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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“Blackbird we have a problem!”
Communication streamed through from the mansion to the X-jet. Pilot Ororo Munro switched on the speaker and signaled to the man in the wheelchair. It was Rogue.
“What is it Marie?”
Co-pilot Logan frowned and craned towards the console. They were still about an hour away from Westchester. What could be wrong? The girl sounded quite worried and he didn’t like it one bit. Marie was the closest he’d ever had to a family… a daughter, there was no denying the truth that this girl was responsible for Wolverine’s continued touch with humanity. And despite everything she’d gone through, Rogue had grown to become a very brave, savvy and a relatively happy person. She never panicked. Never.
“oh my God Logan, we can’t find Bobby anywhere!”
Course except when it was about the ice cube. Logan rolled his eyes towards Charles Xavier, who in turn read the surly man’s expression for what it really was… relief it wasn’t Marie. Besides, Logan knew Professor Xavier could locate the missing boy in no time. Which was accurate. How many times had the powerful telepath been asked to intervene with missing children cases like these? And especially at this time of the year? He’d lost count. Charles looked out the window nearest to him and sighed deeply.
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Scott Summers had not opened his eyes in one year and eight months. Not since the accident. Not after he saw with his own furiously blasting eyes, the destruction he was capable of. He didn’t think he could if he tried. So when a strange old man with the resounding voice and a whirring wheelchair asked him to… obviously he refused.
“Don’t worry Scott, the quartz in the glasses will absorb all the energy from your eyes. You wont hurt anyone.”
“I’ve worked hard on this invention Scott and am very confident about this, you can trust me.”
Trust my ass.
The boy jumped when he heard a voice that seemed to come from *inside* his own head. He almost blinked his eyes open in his surprise, almost.
~Scott listen to me, it’s the Professor. Its okay son, its okay. Open your eyes.~
Scott bit his lip, but did as he was told. Moments later, he fell to his knees and cried.
All day Scott went about looking at things, touching things. He cried, then laughed and cried some more. He went running through the sprawling mansion grounds, whooping and jumping and singing and laughing. So what if everything was red? Ask a blind man… color settings are too small a price to pay for the invaluable gift of sight. When he returned, the professor was behind his study desk concentrating on some paperwork. Scott took his first very good look at his benefactor. He felt an unexplained sense of comfort and… safety in this man’s house. Sure beat the dingy motel rooms and back alleys where he’d found himself most of these last two years. This was the sweetest deal ever and Scott knew he just had to do something to make it last as long as possible.
Besides, he was also extremely grateful to this man and Scott would forever consider himself indebted to him. He just had to return the favor in part, only way he knew how. The young boy adjusted his new glasses and went around the desk where Charles looked up and smiled at him. Before he could greet the boy, Scott fell to his knees in front of him and kissed his crotch.
The wheelchair spun out of reach. Confusion and surprise marred the chiseled face as the boy looked up. When he spoke, there was a practised drawl to his voice of fifteen… not yet wholly hardened by manhood.
“Isnt this why you brought me here Charles?”
“Okay, then tell me what you want. I’ll give you whatever you need.”
Utter sadness came over the professor’s face.
“I’m sorry, you’ve misread my intentions son.”
A week’s frustration came to the fore as Scott lost patience and stood up.
“What is all this about then? Why have you brought me into your home? Why did you give me my eyesight back? What the fuck do you want from me?!?”
The professor was quiet for a long moment until Scott started fidgeting.
“I brought you here because I didn’t want to see you waste your life out on the streets Scott. Because with the powers that you have, you could do something much more valuable and worthwhile with your life.”
“oh than whoring you mean?”
Charles sighed. Scott was pushing him. He still didn’t believe someone could take a more than passing interest in him, and that too not even for sex. The distrust and the bitterness of the streetlife he’d known would not go away so soon, Charles knew that. He just had to give the boy more time.
