Remnant of the Past, II: Term Project
Marvel owns everyone but Remnant, so this qualifies as textual poaching.
"So what do you think they do?"
"What do you think the new people do? Glow in the dark? Fly?"
"I hadn't thought about it much, Robert," Hank McCoy sighed. "Careful with that petri dish."
Bobby Drake sighed back. He had been working as Hank's assistant for six months now -- since the second week after the blue-furred grad student had shown up at the Xavier Academy -- and while he had yet to break anything, McCoy never failed to warn him against carelessness.
"You aren't the least bit curious?"
"Curiosity killed the cat," McCoy replied. "But, yes, I suppose I am inquisitive. Just not obsessively so as you seem to be."
"Hey, my life is disturbingly like this petri dish," Drake smirked. "Very small, very limited, and I can't shake the feeling that someone isn't checking it for changes every few hours. Leave me my imagination."
"Just as long as you don't develop mold spores like our sample," Hank grinned.
The two worked in silence, Bobby at his lab bench and Hank at his laptop, the former performing routine maintenance on the various biological tests they were running and the latter working to graph the results.
"If it would make you feel better, there are two of them."
"Two new arrivals," McCoy clarified. "Scott is picking them up at White Plains tomorrow."
"How come he always gets to rescue the damsels in distress, huh?"
"Damsels? There are no damsels arriving, Master Drake." So much for subtlety, hmm, Robert?
"Great, then, two more guys for all the current girls to moon after. Next you'll tell me that Logan's on his way back."
"Actually," McCoy smiled as Bobby's eyebrows shot up. "I have no idea."
"So now that you're in an information sharing mood," Bobby sat down on the stool next to McCoy's. "What else do you know about them?"
"I hope they're cute."
"The new guys?"
"Yeah. I hope they're cute. We need more cute guys around here."
"Gee, way to make me feel wanted, Jubilee," Bobby Drake frowned, although not irritated enough to get up off the couch he was currently sharing with his classmate.
"We do love you, Bobby," Kitty Pryde leaned over from her chair to pat his knee.
"We just need someone to lust after," Jubilee finished.
"Now I'm starting to feel not only unwanted, but inadequate," Drake smirked. "Hey, Rogue, wanna come join the party? Kitty and Jubilee are busy trying to make me feel as worthless as possible. Surely you can top their efforts."
Rogue walked in to the entertainment room. "Ah dunno, Bobby," she smiled as she stopped behind the couch, a gloved hand coming to rest on his shoulder. "Ah suppose it'd be easy enough, but if we succeeded, who else would we have to pick on?"
"It's nice to know I have a purpose in life."
"That's why you're at this school, Drake," Scott Summers smiled from the doorway leading to the kitchen. "Everyone needs a purpose."
"Somehow, I always thought I'd be learning trade skills. Stuff that'll help me out in the job market," Drake sighed.
"Every good office needs a doormat," Jubilee chipped in.
"True enough," Summers agreed. "Want to practice your welcoming skills at White Plains Airport?"
"You mean come with you to pick up the new guys?" Drake perked up. "Sure. Anything that gets me away from this coven of witches."
"Hey!" The trio of girls cried out.
Drake stuck his tongue out in reply and followed behind his teacher. A Paf exploding by his ear indicated that no hard feelings remained behind -- had there been, that explosion would have been in his ear, not near it.
"Maybe they had problems at customs at Kennedy," Bobby suggested as he and Summers waited at the small airport. "It's travel season, you know."
"Yeah, I know," the man only a few knew as Cyclops smiled. One of the things that intrigued him about Bobby Drake was the younger man's ability to seem so overwhelmed and overmatched one minute and so mature and capable the next. Jean saw it as a frustrating lack of willingness to apply himself, but Scott saw it as just another side effect of being an awkward teenaged boy.
"I've never ridden in a helicopter before. It's probably so different than a plane," Bobby mused aloud as they watched the landing pad.
"It's a lot noisier," Scott agreed. "And you feel a lot less protected than you do in a plane."
"Can you fly one?"
"Not solo. I've had a few lessons, but not enough for a license."
"Are you going to get one?"
"A helicopter or a license?"
"Depends on whether Professor Xavier wants to get a helicopter. It takes a lot of time to get the license and there are other things to do."
"Like come up with cruel and sadistic grammar quizzes, right?"
"Right. It takes hours to find the most convoluted sentences possible for you guys to diagram."
"You need a hobby, Mr. Summers."
"I have a hobby, Bobby. I save the world in my spare time."
"Yeah, right. Is that them?" Drake pointed towards two men exiting a chopper.
"Could be. The bigger one looks like Piotr Rasputin, but I can't tell what the smaller one looks like."
Bobby studied the figure in the baseball cap and sunglasses. "Is he hiding from someone?"
