December 20th, 2003

JM: Young tilted head closeup

X-Men: Memories of Christmas (1/3) (Scott, Angel, Xavier)

Summary: Pride ruined the angels,
Their shame them restores;
And the joy that is sweetest
Lurks in stings of remorse.

Warnings: Discipline. No slash.
Rating: R for the discipline scene. PG-13 for language and violence.
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. Only the convoluted story is mine, written for personal entertainment only. No money's been made sadly :p
Author’s notes: I just have to visualize a story in order to read or write it. This story is set in the X-Men movieverse but the character of Angel, or Warren Worthington hasn't been introduced in here yet. So… way I did, please choose your own Angel to continue:) You want suggestions… how about Kevin Sorbo?:) Long blonde hair, stoic comic book hero-ish looks, no? Okay then what about Buffy's Angel? er blonde… yeah, that might be a problem… how about we leave the hair way it is yeah? How about I just shut up yeah?:)
Kay, the story goes back and forth between past and present. Hope its not too confusing.
What else… I don't know much about Angel's and Jack Diamond's backgrounds. Whatever you read here is made up for this story.

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JM: Young tilted head closeup

X-Men: Memories of Christmas (2/3) (Scott, Angel, Xavier)

<< Continued from Part 1.

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Scott sat through the evening in obstinate silence while the creep chattered away like a fucking parakeet with a set of wings to match. He didn’t give a damn what went on top – star or a fucking angel. He was not interested in after-dinner toasts if he wasn’t allowed any alcohol. He only wanted to go back to his room and sulk.
Even when he was back in his room, he couldn’t relax. Scott paced back and forth shaking from head to toe… not from the freezing temperatures outside, but from sheer vehemence. His fists clenched on his sides, mouth uttering endless strings of profanities for the man who’d just made him feel like a…a despicable four-year old.
~How dare he? How fucking dare he?~

And he cursed himself for buckling under so easily. What the hell went through him back then? He couldn’t place the source of the sudden rush of emotions he’d felt when Warren had held him so tightly. All he knew was the emotions had made him weak, lose face… lose his meager dignity in front of the big bully and he couldn’t accept that. He almost hyperventilated.

Trapped in a maelstrom of emotions, the teenager was barely thinking rationally, and the professor sensed it.
“Warren, what did you do to the boy?”
“Gave him a warning.”
~In other words, read him his *rights*.~
Charles was not pleased. “You shouldn’t have provoked him so.”
“It all depends on how he takes it uncle Charlie. After tonight its either this way or the other. In any case, we’ll finally know if he’s really ready for the responsibilities you plan for him or not.”
Charles had to agree with that diagnosis. Tomorrow, he would most definitely try talking to Scott again. Surely a week of time and space was enough for the boy.
“Besides, I think he needs us to lay the rules down for him.”
Charles raised his eyebrows at that and Warren explained.
“He’s been on his own too long uncle. He doesn’t realize it right now, but I think on some level, he was actually *relieved* when I was up there telling him what’s what. He knows now that we are not going to give up on him. No matter what he does, or how badly he misbehaves… he is not going to be turned out of this house.”
Warren picked up the cue.
“But… at the same time, he *will* be punished if he misbehaves. You need to do that for him uncle Charlie. Way you did it for me.”
Xavier drew a deep breath.
“His situation is so much more complicated Warren. You were just a scared… spoiled brat.”
At which Warren pulled a face.
“But Scott is… well, he’s fragile. I would be running the risk of bad associations.”
Warren nodded. “I know, and I agree it’s a risk. But… something about the boy… I think he’s stronger than he looks.”
“You think so?”
“Yes, and I know you do too. Or you wouldn’t have chosen him, right?”
Charles smiled, that secret smile of his, and lowered his head. Warren had to ask.
A chuckle followed. “Nothing”
“What? What did I say?”
Charles was visibly amused by something.
“Just… I can see you’ve really grown up. Quite a pleasant surprise how well you understand a child’s psychology, considering your own history.”
And Warren shrugged shyly. “I learnt from the best.”
A moment of tenderness passed before Warren composed himself.
“Ahem, anyway. We’ll know for sure starting tomorrow. What's the worst he could do? Trash my new BMW? I can deal with that.”
Warren had a big smile on his face, everything was under control.


On the morning of Christmas, Charles woke up and like every morning this last week, the first thing he did was reach out mentally to check on the young boy sleeping upstairs. He didn’t find him.

~Warren! Warren!~
Warren jumped awake with a start as Charles burst into his room. Before he could get the words ‘what is it’ out of his mouth, he read the answer in the professor’s troubled thoughts.
Lopez came running in as well. Warren got the chance to ask him.
“Whats wrong Lopez?”
“Professor your study cabinet seems to have been broken open. I believe you keep some cash in there?”
And Scott knew that.
~Sixteen hundred dollars I think.~
Warren swallowed.
~Oh shit.~


Scott rushed into the rotting old apartment building and went practically flying up the stairs to the fourth floor. Reaching there he thumped the first door to his right with all his strength.
“Who the fuck is it?”
“Victor its me, Scott.”
Locks rattled and the door opened to reveal a guy in his late teens, dressed in tight leather pants and dirty netted vest. His hair was spiked and his eyes were kohled, he’d obviously just returned from a job.
“Shit Scottie!”
He let the runaway boy in and closed the door behind him. Then he turned and smiled wickedly.
“Man, you clean up good!”
Scott didn’t have time for pleasantries.
“I came to get you and I’m loaded Vic, let’s get outta here!”
“Where are we going?”
Scott was breathless with panic. “Don’t know. All I know is we gotta get out of New York fast as possible. Away from Jack, away from… from all the fucking wierdos out there.”
“Cool shades” and then Victor gasped. “You can see?!?”
And the guilt came rushing forth, threatening to break him down. He yelled in frustration.
“Now is not the time Victor! I thought you said you were tired of being slapped around and gangraped for nothin.”
“I am.”
Scott shook him by the shoulders. “Then lets go!”
Victor stilled for about a second. Then rushed to a room inside.
“Gimme five.”
Scott looked around, “You got something to drink?”

