Author's note: Yeah, okay, I've been kind of dead on the X-Men fic for a while. But I made a real, honest-to-God stupid mistake -- I read the EW article on X2 from the end of January. And you know what Bobby did, that rat bastard? He peeked over my shoulder and said, "Hey, would you look at that? I tell my parents I'm a mutant. That could be funny. You should write that. *at my ensuing answering sound of righteous indignation* What do you mean, you already have five thousand writing projects to finish? Damn it, you loved me in my comic-book version! I'm hot! And let me just remind you that while I may not be legal, the actor who plays me is!"

In any event, the characters encased within this story are owned by someone who isn't me. Although I would be interested in buying Shawn Ashmore and his brother, as they are identical twins and those are fun to play with. (Besides, everyone wants to buy Hugh Jackman and James Marsden, and I'll take what I can get.) Having no idea when this happens in the movie, I've set it right before everything in the movie starts. And I can pretty much guarantee that this is definitely NOT how this will play out.

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But Not a Real Snow-Man, That's Cruel

by Troll Princess

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DAY ONE

"Mom, I'm pregnant."

Huh. It's weird, how I can say something like that out loud, but I can't manage to blurt out, "Mom, I'm a mutant." Of course, it's not exactly like I have the parts to justify that pregnancy announcement as fact, but hey, think of the funny mental image. Me, curled up in a ball on the television room couch with my big old swollen stomach, moaning away while the teachers and the gang go and get me Cherry Garcia ice cream until I puke. And I'll look pathetic and sad and everyone will feel sorry for my unfortunate teenage pregnancy and no one with any sense will bother asking me if Dr. Freeze plans on paying me paternity.

And I'll betcha it was Kitty who knocked me up, too. Bastard.

I can't help but frown a little at that, though, because like I said, it beats that "Mom, I'm a mutant" thing. Yeah, okay, I haven't actually gotten around to telling the parental units that I'm the one who's been freezing the pipes every summer since I was twelve, or that I was the one who cannonballed dead-center into the local Polar Bear Club last winter. And hey, let's not forget "that guy I know" that could make ice sculptures for my mom's country club garden party for dirt-cheap. Yeah, watch me complain. I made out like a bandit on that one.

But here I am, driving home for spring break, and I'm pondering how in the hell I'm going to break it to Mom and Dad that I'm God's gift to hockey leagues and ice skating competitions everywhere. (I'd rather be pondering how to put pants on a monkey, but then again, that's what I get for watching that much "Animaniacs" at such an impressionable age.)

"Mom, I'm gay," I say out loud as I switch lanes for the off-ramp to my house. Yeah, right. I'm trying to hook up with a girl I can't even touch. If that's not astoundingly heterosexual, I don't know what is.

It does start me laughing again, though. "Yes, Mom, I'm coming out of the closet," I say as I make a right turn past my favorite deli. "I'm a lesbian. You may not get any grandkids out of the deal, but I've already got my own sitcom. And don't get snippy with me, young lady -- you made me a lesbian. By the way, my friend John wants to know if you'll make him one, too, if he gives you the yarn."

Oh, yeah. I've lost my mind.

And you're probably wondering what a guy like me is doing acting like an adult during a week when, at the very least, I should be acting like a toddler who needs to be fed at regular intervals. Preferably by nubile bikini-clad Baywatch babes in Cancun, if I really got to pick and choose, but from the swarm of hyperactive moths that went flying out of my wallet in the general direction of greener pastures, Cancun's out of the running. And yeah, I guess I could have stayed back at the mansion with most of the rest of the gang, eating enough Cheetoes to turn me Neon-Lit-Pumpkin Orange and engaging in yet another Alias marathon with John. Of course, that much junk food at one time makes my stomach burst into tears and run screaming for its mommy, while there's only so many times you can watch Alias with John before the drooling gets distracting.

