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X-Men Gold

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Dec 29 2017, 11:13 PM
2010 - NYU


“You're not getting any younger, you know.”

Turning his head, shooting the young woman a playful glare, Shane almost immediately shot back, “Well thanks, grandma,” before breaking out into an almost childish giggle fit. Raising his hands to block the coming onslaught of gentle slaps, he quickly added, “Okay, I'm sorry I'm sorry. You're pretty–”

“Thank you,” she interjected quickly and somewhat smugly.

“–well preserved for your age.” And that was that. Laughing as it happened, Shane accepted his fate as Amelia Bradshaw grabbed him by the wrists and pulled him sliding off of his dorm-room bed and onto the floor. “Whoa!” From his position, laying back with his head hanging backwards over the side of the bed as Amelia had sat beside the bed on the floor, the world was already upside down. Now he was left with his head, neck, and upper back on the floor and his legs still on the bed. It was anything but comfortable, but seeing the fake indignant expression on Amelia's face made it all worth it.

“And this, Shane Michael Adler, is why you're single,” the young woman said with an airy chuckle, giving his nose a single boop with her index finger.

Countering Amelia's false exasperation with a look of confusion, Shane said “Because I'm a dork?”

“You mispronounced 'total jerk.'”

“Hey, I'm not a total jerk! You take that back!”

Despite their back and forth, Shane and Amelia had become good friends at NYU, with their mutual love of geology bringing them together and to the top of their class. At first the young woman had kept to herself, but a bit of friendly prodding and a partners assignment had brought her out of her shell fairly quickly. When she realized that Shane wasn't just some dumb jock who was taking the courses to fill science requirements for some other degree, Amelia had warmed up to him.

Every Friday night the two would get together to study and just generally goof off. He enjoyed it. Despite the fact that Amelia was not a mutant, the camaraderie of it sort of reminded him of Xavier's.

“I'm joking and you know it,” Amelia said, cocking her head and placing her hands on her hips before she pulled Shane completely off of the bed. “But getting back to my point before you called me a grandma, don't think I haven't seen you chatting up that hottie in class. You should totally go for it.”

“You mean Ryder?”

“I believe his name's Rick.”

Shane nodded. “It's actually Richard, but everyone calls him Ryder.”

Rick had joined the class a few days later than most, having been the victim of a scheduling error that wasn't caught quite in time for the start of the semester. When he had first arrived he had occupied an empty seat beside Shane and had almost immediately asked if he had missed anything important. While he had not yet missed anything of note, Shane had quickly taken something of a shine to the blond student. To his surprise, the feeling seemed almost mutual. In the days that followed Rick had opened up a bit and had made efforts to make time for Shane outside of class. Though the geokinetic had only imagined that the two could only be friends, he had more than once questioned whether or not there was potentially more. Amelia seemed to think so, and she was pretty damned astute.

Shane had never come out at Xavier's, and while he was certain that the resident telepaths knew the truth about him he never really saw much of a point in announcing his sexuality. It wasn't that he was ashamed of it, but rather that he just didn't think it was as big of a deal as some made it out to be. For whatever reason however Amelia had picked up on it quickly, often teasing him about the other boys, though she had the decency to only do so privately.

She also knew that he was a mutant, but that was a different matter entirely.

* * *

FIVE WEEKS LATER


If it hadn't been for Amelia's prodding, Shane wouldn't have ever asked Rick the important questions that had led them to becoming something of a couple. Rick had initially balked when Shane had come out to him, but after roughly half an hour of nearly agonizingly awkward conversation the blond had admitted that he had been interested from the first week they had met. Only his fears of what the others on the soccer team might say had caused him to hesitate.

That should have been a bit of a red flag, but having never actually been in a relationship before Shane had dismissed it. Besides, everything had started off well enough. He and Rick would meet up on some days after classes had let out, watch movies, eat out whenever they could, and were generally happy to spend time together. Despite not being particularly into sports, Shane had even attended a couple of his boyfriend's soccer games.

Unfortunately, while things had started off well it didn't take too long for Shane to see the deep cracks forming in both their relationship and their friendship. Spending time with Rick was generally enjoyable, but it didn't take long to notice that he was all but fully excluded from Rick's social life as a whole –bringing what should have been a red flag to begin with to wave far more noticeably. Despite paltry reassurances that he was over-thinking things and that he'd be introduced to Rick's friends as the boyfriend that he was, Shane fast realized that Rick had no intention of doing so.

It was only a matter of time before tensions boiled over, and on a Saturday night in Rick's dorm Shane found himself embroiled in an argument with his boyfriend.

“I'm nothin' to you,” Shane said, his expression offering little but anger. The argument had begun when Shane had asked once again why he couldn't be around Rick's friends despite being told that he wasn't being left out.

