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FIC: Things Past (Reminiscences 2/5)

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  • Mo
    Things Past (Reminiscences 2/5) “When you were working at Worthington? That’s when you were trying to be normal? Or seem normal, anyway?” Jamie was
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 14, 2005
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      Things Past (Reminiscences 2/5)

      �When you were working at Worthington? That�s when
      you were trying to be normal? Or seem normal,
      anyway?� Jamie was lying prone on the south lawn,
      large white wings stretched out to either side of him,
      flapping lazily in the warm sun.

      Warren, sitting up, wings folded loosely on his back,
      nodded his head. �Yes, well before that, too, some of
      the time. At Worthington I definitely overdid it.
      Hiding them all day, every work day. I was working
      crazy hours, too � 70, 80 hours a week. I�d untie
      them when everyone else had left, or sometimes I�d
      close my office door and just stretch them a bit, but
      it was just too much. It messed up my back and neck.
      You don�t want to know how much physical therapy I�ve
      been through to get back to normal.� He and Jamie
      both smiled at the last word. �Or how hard it was to
      find a physical therapist who was not only willing to
      work with a winged mutant but knew enough about mutant
      anatomy to help me.� Warren flexed his wings and
      continued. �When I was here � as a student I mean �
      we felt pretty free on the grounds, but we used to try
      to pass when we went into town. Or anywhere off of
      the campus. Scott � Mr. Summers - had a white-tipped
      cane. He did a great impression of a blind guy. I�d
      tie my wings up. Easier in cold weather. With layers
      of clothes they didn�t show so much. �

      �You never went out with your wings out?�

      �Oh, I did on missions. It was kind of a weird way to
      live. Some of the time I was Angel � glorying in my
      mutant power, out fighting the bad guys, part of the
      X-Men combat team. Some of the time I was just a high
      school kid in a private boarding school, like any
      other prep school teen. Except our school was only
      four kids and one teacher and we were all mutants.
      And some of the time I was still pretending to be just
      like everybody else. It was a strange, sort of
      fragmented existence. At least, looking back I can
      see it was. At the time it felt normal.� He laughed.
      �There�s that word again. It�s not the right one,
      really. It didn�t feel normal. I didn�t know what
      normal felt like. But it sure felt great,
      particularly after what I�d been through.�

      �It was bad at home, before you came here?�

      �You can�t imagine.� Seeing Jamie�s expression, he
      added, �No of course you can. I forgot who I�m
      talking to. And no, it wasn�t as bad as what you went
      through. But bad enough. Enough that it felt like a
      huge relief to be here, that I didn�t mind at all
      risking my life to do whatever Charles Xavier sent me
      out to do. It blows my mind to think about it now. I
      look at you, at the other kids here and think what I
      was doing at your age. On a fighting force, in mortal
      combat at least weekly. I was badly injured more
      times than I can count. We all were. We didn�t even
      get real medical attention much of the time, since we
      were trying to keep how we got the injuries under
      wraps. I think Jean and Hank went to med school in
      large part because they got into it from spending so
      much time patching each other � and the rest of us �
      up, that they found out they had a talent for it.� He
      sighed. �I look back on that and I think Charles was
      utterly insane. We were a bunch of kids playing at
      being superheroes and not even realizing we were
      playing for keeps. It�s only plain dumb luck that none
      of us got killed. But at the time � well, it seemed
      like absolutely the best life had to offer.�

      �So why did you leave?�

      �I got mad at the Professor.�

      **********************************************
      �Your savior?�

      Logan�s tone was disdainful, but Scott didn�t seem to
      mind. �Scoff if you must,� he said, sitting up and
      leaning against the headboard. He pulled his legs up,
      wrapped his arms around them. Head on his knees, he
      thought back to the time they�d been discussing.
      �That�s what it felt like. I don�t know if I can
      adequately explain it. I couldn�t believe my luck
      when Charles showed up. I�d been living hand-to-mouth
      for well over a year.�

      �Cock-to-mouth, more like it.�

      �That, too. But you know what I mean? No visible
      means of support. And no vision. A bad combo. So
      whatever gets me through the night. And the next day.
      I wasn�t thinking any further than that, not for a
      long time. Not since Simon, really. And you know how
      that turned out. I felt like I just couldn�t think
      any further than a day at a time. And then Charles
      shows up and I start thinking I might have a future.
      He told me he�d give me a home. An education. A job.
      A place in the world.� He shook his head again. �It
      felt too good to be true. And I felt like it had to
      be true, like I had to do whatever I could to make it
      true. It was everything I wanted. So all I wanted to
      do was please him, any way I could. I was so scared
      of doing or saying the wrong thing and screwing it up.
      It left me completely tongue-tied, unable to
      respond.�

