Ice Breaker

Summary:
June 25 2014: An old 'student' of Xavier's reacquaints himself with the school and meets some of it's current occupants.

Xavier's Institute

Monolithic, mysterious, yes it's that Xavier's. The one and only


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*None]


Xavier's… Bobby hasn't been here in… mmm, been almost three years to the day, now. Not since everything went horribly wrong on his first summer home from UCLA and he wound up with a two day stint in protective custody and an eight week stay here learning to control his 'power.' Curse was more like it, or at least that's how he felt at the time. That's probably a big part of the reason why he went back to UCLA rather than remain here. Bobby's had time since then to reflect on things a bit more and come to terms with the how's and why's. Well, some, anyway.

He never forgot, though, the people who were there for him on the worst day of his life. So when he'd gotten back to New York, one of his first thoughts was to look the place up. See if he could help and… hell, it's a school right? Maybe continue his education here? He hadn't done that right away, took some time to get a job, even if a temporary one, and a place to crash even if that ended up also being temporary. But now, here he is, looking at the doors and… well he supposes he should stop reminiscing and knock, shouldn't he? So he does.

*

The music room in the dorms is being used by someone else. The only place where it won't disturb others to practice, at least, that's open, is in the main building, in the entry hall where the acoustics are good. So, there's a guitar playing and someone is singing along with it in a pleasant low tenor, So you think you're a Romeo, playing a part in a picture-show. Well take the long way home. Take the long way home.

And someone is knocking at the door. So. Jacky stops singing and playing and gets to his feet, and opens the door. Probably breaking ALL the rules about scanning the potential threat.

*

"Well, no, we don't really have a previous rental history," Amara says into a cell phone as she comes toward the front entry, grimacing to herself. "All of our tuition and room and board bills at the university have been paid regularly. Yes, I know the financial history doesn't go back very far. Well, we're both immigrants, really, and-"

She pauses, pulling the phone away from her ear and giving it an indignant look. "They hung up on me." Huffing, she looks back to the door, quirking a brow as Jackie goes to answer it.

*

No one gets through the gate and up to the grounds without being seen and identified. "Robert Drake. Welcome back." Cal walks over and offers a hand. Almost certainly, he wasn't standing there before. And was that a flash of pink light just a moment ago? "Call me Cal. The Professor is sorry he can't meet you personally but he's busy with a student having some issues. Please, come in. Are you here on business or pleasure?"

*

Bobby blinks as the door is opened. He's about to say hi to Jackie when suddenly there's a Cal. Has he ever met Cal before… … … no.

"Uh, hi there Cal. Bit of both actually." Bobby steps in and nods with a smile to Jackie and then to Amara as she comes into view. He doesn't recognize either but that's not unexpected.

"I'm in town after my graduation and wanted to look the place up. The school… you know, helped me out of a bad spot. I wanted to visit and say thanks… and maybe see if I could help out and scope out what kind of grad programs you guys ran, if any."

*

A wild Cal appears! It uses Handshake! It's super-effective! Jacky shakes his head to lose that image, and goes back to where he was sitting to continue playing. He doesn't sing the lyrics, though; that would be kind of intrusive and weird.

"Hey, Amara. Still having trouble? We could go there in person, I could talk to them," he offers, although that's probably breaking a lot of rules.

Grad programs? Jacky stumbles on one chord and winces. Plays the line over again right this time.

*

Amara sighs at Jacky's question, putting her phone in her pocket. "Most of the apartments in New York are not interested in references from Nova Roma or Limbo," she admits.

"It complicates matters. And neither Illyana nor I need to be spending that much time in her…realm." She and the other girl may be friends, but that doesn't mean Amara feels at home in Limbo. A smile flashes as she catches sight of Bobby, raising a hand to wave.

*

Cal shuts the door behind Bobby then gives the other two a smile. "Jackie. Amara. The school would be willing to cosign the lease." Technically, an officer of the corporation that the school is formed under but the point is there. "We only offer some associates degrees." he tells Bobby. "We don't have the staff to be a real four of eight year university. But if you want to work toward a minor, you could certainly sign up for some classes. As for the rest… You'll want to talk to the Professor."

*

Bobby waves to Amara and Jackie, still chatting with Cal. "I was really thinking more along the lines of Masters coursework but I can think of some minors that might be handy. I know coming in unannounced like this probably wasn't the world's best move, maybe I should make an appointment?"

