Merry Marvels - A Marvel Comics Holiday Fic Exchan

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First Class/New X-Men fic for unintendedmuse
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ragingpie wrote in merry_marvels
Title: She Who Sends Up Gifts
Author: ragingpie
Recipient: unintendedmuse
Prompt: While helping to set the mansion to rights after yet another attack, the New X-Men come across forgotten relics that once belonged to the First Class.
Word Count: 3,883
Characters: Mercury, Rockslide, Anole, Pixie, Elixir, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, Jean Grey
Warnings: none
Continuity: Imagine that the school had a chance to recover after the "Quest for Magik" arc but before the move to San Francisco. This would take place then.
Summary: Xavier's first class buried a time capsule. His latest class has found it.

The trunk was crafted in Switzerland. Forged of stainless steel, with the latest technologies in air-tight lining; guaranteed to protect its contents from extreme heat, cold, and water damage. It cost Warren what to the others was a pretty penny, but to him wasn't even a full week's allowance. It had been ceremoniously filled, lowered into a hole in the east lawn, and covered in dirt.

Then, over the course of the years, it was forgotten.

"How's the gardening going?"

"It's not gardening, it's landscaping. And it sucks," Josh huffed, disgust in his voice. He wiped a hand across his sweaty brow, leaving streaks of dirt in its wake. "Wanna help?"

Cessily plopped down onto an undisturbed area of grass, watching the progress. "Nope. You're the ones who chose to 'relax' by playing 'extreme mutant frisbee.' You tore up the lawn, you can deal with the consequences."

Santo grumbled, heaving a load of dirt over his shoulder. "Come to say 'I told you so?'"

"That, and ogle the shirtless boys." Cess grinned and gave an exaggerated bat of her eyelashes. "Plus, I brought drinks," she added, tossing them each a can from the six-pack of soda she'd brought.

"Ooh, thank you Cessily!" Megan chirped and fluttered mid-air as she caught hers. Victor didn't bother to climb out of the hole they'd dug, instead catching the can with his tongue. "'anks,'" he murmured around it, before removing the can and tossing his shovel aside.

The shovel hit earth with an unusual *clink* sound. The five students paused.

"If we're digging into a water main, Cyclops is gonna be even more pissed at us." Victor sighed, setting his drink down and bending to brush dirt away from whatever his shovel had hit. "Huh. Not a pipe. Looks like some kinda box."

"BOMB!" Santo yelled, causing everyone to jump back in alarm. When there was no immediate explosion, they drew in, peering at the oblong metal surface.

Cessily braved closer to examine it. "It's not a bomb - I think - and Santo, what are you afraid of? You blow yourself up all the time now!"

"That's different!" Apparently remembering there were cute girls watching him, he protested, "and I'm not afraid of anything!"

"Then you can be the one to open the not-bomb box of mystery, tough guy," Victor cheerfully clapped his friend on the back.

"Yeah," called Josh, from where he'd retreated behind a handy tree. "I'll heal you if it blows up!"

"Ugh, boys," Cessily rolled her eyes at Megan. "I'll open it, you wimps." While the rest watched in suspense, she dug dirt away from the sides 'til she discovered the trunk's latch, and carefully eased it open.

"BOOM!" shouted Victor, causing Santo to explode and everyone else to jump. He heaved with laughter as Santo reformed, glowering.

"I hate you so much, Borkowski."

"'Ooh, I'm made of rocks, I'm not scared of anything,'" Josh mocked, leaving his safety zone behind the tree and returning to the dig site. "What'd we find? Professor X's secret porn stash?"

"Gross, Josh," Megan tsked, "he's like a million years old."

"Yeah, but the box has obviously been down there for a while. I bet it's that freaky seventies porn where everyone's super hairy."

"It's not porn!" Cessily yelled, throwing a clump of dirt at him. She drew a yellowing piece of paper from the box, and read:

We, the first class of students at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, have buried this time capsule on our last day of senior year, to be opened no earlier than 10 years in the future.

Jean Grey
Henry P. McCoy
Warren Kenneth Worthington III
Scott Summers
Bobby Drake

The response was mixed.

"What's in it?"
"So... it could still be porn..."

Cessily slapped away the reaching hands and shut the box. "Hold on! This is important. This is history, you guys. The original X-Men buried this. We can't just paw through it."