      �It sounds like you were the one who was flustered,
      not the Professor.�

      Scott nodded. �Yeah, I was at first. Charles, well
      he was all Charles. He ignored me sputtering and
      being incoherent, just acted as if it weren�t
      happening and kept talking to me. He was totally
      charming. Well, you know how he is. He was just
      putting me at my ease in that seemingly effortless way
      he has, speaking to me like I was someone real,
      someone important. Telling me things he thought I�d
      be interested in. Asking my opinion on all sorts of
      things, acting like he thought I was someone whose
      opinion mattered. Not some fucked-up blind hustler
      kid who�d do anything for ten bucks. I was crying my
      eyes out, really embarrassed, trying hard to stop. I
      hadn�t cried in over a year, not since before I�d come
      into my powers. I think it was a year�s worth of
      tears coming out then, if that makes any sense. All
      that pent up emotion I hadn�t let myself express, that
      I mostly hadn�t even let myself feel. And I just
      couldn�t stop. Running nose, tear stains. I was
      worried that the crying was ruining my looks, making
      me unappealing, you know? I just couldn�t look bad.
      Because that�s what it was all about. All it had been
      about for a long time. And here I was bawling, and
      worried that he wouldn�t want me because of that. But
      he handed me a handkerchief, reassured me, helped me
      to calm down, without letting on that that was what he
      was doing. Then he asked me to push his chair.�

      �Why the fuck does he do that? The damn thing�s
      motorized.�

      Scott laughed. �Did he do that with you, too, when
      you first came to the school? He does it all the
      time. It�s a good strategy. It gives you something
      to do with your hands, let�s you feel useful. It also
      makes people more comfortable with his disability, I
      think. You know, once they�ve touched the chair, they
      aren�t kind of staring at it sidelong... And for me,
      blind, well it was something else, too. A way to lead
      me, really, without me having to feel like I was being
      led. He told me where to go. Plus I didn�t even know
      he was in a wheelchair until he asked me to push it.
      So, it cleared up some of the confusion.�

      �How come you didn�t know he was in the chair? Oh,
      you mean �cause you couldn�t see?�

      �Yeah. I knew something was strange. His voice was
      too low � not low timbre, low position. It had been
      like he was sitting down, but he was moving. I didn�t
      know what to make of that. So, he told me to push it
      and take him on the train and then I knew why. And I
      felt like I was doing something to help him, so that
      felt good. It didn�t occur to me until later that
      he�d come there by himself, so he obviously didn�t
      need someone to push it.� Logan laughed at that. �At
      the time I was just thinking that his legs don�t work
      and my eyes don�t work and that felt good, sort of
      equalizing. It made me less self-conscious about my
      eyes, I think.� Scott paused again, remembering. �And
      the whole way to Salem Center he was working on
      helping me relax, just reassuring me that I was going
      to be safe now. He told me all about the estate. It
      wasn�t a school then, just a huge, mostly empty
      mansion. He had staff, some of them live-in, but he
      was the only real resident. Until me. He told me
      he�d gotten a room ready for me. Said he�d furnished
      it with things he thought I�d like, but I could choose
      out what I wanted after I was settled, that he wanted
      me to realize it was my room. He said he wanted me to
      understand that I could do whatever I wanted with it.�


      *******************************************
      �Charles knew Scott was gay? When you and Scott were
      together?� Sasha sounded surprised.

