Title: Freak on a Leash
Author: Askani'daughter / Eruntalince (email@example.com)
Pairing/main characters: Angel/Cyclops
Summary: Introduction of Angel into movieverse. Cyclops finds an abused, angry Angel and brings him home. Cyclops and Angel form a fast friendship, which quickly develops into something more. But Cyclops and Angel's past comes back to haunt them... with a vengeance.
Disclaimer: The X-Men belong to both Marvel Comics and Twentieth Century Fox. If they were mine, the X-Women would be recast. *nods sagaciously*
Date: Feb 2002
Archive/distribution: Read. Want. Ask. Receive.
Warning: Slash, slightly au, angst, graphic male/male sex, drama, romance, violence, action, strong profanity, implied rape, and implied child abuse.
Notes: All characters introduced to movieverse by me are my own takes, not Singer's. Particularly the villains. If they come in later movies differently, oh well. Don't normally care for movieverse, but I got an idea, and it went well with movieverse. And sometimes, movieverse can be fun. 'Sides, I'm *not* happy until Scott's got the hook-up with Warren in every conceivable way. For the record, I completely disregard any information from the novel, mostly because I didn't read it, and don't want to. And thanks to Mara Greengrass for her French instructor idea for Warren!
~foreign language translated into English~
Freak on a Leash 1 - The Scarlet Trail
Something takes a part of me,
Something lost and never seen.
Everytime I start to believe,
Something's raped and taken from me... from me.
Life's always got to be messing with me. (You wanna see the light?)
Can't they chill and let me be free? (So do I.)
Can't I take away all this pain? (You wanna see the light?)
I try to every night, all in vain... in vain.
Sometimes I cannot take this place.
Sometimes it's my life I can't taste.
Sometimes I cannot feel my face.
You'll never see me fall from grace.
Something takes a part of me.
You and I were meant to be.
A cheap fuck for me to lay.
Something takes a part of me.
Feeling like a freak on a leash. (You wanna see the light?)
Feeling like I have no release. (So do I.)
How many times have I felt diseased? (You wanna see the light?)
Nothing in my life is free... is free.
- Lyrics to Freak on a Leash by Korn.
//I said I was sorry.//
Jean Grey shook her auburn head, trying desperately not to cry. The voice in her head refused to be silent. Standing beside her, her lover gave her a concerned look.
"Jean, are you okay?" Scott Summers asked. To most, he was better known as Cyclops, the young leader of the X-Men, a team of mutants both hated and feared by humanity. Naturally, they were humanity's saviors.
//Please don't hurt me anymore.//
"The mutant is broadcasting his thoughts. I can hear him. We have to help him now!" Jean gasped, hating the tear of sympathy that slipped out of her warm brown eyes.
"Point me in a direction," Cyclops sighed, his jaw working.
//I'll be good, I promise.//
"Over there, past the trees... Scott... There's someone *there*. *With* him," Jean choked, grasping the shoulder of her lover. It was amazing how strong someone so young could be. He put a hand on hers, glancing back at her.
"Want me to go alone?" he asked tenderly. Despite the age difference, Jean often felt Scott was older than her.
//I didn't mean to do it.//
"Just... go ahead of me. I'll only slow you down right now," Jean said, trying not to let the mutant's feelings overwhelm her and not succeeding. She couldn't get too close, she just couldn't...
Cyclops nodded, his handsome face impassive as he ran ahead of her, his hand already on his visor, ready for anything.
//No more. Please, god, I can't look anymore.//
He found the trail of blood halfway into the tree line, standing out starkly against the white snow. Cyclops blinked behind the visors that held back his uncontrollable optic beams. His running slowed and he became more and more cautious as he edged past the tree line and into a small clearing.
A woman lay in the middle of the clearing. Her chest was covered in blood, with a butcher's knife sticking out of it like a morbid fence post. Beside her was a bleeding angel, the source of the trail of blood. The angel wore nothing, his arms wrapped around his slender body, shivering from the cold. One wing was raised high, the other drooped onto the snow, broken and bleeding profusely. Feathers lined the clearing.
Cyclops approached the scene, half in shock. His black boot crunched on the snow, and the angel turned to him. Cyclops froze again, his mouth opening wordlessly.
