Title: Carelessness of youth
Description: Archangel, Cyclops
Archangel - January 17, 2012 02:50 AM (GMT)
June 10, 1993
“I hate wearing this thing... especially this time of the year,” Warren said as he tugged on the collar of the trenchcoat he wore, standing in front of the dark-paned window of one of the many office buildings scattered across Manhattan. He furrowed his brow and tilted his head forward as if to try to make himself look more menacing, his shaggy long hair threatening to fall forward into his face as he did so.
“I look like I'm trying to be Shaft,” he concluded with a groan as he decided he'd failed to play the part properly, “Except I'm a white skinny kid and totally failed at doing it.”
Charles Xavier had tried to impress many things on the minds of his young students, and one of them had been how unimportant looks were compared to a person's character. Physical appearance and dress sense did not matter near as much as what was inside... in the heart and mind. That was all well and good in theory, but try telling that to a brand new fifteen year-old who was not only battling hormones that constantly changed the tone of his voice and made it hard to think of anything aside from girls... but one who also had wings coming out of his back. He was self conscious of them, made even more by his father who had expressed his discomfort at the idea that his son and heir had a mutation, let alone one so obvious.
As befitted a Worthington, Warren managed to mask this discomfort with an easygoing and flirtatious manner that seemed to come as natural as the wings which he currently had strapped to his back as tightly as possible. He compensated for his insecurity by talking a big game, but had yet to do anything more than that... for good reason.
Shoving his hands in his pockets, Warren abandoned the reflective image as they continued down the sidewalk, “I'm trying to decide what to get Jean for her birthday. How do you surprise a telepath anyway? Think she knows that I want to ask her out?”
The pair of them had taken the rest of Saturday to get away and have a bit of fun, taking one of the Professor's cars. He had wanted to drive, but it had been made pretty clear that wasn't happening... just because he didn't have his license yet, and the fact that Scott claimed to be so much of a better driver than him. Warren glanced at his best friend out of the corner of his eye... he'd show him eventually, and then Scott would have to eat his words.
Cyclops - January 17, 2012 05:33 AM (GMT)
Scott glanced over at his friend as he complained about the coat, "I don't know who Shaft is..." he said, "But yeah, you do look like a skinny white kid." He shrugged, "You think it sucks having to wear the coat all the time, try sleeping in sunglasses. I got to figure something better out. They don't stay on well, tying my head down gives me a crick in my neck, blindfolds are useless." He hitched his bony shoulders, and unconsciously ran his hand through his too long brown hair, pulling it down over the tops of his red lensed glasses. "Maybe we can figure something out, to hide them better? I don't know."
They walked down the sidewalk, and Scott looked around at the people who surrounded them, looking around at the people who didn't have any idea what they were. This was really the first time since being found by the Professor that Scott had been around a crowd. He didn't like it. Well, he never really liked crowds --not since when everyone would crowd around him at the hospital and poke him, study him -- not since the State Home when there was no escaping the crowd, sometimes as many as fourteen other boys in the same dorm room. Now, it was far worse. Someone accidentally knocking his glasses off could be a disaster.
But Warren had asked him for a ride to the city, because he had his license and frankly, Scott wouldn't let the younger boy drive all the way to New York alone. He wasn't old enough for one thing, and he wasn't that great of a driver to begin with. They'd practiced on the long driveway at the school, the Professor remarkably patient with the two boys, especially considering if Warren said left, Scott said right. He knew though that it was more important for the two of them to relearn how to exist in society, neither boy incredibly well adjusted for obvious reasons. It was probably the reason he let them head out to the city alone. Scott was pretty sure this was some sort of test, some sort of futzing around in their psyches. He'd resent the Professor for it, if he didn't understand how necessary it was.
Of course, Warren quickly revealed the reason for wanting to come out here, and Scott felt his jaw tighten. They'd only recently added their newest member to their weird little family, and Scott hadn't stopped thinking about her since she arrived. She was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen, and he wanted to tell her that. Like, an almost undeniable urge to tell her that she was pretty, even when she wanted to hide behind her hair, or hide behind a book. Would she want something like that? Would it make her happy? Scott had very little experience with girls. He would probably count on one hand how many he actually talked to, and that was probably school stuff. High School stuff. This school they were going to now wasn't really the same thing.
It didn't really matter though. He could never be Jean's boyfriend because how can you be a boyfriend if you can never look your girl in the eyes? He could never get close to Jean. Ever. It was too dangerous.
"I don't know what to buy her," Scott told Warren, wondering if it had been a long time since his friend asked him his question, "I've never bought a birthday present for a girl... for anyone. I mean, who would I buy anything for? What would I use for money? I haven't had a job since... well, you know." He looked around at the buildings that surrounded him, and he said, "I wouldn't even know where to go to find something for her. This is my first time in the city since coming to New York. It's a heckuva lot different than Omaha."
He looked back at Warren and said, "Maybe a coat? Hers is missing a button."
Archangel - January 18, 2012 01:45 AM (GMT)
Warren glanced at his friend out of the corner of his eye and considered what he'd just said. He would gladly have adopted Scott as his brother and shared his money with him, but he knew better than that. First off, his dad would have never been okay with it... second off, Scott would have never agreed to it. The guy had a stubborn streak a mile long and was so uptight about earning what he got that he often sounded like an old man to the fifteen year-old's ears. Honestly, it got wearing.
“A button, huh?”
A coat? Really? The last thing he wanted to do was get a girl something as boring as a coat. It was like getting a pair of socks or a sweater for Christmas. Who wanted something like that under the tree on the day you were supposed to get a bunch of fun junk that you didn't need?
