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
A short time later Scott stepped over the threshold at the Bogart’s house. He didn’t know much about architecture, so to Scott’s untrained eye it was little more than a large two-story house in a nice neighborhood. The outside was whitewashed and landscaped, while inside there was a big spiral staircase set in the middle of an open living and dining area. He couldn’t see much more from where he stood at the moment, and, honestly, he was a little intimidated by the grandness of what he did see.
Richard and Trisha came in behind him and set their jackets aside. Scott stood there in the foyer, slouching slightly, hands buried in the pockets of his faded blue jeans. He felt out of place and looked around cautiously, clearly not trusting the newness of his surroundings.
“Well, this is home,” Richard offered agreeably. “We hope you’ll make yourself comfortable while you’re here.”
Scott nodded, even though he felt like there wasn’t much chance of that happening. He moved down the hall a few more steps before he noticed a display shelf mounted on the wall. It was entirely taken up by the most realistic model of an air craft carrier that he had ever seen, complete with a large number of model planes lined up along its deck.
“Whoa.” Scott moved closer, then looked back toward Richard and Trisha in disbelief. “A Centaur class air craft carrier?”
“We ran an exhibit on these carriers last year,” Trisha explained. “This one’s called the Polyphemus. But it only exists as a prototype.”
“The war ended before it could be constructed,” Scott finished for her. He was studying the carrier again.
“You know your WWII history. Where does that come from?”
“My grandfather,” Scott answered absently, his attention never leaving the display.
“Trish works at the Air and Space Museum,” Richard explained a few seconds later.
Scott turned back again. He looked absolutely awed. For the first time his defenses were totally down and his face lit up in excitement. “I went there on a school field trip once.” He turned back to the miniatures and carefully handled one of the model planes. “I went on the flight simulator at least a half a dozen times. It was awesome,” he admitted.
“I bet you want to be a pilot,” Trisha decided.
Scott’s newfound enthusiasm deflated as reality rapidly rushed back in. The change was so sudden it was like a light switch had been turned off. He set the model back in place like he had just realized it was something far too delicate for him to touch.
“My father was a pilot,” he said softly. Scott had kept going back on the simulator until it didn’t scare him anymore. After the fourth time he had loved it.
Trisha smiled kindly. “Then you must have inherited his talent for flying.”
Scott stared at the model planes for several more seconds before Richard’s voice pulled his attention away.
“There’s an air show next weekend. Trish could get tickets if you want to see it.”
“Yeah. Maybe so,” Scott agreed cautiously. He turned back to face them. “Is there someplace I can wash up?”
“Of course.” They directed him upstairs to one of their sons’ old rooms, where they assured him he could use the adjacent bath as well as any of the linens and spare clothes in the dresser. Scott nodded and quickly disappeared up the stairs while Richard and Trisha remained downstairs.
“Wow. He was a different kid there for a minute,” Trisha whispered.
Richard frowned in warning. “Trish, we need to make sure we keep our heads now.”
She smiled. “Under that tough exterior, I think he’s a good kid, Rick.”
“I think so too,” Richard nodded in agreement. “If I thought for a moment that he might be malicious I wouldn’t have brought him into our home. But we’ve also got to remember that Scott’s a con artist and a liar; that’s how he makes his living. We caught him off guard and he’s been kept off balance tonight, but by tomorrow he’ll be back on his game.”
“I didn’t know you were so cynical, Rick,” Trisha teased him. “He’s just a kid.”
“And I saw the way you were looking at him over dinner, like you’d love to take him in and get him fed up. You can bet he saw that too, and it would be foolish not to assume he’s gonna try to work us into letting him stay here for as long as he can.”
“I don’t see him asking to stay here,” Trisha countered.
“A good con artist gets you to do what he wants without asking,” Richard corrected her warily.
They had no idea Scott was standing at the top of the stairs. He had started to come back down when he realized that he hadn’t thanked them for letting him stay here tonight. Then he overheard what they were saying, and he turned and walked back upstairs.
“He just needs to know from start that this is temporary. We need a united front on that, Trish.”
