CHILDREN OF THE MIDDLE WATERS (10b/12 - NEW) ensemble [Heyoka II]
- Continuing direction from part 10a/12....
But the bombshells weren't over for that day. The last was probably
the most profound, and the one about which he felt the most
ambiguous. It was, in fact, two bombshells, though the first paled
in comparison, and was something that he'd always known and just
His father came by late that evening before visiting hours ended for
the day. Scott had been looking forward to a little alone time.
Even Grace was more than he wanted just then, but being tied to a
hospital bed, he was at their mercy. He supposed he could have asked
them all to leave, but he couldn't bring himself to. His parents
were here, and he wasn't going to send them away. Whatever
disagreements they'd had in the past, when push had come to shove and
he'd needed them, they'd come. Surrounded by the repetitive story of
kids rejected by their families for their X-gene, he was very aware
of the worth of that. His disagreements with his own family stemmed
from more mundane matters of differing ideology. He was a democrat
in a family of republicans, a social liberal in a family of
conservatives, an agnostic from a family of devoted Catholics. Those
divisions had already been in place before he'd trashed his high
school bathroom with his mutant powers. But he loved his parents and
they loved him, and despite what he'd told Xavier after Christmas, he
couldn't reject them, however strained the interaction might
So when his dad came in that evening, he set aside the magazine he'd
been leafing through and gestured to a chair. His father took it.
"I had to wait to find you alone," Chris Summers said -� which
sounded ominous, and Scott breathed out softly, waited. "Your
girlfriend's been at me to tell you something."
Scott blinked, unsure how to reply. He'd informed his mother that
he'd broken up with Jean, and gathered since that she knew he was
seeing Grace -� which no doubt meant that his father knew, too �- but
none of them had talked about it further. They weren't likely to
agree with his choices, and if it had been a long time since he'd
sought their approval, it still hurt when they didn't give it, made
him ache with the hollow shame of a child scolded. So he kept things
to himself. His life for them was like a Hollywood set -� all front
and no substance.
Now, his father rubbed at a non-existent wrinkle in his pants and
went on: "It's something you already know, you just don't remember
you know it. I told you and Alex as kids, when you were on about
that family tree stuff. Your grandmother was a half-breed Tlingit
Indian. I don't make much of the blood, never did. Got out of
Alaska as soon as I could and never enrolled you or your brother
because I didn't see the point. Our family is Heinz 57 American.
You've got more Italian and Irish in you than Indian, but your little
Indian girl thinks you should know. So I'm telling you. If it ever
matters, I'm on the Tlingit rolls, Raven band. You and Alex could
Scott sat for a moment absorbing that. He did remember vaguely -�
very vaguely -� that he'd once known his father was a quarter Indian,
way back in second grade when school plays about Plymouth Rock had
been all the rage. He'd used that fact to argue his right to play
Squanto. And he could recall his brother dancing around the living
room to Cher's "Half Breed" with his face all painted up with their
mother's lipstick. And Mom laughing. But he'd forgotten it all
since. After seven or eight, it hadn't mattered � until almost
twenty-seven, when he'd fallen in love with an Indian girl.
He ran a hand over his face, careful, as always, of his glasses.
"Christ! Grace must be loving this. But she didn't say anything to
"She was waiting for me to tell you, I think."
Scott dropped his hand. "So why wait till we were alone? It's not
exactly the family skeleton."
Shaking his head, his father leaned in, braced elbows on his knees.
"No. And that wasn't what I really wanted to talk to you about.
Just seemed a good time to tell you."
"Will you tell me more about it, later? I don't even know who the
His father's grin was tight. "Alaskan warrior tribe and whale
hunters. Coastal Salish people. Totem poles and all that. You've
got Haida in you, too. Tlingti and Haida and a little Cheyenne -�
from my father's side, actually. One of our ancestors married a
woman from Black Kettle's band, after the Sand Creek Massacre. So
I'm more than a quarter, but not as much as a half."
"Wow. This is so weird." And he stopped because he wasn't sure what
else to say. "I don't look Indian. You do, but I don't. I have
blue eyes, for pete's sake! Had blue eyes."
"You've got the cheekbones, and the teeth. Alex has the nose, too.
