A/N: At long last, we have our conclusion. Enjoy!
The door swung open, colliding forcefully and audibly with the wall. With his sensitive hearing, Hank could perceive the sound all the way from his office in the back.
"Dr. McCoy!" The expected shout rang out into the air.
Hank sighed. It was Saturday afternoon, and he wasn't surprised that the increase in the students' spare time resulted in more injuries. He had always known that teenagers were accident-prone, but the manner in which some of these injuries were obtained was sometimes ridiculous.
Just this morning he'd seen David Alleyne after he fallen while climbing on the roof, and a very guilty-looking Rahne Sinclair had escorted Alex Summers, Scott's younger brother, to the medical bay. Nineteen-year-old Alex had been suffering from what appeared to be a mild dog bite, but Hank remained unsure of how exactly the mishap had occurred: the chances of stumbling across an angry dog were significantly lessened considering they were at a boarding school.
With a sigh, Hank proceeded out into the main area to find two teenage girls waiting for him: one brunette and the other blonde. Both were casually pretty, but the blonde was marred with raw and bleeding lesions on her upper leg.
"Oh, hey!" The blonde said, her voice very chipper in spite of the damage to her leg. "You must be Dr. McCoy! Jean-Paul told me about you!"
Hank didn't even want to imagine what information the bad-tempered teenager might have spread throughout the school rumor mill.
"I'm Dr. McCoy," he replied with a congenial smile. "Let's take a look at that leg, shall we? Don't stand, you can sit on the bench." A swift survey told him, despite what appeared as copious amount of blood, the scrapes were superficial. "What happened?"
"Road burn," the brunette responded, brushing a streak of her long, shiny black hair away from her eyes. She was tall in stature with lean muscles: an athlete. With her copper complexion and dark features, she looked as though she could have been of Native American descent. "I'm Danielle Moonstar, by the way, but I mostly go by 'Dani.'" She offered him a bright white smile. "And my incapacitated friend here is Sally Belvins."
"We were riding bikes, and I skidded when taking a turn down a hill too fast," Sally supplied blithely. "But Dani knew what to do right away."
Dani shrugged playfully. "What can I say? I've got the smarts."
"Oh, wow." Sally ran her hand across Hank's, not catching his quizzical expression. She blinked at him with wide cornflower blue eyes. "Your fur is nice. It's really soft, like a plush toy. Il ike it."
Hank was at loss for several seconds, but Dani caught his eye and gave him a small smile and shrug. Clearly, she meant to demonstrate that Sally's remark wasn't some inside joke: the blonde girl was sincere.
"Thank you," he managed eventually.
Hank scarcely had the time to clean Sally's scratches and apply an antibiotic before the door opened and a young woman, perhaps in her early twenties, limped inside, heavily supported by a man about the same age. She was typically pretty, with dark hair, and he possessed angelic features and while feathery wings protruded from his back.
"Hey," the young man greeted him with a relieved smile. "I wasn't sure if you'd be here on a Saturday, but I'm glad to see you." He helped the young woman to a bench near Sally's.
Extracting a roll of gauze from the pocket of his coat, Hank quickly wound it around Sally's leg and told Dani to hold it in place before crossing over to the newcomers. "I'm Dr. Hank McCoy. May I help?"
"It's my ankle," the young woman said. She indicated the lithe appendage. "We were playing basketball, and I stumbled." She offered a good-natured smile. "It hurts something fierce, but I'm really hoping it's not broken."
Hank swiftly assessed the extent of the ankle's damage. "Only a sprain," he told her with a smile. "Don't worry, you'll be fine in a few days. I would suggest wrapping your ankle when you'll be standing and walking about, but you'll have to refrain from serious physical activity for several days. I'll get some ice- "
"I can get it," the young blonde man offered. He offered Hank an amiable smile. "I'm Warren Worthington, and that's Betsey Braddock."
