Disclaimer: See Prologue
Bobby Drake was enjoying a peaceful afternoon on the shore
of the lake. With the mansion packed full of people it was
the only place he could go to get any peace and quiet.
After the X-Men had rescued the Professor from Cerebro he
had called all of the X-People together for a meeting. Which
meant that the mansion was packed. The normal roster of the
X-Men where there, plus everyone who had taken off. On top
of all of them Sean and Emma had brought the kids up, X-Force
had come in from the West Coast, Cable had dropped in, even
what was left of X-Factor and the people from Muir Island
were there. With all those people around there was not a single
place to get some alone time. Except outside.
There was a reason no one had joined Bobby outside. It was
a whole thirty-eight degrees. With the cold breeze from the
lake it felt like five below. It was the type of weather only
the Iceman would enjoy.
Bobby was out there to think. He had been dealing with issues
in his life lately, and just needed time to himself. Whenever
he needed to think he would always go to the lake. It was
totally peaceful there. Nature calmed him in ways he was just
beginning to understand and accept. And with the weather like
this it was a perfect day.
Bobby liked the lake for another reason though. He could
relieve tension. He could sculpt the water into ice formations.
From the simple to the complex. Whatever his imagination thought
of he could bring to life. The detail on the sculptures was
amazing. It was a part of his life that barely anyone else
On this particular day Bobby was totally engrossed in what
he was doing. In the middle of the lake a huge ice castle
floated. It was as tall as a two-story house with towers and
turrets. Ice banners flew from the castle walls. They were
so fluid looking that they appeared to be moving in the wind.
In one window a princess waved to knights who were riding
their horses out the front gate.
Across the ice field from the castle was a forest. A spectacular
dragon watched the castle from the cover of the woods. Slanted
eyes and scaly flesh could barely be glimpsed through the
trees. The whole piece was done in shades of ice blue. Some
parts were as clear as glass while others were the deepest
darkest blue that ice can get. Taken as a whole it was a masterpiece.
It looked like the artist had put himself completely into
the work. And it wasn't far from the truth.
The dragon doesn't look quite right, Bobby thought
to himself. Its nose is too long. That and the smoke cloud
looks a little off. He stepped into the water and his
body disappeared. To an onlooker it would seem as if he had
melted into the lake. Which is exactly what he had done. A
few seconds later the dragon started to change form. Its nose
became shorter and the smoke cloud flowed beside it, instead
of up in the air. A few seconds later Bobby appeared back
on the shore.
Damn it feels good to use my powers like that! he
thought to himself. I'm doing some cool shit no one would
have ever imagined me doing. Who would have thought I could
become part of the water or ice?
"Oh, Bobby!" a voice exclaimed from behind him. "That is
absolutely breath takin', sugar."
"Thanks, Rogue. I've been working on it for most of the afternoon."
Bobby turned his head and looked her in the eyes. "So what
brings you out here? I didn't figure anyone would be out of
the house today."
Rogue got a motherly look on her face. "Well, darlin', if
you really want to know, I've been lookin' for you. You seemed
like you had a lot on your mind earlier today. Thought you
might like to talk about it."
Bobby laughed. "That obvious, huh?"
Rogue joined in on his chuckle. "No sugar, not really. Only
to those of us who know you pretty well. And after our road
trip a few months back I'd say we know each other pretty darn
good." She pointed her finger at the sculpture. "That, and
you only make those things when somethin's on your mind."
Both of them thought back on the trip they had shared. Bobby
went mostly to keep Rogue company. She had needed to get away
after absorbing Gambit's memories in Israel and he had needed
some time off. So they both packed their bags and hit the
road. As they traveled around they grew closer together. They
had never been good friends before, but during the time away
they grew together. Each confided things in the other that
no one else knew. They shared their pain and started to heal.
"Oh, I've just been thinking about the X-Men, my place in
it. My place in the world," Bobby said. "You know deep stuff,"
he laughed. "Life, the Universe, and Everything!"
Rogue smiled at him. "Well if that's what it takes to get
you to make something like that I say do it more often." Rogue
got a little bit more serious. "Well, darlin', you know if
you need to talk I'm always here for ya."
