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FIC: Changing Seasons (Iceman) 6/6

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  • Javier
    Epilogue: Steve Revisited PG-13. Drama/Action Disclaimer: Iceman, and all other X-Men are property of Marvel Comics. I m using him in this story without
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 18, 2003
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      Epilogue: Steve Revisited

      PG-13. Drama/Action
      Disclaimer: Iceman, and all other X-Men are property of Marvel
      Comics. I'm using him in this story without permission, and I am
      receiving no money for it.

      It had been one year since Steve's demise. Steve's family was
      having
      a ceremony to remember him. Rogue had volunteered to accompany her
      boyfriend Bobby Drake. The ceremony was going to be a remembrance,
      family and friends telling stories about when he was alive. It was
      not supposed to start until later at night, but Bobby had decided to
      come in earlier. They arrived at Steve's house in New York. Bobby
      stopped the car and sighed.

      "It'll be okay, Bobby." Rogue told him.
      "I'm so nervous. I've never really, you know, sat down
      with his
      mother to discuss this in detail." He did not know how he could
      even
      look at Steve's mother. She had been through so much, losing her
      husband and her son within the span of a few years.
      "Don't worry, Bobby. Just be honest. None of it was your
      fault."
      "Hopefully she'll agree with you."

      They got out and walked to the house. The day was cold, and snow
      covered the ground around them. Steve's mother opened the door
      and
      welcomed them in, hanging their coats in the rack. Bobby introduced
      Rogue. Ms. Smith asked her if the house was too cold, because of her
      gloves. She answered that her metabolism was like that, that it was
      okay. Bobby asked her how she was doing, and she said things were
      getting better. She had a good job now. Her oldest daughter was going
      to college next fall, and already had been offered a full scholarship
      to a good school. The youngest was in high school, and had very good
      grades like her sister. She asked Bobby how he was, and he said
      things were good. He told her that he was now working at his old
      boarding school.

      They talked a little, mostly small talk, until Steve's mother
      asked
      Bobby about San Francisco. She knew some of what happened, but she
      wanted to know the whole story. Bobby nodded. Rogue, who was sitting
      next to him, held his hand while he told everything. When he started
      talking about the hospital, and the dream, his eyes filled up with
      tears. When he was finished, he had to stop talking, and Rogue placed
      her hand around his shoulder.

      "Come here, Bobby." Steve's mother said. They stood up
      and he walked
      over to her. She opened her arms, and Bobby embraced her, as both of
      them cried together in the middle of the room.
      After a while, she looked at Bobby. "I'm glad you told me the
      whole
      story. I'm so proud of Steve, what he did. And I'm proud of
      you,
      Bobby. I know you blamed yourself in the past for it, but it was not
      your fault. You know that, right?"
      "Yes. Thank you, Mrs. Smith."
      "I guess part of me is not surprised about the way Steve acted.
      He
      was always that kind of person." She said.

      ----

      I was heading to my 10th grade English class, when I stopped by the
      boys' room. When I walked in, I heard somebody crying in one of
      the
      stalls. I walked closer.
      "Are you okay?" I asked. A sad voice answered: "Yeah"
      "Do you want to talk about it?' I asked, without knowing who
      he was.
      There was some hesitation, but then the door opened. It was a scrawny
      kid, maybe in ninth grade, with big glasses and a face full of
      pimples. I couldn't say that I had seen him before.
      "I'm sorry, I'm so ashamed. Don't mind me." He
      said, and started
      walking out.
      "Wait." I told him. I had been bullied when I was younger, so
      I knew
      what the victims looked like. "Has somebody been bothering
      you?"
      He looked at the floor.
      "You could say that."
      "I'm sorry." I said. I could have given him the
      "stand up for
      yourself" speech, but I was sure he had heard it before. So I
      offered
      sympathy. "When I was younger, I had the same problem. Believe
      me, it
      won't be like this forever." I saw his expression change a
      little,
      and then he started walking towards the door.
      "Thank you. I gotta go to my next class."

