Title: Three hundred characters and they didn't explain anything
Fandom: X Men/Veronica Mars/XIII: The Series/MISSING|1800 Missing/Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures/Warehouse 13/Underclassman/Mother's Day/The Shrine/The Following
Warnings: sweating and someone smacking another upside the head
Summary: So, Bobby went to Hearst and found out that someone happens to share his face. His roommate Troy Vandegraff, in fact. The problems arise when Bobby's computer is hacked and they find out who did it.
“What the hell?”
“What the fuck?!”
Bobby got up off the bed and stood face to face at the other guy. He was wary, and worried. The horror stories he heard about mutant experimentation from others and he wondered if someone 'did' something. He doesn't know what or when, but there were all these ideas he had going through his head and they weren't good.
“I've had people telling me all day that they've seen this guy that looks a lot like me,” he accused, “I didn't think it would be my fucking roommate.”
“I didn't think I would be seeing someone with my face out on the west coast.” He was still thinking about there was something screwing with him, and wondered if he should call someone that was over here for advice. “Troy Vandegraff?” Bobby asked.
“Bobby Drake,” he confirmed, using the nickname he's also been hearing. “Fuck, this is messed up.”
“You have no idea.” He settled back down on the bed. Troy took the bed he had claimed earlier in the day. “Where and when were you born?”
His face was confused. “LA Mercy, November 23rd, 1986. My Mom refused anywhere else, including London and Tokyo,” he said, “Dad thought he could get me dual citizenship. That just meant I could get into trouble in double the places.”
Bobby was going to have to get more about his past to understand that comment. “Boston General, June 21st, 1987.”
Confused turned into surprise and wariness. “So, there's no way it could be twins.”
“Not unless papers were faked.”
“Or video. Dad was proud when I was born,” Troy muttered.
It was something Bobby picked up on quickly. “Disappointed yours as well?” he mentioned.
He sighed, “Yeah.” There was a split second of sharing his story, but that would be better saved until he knew what was his position on mutants was. “So, both of us had disappointed our families. What else do we have in common?”
He let out an unintentional laugh at the first sentence. “I don't think we have that much else in common,” he said.
Wallace ended up seeing the two walking around the first day of classes. First, he took a picture of them side by side, sending it to Mars with caption before walking up to them. “You know, I didn't believe it at first,” he commented, standing beside Troy, “But, damn, you two could be twins.”
“Impossible,” Bobby said.
“Wrong time, wrong place,” Troy continued.
He stared between the two of them. “No fraking way.” He shook his head. “See you guys later.” They returned the sentiment and walked apart to get to their classes. Apart from the continued double takes for the first few days over the two, it died out after the first week. They didn't think anything about it, including taking a few pictures and posting them online so Bobby's friends back east could see the 'twin' that had been discovered. The adults cautioned him about Troy. His friends wanted to meet him. It would be interesting seeing someone with his face not acting like him, as Peter put it.
It was October, fall not even touching the place. Veronica treated Troy with casual and non informational conversation, and the same with Bobby. He didn't mind it. Kitty had sent him information and he found out she was in the middle of a lot of trouble back in her home of Neptune. Including something with Troy, first in junior year and then in senior year. Waiting in their dorm room, he was working on a paper when Troy came back from classes. “Hey, why didn't you tell me about what happened last year?” he asked.
He glared at him and then read the article over his shoulder. “Because I hate that.”
“You came back to the college that once accused you of being a rapist.”
“Yeah, and it was proven that not only that I didn't do it, whoever is doing it is a serial rapist,” he said.
“That's on the campus you came back to,” he noted, “Kind of a bad move.”
“Hey, I'm not going to allow something to push me away from what I want.”
“You mean who.” He looked over to Bobby. “Come on, Wallace filled me in on the dating Veronica thing.”
“She's with Logan.”
“Means nothing. I wish...” He stopped, not knowing how to explain the complicated thing that had been going on with John. That and thoughts on how Troy would take those that liked same sex relationships.
“You wish you could be with someone even though they're with someone else,” he finished. “Girl?”
He thought about it for five seconds. Being in love with the same sex would be taken a tiny bit easier than mutation. “If I said yes, would you believe me?” he revealed.
“Probably not,” Troy said, “Fair warning, my parents are homophobic.”
“So are mine and my brother,” he said. “They're also anti-mutant.”
“Huh,” he sounded, looking somewhat intelligently at the ceiling. “Are they also racist and hate poor people?” Bobby laughed and fell back on his bed. When he finally managed to get up, his computer screen was blank. He started trying to get his work back up, and got increasingly frustrated when he couldn't. “What's wrong?”
