X-Men fan fiction
Chapter 1: Mayday
Chapter 2: Sunset Home
Chapter 3: Sunset Home, part II: Exam
Chapter4: Sleeping Rough
Chapter 5: The Bogarts
Chapter6: The Bogarts, part II: Glasses
Chapter 7: Xavier
Chapter 8: New Students
Chapter 9: Eve of Grey
Chapter 10: Grey Christmas
Chapter 11: Dilemma
Chapter 12: Confrontation
Chapter 13: Jack O'Diamonds
Chapter 14: Escape
The following morning found Scott Summers lying on a cot in the nurse’s office, staring blankly out the window at the cloudy, rain-soaked sky. If he heard the footsteps out in the hall he showed no interest in learning whom they belonged to.
Robyn Hanover had arrived early this morning for an interview. She had already taken a short, self-guided tour of the facility before finding her way to Chief Administrator Pearson’s office only to discover that he had not yet arrived for the day. Hanover noticed the patient across the hall in the nurse’s office, picked up his chart, and began to thumb through the pages.
“Can I help you?”
“My name’s Robyn Hanover,” the newcomer turned and introduced herself. “I’m expected to meet with Mr. Pearson for a job interview.” White lab coat, stethoscope, and medical charts in hand. This woman was obviously the nurse, even though she seemed in no hurry to introduce herself to Robyn. “I have some experience as a nurse; I hope you don’t mind my taking an interest in your patient,” she glanced at the name tag on her lab coat, “Nurse Mueller.”
“Of course not,” the nurse replied, but she quickly reclaimed the medical chart in question before offering a sterile case summary. “Eight-year-old boy, sole survivor of a plane crash one year ago. Sustained a severe head injury resulting in coma. He regained consciousness and Dr. Essex transferred him up from the hospital wing last night. Vitals are all within normal limits this morning. Dr. Essex expects to see him make a full recovery.”
Robyn opened her mouth to ask another question but was swiftly interrupted.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do, and Mr. Pearson is ready for you.”
Robyn spent the remainder of the morning in the company of Chief Administrator Pearson before politely extracting herself at lunchtime. She needed a breather. Either her skills were more highly sought after than she had expected (in addition to being an experienced child social worker she was also a registered nurse and a licensed psychologist), or he was having great difficulty filling this position... or both. Everything about the Nebraska State Home for Foundlings (or the Sunset Children’s Home, as they tried to cheerfully rename it) turned her off, but Pearson was pressing her hard to commit to the job and his offer was too good to pass up arbitrarily. She needed some space to think over her options.
When she returned to the Home after lunch she noticed the boy still in the nurse’s office. Apparently he hadn’t moved from earlier in the day. He may have been healthy physically, but his emotional health was another matter. She suspected that he was in shock and denial; the poor kid had lost everything he knew before, and this place was a horribly poor substitute for a comfortable home and a loving family. Faced with such a crushing loss and a bleak future she couldn’t blame the boy for choosing to withdraw, but if he was going to come to terms with his loss and his life as it was now, it seemed he was going to need someone to give him a push in that direction. Robyn came inside and sat down on the floor beside his cot.
“Hi there. I’m Robyn.” Silence. “They tell me your name’s Scott.” Continued silence. “How you feeling?” The silence was thoroughly expected this time. “Can I get you anything? Is there anything you want?”
“You can leave me alone. I just want to be alone,” he protested half-heartedly.
“No. I don’t think that you do.” Finally, that got his full attention. The boy responded with an angry glare.
“What do you know?”
Robyn smiled gently. “I know what you’ve lost. I know you’re hurting and you feel alone.” She shook her head. “But this is not what you want.”
The boy stubbornly returned his gaze to the window, watching the rain drip down the glass, again keeping his silent vigil.
“Alright,” she conceded. Robyn had given him enough to think about for one day. “You get some rest. I’ll come back to see you tomorrow.” She left him, knowing that she’d take the job.
“I don’t get it. If this place is so creepy, and depressing, and– awful, why take the job?”
Robyn sighed. She had spent the better part of the last half hour telling her husband about the job interview, and the celebratory tone of their dinner had cooled considerably over the details.
“How could I turn down that kind of an offer? The signing bonus they offered me for making just a one year commitment, that money alone will get us through the first year of your surgical residency.”
