- Dark Themes
- Death - Major Character
- Death - Minor Character
- Discussion - Murder
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- Discussion - Torture
- Disturbing Imagery
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Violence - Graphic
- Alternate Universe
- Canon Divergence
- Challenge Response
- Episode Related
He left and it was perfect. Scott needed him to be gone. Away. From him, from Jake, from where they’d dumped the kid. Out of the way. Out of sight, out of mind. Jake’s blood still on his jumpsuit. They hadn’t even let him change after. After. Hadn’t let him wipe off the blood. It was a deep, dark stain that made the entire front stiff.
Their section was quiet. Empty now aside from him. It wouldn’t stay that way. The warden had made that perfectly clear. Mutant criminals needed mutant prisons. Scott shifted on his bunk. His muscles overly sensitive from the shock collar. They spasmed, his hands shook, his legs. He rubbed at them to try and stave them off. Ease some of the pain. It didn’t. Like it hadn’t that first time. Or the second, or the one after that.
It was his new status quo.
He tried closing his eyes, sleep at least would help pass the time. It didn’t help. Every time there was the after imagine of Jake, stupid, stupid kid, getting shanked for no other reason than what he was. The burning school bus. Kids, depowered and no longer a viable threat to anyone. Of the thousands of corpses around the world after Wanda and her daddy-issues had their little tantrum. The mass graves on the moon from Weapon X’s Neverland project. The incomprehensible destruction of Genosha and the millions of bodies and body parts strewn about the island, in the waters surrounding it, buried miles deep underneath it. Some washing up weeks, months later on distant coasts.
It played like a movie reel when he let his guard down. A reminder, a warning. And after Genosha, he really should have known better than to create something like Utopia. Temporary. Everything was meant to be temporary. A stopping point toward something else. A fort, citadel, bulwark, until. Until they found a way to restore their people. A better solution to the ever present threat of extinction.
Scott counted the cracks on the ceiling. Shifted when a sharp, piercing burn reminded him of his dislocated shoulder, popped back into place against the nearest wall. Closed his eyes, saw Emma, notEmma, the creature with her face grinning madness at the world. Opened his eyes, shifted again as another spasm raked from shoulder to writs. Grit teeth against the pain.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Then a break in the monotone.
The grinding of a metal bars sliding open. Footsteps. Clear, loud, confident and heavy. Four guards. Marked limp on one of them. This group he knew. Marked the passage of time by their friendly visits. He didn’t allow himself to tense even as he prepared for the inevitable. Another one of his new routines in his growing list. Then another footfall. Quiet, measured. Steps of a predator seeking prey. Familiar. Painfully familiar.
Well hello again, Logan. Scott though and fought back a grin. Too amused and not amused at all. His emotions were a strange, turbulent minefield after the Phoenix. Fierce and sharp enough to cut one moment, intangible and faint like the outline of an afterimage the next.
A moment later the door to his cell was opened. Scott stayed on the bed. Hands resting on his stomach, still as he could with the muscle cramps dancing from one shoulder to the other. He considered laying them across his chest in a parody of a dead body in burial. Mainly for the symbolism. He was going to die in this prison. Today, tomorrow, a week from now, a month, he would never leave this prison alive.
The guards retreated without their usual posturing and beatings. Logan came in, took a spot next to his sink to do his moody leaning. The bars slamming behind him reverberated throughout the cell, up the cot, through his skin and into to his bones. The muscles in his neck cramped. Scott didn’t react. He didn’t react to having Logan out of his line of sight either. Kept his attention of a particular set of cracks that looked like a manically grinning Hulk hugging a fluffy cloud. Or eating it. It could go either way.
Unlike last time, Logan didn’t say anything and Scott didn’t either. The silence heavy with anticipation. Scott closed his eyes and this time he was outside, on a beach somewhere. The day hot. Cloudless, with the sun bearing down hard. He was drinking something cool and very alcoholic. With a little umbrella and a kabob of fruit. Grilled fruit. The ocean waves foaming in the background. A woman dropped down behind him, massaging his shoulders. When he turned to look at her, her face was a gaping, distorted mesh of darkness.
Eyes open. A breath. Two. Right. Right. She wasn’t there. There was no one there anymore other than some specter of could-have-never-would-have-beens. He bit back a groan as something inside shivered under cracked ribs. Internal bleeding, maybe.
“You look like hell, Summers.” It was what Logan chose to open with. There was still an underlining of hostility in his tone, but it was softer, gentler. Closer to the Logan of before. Before Utopia, before M-day, before Jean’s death.
Scott’s fingers twitched on the crusted blood. It no longer gave off a metallic smell. Or maybe he just stopped noticing. Blood, like pain, was an old, intimate friend. He shifted in place, bit back a hiss as his body protested. It was going to be unbearable by tomorrow. If he lived that long. Logan might actually man-up and kill him. Or the guards, in their nightly routine, might break his cracked ribs, sending shards of bone like shrapnel through his lungs.