“My screen's blank. The power's still on, but,” he complained.
He moved over to his side. “What?”
Bobby kept trying to bring the paper back up. “It's not working. I can't get my stuff back up.” It was an increasingly frustrating few seconds before it came back up without his help. His paper had been the only thing up, but now his folder with all their photos was also open. “Someone hacked my computer,” he revealed. “Damn it. I wish Kitty were nearby. She'd be able to figure out who did this.”
It took a minute for Troy to figure out something. “I bet Veronica knows someone good with computers,” he suggested.
He leveled a look at him about his second intentions. “You're not coming with me.”
“Because I don't need her mad when I'm trying to request her help.”
Troy tried arguing, but he just packed up and left him behind in the dorm room while he went down to the common area. He spotted Wallace first, asking him about where Veronica would be and who they could turn to for computer help. Wallace told him about Mac, but said talking with Veronica would be a better avenue. She could introduce them and he wouldn't be on her bad side.
The woman was coming out of her last class when she saw the Troy look-a-like coming toward him. “Bobby Drake,” she checked, to make sure.
“That's me,” he said.
“So, are you on the Troy wagon, hoping to turn me to his side?”
“Nope, I refuse to enter that battle for him.” That was the truth, and he was definitely sticking with it. “I actually need some expertise.”
“Okay,” she said.
He sat down, carefully, a few feet away. “Someone hacked my computer. While I was on it working on a paper.”
“And you want to know who the perp was,” she finished.
She contemplated it. He looked too much like Troy, and she was trying not to hold it against him. However, he didn't act like the former 09er, which worked. “Question, have you visited any questionable sites that might have caused a less than savory character to get access?”
A light blush crept up before he got himself under control. “I don't visit those 'adult' sites,” he answered.
She stared at him, unbelieving. “Really?”
He sighed, “Strict teacher. I never really want to go on those sites and get caught.” Ms. Gray would catch them while they were on any site that didn't have to do with school work, but especially porn sites, then put up their exact place up on the projector. It was embarrassing to be caught. Site preference spread around the school, usually got teased mercilessly for a week and everyone remembered it longer. “It stuck.”
She was amused. Hey, it was an amusing story, if one didn't know that Ms. Gray was constantly scanning their minds to make sure they stayed on topic. Of course, with himself unintentionally 'yelling' his thoughts because he was classified as a broadcaster, it didn't help. “Okay, so no porn sites. Any downloads? Emails from Nigerian Princes?”
He thought about what he had been doing. “Downloads from official sites only. No link clicking from emails,” he reported.
She nodded, “All right. I'll pass your info to Mac and she'll come over before night to check it out.”
Before night, got it. He left her to her work and went back to his room. Troy went out for something or someone, he wasn't too sure. Bobby didn't know who to expect, but the person at the door reminded him of Kitty so much that he knew it was Mac. “Hi, I'm Bobby,” he greeted.
“Mac,” she smirked, amused by the teen. “So, someone hacked your computer?”
“While I was using it.”
“Bold,” she commented, walking in. Habits from the school and his mother meant his side was relatively clean. Troy's area wasn't. Bobby pointed her over to the computer after asking if she wanted a water. She didn't, wanting to get back to Veronica and Piz. After a few minutes, she found the time frame in which Bobby described the takeover, and worked on tracing it back to the source. She was unsuccessful.
Then, the hacking began again while she was on it.
“Oh no you don't,” she declared, switching to the defensive to prevent anything from happening to the computer. But nothing malicious was happening. The hacker was just roaming around like a bug. So, she switched, trying to pinpoint who and where the hacker was. The other person started evading her. She almost had a location when a package was dropped and the hacker purposely cut off. Mac tried for a couple of minutes before shaking her head.
Bobby, who had been watching over her shoulder, watched in worried surprise as the events unfolded. “Do you think it was the same person?” he asked.
It took a second for her to read the trail while scanning the package for viruses and malicious content. “Yeah, and this time, there's a message,” she reported, completing her scans and opening the lines of code up.
“I can't read that.” She highlighted the section and enlarged. Now he could kinda make it out. “Time and Date.”
“Yeah, and whoever hacked your computer wants to meet you and Troy.”
That surprised him. It took a minute for him to get out of a daze at the new information. “Great. Great, thanks,” he said.
She got up and walked over to the door. “Also, no fee. At least in money. Veronica trades in favors,” she warned, walking out the door. He noted that unsettling thought, planning on asking Troy about it later, as well as telling him about the new pieces of information.