      �Yes, I think so. Well, sort of. He knew most of
      Scott�s sexual experience had been with men. Well, I
      knew that, too. Or I guessed it, anyway. Well, not
      until later, but I did figure it out. But that
      was...different. I didn�t think it meant anything
      about who Scott is, you know? It was what he needed
      to do, not what he wanted to do.�

      Sasha looked perplexed. �What do you mean?�

      �Well, don�t tell anyone, love. Please. When Scott
      was a teenager, he was homeless for over a year. I
      don�t even know how it happened, really. He doesn�t
      talk about it. I assume his parents couldn�t handle
      it when he came into his powers. He has no contact
      with them, hasn�t since before I knew him.�

      �He�s completely estranged from his family?�

      She nodded. �Just like so many of the kids we get
      here. I think it helps him relate to them in a way I
      never could, with my privileged upbringing. And well,
      when he was on his own � that�s how he got by. Sex
      trade. He was one of those hustler kids you see in
      Washington Square Park. So yeah, he was having sex
      with men, but it wasn�t because he wanted to. He
      hated doing that. Hardly anybody knows, so I mean it.
      Don�t say anything. Don�t even let on to Scott that
      I told you.�

      �I will keep your confidence.�

      �I know that. I just feel like I should say it.�

      �I find this information... hard to reconcile with the
      Scott Summers I know.�

      �Yeah, me too. I wonder if it would have affected my
      impression of him if I�d known at the time. Scott was
      so much the All American Boy or something when we were
      kids. Hard worker � at school, on the team. He did
      everything right. It was no surprise to any of us
      when Charles named him Field Leader. He�d been our de
      facto leader already.�

      �Would you have been less willing to follow him if
      you�d known he�d been a prostitute before he came
      here?�

      �Maybe. It would have shook up our view of him, I
      think. I mean, we were just kids. We weren�t great
      on nuances. We had a certain picture of Scott and it
      made it comfortable to be under his command. We might
      have thought twice about following him into battle if
      we�d known about his past. I bet I would have thought
      twice about dating him, too.�

      ***************************

      �Warren seems to be on perfectly good terms with the
      Professor,� Adam protested. �I�ve seen them together
      � totally congenial, as far as I can tell.�

      �I know,� Anjuli agreed. �Me, too. I didn�t meet
      Warren until after Hank�s death. By that point he
      certainly seemed to have made up with Professor
      Xavier. Well, I guess before that. As I said, Hank
      was shocked when Warren came back to the X-Men. He
      couldn�t get over it. He kept saying that Scott
      Summers had to be the most persuasive man alive to get
      Warren back. He spent a lot of time speculating about
      what Cyclops could have offered Warren to entice him
      to rejoin.�

      They both stopped talking, listening to a sound from
      the other room. �Yours or mine?� Adam asked, and then
      shrugged and said, �Doesn�t matter, I guess.
      Whichever baby it was, he seems to have gone back to
      sleep. Anyway, I don�t really know Warren, but from
      what I�ve seen � and from what I�ve heard from
      Jean-Paul � he seems quite happy to be an X-Man again.
      He�s not at all interested in working with the
      school, though. I spoke there at Career Day a few
      years in a row. And each time there would be major
      drama over Warren Worthington refusing to be part of
      that and Scott getting all up in arms about it. So, I
      don�t know how persuasive Scott is or if he�s the one
      that got Warren back, but if he did � well, there are
      limits to his powers of persuasion.�

      ************************************************

      �My first battle on loan to the X-Men? Not that much
      to tell,� Jean-Paul said, slowly. �Or, at least, I
      was too confused at the time to be able to tell you
      much now. I couldn�t tell what was going on half the
      time. Combat can be like that.

      �We were fighting Magneto. He had I don�t know how
      many of his Brotherhood with him. A lot more than us,
      anyway. We were outmanned, outmaneuvered,
      outmutant-powered, too. I remember being shocked at
      some of their powers, thinking we�d be lucky to get
      out alive, much less accomplish the mission. Several
      of us were badly injured within minutes. If it had
      been an Alpha Flight mission, well Mac would have
      aborted and brought us home long before it was over.
      Casualties were too high and the odds were too long.
      I kept expecting the mission to be called off. I kept
      expecting that at least one of us would die, too.� He
      shook his head. �But there�s no saying no to Charles
      Xavier. It was do or die.�

      �So, did you accomplish the mission? Did you all get
      out okay?�

      Jean-Paul cocked his head to the side. �For some
      values of okay. Bien sur, we accomplished the
      mission. Retrieved the stolen uranium we�d been sent
      for. Everyone got out and back to Westchester. Ah,
      but we were definitely the walking wounded. Those of
      us who could walk. Esti! Every last one of us
      injured, and not superficially. I was hors de combat
      for a couple of months and I wasn�t the worst. I told
      Mac never to send me to those crazy Americans again!�







      Mo
      Mofic Website: www.angelfire.com/comics/mo
      www.livejournal.com/users/mofic

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