While Victor packed, Scott downed a shot of vodka and waited. Victor was one of the boys working for Jack Diamond, just like Scott. Diamond was not a small-time pimp, he controlled the entire downtown ring of hustlers and hookers and also held tremendous clout with the mafia. He was ruthless, abusive and unforgiving. Vic was the only friend Scott had ever had on the streets. Scott had lived in his apartment, worn his clothes. Hardly a role model, he thought grimly. But now that he had a chance to escape, he wanted to take him along… to freedom.

Three blocks from the apartment, they stopped running but still kept looking around cautiously. Scott found a lone black Infiniti parked illegally and broke in. He hotwired the vehicle and they were off in a flash. Victor suggested they take the first freeway on the right and then head for the nearest highway.
“Good idea.”
Fifteen minutes later, they were just about to climb onto the highway and the fear of getting caught was slowly receding. Scott’s gut was just about settling when he looked at Victor on his side. He seemed anxious.
“What’s up man?”
“Scott I need to let cuz Tony know that I’m leavin. He works in the meat warehouse just round the corner. Can we stop there first?”
Scott wasn’t so sure. “Vic its not safe right now. We’ll call and let him know once we get someplace cool.”
“Please Scott, this is important to me. I cant go without telling him.”
Scott grimaced, but turned right towards the warehouse.


It had been three minutes and nine seconds since Charles Xavier had entered Cerebro. Warren paced back and forth, his huge wings fluttering restlessly behind him. This was his fault, he pushed too far. This was his fault.
~No it was *not*, Warren. You only had the boy’s best intentions at heart. Now shut up and let me concentrate.~
Admonished, Warren tried to calm his thoughts. Another three minutes later, the doors slid open and Warren ran in towards the core. The professor took off the headgear and turned to him, the urgency unmistakable in his limpid eyes.
“Angel, you have to hurry.”
He did not need to be told twice.


In hindsight, Scott knew it was the exhaustion.
He’d spent most of the night restless and struggling with his own self. How much forethought had he invested in the decision… he would never be able to recall. Just before break of dawn, he’d packed whatever little stuff he owned and slipped out of his room. He knew he wouldn’t get very far without resources. He was tempted to take Worthington’s new car again, but decided not to do anything that might make the mansioners come after him. Least of all Warren. But there was one thing he needed desperately – money.
Another inner struggle followed after which the boy decided he would just have to borrow the money. He would send it back soon as he could afford to.
Breaking open the cabinet was child’s play. He picked up all the notes he could see, didn’t even count them, stuffed them clumsily into his small gym bag and sneaked out. At the gate, he’d turned to gaze at what had been his home for the past week. But never would again. A sense of foreboding washed over him… he was losing something extremely precious and he couldn’t even grasp what. In the end, he just shut the screaming inside his head off and ran… hard as he could.

So here they were, pulling into the warehouse parking lot that was completely deserted. Probably natural for six in the morning and that too on Christmas day. Scott killed the engine and rested. He was so tired.
“Vic its Christmas, are you sure Tony is working this shift?”

“Vic. Vic?”
A sob escaped the boy. Scott peered at the boy closely, it was difficult for him to see fine details in the dark.
“I’m sorry Scottie. I’m so sorry.”
His heart slammed into his chest, his eyes widened with fear.
Harsh gleam of headlights… came flashing from his left, right and ahead. Victor opened his door and ran off. Scott panicked as the engines revved all around him. Suddenly the car on his left starting accelerating towards him. For seconds he tried to hotwire the engine again, but he wouldn’t have made it on time. At the nth moment, Scott exited the car and dived towards the empty space behind just as Jack Diamond’s car came crashing into the driver’s side. Scott fell amid splinters of glass and metal and the stench of leaking gasoline.
The men got out and approached the fallen figure. Through the bright lights Scott could see nothing. He was as good as blind again.
A singular voice… cold, calculating… taunting. Scott would recognize that voice anywhere… Jack Diamond. His nemesis.

“Vic tells us you can see again?”
Scott didn’t reply, only crawled away until he hit the wall behind. He was trapped.
“You know they used to pay double for a naturally blindfolded pretty little slut like you.”
Cruel laughter echoed through the empty parking lot. And here Scott had been repeatedly told he was only worth half the price because of his handicap. But he didn’t have time or the inclination to be pissed off right now. The men were closer, two had guns, two wielded knives while Jack held his usual smoking pipe. That didn’t fool Scott… he knew the man never left home unarmed. With a sinking heart, Scott realized there was no escape left. His thoughts went back to the only kindness he could remember… professor Xavier, the mansion… Warren.
“Think I’ll just have to make things the way they were again, wouldn’t I?”
Wind blew his bangs into his face as something zoomed past Scott through the air. Next time he blinked, he saw a massive figure dressed in black, with huge wings the color of pure white towering right over him.

How can an all-American bona fide hero possibly make his entry without a line?
“Think again.”