“You’ve had a long day Scott. I think it would be best if you rested, we’ll talk tomorrow.”
Scott didn’t know what the hell was going on here. He wanted to rage and scream, but *something* about the man made him recall the lessons of respect and gratitude he was once taught by parents he vaguely remembered. Still, he was not about to surrender his defiance so soon. Instead of going to his room, Scott charged out of the huge mansion and did not return till next morning.
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Cyclops climbed the last few steps that led to the mansion’s terrace. Then headed straight for the greenhouse. The Professor’s much favored conservatory extended out from the north-west corner of the terrace and spanned about one-fourth of the northern perimeter. But the thick brick walls of the terrace supporting the structure still lay outside its coverage. Walls barely four feet high, but thick enough for a person Scott’s size to perch on… legs dangling above a perilous drop below.
The spot, safely tucked behind the greenhouse, could be easily missed in the dark and especially when most people didn’t even realize it was there. Scott knew, hell he may have been the first person to hide there himself. Flashbacks of the last time he’d been here came to mind, and despite the pained memories of the night, he smiled. Warren had come for him then. Who would’ve thought some day he’d be the one doing the *brat retrieval* huh?
Bobby was stunned at the intrusion, but not enough to lose balance and for that his Math teacher was glad.
It was freezing, and Bobby had nothing to do with it. Scott cursed himself inwardly for forgetting his jacket. Sitting out here next to Iceman was the last thing he wanted to do.
“Mind if I join you?”
“Would you go away if I did?”
“Not really no.”
Bobby shrugged. Of course.
Scott climbed up the railing and made his way to where Bobby sat comfortably in t-shirt and jeans, clutching the structure on his sides. Swinging his legs back and forth below him. Almost braced… as if he planned to launch into a swan dive any moment now. Scott sat down next to him, feeling a heady sense of nostalgia come over… rubbed his hands together. So he was here, good. All he had to do now was talk to Bobby, if possible find out what was bothering him, and get him to come back inside. Problem was… he wasn’t any good at talking.
“Cold night huh?”
Bobby gave him *the* look. Scott grinned sheepishly. “Sorry.”
A moment of silence, two, three. Scott racked his brains, thinking of something to say. What would Warren say?
Nodded to the blue lake shimmering in the moonlight before them.
“You knew about this spot? I didn’t think anyone else had tried this before.”
It was Scott’s turn to shrug. “I did.”
Bobby smirked. He knew what was coming.
“So now you’re gonna tell me how you know what I’m feeling? Cos you’ve been there yourself?”
“I cant say I know what you’re feeling Bobby. But yeah, I have been here… in this same spot. Hiding, brooding… hoping someone would come looking for me.”
Bobby didn’t have an answer to that. Everyone knew Cyclops was a straight talker. He wasn’t capable of bullshit. He let out a deep breath, making Scott shiver next to him.
“Holidays suck man.”
Scott didn’t answer. Just stared out at the lake. During the silence that followed, Bobby realized how ironic it was for Scott to come out looking for him. It was going to be his first Christmas after… after Jean. From what he’d heard about the two, they’d been together for years and years and now she was dead. Just like it was Bobby’s first Christmas without his family… his parents, his brother. Course they weren’t dead… just not interested. The temperature dropped two degrees more as he sighed again.
“I was… new to the mansion at the time. Ten years ago, thereabouts.”
Scott began, and Bobby turned to look at the pale man beside him. Eyes shielded, no emotion on his face. But somehow he sensed that what his math teacher was about to share was deeply personal.
“I didn’t trust the professor at all. And there was no one else back then. Just me, him and some guy called Warren Worthington. You don’t know him.”
“You were the first student here weren’t you? The first X-Man?”
Scott nodded mildly.
