This story contains adult, real world issues.
If it was on television it would be rated TV M 14 or some such. Serious
comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will do my best to respond.
Before I get started I would like to thank Luba Kmetyk. She has been
a great help in the whole writing process.
As always everyone in here belongs to marvel comics. I've just borrowed
them for awhile. I'm not making anything at all off writing this.
I hope you enjoy.
It was a cold clear night when I decided to take just about the biggest
step in my life. I guess it's only appropriate though. If my life's
got any theme to it at all, I'd say it's the cold. The cold I can
create with just a thought. The chill in my dad's voice when he found
out I was a mutant. I crave the cold. My body needs the cold. It's
a need that flows through every single part of me. Heat and warmth
bother me. They always have, even before I got my mutant powers. I
guess it's a good thing that I turned out to be the Iceman. Now wherever
I go, it's cold.
Like I said, it was cold and clear as I walked across the lawn of
the mansion. I was headed for the boathouse across the campus grounds.
It was late and I had a lot on my mind. When I say it was late, I'm
talking two in the morning here, not ten. I'd spent the last few hours
in bed tossing and turning, trying desperately to get to sleep. For
about the past week I hadn't been able to sleep. I wouldn't fall asleep
till early in the morning, four or so. Eventually I'd be so tired
I'd just pass out. Every time I'd lie down to sleep my mind would
start racing. Thoughts kept running through my head. I had tried every
technique I knew to fall asleep, from working myself to exhaustion
in the danger room before bed, to warm milk, to meditation. I even
tried jerking off before bed, trying to relieve frustration. None
of it worked. All day long I walked around in a daze, half-awake.
Rogue asked me today what was wrong. I told her, "Nothing, just
having trouble sleeping." I felt really bad, brushing her off
like that. But I just didn't want to talk about it. I was a hair away
from asking the professor to put me to sleep last night. But, if I
did that, he would want to know why I hadn't been sleeping, and I
just can't tell him what's on my mind just yet. The same with Hank.
If I told him I wasn't sleeping he'd want to know what was wrong.
That's why I was going to the boathouse. To see Jean. Of all the
people that live here, she's the only one I felt that I could go to
with this. She once told me, "Bobby, if you ever need to talk,
about anything at all, just come see me. I'll be there for you."
That was years ago. But even then I think she said it because she
knew about this. You can hide things from everyone, including yourself,
but those telepaths will always know. Not a damn thing you can do
to hide. In fact the more you want to keep something secret, the easier
it is for them to spot it. I guess it's like a neon sign in your head
that says, "Don't look at me! I'm a secret!" They may not
want to know what it is, but your mind is screaming it at them. They
have this ability to see you for who you really are. I think that
Jean was just waiting for me to deal with this on my own, and then
come and see her about it. The professor probably knows too, but he's
more of a father figure, not a friend. And Hank well, he's
my best friend, but Jean could handle this a little better, I think.
That and I just don't think I can tell him yet.
To this day I'm certain that Jean knew what I had been wrestling
with for the past week. I'd almost bet my life that she knew the second
I decided to come and see her, even though it was two in the morning.
Jean's got this bond with all of the X-Men, especially the original
five. She's unusually sensitive to us. And, over the past week, my
life had been an emotional rollercoster.
On the walk over I iced up my body. Well, iced up isn't really the
right term, I've discovered. It's more like I turned myself into a
walking, talking, breathing, thinking piece of ice. I love the way
the world looks when I'm this way. I don't see the world like everyone
else does. I see it in temperatures and moisture. Everything is in
shades of blue with hints of red. On a cold night like this everything
appeared to be crystalline blue in the moonlight. That is one thing
that is unique to me and me alone. I've not heard of a single mutant
that can see the world this way. Being iced up and seeing things like
this relaxes me.
As I got closer to the house, the front porch light came on. This
just proved that Jean knew I was coming. I just hoped that Scott wasn't
up too. Slim was one person I really didn't want to deal with right
now. But I was sure Jean would've told him to go back to sleep. She
knew what this was about and how I was feeling. She knew she was the
only one I felt like talking to right now.
I got to the door and was about to knock when it gently opened on
its own. That's Jean's unique way of saying come on in. I braced myself
for what was to come, and walked in. I've no idea why I was so nervous.
Jean knew what I'd come to see her about and I knew it.
Jean projected her voice into my head while I was looking for her.
I'm in the kitchen, Bobby. As I headed for the kitchen, I noticed
that I was still iced up. I turned back to my human self, and I saw
the world normally again. I could barely stand it. The only thing
that'd gotten me this far was how calm I became when I was iced up.