She nodded. “I know. I’m not talking about adopting him. Scott’s caught some bad breaks, and I just want to help him out, same as you.”
Scott closed the bedroom door behind him. He should have figured these people were too good to be true. He snorted, repressing a bitter laugh. They were smart not to trust him. They weren’t going to let him get a foothold here... not that he had ever intended to take advantage. There were still lines Scott wouldn’t cross. They were right about him though. He was a con, a thief, a liar, and they had no reason to trust anything he said... but they had shown him a kindness and he wouldn’t stoop to repaying them with deceit.
Restlessly, he walked to the window and looked out at the street below, lined by neat homes under glowing street lamps. It worked out perfectly, really. They knew in advance they couldn’t trust him. That way they didn’t have to really care about him, and once they felt like they had helped him out a little they could be rid of him with no worries and no regrets.
A familiar dull ache started building up behind his eyes, and Scott looked away from the window just as his eyes began to smart. Suddenly it felt like the walls were closing in on him. He didn’t need anybody’s help, he just wanted to be back out on his own. Scott turned on his heel, on the verge of making his escape. But something stopped him when he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the dresser mirror.
He walked slowly across the room, hardly recognizing the stranger that stared back at him. He was thin and pale, and even though Scott had just washed his face and hands in the bathroom sink he could still use a good shower. Scott was used to all of that. But the worst was his eyes. His eyes were swollen and red, with deep purple shadows gathered around them.
Scott had become too good at ignoring the pain in his head and his eyes. He simply shut it out and didn’t think about it. Now he lowered his head and leaned against the dresser, scared. He swallowed hard as a shiver ran down his spine. What was wrong with him?
He turned out the lights without looking at his reflection any more. Then he crossed the room and closed the curtains that would shut out the morning sun. He knew he needed help.
The next morning Scott woke in a warm, soft bed. As tempted as he was to stay put and enjoy that novelty a bit longer, he immediately got up and went to the bathroom to splash some water on his face. He was relieved that his eyes looked better this morning, only slightly red. The dark shadows had also faded considerably. He took a quick shower before making his way downstairs, following the sound of voices toward the kitchen.
From what he could make out of the conversation, it was a continuation of the same discussion he’d heard last night.
“He seems a good enough kid, but Scott needs more help than we can give; he comes with a lot of troubles. We can’t take him in,” Richard told his wife gently.
“I’m not saying it should be us. But even if he wants to go back out on his own, a kid his age shouldn’t be on the streets. Maybe we could call someone.” Trisha looked up from her coffee when she caught sight of him. “Scott–” His presence had started her.
“Sorry.” He grimaced. “I didn’t mean to overhear, but I did.” He crossed the room. “I’m grateful to you both, for feeding me and for putting me up for the night. But I should go. I don’t want anything else from you.”
“Not yet,” Richard, protested easily, “we made a deal and we want to keep our part. Let me make a few appointments for you. I think we can find you some relief from these headaches.”
Scott nodded warily. “But nobody calls the state. I know you don’t believe I can take care of myself, but I do. I eat, I sleep, I go to school, just like a regular kid. That reminds me.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper, which he unfolded and set down on the kitchen table.
“What’s this?” Richard asked.
“Whatever appointments you make, you’re going to have to schedule them around my final exams.”
Richard read the list. “AP English and history. Honors algebra and biology. And electives: physics and geometry.”
“What?” Scott questioned, getting a kick out of their shocked expressions. “Just cause I make a living as a juvie doesn’t have to mean I’m an idiot.”
Trisha laughed. “You’re full of surprises, Scott.”
Richard shook his head, smiling. “Obviously you’re a smart kid. Why get tangled up with somebody like Winters?” He motioned to the paper in front of him. “You can do a lot better than that, Scott.”
Scott’s smile faded. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”
“Try us,” Trisha challenged gently.
“I’m no better,” he spat the word resentfully. “Smart might pay off for other people, but, for me, smart doesn’t put food on the table or a roof over my head. Useful does.”
Trisha swallowed hard. She motioned for Scott to sit down and placed a plate of breakfast in front of him. “You shouldn’t have to worry about providing for yourself,” she stated protectively. “You’re still a kid.”