“Well there were no X-Men when I came here first. The whole concept was born much later. At the time, all Charles wanted to do was get me and mutants like me off the streets – give us a safe haven you know. Help us control our gifts, and maybe use it for a greater purpose eventually. But back then you can imagine how hard it was for me to believe. I was… this juvenile delinquent from the streets… no one had ever done anything for me without… without demanding something in return…”
Scott didn’t want to go into details, he quickly moved on.
“So when the professor came out of nowhere to help me… first with the glasses… and then offered me a home, an education… a second chance at life? I didn’t buy it.”
He chuckled morosely, and Bobby was now completely enthralled, though he tried hard not to show it.
“So I rebelled, I was so… crude and vile and loud and pretentious and…”
They snickered. Bobby was pleased to see someone he looked up to being so candid with him.
“well yeah… teenaged… hormonal.”
More grinning, then he sobered up.
“Kept testing the limits, and their patience… to see how much they cared… I thought if I pushed hard enough, they’d either stop givin a damn, or drop the act and come clean with what they *really* wanted from me. I thought it was all an act of self-righteousness and underneath they had some really… you know…”
Scott didn’t know how else to put it except… the way he saw it himself back then…
“some sick, perverted scheme they had designed to *torture* me.” And he laughed, and Bobby laughed. Because he was expected to. Inside he was trembling with empathy.
“Took me a long while to accept that it was not an act. That Charles really did want to help us all…”
Silence. Scott recovered.
“And he never stopped giving a damn either.”
Bobby felt a teardrop threatening to embarrass him. He quickly willed it back and looked away just in case. He was being asked to put his faith in strangers when his own family, his flesh and blood did not care anymore. Despite everything that had happened earlier this year, he’d secretly hoped that come Christmas, his folks would want him back. That they’ll all get together for cozy dinners and carols as always and… everything would be the way it was before. Hell he didn’t even believe in God and shit. All he wanted was his family’s acceptance of him and wasn’t this season supposed to be all about that? Family? Forgiveness?
Some, if not all of the kids had gone back to their families for the holidays. Some couldn’t because their mutancies were full-blown and volatile but their folks had still remembered them, sent gifts and even visited. Marie’s mom had begged her to come home, but Marie had refused. She was torn up about it but at least she had the option. She was *asked*. He’d yelled at her for being so damn selfish to turn her family down and she had cried. That’s when he ran away, not wanting to face anyone for the rest of the stupid season.
“This school is for people like you and me Bobby. I cant ask you to forget the family you once had. But you shouldn’t forget the one you have here either.”
The tears couldn’t be stopped anymore. Scott put a comforting arm around the boy and let him grieve silently.
“Marie told me you guys had a fight.”
“Yeah, I am truly sorry about that. I was angry at my folks and…”
Scott hugged him closer. “I understand. She does too.”
Scott decided now was the time to tell him.
“She refused to go home because she wanted to stay here with us all… especially with you.”
Bobby closed his eyes. Tight.
Bobby made to move suddenly. “I should go back, need to talk to her.”
“Yes you do but take it easy okay. You don’t want us both plunging to our untimely deaths do you?”
Bobby grinned, “Not anymore.”
Scott smiled at that, then got up to walk back across the wall to safe ground. Bobby followed him.
As he jumped down to the terrace floor, Scott grinned almost childishly.
“Wow that was easy.”
Bobby raised an eyebrow, knew he wasn’t talking about the walk on the slim railing.
“I take it you weren’t so easy to convince in your time?”
“Not at all. Stubborn as a mule.”
“Who did the sweet talk? Professor?”
Scott shook his head and started walking back to go inside, Bobby in tow.
“Not if you don’t count the mental prodding. It was the other guy.”
Scott nodded. Bobby was intrigued. The very mention of the very impressive name seemed to make Scott go oddly quiet… well, quieter than usual. Bobby had to know.
“So… what did he say?”
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Scott was stunned by the deep baritone voice on his right. His hands clamped down on the wall he sat on tightly just as he realized who it was, invading his privacy.
