Title: Ice Cream
Author: Pat Phillips
Summary: Marie is having one of her bad
nights. Mike doesn't have a cure, but
he's pretty sure that ice cream can
make anybody feel better -- even an
outcast among outcasts.
Rating/warning & pairing/characters:
With the exception of Mike McWhirter,
I do not own these characters. Instead,
they are the property of Marvel Comics.
As a firm believer in property rights,
it's only reasonable that I specify that
my use of these characters should in no
way be interpreted as a threat to Marvel's
ownership of them.
All of my fan fiction, including this story,
is a not-for-profit venture. After all, when
you get down to it, who would pay for this
Readers of my other fiction may notice that
Mike is a minor character in "A Sacrifice
of Flowers". Note that this story assumes
that there was significant period of time
between the defeat of Magneto and the
Brotherhood at the Statue of Liberty and
Logan's leaving to investigate the Alkali Lake
facility. During that time Jean, Scott, Ororo,
and Logan conducted missions for the Professor.
That may not be exactly canon, but it allows
for some interesting stories.\
It was another restless night. I'd been having a hard time sleeping
ever since I came to Professor Xavier's school. This was the first
time I'd been away from home. I'd been here for a couple of weeks
and I was still getting used to the place.
I'd taken to roaming whenever I couldn't sleep. It wasn't against
the rules or anything. I just had to stay inside the building and
out of the girl's section once it was after hours. Oh, and there
was also a bunch of places that only the Professor and the X-Men
could go. Places like the hanger and such. But the mansion is a
big place, with plenty of room to wander around in.
I headed down to the TV room.
Someone was already there.
Nuts. So much for my plan of seeing if HBO was doing any late-night
Then I heard crying. It was Marie. She was curled up on one of the
couches, covered with a blanket. The TV was on and one of the news
channels was showing. The sound was so low that you couldn't hear
it. But you could hear Marie crying.
Marie has a lot of bad nights. She has this really strange power.
If she touches anyone, she absorbs their memories and personality.
If whoever she touched has any mutant powers, she gets them too. If
she touches anyone long enough, she can kill them.
The powers and memories fade away after a while. But some of the
memories never go away.
So Marie has a lot of people running around in her head. People
like that Magneto guy that I've heard about. And she has really
I thought about saying something to her. But I'm not exactly
Marie's favorite person in the school. The first time I met her, I
asked her why she had those stripes in her hair. Hey, I thought it
was a dye job. No one tells you anything when you're the new guy
Still, Marie was having a bad time. I couldn't just stand around and
I turned and went to the kitchen. I dug out two bowls and filled
them with ice cream. Vanilla for me. Vanilla with chocolate syrup
and sprinkles for her. On the way out, I grabbed a couple of
Back in the TV room, I set her bowl in front of her. Then I grabbed
a seat on another couch. Marie likes you to keep your distance.
"Mike, what are you doing here?" she asked after wiping her eyes on
"Eating my ice cream. If you don't want yours, I'll take it."
She sat up.
"Hey. That's just how I like it," she said in surprise.
"Yeah. I noticed."
She gave me the look pretty girls give you when you're paying a lot
of attention to them and you're not a movie star.
"Why are you memorizing how I like my ice cream?" she asked.
"I know how everyone likes their ice cream."
She cocked her head to one side, still looking at me.
"OK, how does Jubes like her ice cream?"
"Chocolate with chocolate sauce and topped with a broken up
chocolate bar. That girl needs help."
"Strawberry and sprinkles."
"Vanilla and chocolate with strawberry syrup and sprinkles. Bobby's
a nice guy, but he has no class when it comes to ice cream."
She laughed at that.
"Chocolate with butterscotch."
"Vanilla with butterscotch. I think he used to be a plain vanilla
like me, but Dr. Grey brought him over to the dark side."
"Plain vanilla. That's kind of surprising, until you realize that
ice cream is still a new thing to her."
"I don't think he knows what ice cream is. If he's in the
refrigerator, he's grabbing a beer."