And just how did Scott know that Jean was missing a button on her jacket anyway? No wonder it was so hard to get him to crack a smile if he was spending all his time trying to memorize every little detail around him. Warren hadn't realized that Jean was missing a button on her coat. Come to think of it... he couldn't remember what her coat even looked like. How could you when there was all that red hair to consider?
“Hey... tell you what? You know how they say it's the thought that counts, right? Why don't you get her a coat, and I'll get it and no one has to know you didn't buy it. She'd probably like a new coat, and she'd be happy that you noticed she was missing a button. You'd be doing something nice for the new kid. Well... the new-er kid. See? Like this place...” Warren halted in front of another high-end clothing store, his blue eyes gazing up at the sign. “I know my mom got a coat and a purse here about a month ago... it's supposed to be a pretty popular place right now. Maybe you could get her a purse to match.”
Warren shrugged his shoulders in an attempt to adjust the way the coat was draped over him and then pulled a hand out of his pocket to reach around and claw at his back... this new harness was taking a bit of getting used to and right now, his back itched in four different places. He didn't notice a feather slip out from underneath the coat and fall gently to the sidewalk just behind his heal.
“Seriously... I don't mind.”
Cyclops - January 18, 2012 04:22 AM (GMT)
“A button, huh?”
Scott didn't notice the tone of his friend's voice, his thoughts on Jean, and he nodded, "Yeah, she uses a safety pin with a bunch of little beads on it to fix it. You didn't notice? She..." He shut his mouth before he said anything else. Jean's pin was given to her by a friend, who had died or something. She never really talked about stuff like that much but Scott remembered every word she'd said to him like it was precious. He thought maybe that was a little creepy though so he was trying to...to what? To convince himself he didn't like like her? Yeah, fat chance on that. He had as much chance of making himself stop liking Jean as he had ever getting with Jean in the first place. Seriously. He was poor, awkward, and could never be with her. Warren was rich, and funny and could fly on angel wings. Yeah, what girl wouldn't rather be with him? Maybe someday when the Blackbird was ready, he could impress her with that... Sure. Girls dug military planes, right?
He also realized with a bit of guilt that he wasn't telling Warren about the safety pin because he thought maybe his friend would use it to make a place for himself in Jean's heart. Warren already had so much other things going for him, there was no point in giving him more, right?
But then, Warren made a very generous offer, and Scott felt even more guilty. Jeez, the younger boy made the offer like it really didn't mean anything at all. Sure, use my credit card to buy a very expensive coat and purse, no sweat off my nose, right? It sort of made Scott feel weird. In his well worn jeans, faded t-shirt, and tennis shoes that were newish only because the Professor had seen that his other ones had holes in the sole, Scott looked at his best... his only friend and said, "No, I can't do that. I mean... thanks for the offer, you know, but... Warren, I don't know that I could ever pay you back." He tapped lightly on his glasses, "This is sort of flat out saying I'm not going to be able to get a job very easy, I mean, maybe at a club or something, but I don't know. I kinda don't know what's going to happen to me after the Professor..."
Realizing he was babbling, Scott reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet, counting what money he had. The Professor had given him some money, paying him to run errands and stuff. Scott hadn't bought anything for himself except a couple of airplane models. He'd been saving to buy a model of the plane his parents had been in when they died. He wanted to build it so that... "I have like seventy five dollars... Is that enough for a coat?"
He didn't notice the feather that slipped out of Warren's coat, any more than Warren did, his eyes on the money he was counting.
Archangel - January 26, 2012 01:25 AM (GMT)
Warren couldn't help but stare at the wallet that Scott held open as he counted the money – seventy-five dollars. The elder asked the younger if that would be enough to buy a coat for Jean, and the blond looked up at him from underneath his stylishly shaggy hair. On one hand, he should be careful to not insult his friend's predicament, but on the other hand, Scott's stupidity was increased exponentially by his pride. Warren's dad had more money than God, and he sure as hell wasn't going to spend it all... what did it hurt for his friend to use a little bit of it too? It wasn't as if he hadn't accepted Xavier's generosity, sleeping under the man's roof, eating his food, driving his car... why couldn't he accept a Worthington's?
He snorted at the sight of the money, “You could get her a coat at Wal-Mart with that, but if you went in there with that kind of money, they'd just laugh at you. I promise... you won't find anything in there under five hundred dollars. In fact,” he looked up and down the street as a few people passed by, one bumping into his shoulder as the young man adjusted his stance, “I bet – whoa – you won't find a store within blocks selling a coat for that kind of price.” He'd reached out to place a hand on Scott's shoulder, steadying himself as he glanced around to see who had bumped into him – a man already a good ten feet away from him laughing into a cell phone.
Shrugging it off, he looked back at Scott as he continued the conversation, “And you wouldn't have to pay me back. It's not like my dad's gonna miss it or anything, and what's got you talking like that? The Professor isn't gonna die. I bet he'll outlive all of us, and even if something did happen, I wouldn't let you go work in a club. You could come work for me. Maybe you could be my driver or something.” He shoved his hands back in his pockets, unaware that a few more feathers had slipped from under his coat... nor paying attention to the four teen boys watching the pair of them from across the street as they sat around a table outside a high priced coffee shop. One of them had noticed the feathers falling settling to the ground and a heartbeat later the red- sunglasses the other guy was wearing... a strange color for shades. He'd called attention to them, he and his three friends discussing the possibilities they represented.
Warren started to walk on, “I'd pay my driver better than most of these guys on Wallstreet get paid, and you wouldn't even have to work that much. You could fly my plane too. How's that sound? We got a deal?”
