Diamonds of Ice by paxnirvana
Rating: R
Fandom: Uncanny/New X-Men
Characters: Bobby Drake/Emma Frost
Archive: Please ask first.

Author's Note: I get ideas sometimes. Just ideas. And see what happens? *shakes head* 12/7/01

Continuity: What's that? *snorts* Okay, right around Uncanny #400 and post New X-Men 117 (but before #118 – confused yet? *sigh* So am I.). And just where does the Iceman Mini fit into this? Well, sorry, it doesn't.

Disclaimer: Hey, they're Marvel's, but I think they should be plotting a revolution or a strike or something. Working under the conditions they've got now is cruel and unusual punishment. I'm not making money here.

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Nasty Aunty Emma. It was a bad name for her. Even though she was harder now. Hard like the semi-plastic diamond-like material she could transform into after the massacre at Genosha.

Bobby Drake had wondered about that, if it had been his fault she changed – his influence that enabled her to survive. That time she spent in his head had to have taught her something about changing forms. Only she chose her own version. Diamond rather than ice.

The world had changed too. After Genosha. Suddenly creeps like the Cleaner, John Sublime and his idiotic 'Third Species' and the homicidal Church of Humanity were crawling out of the woodwork and making it harder, colder, meaner and certainly uglier.

Except for Emma. Shining and glittering and beautiful. And when she was diamond she couldn't get in his head. Which was probably a good thing lately, all things being equal.

The mansion was a mess. He'd been downstairs to see Hank, horrified by the damage done to his friend. Beaten nearly to death by a mutant boy with a simple metal bat. Jean had explained how Hank had taken an extreme yet avuncular interest in the bird-like Barnell, in his training. It was apparently why he couldn't bring himself to harm the boy, not even to protect himself. But at what cost. They were still puzzled about why, since Barnell had seemed to adore Hank in return. Yet even to Jean's formidable telepathy, both their minds were a pained, nightmarish mess, no answers to be found.

Bobby only left the medlab when Jean finally forced him out; to eat, to wash, to sleep. He left to do all three in a daze. Snatched a quick sandwich in the kitchen, showered perfunctorily, then fell into bed to lie awake far longer than he wanted, mind whirling, anxiety churning the food in his gut.

Kurt was just as horrified as the rest of them. He'd excused Bobby from the roving team's duties to be with Hank. Warren had brought him down in the jet, sat with Hank for a while, then gone to stand by the healing tank they'd placed Barnell in. Staring with narrowed gaze at the one who'd harmed their friend. By his chillingly dire expression, Bobby had been painfully reminded of Warren's stint as Death, but had no real comfort to offer. He was having a hard enough time keeping his own spirits cheerful.

Jono and Stacey were upstairs somewhere, somewhat lost in the chaos that the mansion had become. All his old friends seemed emotionally lost since Xavier outed them as mutants then went off with the Shi'ar. Even the determinedly cheerful Jean. Most of the rest of them were just confused, overwhelmed, baffled, angry.

And then there was Scott.

Scott was really off. It was painfully apparent that something ugly left over from the time he'd spent with Apocalypse in his head had boiled to the surface at last. And until he kicked it free he would be practically useless. Bobby understood some of that – having shared mind and body with Emma in a strangely similar fashion. There was all that other person's shit that you just had to get rid of. Had to. Or it dragged you under and made you insane.

Yet the only real cure was time. He was only now truly beginning to feel like himself again. And then this horror happened to Hank.

He knew the moment Emma arrived. The link they had never quite been able to keep broken snapped into effect with proximity and woke him from his light doze. It was a wordless sense, this link, not even full telepathy. But they both knew whenever the other was near. Just as suddenly it was gone, and he knew she'd felt him and shifted form. He wondered if that had interfered with whatever conversation she'd been engaged in. Or if she even noticed anymore.

He climbed stiffly out of Hank's bed, still groggy and weary. He couldn't have been asleep long, if at all. He was using his friend's room. The mansion was overrun and the others had boxed up his stuff and put it in storage in order to fit four squabbling teens into his old room. It didn't really matter. He had a room at Worthington Industries now.

He went downstairs, pushing by strangers everywhere as he searched for her. "Where's Aunty Emma?" he finally asked one of them. A faintly blue skinned boy with deep green hair pointed silently toward the kitchen. Bobby wasn't sure but it looked like there were gill slits on the side of the boy's neck.

He shrugged, pushed through the swinging door and came to a halt inside the kitchen. Gaze shooting immediately to her. And of course she was diamond-like and glittering underneath the incredibly exposed costume. A teasing white leather 'x' that barely covered her generous breasts accompanied by white leather pants and boots with heels high enough to be considered weapons. Gleaming white fall of diamond-like hair that tinkled gently as she turned her head to stare at him, aloof and carefully remote.

