It was her last year at the Jean Grey School. Her final year ever. After this, she would have completed her education. Would would she do? Where would she live? Idie was at a loss. New York was so big — and she was so small. She wouldn’t admit it, but she was scared. Scared of what was to come. It wasn’t like her to worry about the future, it never had been. Idie had always been focused on the present moment, fixing the problems she faced each day; but somehow, this was going to be a constant problem she was going to face everyday.
She was sitting in her small area she had set up on the Krakoa — the plants she grew were planted their, and around it was a bookcase, a small, red sofa, and a mirror. It was her quiet place. She liked it there. Sometimes, it was the only place the thermokinetic could ever get some peace and quiet. It was her space, one she had created herself and it allowed her to be alone. Alone in a way that suited her — here she garden, read, and just think about things. Nice things.
The cool September breeze brushed through her hair as she kneeled on the ground, digging up various plants and placing them into pots. “Come on…” Idie muttered out of frustration at a Cannas that had rooted itself extremely deep into the ground. Idie was moving some of her plants into her dorm room — which had been described as a jungle without the plants Idie planned to add in. What would happen to her space once she left the school? Perhaps one of the younger students could use… But a part of Idie wanted to keep it just to herself.
The young mutant felt a presence behind her and froze. Turning around slowly, she looked at the new comer. “How did you find me?” She asked, furrowing her brow. “Did the Krakoa tell you how to get here? They always seem to be doing that…” Idie mumbled, turning back to her plants, making sure the Cannas was settled in its new pot. “Can I help you with something?”
The new academic year was about to start. It had been a rather eventful summer for Hank McCoy, despite being considerably calmer than the last. There had been plentiful research topics, an unscheduled trip to the Savage Land, and a mission to Madripoor. He had caught up with old friends, and began building connections with new ones. But now the doctor was ready for school again: the familiar pattern of creating curriculum, teaching classes, and grading homework.
However, before any of that could happen, Hank had to talk to one of his favourite students. Idie Okonkwo was a bit of a challenge to find, but the beastial mutant managed to track her down. When she asked him how he had found her, he was compelled to answer honestly. “I simply followed your scent to this location. It is rather reclusive, but my olfactory sense did not fail me,” Henry said matter-of-factly. That aspect of his power set was not often something he brought up in polite conversation.
"Pardon my intrusion, Idie. I wished to discuss some matters of importance with you. I also wished to extend my thanks to you. It is because of you, albeit indirectly, that I remain alive today, You convinced me to seek the assistance from my colleagues that saved my life. So for that, I am eternally grateful." Beast smiled warmly as he said this.
"Now, regarding those other concerns. Have you considered continuing to reside at the Jean Grey School after your graduation? You need not answer now, but I believe you would be a valuable addition to the active roster of the X-Men. You have demonstrated your capability and competence time and again." The field teams were certainly not lacking in terms of quantity or quality, but their members often came and went. The X-Men were always looking for young new talents to add to their ranks. In Hank’s mind, the thermokinetic girl was highly qualified for such a position. "You could do a great deal of good with the team," he added with another smile, this one softer than the last.
Darcy nodded as she listened to him, learning information she had not known about the Avengers even if it was only a bit of information. She thought there was so little she really knew about the relationship between the Avengers and mutants. She really only knew about what had been happening which was them rarely getting along.
She smiled as he began his story. Teleportation had always been a thing of science fiction, transporting matter from one place to another, she believed would be completely difficult she was surprised to hear that they had been working on it and although not sending them to the place they had wanted to go, it still had worked. She listened intently to the story, as well as thinking about how this technology would certainly change the world.
Her head turned from Hank to the elevator door as it dinged to let them know that they had reached her floor. She headed to the kitchen of the floor and sat at the island and sipped her coffee. “It is hard to imagine that we are capable of teleportation now. How long have you been working on it?”
