still in bed and do nothing.
Maybe he could interest him in a game of Scrabble. Oh wait, that was
no good either. Bastion took that, too.
"How's practice? 'Ro ain't an easy teacher."
"Huh?" Bobby turned around, surprised. Logan was still
under his hat; his arms folded in a fallacious manner of sleep. "Just
peachy. What about you? How's Marrow treating you?"
He grumbled in reply something Bobby couldn't quite make out. Logan
was famous for his scurrilous remarks, but Bobby couldn't resist the
opportunity to ask, "Excuse me, I couldn't tell. Was that growl
or snarl I heard?"
"I said, 'I've been through worse. I'll survive.'"
Bobby could almost laugh out loud. He could just imagine who Logan
was taking a break from. Marrow was a rare find. A real firebrand.
She took an immerse pleasure in gibing, harassing and tormenting everyone,
especially Logan since he was one of her favorite targets. In a strange
way, Marrow reminded him of Logan, a younger female version of him.
They were both amazingly recalcitrant people who enjoyed the occasional
mayhem and destruction. It was funny how they didn't get along with
each other. Instead their relationship was very volatile; Logan being
the gunpowder and Sarah being the lighted match. The refractory teenager
was going to get one of these days, that was for sure. Logan had only
so much patience before he blew his head off. Then it was advisable
to be in the next county. He was about to ask Logan something else
when something grabbed his attention.
"Get back here you little-- you big overgrown bathroom mat!"
"What was that?" Bobby tried to find the source of the
disturbance. Logan on the other hand, only groaned and turned over
onto his side.
"Wake me when the coast is clear, bub."
Hank came bounding over the bushes, making a straight run towards
Bobby. Behind him in hot pursuit was Dr. Cecilia Reyes. Hank reached
him and placed Bobby between him and an angry Cecilia. "It behooves
you to defend me, Bobby. Cecilia is upset
I how should I elucidate?
A minor misunderstanding involving
"Donuts?" Bobby gaped. He waited for the punch line from
Hank, but found he was dead serious.
"Drake! If you know what's good for you, you better step away
from him now!" Cecilia stormed her way to them, her fists clenched,
her eyes burning.
"Now Cecilia. No need to hurt the Hankster over donuts."
"Not over donuts, Drake! It's what he said after eating all
Hank coughed and cleared his throat. "Let me first say that
those donuts were communal."
"And you ate them all," Cecilia countered.
Flustered, Hank replied, "Well true that may be, but for a good
reason. You see I had not--"
"Save it, McCoy. I don't want to hear it." She then turned
her gaze over to Bobby. "You got ten seconds to step away from
him or else."
"Uh, Hank, what did you say to her to get her all riled up?"
Bobby mumbled over his shoulder. Hank, in his best effort, was trying
to hid behind Bobby. A very impressive feat since he was so much bigger
"Nothing really important--"
"I'll tell you what he said." She folded her arms and glared
venomously at Hank. If Hank wasn't so hairy, he could probably see
him sweating now. "He said that I was fortunate that he ate all
the donuts or else I might put on some unsightly weight around the
"You didn't, Hank?" Bobby looked horrified at him. Never,
never comment on a woman's weight. Violating such a taboo was asking
for trouble, even he knew that.
"Not in those exact words," he said in his defense. "I
swear it was meant as a jest."
"There, you see. He only meant it as a joke. Hank is not as
good as me when it comes to the haha, but his heart was in the right
place. And between us, Hank gets a little loony when he has too much
sugar. Can't trust what comes out of his mouth then." Somehow
that didn't appease her anger. In the corner of his eyes, he could
see Logan slowly moving away on all-fours. He couldn't blame him.
Under the circumstances he wanted to do the same thing, but there
was a certain rule he always followed and that was stand by your best
pal no matter how gruesome the situation was.
"A joke?" she repeated. She relaxed her arms a bit and
she glanced over to Beast. He tried to put on his most sincere smile.
"Hank, you're really sorry, right?"
He hurriedly agreed, "I most humbly apologize for any offense
that I may have inadvertently inflicted upon you."
Even though it was hard to tell, her face softened and she relented.
Ya! Score one for the Iceman!
"What did you do to the pool?" she asked haphazardly, trying
to change the subject.
"Had a little accident and"
"Is that my thermometer? What's it doing in there?!" she
"Like I said, I had a little accident and
" His sentence
trailed as he saw the look on her face. "Uh, oh, I'm in trouble."
Cecilia knelt down and tried to retrieve it, but it was stuck fast.
"Is this how you treat other people's things? Freeze them?"
Hank quickly interceded for Bobby. "Like my jovial friend said,
it was only an accident and--"
"Be quiet," she snapped. "I haven't forgiven you yet."
She continued to work on pulling it out. "I let you borrow it
for one afternoon and this is what happens."
Hank nudged Bobby and whispered, "May I make a hasty suggestion."
"What is it?"
He shouted in a deep voice, "To the Batmobile!" He had
his hand stretched out in a silly pose, pointing to who knows what.
Bobby nodded. "Right!" Together they rushed off, leaving
Cecilia behind yelling after them.
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