Rick rolled his eyes with a bit of dramatic flair, which he often did when he felt that someone was being unreasonable. “Don't start that shit again. How many times have I told you? You're not 'nothin' to me.” And naturally, as he was prone to doing during an argument, he was mocking.

“You know I hate when you do that! Stop mockin' me!”

“Well, if you'd stop talking like some kind of hick, I might.”

Though Shane had lived for nearly twelve years in Texas, he had spent most of his life in New York. Hints of his heritage remained in his speech even when he normally tried to hide them –most notably when he was upset or drunk. Taking care to pronounce things “properly” sometimes took a back seat when his temper flared. “If you weren't such an asshole it wouldn't be a problem, would it?”

“Oh, I'm the asshole? You're the one who's hopelessly needy. Why don't you just go hang out with your freak friend Amelia?”

“Excuse me? Freak?” Shane could generally withstand scathing remarks about himself, but he refused to stand by and allow someone to hurl insults about one of his friends.

Rick nodded, clinching his fists tightly, aggressively. “Yeah, she's a freak. People are talking, Shane. Saying she's probably a mutant.”

That's when the biggest red flag of them all rose and overshadowed all of the others that had been popping up over the course of the previous weeks. The tone, the loathing in Rick's voice when he uttered the phrase “she's probably a mutant” rang in the geokinetic mutant's head for what felt like minutes. “And what would be so wrong with that?” Shane asked, his voice surprisingly calm, though all the while he felt a powerful desire to reach for the cobblestone resting in his left pocket.

“Mutants are fucking gross.”

A small, very irrational part of Shane wanted to take the stone in his pocket in hand and wrap himself in gray rock armor. That same part of his mind wanted to then show Rick just what a “gross mutant” could do when enraged. Clinching his fists, awash with anger and a small amount of pity, Shane breathed deeply of the air in the room.

His education at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters had been about more than general studies. There he had learned to both control and respect his mutation. Wrecking Richard Ryder would have been so easy, but it would have flown in the face of everything he had learned. The young jock was a pitiable fool, but Shane had learned to be the better man. The X-Men wouldn't have approved of him lashing out, and he while he decided he wouldn't physically... there were always words. “Lemme tell you somethin' you miserable dumbass,” he said, moving into his very soon to be ex-boyfriend's personal space bubble. “Amelia is a million times better than you'll ever be. You don't have the guts to let your prick friends know you've got a boyfriend, and you're worried about someone you barely know bein' a mutant? God damn, your priorities are all kinds of fucked up.”

Rick opened his mouth to speak, anger lined etched into every feature, virtually erasing the face of the young man Shane had once fallen for. “No no, you don't need to say anything else. I read ya loud and clear. You hate mutants. You hate me.”

Before Shane turned to walk away he watched as the meaning of his words fully set in. If it hadn't been for the time he had wasted with the young man, the argument might have been worth it for Rick's expression of realization alone. “I see ya get it now.” Grinning in spite of everything, as Shane turned to leave Rick's room for the final time he said, “I hope you grow up someday, because right now you're a fuckin' joke, Dick Ryder.” Before he slammed the door behind him he added, “And ya weren't even good at that!

* * *

ONE WEEK LATER


Shane had skipped a few days worth of classes, informing his teachers via E-Mail that he had fallen ill but that he would work on his assignments from his dorm. It wasn't technically a full lie, as he did pour himself into his studies when Amelia and a few others from class weren't checking on him. Naturally, Amelia was fully on his side, but that was to be expected –she too had noticed some of the problems that he and Rick were having.

“I'm sorry I pushed you to talk to him,” Amelia said again for the umpteenth time, handing Shane another beer.

Accepting the bottle, his third, without hesitation Shane offered little more than a shrug, “Not your fault. Neither of us knew he was a xenophobic douchecanoe.” Taking a swig from the bottle, he couldn't help but to smile lightly. “Glad I got to have the last word in the fight though –you shoulda seen his face.” Then he laughed, unable to really help himself.

Amelia couldn't help but to chuckle herself. News of their fight had spread quickly, with their raised voices having caught the attention of Rick's dorm neighbors. While the finer details of Shane being a mutant weren't really known, it hadn't been difficult for his neighbors to figure out that Rick had just been dumped by a boyfriend he didn't want anyone to know about. “I kind of wish I had. The rumors started spreading as early as the next morning; Rick was dumped by his secret boyfriend.”

Quirking an eyebrow, Shane shot Amelia a quizzical glance. “You forgettin' somethin' there Ami?”

“I don't think so,” she replied before sipping from her own beer. “What did I miss?”

“That he was dumped by his smarter and better lookin' secret boyfriend.”