      During lunch period, I saw that he was sitting by himself. I walked
      over, and he looked at me surprised.
      "Anybody sitting here?" I asked
      "Never." He answered, almost in a whisper. I sat down.
      "What's your name?"
      "I'm Max."
      "I'm Bobby. Nice to meet you, Max." I said as I shook his
      hand.
      Then, I saw Steve. We were not in the same classroom this year, but
      we still sat together during lunch, and spent almost all the time
      after school together, even on double dates with girls. He was
      walking towards our group of friends, when he noticed I was not
      there. He looked around, and then saw me sitting with the kid. He
      looked back to our usual table, then back at me. I couldn't blame
      him
      if he decided to sit with the rest of our friends. Instead, he turned
      and walked toward us. "That's why he's my best
      friend," I thought.
      "Mind if I join you?" he asked, and sat before we had time to
      say
      anything.
      "How you doin', Bobby?"
      He extended his closed fist to me, and I did the same, connecting
      with it.
      "Good."
      Steve then extended his open hand toward the kid.
      "I'm Steve."
      The kid shook his hand.
      "I'm Max."
      We ate lunch, talking about normal teenager stuff. At one point,
      Steve looked at the kid.
      "Let me guess. Bullies, right?"
      He looked down, almost apologetically.
      "Yeah."
      "Man, sometimes I wonder about people…" Steve said
      "How long has it been going on?" I asked
      "Since I joined this school earlier this year. I walk home every
      day,
      and most of the time they follow me and harass me. They call me
      stuff, take my lunch money and shove me. It's embarrassing."
      "Who is it?" Steve asked
      The kid looked around, and then pointed towards a table.
      "Them." He said.
      We looked and couldn't say we were surprised. It was Brad and his
      friends. They were seniors, and were notorious for getting in
      trouble. They were also pretty big. I swallowed involuntarily.
      Just then, the lunch bell rang.
      "Gotta go, guys. Thanks for sitting with me." Max said and
      stood up

      After school, Steve and I met Max outside.
      "What are you guys doing?"
      "We're walking with you today." I said
      "Thanks, but you don't have to do that."
      "We know." Steve said, and we just continued walking with
      him. He
      told us that his family had moved into the area recently. We told him
      the area was good, but there were a few bad apples like Brad, just
      like anywhere else. When we took one corner, we found Brad and his
      friend Tom standing there. They looked surprised, but quickly went
      back to their "I'm too cool" pose.

      "Well, well. You got bodyguards now?" Brad questioned
      "Maybe he does." Steve said
      "I wouldn't get involved in stuff that does not concern you.
      You
      could regret it."
      "We'll take our chances." I said. These two guys were
      bigger than us,
      but one thing I learned with Steve is that you have to stand your
      ground. I looked at Steve and could tell he was thinking the same
      thing.
      Brad scoffed, then walked the other way.
      "Forget you losers." He said. Max sighed.
      "Thank you." He said. We walked a little more and we were at
      his
      house. He looked at us.
      "I don't suppose you wanna come in…?" he said,
      expecting a no.
      "Sure" I said
      "Yeah, ok." Steve confirmed
      We spent part of the afternoon at Max' house, just hanging out.
      At
      one point, he looked up at us "You gotta be the coolest guys
      I've
      ever met in my life."
      "Well, I don't know about that." I answered.

      The next day, we met Max after school once again. Steve and I were
      not sure how long we would have to do it. We usually took the bus
      home, but we did not mind the extra walk that much.

      We got to the corner where Brad had been. Sure enough, there he was.
      But this time, he was not alone. Six other guys from his class stood
      by him. They circled us and backed us to an abandoned lot that was
      right there.
      "What do you want?" Steve asked
      "Shut up, loser. We want him." Brad said, pointing at Max.
      "What has he done to you?" I asked
      "Nothing."
      "Then why pick on him?" I pressed
      "Look at him! Who wouldn't pick on him? And besides, it's
      just fun.
      So just get the hell away and let us have fun."
      "We're not going anywhere." Steve said
      I was very nervous. These seven guys could probably beat the shit out
      of Steve and I. But Steve was not flinching, so I wasn't either.
      "Have it your way."
      Steve and I put our hands up. We did not get in fights much, but when
      we did, Steve could duke it out with anybody. His Dad had taught him
      some boxing when he was younger. I was not as good, but I could hold
      my own. Of course, when it's two against seven, it's a
      different
      matter.

