FIC: "Degrees", (5/6), Iceman, [PG-13], X3
Based on X-men movies
Disclaimer: Iceman and other X-men characters are owned and
copyright of Marvel and 20th Century Fox. They are being used here
for non-profit entertainment only.
Part Five of Six: Bobby
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can
free our minds".
Bob Marley, Redemption Song.
After we captured Creed, everything else was easy. The few remaining
FOH were leaderless and overmatched. Piotr and Kitty rounded up the
ones inside the building, while Storm and I searched the woods for
any stragglers. Rogue stayed with the Guthries, keeping watch of a
tied-up Creed. I wish I'd seen Creed's face when Rogue told him who
she was really working for!
Soon afterwards, the authorities arrived. Storm briefed them on
everything, and handed them all the evidence we collected. Even with
that, it still took a call from Hank to vouch for us and convince
them. After a couple of hours of back and forth, they finally took
all the FOH members away in handcuffs. As they took Creed away, he
looked at me in the eyes with red-hot loathing. I looked right back
at him without flinching. And that was it.
After some first aid and a chance for everybody to get up to speed,
I was itching to head back to the hospital. I explained to Rogue
that Ronny was not dead, but he was in bad shape, and I needed to
get back to him. She kissed me, and said she understood.
I packed my body with caffeine and headed back to the hospital. All
the while, I could not get Graydon Creed out of my head. I knew the
situation between Ronny and me was nothing like Creed and
Sabertooth, but it made me wonder if I had been too quick to put all
the blame on Ronny for what happened at our house. Sometimes I
thought that Ronny was jealous of the way our parents treated me
over him, even if it was usually because Ronny always found a way to
get in trouble. Perhaps, as the big brother, I could have reached
out more to him when we were growing up. Maybe if I had done that,
he would not have freaked out when he learned I was a mutant. Or
maybe he didn't freak out; maybe he felt betrayed. After I went to
Xavier's, I didn't really make an effort to see what was up with
him. Maybe I had too much on my mind, or maybe I didn't care enough.
I don't know. We were never big on showing much friendliness or
anything, so I never really knew if he cared either. Well, that
question had been answered now. Ronny had been willing to give up
his life before ratting me out to Creed and his goons. That made me
very proud of him, and also realize how short life can be, and how
easily you can lose it all. I was planning to be there for him now,
as a brother, in the difficult physical recovery he would likely be
I finally arrived at the hospital and headed up to Ronny's room. I
opened the door, only to find an empty hospital bed.
I felt my heart sink in that instant, and my mouth got dry. I looked
around the room for something, anything, not sure what, and there
was nothing but silence. Turning towards the hallway, I sprinted to
the nurse's station, only to run into my father.
"Whoa, slow down, Bobby."
"Dad? Where's Ronny? He's not is he?" I could not even say the words.
"Heavens no! They just moved him out of Intensive Care."
"Oh, thank God. I was scared out of my mind "
"Are you ok? You're hurt."
"This?" I said, pointing at the big bruise on my forehead. `It's
nothing. I'm fine. So, where's Ronny's room?"
"Hold on. I came to see if I left my cell phone down here. Can you
come with me?"
We found Dad's cell phone under the chair.
"Why didn't you call me after they found Ronny?"
"You guys didn't call me until Ronny finally came out of the coma
days later and asked for me. If he had not come out of the coma,
would you have called? Or were you going to call after the funeral?"
Dad fidgeted with the cell phone.
"Can we talk for a minute, Bobby?"
"Sure." I said. We walked to a waiting area and sat down.
"Son, this whole mutant business scares me. The only time we've met
mutants up close, our front yard turned into a battlefield. And when
they found Ronny, he was in a part of town where a lot of mutants
live. The police thought he had been attacked by mutants."
"But he wasn't."
"I know that now. Ronny told us. Still, him getting hurt like that
was related to the mutant problem too."
"Dad, that was Graydon Creed, a madman, and not a mutant."
"I know. I wish I could get my hands on him and make him pay for
what he did to Ronny. But what I'm trying to say, Bobby, is that you
appear to have chosen to tread in dangerous circles .You're one of
those powerful mutants Creed was talking about, right?"