I was planning on inviting at least one of the others to come with me, but in retrospect, maybe it was a better idea just to leave them all back at the chock-full-o'-mutants mansion. Considering that where two students of Professor Xavier go, an equal number of evil mutants, a battalion of fully trained soldiers, and giant laser-shooting robots inevitably follow, you'll forgive me for being cautious, all right? I'd rather not have the giant Reveal-O happen because a large hairy man with fangs is growling at my brother Ronny, a blue chick who looks a hell of a lot like me has just finished off all of the milk, and angry neighbors are picketing on our lawn.

One more turn, and I'm on our street, the same upper-middle class stretch of cookie-cutter houses that would give anyone not born and raised here a severe case of diabetes after one glance. Yeah, okay, I'll admit it. Bobby Drake, home of the one of the biggest groundswells of bitter teenage angst on the Eastern seaboard. Should I bring up the girlfriend I can't touch again, or should I just gesture wildly in the general direction of Westchester?

"Home, sweet home," I mutter, pulling into the driveway of my house in the battered Chevy Corsica I'd gotten for my birthday two years ago.

Yeah, home.

Uh ...

Okay.

I don't really have to go in there, do I?

"Home, sweet, sugary, chocolate-filled, caramel-covered --"

I wonder how long I can sit in the car like this.

"-- Chunky-Monkey-flavored, sprinkle-doused, frosting-decorated --"

You may want to go to the bathroom now. I live with Jubilee. I can do this for a while.

"-- fudge-drizzled, cherry-topped --"

"Bobby? Bobby Drake, is that you?"

I flinch at that, because from the sound of it, I've just been spotted by my neighbor Mr. Guidolucci, and the last time I saw him I was twelve and I accidentally froze his son Dino's tongue to a flagpole in July ...

... and it is. Oh, God -- buddy, pal, compadre -- I don't remember kicking a puppy or killing a nun, but if I did, I am so, so sorry. Really.

"Hey, Mr. Guidolucci," I say, waving as I get out of the car. "Long time, no see, huh?"

Mr. Guidolucci smiles at that, his floppy combover bouncing with every waddling step. Either I caught him gardening or burying an annoying relative, because he's carrying a trowel in his gloved hand and he's dirtier than one of John's better jokes. "Where you been, kiddo? Your dad keeps telling everyone you're at some special school for gifted kids in Westchester, but you'd think it was Mars, for all the times you come back to Port Washington."

Then he's got the cojones to give me this reprimanding look, like I really shouldn't be such a stranger, and I've got to bite back the urge to say that if I were any stranger, I'd qualify for membership in the Insane Clown Posse.

"So, what's up with Dino?" I ask, even though I can safely say that a.) I don't care, b.) it's definitely not his IQ, which explains why he never bothered to tattle on me for that flagpole incident, and c.) did I mention I don't care? It's called politeness, people.

Mr. Guidolucci smiles at that, but it's all tight-lipped and tense, like when John told Ororo that if she spent ten bucks on a good box of hair dye, she'd look exactly like Halle Berry. "Oh, he's good, he's good. Good grades --" Translation: Last week, he got a D, and the whole family's thrilled. "-- nice girlfriend --" Closet lesbian. Or at least, she will be after dating Dino. "-- gets out a lot --" Hasn't been home since June of 2000. "-- plus, he's got a great afterschool job." Selling Ritalin to kindergarteners who want to fit in.

I give him my best smug-child-genius-at-snotty-private-school grin, then cock my head towards my house and say, "Well, I'd better get inside, before the parental units go ballistic."

Mr. Guidolucci gives me a good-natured pat on the arm, leaving a dirty streak in his wake, then wanders off to go back to hide the evidence, or whatever the hell he was doing, and giving me an out so that I can jog back to my house and make my way in through the side door --

-- which is locked.

Huh. Well, that's just not fair. William and Madelaine's baby boy comes home for the weekend, and they lock him out? What'd I do? I mean, aside from the forty-seven hours of back-breaking, mind-numbing labor I've heard so much about, I'm practically a little angel.

Maybe they didn't lock the front door. I'll go run and check.