The fight lasted hardly a few minutes. The goons were knocked unconscious or disabled, one lay dying of a fatal wound from his own knife. But Jack Diamond was not about to give in so easily. While Angel dealt with the four men, Jack grabbed Scott from behind, pressing a knife into his throat.
“You belong to me, *bitch*! And you’re coming back with me.”

Scott’s rage was in full flare by now. There was no fear, no regret… no childlike innocence to defend anymore. With superhuman strength, he drew a bony elbow forward then plunged it back into his attacker’s gut at the same time prying the knife-wielding arm away from himself. Using the same arm as lever, he spun around and plunged a knee into the same spot… Diamond doubled over. Scott kicked him in his groin, then his shins until he fell to the ground writhing in pain.
“Fucking bastard!”
He kicked him again.
“I am not a bitch, and I am not blind! I was never blind!”
Kicked him again, Jack groaned in agony.
“You don’t deserve to live asshole.”
Scott was furious, and cold, and numb… as he raised a hand to rip the glasses off his face.
“No Scott, wait!”
He heard Warren approach him from behind.
“Think about what you’re going to do. Do you really want to do this?”
Warren tentatively placed a hand on the convulsing shoulder before him. He whispered so only Scott could hear him.
“Do you really want the blood of a human on your hands?”
Scott gasped painfully. “He’s not human.”
The hand on his shoulder pressed in. “Scott…”

A moment passed in utter silence as the pimp waited for the verdict, and Scott tried to calm himself down. Warren was right, his conscience was the reason he hadn’t gone on a killing spree earlier. And he couldn’t possibly start now. The divine presence behind him closed in as another hand was placed on his other shoulder.
“Its okay son, its okay, let go.”
Scott let go of the sports strap behind his head holding the red lenses in place.
“Wanna go home now?”
Automatically, the boy nodded. Yes, home sounded good. Very good.
The hands on his shoulders shifted to slide under his armpits, then strong arms gripped him across his waist. The restraint was not uncomfortable and without intent, Scott let his head fall back on Warren. The next thing he knew, Jack Diamond’s pathetic form was diminishing out of his sight and Scott himself was rising against gravity. Fast, then faster. The wind was freezing and stung his eyes. Sometime during the flight when he’d gotten over the heights and the sights below, Scott truly realized whose arms held him… who his savior was.
“Yeah Scott.”
No anger. Not in this voice.


Xavier’s silence… Xavier’s melancholy hung heavy and painfully throughout the library… heck the whole mansion had turned into a graveyard. He sat with his face turned away, his back towards Scott. Scott could not recall any other time he’d done so. The boy did not feel tired anymore, and no longer was he cold from the flight or numb from what had transpired back at the warehouse. He felt each rapid breath that left his body acutely, heard every jittery beat of his heart… all his senses on fire. This was bad.

~Be cool. You can handle this.~
He swallowed over and over. How bad could it be? He’s never been angry before, he will understand. He will… will he forgive me? I stole from him, no I *borrowed* from him, there’s a difference… but he didn’t *lend*? Shit this is not helping. Be cool, he’s a cool guy, he’s not going to… is he going to turn me in? Oh fuck.

“No I’m not going to turn you in, Scott.”
The boy jumped, backed up two steps as if that could prevent the professor from hearing his thoughts.
“Although you did steal…”
The professor turned to face him, and Scott wished he hadn’t. The medley of expressions on the usually expressionless face was thoroughly disconcerting. There was relief and there was pain, sadness… anger… and disappointment. Scott felt the weight of the world crushing his heart.
“…do you really think I care about the money?”
Xavier gave him a long while to think of a response but the boy did not use it. Xavier shook his head, his body language was more expressive than usual.
“When I first saw you I thought I’d finally found what I was looking for… someone with unbelievable courage, and character… and conscience…”
He rubbed his brow as if it ached. Scott did not reply. There was nothing to say, as far as he was concerned. Xavier sighed, a distraught man.
“You were right, nephew.”
Warren stood leaning against his desk, studying Scott and his defiant stance intently. Scott risked a glance at the man, still… no anger.
“Take him away.”
And the wheelchair turned to face out the window. The boy fumbled.

“That’s it?”
The professor did not reply, adding to his trepidation. Was he being turned out, back on the streets where Diamond and his clan was waiting to kill him? Was he being sent to jail for stealing? Why wont the Professor talk to him? He always talked to Warren so much, like all the fucking time? Why not him? Then Warren was by his side taking him by the elbow. Scott shirked away.
He had changed his mind… there must be *something* he could say, anything… he should be allowed to apologize… given a second chance. Oh but you had so many chances Scott, he reminded himself. So many, and he blew them all.
“Come with me Scott, we need to talk.”
That sounded ominous.
“No, I’ll talk to *him*.”
He so did not want the birdman around right now.
Warren grabbed him by his shoulders and turned Scott around to face him. There was dangerous determination in his eyes.
“Scott, do you remember what I said to you on the terrace? Do you?”
Scott hyperventilated as Warren’s words came rushing back to him… you will regret it… fear turned to panic, panic to frustration and then full-blown rebellion. The red of his quartz glasses glowed heatedly.
“Let me go!”
Warren started dragging the boy by his arm out the library.
“Professor Xavier please! Let go, you bastard!”
Scott put up a decent fight until Warren lunged him by his middle and threw him over his shoulder. The world swung upside down and for two seconds Scott was too stunned to react. Then he started struggling but could not affect the older and bigger man’s gait towards… as he noticed eventually… his own room.
“Professor please stop him!! Please Professor!!”
Xavier sat unmoving as stone… he did not witness Warren carrying the boy out of the library.
Scott did not know what was going to happen. He’d been in bad situations before and experience warned him he was in for either a really bad beating or a really rough fuck. He didn’t like his options and frantically screamed at the top of his lungs for the professor. When that went unanswered he tried Lopez, then the stable guys… no one came.