His only experience with the Professor had been three years ago and back then it hadn't been so much a question of appointments as just a couple of meetings to introduce him to where he was and why, or check on his progress. He's seen the man all of three times in eight weeks. Most of his 'learning' was handled by other instructors.

*

"Which I'd be happy to do, by the way." His glance cuts over to Jackie and Amara. "Living situation trouble?" I guess not everyone really wants to live at the school even though he's aware they do indeed have dorms.

*

"Me? No, I'm just fine in the dorms here," the sparkly kid says. "It's the grown-up-and-mostly-gone guys who need to live off-campus."

Jacky switches to the melody line from "Tub Thumping" instead of the more complicated Supertramp song. Easier to chat without losing track.

*

Amara waves a hand at Calvin's offer. "In truth, if we cannot work it out ourselves, then I think perhaps it is best if we don't do it. The whole point of the exercise is to experiment in independence, after all. My roommate and I just graduated from NYU," she explains at Bobby's question. "So we're trying to decide exactly what comes next. Though I am beginning to expect that will be different for each of us. I think I'm going to visit home," she adds to Calvin. "Speak to them about making some connections here in the rest of the world."

*

"No appointment needed." Cal assures Bobby. "It's summer and a good number of the students are gone till August. In fact, we have plenty of room if you'd like to stay for a while and get re-accustomed with the place."

He nods at what Amara says but adds "Still, the offer stands and you'd still be responsible for everything. A cosigner just makes the landlord a bit more willing to trust you. Incidentally, I sent that message to Diana."

*

Bobby grimaces a bit at the notion of visiting home. No thank you. "I've got an apartment but I'm not sure how permanent an arrangement that's going to be. So sure, I wouldn't mind looking around a bit."

He offers a hand in turn to Jacky and Amara. "I'm Bobby by the way, in case you didn't catch it. So you're both students here then?" And then back to Cal. "And I'm guessing you're faculty? I don't remember you but I wasn't here that long and I only saw a few people."

The young man's gaze keeps darting about the room as he takes the place in. Funny how it's changed and not changed at the same time. Slightly different decor… still the same feeling and atmosphere as the first time he was here.

*

"Jacky Winters," says the young man with the diamond-flecked skin. "Student, and school parasite, since I was a foster kid when they found me. But they haven't noticed I turned 18, and kicked me out, yet."

Jacky actually has a job and a place at the school and even classes. He's just got a flexible relationship with the specific details of things. Stories can be much more interesting, after all.

*

"Amara," the young woman introduces herself with a polite inclination of her head. "I am a graduate, actually. Though I have been considering returning myself."

At Cal's words, she summons up a small smile, though it's a little bit nervous as well. "Thank you, Cal. I appreciate that. Even if I still find it strange that you might on a first name basis with her."

*

"I only got here about two years ago." Cal answers with a smile. For certain definitions of 'here'. Amara though gets a shake of his head. "I'm not. But I didn't want to share your information if you didn't want it shared."

*

Bobby doesn't quite catch the subtext of who 'Diana' is. Lots of Diana's in the world. Sure he's heard of the Themyscrian Ambassador as has everyone else who has not been living under a rock for the last few years, but it doesn't occur to him that they might be talking about that Diana.

"Oh, well that would be why I'd not seen you before, Cal. Still, if you wouldn't mind me looking around and talking to people. Would I need an escort? I think I remember the areas to stay out of."

*

Turning to Amara he gives a polite half bow himself. "Nice to meet'cha Amara. Just graduated recently you said? What'd you study? Was it perhaps music like our younger friend her should consider? You're not bad with that, by the way, Jacky. Maybe we could jam sometimes. I do a bit of six and twelve string myself."

*

"Sounds good," Jacky says, pretending not to hear the suggestion that he study music. Nancy is already on his case about insufficient practice. Which means it's time to change to a different song, too, since he's finished with Tub Thumping. Hmm. He begins the recognizable strains of "Animal" by Miike Snow. The lyrics are especially relevant here, although he doesn't sing them out loud.

«I change shapes just to hide in this place but I'm still, I'm still, an animal.»

*

"Political science," Amara answers Bobby with a small smile. "And my roommate, Illyana, went with religious studies. She's decided to continue into graduate school, but I'm working on deciding what comes next. Cal's been very helpful, actually. One of the benefits of being alumni here. We're all family." As Jacky changes tunes, she looks over again, tilting her head slightly as she tries to recognize the tune.