"Help me..." the angel whispered, his golden hair hanging in his pale, beautiful face and the image of his frightened blue eyes burned into Scott's mind. From his delicate white throat was a spiked choke collar, with a metal chain leading off from it and into the dead woman's hands.
//Please help me.//
A glance downwards told Cyclops more than he wanted to know. Bruises and red abrasions lined the boy's abdomen leading into and past his golden pubic hair, cruel red cuts marking his genitals. A flower petal of scarlet lined his inner thighs, causing blood to trickle down his thigh, reminding Scott of when he was in the orphanage and a little girl who had been raped was brought in, bleeding and crying.
"What... what happened?" Cyclops asked as gently as he could, unsure of the exact events but the look in the angel's eyes prevented him from being angry. He needed to remain calm, now more than ever.
"I was bad. I... I just wanted her to stop. That's all. Please help me. She isn't moving anymore..." the angel said, and Scott's blood ran cold and it wasn't from the temperature.
//Why won't she wake up?//
"She...?" Cyclops echoed and he turned his face to look at the dead woman. She was ugly, and very masculine. Her hair was shoulder-length and black with a witch's streak. On the other side of her hawkish nose was a black eye patch. Something about the woman reminded Scott of a pirate.
"Callisto... She was hurting... She was hurting me. She had the knife and I was scared..." the angel choked, and his beauty etched into Scott's heart, a picture of marred, scarlet beauty.
"It's okay now... I'm here to help you," Scott soothed, horrified at the repulsive thoughts that the boy's words were bringing to his mind. Could this ugly woman possibly have been...?
//I want to go home...//
Scott drew closer to the angel, stepping over the dead woman's body, noting with disgust as he passed her that her clothes were half undone and her womanhood was exposed. She had been very aroused at the time of her death.
It was almost painful to be up close to someone as beautiful as the angel. He wasn't as young as Scott had thought he was at first, probably in his late teens, but he was still young. The wide-eyed look of terror in his crystal blue eyes reminded Scott of how Rogue looked when he first saw her. The angel looked up at Scott, his eyes pleading, terrified, guilty.
"I didn't kill her... did I?" the beautiful blond asked slowly, crystal tears escaping those crystal eyes...
//I didn't want to kill her... I only wanted her to stop.//
It was a complete role reversal. Cyclops didn't have to be a brilliant scientist like the Professor or Jean to figure out what had happened. The wounds on the angel's genitals told him everything. Scott winced in sympathy when he noticed tiny cuts on the boy's penis. And his abdomen.
Scott raised his eyes to the bleeding feathered appendage on the angel's back, noting that the woman must have been driving a knife into the soft, tender flesh. She had also ripped the boy's feathers out in places, leaving exposed reddened and torn flesh, bleeding slightly. The boy had to be in excruciating pain.
"C'mon, angel, we're going to get you out of here," Scott said gently, reaching out and touching the boy's delicate shoulder.
"Don't touch me!!" the angel screamed and with a strength that no human could ever possess, his good wing snapped around and flung Scott back into the tree line, causing the brunette's form to slide painfully against the snow-covered ground.
Jean helped him up, tears of pain that weren't hers pouring down her face. "Scott, please help him. My god, I can barely think straight... That woman... raped him... tortured him... Scott, I can't get any closer, or my head is going to explode," Jean sobbed, the angel's emotions overwhelming her.
Scott propped his girlfriend against a tree, concern etched across his features. He turned to the angel, noting that boy was curled up into an upright fetal position, sobbing like a baby. Cyclops swallowed, and steeled himself.
//No more touching!!//
Scott approached again, watching the youth's wings cautiously. "Hey, buddy, c'mon. I'm a friend. I'm not going to hurt you. I won't touch you if you don't want. Just please, please come. I want to help you. And I have friends that can help you..." Scott said in his softest, most tender voice, a voice normally reserved for children and intimate moments with Jean.
The angel turned his frightened gaze on Cyclops, studying the handsome man in front of him, taking the other man's measure.
"I don't want to go back to the sewers. I won't go back in there. I'm a *Worthington*. I don't belong in the sewer," he said strongly, and Scott noticed that despite the tears and the fear, that the boy had a stubborn streak in him.