Hank had just shaken Warren's hand when the door burst open again. This time, a petite teenage girl edged into the room, supporting another groaning teenager who was wearing a bandanna wrapped around his forehead. Hank leapt to aid her in transferring the teen to a bed.
"Thanks," she said breathlessly. She pushed the light brown bangs of her pixie haircut away from her forehead. "You're Dr. McCoy, right? I'm Kitty Pryde." She pointed to the teenage boy. "He's Mark Sheppard, a new student. We were playing capture the flag- " she motioned to the red bandanna " -and when he was chasing me, but when I phased through the garden wall, he forgot to stop in time."
"I'll get two ice packs," Warren decided, turning to retrieve the cold compresses.
"Thank you. Check the freezer in the back room." Hank removed the bandanna, which had apparently been used as an impromptu bandage, to reveal a large graze on Mark's forehead that was trickling blood. Head wounds bled easily, Hank knew, and a quick check told him that Mark wouldn't be needing stitches.
"Here, hold this to clot the blood." Hank handed Mark a gauze pad; the boy murmured his thanks. Withdrawing a penlight from the pocket of his white medical coat, Hank quickly checked the youth's pupils: they constricted when they focused on the light. Good, no concussion.
Warren arrived with the ice packs, handing one to Mark.
"Use it to prevent swelling," Hank instructed. Cursory inspection complete, he concluded that Mark was in no immediate danger. "Sit here for a few minutes, Mister Sheppard- Miss Pryde, please stay with him, and let me know if there are any changes in his condition. I'll be back as soon as I finish treating Miss Belvins."
Fresh gauze was applied to Sally's leg, taped in place, then she was on her way, with Dani at her side.
Despite the earlier lack of symptoms, Hank returned to ascertain that Mark was still conscious and not experiencing double vision: the latter was fine on both accounts. His worries assuaged, he was able to get back to Betsey, who was holding the ice pack against her ankle, with Warren sitting beside.
"I apologize for the delay, Miss Braddock, but unfortunately, many of the other students habitually manage to bring harm to themselves." Hank began winding an elastic Ace bandage along her ankle, starting at the arch of her foot and working upwards.
"Please, call me Betsy," the young woman said. "My twin brother gave me the nickname in my childhood, and it's never died, so I might as well continue to use it."
Her lips had hardly finished moving when more people careened into the room: two men, in their early twenties at most, supporting another man between them.
"Oh, Sam." Warren sighed.
"All right, so it was my fault this time. I admit it, I should have been more careful." The blonde man, Sam, shrugged. "Don't worry, you don't have to get up," he told Hank, as he and his companion unceremoniously dumped the unconscious man onto the bed to the left of where Mark and Kitty sat. "Logan has instant regeneration- he's already fully healed. I hit him awfully hard, though, so, um, he may be out of it for a while."
Ah. Logan. Hank had only met him once before, and he hadn't instantly recognized him. While Logan was definitely more than a little rough around the edges, Hank knew the man's heart was in the right place.
"He's heavy," said the other man, who was vaguely Spanish in appearance. His tone wasn't supercilious, but his words were laced with the underlying note of unconcern and self-assurance prevalent to those who were descended from a long line of affluence. He frowned as he rubbed his muscles. "I guess they weren't kidding about the adamantium skeleton part."
"You know what?" Sam said hopefully to Hank. "I crashed into him full force, so there's a chance he may not remember either me or Roberto accidentally knocking him out. Could you please not mention that we were here?"
Betsy rolled her eyes. "Nice one, Guthrie. What did you do, shoot out of the sky and slam Logan into the ground like a railroad spike?"
This theory was confirmed when Sam cast a wary glance towards Logan's unconscious form. "It was an accident, but if Logan doesn't remember it, then it won't hurt him. And then he won't hurt us. Later."
Sam and Roberto retreated out the door, but not five seconds afterwards, a similar duo emerged from the hall: another blonde and another descendant of wealth and Spanish lineage.
