I don't own X-men: The Movie


Bobby Drake skidded to a halt, panting heavily, as the Danger Room clicked and whirred to a stop. In sixty seconds, the room was clear of any evidence that a battle of epic proportions had just been fought between boy and machine. Bobby slumped to the floor, absentmindedly forming a ball of ice in his hands to cool off his forehead. He yelped as it slipped out of his hand and went skittering across the polished floor, the noise echoing around the eerily silent room. Bobby got up, took off his shirt and wrapped the ice in the material, applying it once again to his forehead.

Absentmindedly, he wondered whether Rogue was up yet; it couldn't have been later than eight o'clock. Then again, this was a Saturday, and the Mansion's teenage occupants were barely functional by ten o'clock anyways. That was one of the reasons he came down to the Danger Room at the crack of dawn: less of a chance of interruption.

Ever since the incident at Alkali Lake, Bobby had made his way to the DR, working his way slowly up the levels. He was only on level four right now, but it was a hard-won achievement. He had never been one for thinking fast under pressure, and the Danger Room forced him to every single time he used it: Bobby was learning that to be an X-man, one required as much brains as brawn.

The DR caused him to be completely focussed on the task of staying alive, and he liked that. It stopped him from thinking about other things…things like John. Professor Grey. Magneto. Mom. Dad. Ronnie. So many people, so many painful memories…they all faded into the background when he was caught up in the raw, bare-bones rush of fighting for his survival against a cold, metallic machine.

Bobby got up and checked the time on the control panel: 7:30 AM. He had time for another round. Flipping open the control panel, he punched in the code for level five, then paused before he hit "Enter"; was he ready to move on? In a sudden spurt of whimsical inspiration, Bobby hit "Clear" and then punched in the code for level ten.

The Danger Room changed, its metallic floor, walls and ceiling melting into the green and brown shadows of a forest. Looking around, Bobby could see a concrete bunker through the trees: he headed towards it, on his guard.

The "forest" was eerily silent, and Bobby found himself getting jumpy at the sound of his own footsteps. In all his previous DR sessions, deadly missiles would be flying at him as soon as he'd hit "Enter", but now there was no sign of anything remotely dangerous. After what seemed like an eternity of walking, Bobby reached the bunker: the concrete crumbling and moss-covered, a wooden door sagging off rusty hinges. Stepping gingerly inside, Bobby was hit by dank cold, and wondered if it was just his imagination or if the DR was really that high tech.

It was in one of the darkened rooms of the bunker that Bobby heard the first signs of life: a muffled sobbing coming from in the corner. Puzzled, he stepped forwards, wishing that the small window was able to let in more light. There was a teenage boy huddled in the corner, thin to the point of being skeletal, and crying in a hoarse, broken voice. This was so alien and different from the rest of the Danger Room assignments!

Bobby wondered if perhaps this assignment was to rescue the boy…the missiles would probably start coming once he had to protect someone. Come to think of it, that's just the kind of thing that would characterize a higher-level session. Emboldened by this thought, Bobby stepped forwards and reached out his hand to give the teen's shoulder a tentative shake.

A bony hand snapped up to grasp Bobby's wrist; a pair of burning eyes levelled themselves with hatred as the teen turned his head of tangled brown hair to stare at the Iceman.

Bobby gaped.

"John?"

The teen laughed bitterly; a hoarse croak that fuelled the burning intensity of his sunken eyes. Then there was a faint, but audible click.

The fire washed over Bobby like a sheet of flame: he quickly slammed up a wall of ice, drawing moisture out of the damp air to keep the barrier up between him and certain death. Suddenly, this DR session had lost its appeal. All Bobby wanted to do was get out.

"John! What are you doing?" He shouted over the noise of the crackling inferno.

The only answer he got was a rasping chuckle, and an increase in the intensity of the flames. Bobby found he could no longer keep up the ice without thinking about it: it was becoming harder to overcome the heat.

"John!"

Ice was melting, dripping to the floor in ever-growing puddles. Bobby saw the lighter in John's hand: there was his target! He would have to strike now: he was starting to get tired.

Quickly, Bobby iced the meltwater that had spread across the floor so that suddenly John was off-balance: a ball of ice served to knock the lighter out of John's hand to skitter across the floor into a corner. Bobby quickly made sure that it was encased in several inches of ice, before turning to John.

"John, what's this all about?"

Bobby stared as John bared his teeth in a feral grin. It was sickening…who could have programmed this session? Someone with a twisted mind, that's for sure.

He didn't have time to think anything else: John tackled him to the ground, raining blows down on to him. Bobby yelped and shielded his face, but it was no use…after several hits, Bobby was up on his knees, pummelling back as hard as he could, icing his fists over in the hopes that he would be able to knock John out.

Even though he knew it was a simulation, Bobby didn't think that he'd be able to…terminate…a machine that took on the likeness of his one-time friend. Soon, however, his mind was wiped of all such thoughts as John refused to be knocked out; in fact, all Bobby's punches did was to make John punch harder.

The fight escalated in intensity: Bobby was fighting for his life, now. Bleeding freely from the nose, he ignored the fierce pain in his head and iced John's hand to the floor. Panting triumphantly, Bobby was taken completely off his guard when John yanked his hand out of the ice with little effort and launched himself at Bobby once more. Danger Room sims were mechanical, it was true, but they were supposed to act as real humans—mutants, rather—do.

John was sitting on Bobby's stomach now: grasping the Iceman's shoulders, he started bashing his head into the cement floor of the old bunker. Bobby nearly passed out from the pain, and did the only thing he could: dragging together his screaming thoughts, he concentrated enough to create a large spike of ice coming from his fist. Swiftly, he rammed it into John's midriff.

The pain didn't stop. Bobby, close to fainting now, drew his fist upwards, slicing up through John's belly and ribcage until finally…John's hands loosened their grip, and he fell over sideways to crumple on the ground.

It occurred to Bobby that Danger Room sims shouldn't bleed.

It occurred to Bobby, lying there, slipping in and out of consciousness, that even if it was sim-blood, it shouldn't be warm.