"I " I didn't know what to say to that.
"I just saw the news, Bobby. Interviews with people at Alcatraz,
descriptions of what went on. They talked about mutants with fire
and ice powers. I assumed that was you and that friend you brought
to the house."
"He's not my friend anymore." After I said it, I realized that I was
not completely sure about that.
"But you were there, weren't you?"
I was tired of lies.
"Yes, I was there. We fought Magneto and his brotherhood, and we
stopped him from killing an innocent little kid, among other things."
"So the things Creed is saying are true?"
"No, Creed was a liar. Everything bad he said about us was made up.
We fought alongside humans, against Magneto. We did not kill any
humans, and we certainly do not want to take over the world. Creed
wanted to stir up hatred of mutants by whatever means necessary. He
was a diseased man bent on killing every single mutant on the
"We captured him, Dad, and he's being held by the police. He's done
some sinister things, and he's going to face justice for them."
"Did he do that to you?" Dad pointed at my forehead.
"His men did. At one point, they captured me, and would have killed
me if my girlfriend had not helped me escape."
"This is crazy, Bobby. You're fighting wars, getting captured and
almost killed? This is all too much. I don't know who you are
"I'm the same person I was before you learned I'm a mutant, Dad. I'm
just fighting for what I believe in, that's all."
"That's just it, Bobby. All this fighting and danger, if that's what
you want to do, then that's your decision. But I'm not going to let
you drag my family into it too."
"What do you mean? I'm not "dragging" anybody into anything."
"Maybe not consciously, Bobby. But these "villains", what's stopping
them from learning who you are, and trying to get to you by hurting
your family? What's stopping them from going after Ronny again?"
"Creed did not hurt Ronny because of me. Back then, he didn't know
Ronny was my brother."
"Back then?...Are you saying he knows now?"
I could see where this was going, and I didn't like it.
"He does, but he also thinks that Ronny is dead. I made sure of
that. Besides, he's going to spend the rest of his life in jail."
"But what if he doesn't? What if he escapes, and finds out you lied
to him? Or maybe it's not Creed, but the next psycho in line, and
they go after us, Bobby? Are you prepared to handle that?"
"I would never let anything happen to you guys. Creed learning my
name was a fluke, an unfortunate set of coincidences. It won't
"Maybe not, Bobby. Buy maybe yes and I'm not going to take that
"What are you saying, Dad?"
"I'm saying that you made your choice, now I have to make the choice
I think it's best for the rest of us. I think it's too dangerous for
you to associate with us."
"Don't make this harder than it is, Bobby. We are going to move to
another town and start anew, and I think it's just too risky for you
to be a part of our new lives."
"So just like that, huh?"
"We still love you, son. It's just well, it just won't work."
"No, you just don't love me enough to even try."
"That's not fair Bobby."
I knew, in a way, he was right. It was not fair to force them to
risk their lives for me, no matter how small the risk might be I
guess I was tired of hearing their "I love you"'s and still end up
getting the short end of the stick.
"You're right. I've chosen what I want to do with my life, and I'm
prepared to handle the consequences."
My dad just nodded. We were silent for a while. I finally broke the
"Can I talk to Ronny before I leave?"
"Sure." He said. We went up to Ronny's room. Mom stood up as I
walked in. Ronny was sleeping peacefully. I did not want to disturb
him. He certainly needed the rest. I stood there, unsure of what to
do next. I looked at my Mom, but she could not look at me in the
eyes. I turned towards Dad.
"Can you tell Ronny when he wakes up that I wish him a good
recovery? And tell him "thanks for everything"?"
"Tell him "I'm sorry" too."
"Bye, Mom. Bye, Dad."
"Bobby " I heard my Mom say.
"Good luck." Dad finished the sentence for her.
I nodded, turned around and walked away. I could hear Mom crying
softly in the background, but I did not look back.
Life went back to normal then, or as normal as it got at the school.