It was the *Angel*. Warren Asshole Worthington the Third. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? Strutting about like he fucking owned the place, scolding Scott in his own home? Well… technically it wasn’t his home but… the professor did want Scott to stay on didn’t he?
Warren had had to take an aerial view of the mansion to understand where *exactly* Scott was hiding. The professor himself had not been able to elaborate much.
“He’s on the terrace behind the greenhouse. How did he get behind the greenhouse?”
Earlier, Warren and Scott had gotten off on the wrong foot. Very very wrong foot. It was five days to Christmas and Warren came over to be with his beloved uncle Charlie for the holidays. He did not expect a third person for company, a brat no less. The boy was so skinny and undernourished but developing, not older than fifteen but behaved like a man of thirty. His eyes were sequestered behind rose quartz but Warren could have bet if he could see them, they’d be all aged and cynical just like the rare reluctant smile on his face. A face that seemed tired despite being so very young, almost vulnerable and yet not. And then the boy opened his mouth… yep, fifteen alright.
“Warren there is someone I’d like you to meet.”
Right on cue, the boy came skidding down the staircase making as much ruckus as humanly possible. Charles made the introductions.
“Scott. This is Warren Worthington, my nephew. Warren, this is Scott Summers.”
Warren held out a hand, an amicable smile on his face. In return, Scott fixed him with a piercing look and after a moment’s thought, a small yet devious looking smile appeared on his lips. Ignoring the outstretched hand completely, he uttered his first words in front of the man who would change the course of his life forever.
“So this is the dear *nephew* you missed so much Charles. Now I see why you wouldn’t let me touch you.”
Warren’s expression turned to stone and he withdrew his hand. The insinuation was as cruel as it was vulgar, and it made Warren sick in his gut. Charles tried hard not to let his disillusionment show. It had been three days since the incident and he’d thought they were over this.
“Oh don’t blush so Chuck. We’re all mature consenting adults here! Well, almost.”
And he snickered at his own dirty joke. Scott did not really believe the words coming out from his mouth. He was pushing the envelope again, see how far it would go before the whole sham fell apart.
“So let me guess. Since you cant do it *yourself*, you want this handsome stud of yours to fuck the big Jesus out of me, while you watch. That’s it, isn’t it? Shoulda known you’d have a taste for voyeuristic pleasures.”
Charles closed his eyes. He probably would have said something but before he could, Warren Worthington III had spoken up. His voice was composed, his rage contained… but there, nonetheless.
“Such impeccable manners. He’s just as you described uncle Charlie, and so much more.”
“You recognized me, my sexual orientation…”
It was Warren’s turn to smirk, though there was a slight element of self-derision in the gesture.
“Obviously through *experience* I suppose… and you decided to use it to torment your own benefactor. That’s quite a way to show your gratitude young man.”
That hit bull’s eye.
Scott’s entire struggle had been about not being able to understand why he was being showered with so many favors, and how he would be expected to repay them all. The one about *experience* hurt even more.
“As for fucking you, insolent little boys are really not my type you know.”
Scott was seething when he addressed the professor again. He hadn’t spoken directly to Warren even once.
“What big creeps you have for family *grandpa*.”
It was Warren’s turn to lose it. He took one angered step towards the boy, the boy held his ground. And Warren noticed, not many could do that when a man as massive as the Angel towered over them.
“Stop it both of you!”
It was the first time Scott had heard Charles raise his voice, and he turned to look at the professor for the first time that evening. The expression of hurt on his face suddenly made Scott flush with shame, and he lowered his eyes.
“Scott you forget, I’m a telepath. You’re projecting so much panic that I cant possibly be angry with you now.”
Ouch, that hurt. The least he deserved was an acknowledgment for his efforts! Scott bit his lip as he was usually wont to do, and didn’t look up.
“And I know you don’t believe these stories you keep making up anymore than I do. Now, could we please just put this behind us and enjoy a quiet dinner?”