*

"Go ahead." Cal tells Bobby. "Anywhere you're not supposed to be, you shouldn't be able to get into so don't worry about it." Not accidentally anyway. "But if you'd like company, I'm sure Jacky and Amara wouldn't mind escorting you and answering any questions you might have. Though things haven't changed significantly since you've been here."

*

<No one knows it but me when I slip, yeah I slip, I'm still an animal>

Bobby hums and smiles, nodding his head. Clearly he knows the song. "I don't mind the company at all, but I don't wanna take you guys away from what you're doin'. Sounded important, after all."

He nods at Cal. Oh yeah, the security here was pretty tight. Which made sense. If one is going to have frightened young people with the ability to, say, accidentally encase someone's head in six inches of ice, you'd want some pretty good security.

"If you guys want to come though that'd be… um, cool." Ice pun not intended…

*

"I'm good to do escort duty. I can practice later," Jacky says. He puts the guitar into a worn black case, and doesn't notice any puns at all. Yet.

"So, you know the standard question everyone's not supposed to ask? I can do this," Jacky turns full-diamond, and vanishes from the telepathic grid.

*

"Until I decide what I'm doing with the rest of my life, I have no prior commitments," Amara assures with a polite smile, which only spreads when Jackie does his demonstration. "When were you here again, Bobby?" she asks curiously, falling in with the others.

*

"Everyone can ask." Cal corrects. "Everyone also has to take no as an answer if it's given." Unless, of course, they can read someone's file. "I'll leave you to it then since I have a few things to take care of. A pleasure to meet you, Bobby." And with that, he BLINKs out.

*

A moment after Jacky turns diamond-y he gets a snowball to the chest. A snowball that Bobby apparently conjured from nowhere.

"Neat. I can do that." He grins, nodding to Cal as he blinks out. "That's a useful trick to be sure."

He turns and starts to walk. "Oh, well like, I guess a lot of folks, I had a really… traumatic introduction to my abilities. The whole mutant-human thing was really tense in my home town, it was always just under the surface. So when it happened, the townsfolk formed an actual lynch mob and tried to kill me. Thank God for the sheriff. He broke it up and took me into protective custody. I got released two days later and a rep from the school met me at the front door to the station. That's how I wound up here for eight weeks learning how to control it enough to go back into the world."

*

"Huh. Don't even have to save them in the fridge," Jacky says, collecting the snowball off his chest. As they pass a drinking fountain, he puts it where it can melt on the grate.

"That's pretty severe, man. What kept you from staying here longer, if you don't mind saying?"

*

Amara follows the others quietly, hands in her pockets, without offering an explanation of her abilities or their origins. "Only eight weeks here?" she asks, arching a brow curiously. "Was there something pressing for you to move on to?" she adds to Jacky's question.

*

"Well, yeah and no." Bobby runs his hand through his tousled brown hair. "The whole thing really, really sucked and at the time I just wanted to make sure it never happened again and then get the hell away from even having to think about being a mutant. I mean I was nineteen. Yeah it was only three years ago but even by my relatively low standards I've had a little time to grow up. Also, I'd just done my first year and UCLA. I had scholarships and such and I wanted to at least complete my degree so I didn't end up stuck back in my home town. Or somewhere equally backwards."

Bobby takes a turn, headed toward the common areas.

*

Jacky follows along. The dorms are across from the "rec room" in the main building, and they may look bigger than when Bobby was here last.

"The dorms were repaired and are more awesome now, apparently. I came here when I was sixteen, but as I may have said, I was a foster kid, so really, it was an improvement."

He grabs an apple from a dish and reverts to flesh and blood. This place has fresh fruit, so awesome.

*

Amara's lips twitch toward a faint smile when Bobby describes his hometown as backwards. Nova Roma is, after all, the very definition of backwards. "I was sixteen as well," she volunteers. "The school has grown a good deal since then. My classmates and I were very close. If it was three years ago…" She tilts her head, considering. "Perhaps we were on a trip while you were here."

*

He's sort of absently tossing a snowball back and forth between his hands as they walk through the rec room and then on toward the outdoors areas, just so he can have a look around.

"They kept me sort of hidden away back… um, that way I think." He says pointing. "Because I'd already nearly killed someone on accident. And it was the middle of summer. Place was pretty empty when I got here and even more so when I left."

He's still humming that song that Jacky was playing earlier, bobbing his head.