But still, we all worried about Creed. The trial promised to be
extremely controversial. We were doing our part by providing as much
information as we could to the Government. Hank went on the TV
circuit again, explaining how a group of mutants (us) had banded
together to oppose Magneto. He told people that the only reason we
did that was because human authorities were unprepared to handle
him, and that we were uniquely equipped to protect both human and
mutant interests in situations that exceeded the capacity of normal
law enforcement. Most interviews were positive, although a few were
not, some accusing us of being vigilantes with only our own selfish
interests in mind.
Human opinions about Creed appeared to be split too. While most
believed the Government when they publicly presented the accusations
against Creed, some people viewed him as a victim of mutant
blackmail. Already indications of just how hard the trial would be
were surfacing. There were questions about whether or not the
electronic evidence we obtained against him would be admissible in
court. The Government was also having trouble obtaining witnesses
that could personally link Creed to criminal activity. So far, they
were only charging him for assault and battery, criminal conspiracy
and fraud. The evidence we found linking Creed to the mutant
massacre a few months back was deemed "too circumstantial" by
prosecutors. The danger of him getting a "slap in the wrist" was
Our fears were amplified when the judge granted bail to Creed. He
would remain free while the trial was ongoing. I never considered
that a possibility, and assumed he would be incarcerated during the
trial proceedings. The idea made me sick. This man, who had almost
killed my brother and knew who I was, would be out on the street.
Even if it proved to be temporary, this was a major cause of
concern. Thankfully, Creed thought my brother was dead, and my
parents had moved to a different city (without giving me their new
address). My family would not be in danger.
We were sitting in the TV room watching live coverage of the story.
Rogue sat next to me, her hand on my leg. Piotr and Kitty were
seated on the other sofa. Storm had left the day before for England,
leaving us in charge. Apparently, Moira requested her presence for
something important, but none of us knew what it was about.
The room suddenly got a little darker, and I realized Warren was
standing behind us, his wings casting a shadow on the sofa.
"What's going on?" he asked. Warren had been invited by Storm to
start practicing with us in the Danger room and did not see us as
the "junior staff" but as part of the same team.
"Creed is being released on bail." Rogue responded
"I still can't believe they're doing that." Warren replied.
We all nodded in silent agreement.
"So, what are we going to do?" he asked.
We all looked at each other.
"We should call Storm, see what she says." Kitty offered.
Piotr looked at me, as if asking for my opinion on the matter.
"We should do that, yes. But I don't think we should wait to take
action." I said. "For example, I think it's pretty clear that we
should raise the security level in the school, per protocol. No
students can go outside the grounds without a member of the staff.
We increase surveillance of the grounds. We warn the students to
report any unusual activities."
"But we have to do it without creating a panic." Kitty interjected
"Yes. We'll say these are just precautionary measures. I know this
sounds like overreacting, but "
"We've been burned by Creed before. I don't think it's
overreacting." Piotr suggested.
" I agree." Rogue concurred.
I turned towards Warren.
"Creed is leading a public rally after he gets released. Maybe you
can do some aerial surveillance, see where he heads to after the
rally. Just be careful to stay at a safe distance." Warren's
eyesight was as keen as a hawk's, and he could keep an eye on Creed
from a safe altitude.
"Alright." he replied.
"There he is." Rogue said suddenly.
I turned to the TV again, and saw Creed leaving the police station.
The cameras showed that a group of supporters were holding up signs
outside the station. As he left the prison, he raised his hands in
"They will never stop me!" he shouted to loud cheers.
I still could not believe that some people were actually supporting
somebody like Creed. Then again, he had presented himself to the
public as the victim of a conspiracy by influential mutants. Many
people now saw through that ruse, but some did not.
Creed stopped to talk, and the TV reporters were there to transmit
his words to the world.
"I am not afraid, my friends. I am confident that the truth about
these ridiculous accusations will come out during my trial, and I
will emerge victorious. As I've said before, this group of powerful
mutants will do anything to keep the truth from coming out. But they
will fail at that! And tonight at our rally, I will reveal new
information about this group, which calls itself the "X-men". I have
already revealed that our "esteemed" UN ambassador is actually a
member of this clandestine group. Tonight, I will reveal the name of
another of these "X-men"! I will force these people out of the
shadows and reveal their true intentions to the American people!