"From everyone, but he's not in legal trouble. If that's Kurt Wagner, then I think that he's just not sure whether the image inducer is really working."
"His real face is that noticeable?"
"Depends on what you think of blue fur."
"Hey, Hank McCoy is mi amigo. I happen to think quite highly of blue fur."
"Which is why, Drake, you are at a school for freaks. Come, let us greet our new comrades."
"Piotr Rasputin? Kurt Wagner?" Scott Summers called to the pair. The head under the baseball cap turned around. "Herr Summers?"
"Call me Scott," Cyclops held out his hand and smiled. "This is one of our students, Bobby Drake."
Handshakes all around and Bobby was struck by how nervous Wagner was.
"You know, the image inducer really does look good. You can't see the fur at all," Drake offered to the skittish German. "I wouldn't know if I hadn't touched your hand."
"Ja? I spent a long time in front of the mirror looking for something that might give me away, but... You like the look?"
"Quite the swashbuckler," Bobby agreed. "Errol Flynn, right?"
"Smart young man," Wagner said to Summers.
"He's not bad, but you'll have to thank Hank McCoy for the movie trivia. The only Robin Hood that Frosty here knows is the Disney version," Summers smiled.
"I saw that," the hulking Russian smiled shyly. "With the animals, right?"
"Yeah, Maid Marion was a fox, literally," Bobby smiled. Rasputin looked confused.
"A fox is a pretty woman," Wagner explained.
"Why don't we get on our way?" Scott asked. "Professor Xavier is eager to meet you. He'd have come himself, but he had a teleconference."
The ride back was fairly quiet -- Rasputin seemed transfixed by the scenery through the car window and Kurt and Scott were discussing soccer in the front seats, so Bobby closed his eyes. He had gotten up early to do a Danger Room session with Hank -- McCoy had cleaned his clock, again -- and he had missed lunch by tagging along to the airport.
The younger kids were playing freeze-tag when the car pulled into the drive, although some of the older students were playing along. Scott had to honk the horn to get Kitty to move from where she was 'frozen'. She indicated that they should drive through her -- she'd phase through them -- but Scott called out the window for her to move.
"C'mon Kitty, don't scare the newbies before they've gotten settled," Drake called to his friend after they had parked. "You don't want them to find out what they are in for until later."
"What are we 'in for', Bobby?" Piotr asked, brow furrowed in concern.
"Oh, nothing. I'm just kidding with Kitty. We tease each other a lot," Drake shrugged. "Hey, Pryde, come over and say hello."
"I can't, I'm frozen," she called back. "Theo's 'it' and he gets really cross if we break the rules."
"Fine, we'll come there," Bobby shook his head. "And then you can explain how someone who can phase got tagged in the first place."
"We're playing 'no powers'," she smirked. "Besides, I let him catch me. He really wanted to freeze one of the big people and Doctor Grey couldn't play."
"Sure, that's it," Bobby drawled. "Piotr Rasputin, meet Kitty Pryde. Kitty, this is Piotr, one of our two new residents."
"Pleasure to meet you," Kitty looked around for Theo before shaking the Russian's hand. In the distance a boy's voice could be heard shouting about no cheating.
"It is all mine," Rasputin smiled brightly.
All of a sudden, Bobby Drake got a sinking feeling in his stomach. Especially when he saw Kitty smile back.
"Where's Rogue?" Bobby asked. Maybe the big Russian would be more entranced by the resident southern belle than by Kitty. If McCoy was right, Rasputin might stand a chance against Logan.
Kitty shrugged. "Haven't seen her since you left."
Bobby followed Scott and the two newcomers inside and then went down to the lab -- it was a nice out and he *knew* Hank hadn't seen the sun in days. Besides, McCoy could console him as Bobby mooned over falling two farther back on the date-ability depth chart. Especially after Wagner had proven to be a suave lady-killer, bowing and pirouetting as he greeted first Jubilee and then Kitty, the latter of whom still managed to sneak a glance at Rasputin.
"Must you, Robert?" McCoy looked up tiredly from his microscope. "'Hank' is already a nickname. You don't need to create an additional diminutive. Especially as anything implying miniaturization is either cruelly ironic or just plain cruel."
"You have no sense of humor, Henry," Bobby moved from the doorway into the lab. "I can't make Star Trek jokes, you won't let me give you my own nickname for you... I don't think you really like me at all. I think you just use me for my twinkie-stealing abilities."
"You do have a way with purloining that particular incarnation of heaven's manna," McCoy allowed. "I do like you, Robert. I just have a wildly fluctuating appreciation for your particular brand of nominalism."
"Let me write that sentence down so that in ten years I can see if I've gotten smart enough to decipher it," Drake smirked.
McCoy raised an eyebrow, but continued. "I presume you and our Fearless Leader have returned with the new inmates?"
"Yeah, Errol Flynn and the bad guy from 'Rocky 4'," Bobby frowned. "We definitely need more girls around here."