However, this time, both were teenagers. One was blonde with a slight build, and the other held a suave handsomeness, though the roguish glint in his eyes combined with his cocky smirk brought an air of arrogance about him.
"It wouldn't kill you to admit you're in the wrong- " the blonde was saying angrily, but he was cut off.
"Don't blame me for your own shortcomings." The tone was sneering, reeking of both entitlement and condescension. His disdain was undisguised, not for lack of self- control, but rather insolence. The stereotype of the haughty rich, he was completely unconcerned about his brazenly ungracious demeanor. Hank wouldn't have been surprised to find that this young man thought himself too superior to bother with basic courtesy.
"Gentlemen, this is a designated area of rest and recovery, not a place for vociferous altercations," Hank informed them coolly. "If neither of you have any medical business here, then I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
The blonde teen seemed to make a visible effort to calm himself. "I'm sorry about that entrance. I can understand that it probably isn't the best first impression. But I actually do have a legitimate reason for being here." He held up his right hand- three of his fingers were red and dripping blood. "Someone slammed my hand in the door of his new Jaguar." He aimed a poisonous look his compatriot's direction.
Hank walked forward to examine the injured hand. "And you would be . . .?"
"Doug Ramsey," the blonde responded promptly.
"I am Manuel de la Rocha." The name was delivered in a prideful manner that suggested he expected the others in the room to bow down in front of him. "Don't listen to what Doug tells you- I'm not to be blamed for his own shortcomings. If he's too incompetent to open and shut the door of a car, then I fail to see how it's my fault. His accusations of me being the cause of his problems is just compensation: he knows his parents would never be able to afford to buy him an expensive luxury car like my Jag."
Apparently, Manuel's comment struck a nerve. "You're an asshole!" Doug snapped.
"Right on the money with that one," Betsy muttered.
"Mmm-hmm," Warren agreed.
Hank set his jaw and gave both boys a sharp look as he cleaned the blood from Doug's fingers. "Gentlemen, I will not have this sort behavior. Mister de la Rocha, if you cannot conduct yourself in a civil manner, then take your confrontations outside the medical center. Mister Ramsey, I would ask that you refrain from using profanity while here as well.
Doug nodded, chagrined, but Manuel dismissed Hank's words with a careless wave of his hand.
"I don't see why Doug's oafishness should reflect on me. He's the one who should be apologizing for making me waste my time taking him to get medical help and waste my breath arguing with him about the nature of his injury."
"If you don't want to be here, then do all of us a favor and leave." Betsy's tone was frigid.
Manuel ignored her and turned to where Mark Sheppard was sitting with Kitty Pryde. "Mark, you're ethnically Hawaiian, aren't you? That means you surf, and I expect that surfers are constantly injured due to their recklessness. A few crushed fingers wouldn't be a big deal to you. Tell Doug he needs to stop whining."
Hank, whilst swiping a disinfectant over Doug's digits, silently shook his head in dismay at the ignorance of Manuel's remark.
Mark sputtered in outrage. "First of all, I'm not 'ethnically Hawaiian,' as you so patronizingly referred to it. My family is from Hawaii, but I'm 'ethnically' Japanese. Second of all, I do enjoy surfing, but general stereotyping is not cool."
"Whatever," Manuel said, utterly blasé. "I'm bored. And I don't care to listen to your complaints."
"Doug's right. You are an asshole," Mark muttered under his breath.
Hank was fairly certain that due to his enhanced hearing, he was the only one who heard Mark.
"Out of morbid curiosity, why are you working so hard to convince Doug that he's the one at fault?" Warren inquired.
Manuel cavalierly shrugged. "Breaking a person's will and replacing their beliefs with my own is a systematic process I use to change others' opinions that I don't agree with. I might as well practice."
The rest of them absorbed this cold-blooded statement in silence.
"I'm going to go find Jean-Paul," Manuel announced, and he exited the room.
"Good," Betsy said as the door swung shut behind Manuel. "He and Jean-Paul are both such jackasses. They deserve each other."