The note had read two weeks later, at a park three states away and bring your own food and drinks. Troy and Bobby took off early from classes to get there. A few pops and food, Bobby resisting the urge to keep everything cold because he still had no idea how to reveal to Troy that he was a mutant. There were a few other cars already around the area. Seeing the plates, a couple were a few states away, but a few were rentals, indicating the visitors were from farther away, and were older than they were. Bobby grabbed the cooler while Troy got the snack bags and walked ahead. The area meant for picnics and resting already had a few guys hanging around, laughing and talking before they even got close. They turned around to see the latest newcomers.
They all shared the same face.
That stopped Bobby, the teachers' warnings about experimentation and other items that have sparked around the community. Troy was having the same reaction that he had the first time he met Bobby increased several fold. One of the guys, closer to Troy's face and a few years older, turned to another one within a circle they had created. “Dylan, didn't you warn anyone what was going on?” he berated.
“Right, and how was I going to mention that in a note about three hundred characters when most was used up to make sure you guys got here with food?” another voice complained. A face just younger than Troy's popped up to see the new ones. “Bobby and Troy, right?”
“Yeah?” Troy answered.
Another face, closer to Bobby's, also popped up and watched for a second. “You know, you don't have to be worried,” he tried. “I'm Robert. That's Colin.” He pointed to the older Troy face that had been talking. “And that's Dylan. He was the one hacking into all our stuff.” The younger version shot a glare off before someone cuffed him upside the head.
Another guy spoke up from a grill that was started. “George,” he said, waving before going back to the hot dogs that someone had brought. He turned one and didn't like how it was cooking. Bobby saw the flame that had been staying below the rack jump up to lick a few of them before settling down. A few of them are mutants?
Another of Bobby's faces looked over at George when that happened. “Really, Barnum? Do you have to show off?” he demanded slightly.
“Fuck off, Fitz. Just because you don't have a physical power doesn't mean you get to complain about ours,” he shot back.
Bobby looked around. Are all of them mutants? Surprise must have been on his face, because another one of his faces commented, “Yeah, all of us have powers and have tested positive for the X Gene. Oh, and I'm Mike Weston.”
Troy muttered, “Well, that's one uncomfortable conversation out of the way.”
Bobby looked over. “You?” He faced him, nodded and the wind started picking up around the entire group. The flames didn't flicker, but items had to be held before the wind died down. It reminded him of Miss Munroe's abilities when she practiced created a storm. The sky, however, stayed clear. “Just wind?”
“Air in general. I got really pissed off once and,” he trailed off, “I have to watch myself. My parents aren't happy at it, but it's better than the drug stuff.” His roommate nodded, understanding the difference of the situations. “So, what's yours?”
“Umm,” he hummed, trying to figure out how to show his freezing without hurting any of the trees around the place. He checked the pops and realized the ice had melted. Setting it down, he set a single finger in the water and refroze it, completely encasing the pops.
Everyone paused, watching it with interest. “Okay, he's got the best power,” one of the unidentified ones announced.
“Wait,” another said, “You're Iceman of the X Men.”
The others all turned to him. He hadn't really thought about being identified outside. Should he try not admitting that? “No?”
The guy that announced it stared at him, unamused. “You're lying,” he stated.
“How do you know that?” Bobby asked, “Are you telepathic?”
“No, I can just tell when someone is lying,” he said.
The one that declared Bobby's power the best spoke up. “We need name badges. Hi, I'm Marcus. I have a camera around my neck because I plan on being a photographer. Lie Detector is Steve.”
“Would name badges help when two of us are named Robert?” Mike asked.
“I go by Bobby,” he pointed out.
“Yeah, problem solved,” Colin joshed, “Now we just need to figure out how to tell everyone else apart.”
“Colin, George, Fitz, Mike, Dylan, Robert, Marcus and Steve,” Troy listed off, pointing out each one while he named them. Everyone started at him. “Learned skill.”
“Well, for everyone that doesn't have that skill,” Fitzgerald said, “We should probably figure out a way to recognize and identify without needing help.”
“And maybe find out why Dylan hacked into our stuff and gathered it all up,” Troy pointed out. The two joined the rest of their duplicates and accepted hot dogs from George.
After food and drinks were passed out, Fitz the only legal age drinking beer, they settled into eating and discussing their own lives. George ended up bugging Fitz over medical questions, and the differences between Canadian and American schooling. Mike and Steve were talking about law enforcement agencies, Steve thinking about ATF and Mike planning on the FBI like his idol Ryan Hardy. Both Robert and Dylan talked about their illegal activities, Dylan not being caught and Robert in the middle of a criminal trial after his was discovered. This was watched and commented on by Colin, who was in law enforcement and had almost gone down a bad road before someone stepped in the way.