I could barely stand walking across the house. The weight of what
I was doing started to come down on me. I wanted to turn and run.
Once I did this there was no turning back, for good or bad. Nothing
would ever be the same after this.
I guess Jean could sense my despair and she came to me. When our
eyes connected, I broke down. I started bawling like a baby. It had
taken everything I had to make it this far, and I couldn't do it anymore.
Jean put her arms around me, and I cried on her shoulder. She hugged
me and comforted me. While I cried, she rubbed my head and whispered
in my ear, "SSSHHH, it'll be all right." But the thing that
helped the most was just her being there for me. That was all the
soothing that I needed.
After awhile, I calmed down. I've no idea how much time had passed.
It could have been five minutes or two hours, for all I knew. Jean
was with me for all of it, though. When I was done, she dried my tears
and took me to the kitchen. I sat down at the table. "Do you
want something to drink?" she asked me. For the first time, I
noticed that she was in her nightclothes. She looked tired and run
down. We'd had a long day.
I felt guilty for being there. I shouldn't have got her out of bed
for this. It could have waited until morning at least, if not for
a few more days. It had waited all these years; I didn't have to do
this now. "Jean," I started to say as I stood up from the
table, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have got you up. This'll wait
till morning. Go on back to bed."
She wouldn't hear of it, though. "Bobby Drake, you sit your
butt back down in that chair right this minute. Now this may not be
the greatest time in the world, but you need to talk. It's been a
long time coming, and you're finally going to do it." I'd never
seen her get like this before. She was adamant about doing this now.
"We both know that, if you walk out of this house you'll, push
this to the back of your mind and ignore it again. Well, Bobby, I'm
not going to let you do it. I've waited for years for you to be ready
for this and you're going to do it. You're finally at a point in your
life where you can deal with it."
"But I'm not sure I can, Jean," I whined at her. "I
don't want to. I've changed my mind."
Jean got a motherly look on her face. "Bobby, you can deal with
this. Worse things have happened to you. It's time for you to do this."
Suddenly she smiled. "If not for you, how about for me, the Professor,
and Betsy at least. None of us have gotten more then a few minuets
of sleep in the last week. You've kept every single one of us up."
I felt horrified and guilty at the same time. They knew -- not just
Jean, but every telepath in the mansion. Which meant that Scott and
Warren knew too. "In fact, if you hadn't come to see one of us
tonight, Betsy was going to set you down and do this herself in the
morning. Believe me, it's not a good thing to have a telepathic ninja
who can teleport through shadows cranky at you, Bobby." We both
laughed a little at that. It cut the tension.
"Now," Jean said, "why don't you tell me what this
is all about?"
I thought it was a little stupid. She knew what was going on as well,
if not better, than I did. Why'd I have to tell her? I said as much
to her too. "Why do I have to say it, Jean? You know. The Professor
knows. Betsy knows." My anger started to build. It's kind of
ironic too. I've got a hot temper, not a cold one. "For Christ
sake, Scott and Warren know by now, too! Hell, I'll bet everyone in
the whole fucking mansion knows by now! Emma probably told Sean, too.
And, as nosy as Jubilee is, she's probably found out." I was
just plain babbling at this point.
Jean stayed calm and quiet during the whole thing. She let me finish
my little tantrum before she said anything. "Calm down Bobby.
First of all, no one but us knows. I haven't told Scott, and Betsy
hasn't told Warren. They know something is going on, but not what.
We agreed to keep it to ourselves, until you decided what you wanted
to do. It's your decision to make, not ours. We're just here to help
you. And as for Emma, I doubt she's said a word. You know how she
is. She'll hold it over you as long as she can." I got my temper
back under control while Jean was talking and sat back down. "Secondly,
you need to say it out loud. I know it's hard, but you're not going
to believe it's real, until you do it. Until then, it's just something
you've thought. If you ignore it, it'll keep festering inside of you.
You'll also feel better once you do say it." The lecturing tone
left her voice. "Bobby, honey, it's not that bad. Everyone that
really matters in your life is not going to mind. We'll still love
you. No matter what." The tears started running down my face
again. I'm such a pansy. "Warren became Death and started killing
people and we were there for him. When everyone thought I was the
Dark Phoenix and destroyed a planet everyone fought for my life. Storm
lost all her powers to control the weather and none of us turned our
back on her. That's only some of the hardships we've been through."
I was openly weeping at that point. God, why couldn't I stop. I was
crying like a little girl. Nothing I could do would make the tears
stop flowing. "Yeah," I choked out through the tears, "but
none of those things were something you chose. They were things that
just happened. Those were things beyond your control!"
