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CHILDREN OF THE MIDDLE WATERS (10b/12 - NEW) ensemble [Heyoka II]

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  • Minisinoo
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2001
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      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
      forgotten.

      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
      sometimes be.

      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
      be."

      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
      me."

      "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
      Tlingit are."

      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
      you'd expect."

      "So what did you need to talk to me about that didn't merit an
      audience?"

      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
      levels.

      "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
      yours?"

      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
      the epilogue.

      --Min

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