"Jean-Paul's not that bad," Mark replied reasonably. "Just extremely self-centered, unapproachable, and lacking in fundamental compassion."
"I think Jean-Paul is just misunderstood," Kitty jumped in. "He's troubled, everyone knows that, but they're not willing to give him a chance."
"There you go, valiantly defending Jean-Paul and denying him the responsibility of his own actions. Why do you bother? Jean-Paul's never done you any favors." Warren raised his eyebrows at Kitty, whose face turned red.
Hank's reason for not interceding in the conversation wasn't becausebandaging Doug's fingers demanded his undivided attention. The procedure of splinting fingers was simple; he could have easily performed it in his sleep.
As a newcomer, he wanted to establish a foundation of the general beliefs of the student body. His reasons were mainly because widely shared opinions within the student presented fresh teaching opportunities to develop those convictions, but also on the chance that such beliefs could also be reflected by the teaching staff.
Additionally, in order to orient himself with his new surroundings, Hank needed to learn the mannerisms of the student body at large, acquire knowledge of the standard modus operandi by which the Xavier Institutestudents interacted with their environment.
Gleanings from the conversation revealed that Jean-Paul Martin wasn't on good terms with most of the other student thanks to his standoffish demeanor, and from what Scott had told Hank two days prior, the teachers weren't overly fond of Jean-Paul, either.
"If Jean-Paul wants to be seen as a better person, then he shouldn't just stand by and watch when Manuel acts like a jackass." Betsy was unmoved by Kitty's earnestness. "Jean-Paul should do something to stop it."
"You can't blame J.P. for Manuel's actions," Mark argued.
"Mark's right," Kitty readily concurred. "Jean-Paul is just loyal to his friend. And Jean-Paul never behaves like Manuel does. It's obvious that Jean-Paul doesn't want to be a snobby elitist like Manuel, but he doesn't want to abandon his friend for different people."
Judging by her age, Hank suspected that Kitty's reason for ardently explaining away another teenager's faults was because she enamored with the latter. Kitty's willingness to excuse Jean-Paul's attitude and fabricate new context for his actions were obvious signs of an infatuation with him.
Hank presumed the attraction was founded in Jean-Paul's good looks; even considering the stereotypical "good girl falls for rebel" magnetism, Jean-Paul's callous disposition would most likely discourage the most passionate female admirers.
After finishing Doug's finger splints, Hank sent him on his way, and then dismissed Mark after a final once-over for signs of internal brain injury. Hank paused briefly to check on Logan, but he remained unconscious, though he appeared to be otherwise undamaged. Betsy's ankle wrapping finally received the last few required adjustments, and she was just departing with Warren when Scott entered.
"Having a good time, Hank?" He asked jocularly.
"Wonderful," Hank responded dryly. "I had the pleasure of meeting Mister de la Rocha today.
"My favorite junior sociopath, right after Rogue." Scott sighed, holding up a sheaf of papers. "I was just reading his essay on To Kill A Mockingbird. Needless to say, Manuel missed the entire point of the book."
"Did the rest of the class do much better?" Hank asked, amused.
"Not really, no." Scott frowned. "Is that Logan? Why is he unconscious?"
"An incident with a Mister Guthrie," Hank replied.
It was telling that Scott instantly accepted this as an explanation. "Have you got any medicine for a headache, Hank? I gave Jean my bottle of aspirin before she left, just in case she became ill when traveling with Charles on his sabbatical."
"First cabinet on the right," Hank responded absently. He was dividing his attention between talking to his friend and updating the medical files; he was currently adding a note about Mark Sheppard's head injury.
Scott located a plastic container of Aleve. "Thanks. I really need this stuff whenever I'm grading papers for my ninth grade English class. My God, from looking at their paragraphs, you'd think I hadn't just spent the past month teaching them about this book."
Hank arched an eyebrow. "Are the essays legitimately that abysmal?"
