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FIC: Time’s Winged Chariot (Reminiscences 4/5)

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  • Mo
    Time’s Winged Chariot (Reminiscences 4/5) Jamie and Warren had been flying for about twenty minutes, into country Jamie had never flown through before.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 14, 2005
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      Time�s Winged Chariot (Reminiscences 4/5)

      Jamie and Warren had been flying for about twenty
      minutes, into country Jamie had never flown through
      before. They�d switched directions a few times and
      Jamie was not quite sure where they were in relation
      to Salem Center. The view below had been beautiful,
      over lakes and hills and horse farms. As time
      stretched on, Jamie wondered where they were going,
      and when they�d arrive. He couldn�t manage to get
      close enough to speak to Warren without worrying about
      knocking wings, though. Finally, as a large low
      building appeared in the distance, Warren swooped down
      and back up, signaling Jamie that they were about to
      land.

      As they descended, the complex they were approaching
      became clearer. The main building was three stories
      at the center, with long two-story wings on either
      side. Several additional smaller buildings surrounded
      it. A large lake with a sandy beach was situated
      behind it, with an elegant-looking boathouse at the
      point nearest the main building. To the left of the
      lake were tennis courts; stables and corrals to the
      right. A large swimming pool in a glass enclosure was
      attached to the main building. A golf course was in
      the distance, Jamie saw. He followed Warren and
      landed in a sculpture garden, right next to a copy
      (was it a copy?) of Rodin�s Thinker. �Is it a
      resort?� he asked.

      Warren shook his head. �It�s where I grew up, my
      family home.� Jamie whistled. Warren laughed in
      response. �What�s the big deal? You�ve been living in
      a mansion for two years.�

      �That�s different. It�s a school. And, anyway, even
      if it still was the Xavier family home, it isn�t like
      this. Looking at this place, I feel like the Xaviers
      were the poor relatives or something.�

      Warren laughed again. He stopped and greeted the man
      approaching them, walking briskly from the main house
      to the garden. �Stevens,� he said. �How are you? We
      just dropped in.�

      �So nice to see you, Mr. Worthington,� Stevens
      replied. Jamie noticed that he seemed unperturbed by
      the two mutants flexing and stretching their wings
      after the long flight.

      �Stevens, this is my friend James Moore.� Jamie
      didn�t know whether to shake hands or not. He just
      kind of nodded at Stevens. �Is my mother around?�
      Warren asked.

      �No, she won�t be back until quite late, I�m afraid.
      A Junior League project is taking up a lot of Mrs.
      Worthington�s time, lately.�

      �Homeless mutant teens?� Stevens nodded. �Well,
      whatever keeps her off the streets. Of course, I guess
      it doesn�t, really,� Warren added, smiling. Stevens
      appeared to be suppressing a grin.

      �Is there anything I can get you, sir?�

      Warren turned to Jamie. �Iced tea?� He nodded.
      �Yes, some iced tea. Oh, and does Mrs. Holland have
      any of those cookies of hers? You know the ones I
      like. We�ll have them out here,� he added, leading
      Jamie over to a table and chairs in the middle of the
      sculpture garden. �Oh, and Stevens?� he added.
      �Bring me the photo album in my top desk drawer.
      Thanks.�

      Jamie looked at the retreating figure of Stevens, and
      whistled again. �It�s like something out of a book,�
      he said. �He�s like something out of a book. Or a
      movie.� Warren just shrugged, wings fluttering a bit
      in the breeze.

      �What was it like, growing up here?� Jamie asked a
      few minutes later, sipping iced tea and eating a
      cookie.

      �I don�t know. I didn�t know any other way to grow
      up.� He scowled. �Really all I knew. I almost never
      got to go anywhere, not after these got big enough
      that they were hard to hide,� flapping his wings to
      show what he meant. �They didn�t want anyone seeing
      me.� Warren took a sip of his tea. �Did you ever
      read _Jane Eyre_?� he asked.