*

"I didn't kill anyone. I just made my foster parents spend more money on us than they wanted to. The Professor kind of demonstrated to me why you're not supposed to take away people's free will without really, really good reasons," Jacky says. "And then he gave me back the use of my body. So."

Not very creepy, no, every telepath with compulsive power eventually gets this particular lesson.

"So the dorms. Women on the south, men on the north wing. I took 118 because it has a good view of the pool."

*

"Violations of will are extremely serious," Amara agrees, and there might be something of a warning in the look she gives Jackie. Then again, she's been on the receiving end of that sort of thing more than she'd care to admit. "You certainly weren't the first to get involved with dangerous powers," she adds with a small smile for Bobby. "I had some…difficulty adjusting, myself."

*

Bobby chuckles. "Well since the cops aren't hunting for you, Jacky, I'd guess you probably learned your lesson pretty well? And I mean really… sounds like a lot of people have a rough first time out with their mutant nature."

He glances back over his shoulder at Amara and smiles. "If, um, you don't mind my asking…"

*

"Yeah. The trick is never to compel anyone to do something they really don't want to do at some level," Jacky says, 200 watt smile aimed at Amara.

When Bobby asks the School Question, he just watches.

*

The look Amara gives Jacky is not the sort of look anyone should want to receive. But they have a guest, so he's safe. For now.

"That depends on what you are asking," she answers Bobby, a faint smile touching one corner of her lips. "I was sixteen, and my many times removed grandmother attempted to throw me into a volcano in order to harvest my life energy to fuel her own unnatural lifespan," she says, as though it were the most ordinary thing in the world. "As it turns out, I have geothermal powers that allow me to control earth and lava, so it didn't quite go as planned."

*

She kind of had Bobby at 'attempted to throw me in a volcano.' It takes him a moment for the rest of it to catch up. "I… oh wow. That sucks. Sorry… though I guess that's a good power to have if that's gonna happen… Weren't you talking about going home recently though? Did… stuff work out? I know I'd probably think twice about thanksgiving dinner if my mom had done that to me."

Hell, he hasn't been back home himself since the incident and has no desire to go. After a moment he picks up on that look and follows the gaze from Amara to Jacky and back with a curious expression. But no, he doesn't ask.

*

"… and that's one more reason to be glad not to have family," Jacky mutters to himself. "Soul-eating great-grandma."

He looks back at Bobby and shrugs. Jacky really doesn't use his powers on people outside the Danger Room and missions, at least, not the "push" part of them, but apparently Amara has met a few more insistent ones.

*

"She is no longer there," Amara answers simply. "My father is First Senator of Nova Roma," she explains more fully. "And I have been thinking that I could use my education and my skills to help our country come to terms with the world outside of our valley. But, I'm sure you can see why this has become its own sort of home to me."

*

Bobby nods. Short explanations are often the best for this kind of thing. "Yeah, I can understand that. And also maybe why you're having a little trouble figuring out what comes next, perhaps? Well, look, if you ever need something to occupy your time while you decide what it is you wanna do, I'll bet that the folks I work for would love to pick your brain about geothermal dynamics."

He chuckles. "I can have you brought into consult, if you're ever that bored. Not the most interesting thing in the world, I know."

*

The 'soul eating great-grandma' comment doesn't pass unnoticed but… really, what's a twenty two year old American guy from UCLA got to say about that? Noooooot a whole lot, really. It is getting a bit colder… well, right next to Bobby. He still slips a bit when he's thinking about stuff.

*

"With you on that one," Jacky says. "This is the first place I've been that was really Home since my parents died."

Bobby's remark about geothermal dynamics, though, has him interested. The guy can apparently create ice, or cold, and working for someone who would find Amara's power interesting? Clearly there's an angle there, even if Ice-Bob doesn't know it.

"How much do they pay for consult and would she get rights to inventions based on new information she gives them?" he asks.

*

Amara arches a brow at Jacky's question, but looks back to Bobby as well. "It would depend on what they wanted to know, in truth. I don't necessarily know things about what I do. I just control them. Carefully."