She walked close and gave Bobby an awkward hug, trying not
to touch his skin. "Thanks Rogue. That means a lot."
"Now enough with this serious stuff!" she said. "I wanna
get a good look at this work of art floatin' in our lake."
With that she floated a few feet off the ground and flew over
to the ice island.
When she got half way to the island a hole in the air open
up over her. Bobby shouted, "Rogue, watch out!" But it was
too late. The hole had expanded and bright white light came
out of it. Rogue was blinded and flew wildly. While she was
struggling to regain her sight something fell out of the hole
and hit her. Both Rogue and the object went right into the
Bobby immediately melted into the water. When he did this
he became part of the lake itself, feeling everything in the
water. The fish, plants, wreckage from planes and the emergency
exit from the mansion's underground complex. It was easy for
him to find Rogue and what felt like another human. Bobby
froze the water around the pair and brought them to the surface.
"Rogue, are you all right?" he asked her in a panic as he
formed a body of ice on the platform.
She was leaning over the edge of the ice coughing up water.
"I'll *cough* be fine in a second, sugar." Rogue looked
at the body lying face down next to her. "What about her?"
Bobby leaned over the girl. "She's breathing. That looks
like the only thing she's got going for her." He turned the
blonde girl over on her back. She was battered, bruised and
beaten. "Oh my god!" he exclaimed. "Rogue get to the house
now! Have Hank prep the med-lab. This looks like it's an emergency!"
"Bobby, sugar, what's wrong?" Rogue asked, perplexed. She
stood up and got a close look at the girl. "Jesus! Bobby,
that's..." Bobby cut her off.
"I know who it is," he yelled at her.
"Bobby, darlin' she literally been through hell if she's
comin' from where I think she is." Rogue said.
Bobby pushed at Rogue. "I know, I remember that night. Now
fly ahead and get things ready. I'll be right behind you!"
With that Rogue took off at high speed and flew towards the
An ice slide started to form, coming out of the lake. Bobby
had secured it to the lake floor and it grew from there underneath
the ice platform pushing it into the air. Bobby and his passenger
moved at a high speed towards the mansion. From the distance
he saw Rogue fly in the front door. Good, he thought.
I'll be there in about two minutes and Hank will be getting
things ready. He turned his head back and looked at the
young blonde girl lying behind him. Oh god, she looks like
shit. But at least she's human. Last I heard of anyone seeing
her this age she was a demon. As he got closer to the
house a few people were pouring out the door to see what the
excitement was all about. Jean and Storm were at the head
of the pack.
Jean telepathically sent to Bobby, ::What's wrong? Rogue
came flying in asking for Hank. All I could get from her was
something about the med-lab.::
Just read it from my mind Jean, we don't have time for
the long version, Bobby thought to her. Jean reached into
his mind and saw the events of the last few minutes.
::My, God!:: She thought to him. ::I just sent
all of it to Hank. He's got things waiting for us downstairs.::
When Bobby landed at the door Jean picked the girl up off
the platform with her telekinetic powers.
Storm took on a commanding pose, "Everyone get out of the
way. Let them into the mansion."
Jubilee chose this inopportune moment to stick her nose in.
She was coming down the stairs, headed for the kitchen to
get some sugar bombs, when she saw the small gathering at
the door. "Hey, what's going on here?" She pushed her way
through the crowd. "Jono, get out of the way," she said as
she shoved him. "Skin, move it or lose it," she grabbed ahold
of a piece of loose skin and popped him with it. "Mall rat,
coming though." As she neared the front she still couldn't
see what was going on. "Hey, Cajun what's all the fuss about?"
Gambit looked at her with his glowing red eyes. "Don't rightly
know petite," he told her. "Now calm down and we'll see."
About the time Jubilee got situated, Bobby pushed her out
of the way. "Move it squirt, this is an emergency." Jean quickly
followed behind him with the girl. Everyone moved aside to
let them into the mansion. The crowd watched as they disappeared
Continued in Chapter
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