“With this kind of academic work, in a couple more years you could easily get yourself a scholarship, work your way through college. Honest work,” Richard amended, “make a real life for yourself.”
Scott shook his head and concentrated on digging into a tall stack of pancakes. All that seemed a long ways away. “Never had much luck at normal life,” he admitted dryly. Anything that was normal for other people always seemed to fall apart for him.
“I get the impression you haven’t had too much practice at it,” Richard countered. “Tell you what, this week you let me worry about the roof, Trish will take care of what’s on the table, and all you need to worry about is these exams.”
Scott nodded. It would have been a pleasant enough novelty just to have the time and a place to study. Having someone actually take an interest in his studies went far beyond that. He couldn’t keep himself from smiling widely, and he took a another bite of pancake to help cover his transparency.
“Now,” Richard continued, “which ones are you worried about?”
Scott swallowed. “I’m pretty good at math and science; they don’t bother me. I have to study a little harder for history. But English lit–” He made a face.
Richard grinned. “You’re taking physics and geometry just for the fun of it, but you’re worried about Beowulf and Shakespeare.”
“Yeah, well, geometry and physics make sense to me. They follow rules, proofs.”
Richard laughed. “You explain to me Pythagorean Theorem or Newton’s Laws, and I will gladly translate Shakespeare.”
“Richard took theater in college,” Trisha volunteered.
“It’s my fall back,” he insisted, “you know, in case this doctor thing doesn’t work out.”
“He loved Shakespeare,” she said, laughing. “That doesn’t mean he very was good at acting it,” she added conspiratorially.
“Hark! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the Sun.”
“Exactly!” Scott sat back in his chair and slapped his palm against the table. “Who talks like that?” he demanded. “And how am I supposed to figure out what he’s saying, much less write about whether it’s an aphorism or a metaphor.”
Everybody at the table laughed, including Scott. He shook his head and went back to eating while Richard tried to explain the intricacies of Shakespeare. Scott listened, but in the back of his mind he couldn’t help thinking.... Here he was, sitting at the kitchen table in a comfortable home, eating breakfast, getting help with his schoolwork. This was something almost normal.
A few days later Scott was upstairs studying. As expected, he had breezed through the first of his math and science exams, and he had even done better than he had expected with his English exam. At the moment he was stretched out on the bed, which was littered with books and history notes that he was finding it nearly impossible to concentrate on. That familiar dull ache had started building up behind his eyes. Next his eyes would begin smarting, and after that the pain would be full born....
He closed his eyes and cupped his palm against his forehead, leaning into the pressure. He had seen three different doctors in the past three days, but they couldn’t figure out his headaches. The less they found the more tests they did. Now they were waiting on test results, and for some special glasses they wanted him to try. To Scott, it felt like his situation was becoming hopeless. The pain was relentless, and for the last couple of days... he was afraid it was only getting worse.
He didn’t hear the knock at the door. “Scott?”
He took a deep breath and rubbed his hand over his eyes, trying to steady his emotions. He’d left the bedroom door open and by the time he lifted his head Trisha had already come inside and set a plate (equally filled with fresh fruit and cookies) along with a glass of milk on the dresser. Scott felt nauseous at the sight of food; that was a new symptom.
“I wish there was something we could do,” she said softly.
One thing the doctors had discovered was that the drugs they tried giving Scott to control the pain had no effect on him. That hadn’t surprised Scott. His teachers sent him to the school nurse from time to time, when they could tell he was having trouble concentrating in class, but regular pain medications had never worked for him either.
He tried to manage a smile for Trisha. She sounded so worried and sad that he really wanted to ease her mind. He just couldn’t. He felt like, if he said one more time that he was okay when he wasn’t.... He slid the dark glasses on over his eyes, as much to hide his emotions as to block out the light.
A few minutes later Trisha walked back downstairs. Richard looked up from his seat in the living room, where he was surrounded by stacks of medical journals. He had teased her that, given a week, she’d manage to fatten Scott up, but they both knew Trisha took him snacks because she wanted to check on him. And Trisha knew that Richard was just as invested in Scott when she saw the stack of journals he had brought home with him. He had been skimming through them for hours, trying to find cases similar to Scott’s.