Make no mistake about it, friends. We will prevail!"
There was no doubt in my mind of who's name Creed was going to
reveal. I was sure that Creed hated me with a passion after I
brought up his relation to Sabertooth. I could feel everybody
looking at me, so they must have been thinking the same thing. It
took all my restraint not to start shooting ice spikes at the TV.
"God, I really hate that guy!" Was all I managed to say.
I felt Marie's hand moving away, and only then did I notice that I
was icing up. I breathed deep and iced down. The enormity of it all
was overwhelming. In a few hours, the whole world would know that I,
Bobby Drake, was one of the X-men. My biggest concern was not my own
welfare, as I felt safe inside the Mansion. The real concern for me
was my family. My Dad had turned his back on me trying to prevent
something like this from happening. What would this mean for them?
For a minute, I felt regret at not having killed Creed when I had a
chance. But I had made the right choice, didn't I? X-men didn't kill
unless it was absolutely necessary to save lives. Besides, Creed had
to go through a public trial so he could be discredited as the lying
warmonger that he was. But what price would I personally have to pay
"We'll think of something, Bobby." I heard Marie say. I didn't know
what to say back.
Suddenly, the TV cameras showed what appeared to be a small object,
glowing with energy as it flew towards Creed. When it hit his face,
a minor explosion occurred. Everybody screamed, frightened but
mostly unharmed; except for Graydon Creed.
"There has been an explosion! It appears to have injured Graydon
Creed!" the TV reporter exclaimed loudly. The people fleeing were
blocking the camera's view. Police were running every which way.
Finally, the camera was able to focus on the area where Creed had
been standing a few seconds ago. Police officers crowded together
around something. A few officers moved out of the way long enough
for the cameraman to focus on what remained of Graydon Creed. His
still-smoking body was on the ground, lifeless.
"The images we are seeing are live, ladies and gentlemen. From all
indications, it appears that Graydon Creed has been killed by some
sort of explosion!"
We all stared at the TV, unable to believe what had just happened.
Creed was dead.
He certainly deserved it. In fact, part of me wished I had been the
one to kill him.
The TV station continued broadcasting live. "There is no sign of the
attacker. Police are combing the area as we speak. From what we saw,
whatever it was, it did not look like a bullet. I'm sure
speculations are already forming that this was some sort of mutant
The frantic voice of the TV reporter and the live noise of emergency
sirens were the only sounds in the room for some time. Eventually,
Warren broke the silence.
"So much for my surveillance." He said. Nervous chuckles were heard.
We discussed what had just happened and who could have done it.
There were two possibilities: somebody who wanted to silence Creed
or somebody with a personal vendetta. Unfortunately, the X-men fit
the first category. We would have to get in contact with the police
and provide assurances that we had nothing to do with this. It
seemed more likely that this was personal, making it very hard to
find out who did it. Regardless, we probably had to do just that, to
clear our name.
"If the assassin turns out to be a mutant, people that believe in
the FOH will only get more radical." Rogue said.
"And somehow end up blaming us." Kitty pointed out.
"Yeah, that's what makes people like Creed so dangerous. You can
defeat someone like him with force, but unless you also win the
battle for the minds, the end result is just more "Creeds" later
on." Warren commented.
I cringed at the thought, but so far, that had been proven right.
There was no doubt that Magneto was a big reason why somebody like
Creed was able to garner so much support. And with Creed being
assassinated like this before the courts could prove his guilt,
there was a good chance that someone else would eventually replace
him. It was enough to make it seem like an endless cycle of
violence, spiraling down towards apocalypse. But I knew we could not
lose hope. I knew that we needed to honor the Professor by being the
ones, the only ones if necessary, to stand in the middle, fighting
against the Magneto's, the Stryker's and the Creed's of the world. I
looked at the four people around me and realized we were more than
ready to stand up to that challenge.
"Well," I said "If that's the case, we'll be there to stand against