...

Uh, I do live here, right?

I run back to my car, grab the house keys I normally don't have to use to get inside, and let myself in through the side door. (Yay! I really do live here! And they didn't change the locks, either!) The side door opens into the kitchen, the sterile, gee-I'm-trying-hard-to-be-cheery-aren't-I? decorating style that is my mom's forte practically blinding me from my first gaze upon it. Mom's belief when it comes to interior design is that a house should look live in, but not too lived in, like a crumpled page ripped out of the bedding section of the Sears catalogue.

"Hello? Anyone home?"

No answer.

Okay, this is just great. No answer, the house is totally quiet, I did tell my parents I was coming home for spring break (at least, I could have sworn I did) ...

I duck into the living room, the blood-red walls making it look like the Logan's-idea-of-a-good-time I'd been telling the rest of the gang I'd thought it would. Frowning at the decided lack of parents in the room, I peek under the bottom of the couch. "Okay, you're not under the couch," I say ...

... right before a thought occurs to me and I smile, maybe more because I actually had a thought on what was a technically a weekend than anything else. "Maybe there's too many of you to fit under the couch," I say loudly, contemplating Mom, Dad, Ronny, and a bunch of our nearest and dearest stuffed into the bathroom with a huge chocolate cake and brightly wrapped presents. Then again, I think about surprise parties I don't deserve when I do something as simple as manage to go a day without freezing anyone to a toilet seat, so don't trust my precognative abilities too much, okay?

...

Still, it never hurts to look in the bathroom.

I head over to the downstairs bathroom, put on my best aren't-I-surprised expression, then fling open the bathroom door. "Heyyy---yaack!" I yelp, jumping at the sight of my little brother Ronny standing on the other side of the door, staring at me like I've got eels hanging out of my ears while he --

Wait a sec. What is he doing with that sock monkey?

Okay, you know what? I don't want to know. Bobby Drake, out of the loop and proud of it.

"Jesus, Ronny, you scared the hell out of me," I say.

Ronny frowns at the intrusion, looking about twelve years younger than the thirteen I've heard a nasty rumor that he is. "Oh, it's you."

"I love you, too?" I ask sarcastically, then point behind me towards the rest of the house and say, "Where are Mom and Dad?"

Ronny shrugs, ducking past me into the kitchen and making me trail along after him like a lost puppy. "Dad's got his weekly poker game at the country club. Mom's shopping in the city."

Oh, you've got to be kidding me. "You mean, they knew I was coming home today, and they didn't bother to stay home? Throw me a surprise party? Maybe buy me an attack pony or something?"

Ronny stares at me for a long, loooooong minute as he grabs a bag of Doritos from the cupboard, then, with a confused shake of his head, he walks past me again and heads up the stairs.

So let me get this straight. I come home for the week because, hey, look at Bobby with all of the mature thinking and the not wanting to hide anything anymore and the total swallowing fear that my parents will find out I'm a freak the same way John's did and the result won't be half as pretty. And my parents, my loving, adoring parents, decided stealing from the rich and giving to the clerks at Macy's was more fun.

Damn it.

You know what I need right now? A nice, relaxing bath.

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I don't think I need to say this out loud, but I haven't taken a hot bath since I was twelve. Of course, I haven't taken a hot anything for a long time, but this is probably one of my weirder quirks.

See, most people ... they get tense, they take a hot bath. They put in bubbles and bath salts and a rubber duckey and everything's just fine and dandy. Meanwhile, I'm filling the bathtub halfway up with cold water and lugging ice cubes upstairs from the freezer to dump into the bath. (And before you say anything, it's called a relaxing bath because I don't have to make anything, okay?)

So in essence, what I experienced an hour ago in the privacy of my own bathroom (and thank God for that) looked vaguely like that urban legend about the guy whose kidneys were stolen. Sometimes, I half-expected to open my eyes and see "Call 911" written on the bathroom mirror in bright pink lipstick.