“How is he?”
“He’s trying to study, but it’s obvious he’s having a hard time.”
“Still in a lot of pain?” Richard asked softly.
“I told him to eat something and try resting his eyes for a little while." She shrugged helplessly. "I can tell he’s frustrated. And it has to be scary, not knowing what’s wrong. He’s stopped telling me he’s okay.”
“When he’s really not,” Richard concluded heavily.
“I guess I should be glad he’s letting down his guard a little, but I don’t think he really means to. He just doesn’t have the energy to keep pretending it’s not as bad as it is.”
Richard gave her a grim smile, and Trisha sat back down on the couch to continue reading her book, though she did so distractedly. They both hated the thought of Scott having to live with this pain, and seeing him hide behind those dark glasses. But it was no longer so cut and dry as it had been at the beginning of all this. They had both gotten attached to Scott.
For Richard, it had been the first appointment he had taken Scott to. Scott had looked back at him when they had called him into the doctor’s office, and Richard would have sworn he saw fear there. The same kid who had been unfazed and defiant facing the prospect of being locked up by the cops was scared of going into a doctor’s office alone. Richard hadn’t said a word, simply stood and gone with him. He hadn’t left Scott’s side after that, had been with him through all the appointments, and he continued agonizing over the fact that there were no easy answers.
The doctors were puzzled by Scott. Thus far they had found healthy eyes and perfect vision. They were still waiting on further test results, and they wanted to fit him for special glasses that would protect against a rare form of UV light sensitivity. Scott had stayed with the Bogarts for the better part of a week, gone to school as usual, and studied for his exams, but Richard knew that he was getting impatient with the lack of success the doctors were having in helping him. Even though he was still in a lot of pain, Scott wasn’t going to stand for much more testing.
Richard continued reviewing medical journals; he only looked up briefly when the phone rang and Trisha went to answer it, but a couple of minutes later the call had his full attention. Judging from Trish’s voice, the caller was relaying some seriously bad news.
“Thanks, Addie,” she finally finished. “If you could get me those photos, I think it would mean a lot,” she said before she hung up.
“What was that about?” Richard asked quietly.
“You remember Addie; she works in the museum archives?”
“I asked her to look into the name, Summers, for me. I figured it was a long shot, having only the last name and an approximate age to go on, but Scott’s father went through the Air Force Academy and she tracked him from there.”
Richard watched Trisha take a deep breath, looking over the sheet of paper she’d been making notes on throughout the phone call, and he waited for her to return to her seat.
As it turned out, Addie hadn’t had to look very hard. Scott’s father hadn’t just gone through the Academy, he had finished at the top of his class, earning virtually every honor and award offered by the time he graduated. He then spent the better part of the next decade earning a reputation as a topnotch military test pilot. He had been on the fast track for acceptance into the space program when his career had been tragically cut short.
“Nathan Christopher and Katherine Anne Summers died in a plane crash when Scott was seven. The investigation at the scene found very little left of their private plane, and their bodies were never recovered. Apparently they knew they were going down, and they tried to save Scott and his brother by having them jump – but their parachute failed. The younger brother, Alex, died at the hospital. Scott was left in a coma from a severe head injury.”
Richard took a deep breath. “Scott failed to mention that in his medical history.”
“It’s possible he doesn’t remember,” Trisha offered cautiously.
“It is entirely possible that he doesn’t remember, but it’s very unlikely that he doesn’t know it happened. So what happened to him after that?”
The hospital transferred him to the Nebraska State Home for Foundlings, for long-term care.”
Richard’s face paled. Suddenly he understood that look of fear he had seen from Scott, and why he might choose to lie about his medical history.
“No wonder he ran off,” he said out loud. “One of my relief nurses used to work at that Home, though not in a medical capacity. I’ve heard stories, and I asked her once if that place and the medical doctor there were as dicey as people said. From what she didn’t tell me, I assumed it was worse.”
Trisha closed her eyes. “Poor kid,” she whispered.
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004