"You shouldn't sell yourself so short, young Master Drake," McCoy shook his head. "The idea is not to think about what you lack with respect to others, but what those others lack with respect to you."
"Rasputin lacks my scrawny frame and Wagner lacks my awkwardness around the female of the species. You shoulda seen him, Hank. Summers is gonna have to keep an eye on Doctor Grey."
"He already does, or else you haven't noticed a particular tension between him and a certain rough-hewn Canadian," McCoy smiled. "One of the things that makes him leader material is..."
Henry McCoy! Please come to my first-floor office promptly!
"Summons from the Great Egg?" Drake asked as he watched his friend wince suddenly.
"Yeah," the blue-furred young man sighed.
"I think Xavier used to train dogs when he was younger," Bobby suggested. "'Here, boy!' and all that."
"You heard him?"
"Nah, but you had that put-upon look you get when you're being asked to suffer stupidity -- and I know that look too well -- or when you think you're being talked down to," Drake shrugged. "And he treats all of us like that."
McCoy laughed and shook his head as he grabbed his clipboard -- he had a feeling he'd need it -- and followed Drake out the lab door. "You definitely shouldn't sell yourself so short. I'll see you later?"
"Hey, I'm not gonna pass up a chance to see 'Casablanca' on the big screen," Bobby scoffed. "Even if I have to have a blue-furred bio-medical engineer as my 'date'."
"Maybe you should ask some of the girls if they want to come," McCoy winced.
"Professor Xavier must have pulled some strings to get Wagner matriculated so late in the semester," Ororo Munro mused aloud as she organized her class notes. "We've had so many problems with Manhattanville's registrar in the past."
"A telepathic 'you will obey' might have worked," Jean Grey smiled. "Actually though, I think it was closer to a healthy helping of Catholic guilt -- the trustees wouldn't want to hear that a devout soul such as Kurt Wagner was being sent across town to public school. That, or the tuition they know they'd be handing over to SUNY Purchase."
"Don't make jokes about Catholics and money easing entrance into anything," Ororo shook her head. "I've just spent a week on the Reformation with the kids. I'm tempted to move forward their test so that we can get on to more pleasant topics."
"I think I sense a very windy evening coming up."
"You are most perceptive, dear friend," Storm smiled. "I promise no gales, however. It would be improper to ask the Earth to turn against herself just to ease my tension."
"Just focus on the next holiday, that's what I do. Is that Piotr Rasputin wandering around outside looking lost?"
"So it seems. He is a groundskeeper unfamiliar with the grounds, so the wandering will do him well," Ororo nodded.
"I hope he at least knows where the tool shed is. I know he's used to just armoring up and doing by hand, but a little more subtlety is going to be needed with our suspicious neighbors."
"It was explained to him, I imagine, and we should not mistake his quietness for dullness. Professor Xavier encouraged him to volunteer for teaching an elective in Russian Literature once he's more comfortable. He didn't say no, although he was hardly enthusiastic."
"Oh, far be it for me to call him dumb," Jean spoke up. "I got to poke around in his head a little when I was introducing him to our system of telepathic communication. He learned how to shield much quicker than most do and the ones he created were actually quite unique."
"Henry McCoy tells me that Piotr's an artistic sort," Ororo agreed.
"Are you two gossiping again?" Scott Summers walked into the teachers' prep room carrying his books.
"Ummm... would you be willing to classify it as a necessary information exchange?" Jean smiled at Ororo, who nodded.
"In other words, gossip," Scott leaned over and pecked his girlfriend on the cheek with a kiss. "So what are we discussing?"
"Well, if it isn't girl talk, then it's fair game, right?"
"It *was* two girls talking," Storm began with a smile.
"Don't try word play with me after two straight periods of grammar and then logic and rhetoric," Scott warned. "Either of the two of you feel like being Kurt Wagner's training buddy for his first weeks? I've put McCoy with Rasputin -- strength versus strength -- and I would like to match Wagner's agility with a suitable partner. At least until we know where they stand and can then mix-and-match."
"I think Ororo would be best," Jean smiled. "She can drop boxes on him as well as I can." Left unsaid until later on was that keeping herself away from the flirtatious Bavarian was a good idea until Scott was comfortable with the idea that Wagner was merely being playful, not trying to poach.
"Okay, I'll leave it up to the two of you to work up a schedule for the Danger Room," Scott nodded after Ororo signaled agreement. "I'm done teaching for the day, so I'm going to the garage to tinker."
"Stop pouting," Jean called after him. "You really aren't that upset that Logan took your bike. And no, you haven't learned to shield from the psi-link yet."
Ororo's chuckle was a mix of awe and a little but of envy. Telepathy, no matter how long she was exposed to it, still amazed the woman known as Storm. But when it was used to create a special bond between two lovers, it was all the more special.