      �Yeah, last year in Mr. Summers�s class on the novel.
      Why?�

      �I read it when I was your age. I identified with the
      first Mrs. Rochester.�

      Jamie thought about that one for a minute. �Stevens
      seems fine about the wings. He didn�t bat an eye at
      us.�

      �He always has been. He risked his job a few times
      just to help me.�

      �Help you how?�

      �Letting me be what I am and not what they wanted me
      to. When they weren�t looking, anyway. My parents
      didn�t have them removed like yours did,� he said,
      gesturing towards Jamie�s left wing with his iced tea
      glass. �But it doesn�t mean they were any more
      resigned to them. I think they would have if they
      hadn�t worried that they�d be exposed as parents of a
      mutant when they went doctor-shopping. It�s not like
      you can find out which doctors are willing to mutilate
      mutant kids by looking in the Yellow Pages. Anyway,
      they did what they could.� He took out the photo
      album and thumbed through it, stopping when he found
      the page he was looking for. �See?�

      �Wow!� Jamie was speechless for a moment. �It�s
      like... like... a straightjacket.�

      �Exactly. Only it confined my wings instead of arms.
      They thought it would make the wings shrivel, or stop
      them from growing or something. I was getting bigger
      and they were getting bigger with me. My father
      realized it was going to get harder and harder to hide
      them. So, he came up with this contraption. Hey, put
      those engineering skills to some use other than making
      money,� he added bitterly.

      �Did you have to wear it all the time?�

      �Only when my parents were looking. I couldn�t reach
      the fasteners � on purpose. That�s how he designed
      it. But Stevens took it off of me as soon as they
      weren�t around. And they weren�t around much. I was
      thankful for that. Thankful for him. He taught me to
      fly, too.�

      �Taught you?�

      �Well, encouraged me. Told me I could, told me I
      ought to use them, got me to keep trying.� He thought
      some more. �I wonder if I could have flown earlier if
      they hadn�t been confined so much. You�re flying,
      after all, and you�re two years younger than I was.�
      He shrugged. �Oh well. I guess I�ll never know.
      There aren�t enough of us winged types to have a sense
      of when they usually start working.�

      �I�m just glad mine work at all. I wasn�t sure they
      would.� Jamie remembered back to when he�d asked
      Warren to help him find out if he could fly. �And now
      your mother does volunteer work with homeless
      mutants?�

      �Yeah. Surprised the hell out of me, how she turned
      around. Still, Scott always said that�s what would
      happen. When I was at Xavier�s, he used to come home
      with me sometimes on vacations. He doesn�t have any
      family of his own.�

      Warren flipped through the album and found a picture
      of a much younger Scott Summer and Warren Worthington,
      posing with their arms around each other�s shoulders
      in the same sculpture garden. Warren�s wings weren�t
      visible and in the bright sun, Scott�s dark glasses
      were unremarkable. �Don�t we look normal?� Jamie
      nodded and smiled. �Anyway, Scott always said it was
      all him, that my mother was just cowed. They had a
      lousy marriage. They always seemed on the verge of
      divorcing. �With him out of the picture, she�d get
      over it� Scott would tell me. And I guess he was
      right. It took my father�s death to get him out of
      the picture, though.�

      �Were you sorry when he died?�

      Warren took another bite of cookie before he answered.
      �Only sorry I didn�t do it myself.�

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

      �The professor knew what you�d been doing, didn�t he?�

      �Absolutely. He knew just what I was, how I�d been
      living. He�d been watching me with Cerebro for a
      while.�

      Logan considered that for a moment. �Does that creep
      you out at all? Him watching you like that, and you
      not knowing he was doing it?�

      �Not until this very moment.� Logan laughed.
      �Seriously, I don�t think that much about it. It
      doesn�t bother me. I�ve seen him do it when he�s
      looking for mutants. He�s not voyeuristic about it.
      He finds out what he needs to know.� Scott thought a
      little more. �Sometimes it bothered me not knowing
      just what he did know. He�s very discreet, and mostly
      I like that. We live in such close quarters here. A
      bit of a goldfish bowl. Cerebro � well, it just meant
      I was in the bowl before I knew it. I�ve been taken
      aback a few times when I find out he knows more about
      me than I thought he did.�

      �But this time he was the one taken aback. If he knew
      you were a rent boy, how come he was so thrown by what
      you said to him?