They were alone in the kitchen, for the moment.

"It's not like you to hide, Emma," he said, folding his arms over his chest and leaning against the wall.

"Drake, you grace us with your presence," she said sharply, her expression chill. Then she sniffed. "Shouldn't you have dressed first? There are children roaming the halls."

He shrugged and glanced down at his snug, ultra-modern, mixed design, thigh-length brief-covered self. They were all one color – dark blue – at least, borrowed from Warren. He preferred that obnoxious cartoon characters adorn his underwear, but the clothes he'd had here had been put in storage too.

"I wore less for years, and in public," he said, a sharp smile on his face. "And you're one to talk, lady. What's with the fuck-me boots and the ho styling?"

"I beg your pardon?" She stiffened, clearly offended.

"That top, Emma," he said sadly, shaking his head. "Can you say 'fashion emergency'?"

"This sterling judgement from a man who thinks 'Scooby-do' is high art?"

"Gotta love Hanna-Barbera," he smirked. "Now Daphne – that girl knew how to dress." She glared back at him, and the remote, superior look he hated so much cracked slightly. Humor or anger?

"I wear what I please, Robert," she said with faint acid. "If it bothers you, leave."

He straightened up from the wall and walked toward her, gaze narrowed. She lifted her chin and watched his approach. Uneasy. It was strange to have Emma on the defensive, but that was clearly what she was, at least a little bit. He stopped in front of her. Realized that in her boots she was eye level – if not slightly taller – to him barefoot.

He let his gaze travel over her with mocking insolence, then lifted a hand and traced the upper corner of the x-shaped leather covering her left breast. Flicked at the material. Her chin rose slightly and she narrowed her eyes at him, but didn't move away.

"How do you get this to stay on?" he asked quietly, catching her gaze. Her eyes glittered strangely too, like chips of glacial ice. Blue and hard.

"Spandex mesh," she said shortly. And now that she'd mentioned it he could see it, a fine, pale mesh that encircled her glistening, translucent back.

"What are you doing here, Emma?" he asked, looking into her eyes again. Something flared briefly in them. Panic, perhaps. But from Emma Frost, the infamous White Queen?

"Why, working for the Dream, of course, Robert," she said with cool control. The bitter mockery plain.

"Change back and tell me that again," he challenged her. And it was clearly panic this time, again swiftly controlled. But he could tell. They'd been in each other's heads, after all.

"Why are you pestering me, Robert?"

He let his gaze rove over her face, her hair, the small frown that furrowed her brow. Closely examining the beauty of her features, the light-shot dazzle of her skin in this form, the elegant line of her neck. So beautiful and so deadly. But then, she always had been. She didn't need this new form to make it so.

"I want to take you to bed, Emma," he said softly. Something like disappointment shot through her expression, but her usual remote disdain swiftly took it's place.

"Why of course you do, Robert, like all men. You want what you see displayed and consider it your right to have it," she sneered lightly. He didn't get angry at her words, her dismissal. He just looked calmly into her eyes.

"Come sleep with me," he said. "Just sleep. I'll put my arms around you."

Her eyes widened in shock and her head swayed back slightly almost as if he'd slapped her. Pure panic now, as well as pain, quickly shuttered. She looked away, expression still.

"That would not be wise, Robert," she said, voice clipped. He reached out and caught her hand, feeling the cool, hard surface of her skin, the lethal sharpness of her nails. Remembered some of the very, very bad things that had once happened to her. Lifted her hand to his mouth and pressed a soft caress to the tops of her fingers. His breath warmed her diamond-like skin briefly. Her hair tinkled as she turned toward him, her eyes like blue fire now.

"Sleep with me, Emma," he said, his voice low, quiet, fervent. "I'll keep you safe for a little while."

She didn't say another word, her expression astonished and oddly vulnerable. Emma rendered speechless was something in itself, but he didn't take verbal advantage of the moment. Instead he turned, drawing her after him by his hold on her hand. And to his surprise, she came.

He led her essentially undisturbed through the halls, glad that most of the kids didn't know him and so didn't bother him, despite Emma's presence. Or perhaps it was the sight of a strange, barely-dressed man towing the diamond-like White Queen passively behind him that kept them out of the way.

He took her into Hank's room, feeling a brief flash of worry for his friend. But Jean was down there and would alert him if anything changed, for better or worse. He shut the door firmly behind Emma, only then letting her hand fall away. And it was as if the loss of his touch flicked a switch. The scorn and cool control returned. She placed one hand gracefully on her hip and glared at him.