"Well, Worthington, I can promise you I don't live in a sewer. But you have to come with me now," Cyclops said gently, offering a hand to the youth.
The boy was silent, and on his face was a mixture of pain, fear, and pure, outright anger now. "No! I won't go with you!! I won't be shoved off on some other sick freak, so you can fuck me and hurt me too!!! *I am not some freak on a leash!!!!*" he screamed, his face full of rage, and Cyclops was a convenient target.
Cyclops took a step back, just missing the swing of the angel's wing. The youth was enraged and was standing up, the look in his eyes telling Scott that all he wanted to do was take out his pain on the closest target.
"Sorry, kid, but you're coming with me whether you like it or not," Scott said stonily and adjusted his visor as he fell back on his ass into the bloody snow.
It was the lowest setting. But it was enough to blast the winged mutant several feet away, knocking the blond unconscious. Scott stood up, once again grateful his eyes emitted force beams, not energy beams. Energy beams would have cooked the boy where he stood. Force beams merely had the same effect on him as a baseball bat to the head.
Scott walked over and picked the boy up, gingerly trying to avoid damaging him any farther. The angel was very light. Jean still sat off in the distance, calming down now that the boy was unconscious, watching Scott with large, dark eyes.
"Jean, please tell the others we need a lift. I would really like to get the fuck out of here."
"I have telepathically calmed him, and eased the impact of his memories on his emotional state. If you hadn't retrieved him so quickly, he might have become psychotic or retreated into his mind where I could not reach him. As it is, he may still suffer from some post-traumatic stress, so I am prescribing some medication to help him deal with the anxiety and nightmares. Fortunately, we were able to repair most of the damage done to his body, but I doubt he'll be able to fly for a few weeks."
Cyclops stood beside Professor Xavier, viewing the angel's biology as shown in Jean's charts. He studied the skeletal structure, finding the added bones of the youth's wings fascinating. They were as strong as a bird of his size would be, able to knock grown men across rooms with little effort. While his bones were hollow and slightly more fragile than a normal human's, the angel's wings were extremely strong.
"Who is he, Professor?" Scott asked, feeling almost responsible for the angel, who had been under treatment now for three days.
"Warren Worthington III. Son of the owner of Worthington Industries, one of the richest and most affluent men in the world. Pampered and spoiled his whole life, I'm sure it came as a shock to him that once his father discovered his mutation, his father was willing to literally have him killed to protect their precious public image. No mutant sons for Warren Worthington II.
"The boy ran away, trying to escape his assassin. Or flew away is more accurate. But Callisto, the hired assassin, and a mutant herself, finally caught him. However, instead of simply killing him, she found it far more... satisfying... to take the boy to the sewers where she lived and use him for her own... pleasure. She was becoming increasingly more vicious every day with him.
"He tried to fly away again, and made it to the surface, in the forest where you found him. She caught up to him and started damaging his wings in revenge. He managed to wrestle her own knife from her hands, and plunged it into her heart, effectively killing her. However, the psychological damage of having actually killed someone, even his tormentor, has scarred him as deeply as the rapes and torture did. Warren is a very troubled young man, I'm afraid," the Professor explained, his blue-green eyes as troubled as Warren's surely were.
"Warren, eh? Sounds like a pansy name to me. Why the hell didn't he kill her to begin with?" Logan growled from the corner.
Scott whirled on the taller, older man. "You asshole! How could you say something like that after what happened to that poor kid?? What does his *name* have to do with anything??" the dark-haired man cried, anger oozing from his every pore. Wolverine's eyes widened slightly, surprised that Cyclops could actually get *angry*.
"Scott, ease up. He's as upset with the story as any of us, he just shows it differently. Making comments like that makes him feel better," Jean said, standing between them, sticking up for Logan in front of Scott. Again.
Scott worked his jaw and turned his face. "Just tell him to keep his mouth shut in front of the boy," he growled.
"Christ, Cyclops, how cruel do you think I am? I was just stating my damn opinion. And it's a valid question. Why didn't he kill her before?" Logan growled back, his nostrils flaring.