Hank was flattered at how the young woman next to him listened with such attention and diligence. Although Ms. Lewis was older than his typical students, it was still pleasing to see such respect from someone his junior. Honestly, they were not very many years apart, only about a decade by McCoy’s estimation.
Beast planted himself across from Darcy, but perched on the kitchen stool rather than sit normally. “Capable, yes, but not yet proficient. It is an idea I have been toying off and on for several years now. As of late I have been fortunate enough to have the assistance of the brilliant Dr. Banner.” His sensitive nostrils took in the pleasant aroma of their beverages.
He found himself enjoying this time with Darcy, especially with no looming danger for him to worry about it at the moment. Finally Hank was being given a chance to relax. It was nice to just sit and talk with someone about anything and everything. “What else can I answer for you, my dear woman?” asked the mutant scientist.
Cassie rolled her eyes but the smile present on her face gave the indication that she didn’t hold any hard feelings towards the people she was thinking about. “Fellow Young Avengers, Avengers and a few other friends.” She shrugged. “I’m referring to all of them. And if you ever need any help which requires a rather small person.” She held out her arms. “I’ll be happy to help!”
A dark chuckle escaped her lips. “Yeah! You could say that. But you gotta deal with whatever life throws at you so I guess I’ll just have to deal with this problem too.” A very painful problem, she added quietly to herself. No matter how much she tried and ignored, it was very hard for her to see how her mother reacted and treated her. Cassie knew that her mother was only trying to protect but she couldn’t get past the fact that her daughter was grown up now and could make all her decisions. But no! She still continued to baby her, and her stepfather was another story.
She glanced around, her eyes dancing with laughter. “But I don’t see any of those hunchbacked henchmen around. Waiting to receive orders and everything.” She pursed her lips to hold in the gasp that threatened to come out when the needle was inserted into her skin. “More like emotional.” She explained through gritted teeth, eyes focused on the syringe that was now sucking her blood out through the needle. “Its like this: I’m angry, I grow, I’m sad, I shrink.”
"That is rather admirable, Cassie," he said with a smile. Hank was being very genuine. The X-Men had never set out to be superheroes, simply to show the world that mutants were not to be feared. It was people like Cassandra Lang who were the real heroes. Beast felt warm and hopeful about the next generation of super humans. Cassie, Idie, and Sam were prime examples of the bright young individuals who would guide the future.
"Well, you seem to be a strong, intelligent young woman. I do believe you can persevere and overcome your quandaries. I have confidence in you." Again Hank was speaking truthfully, from the heart. He gave a small chuckle to himself. How easily he seemed to fall into the role of mentor as time went on. There had been many changes over the years. Once the happy-go-lucky student, McCoy had become the furry blue teacher.
"No, I am afraid I do not have any lab assistants." Elvis Presley’s crooning voice played in the background. Henry thought about someone he had not for quite some time. Patsy Walker, his associate from back when he worked at the Grant Corporation and later the Avenger known as Hellcat. He missed Patsy and considered looking up her number. However, more pressing matters were at hand. "Fascinating. And forgive me for asking, but have you been suffering from any mood swings or emotional distress as of late?" The scientist withdrew his medical instrument and began to deposit his patient’s blood into the proper containers.
Carol nodded as he spoke, smiling again as he spoke of his tutoring. She had achieved great things, both with powers and without and yet she still didn’t feel she was right to teach the next generation of superheroes. She felt too unstable, even though she had fought her addiction and worked through her grief (mostly), a part of her still felt torn up. She was grateful there were people like Hank who could tutor the newer members of the teams as she wasn’t sure she could ever step up to that role. “I can’t imagine you not helping our newest members out,” Carol commented. “What would we do without you?”