"You're using McCoy's room?" she said, raising a glittering brow. He shrugged and walked over toward the bed. She just watched him, her expression controlled and remote again.

"There's a bunch of kids in mine now, as I'm sure you know," he said with a slightly pained smile. Her words reminded him of his injured friend again. But he'd sat with Hank for several hours now and needed sleep himself. Jean would skin him if he went back down to the lab before getting some rest. She'd said so. "Besides, Hank won't mind. He's an understanding kind of pal – as long as I stay out of his Twinkie stash. And this helps me feel closer to him right now."

He thoughtfully straightened the blankets out of the tangled mess he'd left them in, moved the pillows around, smoothed the sheets, then looked back at her. She was still standing near the door, her hand on her hip, yet a strangely blank look on her face. As if she was astounded to find herself here.

He crooked his finger at her in a come-hither gesture, a somber smile on his face. Her chin went up. But before she could blast him with a sarcastic reply, he shook his head slightly.

"Hey, it's just me, Emma. The guy everyone knows you love to push around. So cut the posing and get over here," he ordered. Watching her closely, he half expected her to refuse. Even turn and leave. She drew in a sharp breath, and it looked for a moment as if she would walk out. Then she took a short step toward him. Almost involuntarily. And another. But Emma Frost hated to appear unsure or hesitant, so she shook herself and strode firmly to his side, stopping there to watch him from shuttered gaze.

He undressed her slowly. Slid the short zipper in the front of her top down until it fell away. Her glossy breasts were stiff under the brush of his hands, her nipples a hazy white. He didn't linger, just stripped everything away; leather, silk, mesh. Her skin everywhere gleaming and hard. Cool to the touch. Fracturing the light into tiny rainbows. Dazzling him. No words passed between them.

When she was naked, he urged her down on the bed and she went, strangely passive. She watched him, silently, eyes cool. She laid still and made no move to draw the sheets up over herself. He gave her a brief smile, then walked around the room, turning off lights, locking the door, circling the bed.

The room was dim, daylight spilling faintly around the drawn curtains. Noises could be heard from the corridor outside, but it was quiet in the room.

He climbed in on the other side. She was lying as he had left her, flat and silent, but she had closed her eyes. He slid over to her, put his arm under her shoulders, pulled her toward him. His arms encircled her. Her cool diamond form hard against him. He reached down and drew the sheets high about them both, sliding his leg against hers.

"Sleep," he whispered into the strangely brittle texture of her hair. One of her hands was tucked under her chin, the other lay on his waist. Her eyes slid closed. Her face tipped down toward his chest, hair falling around it with a dry slither. She drew a shuddering breath, but stayed silent.

He was weary. Weary from concern for his friend. Weary from battle. Weary from the distance she still held between them. He kept his arms around her and she didn't move or transform back to flesh. He just held her, fading in and out of hazy sleep as the day waned outside. Until finally he fell into a deeper sleep.

He woke to full darkness. A streak of moonlight sneaked through the unevenly closed curtains and fell across the foot of the bed, giving the room an ethereal glow. There was the warmth of flesh against his and the soft, scented brush of hair under his chin. He blinked himself slowly awake, not moving. Aware that there was that distinct humming in his mind again that was Emma. She had transformed while he slept, her telepathy reactivating with the change. And turned over, her shoulders against his chest, her legs splayed across the bed. But she had not moved far away.

She was asleep. And the vulnerability of her pose – slim hand curled into his, white-blonde head pillowed on his arm, the slender nape of her neck exposed – made him smile gently. No one would believe him, but Emma Frost was a cuddler.

He could feel his awakening hard-on pressing out his shorts, but there was little urgency to the feeling. He always wanted her. Having her in his arms just gave his hormones a ready excuse to react. But he'd meant what he said. He would only sleep with her. Just sleep. She needed the peace as much as he did.

He felt the hum in his head strengthen subtly. Felt the hectic energy of her mind. She shifted slightly, her hand tightening in his, her face moving against his arm. He was about to draw her closer when he felt something warm drip onto his arm.

A tear.

She was crying in his arms.

"Emma," he whispered, aching. Pulled her back against him as more tears fell, silently.

She stiffened a little against him. Resisting, but not too much, and made a soft, surprised sound when she felt his erection press against her. Shifted uneasily, but he slid his hand down to her stomach and pressed her solidly back against him, not letting her pull away. Feeling the rise of her ribs with her unevenly drawn breaths. The soft scrape of her nails on his arm. Held her to him, just pressing skin to skin. Warmth to warmth.