*

Bobby chuckles and crosses his arms, addressing both Jacky and Amara. "Uh, the usual pay for in field experts is I think $250 an hour or something like that. Decent-ish money short term. And the legal boilerplate varies but if you know to ask the right questions and they want what you can do for them badly enough I'll bet they'd agree to that. To be honest Amara, controlling is probably even better. Y'know how hard it is to get magma to do certain things? There's plenty you could help them out with, I'm sure, and it'd make some tests a helluva lot more safe. Anyway, just a thought. If you're interested though I can put you in contact with someone at the facility… oh, and also a friend of mine from UCLA who went to law school. I trust her enough to help me with contracts and stuff, I'm sure she wouldn't let you get screwed."

*

Jacky listens as Bobby spins a tale of loot, but then kills it with mention of a law school grad. His brief dream of being a high-priced middleman shattered, alas. OH well. It's not like he intended to actually charge a fee or anything. Besides who lets an 18 year old who looks like a boy-band-gone-horribly-right handle contract negotiations for them?

"Does this company know about your powers?" he asks. Because, companies hiring mutants? Might be a good thing?

*

Would the results be reliable, given that I would be controlling what was happening?" Amara muses, tilting her head as she considers. Despite her assurance that she isn't familiar with non-political science, she certainly seems to be able to work through the ideas quickly enough. "Either way, it is certainly something to consider."

*

"For some tests no, I'm sure, but for others simply being able to regulate the presence and amount of lava to, say, stress a system or see if a bypass will work, or heck, if a new composite can take the heat in a worst case scenario, that's valuable data and that's just off the top of my head."

Bobby turns and starts to move again, pushing the door open into the outdoor recreation/pool area. He'd never spent any time here during his previous short stay. There was always some concern that he'd accidentally turn the (very large) swimming pool into a solid block of glacially cold ice. And at the time… there may have been something to that. In any case he's curious now.

"To answer your question, Jacky, yes, it's on record. That and my physics degree are what landed me the job working with superconductors. Most of those have to be pretty cold so I'm helpful in some situations as you might imagine, along with, you know, actually being able to do science." He glances back. "Invicta Energy isn't the only company that hires mutants either, by the by."

He pauses now to look around. Having never been down here he's less familiar with the layout of this area, well, beyond what he could see from his window three years ago at any rate.

*

"The stables to the left, the dorms directly ahead. They have a freaking HUGE video game room, a kitchen, and bamfs. Do not tease the bamfs."

Jacky does not explain what a bamf is, though there is an acronym that might work for them. It's difficult to apply to such cute little monsters but it applies.

*

Nancy O'Neal's daily routine has come to an end. All her practicing of music and powers and the daily workout and martial arts practice have finally all been completed and Nancy has a whole hour of free time before she goes to sleep to do it all again in the morning. And so, here she comes, running out the door that leads to the pool, barefooted and bikinied. She tosses her towel to the ground and then cannonballs into the pool with a loud "BONZAI!!!"

*

"Perhaps," Amara agrees in regards to companies hiring mutants. "Though I would be cautious of the reasoning for most. Do science," she echoes with a brief, low laugh. "I suppose that is one way to put it." As Nancy dives into the pool, she raises a hand to wave to the other girl.

*

"Probably wise, yes, Amara. So what the hell is a ba-Yikes!" He hadn't seen the girl out, which is a shame cause he certainly notices her after. Caught in the splash zone, but thankfully not quite in the 'deadzone' not that he would know what that is just yet, he flinches away from the water, reflexively putting up a half dome of ice to shield him and his companions. And then he realizes what exactly had startled him.

"Ooops." He gives Jacky and Amara a sheepish smile and peers around the ice-shield to wave at the newcomer.

"Hey there."

*

"Note to self, do NOT try the lukewarm water in his sleep trick with this one," Jacky says. He puts his guitar down by the door before getting closer to the pool. As soon as he's far enough away there's a *BAMF* *BAMF* and the guitar is gone.

"I don't have any more whiskey," Jacky says loudly. "You cleaned me out already. Bring back the guitar please."

He looks over to Bobby. "I had an airline bottle hidden in my guitar case."

*

Nancy O'Neal emerges from under the water, tilting her head so her hair is swept back. She starts to tread water and waves to Amara. "Heya hot stuff," she says to the other woman, winking lasciviously at her. Her brow arches at the wall of ice. "Well, aren't you the cool one? Cute too."

She chuckles and waves to Jacky. "Yeah, they've been stealing my lollies too, the little buggers." She starts to float on her back, her arms making figure eights languidly in the water. "So, who's the new guy?"