“Stop Warren… please…!”
Warren stepped into Scott’s room and closed the door behind him. Then he walked over to the bed and dumped the boy on it. Scott gasped in fear and tried to writhe away but Warren was too fast for him. He gripped the little wrists in his hands and forced the boy to his knees on the bed.
“No! Please don’t rape me I beg you!”
Warren’s face melted into the most devastating astonishment Scott had ever seen. Before he knew it, he was being pressed into the broad chest and strong arms wrapped around him in what could only be a fiercely protective gesture.
“Shhh… I am NOT going to RAPE you CHILD!”
Sharp moans of anguish and disbelief escaped as Scott fought to get free. But Warren didn’t let go, only continued shushing him, stroking his hair, rubbing his quivering back. The huge wings enfolded the boy as well, though they didn’t connect. Scott gradually stopped struggling and stood stark still, not knowing what to do, what to expect. Warren held him with such fierceness it scared him, and yet comforted him in a vague way. Eventually, Scott found himself clinging to Warren as much as Warren was holding him. When the trembling in the frail body finally receded, Warren began.

“Scott, I have to do this. This is going to hurt, a lot… but its necessary.”
The trembling escalated again.
“I am going to sit down okay?”
Warren sat on the bed, his feet set sturdily apart on the floor. The voice grew gentler, if that were at all possible.
“Scott, I’m going to put you across my knees now.”
“No… no! NO!”
Scott tried to get away, scramble out of reach but there was simply no room for escape. Before he knew it, he had been pushed down over Warren’s lap like he was no more than a ragged little doll. He was tugged and pulled at, and adjusted so his upper torso rested on one side of Warren on the bed, with his butt on the massive lap… legs flailing behind.
“You cant do this!”

“I can and I will. We are *not* giving up on you Scott, *ever*.”
Warren grabbed hold of the oversize jeans on the thin frame and yanked them down. The boxers came down along with it. Scott couldn’t breathe. He was speechless with humiliation. Reflexively, he raised a hand to his glasses… as his last resort. But Warren caught his wrists again and pulled them behind his back together. There simply was no fighting the guy, and now Scott was completely helpless with his bare butt at the mercy of the big creep. The creep who’d just saved his life. The creep who’d just crushed him in a firm embrace, something no one had in two years. The creep who just told him he was not giving up on Scott, ever.

“Warren no, please no…”
Scott was not yelling indignantly anymore. He was pleading. Warren hardened his heart, and the first swat landed squarely in the middle of Scott’s round ass.
Scott yelped, more in shock than anything else. Before the sting could register, the hand came down again. This time Scott felt the pain, and renewed his struggles.
Warren had pulled the coverings down just to the top of his thighs and did not intend to mitigate the impact by spreading it beyond Scott’s ass. With one hand he restrained the boy’s wrists while holding the small of his back down as well. With the other, he set up a methodical pattern of spanks round the exposed area. The smacks were utterly clinical and meant serious business as Scott felt his skin burn up horrendously on every thwack. Round and round it went… the searing sensation covering uniformly every inch of his throbbing butt. Scott writhed and squirmed and kicked out wildly but to no avail.

One thing was painfully obvious, this was no game nor a perversion… this was *punishment* pure and simple. And a painful one at that. Scott reverted to a place deep inside himself… eyes clenched tight shut, every muscle in his body stretched taut. He would fight this… with silence and… and dignity. He wouldn’t let Warren break him down if that’s what he was trying to do. So far there had been no tears.
Warren kept smacking his buttocks in the same pattern a while longer and Scott bravely bit down groans of pain. But then he pictured his situation from a third person’s perspective… a fifteen year old with his bare butt draped over some guy who was spanking him like a little child! He’d been naked and in worse positions with complete strangers before but this was entirely something else. A fresh wave of embarrassment and shame hit him and his resolve crumbled. He kicked some more.
“War…Warren stop… stop…”

“no more! Please no more!”
Warren had only just started.

Retribution on so many levels. The hand that fell was hard and unforgiving and ensured Scott couldn’t possibly distract himself with any other thought but that of the pain in his bottom. And the disgrace that gnawed at his mind and heart. What had he done to deserve this? What?
Warren had replaced the methodical spanking with random swats. This was so much worse, Scott couldn’t know when and where the next slap would land and it made each time all the more painful. Through some irrational logic, he managed to trace his current troubles back to the car…
“I’m sorry about the car please! I’ll pay for it I swear!”
Warren halted at that.
“Scott… Do you really think this is about the car?”
Scott was too busy catching his breath, and even if he wasn’t… he didn’t think he wanted to answer the question. Warren’s hand fell again. Thrice at exactly the same spot. Scott let out a hoarse scream.
“No!.. no its not.” Scott gasped in pain.
“Then what is it about?”
Warren’s hand rested on his throbbing butt while he trembled from head to toe. At least he wasn’t being spanked anymore.
“What is it about Scott?”
“I… I…”
Was that pride blocking his voice? Or did he really not know what this was about?
“What, Scott?”
The hand gently rubbed his sore cheeks as if encouraging him to talk. Scott wanted to howl. Why did Warren have to torture him with words as well?
“I… I… stole…”
The hand came down twice in succession as if in approval, making the boy cry out again.
Scott sobbed dryly, writhed in mental agony. “I… I don’t know… I don’t know…”
The hand fell…
“Think Scott…”
…and again…
“… think about what the professor said…”
“…of courage… and character… and conscience…”
Enough had been said, Warren fell quiet then and just continued to blister the sore backside with a steady aching hand.