Cyclops - January 26, 2012 04:21 AM (GMT)
"Five hundred dollars?" Scott gasped, dismayed. "What the heck is it made of, gold and diamonds?" He realized, suddenly... well, was reminded suddenly, at least... how very different his life had been from Warren's, even before they were mutants. Warren just acted like it was nothing. Five hundred freaking dollars? Pfft, I have that in my piggy bank. Scott didn't even have a piggy bank. Even before his parents died, Scott's family was military, not wealthy at all, hand to mouth. Scott doubted that Warren had ever had to worry about anything... at least until feathers sprouted out of his shoulders. "I don't..."
Warren went on then, talking about how he'd run his dad's business and how he'd hire him for a driver or to fly a plane, and Scott's jaw set into a tight clench, especially when the younger boy mentioned the Professor, completely misreading what Scott was saying. "I'm not talking about when Xavier dies," he grumbled, "I"m talking about when he figures out that I can't... that I can't do whatever this is he's trying to get us to do. You know how he's always going on and on about us being like a new step in... humanity or whatever, about us being 'ambassadors for mutantkind." Eventually, he's going to figure out that..." He shook his head, and started at a brisk pace down the sidewalk, weaving through the fast moving crowd in that way that he'd learned since waking up with the ability to see spatial relationships. "It doesn't matter," he muttered, "And, I'm not going to be your stupid driver," he said, "I'm not a charity case... Well, maybe I am, but I don't have to be."
He walked fast in his frustration and irritation, strides just that particular length that was annoyingly long to the shorter Warren, purposefully. Logically, he knew that Warren didn't mean anything by it, but teenage boys weren't known to listen to logic. "I don't need you to give me a job. I've got plans, you know, I might not be rich, or very educated, but there is stuff I can do, and when I'm eighteen, I'm going to go find my brother, get my life back to what I want it to be before all this stupid..."
"Hey!" a voice sounded behind them. Scott turned, instinctively, to see if the person was addressing him, even though he couldn't figure out who'd be calling him in the middle of the city. A boy maybe a year older than him was standing between him and Warren, holding up a couple of very long and very familiar white feathers, "I think you dropped something, kid," the boy said, "Whatcha hidin' under that coat?"
"Hey, leave him alone," Scott said, forgetting for the moment that he was annoyed at Warren.
A hand fell on his shoulders, and spun him around, forcibly, to look at another boy, also a couple years older than Scott, "You gonna defend your girlfriend, skinny?" He reached for Scott's glasses, "These are pretty shades, sweetheart. Lemme take a look at them."
Scott slapped his hand away, quickly, "Don't touch my glasses."
"Or what?" the bully smirked.
"Or you're going to regret it," Scott said, simply, "Like a lot."
Max_Coleridge - January 27, 2012 08:20 PM (GMT)
"No flippin' way," Max breathed and actually squeezed his baby blues shut and opened them, just to make sure that he had really seen what he thought he'd seen - Warren Worthington. This boy was a Warren five years older than when Max had last seen him, but Warren's face hadn't changed; that easy-going 'I'll dare anything' smile hadn't changed either.
Max dismissed the guy with him at a cursory glance as no one he knew and guessed he'd joined the prep school (from the look of his tragically unfashionable clothes he was a scholarship kid) after Max had been forced to leave after the murders of his parents. His new guardians had uprooted him from everything he knew. 'Get a fresh start,' they had said. It was as if they'd wanted him to forget is old life; but there came part of his old life walking blithely through the mall. Max was on his feet before he knew it and trying to catch up to Warren. After only a few paces his steps slowed and doubt crept took over his thoughts. It looked like Warren had a new friend. Would he remember Max? Would he care?
Keeping well back from them, he watched the boys.
Archangel - January 28, 2012 08:46 AM (GMT)
Warren's eyes grew wide at the sight of the feathers the guy who had interrupted their conversation held up to him. His hand instinctively went to his back as if checking that he could still feel his wings. The harness was an upgrade... a different configuration of different straps, and this had only been the second time to take it out for a spin. He was getting used to the way they strapped his wings to his back... causing it to itch at the joints, and obviously to shed a few feathers. It had definitely done a better job of keeping them close to his body... but at the cost of betraying him to the worst individuals that existed – people who looked for any sign of imperfection and harped on abnormality until it had been bloated beyond recognition into the worst form of deformity. Those horrible, black souls known as highschoolers.
He recovered quickly as Scott had called attention away from him with a few simple words. The guy was threatening to take his glasses; Scott could keep his eyes shut, but Warren seriously doubted the four guys – his friends were flanking them – would leave after their alpha dog had taken a trophy. Four retarded humans... Scott could knock them on their asses and Warren could then get to relative safety in no time flat, but that wasn't how they'd been taught to handle their problems, and as much as Warren would have liked to see Scott lay them on their backs...
“Look... he didn't know.” Warren placed a hand on the shoulder of the guy threatening to remove Scott's sunglasses, “Just let him go, okay? Those are–”
Two pairs of hands grasped him at the shoulders, but only by his coat. They shook him roughly as they began to try to pull the coat off Worthington, “What's chicken boy saying? All I hear is a lot of clucking.”
That was the best these idiots could do?
The incredulity at their weak insult rang faintly in the back of his head, but it barely even registered with Warren. He was too busy worried about the fact that they had gotten his trenchcoat halfway off his arms – likely quicker than any of them had gotten the shirt off of a girl. He flailed, trying to break free of their grasp on his sleeves, kicking out and catching the kid confronting Scott in the back of a meaty, jean-clad thigh with the toe of his shoe. It wasn't a light kick either.
His harness was plainly visible, as was some of the white feathers strapped firmly to his back, and Warren was beginning to panic... he hadn't realized what panic was till now.