*

Amara's brows rise as the ice shield pops up, and she walks slowly around it, reaching out to tap a finger to it. "Very impressive," she approves after a moment. "Especially on reflex. Even more so if you haven't had much instruction since you were here for part of a summer three years ago. Nancy, this is Bobby," she introduces from the other side of the shield. "Bobby, this is Nancy, one of our newer arrivals."

*

Bobby's attention is momentarily distracted by the twin -bamfs- but he's not quite fast enough to see what caused them. "Whiskey, huh? Good thing I don't really drink except for the occasional beer."

He doesn't comment about Jacky's apparent underage drinking. He was eighteen not that long ago. He knows how it is. The guy clearly isn't hurting anyone by it. His attention returns to the pool though when Amara introduces Nancy and he waves, crossing his arms with a grin and watching her swim.

"Nice to meet'cha Nancy. You a student here too I'm guessing?"

*

Jacky waits for perhaps thirty seconds, before he looks up at the eaves. "«Come here, I won't hurt you, you know I'm your friend,»" he says. *BAMF* a sort of anti-cherub appears on his shoulder, scolding, "bamf!"…

"Look, I told you guys, I can't get any more. You got the last of my stash the night I moved in. I'll share if I get more. Please stop stealing my guitar."

The bamf gives him a dubious look, and *BAMF* is gone in a cloud of stink that leaves Jacky coughing.

"That's a bamf," he says when he recovers.

*

Nancy O'Neal watches the trio as she floats in the water. She looks Bobby over, not being shy about it. Nope, not Nancy. Just being her bold and brash self. "Hello there, Bobby. And yeah, I guess. More like a guest here for sanctuary really, though I am using this as a chance to learn more."

She glares at the demonic imp on Jacky's shoulder and shakes her head. "They haven't figured out yet that my candy making boils off the alcohol. And they have just taken to stealing any lolly they can get their hands on, not just the whiskey ones."

*

Amara laughs softly as the bamfs make their appearance, shaking her head. "Well, if you all will excuse me, I should get back to making some preparations," she says, stepping back with a polite dip of her chin. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Bobby. And I'm sure I see you around, Nancy, Jacky."

*

Nancy O'Neal says, “See you later, gorgeous!”

*

Bobby waves goodbye to Amara. "Nice to meet you as well Amara. See you 'round."

The Bamf… Bobby has never seen anything even remotely like that, but Jacky isn't freaking out so it doesn't appear to be dangerous… just mischievous.

"I never have any of the stuff." He tells it. "Sorry." The eyes cut over to Jacky with a 'what the actual f—-" look before he shakes his head and half turns, angling so he can see Jacky, the Bamf and Nancy at the same time.

"Lolly's? You make candy?" Whisky flavored candy would probably be good. "You should try rum. Or… actually, if they're stealing the stuff, make a few batches that just taste awful. Flavor 'em with… I dunno, alumn powder or something."

*

"They're smart, though. They'd just take revenge," Jacky says. He goes over to the pool and shucks off his shirt, soaking it in pool water that he wrings out away from the pool - no use making the pool filter have to strain the sulpur. He'll let it dry on the rack in his room later.

"So, Bobby was asking me if I wanted to practice. He also plays six and twelves."

*

Nancy O'Neal waggles her fingers to Amara as she leaves, but then goes back to watching the men and the bamfs. "I use whatever alcohol I can get my hands on, which isn't a lot since I'm not able to buy it legally. And I would, but they just overheard your idea. They'll find a work around, I'm sure."

She swims over to the side of the pool and props herself up on the side near Jacky. "So, should we tell him? Or let him find out for himself?"

*

"Find out what?" Bobby comes on over to the pool as well. It's New York, in the summer and thus still hot despite the hour. He's not exactly in pool wear, but off come the shirt, shoes and socks and puts them on a pool-chair. Then he slides on in where he is - far enough away from Nan that he'd have to get closer for the surprise to be spoiled - because why the hell not? Someone else might be bothered by the potential chill when he gets out, but you gotta figure that if the guy can manipulate ice and water… the cold probably doesn't bother him anyway."

*

"Nancy's power is always on," Jacky says. He lets her decide how or if she wants to reveal it. Because he wouldn't DREAM of ruining her fun.

Nancy O'Neal smiles up at Jacky as he doesn't give away her secret, giving him a wink. She is about to push off the wall and swim towards Bobby when the cold of the water hits her first. "Hells bells! You can't turn it off either? Yer gonna turn this pool into an ice cube." She swims over to Bobby with a smile.