I see it in you both. Indian genes are strong, but not in the ways
"So what did you need to talk to me about that didn't merit an
Chris Summers tilted his head to regard Scott thoughtfully, a little
sternly, and Scott's stomach clenched. "You going to take your old
man flying before I head home? Assuming your little Indian girl can
get you back on your feet as fast as she seems to think she can.
That's one sleek jet you've got in the mansion basement. I'd like to
see how fast she can go."
Scott's knee-jerk reaction was to say, "I don't know what you're
talking about," but under the circumstances, that would be absurd.
"What did Xavier tell you?" he asked instead.
"I wanted to know what you were doing in that building negotiating in
the first place. So Xavier took me back to the mansion, told me
about your weekend job." He leaned back in his chair and laced his
hands over his stomach. "Out playing super-hero in black leather.
And I'd love to know how Charles Xavier got hold of the frame to an
SR-71. They broke the damn molds after they'd finished making them.
But you have one of those frames."
"I don't know," Scott replied. "I never asked." His mind raced to
and fro like a rabbit caught in a net, while his father waited in
that way he did. Said what he had to say, then shut up to let the
other person talk himself in circles. This time, Scott resisted.
And why *in hell* had Xavier told Christopher Summers about the
X-Men? Scott had spent the last four years trying to keep the
knowledge *from* his retired-military father. Xavier could have
explained what had happened in Brooklyn without opening the lower
"Don't be mad at your professor," his father said, apparently reading
Scott's face, or at least guessing the direction of his thoughts.
"I'm glad he told me. I'm glad to know what you're doing out here,
son. Proud to know."
Scott bit back a reply, wasn't sure he could even speak. The burn
was suddenly fierce in his eyes and the front of his face. He
swallowed once, and again, convulsively. He wasn't going to cry.
His father had looked off. "When your powers first showed up, I
wasn't as understanding as I should have been, and I apologize. We
were shocked, your mother and I, and scared for you. We didn't
understand what was happening. And though it was selfish �- I admit
it -� all I could think then was that the Air Force would never take
you after that."
He looked back finally. "The Summers men have a long tradition of
military service, and from the time you were young, you showed the
one thing that really mattered to me, son �- a concern about justice
for all. We might argue over how to bring that justice about and
what party should control Congress, but we agree on the basics, don't
we? Follow the law, tell the truth, do what's right, and give
everybody a fair shake. I taught you those things, and I learned
them from my father, who learned them from his father. Your ancestor
who married the Cheyenne girl -� he was a Marshal out west, and he
quit the damn army when the US started breaking treaties with the
Indians." His father grinned. "Your Indian girl might like to know
that. Go look up the career of Danny Summers some time, Scott. He
fought for the Union in the civil war, knew Lincoln, and spoke
*against* that bastard, Chivington, after the Sand Creek Massacre.
He tried to talk President Grant into more lenient Indian policies in
the face of a lot of hard-liners like Custer. He did what was
*right*, not necessarily what was popular. That's what our family
does. So you voted for Gore and I stood by ol' John McCain, but we
both try to do what's right."
His father shifted forward again and clasped his hands between his
knees. "To know that you went into that building to save that kid �
it means a lot to me. I don't care if you never made the Air Force.
You're out there protecting people, and I'm proud of that. Proud of
*you*. You grew up to be everything I could've asked for, son."
And Scott lost his composure completely. He turned his head to the
side and, glasses off with his eyes shut tightly, just bawled despite
how much it hurt, his pillow pressed hard against his chest. It was
all he'd wanted to hear for more years than he could count -� that
his father was proud of him.
Rising, his father moved to the bed, slipped a hand under his neck,
shifting him until his head lay in his father's lap, and let him cry.
He showed no fear of the lightning in Scott's eyes. "Hey, hey,
shhhh. This took us long enough, didn't it?"
"Yeah," Scott whispered.
"You have no idea how glad I am that you're alive, son." They didn't
say anything further for a few minutes, then his father asked, "So,
you going to show your old man how you fly that fancy VTOL plane of
Scott laughed a little without moving from his dad's embrace. "Yeah,
sure." He wiped his runny nose with the edge of the blanket. How
very leaderlike of him.
"And we'll have to talk about some other things, too," his father
added. "Like the heels on the women's boots. It's supposed to be a
*uniform*, not a fashion statement. Break a goddamn ankle, and then
where would they be?"
Scott just laughed.
Feedback is welcome. :) Chapter 11 will *probably* go up the day
after tomorrow. It's written but being edited, and I'm finishing up
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