"What, you want to re-bury it?" Josh protested, still trying to see the contents. He wondered if he could give himself x-ray vision.

"Oh, just let us see, Cessily! Finders keepers and all that - we can show the X-Men after. Haven't you ever wondered what they were like at our age?" Megan near vibrated with impatience.

"Were they ever our age?" Santo wondered. "They're like, you know, the X-Men," he shrugged when the others turned to stare. "They're the original BAMFs."

"They didn't spring fully formed from Professor X's forehead," Victor interrupted. "They had to have been teenagers at some point."

"Even if it was a hundred years ago," Josh agreed.

"Fine, we can open it, but- just be respectful, all right?" Cessily opened the trunk and allowed the others to peer inside. "See? It looks like they each added something."

There were five packages inside. Each was sealed shut and marked with a name. "We could each take one," Cessily suggested, still sounding a bit unsure. "Five original X-Men, five of us. We could each take a package to them, and see what they say."

"I call Mr. Summers!" Megan exclaimed, reaching.

"No way," Santo protested, blocking her and taking the padlocked metal cash box himself. "S. S." was etched onto the top, though the initials didn't appear to have been made by tools. "You've got wings, so you can have Angel's."

"So? What have you got in common with Cyclops?" Megan pouted, accepting a small carved wooden chest with an engraved "Warren Worthington III."

"We're both the bad-asses of the team! Even if he does have a stick up his-"

"If we're going with who we most resemble, Cess gets Jean's," Josh cast a doubtful eye at Santo, but pulled out Jean Grey's fabric-wrapped bundle and tossed it to Cessily. "Red hair, right? Me and Doc McCoy are both in the healing business, so I'll grab his." Josh took the manila envelope with "Henry P. McCoy" penned on in an near-illegible doctor's scrawl. "I guess that leaves Vic with Iceman."

"Right, 'cuz of the gay thing."

"What? Iceman isn't gay, Santo!" Victor glared while he grabbed the cardboard box with "Bobby" scrawled on the side in magic marker.

"Of course he is! Have you seen the looks he gives Northstar? They're nearly as bad as the ones you give him."

"I hate you so much."

"Uh... I just figured because they're both the youngest... but whatever." Josh held his hands up in surrender.

"Sexual preferences aside, let's go ask them what they buried!" Megan buzzed out of the dirt and would've made a beeline for the school had Cessily not pulled her back.

"You still have gardening to finish," she smirked at her four companions. "I'll go get started."

"Um, your person's dead, Cess," Santo, master of tact, informed her.

"I know, Santo. That's why I get the head start."

Jean surveyed her friends and the telekinetically-dug hole in the previously well-manicured lawn, satisfied. "Who wants to go first?"

"Allow me," Bobby bowed with a flourish, proudly depositing his cardboard box in the trunk. "Is it our English final? Is it the stick from up Scott's butt? You won't know for another ten years - but I promise, it will blow. Your. Minds!"

"Not if it's our English final. Then we'll find out in about an hour, when we're supposed to take it."

"You are completely non-fun, Warren."

"I thought you were getting a head start. Why do you have to come with me?"

"My person's dead, Victor. There's not a whole lot a head start can do at this point."

Cessily knocked on the door jamb of the classroom where Bobby Drake, CPA, X-Man, and math teacher sat grading tests.

"Come on in, kids," he smiled, gratefully pushing away the pile of papers. "What can I do for you?"

"Not call us kids, for starters," Victor muttered under his breath, letting out a small "oof" when Cessily elbowed him in the ribs.

"Mr. Drake, we found a time capsule out on the lawn, that you and the other X-Men buried? And we were wondering-"

"You found that? Jeez, that was ages ago. I half-forgot about it, figured it got blown up at some point or another." For the first time, Bobby noticed the cardboard box Victor was holding. He stared thoughtfully, and then a slow grin took his face. "You've got good timing. I was just getting hungry," he laughed, motioning for Victor to hand him the box.

Victor and Cessily shared a "WTF?" glance as Vic gave over the box, Bobby chuckling as he tore off the packing tape. "Care to join me?" he asked, opening the box and showing them the contents.

"You buried Twinkies?"