Dinner lasted an eternity. But soon as he was allowed to, Scott escaped to his room. In the library, Warren was lost in deep thought as Lopez, the butler poured the men some tea.
“What’s the matter nephew?”
Warren looked up at Charles and smiled. “As if you don’t already know.”
“I only know what you broadcast, I don’t trespass you know that.”
“So what am I broadcasting?”
Charles smiled proudly at the young man before him. Worthington came from a highly-respected and elite family. He was of noble blood not just in birth, but also in his actions and way of life. A twenty-seven year old millionaire with his heart in just the right place. Brave and ethical, kind and generous… with an acute sense of right and wrong. That’s why he was the Angel. He was quite tall so the unusual broadness of his torso didn’t appear so out of place. But Xavier was well aware of the great span and strength of the white wings folded demurely behind.
“Concern. For Scott.”
Warren reluctantly nodded. Charles had just told him everything about Scott and he now sort of understood the inner struggles the young boy must be going through.
“It still doesn’t absolve him from the way he behaves with you though. He is downright mean and disrespectful.”
“He is testing me.”
“Well he doesn’t need to, unnecessarily he’s putting himself *and* you through so much pain.”
Xavier was about to start defending Scott again when Warren interrupted.
“Uncle Charlie, what you’re forgetting is that unless he accepts you for what you really are, and accepts his new responsibilities as a mutant… you cannot start his training. How do you expect him to help you in your fight for mutant rights and justice when he wont quit fighting *you*?”
Charles sighed. They argued back and forth, not reaching any conclusions as to how to deal with the disturbed boy.
“Have you told him about your *dream team* idea?” Warren’s eyes were twinkling with mischief. Xavier scowled defensively.
“It was just a random thought!” and Warren laughed.
Xavier had once pondered aloud the concept of building a team of professionally trained mutants. One that could be called upon to intervene in say, human-mutant conflicts, or any situation that may require superhuman powers to prevent the loss of life and property.
“Besides, I haven’t spoken to him much of… of why I need him to join me. I need to win his trust first, before I start dumping my *burdens* onto him. I need him to start taking his own life and worth seriously first, think about his education and health and safety before anything else.”
Warren didn’t think of his uncle’s noble aspirations as burdens, and expressed as much with a scolding pout.
“Perhaps you underestimate him… did you see the way he carries himself? That stiff spine? Something tells me he is not completely broken, despite what he’s been through.”
“I know that nephew.”
“Well then you also know he’s a proud boy uncle. He needs to know he’s not just another case of charity for you.”
Xavier nodded. It was good to have Warren around, he mused.
The next day, Scott was in the garage admiring the new black Jaguar. Obviously Worthington’s, he thought sullenly.
Despite the fact that the professor had asked nothing of him, of late Scott had started feeling conscious of himself as a freeloader. He couldn’t possibly pay for his boarding and lodging at the mansion but he could at least help out with myriad chores round the place. So he helped the stable boys brush the horses down and was developing a passion for the animals doing so. He quickly picked up automobile skills from the mechanics that worked in the garage, and enjoyed peering into engines all day long. Mostly he picked places where he was least likely to run into the professor.
Xavier was well aware of this new change in the boy and his heart swelled with hope and pride. That day he decided to take his nephew’s advice and try reaching out to the boy again. All his previous attempts had been thwarted one way or another. Perhaps he would find more common ground with him in the garage, where Scott felt infinitely more comfortable.
“You like it?”
Scott started, then turned to face the professor.
“Do you have a license?”
Scott shook his head. “But I know how to drive.”
Xavier smiled, maybe the reaching out could wait.
“You could take it out for a spin round the mansion if you want. Lopez could go with you.”
Scott’s face lit up considerably. Just then, Warren came strolling down the stairs behind Xavier and Scott realized what a gleaming chance of payback this was.
“Are you sure? I can take *this* car out for a spin?”