It was as if a dam had broken. Scott felt hot liquid trickle down from underneath his glasses and into his mouth. He hadn’t cried in two years, not since his parents died. And now he couldn't stop. All the pain, all the helplessness, all the humiliation, the darkness and the loneliness of two years let loose in a fierce torrent he had no control over. Thoughts crashed over and over so loud they drowned out every other sound in the universe…

Courage… the kind that was willing to end a pimp’s life but couldn’t dare look the professor in the eye? The kind that suffered through a world of torment in silence but couldn’t speak his heart to the only man who’d ever wanted to really listen?
Character… Scott almost laughed through the haze of pain on that one. Warren could have just as easily lectured him about *all* the things they’d done for this boy who had nothing… who *was* nothing. But he hadn’t… and wouldn’t… that was character. The professor had quietly endured the vile accusations he threw into their faces about his relationship with his nephew… his *nephew* for God’s sake! But not once did he raise his voice or his hand on the boy… not even now when he’d disappointed him so immensely. *That* was character.
And conscience? Scott surrendered and quit his struggling entirely. What kind of a conscientious man breaks in and steals from his *only* well-wisher and benefactor? The man not only gave him a home, he gave him his eyesight back for Christ's sake. How long must it take a conscience to forget the invaluable debt its under? How does a conscience permit one to destroy another’s property without skipping a beat?

He remembered the vulgar insults thrown at men who did not deserve such disrespect. On the contrary, they were good people only trying to help him. The age difference alone warranted that Scott treat them courteously but instead what had he done?
Scott cried and cried, yelping pitifully on every spank.
God knows he hadn’t slept a single night peacefully ever since he came to the mansion because he simply could not understand the professor’s self-less intentions and actions. No fucking way! It had all been too good to be true… and he’d spent every waking moment dreading the day it would all end as it most definitely would. He was convinced to death it wouldn’t last. And that’s why he’d been pushing and pushing and pushing… so he could walk away with the illusion that for once, he’d conquered his own sad destiny. For once, he hadn’t been knocked to the ground from behind. But he had not once imagined his behind would be victimized by an archangel instead.

The spanking continued unabated. The focus areas kept shifting, first the crest, then the undercurve and back to the middle until it was all a consistent shade of hot crimson. The blows weren’t as hard, but they still rained with the same precision and timing as to cause the poor boy’s butt considerable discomfort.
Pain and disgrace… nothing new for this boy if you considered what he’d been through in the last two years. But something about *this* pain and *this* disgrace was infinitely more torturous and distressing than Scott had ever known. This pain was so much more personal… this disgrace so much more deserved. Time had stopped for the hapless boy, and he was trapped in his own personal hell of both mind and body. The punishment was bound to go on forever.
“please… please…”
Scott pleaded one last time with his tormentor, for what, he didn’t know. Warren did not listen.

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Continue to Part 3 here >>
JM: Young tilted head closeup

X-Men: Memories of Christmas (3/3) (Scott, Angel, Xavier)

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Scott Summers wasn’t a believer at all, he sort of had no reason to. And yet Christmas eve was significant to him for so many reasons, he’d lost count. The anniversary of his parents’ death, anniversary of the instigation of his mutation. A particularly rough night in the police officers’ backroom. He used to dread the entire winter season for the horrific nightmares it invoked. But Jean had managed to rewrite the very meaning of Christmas for Scott.
Jean had walked into his life on a Christmas day. Jean had made it possible for him to bury the past and move on with his new life.. his new role and responsibilities. Every year that followed, every year that he spent with Jean, Christmas would bring along its own new set of memories to save and cherish… Charles’ blessings, smiles on the faces of their friends and students, gifts exchanged, stolen kisses under mistletoe, endless nights of passion and love…

“Hey Scott, wait up…”
Bobby spotted his math teacher walking towards the lobby from the classroom and followed. He’d called about twice now, but seemed like the older man hadn’t heard him at all.
Scott stopped in an instant. In truth, the codename had broken him loose of the reverie he’d been in all morning. Abruptly, the man turned towards the approaching boy.
“Bobby. Sorry, I… didn’t hear you.”
“Yeah, so I noticed. You look… spaced out.”
So the boy was just being honest. But like every other individual in the building he was very much aware of the reason behind Scott’s dazedness.
It was Christmas morning. Jean was dead.