"Yup!" Bobby tore one of the cellophane wrappers and took a bite of the golden, cream-filled cake. "Mmm. We used to have movie marathons and eat these all night long. When I wasn't fighting frost giants or living islands, that is."

Cessily watched her teacher chew in a kind of horrified fascination. "Those Twinkies are at least ten years old."

"Twinkies can survive the apocalypse. Heck, if we'd thought of it, we probably could have used them to destroy Apocalypse. They're still good!" he assured them, proffering the package.

Victor took the spare snack cake. "They are still good," he agreed, surprised.

"Told ya. I can't wait to share these with Hank. Thanks for finding them! Was there anything else you needed?" he asked, noticing the bundle that Cessily held.

"Actually, Mr. Drake," Cessily took a breath and plunged in, "there were five of us who found the trunk the five of you buried, and we each took something. I got Ms. Grey's." She unwrapped the item she held, showing him. "Do you know what it means?"

Bobby took the clay urn, turning it over in his hands. "If I remember right, none of us knew what each other were putting in the time capsule. It was just supposed to be something that would mean something to us in ten years. But I don't know why Jean chose this."

He pointed out a signature on the bottom. "She made this. I remember now that she took a pottery class with Wanda - that's the Scarlet Witch - back when they were BFFs. She made a lot of stuff in that class. Everybody got something; mostly lumpy ashtrays. But that was Jean," he smiled at the memory. "She was giving."

"And yet the girls still love me," Warren retorted, placing a carved wooden chest into the trunk.

"Hey! Ladies love the Bobster!"

"Of course they do. Is Zelda still seeing Johnny Storm?"

"Is Wanda still seeing anyone but you?"

"Enough, guys!" Jean's face promised that telekinetic muzzles could be in their immediate future. "Warren, any words?" Seeing his face, she hastily amended, "On what you've chosen?"

Warren shook out his wings in an attempt to regain dignity. "Well," he said carefully, wearing an unusually sly look, "I think you'll all be surprised."

"Mr. Worthington? Angel? Hey!" Megan pushed through the sky, trying to catch up to the feathered X-Man.

He glanced over his shoulder, executed a tight turn, and waited for her, hovering; drafts of wind from his enormous wingspan making it difficult for Megan's smaller dragonfly wings to keep her aloft. "Do you mind," she huffed, "if we talk," and puffed, "on the ground?" She pointed to the figure of Cessily, waiting below.

"Of course, Pixie," the billionaire's white smile flashed into view and he entered a steep dive, pulling up to touch gently on the ground. Megan's landing was less graceful, and she stumbled over.

"He flies really fast!" she breathed to Cess.

"Take a breather!" her friend advised, alarmed. "I can go first." Megan nodded and promptly flopped to the ground, wheezing.

"Er, hello Mr. Worthington," Cessily began. "We found a time capsule you and the first X-Men buried, and I was wondering if you knew this meant. Jean buried it," she explained, holding out the urn and trying to ignore Megan's gasps.

"The time capsule? That thing survived? That's why you buy Swiss-made," he extolled off-handedly, taking the jar. He removed the lid and peered inside, but found nothing. "No decade old cookies."

"Were you expecting there to be?" After the Twinkies, Cessily wouldn't have been surprised.

"No." Warren raised a questioning brow. "There wasn't a note, or anything to explain?"

Cessily shook her head. "I'm asking everyone. Mr. Drake didn't know, either."

Warren handed back the urn, with some reluctance. "Scott may know what she was thinking. At the very least, you should offer this to him when you're done searching for answers." For the first time in the conversation, he focused solely on Cessily, and gave her a slightly sad smile. "Jean would like your sleuthing. She was curious herself. It's part of what made her her, with occasionally disastrous results. She always meant well, though."

"Thank you. I think." The jar was rewrapped in the pillowcase Jean had originally used, and Cessily began to walk back to the mansion. "You gonna be okay?" she asked, passing Megan.

"I'm dandy," the faerie girl replied, climbing to her feet. She plucked the wooden chest from where it'd fallen on the grass and turned to Warren. "So, Mr. Worthington-"

The chest was quickly removed from her hands. "Thank you for returning this." At Megan's startled look, Warren explained. "I'd prefer to open this alone."

"Oh." Suddenly, Megan couldn't meet his eyes. An awkward pause ensued.