Warren’s face visibly fell. His car! He was about to protest, but then he heard the professor allow it, so he relented. Scott grinned impishly at the winged man and got into the driver’s seat. Lopez left Charles’ side and joined him in the passenger seat. They took off. Warren couldn’t see the glint in Scott’s eye, but he sure saw the big smirk on his face.
“He did it on purpose.”
Worthington was so angry, his face was red and Scott could swear he saw smoke bellowing out his ears.
“No I didn’t! The tree came out of nowhere!”
Charles rubbed his eyes with tired hands.
“Scott, trees are not usually known to walk out into the middle of roads.”
“He did it on purpose!”
Lopez stood quietly on the side and Xavier turned to him. “What happened Joe?”
“Sir, I wasn’t with Master Scott at the time.”
Warren butted in. “And why is that Lopez?”
“Sir I thought we were returning from the ride. But the moment I got out of the car outside the garage, Master Scott drove off again.”
“With deliberate intent to *trash* my car!”
“And why would I do that?” Scott asked innocently. But the jibe wasn’t lost on Warren.
“You little… I swear if I was your guardian I would…”
“YOU WOULD WHAT?”
Scott was furious, as much as the other person.
“Enough! Warren you will control your temper. Scott go to your room.”
“Do what the professor says Summers or you’ll be very sorry!”
Charles sent a mental warning to Warren and to Scott. The boy swore audibly and went stamping out the garage.
All this time, Scott noticed how Warren’s presence in the mansion had made the professor seem happier than usual. He saw them dining and lunching together, playing chess or taking long walks by the mansion lake… and all the while they would be talking and smiling, sometimes laughing. His gut clenched, there were knots in his throat and he felt unsettled like he’d never felt in the mansion before. He realized he was jealous. And repentant. Jealous that the professor could talk so openly with Warren, share with him something so… casual and yet… so comforting. He didn’t remember the last time he’d made a proper conversation with *anybody*. And repentant that he’d himself rebuked all of the professor’s attempts to reach him.
Could it really be that simple? Could such a prosperous man who could have anything he wanted in the world… really just want to *talk* to Scott? To this half-blind uneducated whore? Without expecting anything in return?
Then there was the whole oh-so-righteous altruism thing going on… free education? a palatial home for nothing? What kind of a man picks up a boy from the streets and does all this for him? Few days ago, the professor had called Scott into his study and asked him about the last time he’d attended school. Scott had felt irrationally humiliated by the simple query and had uttered something not very polite. Actually, not polite at all. Scott cringed at the memory. There was a whole list of things he should be apologizing for, but somehow his distrust… and his impudence wouldn’t let him.
One moment he felt helpless and ready to give in, the next he’d be angry again. Swinging between hope and suspicion, fear and gratitude… the boy was a wreck. He didn’t know what to do.
The professor and the angel were not ignorant of the boy they now felt responsible for. Warren would still much rather not have anything to do with him personally, and he made that clear enough to Xavier. But he never disagreed when Charles insisted they wait for Scott to join them for meals at the family table. The day before Christmas, Scott came fifteen minutes late for breakfast, and forty minutes late for lunch. He didn’t turn up for dinner at all.
Warren lost his patience. “Where is he?”
“I’ve asked him to join us, he will…”
“Just tell me where he is uncle, I’ll go get him.”
Xavier sighed and concentrated. His eyes were closed but a sudden frown on his temple alerted Warren something was off.
“What is it?”
“He’s on the terrace… I think, behind the greenhouse. How did he get behind the greenhouse?”
And so here he was, standing beside the slim railing upon which sat the missing child. Legs dangling below, completely ignorant of the danger he’d put himself in.
Scott was so stunned, he dropped the cigarette he was smoking and it fell sixty feet below to the moist grass below. The boy was so pale, the hollow of his cheeks and veins in his neck more pronounced in the freezing cold. Warren tried to imagine what the boy must have gone through since his parents died, when he was blind too. He realized he had no idea what they were dealing with here, and that mellowed his wrath.