"Bobby, this isn't something you chose, either. It's just the
way you are. I can't force you to do this. Not like when I made Warren
see that he was responsible for the destruction his wings caused.
He wasn't ready to face it at first, but I made him take responsibility."
Jean laid her hand on my shoulder. "This is different. This is
your whole lifestyle here, Bobby. No one can do this for you. You
have to do it yourself. There's no other way. It's your life. No one
else is going to tell you how to live it. But I can offer you my opinion
on the situation."
My eyes met her through my tears. I knew she really cared about me.
She cares about me more then anyone I have ever known. In that moment
I knew she wouldn't do anything to hurt me. My tears stopped some,
but it was still hard to talk. "What do you think about it?"
I asked. I truly wanted to know. I needed to know. For years I'd been
going over this in my head and nothing new had occurred to me. Jean
would have deeper insight into this.
Jean smiled at me as she started. "Honestly, I think you'd be
a lot happier. In the last few months you've become Robert Drake."
I gave her a weird look when she said that. What the heck was she
talking about? "Oh, you've always been Bobby Drake, the Iceman.
But now you are letting everyone know who you really are. You're growing
up. You're letting your real self out. Ever since I've known you,
you've been a clown and a joker. That's the Bobby everyone knows and
loves. And, granted, that's a part of you. But you've always had low
self-esteem. You've put on a show for everyone, to keep them from
seeing the real you. You've even done it to your girlfriends. You've
never had a relationship that has truly lasted. In fact Opal broke
up with you because you acted immature and didn't think about anyone
else." My heart ached when she said Opal's name. The last thing
in the world I had wanted to do was to hurt her. "But, over the
last few months, you've learned more about yourself. You've seen how
powerful you really are, and how powerful you can be. It only took
the White Queen invading your body for you to understand that."
That was another sore spot in my mind. Emma Frost used my powers more
effectively in the few hours she was in my body then I had in ten
years. I felt used. Almost like I had been raped, body and soul. She
knew everything about me, more then I knew about myself. It was a
turning point in my life. That event made me realize that I'd been
a clown and a slacker for most of my life. A loser who didn't even
know who he was. "While learning more about your powers you've
managed to learn more about yourself. You've become confident in your
abilities. During Zero Tolerance you managed to keep a team of mutants
together and lead them." At this point I smiled. Everything she'd
said was the truth. I'd felt more sure of myself then I ever had.
"Bobby, the only thing left for you is to face this. If you
don't, you are going to stay just how you are now. You're not going
to grow. You'll be bitter and angry. I don't think you'll ever break
down this wall if you don't face it." Jean was right, but I just
wasn't sure if I could do it. I kept my mouth shut and let her talk.
"Like I said before, no one here is going to care. We're all
your friends, Bobby. Actually, we're more then that. Everyone here
is family. We accept each other no matter what. And you know it."
I had to say something. I'd been quiet too long. "You're right,
Jean. It's just that this is about the hardest thing I've ever had
to do. I don't know how to even begin to deal with this. No one I
know has gone through this. In fact, everything I've ever been around
calls this bad. It's as bad, if not worse, in the eyes of the world
as being a mutant." Again I was crying. I just couldn't stop.
My emotions were running high. This time, Jean was even crying. But
I couldn't stop talking. "Now I'm not only a mutant, but I'm
Oh my God, I actually said it. Nothing was going to take it back
now. For the first time in my life, I'd said it out loud. I'd said
it to another person. Why did I say it? How could I have said it?
What am I going to do now?!?
I felt awful and relieved all at once. For the first time in my life,
I felt like I could be myself with someone and not worry about what
they thought. Jean was holding me tight and we cried on each other.
We cried into each other for a long time. Except this time it wasn't
a panicked, scared, or worried cry. It turned into a cry of relief.
It literally felt like a weight had been lifted from me. No one can
understand the feeling until they have it themselves. I know how cliché
it sounds. No earth-shattering event had occurred, but in that moment
my life had changed.
Jean pulled her head back and looked at me. "Bobby, are you
okay?" she asked.
I looked at her and smiled as the tears ran down my face. "Yeah,
Jean. I really do think I am. For the first time, I really do think
I am." A smile spread from ear to ear on my face. This was something
I've known for as long as I could remember. It wasn't something I'd
just woken up that night and decided. Acceptance of it felt good.
I didn't have to hide anymore. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't going
to go out and become a flaming queen or anything. I was just going
to be Robert Drake, the Iceman. I am a mutant who just happens to
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