Warren cringed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You've already opened it, haven't you."

"Just a peek!" she exclaimed, cheeks turning as pink as her hair. "I'm not here to judge," she offered helpfully.

"It was supposed to be a prank," Warren explained anyway. "It was going to be even better if I could blame it on Bobby."

"You don't seem the pranking kind."

"That's what was going to make it so funny! And I used to be fun," he defended. "I've been through a lot since then. I had my wings cut off, for starters." His voice grew angry.

"I had a part of my soul cut out," Megan commiserated.

Warren sighed, anger leaving as quickly as it came. "So did I."

They stood in silence for a moment, 'til Warren opened the box wide. They both gazed the contents. Sensible cotton, wildly patterned polyester, and smooth satin fluttered in the light breeze.

"Sooo... how'd you come by those, anyway?" Megan asked.

"Hank and Bobby stole my car and Scott when they went on a road trip once. They left their laundry in the trunk. And we all had to do Jean's laundry for a month once when we lost a snowball fight."

"Ah. Sooo... what are you going to with your box of undies now?"

"The school still has a flagpole, right?" At Megan's nod, Warren grinned conspiratorially. "Care to join me?"

"'Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.' Boris Pasternak." Hank grinned widely, and made an expressive gesture at the open trunk. "Shall I, fearless leader, or would you like to be next?"

Scott shook his head at the pomp and circumstance, placing an old metal cashbox in the trunk. "Do you really think we'll remember to open this in ten years?"

"One must always have hope, my optically challenged friend."

"Just leave this to me," Santo told Cessily. "Yo, Mr. Summers!" He didn't bother to knock as he sauntered into Cyclops' office. Cessily mouthed "Sorry!" as she came in behind him.

"Mr. Vacarro, Ms. Kincaid. Please come in," Scott said dryly, motioning to the two seats across from his desk. "What can I do for you?"

"We found your secret stash," Santo waggled a stony eyebrow and deposited the metal box on Scott's desk. "What have you got to say about that?"

"Your machismo is showing," Scott replied calmly, causing Santo to glance at his crotch in confusion, "and I trust you've finished your landscaping."

"Well, yeah!" Santo blustered. Scott merely sat, steadily gazing at Santo from behind ruby lenses. "Almost. We're getting there." Scott continued to sit quietly. "I'll go finish now," Santo grumbled, leaping from his seat to scurry out the door.

Scott relaxed once Santo left, leaning back in his chair to smirk at Cessily. "Mercury, how can I help you?"

"We - that's me, Santo, Megan, Vic, and Josh - found a time capsule when they doing their gardening?" Cessily motioned as if digging with a shovel. "And the note inside said it was buried by you, and the very first X-Men. So we're going around asking about it."

"I see," Scott nodded. "Who have you talked to so far?"

"Just Mr. Drake and Mr. Worthington. We found out that Mr. Drake buried Twinkies."

"Were they still good?"

"Erm... he and Victor seemed to think so."

"Good to know." He had been ignoring the lockbox Santo dropped on his desk, but he now pulled it towards him and ran his fingers over the embossed "S. S." on the top. "I actually blasted my initials into this," he shared with Cessily, tapping his visor. Carefully, he lifted it, just long enough to blast off the padlock.

"Curious?" At Cessily's nod, Scott flipped the box's lid, removing a couple dozen photographs and thumbing through. "Jean asked us to bury something that was important to us, that would make us happy when we opened the trunk again." All the pictures were of the early X-Men's school days, Cessily realized. Scott chose one in particular and held it out to her.

"That one was taken the day we got our new uniforms. The professor let Jean design them." A wry smile tugged up the corners of his mouth. "They were really stylish... for the decade." When Cessily finished examining it, he shuffled the photo back into the stack and returned them to the box. "I trust you won't tell anyone you caught me being sentimental."

"No sir," Cessily grinned. "It'll be our secret."

"Good. Anything else you needed?"

"Actually, sir-" this was the X-Man she was most nervous about questioning, but she plunged on, "-Jean buried this. So far, no one knows what it means. Do you?" She unwrapped the clay jar and pushed it across the desk.

Scott, like Bobby and Warren before him, turned the vase over, probing the name etched on the bottom and removing the lid to peek inside. "An empty jar? Was there anything else?"