      Steve and I stood waiting for the first punch to be thrown. We did
      not have to wait long. They came at us quickly. I ducked a punch, and
      landed an uppercut on someone's stomach. Someone hit my side from
      behind hard, damn it hurt. I kicked the guy behind me in his leg,
      hitting him below the knee on the bone. He dropped to the ground.
      Another guy came up and grabbed me from behind in a bear hug. I
      struggled to get free. The guy in front of me was getting ready to
      hit me in the face. I moved my head forward, then backwards in a fast
      motion.
      "Oh, bastard!" I heard the guy behind me say. I was certain
      he
      probably had blood in his nose. He let me go, just before the other
      guy threw his punch. I took a second to look over to Steve. He had
      one guy on the floor already, and was fighting with two more. Brad
      was off to the side shouting stuff at Max, and preventing him from
      going anywhere. I had to get back to my own fight, as the two guys
      stood in front of me. Each one moved to one of my sides. We traded
      jabs, until I felt hands behind me holding on. It was the guy that I
      had kicked. He saw what I did to his friend, so he just held me and
      lowered his head on my back, so I could not escape again.

      "We got you now, blondie!" one of them said, and punched me
      in the
      mouth. I could taste my own blood. I was hoping that Steve was doing
      better, but saw on the corner of my eye that they had him in pretty
      much the same position, and were hitting him too. Another blow to my
      stomach took all the air away from me. "This is bad", I
      thought, "Maybe they'll get tired soon." I wished I was
      more
      powerful, so I could get free and beat the crap out of all of them.
      Little did I know that a few months later, my ice ability would show
      up in a similar situation.

      "STOP! STOP!" We all heard a voice. The other boys looked
      back and
      saw Max with an angry face.
      "Let them go! You want me? Come and get me! I don't care!
      Just let
      them go, they're not the one you want."
      I was amazed at the current turn of events. Max's face was pure
      determination. He walked over to Brad, and stood two inches from him.
      Brad was much taller than Max, so it looked pretty disproportionate
      when they were facing each other. The other boys let Steve and me go.
      Brad pushed Max to the floor. He stood up, and stood two inches from
      him again.
      "You can shove me all you want, but I'm not scared of you
      anymore."
      He said. Brad looked at his friends and laughed. But they did not
      laugh back. I think there were feeling somewhat ashamed.
      "Come on, guys, what's the matter?" Brad asked them
      "Come on, Brad, let's go." Tom told him, then, to
      preserve Brad's
      status he added "they're not worth it."
      Brad looked at Max and scoffed.
      "You know what? You're right." He started to walk away in
      his cocky
      stride, but I could tell he was embarrassed. The other six boys
      followed him.
      Max came over to us and looked at our faces.
      "Are you ok?"
      "Yeah, we still got all our teeth." Steve answered
      "I'm sorry, you guys." Max said
      "Sorry? You were great! You were the definition of brave." I
      replied
      "Brave? I was scared shitless!" Max said
      We all laughed and continued on our way. We knew that Brad would not
      bother Max anymore.

      A few weeks later, Steve's Dad lost his job and he moved the
      family
      to New York. Steve and I kept in touch, but then my mutation
      manifested itself, and I ended up at Xavier's. Meanwhile, his
      family
      had problems of their own, as his father struggled with making ends
      meet. We slowly drifted apart, until that summer day in New York.

