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Copyright: This work of FanFiction and the original characters described within are the intellectual property of K-NICE and her IRL persona. No copying, distributing or editing of this material is permitted without the express permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright law.

Cold Front
by K-Nice

It was one of those rare picture-perfect afternoons that found its way into university brochures. Yet here on the grounds of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the students were not being posed for photo-ops. They were enjoying another rarity: free time.

Jean Grey lay on a beach towel, trying to tan on the shore of Breakstone Lake. Her bikini straps were off her shoulders and she lay on her stomach, reading a paperback book. She also had a great view. However, she had to keep a TK shield up to protect herself from the monstrous splashing of Hank McCoy, who thought it was appropriate to hurl his 300 lbs at the water from the tops of nearby trees. Even now, he bounded out of the water in his blue swim trunks and began to scale another tree.

"Hank, you're a football player, not a diver," Jean teased, doubting it would make him let up.

"Indeed, Jeannie, but I am an athlete par excellence and I shall master my swan dive before the day is through." He prepared to execute another belly-buster.

Yet even with his super human agility and those oversized hands and feet, he still could not get any higher than Xavier's resident fly-boy, Warren Worthington, III. Warren wore his swim trunks, though his were probably RL Polo rather than JC Penney. He had earlier waded into the water a bit but was more comfortable among the clouds. He swooped through the air on the wings of an angel, hoping to distract Jean from her perusal of a Stephen King novel.

His efforts were wasted, since she had already diverted her attention to Scott Summers, who was painting the boathouse. The sun's heat had caused him to take his shirt off, and Jean found his naked chest far more interesting than IT. His cutoff jeans were already covered in paint, which also flecked his shoulders and face. Scott tried to ignore the fact that he was being watched (and stared at like a slab of meat in the desert) by one of his classmates (the hottest girl in the history of humanity). He instead focused on his chore, re-staining the boathouse's weathered wood. If he stretched a little there and flexed a little here, it was of no consequence.

It was a beautiful, peaceful day. No Sentinels, no Magneto, no Brood, no nothing. Just a chance to relax like the nearly normal teenagers they were.

Bobby Drake sat under a tree, trying to stay in the shade. The sun still seemed to beat down on him. He wore a white tank t-shirt and a pair of khaki shorts. His shoes and socks were off in the grass somewhere, wherever he had kicked them off when they had grown unbearable on his feet. It was at least 85 in the shade, and Bobby could feel the sweat dripping off him. While his friends basked in warmth, he roasted. There was Jean, mostly bare, sun-worshiping. He wanted to go talk to her, but he couldn't stand to be so hot. He felt sticky and dirty. Bobby didn't like this kind of weather. He preferred the clean, clear cold and would do anything to get it. He wished he could have stayed inside, but the Professor had insisted they go out and enjoy the day. He didn't want to seem like any more of a freak than he already was, but he just couldn't take it anymore.

Jean shivered suddenly as the sun skirted behind some clouds. Hank, too, noticed the change, saying jovially, "You best make the most of it now, Jeannie. It seems a cold front is coming in." He was looking at the cloud mass that was gathering on the western horizon.

As the clouds drew closer, the group became more subdued. Warren worried about static electricity and began to fly in lower and lower arcs until he was just clearing the tops of the trees. Hank moved to where Jean lay and began to read her novel as she watched Scott dutifully apply himself to getting the boathouse finished before the rain came. He was no longer flirting, just working with swift strokes, warily eyeing the darkening sky.

As the first drops fell, they began to gather their things and move inside. Jean erected a TK umbrella and they all ran, laughing, for the house has the downpour began. It looked to be a typical summer shower in New York, the kind that came out of nowhere and left just as quickly. They settled in the kitchen to wait it out, vowing to play a game of volleyball as soon as it was clear again.

Bobby came out from under the leaves as the rain began to come down. His clothes were promptly drenched as the drizzle became true rain. He tilted his head back and let the cool water run over his face. He slowly began to cool off. Yet he could still remember that feeling of heat, that memory of sweat and stink.

He lay in the grass as the rain began to pound. The grass itself was warm and stuck through his clothes, scratching his skin uncomfortably. The driving storm was cold, but Bobby reached out and made it colder. Soon, the summer shower became winter sleet. Bobby started to feel better. He was nice and cold. Well, almost. His skin was cold, but he could still feel heat radiating from within him. He didn't like that idea, hot and sticky emanating from himself. He much preferred cold and dry.

Bobby reached out with whatever it was that made him a mutant, and it started to snow. It seemed like he touched every drop of rain and made it colder, like him. Much colder, as cold as it could possibly be.

At first the snow was centered around him, but as Bobby grew more accustomed to the process, the swirl of snow filled the whole yard. Bobby spun around in a circle. All around him was white, white, white.

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" he sung out at the top of his lungs. This was his element. This was his world. Not the shiny, happy people sunshine hot that everyone seemed to relish. Even his friends, who were supposed to be freaks like him, preferred the sun to the cloud, the oppressive heat to the freedom of cold.

Beautiful as it all was, it still wasn't enough. Bobby could still see and feel the snowflakes melting where they touched his skin. He wanted more. He wanted to be cold everywhere. Deep down inside he wanted to feel that clean, that pure, that frozen, like an icicle. He had covered himself with snow before but he wondered what it would take to be snow. Was it possible? He was afraid. It was a nice idea but didn't people die from being too cold? Mutant or not, Bobby was sure he could not survive what it would take to become as cold as ice. Yet the thought played in his mind as he played in the snow. Finally, he came to a decision.

Bobby lay down again, this time in the arms of a snow angel. Everything seemed to stop as he pulled at his power and prodded his body. He lay there for an eternity. Still. Quiet.

"I wonder what happened to Bobby?" Scott said thoughtfully as he rolled the dice.

"Doubles, you roll again," was all Warren answered. True, it wasn't like Bobby to miss a Monopoly game, but lately Warren had noticed that Bobby spent a little more time by himself. Bobby was younger than the rest of them, but it usually didn't make a difference. Lately, though, he had been withdrawing a little bit from the group. Warren knew it was hard being 16. He had been that age only a few years before. But it didn't seem to be anything worth brooding over.

"Yeah, I can't really sense him anymore." Jean had adopted Scott's pensive frown as she accepted payment for Reading Railroad.

"Never fear, my good friends, Sir Robert of Drake is surely around here somewhere." Hank moved to the window and looked out for the first time. "Oh ... my ... stars ... and ... garters!"

"What!!!" the other three exclaimed in unison. They had never heard Hank use that particular turn of phrase before.

"Come see for yourselves." Hank moved from the window and grabbed a coat as he headed out the door.

"Snow! In July! Are you kidding me!!"

Jean looked out quickly and then followed Hank out the door. The others were close behind her.

Hank lead the way as they marched through the snow to dock by Breakstone Lake.

The lake itself was frozen solid. In its center, ice flowed up into the sky. At the top it blossomed like a flower on a 20 foot stalk. In what would have been the petals stood Bobby Drake.

He stood there, a brand new being. A man made of organic ice. Bobby came down to the dock on an ice slide, rapidly replacing the ice at his feet so that it propelled him forward and downward. He stopped right in front of them.

He was cold as ice. Not hot, not warm, not even cool, but deliciously cold. Arctic, tundra, frozen, ice -- that is what he felt like.

He smiled as they shivered. It was a wonderful day. A cold front had come in.

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