"How about I help you out with that?"

*

The moment he enters her null field he can feel the innate connection to ice and temperature just shut off. He looks at Nancy with wide eyes for just a moment and then his expression resolves into a very wide grin. "Now that is just neat. I'd say cool but, people hurt me if I make too many ice puns. So that's always on?"

He gives her a wide grin and a wink and swims a little closer. The waves of cold water have stopped. "So you just null out everyone who gets close enough? Pretty freakin' nifty." He doesn't particularly have a musing look to him like he thinking about ways to use it, he just looks pretty darn impressed.

*

"Yeah, it's pretty awesome," Jacky says. There's a faint (*bamf*) and the guitar case with guitar is back by the door, most of the snaps closed again.

"Thanks, guys," Jacky calls out. He looks back to Nancy and Bobby.

"Honestly, I wonder if that stuff's good for them … they don't get mean or anything. And sugar can do the same kind of things, I've heard. Sugar highs in smaller bodies?"

*

Well, Nancy is certainly amused by the smirk on her face. "I don't mind bad puns. I make plenty of them myself." She turns around and smiles over at Jacky, beckoning him over. "Don't I Besty?" She swims away enough to be able to stand on her tip toes.

"Yeah. It never turns off. I'm working on making my field a little smaller, like the size it is when I'm sleeping, but I need to concentrate too hard still. Gimme time." She watches as the Bamfs return and shakes her head.

"Are you kidding me? I am not just going to let those little buggers have my candy. Sides, if they like sugar so much, they could just eat the other sweet stuff around here. Wait… never mind. I just remembered the cupcake carnage of last week"

*

Bobby has no idea what to make of those things. He just saw his first one five minutes ago, so he just treads water where he is. "Eh, time is something everyone needs. Took me a solid eight weeks to get a handle on mine and I still can't shut everything off… and as you saw can be startled into icing things. But then I didn't stick around for the full course." Cupcake carnage?

"I hope you mean they just got into a box of ho-hos or something and not that they went around chucking cupcakes at everyone." Though… heh, that'd be funny.

*

"Rule of thumb: whenever making cupcakes, fudge, brownies, or candy, Always Make an Extra Pan for the bamfs," Jacky says, letting his feet dangle in the water. His cargos roll up to the knees, but he's not going to take them off for swimming, because what he may or may not be wearing underneath is not really suitable swimwear. Heck even speedos aren't necessarily suitable.

*

Swimming over to Jacky, Nancy tugs at foot to urge him into the water. She is busily trying to forget what waits outside of the walls of Xaviers for her and help is always welcome. "They had a food fight in the kitchen with their big sister and dad-ish. I was one of the fallen in that combat." She pushes off the wall, not able to sit still for very long. Lots of energy from her own high sugar diet, though her telltale lollipop is conspicuously missing tonight.

*

Now that does draw a laugh from Bobby who swims along the wall a bit. "Gotcha. Sister mmm? And… Dad? I'll uh, keep an eye out I guess, since I may be around for a bit." What do the sister and dad of those things look like anyway? Guess he'll probably find out at one point or another.

*

"Sorry, can't swim — commando. Besides, I have to finish my guitar practice or my coach will beat me with her cello," Jacky says to Nancy. "The cement-lined clobbering cello, that is."

He stands up. He'll explain Talia and Kurt later, if Bobby is here and hasn't learned who they are. Meanwhile, though, he's got to practice, or he'll be too groggy in the morning when it's time to go in to work. And the sick kitties will all look at him with their big eyes for being late with the foods.

*

Nancy O'Neal sighs softly but understands the need to practice. "Go on. But you still owe me a duet."

She waves to Jacky as he leaves and then turns to face Bobby, swimming closer. "So, just you and me. Or are you gonna run away too?"

*

"Nah." Bobby says, turning after Jacky is gone to face her. "Nice in here and I can't complain about the company either. And I don't have to be at work tomorrow morning either so no reason for me to hurry off just yet."

*

Nancy O'Neal smiles, treading water when she gets to the deep end again. She just never stops moving. "So, your name is Bobby and you got the power of ice at yer fingertips. That's pretty cool. I'll remember that the next time I need ice for my drinks."

*

He's swimming in a sort lazy oval around the deeper end of the pool between one wall and the other. "Bobby Drake, yep and it's funny you should mention that cause I do a few tricks with stuff like that." He shakes his head with a grin as he remembers and then glances over to her. "Sort of thing you might learn to make friends at a party."