"My red pen will run dry within the first hour of grading these things," Scott answered, with a hint of amusement.
"Sounds onerous struggle, similar to the type I experienced today." Hank grimaced at the memory of treating the many maladies that could have been prevented had the students been more careful. Then a thought occurred to him. "Actually, that gives me an idea . . . "
Hank and Scott sat at the round table located at the front of the medical bay, the surface before them loaded with student essays and beer.
" . . . and whenever we find a misspelling or grammatical error, we take a sip of beer," Hank finished explaining.
"We'll have alcohol poisoning in fifteen minutes," Scott pointed out. "Here, take these." He handed Hank a stack of essays. "I know each student's style, and I can probably predict the content of their essay. I'll tell you what individual cliché to look for, and when you find them, then you can drink."
Hank flipped through the papers. "Saint-John Allerdyce?"
"Drink whenever he begins using purple prose."
"Is he a frequent offender?" Hank asked.
"Worse than Laurell K. Hamilton."
Hank winced. "That's harsh. Bobby Drake?"
Scott was leafing through his own collection of papers. "Whenever he confuses his homonyms, you know, 'affect' with 'effect' and 'beet' and 'beat.' Stuff like that." He grimaced. "I'll be able to take a sip whenever Manuel interrupts his essay to extol the joys of a capitalistic society, whenever Amara Aquilla thinly disguises a personal diatribe as a message of the book, and whenever Rogue insists that a concrete aspect of the story has symbolic meaning."
Hank was impressed that Scott was so familiar with his students' writing methods. "Kitty Pryde?"
"Whenever he expresses his ideas more articulately than his classmates, who have been speaking English all of their lives while he's still learning it as his second language."
A growl emitted from behind them and they both turning to find Logan sitting up and rubbing his head.
"Those damn kids," he muttered. He noticed Scott and Hank and briefly scowled at them, but his dark expression lightened when he noticed the alcohol. "Hey, beer."
"If you want some, you have to grade freshmen English essays," Scott cautioned.
Logan scoffed and walked over to the table. "I may be just a combat teacher, but grading papers can't be that hard." He sat down and pulled the nearest essay towards him.
"Whose do you have?" Scott asked offhandedly.
"Jean-Paul Martin. That weird, pretty kid, then." Logan twisted the cap off a beer bottle. "Hey, it's German beer. Good stuff."
"Jean-Paul's should be easy. Just take a sip of beer whenever he mentions 'death' or any variant thereof," Scott told him.
"Hmph." Logan scanned the essay. "Let's start off with a toast." He raised his glass.
"An excellent suggestion." Hank was already paging through Bobby's essay. "I predict we'll sorely need it." He raised his bottle. "To health."
"To students one day taking the time to make an effort in their writing," Scott said.
"To beer," Logan added.
The three beleaguered teachers clinked bottles and drank deeply.
A/N: And that concludes this story. Only took me about a year. Feedback is awesome.
For more about this crowd, check out my story "What Could Go Wrong?" and its sequel "Kids These Days." Jean-Paul and Bobby's friendship is detailed in "Guilt Trips" and "Speechless".
Prototron MJ Tornada, for suggesting Logan should appear in this chapter;
Callie Summers, for suggesting Sam be involved in an accident;
Iron Savior, for suggesting I use Dani Moonstar and one of the New X-Men (Mark Sheppard);
and CrossoverxToxThexDarkxSide, for suggesting a new kid (Mark Sheppard) get hurt while following Kitty into a wall.
Thanks for the help! :)
The feud between Emma and Storm is basically that Emma treats nearly everyone around her as though she's better than them. In Chapter Two, not only did she interrupt a quiet moment between two good friends, but she was also insincere in her apology, while putting the moves on Hank though Rogue's body (Creepy). She was sort of just screwing with his head just for the hell of it right in front of Ororo, but then Emma also treated Ororo like some sort of servant.
Yeah. Emma's awesome, in her own cold-blooded way, but she's not really there to make friends.