Disclaimer: I don't own the X Men.
A/N: Because I just thought of it. And it's awesome. Also, I mixed in a bunch of characters and the time line placing for this story is kinda vague. It's after the whole Antarctica incident, but I don't really know when that was, so Annie is in the story, which means this is also after Alex left Lorna at the alter… and um, it's also after the Purifiers stuff in Childhood's End. Figure it out yourself. It's a mess.
"Sentinels," Bobby Drake scoffed as he slid down an ice-slide surf-boarding style. How many sentinels had he faced in all of his years as an X Man? Truthfully, Bobby had lost count after number one-seventy, but it was something to be proud of –the fact he had managed to keep track of all those sentinels. The ice mutant bet that none of the other original X Men even bothered counting after the third mutant-killing machine.
Well, actually… maybe Scott counted…
"Drake! Watch out -!"
Bobby heard the voice but didn't have time to register who it belonged to because the sentinel he was supposed to be fighting as a demo for the New X Men suddenly hit him with one of its huge metal hands and he went flying across the field.
"Shit," Logan growled, running across the lawn to fetch Iceman.
A few minutes later, he carried the unconscious mutant over to the group of waiting students.
"This is why ya gotta pay attention during training, too!" Logan told the students. They all crowded around their Accountancy teacher and Logan gestured at a golden-skinned boy to kneel closer.
"Go ahead and heal him, bub," he said,
Joshua Foley reached out and touched his index finger to Bobby's chest. Bobby glowed with a golden light for a moment and his scratches and cuts healed, scabbed over, and faded away.
Iceman did not open his eyes.
"Is he dead?" Cessily asked fearfully,
Josh's eyes widened, "No! He's in a coma!"
"A coma?" Julian Keller repeated mockingly, "How could that hit force him into a coma?"
"His breathing and heart patterns indicate that Elixir is correct," Laura spoke up, "I suggest that he should be take to the Med Lab-"
"Outta my way!" Logan snarled at the students. He scooped the ice mutant up and sprinted back in the direction of the building.
[Mutant signature detected. Destroy.]
"Um… guys?" Anole stared up at the sentinel, which had been forgotten in the chaos.
Once Hank hooked Bobby to an oxygen supply and a few machines, there was nothing left to do.
"So tell me what happened again?" Scott Summers was not –understandably –very happy with this new development.
"I told ya –he was supposed t' be showing the kids how t' take out a sentinel, but he wasn't payin' attention and got slapped across the field," Logan said impatiently.
"That's all?" Hank interjected, "A coma as a result of that is surprising, then."
"This is bad," Scott said, starting to pace the Med Lab, "Bobby could be stuck like this for a while. Coma's can last years…"
He glanced over at Bobby as if expecting him to jump off his sick bed and yell, "HAHA! Just kidding!"
Bobby remained motionless.
Scott sighed and excused himself from the Med Lab, "I guess I have to arrange for a temporary Accountancy teacher."
/Yer kidding, right?/ Jonothan Starsmore said. He stared at Emma with his eye brows raised in skeptiscm.
"Absolutely not. Look, Jono, you're the only one fit for the job."
/I don't know anything about Accountancy./ Jono said flatly.
Emma sighed, "Yes, but you don't teach any classes and out of all the other options for the job, you're the least likely to shred the students to bits."
Jono shook his head and started to leave Emma's office, /Yer crazy, Emma. The kids aren't gonna listen to a monster like me./
"Please just think about it, Jono," Emma called after her former student as he opened the door.
/Right./ Jono replied, waving his hand dismissively, /I'll do that./
"It's horrible," Annie declared, sitting down at a table in the staff room.
"Hm?" Alex said, looking up from his dinner, "What's that?"
"Bobby's in a coma!" Annie said, "He got knocked out in a demo for a few of the kids and somehow he was sent into a coma."
"Oh… erm, wow. A coma?" Alex said, "That's too bad. Who knocked him out?"
"It was a sentinel he was showing the kids how to fight."
"Oh." Alex said again,
"I'm going to find Jean Paul," Annie said, noticing that her boyfriend didn't particularly care that much about the state of his old rival, "He'll probably be devasted,"
It was not until Annie had exited the room that Alex Summers wondered why Jean Paul would care.
"But how?" Rogue wondered, staring down at her comatose friend.
Hank shook his head, "It remains a mystery. There's a chance that it is due to his second mutation, but…" He sighed. As the news of Bobby's condition had spread, his fellow X Men had almost all stopped by. Hank McCoy found himself explaining the same thing to all of the visitors.
Rogue frowned, "I hope he doesn't stay like this for too long." She said.
As she left, Annie walked in, followed by Jean Paul Beaubier.
"How did this happen, doctor?" Jean Paul demanded.
Hank wondered why Jean Paul looked so anxious. He didn't think that Bobby and the Quebecois were ever particularly close…
Hank told Jean Paul what he had told everyone else.
Annie sat down in the chair next to Bobby, "Oh Bobby… you have the worst luck in the world, don't you?"
/Right. So, as most of you know, yer Accountancy teacher, Bobby Drake, is in a coma. I'm gonna be yer teacher until he wakes up./ Jono paused to wonder how long that would be before he continued, /Most of you probably don't know who I am –I'm Chamber. I worked with Generation X and I was here for about two bloody days when your Miss Frost asked be to teach this class. Out of the goodness of my heart, I complied. Any questions?/ Jono scrutinized the students of his first class.