“We can make it some other way. If this place makes you miserable, it’s not worth it.”
“It’s not just the money,” she admitted. “It’s this boy I met today.”
Jonathan sat back with a triumphant smile on his face. “I knew it,” he admitted.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Robyn begged, exasperated.
“Like what?” He leaned forward again and reached for her hand. “I love this soft heart of yours.”
Robyn shook her head at him. He had an amazing gift for being honest while he was teasing her, and the unlikely combination made it impossible for her to stay mad at him. She liked to think of herself as a practical and objective professional. But she had a weakness for people in need. The greater the need, the more it tugged at her to do something to help... plus, once she committed she had a hard time walking away.
“So what’s the kid’s story?”
“He lost his family in a plane crash and spent the last year in coma. Right now he’s just sitting in that place, wasting away, because there’s nothing medically wrong with him. No one thinks to bring him a meal or give him a hug, take him for a walk, remind him that life is gonna go on.... Until I talked to him this afternoon I was ready to turn down the job and walk away from that creepy Sunset Home. But this boy really needs somebody,” she insisted stubbornly. “If I can help him, then it’s worth going back every morning to that awful place.”
When Robyn came back the next morning little had changed. Scott had been moved into a regular room overnight, and today the sun was shining brightly outside, but Scott Summers was lying across his bed, staring blankly out the window when Robyn entered his room.
“I brought you something.” Robyn smiled when Scott turned to see her standing in the doorway. She had his attention already today, and apparently his surprise. That was a good sign. Little steps... yesterday she had made a promise and today he was seeing her keep it. “I know, a doughnut and chocolate milk, not much in way of a nutritional breakfast,” she smiled again, “but I figure you’ll get your fill of the well-balanced cafeteria diet soon enough.” She joyfully watched the boy eat. There would be time to worry about proper nutrition later, but at the moment her primary concern was interest. Scott needed to regain interest in eating, sleeping, human interaction – the basic components of life. That was the first step toward emerging from his grief and embracing his life again, his life as it was now.
Around lunchtime she returned and asked Scott if he would come with her to the cafeteria, sit with her for lunch since it was her first day here and she didn’t know anyone. She had thought it a good, unobtrusive approach to getting him to eat another meal. Most children his age would befriend an adult, if given the chance, and enjoy the feeling of self-importance that came with initiating such a friendship. Scott, on the other hand, fixed her with a look that showed he understood exactly what she was doing, but he was willing to go along with it anyway. Robyn made a mental note to dial down the patronization in the future. Scott was a sharp boy, and he would only tolerate so much manipulation.
At dinner she resorted to a simple invitation, which Scott accepted. This time Robyn didn’t hide the fact that she was mostly interested in seeing him eat; she just sat with him, slowly eating an apple, while Scott ate dinner. His appetite wasn’t all that great, and he hadn’t spoken much over the course of their visits today. At this point, Robyn didn’t see the need to press him on either of those things... but she was getting the distinct feeling that there was something specific weighing on his mind.
A few minutes later he looked up at her. “I’m not staying here,” he told her deliberately.
“No,” she agreed easily, “not forever. We’ll find a better place for you as soon as we can, but for right now, this is where you need to be.”
Scott looked down. “That’s not what I meant. There’s something not right about this place, and I’m not staying.”
Robyn shivered. He couldn’t possibly mean that the way it sounded.... Scott’s words were all the more alarming because they reflected her own gut reaction to this place, and she was trying her best to put those unfounded, illogical feelings aside.
“What do mean, something not right?”
He had been thinking more clearly today than he had yesterday, and Scott knew that his grandparents should have come for him by now, if they knew he was here. Since they hadn’t come, Scott was beginning to wonder if maybe it was him who had been taken from the rest of his family... while they had been told he was dead.
“They’re hiding something, maybe me.”
“I don’t understand,” Robyn confessed curiously.
“My grandparents. If my parents died in that crash, my grandparents should have come to get me by now, but they haven’t. Something’s not right, and I have to find my family.”
Robyn swallowed hard. “Scott, listen to me. I’m not saying you’re wrong; I don’t know that. But this is not a good idea. This place is no picnic, but it’s safe. There are people here to look after you. Too many bad things can happen to a boy your age out there alone, and I don’t want to see you hurt. Please promise me you won’t try to leave here by yourself.”