There really isn't any 'menial' use of his abilities in his mind. He likes having a good time as much as the next guy. If that means icing people's drinks, well, it's not like its any effort for him really.

*

Diving down into the water, Nancy tries to touch the bottom of the deep end. Failing, she comes back up for air. She smiles to Bobby. "So, did you ever meet the Professor guy? I keep hearing about him, but ain't never met him."

*

Bobby nods. "Yeah. Three times, for a grand total of, like, five minutes between them. He's a bit mysterious, that one. I don't think I'd have ever met him at all if my 'case' hadn't been so serious. I mean, don't get me wrong, he seemed like a nice guy. Bit… uh… out there? Not like spaced or anything like that but really cerebral. Genius type who was always thinking a level above you. Eh, that's how it seemed to three-years-ago-me at any rate."

He ducks under the water himself now, goes down, twists and comes back up about ten feet away from where he started.

*

Nancy O'Neal swims over to the edge of the pool and props herself on her elbows again.

"Yeah, I have heard he weilds guilt like it's a super power. Wonder if that would work on me." She rests her head on her arms, growing thoughtful.

"So when did it happen? You know, you going all frosty?"

*

"Guess that depends on what his ability actually is. Dunno."

Bobby swims one more circle and then comes over to the wall about five feet away from Nancy. "Mmmm, well three years ago. The whole mess is how I ended up here, if you take my meaning. Not like I could go home after how it all played out."

*

Nancy O'Neal winces and shrugs her shoulders. "Sorry. Don't know about your mess, but I'm sure that it wasn't fun. Super powers can be a messy thing. I'm sorta hiding here, like I said. I was a science experiment and it seems the scientists want me back. So… I ran here to hide. My trainer, she could have protected me too, but … just one person, as impressive as she is, against a big secret society like that? I couldn't risk her. These guys… well, I'm not saying I totally trust them, but they are teaching me a lot about my power and with so many of them, they have a better chance at survival against them."

*

Now it's Bobby's turn to wince. "Geeze, that's awful. Sorry Nancy. Mine was just a lynch mob. Bunch of scared, angry people. Some of them I would have said were my friends the day before. Guess not friendly enough huh? These guys…"

Bobby waves to the building around them. "They're… eh, it's a mixed bag. Unless a lot has changed, they absolutely mean it when they say you can go whenever you want. They are, however, lair-lair pants-on-fire if they've ever said they won't pressure you. Cause some of them absolutely will even if it's just soft pressure. That aside they're a pretty decent bunch from what I remember, though I'm no expert. I was only here for eight weeks one summer before I want back to college. Just enough to get some control in."

"Your trainer, you said? You in school for something else before you came here?" He cocks his head and then puts his hand up. "It's kinda none of my business, so you don't have to answer that. I hope someone can help you though. I'd offer but I'm just a physics nerd who can make things cold and play the guitar." Mostly, anyway. No need to go into details though.

*

“People are afraid of what they don't know or what they are envious of. I should know. Before I manifested, I hated supers so much. I wondered what made them so special that they had powers and I had none. Turns out I was wrong. About me and about them. The ones I've met here just want to live their lives, like everyone else."

Sighing, Nancy pulls herself up out of the water. Walking over to her towel, the pool starts to get icy with her out of reach of Bobby. "Well, I was in Juilliard for my cello, but that's not the trainer I meant. When I first started doing stuff… I was confused and angry. I met someone. A freedom fighter/vigilante/terrorist. Depends on what side you're on what you call her. She taught me some combat stuff, but it was only for a couple months, then I ended up here. So, am I great at combat and guns? No. But I'm not a total newb either. And… Hank is trying to help me out. When he's not outright avoiding me, that is."

She towels off her hair and then holds the towel on her shoulders. "I should get some sleep. Morning comes early and I don't want to break my routine."

*

"Well those sound like useful things to know, even if you don't ever use 'em. G'night Nancy."

Bobby pulls himself out of the pool. The moment he gets out of her deadzone the water on his pants freezes. He sighs. He hadn't been concentrating on keeping it in. Bending over with a crackling nose to wipe it off he rolls his eyes at himself and looks over his shoulder with a slightly sheepish grin.

"I'll see you around, I hope. Good luck with your thing and let me know if an ice nerd can ever help."


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