Cyclops - January 28, 2012 09:20 PM (GMT)
The Professor was teaching them how to control themselves, how not to be ashamed of what they were, but he was also teaching them how not to use their powers for the wrong purpose. Scott was sixteen years old, and he had not, back then developed the skill at defusing a situation with strategy that he would excel at as an adult. Right now, he was an angry young man. Scott had spent the last five years of his life the target of bullies. Gangly, shy, under educated, orphaned, clearly poor, there was a lot to poke fun at, and teen boys poked with their fists. Scott had been in more fights then he could count, and that was before he turned into a walking disaster area. He won some, lost more, he knew how to take a punch, and he knew when it was time to run.
But this was different than any other time that Scott had been targeted by bigger and meaner boys.
This time, Scott had a friend to protect.
Warren was younger, smaller, and he was a rich kid. What did a rich kid know about fighting? He probably had his butler do it for him. "Jeeves, thrash that bully within an inch of his life" or something like that. Scott could hear him thrashing around, though he didn't turn his head to see what was going on. He kept his focus on the bully who was confronting him, taking no chances. If this guy made a grab for the glasses, Scott would have to keep his eyes closed and then he and Warren were toast.
Suddenly, in Warren's thrashing, his foot caught the bully in the thigh, causing his leg to reflexively crumple. That was all Scott needed, that moment when the guy went down, a chance. Moving quickly, and without taking the time to talk himself out of it, Scott lifted his glasses, just the tiniest of fraction, staring at the fire hydrant on the curb... The Professor was teaching him how these beams could be useful, how they could be aimed, how he could use these glasses and his eyelids to direct them... There had to be a more controlled way, but right now, this was all he had.
As the lenses of his glasses passed his eyes, the power, this horrible wonderful rush of power that he felt guilty for enjoying but he couldn't help how good it felt to release that pressure, streaked in a scarlet stream, slamming into the hydrant and blasting it right off its moorings. Closing his eyes immediately, and tucking the glasses back where they needed to be to cut off the power, Scott could hear and feel the explosion of the high pressure water shooting out of the hole, and as he opened his eyes, he saw the fountain that he'd created, sending the crowd scattering.
In shock, (or fear, Scott neither knew or cared which), the bullies dropped Warren, and staggered backwards. Catching sight of his friend's general state of disarray, Scott reached out and caught his coat, jerking him violently towards him, "Run," he said, pushing him way from the sight of the chaos, "I'm right behind you. Go!"
Making sure his friend was moving, Scott began to back away slowly from the startled bullies, knowing the distraction wasn't going to last. His hand went to his glasses. He had to give Warren time to run, did that mean he was going to have to use his powers on people? He'd never hit anyone with his powers before. He didn't know what it would do to them, but it wasn't going to be good.
Warren's wings could maybe have been passed off as something else, but there was no hiding what Scott had just done... and the crowd around them had suddenly turned from disinterested to upset... and it was not a far step away from angry...
He might have just made a big mistake.
Max_Coleridge - February 1, 2012 01:26 AM (GMT)
When the bullies suddenly advanced on Warren and his friend, Max stopped and nonchalantly leaned against a convenient wall to watch the show. The narrowed gleam in Max's eyes held an expression that suggested he wasn't upset by what was happening to his old friend. Already plans were coming together in his mind; the foremost being the imagined grateful look on Warren's face when he... HE... Max Coleridge saved him. They would rekindle their old friendship, maybe even include the other kid... if he was cool..., and catch-up like no time at all had passed. The half-smile Max had on his face as he played out the events in his head and watched the confrontation before him, faltered when he finally noticed the feathers falling from under Warren's coat as it was nearly torn from the boy's shoulders.
A costume? Max wondered as he paid closer attention, his childish daydreams of renewed friendship falling to the wayside. Suddenly, everything quickly seemed to fall apart around the boys. With a blast of red, the angry teenage bullies were replaced by frightened and angry adults who looked at the two teen boys as though they were aliens... menaces that needed to be exterminated before they did more harm.
"Oh my God! What the Hell are they?" chorused some of the men as they lunged for the boys. "Stop'em before they hurt someone!" yelled a frightened voice that was soon echoed by others.
However, when the fire alarm went off, what they had been doing suddenly didn't seem to matter anymore and there was a rush for the open streets. Max hadn't moved. He lowered his hand from the pulled alarm and watched Warren and his friend disappear into the stampeding crowd.
Archangel - February 1, 2012 10:43 PM (GMT)
Warren knew what that burst of red was before he even saw the geyser of water burst from the ground or saw remains of a hydrant skittering across the pavement. His eyes had been closed, but the bright crimson that had assaulted his lids had been more then enough to give Worthington an idea of what happened. Scott had used his powers in front of people... in broad daylight. Would it work? Would it get them out of this? Or would it just get them in a buttload of more trouble than they'd been in mere moments ago?
What would the Professor say?
It was a full second and a half before Warren realized that no one had hold of his coat anymore... he was free to run. Both of them were. The crowd was staring at them, their eyes overlarge with fear and alarm. Many of them were acting as if they didn't notice that it was raining on them. They really needed to get out of there.
Apparently, Scott had the same idea; grabbing Warren's coat, he yanked the younger boy firmly toward him and growled that he needed to run. Warren shook his head. He wasn't about to run off without Scott, but the older boy shoved him toward an alley way where they could disappear. Staggering forward, Warren caught himself just in time, spinning on his heels to look at Scott expectantly. He'd follow.