And then she punched him in the arm.
Dec 21 2017, 05:37 PM
Not long after the literal dust settled in the Danger Room, Shane had returned to his room for a shower and to change into more comfortable clothing. The time spent with Julian Keller, while a bit taxing in some ways, had been highly educational in many others. Despite the experiments being amazingly unorthodox and likely to have been frowned upon by the likes of the other X-Men, Shane felt that they had been necessary. Pushing himself to his limits and learning from the experience was bound to make him stronger.

Or dead. In this case it could have made him dead.

Okay, so maybe he still wasn't in his right mind. Ever since the night at the bar, and perhaps a bit before that, Shane had been questioning many things. When did he start becoming full rock when he, well, transformed? Why hadn't he told anyone sooner? Was he still able to classify himself as... himself? That last one was definitely the one weighing heaviest on his mind, and one of the most befuddling.

As he stood in the shower, allowing the water to wash over him, he considered the question repeatedly. There were two distinct facts to take into account: that he was decidedly human when he wasn't in rock form, and that he still seemed to retain his consciousness when he was. That very important distinction had given him some kind of hope to hold onto. It was the idea that he might not remain himself that bothered him. If his body could change over time, then could the same not happen to his mind?

Heaving the heaviest of sighs, Shane twisted the knobs of the shower cutting off the flow of water. Perhaps it was time to finally meet with one of the only other mutants he could truly relate to on the matter. Bobby had returned from total vaporization nearly two weeks prior, and while he had initially used the excuse of giving the man space as a reason to not talk to him that excuse was long expired. Following that, Shane had no logical reason to avoid the Iceman but had done so regardless.

He just didn't know what to say. Every time he even considered it he drew blanks or his thoughts just wound up stammering all over the place. Shane hated that, seeing as he generally liked to have at least some sort of plan to work with even if his words sometimes left his mouth too quickly for him to refine them into something more controlled.

After drying off and dressing, Shane left his private quarters and made his way slowly toward Bobby's, all the while fighting off the slowly growing temptation to simply return to his room. He needed this and he knew it. He needed to see the face of his friend and of the X-Man he had looked up to perhaps more than any other. If nothing else he needed to at least apologize for not seeing him sooner.

When he reached Bobby's door and raised a fist to knock he balked momentarily. He hated it. Hated the hesitation, hated the fact that he'd put things off for so long, and hated the possibility that he'd be hated for it –all nearly enough to overshadow the burning questions that had been bother him for the past week.

Nope! Rapping on the door before he could have second thoughts, Shane had more or less sealed the deal. He was going to talk to Bobby Drake.
Dec 20 2017, 09:58 PM
Okay. So maybe this wasn't the best idea he'd ever had. Maybe it wasn't even a good idea. In fact, as he stood there fully uniformed in the powered down Danger Room gazing upon the face of the boy he'd enlisted for help, Shane realized that this was perhaps the single worst idea he had ever had. It was true that people sometimes went to extremes to test and push their limits, but few in their right mind would even think to consider doing what he was about to do.

Was he curious? Definitely. Was he desperate? Possibly. Was he sane? Well, that one probably didn't need to be answered.

Poring through various student and staff files earlier in the day, Shane had narrowed his selection down quickly to a small number of possible candidates who might be able to aid him in his experiment. Piotr had been among his top choices, but he doubted the Russian powerhouse would have agreed to participate. So when it came down to it he needed to find someone both capable and willing.

Under normal circumstances he wouldn't have given the kid a second thought (apart from extreme exasperation) but Julian Keller was probably one of the only people in the school who both could and would help him. If one could even call it help.

“Thanks for coming,” he said, flashing the boy a slightly uneasy smile. Having not told Julian exactly why he had been called to the Danger Room that evening, he was honestly surprised that he had agreed to show at all. “If you're wondering why you're here, I'll tell you. I just want you to hear me out first.” Before he got to the heart of the matter he needed to explain just what he sought to do and what he hoped to learn from the experiment lest the kid potentially back out. Shane really didn't want to have to start the search all over again.

“You're aware of my ability to assimilate minerals,” he said, more as a statement than as a question. “Well, it turns out there's more to it than me simply growing rock armor. It appears that it runs pretty deep –as in all the way through. It also seems that I'm capable of reattaching parts of my body –it's happened before, so I know it works.” Shane just wanted to know how it worked and just how thoroughly it worked.

Before he said another word Shane drew upon the properties of a granite stone within his uniform, his body growing a thick outer layer of rough stone with his uniform expanding and morphing to accommodate it. “So I want you–” he pointed at Julian “–to blow me–” he pointed to himself “–up–” and finally he pointed up.

The request was pretty extreme, but he figured that if anyone would willingly rip apart a teacher it'd be Julian Keller.

“Don't worry,” he said, hoping to quell any anxieties the kid might have about the request, “I'll be fine.” Maybe.

Yeah... maybe.