"She had him drugged. The drugs eventually wore off," the Professor explained simply. "Scott, since you made contact with the boy first, I think you should welcome him to the school, and explain about us to him. Being around you will make him more comfortable when he wakes up. And I know you will make him feel at home," the Professor continued, a fatherly smile on his face.
Scott snorted. Translation: You're the only one I know won't freak out about this, Scott, so you'll deal with this rather nasty little problem for me, won't you? There's a good little boy scout.
"Fine. I'll head down to the med lab," Scott sighed, and left, his shoulders hunched, shooting Jean a dark look behind his visors as he passed by her.
She sighed, turning to the Professor when he left.
"Are you sure that's wise, Professor? Warren is going to attach himself to Scott like a barnacle on a ship," Jean said with a frown.
"I know, but of all of us, Scott is the most likely to help Warren deal with his situation. Scott's a very strong young man. And a good, strong, male role model will be good for Warren, I think," Professor X said seriously, steepling his hands.
"But, Professor, Warren's-"
"I know, Jean. And Scott will be able to deal with that, too."
Warren Worthington III's wing was bandaged up expertly, his wings lying to either side of him on a very wide cot. The wounds on his body were almost completely gone. Cyclops approached the boy slowly, knowing the Professor would soon psychically awaken the youth.
Warren was startling in his beauty, particularly when he was asleep. Scott had never seen anyone that looked so perfect. His beauty transcended gender. You could be the most heterosexual guy in the world, and find yourself attracted to the androgynous glory that was the angel before Scott.
Angel. It was as good a name as any.
Golden eyelashes fluttered, and Scott realized that the term "blond" did no justice for Warren at all. His hair was golden. Literally.
Crystal blue eyes blinked, and the sculpted, glorious face turned to look at Cyclops, burning into the handsome man across from him. He moved his mouth, but only a small croak escaped. He'd been unconscious and living off an IV since he got to the mansion. He tried to sit up, but couldn't quite manage it.
"Take it easy, Angel. You've been out of it for a while. Welcome to Xavier's School for the Gifted," Scott smiled easily. He would have offered to help Warren sit up, but he still remembered painfully being knocked around by those wings.
"The fuck...?" Warren finally croaked, his glorious voice cracking with dryness.
"You're in Xavier's School for the Gifted. A school to train and help mutants that have no other place to turn. I'm Cyclops," Scott said calmly.
"Cyclops? What, did your parents not like you or something?" Warren spat. He might not be borderline psychotic anymore, thanks to Xavier's tinkering, but he still remembered everything. The fear was gone, but it left an ache of pain and a throb of anger inside him.
"Actually, my parents' named me Scott. Scott Summers. They died in a plane crash when I was ten, along with my little brother. When my powers developed, Professor Charles Xavier, founder of this school, took me in like I was his own, and taught me to use my powers to help mankind. I'm the leader of the X-Men. We try to help everyone accept mutants, and fight any bad guys who get in our way," Cyclops said, letting Angel's anger slide off of him.
"Jesus Christ, I'm trapped in a bad issue of the Justice League. Next thing you'll be telling me is that you have to leave because someone activated the X-signal," Warren snarled sarcastically, halfway sitting up and wincing in pain.
Scott sighed. "The Professor found a mutant in distress telpathically, and he sent me and Jean, another one of the X-Men, to go find you. We brought you back here, hoping you would like to stay here, and be part of the student body at our school. I know you're hurting, Warren, but -"
"Shut the fuck up!! How the fuck would *you* know how I feel?? I'm not some freak on a leash!! I'm not going to be tied and chained up here because you told me to!!" Warren yelled angrily, sitting all the way up and turning the most intense glare on Scott that the leader of the X-Men had ever seen.
Scott sighed and stood up. "Of course, staying here is your choice. But in case you missed it, people hate mutants out there. And you're just like us. A mutant. We're all freaks on a leash, Warren Worthington. Sorry you have to leave, but it's your call. As for knowing how you feel, well watching your entire family die in a plane crash leaving you the only survivor, and then living in foster homes where they beat you for the slightest mistake is not exactly what I call a dream childhood," Scott said evenly, handing Warren some clothes.