      �That�s how he is. He knew what I�d been doing, but
      he just didn�t apply it to himself. He�d never dream
      of using a kid that way. It never occurred to him
      that I�d think he would.�

      �For a smart guy, he�s really dumb sometimes.�

      Scott laughed. �That�s Charles all over � brilliant,
      insightful, but at the same time unbelievably na�ve or
      opaque on certain subjects. I think he was just not
      able to conceive of anyone thinking that of him. He
      couldn�t draw the obvious conclusion: you pick up
      this hustler kid. Nobody ever wants him for anything
      but to get off cheap. Why would he think you wanted
      anything different?�

      �So what happened after he stopped sputtering?�

      �He said, �There�ll be none of that.� Cracks me up now
      to think of it. One minute he�s just incoherently
      stammering, doesn�t know what to do with this
      ever-so-earnest kid in front of him saying he�s
      willing to do anything to bring him off. The next
      minute he�s, well, he�s Professor Charles Xavier. With
      all that entails. I don�t think I�d ever heard anyone
      talk like that � he said it in his sternest, most
      professorial voice.� Scott laughed to himself. �I
      immediately responded with �Yes, sir!� which I don�t
      think I�d ever said in my life. Then I thought about
      it and said, �I mean no, sir!� and then I thought
      about it some more and wasn�t sure that was right
      either, and didn�t know what to say. So I didn�t say
      much of anything for the rest of the trip.

      �He kept talking, though � just things he thought I�d
      be interested in. He was telling me about the house,
      the town, ideas he had for dealing with the optic
      blasts. He was really hoping there was a way for me
      to control them with my brain � he wanted to work with
      me telepathically on that. But he was already
      thinking of what could block them, too, figuring that
      could be a stopgap solution. He listed a few
      possibilities to experiment with, and ruby quartz was
      on the list.�

      �How does he do that?�

      �I don�t know. Is he smarter than the rest of us?�
      Scott answered his own question. �No, I don�t think
      so. If you talk sheer brain power, I think Hank
      always had him beat. But Charles is more creative or
      something. He can generate more ideas for any problem
      than anyone I�ve ever met. One of them always works.
      So, the telepathic techniques that might have taught
      me to control it never materialized, more�s the pity.
      But the ruby quartz temporary fix worked, and
      ultimately it became the permanent fix. Anyway, I
      didn�t know that�s what would happen, but I was
      already impressed by all the ideas he had. It made my
      head spin to listen to him.�

      �Did you feel better, knowing he wasn�t just looking
      for a cheap lay?�

      �No! If anything, it made me more anxious. I mean,
      at first I was thinking if I could make give him a
      good time, well then I�m home free. I was worried
      about whether I could, but I knew what the goal was.
      And it seemed at least possible that I could achieve
      it. After not doing anything else for so long, well I
      kind of thought that sex was all I was good at. I
      didn�t know what else I could do � in general, and
      specifically for him. So here I thought if I can only
      find out how to bring him off, I�m okay. Then I find
      out that�s not going to do it. But I didn�t know what
      he *did* want from me, you know? I was feeling kind
      of at sea. And scared to say anything that might
      screw up what looked like such a good thing. So, I
      just didn�t say anything.

      �We got to Salem Center and there was a car to meet
      us. He introduced me to the chauffeur as �Mr. Scott
      Summers, who has come to stay with us.� I didn�t even
      know that he knew my whole name until then. That got
      me mulling over how he knew what he knew.

      �We drove to the mansion in silence. He took me to my
      room. He seemed like he really knew how to deal with
      blind people, explained where everything was and how
      to use it. There were clothes in the drawers, just
      for me. Everything fit, which was how I first
      realized he must already know a lot about me. There
      were Braille books, like he�d said, and a Brailler.
      He put my hands on it, had me feel all around it, told
      me he�d teach me how to use it. And there were audio
      books, too. And real hardcover ones, which he showed
      me by putting my hands on the shelf. �You�ll be
      reading these soon� he said, and at that moment I
      believed him. I thought he could do anything.�


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

      �How did you know about Scott�s past?�

      �Well, you know it was just the four of us here when
      we were kids, right?� Sasha nodded. �We were the
      X-Men and we were the school � there wasn�t a
      distinction. Charles was the only teacher. But then
      once we grew up we wanted it to be more of a real
      school. So after college we became teachers and not
      just X-Men. It was the four of us that wanted to do
      that, make it into a real school. �Ro had joined us
      by then, and Warren was gone, so still four. It was
      Scott�s idea, and the rest of us were all for it.
      Scott brought it to Charles, and he was totally on
      board and we started growing a school � developing a
      curriculum, converting rooms here into classrooms and
      dorms.