Marie shook her head and picked up her bowl. She was quiet while
she ate her ice cream.
"Thanks," she said once she finished.
Both of our bowls were empty. I reached for hers so I could bring
them back to the kitchen.
Marie put her hand over the bowl. She was wearing gloves. Marie
wears a long nightgown, gloves, a scarf, and socks to bed. I know
that sounds crazy, but she's really scared of touching someone. And
everyone is scared of touching her.
I almost touched her hand while reaching for the bowl. Even though
she was wearing gloves, for a scary second I felt my stomach turn
over. But I didn't flinch. At least, I don't think I did.
"I'll clean up," she said.
I handed her my bowl.
After a few minutes she was back. She sat back down on her couch.
We watched a movie on TV. It was "Saving Private Ryan" -- one of my
"Mike, do you like this place?" she suddenly asked me.
"Yeah," I said without hesitating. "It took me a while to get used
to the school. And I guess I get homesick sometimes. But I like it
I thought about that for a while. Then I answered, "Nice people.
Pretty girls. A pool in the backyard. And Miss Munroe teaches a
dynamite history class. What's not to like?"
She looked at me for a long time.
"Kitty told me that some people here are giving you a hard time,"
she finally said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"They call you names."
"Stuff like that happens," I said with a shrug, hoping she would
"I's not supposed to happen here," she said quietly.
"It's not as bad as it was back home in Denver, Marie. Nowhere near
We watched the movie some more.
Suddenly, I heard myself ask, "How do people treat you?"
"Usually pretty good," she answered thoughtfully. "But some folks
have a problem with me. Some think I'm crazy -- they figure that
having other people's memories is a lot like "hearing voices", I
guess. Some are jealous because I'm tighter with the X-Men than the
average student. And a lot of them are scared of me. Every day, I
see other students walk out of their way to avoid passing me in the
hallway. Or they hurry up and leave the room when I enter. They're
scared that we might accidentally touch."
I winced. When I first got there, I did that. It took me a few
days to get over it.
Marie was quiet, then she said softly, "But most of the people here
try to be better. We've got to remember that, Mike. Both of us
have to remember that."
"OK, Mike. So what's this about people calling you names? I showed
you mine. Now show me yours."
I couldn't help but smile at that. I also had to derail a sudden
and really interesting fantasy in order to keep talking.
"There's not a lot to say, Marie. I'm not as smart as everyone
else. So some guys call me names."
"What kind of names?"
"Look, it doesn't matter..."
"What kind of names?" When Marie decides on something, she can be
"Well, 'retard' is pretty popular."
"Who calls you that!?"
I figured that Marie probably didn't want to know that one of her
best friends calls me that all the time.
"Forget it," I sighed. "Look, Marie, I've been a disaster in school
as long as I can remember. Mr. Summers got careless with some
paperwork the other day and I got a look at the IQ scores for the
students. Kitty's the smartest kid here. She's almost two hundred
freaking points ahead of me. The second dumbest kid here is thirty
points higher ahead of me. Mutants are usually pretty smart. But
I'm one of the exceptions -- and I'm going to have to live with
that. And like I said, this place is nothing compared to back
home. That fight that almost got me sent to jail was a part of all
"Stop talking like that, Mike. You're not dumb."
"If I stop saying it. That doesn't make it not true, Marie."
She didn't have any way to respond to that.
We watched the movie for a while.
"I'm sorry about asking you about your hair. I didn't know." Until
tonight I had been scared to talk to her about that.
"Thas' hokay. Y're tryin'. Ah like that..."
She was getting sleepy.
I was getting tired, too. I clicked off the TV set, tucked Marie's
blanket around her, and then lay back down on my couch. Marie
stirred a bit and moaned something in another language -- German, I
think. Then she said something in English that I didn't
understand. Something about her parents and a big chimney.
A couple of hours later I woke-up from a really bad nightmare. I
had figured out in my sleep what Marie had been talking about.