After a plate for each of them, Bobby was the one that brought it up again. “Why did you get us together?” he asked, “How did you even find out about us?”
Dylan dropped the chip he was holding. “My parents were talking when they thought I was asleep. They mentioned people, people I later looked up and found out are powerful, and how they're planning on manipulating things to take over the country or the world or something, I don't,” he started, dropping his head and rubbing it to control his fright and terror, “Then they started talking about using me to help them. Talked about my hacking abilities and how there were others that they could contact to help overtake everyone.” Colin draped an arm around his shoulders, noticing his emotions. “They said the clones of Remus and Romulus must be convinced and recruited.”
“Clones?” Bobby muttered. That was one of the things the Professor was worried about.
“They had folders, on everyone here,” he said, “With marks on if we came from Remus's DNA or Romulus's. There was even more, but they were marked deceased and some others are younger than us.”
“So, wait, we're all clones?” Marcus asked. Dylan nodded. “Remus and Romulus are the original templates?”
Mike commented, “Remus and Romulus were twins. Probably why we look alike.”
“Minor differences,” Colin mumbled.
“They messed with the DNA,” Bobby hypothesized, “Messing with the present X gene to try and create weapons that they could set among their enemies.”
“It didn't work. I can just read people's health,” Dylan mocked.
“I've got auras,” Robert countered.
“I see ghosts,” Colin lamented.
Troy snorted, “Seriously? How is that a mutation?”
Colin smirked, “The official explanation is that I read the energy signatures left by those that have passed. I think it's bullshit.”
Fitz laughed, “It is bullshit. Most of our powers are claimed by psychics, not mutants.”
“And you can...?” Bobby asked.
“See the worst thing that happened to someone in their past. Trust me, not fun.”
“I saw all of us,” Mike said, “Before even meeting. I saw their first encounter,” he waved over at Bobby and Troy, “I saw Robert's encounters with the officer investigating his crimes. Some of your cases.” He pointed at Colin and the man made a note to ask about what he saw.
“Have you seen the younger ones that Dylan talked about?” George inquired.
He nodded, “One of them, I think his name is Scott. His father walked out on the family.”
“Does it only happen when we're in distress?” Robert asked, picking up on the common thread.
“So far, except for Troy and Bobby's meeting.”
“You might be able to expand it,” Bobby said.
“Over at Xavier's?” Mike inquired.
The group turned to Bobby. “Xavier's School for the 'Gifted'?” George asked.
“The school for mutants? You went there?” Troy added.
Colin thought quickly, going through the information he's picked up undercover. “You were there when it was attacked,” he concluded.
Bobby started shrinking in his seat. “Yeah, I was,” he said.
The rest of the group went quiet. All were mutants, but only one had been chosen, somehow. “Why did the professor only know about you?” Fitz asked. He shrugged.
“Maybe we should ask him,” Dylan prompted, “I mean, it might be a good idea to warn him about... the people that created us.” Things were starting to collide uncomfortably, and the group was wondering what was going to happen in the future after being knocked out of their somewhat protected lives. With Dylan's parents part of the reason they exist, origins they don't know about, parents that had been lying to them their whole lives, things were hazy on what would come out of the new group and information gathered.
“I think,” Steve said, “We need to find out as much as we can. Share mutations, limits we have currently. I detect when someone is lying. It's not some sort of telepathy. Colin 'sees' ghosts. Fitz sees the worst events in someone's life. Mike sees things from great distances. Robert reads auras and Dylan can sense people's health. Troy can control air, Bobby can freeze things and George can influence heat. They all have physical powers that can act as weapons, given training.” He looked over at Marcus, the only one that hadn't revealed his mutation. “Is yours a weapon-viable one?” Marcus just nodded, several rocks floating for a few seconds before dropping back down.
“Dylan's could be trained into a weapon,” Troy mentioned, “Fitz's is good for recon and spying. Mike also for recon. Robert and you could work in interrogation.”
“I'm last one out,” Colin joked, figuring on the same principles for recon and interrogation.
Bobby turned to the young hacker. “Maybe you should find and copy those files your parents had on the others. As well as getting down the information on what your parents are a part of.” He nodded, poking at his food.
After a couple of more hours talking, trading stories and eating, the group disbanded. Fitz got a ride from Colin while Bobby drove his car to the hotel with Troy following. The rest went back on the road, trying to get back to their families and their lives. All had each others numbers, several had worries. The youngest weren't out of high school, the oldest already over a quarter of a century. No ideas on who Remus and Romulus could be and how to find them. None wanted to find out what would happen if they were rediscovered again.