Warren worked his jaw, looking near tears, but the angry youth forcibly restrained his tears. "I'm sorry," he said almost timidly, and the fear was back in his eyes. He dressed slowly, not bothering to hide his nudity from Scott.
"It's okay. You're not responsible. For any of this," Scott said seriously. Warren looked into the older man's face, looking like a scared, lost little boy.
"I want to see your eyes," the boy said suddenly, reaching up and trying to pull Cyclops' shades off. Cyclops quickly backpedaled, slapping Warren's hand away.
"NO!! Don't touch my eyes!! It'll kill you!" Cyclops cried out in alarm.
Warren withdrew on the bed, yelping slightly at the wounds on his wing from the quick movement. Cyclops swallowed, realizing he could have just pushed Warren away entirely, right when he was about to draw him in.
"I have optic beams. Force beams that emit from my eyes, and pretty much blast away anything I look at. I can't control them. If you had taken my shades off, I might have killed you. Never touch them, unless you want to die, Warren," Scott warned, speaking as gently as he could.
Warren stared at him warily for a few minutes before speaking again, his voice plaintive. He was almost an adult, but something about him seemed very childish. "You scared me," he pouted.
"I'm sorry, I didn't want to hurt you."
Warren stared at him for a while again, apparently fascinated by Scott's face. "I'm hungry," he suddenly said, sounding younger than he really was.
Cyclops blinked. "Well, follow me to the kitchen, and we'll work on getting you some grub," he said with a smile.
"Why is everyone staring at me?" Warren asked peevishly, walking very closely beside Scott. His arms were wrapped around himself protectively.
Scott shooed away Jubilee and Kitty, who were practically drooling over Warren. //Because you look like a sex god?// "You're the new kid. Everyone's curious," Scott said easily, ushering Warren into the kitchen and pointedly closing the door in a leering Jubilee's face.
"There's a lot of teenagers here," Warren remarked sourly, his full lips almost tugged into a pout.
"About a dozen. I'm sure you'll make plenty of friends if you want to stay," Scott shrugged, pulling out sandwich fixings from the fridge, then thinking better of it and pulling out some soup. Warren's stomach would be weak after all that time on the IV.
"I hate teenagers. Especially girls. All they do is gawk at me like idiots," Warren said angrily.
The comment startled Cyclops. He would have thought a rich, pampered boy like Warren would have enjoyed all the attention. But then again, after all that had happened to him, he must be very different from the boy he'd been. Cyclops gave him a look of sympathy and a small cup of water.
"Well, it's only natural. You're quite attractive, Warren," Scott offered. //Actually, you're not just attractive, you're the fucking reincarnation of the Greek God Apollo.// "Drink your water slowly, or you'll choke."
Warren did as he was told, but still choked. He managed to get some down, and looked up at Cyclops, that strange hurt-angry look on his face. "Women are so useless. If I wasn't so damn 'attractive', then Callisto wouldn't have..." Warren trailed off angrily and stared down at his glass of water.
Cyclops sighed and braved a sympathetic touch to Warren's shoulder. "Warren, don't hate women just for what one sick example of them did to you. What she did was wrong. And it wasn't your fault. None of those girls out there would even contemplate doing any of that to you," Scott said softly.
Warren looked up at him, and a tear escaped his electric blue eyes. "You know...?" he asked, sounding wounded.
Scott sighed, realizing that Warren probably didn't want anyone to know what he'd been through. "I found you... in the snow... naked and bleeding... by Callisto's body. You were erratic and dangerous. I knocked you unconscious and brought you back here. Professor Xavier is a telepath, and he mentally helped you regain your sanity while you were asleep. He had to. And to do that, he had to see inside your head, peer into your memories. During the debriefing about you, it was necessary that he inform the X-Men team about your background and your mutant abilities, so we could help you better. And as leader, I need to know what I can about all my teammates, students, or whatever it is you're going to be," he explained.
Warren's eyes were narrowed to slits and his hands shook in anger. "So some fucking mindreader went prowling around inside my head and then told a whole *team* of freaks about... about what happened to me??" he asked, his voice cracking as it rose.
"It was necessary for us to-"
"Bullshit. Fuck you."