      ------

      The ceremony started on time. Family members had gathered, as well as
      friends. Some of them were from Steve's school in New York, where
      he
      spent 11th and 12th grade, so I did not know them. However, the
      stories told were all similar. Early on Steve's mother had said
      that
      this was not a ceremony of death, but of remembering life, that she
      expected everyone to remember the good things, and if they were
      funny, by God she expected us to laugh. Some of the stories did
      indeed made all of us laugh. Too bad I couldn't tell
      our "Superfriends prank" story. A lot of people talked, even
      Rogue,
      who said that in the short time she knew Steve, she could tell he was
      a special human being. When it was my turn, I went on for a while
      about all the things we did when we were growing up, probably using
      more of my time than allotted, but nobody seemed to mind.

      I found out later that Jack and Sadie had wanted to come, but could
      not. They did however call Steve's mother and talked with her for
      a
      while. After she was finished, she passed me the phone and I talked
      with them too. I told them I was fine, and they seemed genuinely
      happy for me.

      People started heading out, when a boy walked over to me. He must
      have been about 17 years old, but I could not tell who it was.
      "Bobby?" he said
      "Yes…?"
      "You don't recognize me?"
      I looked at his face, and suddenly I knew who he was.
      "Max! You look different."
      "Yeah, I don't look like a dork anymore." He said smiling
      "How have you been doing?"
      "Good. And you?"
      "Good too."
      I remembered that Rogue was next to me.
      "This is my girlfriend, Rogue."
      "Nice to meet you." He said, shaking her hand.
      "Nice to meet you too."
      "I was so sorry to hear about Steve. He was such a nice guy."
      Max said
      "Yeah." I replied
      "You have no idea how you guys influenced my life."
      "Really?"
      "Before I met you two, I was in a bad place. I had some really
      bad
      thoughts back then. I'm not sure what I would have been capable
      of
      doing."
      "What do you mean?"
      "Let's just say that there's stuff on the Internet that
      has no
      business being there."
      "I understand."
      "Anyway, I wanted to thank you again for what you and Steve
      did."
      "You're welcome. I'm glad things worked out for you."
      "They did. Well, I gotta run. Bye."
      "Bye."

      After most people left, a smaller group of us stayed to put
      Steve's
      old room in order. His mother had not been able to go inside of it
      before now, but with the support of family and friends she did.

      I saw some boxes in one corner, and saw that they were postmarked
      from San Francisco. Jack and Sadie must have sent them, I thought. I
      looked inside and started taking out his college stuff. There were
      several books, but one in particular caught my attention. It was a
      photo album. I called Rogue and we sat down for a minute to look at
      them.
      Rogue pointed out one of two children, a black kid with green eyes
      and a white kid with blue eyes, arms behind each other's neck.
      "How old were you and Steve in this photo?"
      "About ten, I think."
      "Look at you! You looked so cute!"
      "And I'm not now?" I asked smiling
      "You know you are." She said, holding my hand
      As I continued to pass the pages, I made it to one part with
      newspaper articles. There was one on when his debate team won a state
      tournament. There were some on members of his family.
      "Look!" Rogue said pointing at a particular article. The
      headline
      read "Mysterious group of mutants foil attack on Senator." I
      remembered this article; it was when we, the X-men, saved a pro-
      mutant senator from an assassination plot. Some of the witnesses had
      described the "mysterious group" and in one place someone was
      mentioning some kid that shot ice from his hands. In the article,
      that sentence had been highlighted, and a handwritten comment next to
      it said: "The Man!". It was something he used to say to me.
      I said: "No, you're the man." Like I had said so many
      times in reply.
      Steve was definitively a great guy, and wherever he is right now is a
      better place for having him there.

      THE END

      OK, so I felt bad for what happened to Steve, but once I had started
      on the "Coming of Winter" story I knew where it had to end.
      This
      chapter is my way of thanking Steve for becoming a character that I
      would have liked to have as a friend.

      If you stuck with this series all the way, I thank you, and hope that
      it was worth your while.
      --------
      There are heroes out there helping people every day, in so many
      different causes and countries, and they just need our support, be it
      our good will, our prayers, our donations, or our time. Let's
      help
      keep the hope alive for all us.

      Carlos
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