Anyway, once the bath started getting lukewarm, it lost most of its appeal, which is why I'm currently standing in the kitchen in a T-shirt and track sweats with my head in the fridge. Not because of the bath but more because I know there are little Jell-O cups in here, damn it -- or at least, in a kind and decent world, there would be -- and I'm going to find them if it kills me.

Why? Because I haven't had dinner, that's why not. And the reason why not is because it's --

Wow. It's ten o'clock already? Time flies when you're angsting more than the entire cast of "Dawson's Creek", apparently.

And still no Mom and Dad.

Would you look at that? A complete and total lack of surprise.

I finally fish out the Jell-O cups that I knew had to be in the fridge -- even if my parents were conspicuously absent from most every important event in my life, the company that makes Jell-O had always been there for me -- and dig out a spoon from the silverware drawer, which is gratefully exactly where I left it.

Hopping up to sit on the countertop, I grab the phone, silently debate whether or not making this phone call is going to make me feel worse than I already do, then figure what the hell and dial. It rings one, two, three times, and then finally, someone picks the damn thing up.

What I hear on the other end of the receiver feels more comfortable and familiar than anything I've felt since I walked in the door.

"I've got it, I've got --" *thunk* "Ow, you big heavy zebra-striped hornball! I said I got it!" With a determined clearing of her throat, Jubilee speaks directly into the receiver this time. "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. You mutate 'em, we educate 'em."

"I thought Scott told you to stop answering the phone like that."

She groans at that, then says, "Okay, it's called Caller ID, ice-chest. You left your phone number behind, remember? Besides, if Scott's so worried about going incognito, he might want to remove the giant Viewmaster that's attacking his face."

Point to Jubes, I think with a smile.

"So how's things on the homefront? Did you get disowned yet?"

"Not from a lack of trying," I say with a frown. "Is Marie there?"

"Oh, sure. Actually, she's been trying to grab the phone -- hey!" A heavy rustling sound comes over the line, followed by a loud squeal. "-- for the past two minutes, but I've been trying to see if I could get her to go farther with me than she has with you --"

I laugh with amusement at that. "Wouldn't take much," I mutter.

"I heard that!" I hear, in a familiar, soft, yet growling Southern accent.

More rustling. "Hey, let go of that, Mississippi! I don't know where it's been!" A second later, there's an oomph, and finally the voice I've been hoping for carries over the line.

"Hello. Bobby, you still there?"

"Yup."

Another thunk, then, "Well, come home! You're missing --"

"Jubilee, go away!"

"-- some quality prankage here! After you left, we put racing stripes on the Professor's wheelchair!"

I can't keep myself from laughing at that one, and I'm pretty sure it's the mental image of Professor Xavier done up like Super Dave Osbourne that does it. Racing stripes? I'd like to think that was Jubilee's idea, but if that doesn't have John Allerdyce written all over it, I'll eat my superhero costume -- you know, when I get one. "Do I want to even know how you pulled that off? Or whether or not you took pictures?"

"It's called the twenty-first century, Frosty. Check your email." What then follows is a muffled sound that I guess is the sound of Jubilee getting elbowed in the stomach and flopping backwards over the back of the couch.

"Ah don't know why John suggested we do it," Marie mutters into the phone, confirming my suspicions. "The four of us are the only suspects left in the mansion."

From behind her, I can almost picture Jubilee popping up from the floor like the other half of a really lame comedy team as I hear, "-- and tassles on the armrests and a cute wicker basket with little plastic flowers and a dirty deck of cards in the spokes --"

"Shut it, Jubilee!" Marie shouts. "If Bobby wants to know what we've been doing all afternoon, he's going to have to pick up his cold yet adorable butt and --" This time, she yells into the receiver. And, ouch. "-- come home!"

I wince at that, then glance around my quiet, toasty-warm kitchen, the only sounds in the house the constant zombie-killing special effect coming from Ronny's room, and I can't help but frown.

Huh.

You know, for a second there, I thought I was home.

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