An ear-piercing alarm sounded from across the way, adding to the chaos as many turned their attention to it. Warren had backed into the mouth of the alleyway, but as faces swam across his vision, he caught sight of someone he thought he recognized across the way. His eyes popped open as wide as saucers as a ghost from his past was there to haunt him. Was that Max Coleridge? It had to be, but...
Brief flashes of memory passed by Warren in the blink of an eye - the countless hours they'd spent together. The competition that always seemed to have a little more bite than simple friendly rivalry... like a cool day made slightly uncomfortable by a small sharp breeze turning the air just unpleasant enough to constantly gnaw on the back of your mind. It was strange how easily someone could be shoved to the back of your mind when they stayed out of sight for long enough.
Warren wanted to unfasten the harness and shed his coat, spread his wings and bound over the heads of the panicked humans that washed across his vision, but Scott's words were still ringing in his mind. Run.
They were in so much trouble.
Warren blinked and when he did so, the boy was gone, but he was sure it had been Max. Had he started the disruption that had caused the added panic? It had come from that direction, and the coincidence was too much. Despite the dire situation, one corner of Warren's mouth twitched - he could see Max doing that. With one last look, he stepped further back in the alleyway, trying to will Scott to move as well.
One of the the four boys simply turned on his heels and began running down the street, but the other two stayed with the one who was clutching his thigh grimacing in pain. The pair looked up at Scott as people started scattering in all directions – some toward the fire while others fled the scene. Summers was being lost in the crowd.
“Get him before he gets away,” on man shouted as he began trying to tear through the crowd like a fish swimming upstream. “He's a mutant! He's a goddamn mutant! There's kids around, you asshole!” It seemed as if a few others had the right idea and began fighting through the crowd in the general direction where Summers had been nearly obscured from view by panicked citizens.
Warren was bouncing on his toes as he peered around a corner at the scene... he couldn't even see Scott. He fingered the buckles on his harness, desperately wanting to remove them. “C'mon...”
Cyclops - February 2, 2012 07:01 AM (GMT)
Ever since the Professor had given him the glasses that kept his powers in some sort of check, they'd been working on developing a way to aim, to focus his powers. Scott was hoping that it would never be necessary, that some day the Professor would either find out why he couldn't control these powers, or (Scott's preference) a cure so he could have the life he planned on having. But right now, right at this moment, all he had were crude and heavy sunglasses, which did not have any sort of protection against falling water, which made things precarious, especially with the added and surprising blare of a fire alarm. Scott looked around startled, had someone mistaken his powers for flame? There was no heat... Had someone seen the water and assumed?
It didn't matter though, because suddenly the crowd became a stampede, and aided by his slim form, and the natural lubrication of the water, he slipped through the crush of people like a fish through a net. One hand came up to clutch his glasses to his face, and he couldn't help, as someone shouted out derogatory crap about mutants, being tempted to rip them off his face and blast a pathway. The Professor said they could live together someday, that they could find peace. Right now, Scott was far too young, and far too scared to believe it.
He saw an escape and, sliding past grasping hands, Scott pushed forward and stumbled out of the knot of freaking out humans, his worn tennis shoes slid in the water, his head pounding with the sound of the alarm and the pressure of his power wanting to get out. Dragging his arm across his ruby quartz lenses, Scott looked around frantically for Warren. If he lost the younger boy, the Professor was going to have a stroke...
There he was! Peeking around the corner, his blond head bobbing up and down nervously. Scott almost smiled in relief, but then he was pissed that the stupid kid hadn't run like he told him. He took off, long legs pumping, and he shot into the alley before anyone saw them, grabbing Warren and pulling him back into the alley. "Why didn't you run?" he snapped, "Jeez, Warren, do you want...." He sighed and pushed his too long and soaking wet hair back out of his face. "You ok?" he asked, and he hated how much he'd been scared for the younger kid. It wasn't good to get too close to him, especially not with his powers so out of control, especially not when... "They didn't hurt you, did they? Stupid jerks."
As they hid in the darkness of the alley, Scott looked around them, for an escape. He could hear the crowd still yelling, the alarm still blaring. "Thank God for that fire alarm, it bought us a few minutes...Come on," he said, "The alley's a dead end but, I think we can use the fire escape..."
"There they are!" Shouted someone, the boy Warren had kicked. "There you are, you freaks..."
Scott pushed Warren behind him, "Fly," he muttered, "Warren, fly home." He put his hand to his glasses as the entry to the alley began to fill with angry and frightened humans. "Leave us alone," he spat at the growing crowd as they began to block the sunlight. "We didn't do anything to you." He tightened his fist around the frame of his glasses, and said, "But we will if you don't leave us alone. We will..."
Archangel - March 7, 2012 01:43 AM (GMT)
Spotting Scott who broke through the crowd, Warren's heart leaped as he spun back around the corner and out of sight, waiting for Summers to bowl around after him. He wasn't disappointed.
The older mutant skidded into view, lips tightened in anger... relief... frustration... god knew what, but they were something. He was just glad nothing had happened to his fellow mutant, because there's no way in hell he would have known what to do.
He was about to mouth off back at Scott when he was chided for having not run away, but was cut short when the older boy seemed to have a change of heart and asked how he was instead. “Me? No way... I'm fine. Not a scratch,” Warren shook his head and ran his hands through his damp hair. He wanted to tell Scott about catching sight of an old friend when the fire alarm went off, but Summers was already trying to work out a way to get them out of the area. Warren suppressed a slight disappointment welling up in himself; the one thing he was able to do – run away – and he wasn't strong enough to take off with his friend. There was no way in hell he was going to go off by himself. Perhaps it was possible to help somehow to take point while Scott worked up the fire escapes?
He wasn't much of a strategist.
"There they are!"