"Thankfully yes, it sure feels good to beat up a punch bag." Carol replied. "Especially when they can take my strength. Gotta thank Tony for that I imagine," She smiled fondly at the thought of the billionaire. "Maybe you can spare some time to join me in the gym?" She suggested, knowing sparring with him would be an interesting venture. The Beast was a formidable opponent. "Wise words," She agreed with another nod. "Got to take the positives where we can." She shifted her body into a more comfortable position as she thought about the recent events. "Well… Space for the past… year I believe? I lost track of time up there if I’m honest. Tony got me hooked up with the Guardians. Quill certainly needed me to save his ass." She laughed fondly. "But with all that’s been brewing here… I am glad to be back." She said honestly. "Especially now Jess is here too, I’ve really missed her." She paused for a moment before adding, a little hurried, worrying she would offend "Everyone else as well of course."
Hank’s mind dwelled on all the young superhumans he had the privilege of teaching and helping over the years. He had seen his students, such as Jubilee, grow and develop into adults. More recently he had mentored others. Taryn seemed to be finding the help she needed at the Jean Grey School. Idie was turning into quite the capable X-Man. Despite Sam Alexander being off in space, Dr. McCoy often thought about the bright young hero. And now there was Cassie. “Thank you, Carol. Frankly I feel fantastically flattered by your words,” he said, genuinely touched by her acknowledgement.
"Yes, I imagine it was his fortune that funded these facilities. But indeed, a sparring match sounds splendid," Beast said with a warm smile. "We ought to arrange that. I need to get back in the swing of things." Even without the use of her powers, Carol was not someone to be scoffed at in a fight. She had received military training in hand-to-hand combat during her time in the US Air Force. "Most excellent. Surely you had many grand adventures while in the wider universe. I certainly know I have." His thoughts went to all the time the X-Men had spent in the Shi’ar Empire and beyond. There had been their fair share of tragedy and happiness in outer space. Hank smirked and chuckled knowingly. He knew just how deeply Carol cared for Jessica Drew. "Well, naturally. However, I do not blame you for mentioning Ms. Drew first and foremost. She is one of your dearest friends after all."
”What particular client?”
"Now that would be disclosing information, would it not? Oh but, where is the harm in that? It is not as if I had signed a confidentiality agreement. I am attempting to save the life of Harry Osborn."
Iris chuckled at his suggestion. “Hmm, yes. It’s a good name, but it’s a mouthful. Make it the S.F.T.W.U.U.O for short.” She joked feebly, looking down as she gave a short chuckle. Her head lifted as he jumped down. Iris thought it incredible how agile he was as he dropped from the ceiling. She took his hand and politely smiled. “A pleasure to meet you too, Dr. Henry McCoy. I am Iris Jones. Do you go to the gym often? Or do you just like watching people run in your spare time?”
"Yes, yes. That acronym simply rolls off of the tongue, does it not?" Beast grinned slyly. He always enjoyed witty banter. "Well, I have been meaning to return to recreating more regularly. I fear I have been rather lacking in that area as of late due to my research serving as a distraction," the geneticist said as he shook the young woman’s hand. "To answer your query directly however, I do often pay patronage to recreational facilities. When I can make the time to do so, that is. And I assure you, I do not make a habit of ogling my fellow patrons."
”What are you doing?”
"I am conducting further research into the biology of a… particular client."
"I’m not so sure, Dr. McCoy," he said sadly, shaking his head a little. "Psylocke killed the Skrull- we have it on camera. I-it was hard to watch," Nichols confessed. He looked down at his hands and then ran them through his hair, getting the knuckles all tangled up in the curly knots. "What do you mean? How do you know what the Skrulls required?" the male asked, eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion.
"I can only imagine the pain it caused you. The pain it must have inflicted on Betsy…" Hank stated solemnly. He shut his eyes and drew in a deep breath in an effort to calm himself. "I have studied the Skrulls and their physiology," McCoy said in a stern and matter-of-fact tone. "The shapeshifters must maintain a link with the being they are imitating in order to hold that form and have access to their memories." The mutant stared intently into Agent Nichols’s eyes, a cold fury on his hardened features. "I know you have not had much experience with me, but believe me when I say I will use the fullest extent of my resources to bring Shae back to us."