They all stared at him.
Jono winced internally. They were probably wondering why the hell he was covered in black bandages.
A boy in the front row raised his hand, "So do you want us to call you Chamber, or Mr. Chamber?"
/Jono will be fine. I don't do 'mister's./ He rolled his eyes.
"What can you do?" A girl asked.
If Jono had teeth, he would be grinding them together, /Ask one of yer other teachers. Enough questions. What does Iceman usually teach here?/
"Uh, Accountancy?" one of the students said.
/Right. Do you have any textbooks you can read out of?/
"Uh, no." said the same student,
/What were you learning about in your last class? Wait, never mind./ Jono pulled down a screen in front of the white board and turned on the projector, /What movie do you want to watch?/
"You look depressed,"
Jono looked up, as a man sat down next to him.
"Chamber, right? Generation X?"
/Right./ Jono gave the man across him a quick glance, and then turned back to the TV, /Yer Gambit? I've seen you in passing, I think./
"Right. Gambit's de name."
Jono noticed that the few people still sitting in the Recreation Room suddenly got up and left.
/Everyone still hates you fer Antarctica?/ Jono wanted to ask. He didn't. The answer was obvious.
His gaze flickered over to Remy Lebeau for a moment.
The Cajun had brought his legs up to his chest and had his arms wrapped around them. His face, lit by the glowing TV screen, was expressionless, but Jono recognized the distinct expression in the older man's eyes.
He was in pain. Saddened, hurt, angry, remorseful… all those dark emotions swirled inside, fighting to get out.
/I can't teach that class fer one more day, Emma!/ Jono said, stalking into her office, /Those kids stare at me like I'm the thing from the bloody swamp!/
"You've only been teaching the class for four days, Jono, dear, and from what I've heard, the students are watching movies all hour." Emma replied calmly, looking up, "They haven't gotten familiar with you, yet. Give it a few more days."
/Ter Hell with it! I can't teach!/ Jono yelled, throwing his hands up and storming away.
Jonothan Starsmore. Remy found him quite intriguing. Really, moping around like he did, the boy brought self-pity to a whole new level.
No, not a boy. He couldn't be more than five years younger than Remy.
Jono didn't talk much. The most he ever said in one go was on that first official meeting. True, Remy had been vaguely aware of the group of younger mutants, dubbed Generation X, during his time with the X Men, but he'd never really paid them any attention –except for Jubilee, of course –and he'd only ever seen Jono in the halls of the mansion of few times. Even then, Chamber had been dark and brooding.
Remy smiled dryly as he walked down the hall. For the past three nights, they had sat together silently in front of the television. Jono didn't sleep much due to his mutation and Remy didn't sleep much due to… well, he just didn't feel like he deserved to have a good night's sleep.
Remy arrived at the Med Lab and went inside.
He had gone to see Bobby on the first evening of his coma. He had ended up talking to the unconscious X Men for two hours. Every day since, he stopped by the Med Lab to see Bobby before heading to the Recreation Room later on to watch TV with Jono. It was his new routine.
He told Bobby about how cold Antarctica was, how he felt betrayed after being left there. Remy knew Bobby couldn't hear him, but it was nice to get everything out.
Today when Remy walked into the Med Lab, he discovered Jean Paul Beaubier sitting in his usual seat.
He frowned for a moment. Jean Paul usually came to visit Bobby after he finished teaching, yes, but he was usually gone by the time Remy came by. It was like an unspoken arrangement –oh, wait, the speedster was getting up and leaving now…
Remy took up the empty seat and watched Jean Paul disappear through the doors.
"Gambit t'inks JP got a little crush on y'," Remy told Bobby, smiling slightly.
The room was silent except for the beeping of Bobby's heart monitor.
Hank could be seen working in his personal lab, but there were doors that muted the sound between there and the sick room.
"Guess what," Remy said.
"Gambit makin' a new friend, Bobby," He paused for a moment, "Okay, I'll drop de t'ird person point o' view. I know. Everyone t'inks it's weird. But it's like blamin' someone else f' what Gam- f' what I do." Remy stared at Bobby's expressionless face, "Do y' understand?"
"Anyway, I'm makin' a new friend. His name's Jono. R'member him? He's teachin' y' Accountancy class until y' wake up. We watch de late night television shows t'geder. I kinda hopin'…" Remy suddenly felt blush creep up and tinge his cheeks, "I kinda hopin' we can watch TV t'geder every night. Like a routine, non? Put some order into my life again." He smiled at the thought. His cheek muscles were sore from the lack of use, so he stopped after a moment.
In the other room, Hank looked up from his current line of research to see Gambit sitting at Bobby's bed side. Between Jean Paul and Remy, Bobby was almost never alone in the evening.
Hank was well aware that they both talked to the unconscious ice-mutant during their visits, which was why he went to his personal lab in the evening –to give them some privacy. The doctor was glad to see Remy smile a few times as he talked, even if it was to a comatose mutant.
Yes, comatose. Bobby had been Hank's friend for years. Now he was in a coma and those could last for years, Hank knew.
Another thought lurked constantly in Hank's mind. Some people did not wake up from comas. Bobby Drake could as well be one of them.
A/N: So… I hope you liked it so far! Reviews are appreciated!