- Dark Themes
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- Disturbing Imagery
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
- Canon Divergence
- Challenge Response
- Episode Related
They get home sometime past midnight. The moon a glowing sphere in the sky. Scattering of puffy, purple clouds that were a grey, thick blanket hours before. The stars are bright and twinkling, tiny prickles of light among the dark. When they land, the leftover puddles from the storm, rain down into the hanger. It’s going to be a pain to clean them up but that’s not anyone’s problem right now. The problem sits in a corner furthest from the nose of the plane and still be inside the cockpit. Half-asleep, dark circles under their eyes, pale and shaky, the four of them are too quiet, too still.
Scott doesn’t turn as he lowers the ramp and the new kids climb inside to help guide everyone out. Hank takes Jean. From the Velocity, Logan and the professor follow. In no time at all everyone’s gone and he’s alone. Still sitting in the pilot’s chair. Still gripping the controls even after going through the post-flight checklist, engines cool and the hanger dark.
He’s soaked and the X-Wing cold. Goosebumps line up under his uniform. He should get down, shower and go to bed. There’s no school tomorrow, at least, but that doesn’t mean he can sleep in. There’s stuff to do. Not training. He doesn’t think anyone’s going to be up for it tomorrow. Or is it today. He checks the digital clock on the dashboard, 01:17. Today it is.
There’s a project he needs to finish. Another one he needs to get with his chem group for. He’s supposed to meet with Paul to check out that new Terminator movie. Taryn had called to see if he wanted to go out or something. Matthews asking about Jean at least twice before Scott stopped answering his cel.
Then there’s class notes and permission slips. The school trip Evan was supposed to go on. He has not idea how the professor is going to deal with the surveillance videos of what happened. He honestly doesn’t want to know what’s going to happen with the eye witnesses or all that property damage. Not to mention police reports and stolen artifacts.
There are too many moving pieces to be able to sweep it all aside easily or cleanly. Scott should care more, pay attention for when it’s his turn to make the call. But right now Scott doesn’t want to. He wants to be that thirteen year old kid again that first came to the school. The one who could pretend there was nothing beyond the walls of the mansion, the thick forest surrounding the property, the high walls keeping prying eyes away.
He plays with the idea of taking the X-Wing for a ride. A little rebellious part of himself wants to turn on the engines and take off for the day. Go somewhere far and isolated for a few hours. Maybe even visit Alex. Instead he pries his hands off the stick. Forces muscles that feel like jelly to move. Holds back a hiss as bruises make themselves known.
His shoulder is really tender. His left ankle is going to swell if he doesn’t ice it. His ribs and back are on fire from when he’d been thrown and slammed hard on those crates. He has a first aid kit in his room. Bandages to wrap his ribs and ankle. Ointment and some leftover pain pills from last time.
It’s dark beyond the X-Wing. Inky black without any windows or artificial lights to break up the monotone. He hesitates before taking a step off the jet. His hands clammy and his heart pounding in his chest. Which is stupid, it’s not like he hasn’t walked the lower levels enough times he can walk it blind. Has before. Back then it was partly because of training, partly because Scott hadn’t been able to open his eyes. Not without wrecking everything in sight for those first two years he’d been at the school.
Still, something made his skin crawl as he forces himself towards the door. Down the familiar corridors of the lower levels, to the elevator then to the second floor. Still it isn’t until he passes the staircase near his room that he freezes. His feet stick like some invisible force is holding them in place.
He breathes, once, twice before almost completely freaking out. His thoughts are about Mesmero and what he did to Jean, to Kurt and Kitty and Evan. Is he back? Is he here for Scott this time? For someone else? Everyone is either exhausted or asleep. The professor recovering from their confrontation, Jean shaky and not okay. If he is back, this time there is no one that could stop him.
Scott waits. Heart in his throat, stomach rolling. Sweat rolling down his back. He waits for the now familiar slithery, razor sharp fingers to rip into his mind. Tear apart his defenses like they were paper and not walls that had taken years to build. Feel it reach down into the very base of himself and shatter it until there is only pebbles and dust left.
Scott wants to shout for help, for the professor, for anyone. He can’t. His mouth opens and nothing. So he focuses on every mental shielding he’s ever been taught. Every trick and tactic for none-telepaths that the professor had shown him. Had made sure Scott knew well enough just in case. Not to beat telepaths, but to slow them down, distract them long enough for help to arrive.
Before, with Jean, his guard was down. It was Jean. Scott never thought for a second that she would attack him. Ever use her powers like that. And she knew him. Knew his mind well enough that even if he’d been ready for it, Scott didn’t think he would had been able to even slow her down. This time, though, Scott is ready. Does what he should have done then. Triggers defenses and prepares others. Layers, mazes, the professor always said that he had an unnatural disciplined and organized mind for a non-psionic.
He waits for the pain. That horrible searing tearing as his mind is forced to shut down. He waits, braces for it. The memory of last time still painfully fresh. A minutes passes, two, three. Nothing. Cautiously, Scott peaks then blinks at the dark, empty hallway. The sliver of light from the windows overhead deepening shadows. He’s alone. Not that it meant anything for a telepath, but Scott doesn’t feel anything off in his mind. The headache he’s been nursing for two days spikes horribly, but other than that, there’s nothing else. Nothing more.
Scott looks around but there’s no one there. The only sounds the creaks and groans usual for an old house. Everyone is still asleep and black spots are starting to form in his eye-line. Right. Breathing would be a good thing about now. He takes a breath, then another. To calm the heck down. In and out, deep, expanding his diaphragm until it hurt, then release. Legs shaky, still a little lightheaded and cold. Very cold.
Finally he’s breathing okay. No longer feels like he’s going to pass out. And wouldn’t that had been a great way for everyone to wake up tomorrow, today, later today. To him, passed out in the middle of the hallway.
Forces himself to reach his room on legs that don’t want to hold him. Opens the door to his room, closes it. Leans against it until his head settles. He needs to get a grip. Mesmero is long gone. He got what he wanted and probably wouldn’t be back anytime soon. Jean, Kurt, Evan and Kitty are home and safe. Sleeping. Everyone is home and safe and probably sleeping. He should be in bed sleeping.
A creak and Scott’s heart almost leaps out of his chest like a xenomorph from the Alien movies. Stupid since it’s just another one of the school’s normal sounds. Still, before he changs out of his wet uniform, get his pjs on and goes to bed, he locks his door. It’s not something he’s done for a long time. Not since that first year at the school.
The door locked, a full moon shadowed by passing purple clouds, Scott lays on his bed. As hours pass, the sky lightens, the sun peeking through the horizon. He stares at the ceiling, at his windows, outside where the fir pines sway in a mild breeze.
Eyes gritty, adrenaline pumping in his veins, Scott stares and stares as the sun rises in the sky and the school slowly, almost gently comes alive. He lays in bed, as birds chirp outside, grips tightly at the covers as footsteps pound up and down the halls. He lays there, stares at the ceiling and doesn’t flinch every time a hint of a shadow passes by his door.