"He was only trying to help. He had to give the X-men the information necessary to work with you. And the only ones who know are me, who already knew, Jean, who's the doctor, not to mention a telepath, and already knew. Ororo, who is the sub-commander, also needed to know. I admit Logan might not have needed to know, but he is part of the X-Men, regardless of my personal feelings. We're not going to betray your trust. And we all know it's not your fault."
"Thanks, Mr. Rogers, no really. I feel so much better knowing that it's not my fault. Do you think I'm some fucking woman, who blames herself and cries whenever people get close to her or something??" he asked, near hysterical. Warren was standing up, his wings stretching out, his eyes filled with resentment.
"Warren. I'm sorry it happened, but none of us are going to coddle you. Fuck, we've *all* had it rough. Every last one of us. We could exchange sob stories all night, if you like," Scott said calmly, gripping Warren's wrist and forcing him to sit back down.
Scott's hand introduced reality back to Warren and he slowly calmed, still looking upset. "I didn't want anyone to know..." he moaned after a while.
"I'm sorry, but we do. It's not something we're going to hold against you, or pity you anymore than anyone else here. We've all gotten the shaft in life. It's why we're here," Scott said firmly.
Warren was silent for a while, his face covered by his hands. Scott retreated to make the soup. Eventually Warren uncovered his face, and looked over at Scott, his eyes red from crying. "It's done, but it still pisses me off. And I'll tell this Professor person that, too," he said plainly.
"Fair enough. I assume you like angel hair pasta in your soup?" Scott asked, trying to lighten the mood.
Warren blinked. "I don't care. Was that supposed to be a joke?" he asked sourly.
"Yes, I try humor once a month, so I don't get rusty. I'll go ahead and use it, since *I* like it," Scott replied, blithely starting the soup. He donned the first apron he could find.
"Nice apron. Your boyfriend buy it for you?" Warren asked dryly, a golden eyebrow arching.
Scott blinked and looked down at the apron he had grabbed. It was pink and had ruffles on it. He grinned slowly, flashing white teeth at Warren. "No, my girlfriend bought it for me. She likes men in pink. Hey, be glad I'm still wearing clothes. I usually cook naked, but since you're a prospective student, I didn't think it was appropriate. I always put my underwear on for the students," Scott said cheerfully, making a joke out of it all. Lord only knew Warren needed a few laughs.
"Oh, please, don't let me stand in your way. Cook naked if you so desire. But if I find any short, curly hairs in my soup, I sue this whole establishment for all it's worth," Warren snorted, actually cracking a small smile.
Cyclops carefully bent down and pulled off his loafers, placing them to the side. "I always feel naked without my shoes on, so there you go," he smiled and returned to the stove. Warren snickered.
"So, how old are you, anyway?" Warren asked lightly.
"Twenty-four, almost twenty-five, why?"
"How old are you?"
"You look younger."
"You look older."
"So I guess most of those kids out there are a little young for you," Scott smiled gently, placing the bowl of soup in front of Warren when it was done.
The blond beauty began delicately sipping at his soup, eating slowly to protect his stomach. "Guess so," he shrugged. "I don't think I need to go back to high school. I already have my MBA. Through Harvard."
"Since we're showing off and all, I have a masters degree in mechanics, a degree in mathematics, and psychology. I have military training on both strategy and tactics, and I'm also a trained pilot."
"Anybody ever tell you what a dick you are?" Warren asked dryly, obviously unhappy at being shown up. And he thought having an MBA at twenty-one was good.
Scott actually grinned. "Especially lately."
"Hmph," was all Warren said.
"So how did you hide your wings from your father for so long?" Scott asked. Warren's wings had to have grown in when he was thirteen or fourteen, but here he was already in his twenties.
"I had a harness for them. Built it myself with a bunch of belts. I spent most of my life in a boarding school. I saw my father like maybe once or twice a year. He never would have noticed if he hadn't burst in on me while I was dressing. How did you know that, anyway? More helpful information from this Professor character?" Warren asked bitterly between elegant sips of his soup. Scott felt instantly uncouth while shoveling spoonfuls of it into his mouth.
"Well, yes. He had to enter your mind in order to get you to control your emotions, Warren. Psychic balancing, he calls it. I understand where you're coming from, though, I really do. I'm sorry, but I stand by the Professor on this one. And it won't go any farther, you have my word. We're only here to help you any way we can."