      �Charles started finding us students, mostly with
      Cerebro. As the school grew, so many of the kids we
      took in had been living on the streets. So, that
      became something I knew a little bit about, thought
      about. It wasn�t out of the question anymore, you
      know? And Scott seemed to have a special affinity for
      the kids who had been homeless before they came here.
      He understood them, could relate to them, when the
      rest of us couldn�t. Kids would open up to him. They
      felt like he really understood them when they�d
      thought no adult could. Well, that makes sense, he�d
      been through what they had. I mean, I always knew
      that part. I knew he�d been on his own for over a
      year from when he came into his powers until Charles
      went and got him. And I knew he didn�t like to talk
      about that time. But he and I had been together for
      years before it occurred to me to really think about
      that, to consider how a fifteen-year-old blind boy
      would manage to live for a year in New York City
      without parents or a home. A really attractive
      fifteen-year-old blind boy. So, I just kind of put it
      together.�

      �Did you talk to him about it?�

      �No, not until years later. Not until after we�d
      broken up. I mean, obviously he didn�t want me to
      know or he would have told me. Well, that�s what I
      thought at the time. Now I wonder if I should have
      said something then. Maybe he was afraid for me to
      know. Maybe he wanted to talk about it but was too
      scared. Anyway, I knew � or guessed, really � that
      that�s what had gone on, but I didn�t think it meant
      anything about his core sexuality.�

      �Was there anything in...anything in how...� Sasha
      hesitated. �Could you tell from how he made love with
      you? In retrospect, even? Would you know that he
      wasn�t really into women?�

      �No, I don�t think so. We had a good sex life. I
      don�t think I�m kidding myself on that. We had a
      telepathic link, after all. I can confidently say
      that we were both enjoying it. Maybe not so intense
      as it might have been � well, for either of us,
      really. Or as inventive. But he was my first. I
      didn�t have a basis of comparison. Now, I do,� she
      added with a smile.

      �I�ll take that as a compliment.�

      �You should.� She kissed him, then continued. �I was
      shocked when Scott came out. I wasn�t sure he *was*
      gay, even after he told me he�d been having an affair
      with a man. I thought maybe he just had to get that
      out of his system or something, that it was an
      aftereffect of that time he was on his own.� She
      laughed a little. �I was incredibly na�ve, I think.
      When I talk about myself then, I sound like some
      unworldly teenager, not a woman in her thirties.�

      �I don�t think you sound na�ve. It was a shock. You
      think you know someone...�

      She nodded. �Charles maybe knew more, maybe wasn�t so
      shocked. He told me later that he felt he�d let us
      both down, that he ought to have spoken both to Scott
      and me about his concerns about us. He�s very
      discreet. He tries not to interfere.�


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

      Adam and Anjuli stopped their conversation while Adam
      soothed a crying Ezra, upset that the puppy he had
      been enthusiastically watching had left with its
      owner. �So what happened between Warren and Charles
      Xavier?� he asked, resuming the conversation he and
      Anjuli had been engaged in.

      �Well, like I said, Hank never knew the whole story.
      It was over Christmas vacation, when he was in
      college. Hank was with his parents, Jean was at her
      mother�s place. Scott and Warren were at the
      Worthington estate, and Jean and Hank were going to
      join them there by New Year�s. Warren had some huge
      fight with his father, and left. He followed it up
      with a huge fight with Charles Xavier. Whatever
      happened, he was hopping mad. He packed up and left,
      moved out of Westchester and into dorms. I guess he
      patched things up with his father. He went on to get
      his MBA and then worked at Worthington for years. With
      his father until he died, and then continuing on there
      afterwards.�

      �He resigned when it became public he was a mutant,
      right?�

      She nodded. �Yeah. Leaked to the press, apparently,
      by the guy who succeeded him as CEO.�

      �Worthington Industries has always had a reputation
      for being a cut-throat kind of place.�

      �Which makes you wonder what made it preferable to
      being an X-Man.�

      **********************************************
      �Why is he like that?� Wendy was shaking her head in
      amazement.

      �Cyclops? I don�t know.� Jean-Paul took another sip
      of his tea and thought about it a little more.
      �Well, some of it I can see. I am not unfamiliar with
      overachieving closet cases.� She laughed at that.
      �But there was more to it with him than that. Still
      is. Scott will do anything to avoid disappointing
      Charles Xavier.�



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



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