A/N: This story takes place not too long after Apocalypse.


Bobby Drake reached over and slammed down on the snooze button for the third time that morning. For the third time that morning, as he tried to once again fall asleep, he wondered why he kept hitting snooze instead of off, and more importantly, why hadn't he turned the alarm off the night before? It was a Saturday, one of those rare Saturdays where he didn't have to wake up early for a hellish Logan training session and one where all the cartoons he normally watched were repeats. There was absolutely no reason for him to be awake, and yet here he was, staring at the ceiling, and slowly coming to the realization that this time he wasn't falling back asleep.

He pulled himself out of bed and began digging for a shirt to wear. "I guess it wouldn't be so bad to have a Danger Room session this morning," he thought. "At least then it would mean I was with the X-Men instead of the New Mutants." Over the past year, ever since Apocalypse first showed up, he had been training off and on with the X-Men. It wasn't full time, and the others had been doing it some too, but Professor Xavier assigned Bobby training with the A-Team much more often.

The problem was that every time Bobby thought it was going to turn into full X-Man status for him, Xavier sent him back to the New Mutants. Not that he minded being with the New Mutants, they were his friends and he knew some day all of those who stayed at the institute would be promoted, but he knew his powers were more advanced then most of them and his control was one of the best in the entire Institute. He didn't feel conceited about that, he knew powers were like any part of growing up and they developed at different rates for different people. But his abilities were just one more reason for him to move up to the advanced class full time. "Okay, maybe my maturity isn't the best at times, but we're kids, we deserved to have fun sometimes. And even they have to admit that when things get serious so am I," he thought. He was certainly better than he used to be. There were a lot less people slipping on random ice patches in the halls, and he hadn't taken anything out on a joy ride in almost a month!

To top it all off, he was getting really bored of the plain New Mutants uniform he had to wear.

The situation for Bobby was more then just training, new uniforms and having bragging rights about being an X-Man. He wanted to be an X-Man because of what they did. Ever since coming to the Institute and learned what was going on beyond just teaching kids to control their powers, he knew it was his calling in life. He wanted to use his powers for good, to help other people. Admittedly, he originally had delusions of grandeur, of being just like one of his Saturday morning cartoon heroes, but the more time he spent at Xavier's the more he really just wanted to make a difference, and to make the most out of the gifts he had been given, even if the people he helped never knew it was him. And to be constantly teased like this, the gold ring of all his hopes and aspirations hanging just out of reach was getting to him.

"Not to mention the constantly changing schedule!" he said out loud to himself as he threw on a mostly clean shirt with the Institute's logo over the heart. "It would be nice to keep my alarm at one time so I don't have to worry about forgetting to turn it off."

"Oh well, I'm up, might as well get something to eat and watch those reruns. Hopefully no one else is in the kitchen right now," he said, still talking to himself as he left his room. "It'll be nice to have a peaceful meal for once." He thought about this for a moment. The weekends tended to be free for alls when it came to meals, with nothing big prepared for everyone on their way to school, thus making the kitchen the mealtime battlefield instead of the dining room. Kitty and Bobby were currently working on programming a Danger Room scenario to recreate it and unleash on their unsuspecting teammates. This early though, Bobby figured it wouldn't be too bad. The X-Men should be in the Danger Room this morning ("So should I," he grumbled to himself), and most of the New Mutants if not all of them should still be asleep. The only ones he could think of being awake this early would be Jamie and Sam, but probably not with no new cartoons to entice them out of bed. The only ones he knew would be up today would be Storm and Beast, both of whom could be helping out in the Danger Room. But even if they weren't Bobby didn't mind. A peaceful conversation with either would be preferable to the chaos of a normal Institute breakfast. He had to smile at that thought. As much as he loved to cause chaos, and even if he contributed by giving people frozen breakfasts, sometimes it could be just too much for the resident prankster.

He was shaken out of these thoughts as he walked into the kitchen and found most of the X-Men sitting inside. Scott and Jean were talking at the table in hushed tones together about something that seemed serious, Rouge was reading a newspaper on the window bench and Kurt was teleporting around the room, searching various cabinets. "Oh man!" he cried. "Don't tell me ve are out of little chocolate donuts. My breakfast von't be complete vithout zhem!"

"Hey, what are you all doing here?" Bobby asked. "Shouldn't you be in the Danger Room this morning?" They certainly looked the part. All of them were in uniform, though Scott had put on his glasses, his visor resting on the table.

Scott spoke for the group. "We were on our way down when a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopter landed out front. Fury had something important to talk to the Professor about. Logan and Storm are in with the Professor talking to him right now."

