Summary: Scott's had to think about the alternatives. Pre-X2, gen.
Rating: PG for possibly disturbing content
Disclaimer: They're not mine.
A/N: Feedback is always welcome. Also, this is my first time
posting to the list, so kindly tell me if I've screwed it up.
Scott can't ever forget that there's an alternative. Not the one
Scott wishes for, shamefully, sometimes--to wake up in the morning
normal. To wake up in bed without the visor and without the itching
pressure behind his eyelids, and just open his eyes. That's not
going to happen, even though he still goes to sleep sometimes
wondering, just a little, if it might.
He's considered the real alternative, first in the long weeks of
living with his eyes bandaged shut after his mutation manifested,
then after the first time he saw the words *secondary mutation* in
the medical journal articles and understood that his body might
still betray him. *Untapped potential*, Hank calls it, but Hank's a
little crazy. It wouldn't even have to be that; another head injury
might do it, and it's not like he never gets hit.
If the glasses won't work anymore, if his eyelids--well, he's
thought about it. He's tried hard to come to terms with blindness
as a possible future, one he can't ever quite rule out.
He's worked to learn Braille. He's thought about how he'd manage
teaching. He'll be able to teach even if he can't lead the X-Men.
He won't be dependent on people.
And he won't be defenseless. He practices blindfolded in the Danger
Room, even though it usually means people beating the crap out of
him, because he might lose the glasses in a fight. He's learned to
hit what he can't see.
It scared him a little, at first, when he realized how close he
probably came to some well-meaning doctor blinding him at twelve.
He thought he was the only one who felt that way until he talked to
Warren about it, in the middle of the night when they were both
supposed to be sleeping.
"I was lucky," Warren said. "My parents were really tolerant about
it. They only brought up surgery once."
"They ... why?"
Warren shrugged. "I could look normal."
Scott looked at Warren's wings, half-folded over Warren like a
blanket. They were beautiful. "Nobody would really--"
"They talked to a surgeon in L.A. who'd done it before," Warren said
flatly. "He had pictures."
"How do you not have nightmares about that?" Scott asked after a
"I have nightmares about it," Warren said, and then, in a different
voice, "Go to sleep, Summers."
It's not something Jean's ever had to think about much. No one's
ever figured out what part of the brain controls telepathy. For all
anyone knows, it may be a function of the entire structure of a
telepath's brain, not something you can cut out with a knife.
Anyway, her powers are under control, now, and not obvious. The
Professor's always been able to keep his telepathy under control and
hidden, so there's not much point in asking him whether he'd rather
Scott had asked once anyway. It was late at night, and they'd all
been drinking to recover from finals week, after the few kids
staying over the summer were supposedly in bed. Jean and Ororo were
sitting out on the patio bitching about teaching. Scott was walking
with Charles through the winding garden paths, matching his pace to
the wheelchair easily. It was, for once, quiet, although he could
see a lot of lights burning in the windows of the house.
He wasn't sure what they'd been talking about, only that he'd found
himself asking "If you could walk again, but you had to give up your
Charles hadn't looked up at him. "No," he'd said, after a pause
that didn't seem very long at all.
"Because of Cerebro?"
"We need Cerebro, that's true, but it wouldn't be a sacrifice."
Charles shook his head. "I've accepted my limitations. I'd rather
not start over with new ones."
"Most of us get along fine without reading minds."
"Most of you aren't telepaths," Charles said, as if that was an
Scott notices the way people look at Ororo, just like they look at
him--they're wondering. They're uneasy, but they're not sure. He
asked her, once, after a long day at the mall when everyone's stares
seemed to last a little too long, why she didn't dye her hair. "I
like it this way," she said. And maybe that's really her answer.
She's never regretted having her abilities, as far as Scott can
tell. "It's a *gift*," she said, the one time he asked, and her
tone didn't encourage him to ask again.
He watches Rogue in his classroom, shaking back her white-streaked
hair, shying away from Bobby's hands, fumbling with a microscope
slide with gloved fingers, and he wonders what she'd do if she had a
choice. What he'd do if someone came to him and said, "your child
won't be able to touch anyone's skin without killing them, for the
rest of her life, unless you let us cut out this little piece of her
He wonders, sometimes, how good genetic testing will be when they're
ready to have a child. What Jean will want to do if they're sitting
in chairs listening to the doctor say, "the fetus you're carrying
will grow into a child who--" *can't ever touch another human
being. can't breathe air. will weigh six hundred pounds. won't
walk. won't speak.* "Let me tell you about your alternatives."
He finds Jean in the library and sits on the floor beside her and
rests his head against her thigh.
"You're freaking out again," Jean says. Jean thinks he worries too
much about the future, and about the past, and, actually, about the
present, too. She ruffles his hair telekinetically, both hands
still on her book.
It's something most people never get to feel. Like flying, Warren's
arms painfully tight around his waist, his eyes shut because he
couldn't stand looking down--he remembers the feeling of motion,
though, and the silence of it. Like watching Ororo play with
lightning. Like the light brush of Charles's mind against his in
the morning when he comes in to get coffee.
"Just wondering what it would be like to be normal," he says.
"This is normal," Jean says, and he feels invisible fingers brush
against his forehead like a kiss.