Scott ignored the *compliment*.
“You needed something?”
Bobby fumbled for a moment. “I… I just wanted to tell you that, I spoke to the professor about… about yesterday.”
“Oh you did! How did it go?”
Scott resumed walking and Bobby tagged along.
“Quite well, great in fact. He was very supportive. Its like you said, he understands so much more than maybe I do myself.”
“I know exactly what you mean. And how’s Marie?”
“She’s good. She went along with me. Yeah we were both there. Spent some quality time bonding with the principal, how progressive is that?”
Bobby chuckled good-humoredly. Scott smiled.
Cyclops was Bobby’s and Marie’s favorite teacher. Calculus in Scott’s hands seemed to make so much more sense. The boy knew it would take a lot more than lame jokes to cheer this man up, but he sure wanted to give it a try.
“You know, Marie and I told Professor Xavier that you told us that the only student to have ever pissed him off was… you!”
Scott grinned, eager to know how the Professor reacted to that.
“What did he say?”
“Oh he smiled that *secret* smile of his, you know, and said that he hadn’t *really* been angry. And that he was just pretending to be angry.”
Scott laughed. “Oh really?”
Bobby laughed too. “That’s what he said!”
The older man just shook his head. Memories of Christmas ten years ago were still fresh on his mind… if not his backside. Obviously he did not tell the kids what had happened as a result of the Professor’s *pretense* of an anger.
~Oh he kicked my butt. Big time.~
That’s what he’d said to the couple last night. And the students had laughed and sensibly not pressed for any details.
“Hey I have to meet Logan in the Danger Room, I’ll talk to you later okay?”
“Yep sure.” And Bobby turned about to leave just as Scott walked on.
“Hey Scott…”
“I forgot to tell you, Warren Worthington?”
Scott froze in his spot. He wondered how long it had taken him to utter his next words.
“What about him?”

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

Warren was tiring, and Scott was crying. He knew the pain must be intolerable by now. The boy had stopped struggling entirely a minute ago and now lay boneless in his lap, completely exhausted by his ordeal. Warren stopped.
Wind whistled through the trees outside as it started to rain.
“When you ran away Scott…”
The boy was pulled out of his own whirlwind of thoughts by the soft voice above.
“Do you have any idea what that did to us?”
The hand was resting again. It was like deathly calm after a violent storm. Scott’s throat hurt from crying so long.
“What it did to the professor?”
Scott sobbed. He felt the hand rub down his sore cheeks ever so lightly.
“He saw in the…” Scott didn’t know about Cerebro yet. “…in his mind, what they were going to do to you at the warehouse…”
Scott stilled.
“He was so scared for you, hell I was so scared I wouldn’t reach you in time.”
The tears continued to flow, the sobbing receded and the boy trembled. The hand left his burning cheeks and chose to rub at the small of his back instead. Warren had let go of his wrists when he’d stopped. Moments passed in silence, each man silent, lost in their own thoughts. The gentle massaging spanned the rest of the spine. When the boy spoke, he spoke with his entire soul’s conviction.
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry… please forgive me…”

Warren picked him up by his sides to turn him around. The face was awash with tears and contorted with such misery, the man couldn’t help himself. He enfolded the boy into his arms, pressing his slight frame against himself. The hug was awkward to begin with… Scott couldn’t comprehend what the man was doing to him now. He held himself rigid and unresponsive even as Warren tucked his head under his chin and one hand rubbed his back in long strokes. Warren made sure the boy was tilted to a side so his tender ass wouldn’t brush against anything except air.

“Its over child, its over…”

Scott made no attempts to curb the tears or to return the hug, although a strange sense of calm descended over him. His voice hitched, but he wasn’t sobbing anymore. Things were so clear to him now… his crimes and his punishment… his downfall and his deliverance… everything shone in his mind’s eye with such exactitude as he’d never known before. He shuddered.
Warren rocked the boy lovingly. He carefully pulled up the jeans and boxers to conceal the abused area and Scott whimpered as the fabric scratched him. But he didn’t protest, he didn’t struggle, he just let Warren hold him like an infant and rock away. His eyes were wide open behind his shades… he’d kept them closed far too long.
Warren caressed the unruly hair now slick with sweat, pushed them behind the boy’s ears. He wiped the tear tracks away from the eerily serene face and kissed the forehead over and over again. He cursed the shades, realizing they would keep the boy cordoned off from the rest of the world forever. Only psyionics would ever be able to get to the real man inside, he ruefully predicted.
He twitched at the sound of his name. He looked up into the angel’s face. Warren was so relieved to see at least the boy was not in shock.

Warren’s voice drifted to his ears as if coming from a great distance… no that’s not it… it was as if he was underwater and Warren was outside. Scott felt the strong impulse to follow that sound and sure enough, when he looked up into Warren’s face… it was as if the angel had plucked him straight out of the water he was drowning in and onto dry land. He felt like he could breathe again.
“Hey kid…”
Warren seemed so glad to see him. Did that mean he would not be turned out of the mansion? He didn’t want to go… he wanted to stay… to prove to the professor he did have, well… some courage, okay maybe no character but he could work on it? And a conscience… yes he had one of those for sure… and thanks to Warren, it now felt… clear.
“Thank you…”
Warren frowned, before Scott completed, “…for saving me.”
~In ways more than one.~
Warren smiled warmly and pulled him in closer. “You’re welcome. You’re very welcome.”
Scott found his hands reaching out to touch the man, and then he was clutching at the black shirt desperately. More tears fell down his face to wet his jersey as well as Warren’s shirt but no one complained.
“I’m sorry if I scared you kid, back when…”
Scott remembered when he’d thought he was going to be raped. He lowered his face, furrowing into Warren’s chest deeper.
“Yeah well, least I know what to expect next time.”
The Angel couldn’t help but chuckle softly. The fact that Scott was able to joke about it already was a damn good sign.