“The kid’s dead.” Logan stated, like Scott didn’t already know. Hadn’t been there and seen as the light went out of Jake’s eyes. Turned as Scott writhed, helpless on the floor as overzealous guards beat him. Eyes on Scott, his last breath as he bled to death while no one lifted a finger to try and save his life. “Stark wants to move you.”
Scott snorted, “Stark doesn’t have the power he thinks he has.” Not anymore. Neither did Rogers. They were all nothing more than government toadies and had been for a while now. The only people who didn’t get that were the Avengers themselves and Logan’s groupies. And his brother and his mutant lackeys.
Logan stepped away from the wall and closer to his cot. The cell was small, fifteen footsteps long, ten wide. Barely enough for Scott’s daily workouts. He stared down at Scott, eyes intense, arms crossed. “You going to do something stupid?”
This time Scott simply rolled his eyes, the gesture lost under the layers of thick ruby quartz lenses and suppression helmet. Not that it mattered since Logan knew him well enough to catch it anyway.
A deep, breathy sigh. Bracing himself, “Look, Summers,” Logan started, stopped, uncrossed his arms, ran his hand through his hair. He walked over to the bars and for one hopeful/disappointing moment, Scott though he would call over the guards and leave. News delivered. Job accomplished. Instead he walked back to lean against the wall, staring at a spot over Scott’s cot. “The kid’s dead and that’s not on you.”
Scott watched out of the corner of his eye as Logan left his place and paced. From his toilet to the stained sink and back again. Five steps each way. Once he got frustrated with that, he slammed himself back against the wall, arms crossed like a petulant child. Scott played with the fabric of his jumpsuit. There was a rising pressure in the back of his neck that he knew from experience would crawl up and wrap around his head like a band.
Another painful spasm bit into his back. He gritted his teeth to stop from making a sound. “There’s been talk about keeping you at Avengers’ Tower.”
“Avengers’ Tower?” He couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, except possibly the school that could be so much worse. “No thanks.” Not like he had a say or ever would again but it was the principle of the thing.
“Not SHIELD?” And wasn’t that interesting. Hill hated his guts and there were plenty of factions that would love to get their hands on even a sliver of the intel inside his head. “I’m surprised they’re not dueling for the pleasure.”
The muscles in Logan’s arms contracted, his face set in a blank look and Scott felt his world turn on its axis for the nth time just that year. Stomach in throat, he replayed what he knew of SHIELD’s power players post Fury. Their detention facilities, associates and outside “consultants”.
Logan knew him too well because he understood where Scott’s mind went, what he was thinking. He almost wanted Logan to deny it. Instead he looked away, back to the bars of the cell, tension rolling out of his body, leaving him practically limp against the wall.
Scott’s hands dropped to his sides. The spams in his back shook him enough to be visible. No Logan clearly noticed. “Is she dead?”
Logan shook his head, ran another hand through his hair. If he kept that up he was going to end up looking like a hedgehog. “Don’t know.” There was a ratting outside his block. The wing had been mostly deserted in preparation to be repurposed to hold mutants prisoners. No doubt it was something that was being done in other private prisons throughout the US. Maybe even the world. “Hill says she’s looking into it. So far Emma ain’t where she’s supposed to be.”
Not dead, officially at least. No body. Scott wasn’t holding on to any hope. The metallic dust he’d collected from the workshop was still hidden in his room. He should had used it days ago. It didn’t matter. Scott had a purpose here. Far beyond his illegal imprisonment.
He closed his eyes and this time it was Emma, manacled to a medical table, cut into ribbons, head cracked open. “She’s dead.” Scott touched his side, cracked, not broken. A push would solve that problem and no one would know. Dead by morning. Dead at the hands of his guards. Or, Scott eyed Logan, no, he’d already played this hand and Logan would be ready this time.
There were the guards. He didn’t know when but it was inevitable that they would come for their daily entertainment. The question was, did he need to be proactive or would the guards take care of that for him too. Before the thought finished in his head he heard the slamming of doors. Footsteps marching towards him. A funeral progression, he almost smiled. Sometimes he didn’t need to do a damn thing for things to go according to plan.
“Listen, Slim,” Then his cell was being opened and his favorite team of guards waited there. Perfect timing. Dead man laying, he almost smiled.
“Time’s up.” Head guard barked.
Logan bristled. Scott almost expected Logan to pull-out the claws but Logan was an Avenger now, and that apparently meant better self-control. “Captain America called your warden. I’m supposed to have a couple of hours.”
“The warden is the one that sent us. He says your time’s up and that means your time is up.” The idiot guard had the gal to poke Logan’s chest. Logan snarled but didn’t feed it to him. He looked back at Scott, something passing over his face that Scott understood too well.
“I’ll be back tomorrow.” The don’t do anything stupid hung between them.
This time Scott did smirk. “See around, Logan.” Scott said, low enough for only Logan’s super hearing to pick up and then Logan was gone. Scott was left alone with his guards and they looked very happy to see him. He touched his fingers to Jake’s blood. To his cracked ribs and kept the smirk firmly on the inside. Tonight Scott would finish what he started and if everything went according to plan, Scott wouldn’t be seeing anyone tomorrow or ever again.