Scott fell silent, in a way that worried Robyn more deeply by the second. His silence spoke volumes. It told her he was determined to follow through on his plan, and he wasn’t going to be talked out of it.
“Okay. Then at least promise me you’ll give this place a little more time, to make things right. Now that you’re feeling better, maybe you can help us try to find your family.”
Scott thought that over for a few seconds before he nodded in cautious agreement.
Over the next few weeks Robyn helped Scott celebrate his eighth birthday (which had been missed last fall while he was in the coma), and she took a hand in selecting his roommates. She had quickly picked up on Scott’s natural tendency to protect the younger kids, so she selected a couple of the ones who were particularly enamored with Scott. It was a mutual admiration; Scott looked out for Chase, Jeremy, and the rest of the younger orphans (she suspected, in much the same way he used to look after his younger brother) and they looked up to him like an older brother.
Next Robyn began to catch him up on his studies so he could return to school in the fall. Scott was a smart child, and sensitive against the specter of having a damaged brain. The older children sometimes teased him about being defective: brain-damaged, because of the plane crash and the coma. But Robin saw no sign of any such damage. She reassured him that there was no truth to any of it, only cruel-minded words.
Scott worked all the harder at his studies, now having something to prove, and he excelled as a result. Robyn was confident Scott would do well once school resumed, and she found herself waiting anxiously for him after the first day of the new school term.
When the other kids returned from school and Scott didn’t, she went looking for him. And she found him, ticket in hand, at the bus station down the street. Robyn sat down next to him, feeling like she’d had the wind unexpectedly knocked out of her. She really had thought they’d gotten past all this.
“Scott, I thought we had deal.”
“I thought so too,” he answered. “But you didn’t keep your end.”
Robyn took a deep breath. She had underestimated him. Sure, she had asked around a little in the wake of their earlier conversation. As expected, the orphanage had gone through all the proper channels to take custody of Scott after the accident. There was no reason to suspect he had any surviving family, or at least none that was willing to take custody of him. Scott had said nothing more on the subject since then, and he had seemed to be adjusting so well.... Robyn thought he had put this fantasy behind him, and she had deliberately chosen to let it go.
“So, what are you going to do when you get to–” she craned her neck to read the destination on his bus pass, “Hyannis?”
“Keep going until I reach Alaska,” Scott replied stubbornly.
He stared at her, bright blue eyes clearly showing his hurt and surprise. “That’s where my grandparents are. If you had looked for them at all, you would know that.”
“You’re right,” she whispered. “I didn’t keep my end of the bargain. I should have looked harder. But you shouldn’t have left the way you did, Scott. I was worried.”
“I’m sorry,” Scott admitted, “but my grandparents must be even more worried. They haven’t seen me since vacation, last summer.”
“Before the plane crash.”
Scott nodded, looking away.
“Scott, does this have anything to do with Jeremy leaving?”
His face scrunched up in confusion. “Why would it?”
“I don’t know. It must be hard on you and Chase. The three of you were just getting used to being roommates. Now he’s being adopted into a new family while you two have to stay behind.”
“I don’t want to go to some new family,” Scott was quick to protest. “I already have a family.”
Robyn nodded, feeling dismayed. This conversation was going nowhere useful. She stood and extended a hand. “Come back with me?”
Scott stood. “Am I in trouble for leaving?”
“Not this time,” she answered. Robyn had decided to cover for his absence from the orphanage this afternoon; she felt like it was partially her fault. She had quickly gotten attached to Scott, and she had been so focused on his future that she had overlooked where he was in the present. “I’m going to look for your grandparents, because I told you I would. But you have to promise me you won’t try to run away again.”
Scott nodded in agreement, which wasn’t quite the same thing as a promise. Robyn sighed. He was willing to let her help him, but if that didn’t work out to his liking he was reserving the right to take matters into his own hands again.
Robin stood in the main hall of the Sunset Home a few minutes later, watching with mixed emotions as Scott performed his nightly ritual of rounding up the younger kids and herding them into the cafeteria for dinner. He deserved better than this... and yet she needed a way to content him with this grim reality in order to keep him safe. Facing the fact that he was alone in the world would crush him all over again. She hoped that telling Scott what he didn’t want to hear wouldn’t have to cost him his trust in her as well.
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004