Scott whipped around and threw Warren behind himself protectively, telling him to run before threatening the humans who had come after them. The younger of the two only managed to shake his head; he wasn't going anywhere without Summers. Scott wouldn't have left him behind.
During the middle of Scott's retort, however, the atmosphere seemed to darken with an unseen weight. The fire alarm began to increase in pitch slightly before dying. The water suddenly cut off with unnatural terseness. The pitter-patter of water droplets was replaced by a low groaning coming from the wall to Warren's right, and before it could really sink in what was happening, granite and mortar blew away as rebar shot out of the wall and swept aside the mutant-hating humans who Scott had been flinging threats at. The entire group collided into the opposite wall, pinned there by the metal that had violently cast them aside.
“Actions speak louder than words, boy.”
The voice of an older man called out from the mouth of the alleyway as a silhouette began to slowly solidify through the rock dust that pervaded the air.
“Especially when the apes are howling so loudly.”
That silhouette began to take the shape of the Master of Magnetism himself – Magneto – the leader of the Brotherhood and one of the most dangerous men alive. Before, they'd been in trouble. Now, they were dead.
Cyclops - March 7, 2012 09:05 PM (GMT)
He didn't want to turn his powers on this crowd. How had a simple thing like going to buy a birthday present for a girl who was probably never even going to care if he was alive gone so incredibly wrong? But Scott knew it was very likely that he was going to have no choice. He knew how to fight, but let's be honest here, he was usually on the losing end of those fights. Scott was tall, but he was still a light weight, not a powerhouse, nor ever likely to be, and Warren... well, had the rich kid ever really been in a fight. He'd done some stuff before coming to the Professor, but was it fighting? Scott could feel Warren behind him, almost feel his fear. Wildly, even in the middle of what was probably going to turn out very very bad, Scott thought of his long lost kid brother, Alex. Warren was older than Alex would be now, but if Alex had been in trouble, Scott would take a dozen beatings if it meant saving him. Would he really do anything less for his friend who was his brother in mutancy?
But then, suddenly, something happened that Scott, at first, didn't understand. The alarm, the water, they stopped in strange unnatural ways, and then the wall exploded. Scott turned away, shielding his face from the dust and debris, holding his glasses to his eyes so that whatever was happening wouldn't be made worse by his destructive powers. A voice spoke and Scott's eyes went wide behind their protective sheath of red crystal. He had only heard that voice on the news, but he knew exactly who it was.
Slowly, Scott raised his head, and saw that the humans were trapped in a web of torn out rebar, still alive thank God, but trapped there, as a man hovered in the air before them, a man so incredibly powerful that Scott wondered if he was the strongest mutant ever. He chided Scott for talking instead of acting and Scott said, defensively, "I've never used my powers on anyone before. I don't want to hurt anyone. It's not... We didn't do anything, but we don't want any trouble. Let them go, and we'll get out of here, please."
He looked up at Magneto, trying to meet the man's eyes even though his own were hidden, "They're scared of us enough. Thanks for saving us, but don't make it worse. Just lets everyone go back to whatever they were doing and pretend none of this happened."
Magneto - March 12, 2012 02:36 AM (GMT)
Erik arched an eyebrow from underneath his helmet as the boy stuttered and begged for him to just let the humans go. Oh there was a 'thank you' buried under all the whining, but it was barely visible... not that he cared for such things.
“Go back to whatever they were doing?” Magneto repeated, a tone of mockery clear in his voice as his feet hit the ground and he was now clearly visible through the haze of dust from the brick that had exploded from the wall. “Why boy... how do you expect them to just 'go back to whatever they were doing'?”
Placing his hands behind his back, the Master of Magnetism turned to regard the humans trapped behind the webbing of concrete, looking at them as though they were more insects than actual people. To his mind, insects served more of a purpose than the refuse who had tried to attack to young mutant boys who were still likely recovering from puberty.
“They will not be able to forget what they've seen today.” A tip of rebar shifted and formed into a long metal spike that rested against the cheek of one man, its razor edge cutting a shallow gash into his face. The one who had been so ready to thrash this pair of helpless children suddenly began to whimper, tears leaking from the corners of his eyes and mingling with sweat.
“They will remember your faces,” Magneto said almost idly, his eyes still fixed on the humans, “They will go home and tell them all about the monsters they confronted and how they came so close to cornering you in an alley.” He suddenly turned to look at them, “Do you know how that story might have ended? Perhaps you would have shouted at them... maybe let off a round or two of those remarkable beams you have hidden away, but in the end, their numbers would have overwhelmed you.”
“Perhaps your friend might have gotten away... flown like a coward and left you to your own fate... perhaps not. My point is that you were not willing to act fast enough to protect yourselves and nearly got yourselves seriously injured... possibly worse.”
“No,” he said as he looked back toward the humans, “They will not simply 'go back' to their daily lives. They will talk about you for weeks.” He glanced back at the boys, “Perhaps you should give them something to think about... to discourage them from confronting you in such a way ever again.”
Cyclops - March 12, 2012 07:38 AM (GMT)
Scott winced as Magneto used his power to gouge into the man's face, and he said, "Stop." The man cried out, and Scott narrowed his eyes behind his glasses, "Stop, I said," he snapped, hardly knowing where he got the courage to bark orders at the powerful man in front of him, who lectured and postured and sounded like every adult Scott had ever come into conflict with, and there had been many in his life. They tended to think he was stupid because he was poor, because he was uneducated. In his adult years, Scott would try and remember how it felt to be slighted, and he'd try to take his students into account, but at this moment, that future was very far away and unpredictable.
