Disclaimer: Yah yah yah, everyone mentioned here belongs to Marvel. I'm not making any money, so please don't sue me - I don't have anything to get tho.
This story is dedicated to ValKerrie, on the sole basis that I'm sure I bugged the living daylights out of her for information on another Iceman story I'm working on. Thanks a mill, ValKerrie!

by Paul Hamrick

Sure, I could have progressed a lot further with my abilities through the years. I'm sure I could have been what everyone knew I could have, but where 's the fun in that? Think of all the fun, the memories I'd have missed if I had spent every waking moment putting everything I could into my powers. Maybe I didn't want to push myself to the limits? Did anyone ever think of that?

Of course not, I mean - we're at a place where we're supposed to learn our powers to the fullest extent. Maybe I could have learned everything the White Queen did in my body, and more! Maybe I could have learned to turn my entire body to ice far earlier then I did. But did anybody stop to think if that was what I wanted? The team was doing just fine, without me it seems. Scott was the obvious muscle in the power. Jean, she was the emotional back up for the team. Even Hank and Warren were doing better than I was!

I was strictly comic relief. Sure, maybe if I keep telling myself this I can sleep better at night. In the original five, I didn't feel out of place as much as I do now. Scott, Warren, Jean, Hank - those were the good old days. Things didn't seem as complicated then, as they do now. I bet that sounds pretty unbelievable considering some of the adventures the X-Men have been on in the past. Then, everyone else - those who had more control, more flexibility over their mutations - could I have felt any more insignificant? More then likely - though I didn't feel like trying for it at the time.

Hell, even Kurt was more adjusted to his powers and considering how he can be sometimes, that's a pretty big thing. Was it insecurity? Perhaps, or just sheer laziness on my half. We'll never know now, will we? I can see it, on every single one of their faces. As they come to visit me, let me know how things are doing. It's that silent whisper of "I told you so." Echoing through membrane of their existence. The same voice that told me, that if perhaps I had pushed myself harder - just. I don't know, been more like Scott. I wouldn't be in this mess.

I wouldn't have to look at their faces, and see that look - the disappointment shining in their eyes, even Scott's. Although I'd never dare tell anybody this, I looked up to him. He was like a big brother I never had, even in his own anal way - he was always there for you.

Even Hank's, the look he gives me whenever it's time for the checkup. It's almost pity, almost. Could my powers really have saved me? Was it possible? I'll never know now, will I? A single bullet, right through the back - and into the spine stopped the Iceman's life. And another, will end it...


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