“hmm?” …Such innocence, Warren mused… and here he was, about to ask this boy to grow up sooner than he’d expect.
“Do you know why you’re here?”
Scott raised his head to look up into Warren’s face.
Warren swallowed, the boy needed to know. “Scott… you and I, the professor… we’re all different as you’ve noticed I’m sure.”
Scott nodded.
“We… we need to be prepared.”
“For what?”
“For… whatever the future might hold for us mutants. The professor and I, we believe its not going to be easy for… *freaks* like us.”
Scott remembered that tone of self-derision from before.
“We’re not freaks. Professor says we’re gifted.”
Warren was… amazed… and elated. So he had been listening after all. He kissed the boy’s forehead again.
“Yes my boy, we are. And you’re just the kind of *special* person the professor needs by his side. There is so much you can learn from him Scott, he could show you the world!”
The boy hesitated.
“Does that mean I can stay?”
Scott had curled up into a ball in Warren’s lap. The latter shook him playfully.
“Of course brat! Don’t you dare try to leave again you hear!”
Scott nodded… almost vigorously, a shy smile playing at the very corner of his lips. But Warren decided he needed to rephrase anyway. He sighed, sadly.
“Scott, I want to… but I cant be with him. I have my own battles back home to…” he couldnt complete.
“Will you look after him for me?”

Tears threatened to fall again but Scott knew he couldn’t let them. He had to be strong. Not because it was expected of him… but because it was *needed* of him. This was why he was here… this was his purpose in the mansion, in Xavier’s life… in his own life.
“Will you?”
Scott was no diplomat and his social skills were non-existent. This to him sounded like a crucial question and he had no idea what the ideal answer should be. In the end, he settled for the one sincere word that echoed back and forth in his head. And it was all Warren needed to hear.

Raindrops peppered down window glasspanes making the only other sound apart from the boy’s ragged breathing. Warren continued to hold and rock Scott until he fell asleep. One last time, he placed a soft kiss on the dirty brown mass of curls and gently lowered him onto the bed on his side. Then decided it was probably better he slept on his stomach, so carefully he rolled him over. He also took off his shoes and covered him with blankets.
“Merry Christmas, brat.”
He whispered, and quietly exited the room.


It was evening by the time Scott woke up. The first thing he remembered was the searing pain in his butt as it made itself obvious the moment he turned over. He hoped his yelp hadn’t been loud enough to wake the household up. And this is when he realized it was actually six in the evening. It was dark outside already.
Scott looked around, hoping to find Warren but the room was empty. His head ached, but that wasn’t new. After listening to Xavier rambling away about mutant powers this one time when he’d been pretending not to listen and the Professor knew he was anyway… he’d started viewing his pain not as an annoyance but a symbol. A symbol of his mutation, as long as it was there… Scott knew he wielded a power no one else on this planet did. A power he could use for whatever greater purpose the Professor had in mind. An ability he ought to be proud of. And now he was.

Gingerly he got out of bed and went to the bathroom. He badly needed a shower. First a hot one to clean himself of all the grime from last night… the stench of Jack Diamond’s pipe still seemed to linger, and then a cold one to quell the inferno that was his butt.
Standing under the shower with his eyes shut, images in red from the morning came back to haunt him. Scott was sorry he couldn’t take Vic to safety, but at the same time he was thankful for the way things had turned out. Or he wouldn’t have made it back to the mansion again. Thought back to his conversation with Warren the previous night.
“Say it Scott, one more time.”
And they had said it together.
“This is my home. This is where I belong.”
Scott repeated the mantra in his mind.
~This is my home. This is where I belong.~
Thanks to Warren, Scott couldn’t help but smile. He even caught himself humming.
When he was about to come out the shower, he realized he had no change of clothes anymore. All his scant belongings had been in the sports bag they did not retrieve before returning to the mansion.

Wrapping a towel around his waist and putting on his glasses, Scott came back out and sat… painfully on the edge of the bed and reached for the teeshirt and jeans he’d been wearing last night. He was about to unwrap the towel just when the door to his room was pushed open and a head poked in. A… female head.
“Good! You’re up!”
And the rest of the body followed. Scott had the presence of mind to hold onto the towel when he jumped off the bed and released a small yelp.
She was a girl… no… she was a woman… tall, taller than he was… and loud and cheery and… goddamn beautiful.
“I’m Jean. Jean Grey! Got in this morning, you were asleep. And you must be the prodigy… Scott Summers right?”

She charged at him with an extended hand that Scott took and shook. She stood with her hands on her hips, feet set apart, exuberating quiet confidence, studying him. Then she was off prowling the room, adjusting curtains and bookshelves…
“I’m at Stanford, Med school, I come down here usually during breaks to spend time with Professor Xavier. He’s my mentor too you know, and guide and teacher in so many ways. I keep telling him he should open a school in here, look at all the waste of space! Oh but you’ll love it here, I do!”
Dressed in a tight sweater that could have been grey or green, he couldn’t tell… and atrociously low waist jeans, Scott guessed she could be anywhere between twenty and twenty-five. But her eyes seemed so much older… and wiser.

“… Specially right now when it snows. The lake on the north when it freezes over? Don’t go there… *not* safe. But you should see the forests behind. Have you been there? I could take you there!”
And while Scott stood there in a towel, she just went on and on and on…
“Shit I forgot!”
She went back to the door and held it wide open as Scott curiously peered at what she was doing now. Then in walked Lopez with two of the mansion staff each holding dozens of clothes and shoes… an entire wardrobe. Scott’s mouth fell open.
“Course I didn’t know what brands you prefer, or what colors and everything. So I just chose stuff I like. Blue’s my favorite color, what’s yours? You’ve *got* to check out the fantastic prices this season! Oh but do tell if its not your style and we could go back okay? I got Donna Karan… and Diesel…”
Scott had a thoroughly confused look on his face, that Jean read as horror. Right eyebrow went up and lush lips twisted to one side in the most endearing pout he’d ever seen.
“… Prada?”