“What the *fuck* are you doing here?”
And the wrath returned full force.
“Well, considering the professor wouldn’t let me have a *morsel* to eat until you get your ass down to the dinner table…”
“Tough. I aint hungry.”
Warren blew out a cloud of steam and Scott shivered. There was something creepy about this man being all cool and calm when he actually ought to be screaming his head off. That he could handle, this was unnerving. The big man scaled the wall, and walked over to the far end where Scott sat. He plomped right down beside the boy, finding the position not too comfortable for his wings but hey, if he fell he could always fly.
“Charles told me about your parents.”
Scott stiffened. “What?”
Warren added softly. “That they died in a car accident on Christmas eve, that you were in the car with them. And your eyes mutated as a result of a head injury.”
Scott was trembling with rage. The prof had no right to talk about him behind his back.
“And that’s why you’re sitting out here…”
“…wasting a perfectly nice hot dinner.”
“You’re a bastard you know that.”
“Hey don’t take it out on me! Way I see it, you should be glad you got to be with your folks for *thirteen* years. I never knew my folks at all.”
Scott shrugged but when he still didn’t respond, Warren continued.
“I spent my childhood running and hiding, escaping assassination attempts on a monthly basis by greedy relatives wanting to take over the Worthington estate. I didn’t know what Christmas was, except the textbook definition of course… until Charles showed me.”
Scott listened to every word and feigned complete disinterest. He looked away, lit another cigarette. Much to his chagrin, Warren casually snatched that away too, helping himself to a long drag.
“I spend holidays here with uncle Charlie because I have no other place to be. Way I see it, we’re not much different in that respect.”
This was getting too close for comfort. But Scott was trapped by Warren’s frame and couldn’t get past to leave.
“Cut the sympathetic bullshit, you don’t know *anything* about me.”
Warren looked away, took another drag… and the voice hardened.
“True. Cant say I’m much interested either.” Then he threw the cigarette away.
Scott gritted his teeth but something in the tone warned him to keep his trap shut.
“I don’t know what your problem is and I don’t really care. But I know Xavier does care a lot for you. He wants to give you a new life… a *better* life and whether you want it or not, he’s gonna keep trying till his dying day.”
At some level Scott knew this already, and it pained him even more. He struggled against the older man to let him through.
“No! Look at me Summers. You’ve been *hurting* him.” Scott winced at that. “And he’s been forgiving you and forgiving you.” The kid didn’t know where to look.
“But not anymore. From *this* moment, you’re going to start behaving yourself. You will listen when he speaks, you will do as he says. While I’m here *and* after I’m gone. I leave next week but I will keep checking in with Lopez twice a day.”
Scott got angry at that. Who the hell did he think he was?
“Fuck off moron. You don’t tell me what to do!”
Warren continued like he’d said nothing.
“And if I hear of a single transgression on your part…”
“I’m not taking orders from you, you bastard! Let me go!”
Warren gripped him by the shoulders to keep him from moving too precariously.
“ONE WRONG MOVE Summers, I will personally fly down here to make you regret it. And you *will* regret it. Is that clear?”
Scott looked up into the Angel’s face, fully expecting a grotesque expression of rage, disgust, hatred… he found none. And it made him cease his struggling.
“IS THAT CLEAR?”
It was a direct order, firm, strict and unmoving. And still no anger…?
“Summers I’m talking to you.”
The strong hands gripping him softened, as did the voice. Scott was overwhelmed with shock and a really strange sense of… relief?
“Good. Are you hungry now?”
Instinct caused him to start to shake his head, when Worthington’s brows rose alarmingly high. The negative quickly turned to positive and Warren smiled.
“Great. Lets eat!”
He got up and scaled down the railing. Stood by the side and waited for Scott to do the same.