He even opened his mind to her, radiating the simple delight he took at the feel of her in his arms. Wanting to show her that there was no urgency or need pushing him, no hidden motive, that even the sexual desire was a thing distant and controlled. He concentrated on peace and comfort and just enjoying the feel of her.

Abruptly, she transformed. Once soft skin now hard. Her mind snapped closed. A last tear rolled swiftly down onto his skin. Cooled from passing over her diamond-like cheek.

"Emma," he said again, sadly this time.

"I don't need your pity, Drake."

"It's not pity. It's compassion. Do you remember the difference?"

"I don't need that either," she said, her voice hoarse.


"Perhaps," she said, drawing away. "Or perhaps I am simply being more honest than you." She caught the top sheet in a glittering hand, pulled it free, wrapped it around her slick form. The moonlight glowed on the pale sheet, fractured on her skin, sending cold arcs of rainbow-tinted light around the room. Shifting in patterns as she moved. She looked at him over her shoulder, through the sweep of her sparkling hair. Her gaze chill.

"Or more chicken," he said sharply. "Why'd you change form again, Emma? Did I scare you?"

"Hardly," she said, chin lifting. "There are simply too many undisciplined minds squeezed into this mansion now for me to remain long in normal flesh."

"Self-protection, huh? Self-delusion it sounds like."

She glared at him. Turning slightly on the bed so that her side was fully to him so it was easier to pierce him with her glare. The bar of moonlight fell across her sheet-covered thigh instead, dousing the arcs of light. He grabbed a couple pillows and shoved them under his back, propping himself up with his hands behind his head. Adopting a pose of determined nonchalance. She never could resist a fight with him, he thought smugly. But it kept her from fleeing.

"Who is 'Stacey', Robert?" she asked when he'd stopped fussing with the pillows, a tiny, cold smile on her lips. "She figured prominently in your dreams."

"Just a new recruit," he said, giving a faint smile of his own. "She's kinda cute, actually. Kicks butt in a fight. Has a hell of a 'tude. Reminds me of you, in a lot of ways." Emma had been listening to him sleep? Was that good or bad? And now, because of his big mouth, once she found out Stacey had been a whore he'd be in real trouble, even though that wasn't how he'd meant it at all. Stacey was a survivor, just like Emma. Tough. Strong. And trying desperately to pretend that being alone was what she'd wanted all along.

"You slept with her," she snapped. He gave a short laugh and rolled his eyes. Her icy, glittering eyes flared briefly with anger, then she recovered her poise. An elegant brow lifted and a cultured sneer curled her lip. If he didn't know better, he'd think she was jealous.

"No, technically I 'slept' with her mutant power. She controls hormones. One touch the right way, a little chemical adjustment and whammo, instant bliss. No fuss, no mess," he narrowed his gaze on her as he gave a rueful chuckle. "Well, only in my uniform. And not much fun either."

"Really. Your dreams said otherwise," Emma said, the sneer deepening. Haughty disbelief plain on her gleaming face.

"Yeah, well, it was kinda like Chinese food," he said, eyes bright with determined mischief. "You eat and get full, then ten minutes later you're hungry again..."

Her sharp gaze raked him from the top of his head down to his toes, and back up again to skim briefly over his erection. Flicked back with a brief lift of brows before they locked on his eyes. He didn't react to her inspection, her mockery. Just met her gaze, smug grin firmly in place. A mask almost as effective as hers.

"Why are you trying to get me to stay, Robert?" she asked him sharply, glaring. He sobered instantly. Looked into her blue eyes and wondered how much it would take to get them to soften for him. Into flesh, at least. Then away from wariness. Perhaps to acceptance. And maybe more. He shrugged with care; not too casual, not too flip.

"I'm lonely, you're lonely," he said watching her closely. "I thought it might be a little less lonely together."

Her laughter was as hard as her new skin. She stood up then, the plain cotton sheet draped around her as elegantly as any silk robe. Moonlight shattered in her hair.

"You are mistaken, Robert," she said quietly. Her expression was harder than her skin. Then she bent gracefully and gathered up the awkward pile of her clothes. Held the bundle of white leather against her chest as she turned and walked to the door. The sheet trailed behind her like the long train of a wedding gown.

He sat up on the bed, draping his arms over his knees, catching one wrist in one hand. Struggling to keep from jumping up after her, from freezing the door closed, from begging. None of them would do him any good, he knew.

"I'm not, Emma," he said, a sad smile on his face. "Or why else would you be running?"

She paused at the door, one hand on the doorknob and pierced him with a fierce, yet curiously defenseless look over her shoulder. Then she turned the knob and walked away, leaving the door open so that he could see her glittering shape disappear into the darkness of the hallway outside. Alone.

- - fin - -