The Professor sat at his usual spot by the fireplace in the living room. He was staring into the fire when he felt Scott’s presence nearby. The boy had stopped at his doorstep.
“Come in Scott.”
Scott hesitated, then slowly walked upto where the professor sat. Xavier turned around to face him, a genuinely glad smile on his face.
“I see you met Jean.”
That wasn’t the greeting Scott had been expecting. He’d thought of a hundred different scenarios in which he’d have to fall to his feet and grovel for all he was worth. Or the professor would lecture him on the rules of the mansion and what to do, what not to do if he wanted to stay on… guess with the professor, nothing was as you’d expect. It was quickly becoming a trend for the future.
“Yeah. She… bought me these clothes.”
~Even underwear.~
The professor chuckled.
“She was very eager to meet you. Wanted to help out when I told her you would be needing a new wardrobe.”
Scott lowered his eyes.
~I cant afford this Professor.~

Xavier couldn’t care less, as far as he was concerned, this boy was now his responsibility and he would ensure Scott always got the best of everything. Unless he wanted otherwise of course. The professor smiled assuringly and wheeled closer to where Scott stood. He quickly understood the boy would be most comfortable communicating through thoughts rather than actual words.
“Scott… I made two grave mistakes after bringing you here.”
Scott looked up at that.
“One, I should have understood that you would feel lonely here. With no friends, no one to talk to except this old man…”
“Please don’t say that professor.”
It was refreshing to hear an element of animation in the boy’s voice.
“I… I would love to talk to you. Its just… just that…”
~I don’t know how.~

Xavier’s heart broke. Everything this child said or did seemed to be affecting him very intimately.
“You can start with speaking what’s on your mind.”
Scott smiled shyly. “That simple huh?”
“Yes, son. That simple.”
The boy nodded, and blushed. The professor had called him son before, but it didn’t irk him this time. Fact he… kinda liked it.
“Well, and the second mistake: I should not have let you think this was a… a charity arrangement. Because its not. I know you have been trying to understand your purpose here.”
Scott nodded gravely.
Professor bowed his head, as if in meditation.
“I also know Warren spoke to you about this…”
That reminded Scott of the morning’s events and he flushed with embarrassment. He felt Professor’s gentle tug on his mind, as if to alleviate his pain.
~I need you on my side Scott.~
The boy almost gasped, with relief.
“I need you on my quests for justice. I need you to help me find other mutant children like you and Jean. So we can help them too. You have seen the hardships kids can go through, specially when they’re different from the normal kids. When their own parents are ashamed to call them their own.”
Scott was listening very intently.
“There are so many dangers out there… from humans, even from certain mutants who’d want to capitalize on their gifts. I need your courage Scott, your courage and your character… and your conscience. I cant do this without you.”
Mere words… but they washed over Scott like balm to an aching wound. Tears shone in his eyes although they couldn’t be seen.

“You have it sir. I… I have no idea why you think I can do this. But I promise you I will try my very best. I wont let you down professor.”
Xavier let out his breath he wasn’t even aware he was holding. He held out a hand and Scott took it.
“Thank you son.”
Scott shook his head, “No, thank you professor.”
Xavier squeezed the wiry hand he held. So thin… he would have to get the boy to put on some weight and muscle.
~And, professor?~
“Words Scott.”
“Its alright, what is it you wanted to say?”
Scott bit his lip.
When Charles did not respond, he went on. Or at least tried to.
“I’m sorry I… I…”
“Shh… no words necessary for this one Scott.”
Scott gently lowered himself to his knees and sat beside the man in the wheelchair. His heart was restful, his mind at peace. And he knew it was the company of this esteemed man before him that was responsible. His thoughts then flew to the winged mutant.
~He had to leave, Scott.~

For a long moment Scott didn’t react, not even in thought.
Charles got a faraway look on his face.
“Magneto attacked his castle in Finland. He needed to go defend it.”
Scott wondered when he would be able to see him next, although now with the aftershocks of the morning having settled in… he wasn’t too sure if he’d be able to face him without blushing.
~He will visit next year on Christmas again.~
That long? The disappointment that washed over him was both unwanted and unexplained. A feeble sense of anger crept through as well and he stoically reminded himself he had no right. Soon the throb in his butt started to set in again. Charles felt his growing pain vividly.
“Put your head in my lap.”
Scott did as he was told, and the professor placed a gentle hand on his head. The telepathic mojo kicked in and soon the boy completely forgot the pain he’d been in. Xavier continued to caress the strands of his brown hair, he knew the lonely child did not want him to stop.
“So who is Magneto?”
Xavier told him. And he held nothing back.

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

Scott looked at his watch, then back at Bobby standing before him.
“Hey I have to meet Logan in the Danger Room, I’ll talk to you later okay?”
“Yep sure.”
And Bobby turned about to leave just as Scott walked on.
“Hey Scott…”
“I forgot to tell you, Warren Worthington?”
Scott froze in his spot. He wondered how long it had taken him to utter his next words.
“What about him?”
“He’s flying in tomorrow. I heard the Prof talking to him on telecon. Been awhile since he was here for the holidays I guess?”
His hands shook and brow drenched in sweat. Scott did not respond, shrugged like he didn’t care… kept walking until he turned the corner.
Then he ran.

*** ~END, for now~ ***
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