"We're supposed to be better then them, right?" Scott said, "We're supposed to be an evolved race, but how can we prove that if we don't act it? I don't know what you expect for us to do, but I can't... I won't hurt these people and I won't let you hurt them anymore, either." His heart was pounding his chest, and he moved one hand back, to rest on Warren's arm, not to make sure he was there, but to make sure he knew that whatever insults Magneto threw around, Scott believed in him, and wasn't going to let him fall in this. He could feel the irritating rustle of one of the long feathers that burdened his friend and it just struck home how different they were from the men and women who were trapped in the web of rebar. "We're supposed to be better than them, but we're not. We're just accidents of twisted genes or whatever. There's no reason for them to hate us, except for their being scared of us, and why wouldn't they be? Look what you're doing to them! We have to be better! We have to do better!"
And, then, before he even understood what the hell he was doing, Scott narrowed his eyes to almost straight line slits, and he whipped up his glasses. Red power streaked out, trying to force open his lid with the rush of power and concussion. He could do everything this man urged him to, he could be everything these people thought he was, but damn it, underneath everything, Scott Summers was his father's son... He was young, he was angry, he was, he thought, alone, but he desperately wanted to be something more, and he couldn't be if he gave into what he was right now. The power cracked out, slicing the air in two, slamming into the web of rebar and tearing it away from the crowd it pinned. He closed his eyes, pulled down his sunglasses.
"Run!" he ordered, turning that demand away from his friend, away from the hunted and towards the hunters. "Get the hell out of here, while you can!"
Scott turned his gaze up to Magneto. He was a tall boy, but not imposing, not like this man, and he said, "If they're going to talk, let them talk about how I kept you from killing them... and how Warren and I didn't become everything they're scared we are."
It wasn't the greatest of speeches, Scott wasn't a speaker and didn't know how to inspire anyone. But great men had taken an interest in him. His dad, Dr. Essex, Mr. Milbury, the Professor... great men had changed something in him, and he'd learn how to be what he needed to be.
He didn't know what that was, but he knew that it was not going to be accomplished by being goaded into becoming a murderer.
Archangel - March 13, 2012 02:16 AM (GMT)
JP Angel and Magneto
Magneto was here. God... Magneto.
This was the closest a person could get to the Devil without actually going to hell. For most of his life, he'd heard of Magneto... all the heinous things the self-proclaimed Master of Magnetism had done to humans. He'd heard the news reports and seen the looks on people's faces when they talked about him, more and more people convinced that he was a harbinger of doom with every passing year he'd become more famous. Charles had spoken of him with a mixture of respect, sorrow, and a touch of something more.
Being the younger and suddenly not having a clue what to say, Warren let Scott speak. Magneto seemed to be talking to him more anyway... likely because Scott had been the one to shout out at the humans who were now stuck to a wall.
He swallowed, his face going scarlet as Magneto went on, taunting Scott and goading him to lash out at the humans who had threatened them. “Don't do it,” he whispered, unsure if that was more for him or for his friend. He wasn't even certain the older boy had even heard him. His face felt like a furnace as Magneto basically accused Warren of being good for little more than 'flying away'. The younger of the two students of Xavier felt the grip from Scott, but it did little to soothe the sting of the insult coming from one of the scariest men alive.
His heart skipped a beat as Scott raised his glasses, sure for half a heartbeat that Scott was going to use his abilities on the humans. Despite their teaching, when facing pressure from Magneto himself, Warren couldn't really blame the temptation... the man's presence was almost overwhelming.
“Scott!” He threw a hand on his friend's shoulder but his worry was immediately relieved at what he'd done. The rebar was shredded aside without hurting a single human, pieces flying mostly in the opposite way they stood as they were batted aside by Summers's red gaze. Some of it seemed to glance off of Magneto... as if he had some kind of invisible shield around himself. He didn't even seem to flinch. The man was unflappable.
Silence reigned between the three mutants as the humans stumbled, staggered, and screamed their way toward the mouth of the ally. The grip on Scott's shoulder tightened... a silent statement of how impressed Warren was at what his friend had just done.
“You have impressive control, boy,” Magneto said as he stood their and watched the two as if he hadn't just been defied. “And impressive resolve. Of course, you know that those humans will not remember that you saved them. They will remember you as simply a mutant. They will remember that you were associated with me, and that Magneto almost killed them today. Very few, if any, will actually recall you saving them, or any of what you said.”
“You're wrong,” Warren finally spoke up, “Lots of humans are okay with mutants. Moira McTaggert is a good friend of the Professor's. She helps mutants and humans alike. My family is involved in charities that support mutants.”
Okay... that was a lie, but Magneto wasn't reported to be a mind reader.
“A few are enlightened, perhaps,” Magneto replied, “But the majority will see nothing more than what their prejudices will allow them to see. You claim we are to be better... and yet how can we, who have the abilities and mental capacity of gods make ourselves understood to insects? They only understand one thing,” he concluded, holding up a finger, “And until they learn differently, it is the only language that will work.”
“Charles is too naïve to understand that, boys, and I am concerned that he will drag you and your fellows down with him.” Magneto shook his head sadly.
Cyclops - March 13, 2012 07:30 PM (GMT)
The humans ran screaming, and this was the first time since the disastrous day that his eyes decided to turn into lazer beams or whatever they were, that Scott had realized the difference between himself and them, the first time it had struck him with any real gravity that he was not a human being anymore. He'd known it, the Professor had explained it, it had been present in his head, but Warren and himself, against these terrified and violent people... It had been eyeopening to him, a pun if Scott was the sort to make puns, but even then, at the ripe old age of sixteen, humor was not his strong point. The mischievous boy he'd been as a little kid had been killed the day he was pushed from a plane, and everything that happened since then had changed him into what he was now.