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Bobby did not press when Cyclops left his questions unanswered. He tried to keep up as his teacher walked with hurried steps to get back into the mansion’s warmth.
“She’s in the hall, helping with the decorations. Not that she’s actually helping.”
Bobby pictured his beautiful girlfriend with a tendency to get hopelessly lost in her own thoughts, and smiled. Scott turned towards the Professor’s study. Xavier must be back, Bobby figured, and headed for the hall.
~Yes, I’m coming.~
Later that evening, all the resident students and teachers of Xavier’s School for the Gifted gathered in the hall for Christmas eve celebrations. The school so often plagued with one mishap or another, would grab at every single opportunity to throw a party. Ororo wasn’t Christian but she would be the first to organize these dos where the children could for once have a normal fun-filled evening. Socialize, feel the love of their colleagues and teachers, and fellow mutants. Music was loud, there was punch galore and the decorations were bright and uplifting.
Charles Xavier looked around the hall at his colleagues and children, and felt himself blessed. Even Logan seemed to be enjoying himself. Apparently there was a thing developing between him and Ororo and the professor approved wholeheartedly. Storm’s composure and stability would perfectly balance his aggression and restlessness.
As his eyes further roved the room, he spotted a lone figure standing by the farthest window, arms folded, looking out. Xavier sighed, in all the commotion of the festive season, he’d forgotten to check on how Scott was doing. This being his first Christmas without Jean in what… nine years? The figure looked so lost and forlorn… completely oblivious to the crowd he stood among. Charles was about to set his wheels in motion when he saw Marie and Bobby heading over to the same person. He relaxed, and turned to Kitty who was waiting for her chance to kiss her favorite teacher a Merry Christmas.
He’d suggested the senior grade could refer to him as Scott and not Mr. Summers outside class. They were after all much more involved with the X-Men as well, which meant they were teammates as well. Scott turned to Marie just as she got up on tiptoes to hug him.
Scott kissed her forehead and smiled. “What for?”
She smiled shyly, nodding ever so subtly towards her boyfriend who pretended like he was miffed by the reference. Scott brushed it off casually.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“So, how did you find me anyway?”
“Thank your girlfriend, she tracked down the professor and he located you through the Cerebro.”
Embarrassed, Bobby looked towards the man in the wheelchair. “Ouch.”
Scott consoled him.
“Hey don’t worry. The professor will never judge you, and he will always understand.”
“Umm yeah but, I think I owe him an apology for causing all this trouble.”
Scott smiled, the boy had a hyperactive conscience.
“If you want. But really, more than an apology, you should just go talk to him. Tell him whatever you have… or had on your mind. He would really like that.”
Marie and Bobby looked back and forth between the professor and Scott. They had heard him say before that the professor was the most approachable adult in the school, probably more than even Storm and she was great with the kids. But they hadn’t tried it for themselves. Bobby dug his hands into his pockets and tilted his head.
“You sure he wont be like… angry or something?”
Scott laughed at that. And the kids were confused.
“Sorry, its just… I don’t think the professor is even *capable* of anger when it comes to his students.”
Marie was astonished. “Really?”
“That’s hard to believe. Wasn’t he angry when John… when St. John left?”
Scott knew this was a sensitive discussion but really, the answer was simple.
“Not exactly with John, Marie. He was upset with Magneto, never John. He understands his motivations more than you and I ever could.”
The kids fell silent. The loss of their friend Pyro to the other side still ached in their minds. Bobby decided he needed to lighten up the moment.
“Hey how about when Jubilee and Lance and the others stole the Blackbird and went for a spin in the middle of the night?”
Scott chuckled at the memory, “Nah. A little concerned yes, but angry? Nope.”
“Oh come on, are you saying there hasn’t been a single student in the history of this school who’s made the professor like… lose it?”
That provoked a moment of deep thought.
“I guess, there was one…”
The teenaged couple demanded in unison. “WHO?”
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Continued in Part 2 >>