"Great, probably more trouble from Logan's past for us to deal with," Bobby said sitting at the table. He reached out for a plate of muffins before stopping dead. "Kitty didn't make these, did she?"

Jean laughed. "No, Storm and Amara made them yesterday."

He continued and grabbed one, pulling the top off and taking a bite as he tossed away the bottom. "Okay, good. I don't understand how a girl that smart can't follow a recipe."

"I totally heard that Bobby!" said the girl in question as she phased through the main pantry door. She smacked him on the arm as she tossed a box of donuts to Kurt. "Here you go, one last box."

"Zhanks Kitty, you're a life saver!"

Kitty picked an orange out of the fruit bowl and sat down to peel it. "I should freeze that orange for that smack," he thought. "No, don't do that!" he countered himself. "You're trying to show them that you're mature enough to be an X-Man."

He banished thoughts of the surprised look Kitty would have as she bit into an orange ice cube, and instead found himself trying to discreetly look at her as he finished his muffin top and reached for another one. He had always found her cute, but when she cut her hair after the incident with Lance and the Brotherhood, he found she looked, grown up he guessed, less like a little valley girl and more like a woman. "Helps that she filled out a bit and in all the right places too," he thought. She started to turn to where she could see him looking and he quickly averted his eyes, only to come into eye contact with Jean, who just smiled and rolled her eyes. Boys, echoed in his head, and he felt himself blushing as he quickly averted his eyes from her too.

"So what do you think the General is doing here?" Kitty asked to the group.

"Whatever it is, it must be pretty bad. Ah saw the look on his face when he came up to the Professor, he looked, ah don't know, scared almost." Rogue had put down her paper and joined them at the table, taking a peach out of the fruit basket.

"I'm sure the Professor will let us know when the time is right. Until then we should be ready for the worst," Scott said, always the fearless leader.

"Hey Scott, when whatever it is pops up, am I going to get a chance at it?"

"I don't know Bobby; it's not up to me."

"Come on Scott, how many times have I fought along side you guys? Or trained with you? I'm used to working with you. All I'm asking for is a shot."

"All right, I'll admit, you've been pretty good in a fight. And you're attitude has definitely matured. But I don't know if the Professor is ready to put you on the X-Men. In the end it's his choice."

"This is crap!" Bobby said, his frustration rising. "I'm older then Spyke was when he started, hell, I'm older than Kitty and Kurt were! I've been by your side against the Brotherhood, the Acolytes, Area 51, Juggernaut, and even Storm when Apocalypse was pulling the strings. I'm practically an X-Man, why do I keep being held back?"

"Being an X-Man is more than just having your own uniform and bragging to the New Mutants. It's not about fighting and being a superhero. It's about living up to a standard, about being an example to people to show that mutants aren't monsters and villains. It's being the public face for every dream Xavier has had about mutants and humans coexisting. And with Magneto starting to gather his forces again, it's more important than ever that we prove ourselves. Do you really think you're ready for that?"

"Protecting a world that hates and fears us, I get it. It's what I want to do Scott. There are a lot of people who need help out there, both against the types of threats we've taken down and help in understanding mutants. I want to be there for that because it's the right thing to do. I'm not trying to be selfish here. It's just I know I can help and I hate not being able to."

He could see Scott thinking this over. Rogue was staring at him like she was thinking over what he said too, though he could see the hint of a smile, while Jean looked as if she might be probing his sincerity. He didn't mind, he had meant every word. He could also see both Kurt and Kitty were grinning at him. He could especially see Kitty, and again felt himself blushing a bit. Stay cool Iceman, he thought, try to figure that out later.

Finally Scott spoke up. "All right Bobby, you win. Next chance I get I'll put in a good word to the Professor. Just remember, it's up to him in the end."

"Thanks Scott. I hate being on the sidelines when I know I can be making a difference."

"Don't worry Icee, I sure things will work out just fine," Kitty said with a grin. She had taken to calling him that recently, and he hadn't decided if he found it annoying or endearing.

Suddenly the ground began to shudder, and alarms began ringing out in the mansion.

"Proximity alarm!" shouted Cyclops as he swapped his glasses with the visor on the table. "Let's move out. Looks like you get your chance to help on this one Drake."

"Oh mah Gad! Look out!" screamed Rogue, diving out of the way of the window as a giant, metallic hand crashed through the glass and wall surrounding it. It lifted upwards, through the ceiling and floor above that, leaving a gap through which the mutants picking themselves off the ground could see what the hand had been attached to.

Bobby stared up. "Oh, fu—"