But today was probably the first time he realized exactly how large those changes had grown, and faced with this living, breathing embodiment of everything that they could become if they surrendered to how this isolation and injustice made them feel... Scott suddenly felt more than ever that he was not going to be able to live up to the Professor's standards, but watching how Magneto had treated those people made Scott want to try even harder to work towards that dream that Xavier had told him about, where mutants and humans didn't have to be afraid of each other. He supposed that even after everything that had happened and probably would happen in the future, that maybe he still had hope, and that too was a new thought to him. Funny how it took meeting the boogeyman for one to understand that one had the ability to choose to be a monster or not.
As Warren angrily retorted to Magneto, shouting stuff at him that made Scott strangely proud of his friend, and strangely aware that after this experience they couldn't deny ever again that friends was indeed what they were. Magneto wasn't as impressed, but Scott got the idea that he wasn't impressed by a lot of stuff. The Master of Magnets or whatever the press called him spoke of the Professor and it was there too, that note of something Scott didn't quite get, but was in Xavier's voice when he spoke of Magneto.
"It's not always going to be this way," Scott said, with more confidence than he felt. "It can't be. Not if we work to change it, and not by becoming dictators or evil overlords. The Professor gave us a home, and helped us, because he had the money and the power and the ability to do so, and it's not different for us to do that for the people who are scared. I was scared and angry and I had no idea what to do until the Professor found me and protected me until I could figure this out on my own. Why can't we do that for them? We can protect them and show them that we don't have to hurt them then they won't be so scared of us, and when they stop being scared, maybe they can stop being angry, and stop being hateful. It worked on me so it's not impossible. It's just hard work. It's easy to do the wrong thing, that's why so many people do it. I could have blasted all those people, Warren could have flown away, but we didn't because that's wrong. I'm not scared to work hard, sir, I've had to do it as long as I remember and I'm ok if I do it until the day I die. It's a purpose, and I don't think I ever had one before."
Scott stopped talking suddenly, and his cheeks went bright red as he realized he was talking too much and too freely with this man.
Magneto - March 20, 2012 03:22 AM (GMT)
A heavy brow raised from beneath his helmet as Magneto stared Scott down coldly, “And I could have let two mutant whelps deal with an angry mob of humans on their own. Perhaps their beloved professor would have saved them... or perhaps they would have torn you into pieces and scattered you to the four corners of the Earth.”
He took a step closer, “Or you just might have gotten a bit of backbone and done what needed to be done had I not intervened. You both consider me wrong? You think what I do is easy? Study your history, boy... its pages are covered with the hatred and violence of humans as they destroy each other for petty reasons such as religion, land, or a simple matter of aesthetic difference.”
Magneto shook his head, “I fight for our very survival while your Professor wants to talk. I have women and children under my protection who would tell you a very different story than the one Charles has shared with you.”
“You're lying,” Warren said, clearly horrified at the prospect that women and children would actually be indebted to this man. “The only people who follow you are the ones who've bought your message. You're just as hateful as the humans, and you're just trying to justify it to yourself and to us.”
Erik looked from Scott to Warren, his cool gaze flickering between the two, “There is no convincing you otherwise, I see.” He took a deep breath and shook his head as if he'd lost a cause.
“Young minds so closed off... it is almost as much of a crime as what the humans nearly did to you today.” He looked up at the boys again, “Nothing I say will convince you otherwise, so I will say no more. Just know that Magneto saved you today. You might not be so fortunate in the future.” He turned to leave and then stopped, glancing back at them over his shoulder.
“Tell Charles he has a lot to pay for.”
Cyclops - March 21, 2012 08:58 PM (GMT)
The man in front of them was not impressed by his standing up to him, instead berating him more for his foolish idealism. Scott was still young enough to be filled with this righteous belief that he knew everything, but was still lacking the self awareness that would let him understand that he didn't. The world was so complicated, it really was, and on the surface Magneto made sense, he made so much sense, but Scott, who didn't believe in God or in souls, had only himself to trust, his sense of morality. He, at this time of his life, did not remember that only a year before he was slowly being turned into a criminal by his foster guardian, he didn't remember the abuse and the desperation of owing that man his life, but he knew, in his heart, that he wasn't a person who could casually destroy those who were powerless. Maybe it was because he had been powerless for so long, an orphan, medically problematic, too tall and gawky, too shy and unsocial, unwanted, uncared for, and terrified. He'd been one of the forgotten who had only the shadows left by those who were more fortunate, and now, now that he had a power that could someday break the world if he lost control of it, Scott Christopher Summers was not going to lose it upon those who had no hope to stand against it.
He couldn't. What would his father have thought of him? His mother? They had given their lives to save him. Didn't that mean he had to be someone that would have made their sacrifice worth it?
He wasn't capable of verbalizing that, not then, and maybe not even when he grew into the leader he'd become. Few people realized that Scott lectured because his thoughts were more complex than he had words for, so he had to talk things out in an attempt to get others to understand.
Warren, on the other hand, had no problem finding the words and he snapped back at the frightening figure before them, even as the man dismissed them and left them alive, scared and unhappy, but alive.
Scott looked over at Warren from beneath too long bangs wet from the hydrant spray and said, uncharacteristically harshly, "Fuck that guy. We did what we had to do... we did good. Come on, let's get home though, or it'll be us that has something to answer for."
He smiled at Warren, a hesitant smile because Scott hadn't had a lot to smile about for a long time, and he said, as the two of them left the alley to scurry back to where they'd left the car, "Maybe we can find a gift for Jean in town. I don't think she'd want a fancy coat anyhow."