"Just the sheet it was wrapped in. Do you have any clue what it means? I mean, so far all the other stuff makes sense - at least to the ones who buried it. What could this have meant to Ms. Grey?"

"I imagine she planned to be around to tell us," Scott said softly, setting the jar on his desk. "We were young enough then to feel invincible. And Jean- not being here would never have been in her plans. She was an eternal optimist."

Hank lay his manila envelope inside the trunk and bowed to Jean. "At last, the prettiest girl in school has her turn."

"I'm the only girl in school, Hank," Jean reminded, unable to hide a smile.

"Bobby throws like a girl," Hank replied, breaking the semi-solemnity of the occasion.

"Did you know Meg's thing had Jean Grey's panties in it? That's better than porn!" Josh whispered as he and Cessily walked toward the infirmary.

"You're disgusting," Cess told him, distracted when Beast popped his head out of the doorway and called "Come in, come in!"

He urged them into his lab. "Bobby came by earlier. He told me all about your recent unearthing of our temporal repository, and he shared his Twinkies." Hank, possibly on a sugar high judging from the empty wrappers surrounding his desk, bounced into his chair. "What," he grinned toothily, "have you got for me?"

"Uh, hey," unused to seeing his science teacher so ecstatic, Josh tossed the bulging envelope at him. "Here ya go."

Hank gleefully tore into the package. A rain of tchotchkes fell onto the lab table. "Road trip souvenirs," he explained, holding up a pair of fuzzy dice only a shade darker than his own fur. "Oh, the times we had. Did you know that in Connecticut, it's illegal to drive with your feet on the steering wheel?"

"Did not know that, no," Josh admitted. "Did you know that Angel and Megs ran your underwear up the flagpole?"

"Pardon?" Hank dropped the fuzzy dice, startled.

"Yeah... Dr. McCoy?" Cessily elbowed Josh out of the way, stealing Hank's attention. "You know why we're here," she stated, sounding impatient. "Do you know what this means?" She brandished the clay jar, the mystery of it driving her to frustration.

"The item Jean buried," Hank calmed, settling into his chair. He accepted the jar, examining it top to bottom. "If you're inclined to bide your time, you could simply wait a few months and ask Jean herself of her intentions. My old friend has a habit of rising from the ashes."

Cessily slumped onto a stool. "I'm sorry, Dr. McCoy," she sighed, resigned. "I've been trying all day to figure out why she buried a pottery project. It doesn't make any sense."

"I suppose it's up to us to assign it meaning, then. Without Jean's input, it's open to interpretation." Hank smiled fondly. "Much like those myths she enjoyed."


"Greek myths in particular, but she had a fondness for all mythology. You can see here, she even incorporated traditional Greek designs into this piece," Hank explained, tracing a claw on the etchings on the urn.

Cessily stood in comprehension, grabbed the urn, and scampered.

Josh and Hank watched her sprint down the hall. "Was it something I said?"

Jean watched as her classmates erupted into name-calling and noogie fights, hugging her pottery to her chest. "I hope we're always together like this," she whispered, and quickly tucked the jar inside the trunk; shutting it tight and using her power to bury it under layers of sheltering soil.

"I figured it out," Cessily panted, dropping onto the trimmed grass before Jean Grey's headstone. She held the urn close to her, protectively. "Never would have gotten it if we didn't just have that section on Greek myths in history class, even if most of that was just an excuse for Hercules to guest-lecture."

"You thought of yourself as a Pandora, didn't you?" she addressed the grave. "It's not the nicest of myths. And there's all sorts of interpretations, and misinterpretations," she patted the jar. "Especially the one about it being a box. It was originally a jar. But you knew that, didn't you?"

"And I figure I know what was the important part to you; what anybody graduating and heading off on their own would have." Cessily lay on her back, looking up at the blue sky. "It was hope. For your future, for your friends. That you wouldn't lose them, and that everything would be okay."

She hugged the jar to her chest. "Now I have it, too."

She clambered to feet, heading back to the school to find her friends. There was an empty trunk in the east lawn, and she'd need their help filling it.

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Oh, this is wonderful! I love all the different touches of First Class canon, and the glimpses you give into everyone's heads. And what Jean left... I love it. ♥

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