Scion
Dec 2 2017, 08:55 PM
For the record, New York winters sucked. Despite having lived more than half of his life in New York, he had spent his first twelve years in a state where the word “winter” usually meant freezing temperatures that visited for maybe half an hour out of the year with the occasional bizarre February ice storm. Adjusting to the radical change in everyday climate had been a challenge for Shane as a teenager, and though he was accustomed to it in his later twenties he still didn't like it. Bundling up was always a bit of a drag, because then he began sweating and smelling mildly earthy. Then there were people he knew who didn't even need to bundle up. When they flaunted their ability to strut around in nothing but a short sleeve t-shirt and shorts in the winter Shane couldn't help but to feel just a little bit envious.

Somehow or another some deranged individual had decided that an annual celebration of irresponsibly cold weather was needed, and so the imaginatively named “Staten Island Winter Carnival” was born. Shane had no idea where the idea came from or who funded the event, but they could have at least paid someone to come up with a better title. Either way, the multi-day event was designed to be entertaining, so silently complaining about the temperature (which admittedly wasn't that terrible) or the name wouldn't do.

They needed a break. For real this time.

It seemed like every time the staff and/or students at Xavier's tried to have a bit of fun they were set upon by something hellbent on killing, maiming, or otherwise turning them into their unwitting slaves for death, destruction, or other sordid purposes. But Shane hoped that luck would be on their side for once. Just to be sure, however, he had made sure to wear his fingerless uniform gloves so that he'd have a stone ready in case he needed it. That the event taking place outdoors didn't hurt, because if push came to shove he had the ground itself at his disposal. Perhaps he was just being paranoid, but he was tired of being caught off guard by everything.

As an added precaution (and for want of company) he had invited others to join him. The more the merrier. It could also serve as a way for him to potentially get to know some of his friends and teammates just a little bit better. He'd made a promise to work on himself and curb his predilection for keeping people at a bit of a distance.

Strolling into the main plaza, taking a step off to the side so that the throngs of people still coming in didn't run him over, Shane took in some of the nearby sights. Because he was fairly certain that he'd make an absolute fool of himself if he tried, the ice skating rink was probably out of the question for him. Everything else seemed pretty tame, safe, and lacking in potential embarrassment, but he'd allow some of his friends to help set the pace.

“Anyone have anything in mind for what to do? Food, live bands, food, looking around at stuff, food?” That's when he realized he may have been a bit hungry.

Wiccan Psylocke Auri Delavigne
Dec 2 2017, 03:48 PM
How he'd gone for as long as he had without finding his way onto the mentor list was beyond him, but somehow or another he had. Until recently anyway. He hadn't disliked the idea of taking someone under his wing, but part of him wondered just what that entailed. Power training was probably out of the question unless their abilities were similar. School tutoring would only be effective if he knew the subject matter well. General life advice was... well, probably not too bad. He'd just have to see what was expected and how things worked out.

As Shane sat forward in his seat at the Grindstone Cafe peering down at his phone, he read little bit of information that he had on his assigned mentee, William Kaplan. Or Billy, as he seemed to prefer. Shane wasn't entirely unfamiliar with Billy as the kid was a student, but outside of that, the fact that he was roommates with an obnoxious speedster named Tommy (a real handful and apparently Billy's non-identical twin), and the fact that he was capable of creating some amazingly convincing illusions, he didn't really know much about him. That would be a problem, because he couldn't directly mentor someone he didn't really know. So it was for that purpose that he had gone to the cafe in the first place. Selecting a neutral place to introduce himself not as a teacher or an X-Man but rather as a mentor and potential confidant seemed to simply make sense.

Picking at the apple cinnamon muffin he had purchased from the young, blond baristo (or was a male barista still a barista?) he waited for his seventeen year old charge to arrive. Part of him wondered if he should have ordered something for Billy as well, but not knowing the boy's tastes he had refrained. It would probably make an awkward first impression to have ordered something the kid didn't even like. Instead, he quickly tapped out a text message (adding to the few he had sent prior) letting him know that he'd cover whatever he bought. Better to let Billy make his own choices and cover the cost.

Situated at a small table by the window afforded Shane a great view of the cafe as a whole. Being a Sunday, the place wasn't quite as packed as it might be on a busy weekday morning, but that didn't mean it was empty. People were spread far enough apart that their conversations could remain relatively private, at least, which suited him just fine. When Billy arrived they could take things easy and just try to get to know each other for a bit. Should be easy enough.

It wasn't like Billy was Luca or Liv.

Taking a sip of his hot chocolate, Shane looked up just in time to see the lanky teen entering the cafe. Setting down his cup he stood as the right corner of his mouth rose in something of a friendly, small smirk. “Hey Billy,” he said, casually approaching the young man. “As I said before in my text, pick out whatever you want –I'm payin'. Least I could do since you came out here at my request.”



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