"How fucking charitable of you."
"Warren, you're going to need help now. What happened is not going to go away, and the Professor can help you. There's a lot of bad stuff going on, and we're trying to make it better. We need all the help we can get," Scott said gently.
Warren stared at his hands. "So I'm supposed to hang out with a bunch of kiddies, so I can help you save a fucking world that would just as soon nail me to a cross?" he asked.
"That's the general idea. Though it'd be odd for someone your age to matriculate as a student," Scott shrugged.
"I haven't said anything about staying here, yet. But *if* I stayed, what would you do with me?" Warren asked casually, though Scott noticed the slight tremor in the young man's hand.
"You might join the X-Men, if you want. You'd need some serious training, but you're already well-educated, and an adult, to boot. You could teach business to all the kids, a subject we don't normally cover. For the ones who want to go out into the real world, it'd be damn useful. You'd be a valuable asset to the team, too. We don't have any X-Men who can really fly. Storm can ride the winds for short periods of time, and Jean can levitate for short periods of time, but none of us can really fly," Scott offered.
"Storm is the second-in-command. She has powers to control weather. Jean is a telepathic telekinetic. She's also my girlfriend."
Warren's spoon dropped into the bowl. "Girlfriend...? Right, of course. A nice-looking guy like yourself wouldn't be single for long," Warren frowned, picking up his spoon and not daring to look up.
"Don't feel so nice-looking around you. You could be bad for my ego. Hanging around you'll give me a complex or something," Scott grinned, wondering why Warren reacted like that about him having a girlfriend.
"Tell you what. Stop wearing turtlenecks and I can almost promise you that you won't develop a complex. Didn't anyone tell you that turtlenecks are out of vogue?" Warren smiled.
"Sorry, I don't much keep up with those sort of things. Actually, I get cold easily, so I wear turtlenecks," Scott shrugged.
"Your girlfriend seems to be negligent. She should really be doing a better job of keeping you warm," Warren said blithely, not daring to meet Scott's eyes.
Scott blinked. If he didn't know better... "Well, if you want, Warren, I can show you around, introduce you to the other X-Men. Let you make your decision. You're welcome to stay here until you do," Scott sighed.
"I'd like that, Scott."
When they were done eating, Scott gave Warren the grand tour, showing him the entire school, from Danger Room to attic. The entire time, Warren avoided touching anyone, and often had his arms and wings wrapped around himself, like a shield.
Jokes, snide comments, and borderline come-ons aside, Scott knew that Warren was far from okay. Half the time he would zone out, his face taking on the frightened child look. He was trying desperately to act normal, but Warren couldn't hide the fact that he was still in pain over what happened to him. And probably would be for the rest of his life.
Scott scowled when he saw Jean and Logan come around one of the corners. They were always *together*. Jean smiled warmly at Warren, and Logan, as always, watched the boy with the same barely concealed disgust he looked at Cyclops with.
Warren just wrapped his arms and wings tighter about himself when Jean offered a hand to him, looking at her like you would look at a very hungry tiger. She quickly withdrew her hand, understanding that he didn't want to be touched, much less by a woman.
"Warren, this is Dr. Jean Grey, my girlfriend. She can move things with her mind, and is slowly developing her telepathic powers. She's basically an empath for the moment," Scott said quickly, introducing Jean before things got tense.
"Doctor? Girlfriend? She's in her *thirties*!" Warren blinked.
Scott bristled. He hated it when people brought up the fact that Jean was so much older than he was. "Age doesn't mean anything, last I checked. And Jean is the one who patched you up and healed you," he sighed.
"Whatever. Just tell her not to touch me," Warren said darkly, directing some of his venom over Callisto onto Jean. She took a step back, sensing his anger.
This was not going well.
"This is Wolverine, our newest X-Man. I think. He has adamantium claws and an ability to heal himself super-fast," Scott said evenly, trying to regain control of the situation.
Logan watched the blond coolly, bringing a cigarette to his lips and puffing the smoke outwards. He was sizing Warren up, but to his credit, he said nothing about Warren's outbursts. Scott was grateful, because if Logan said something rude, Scott would be sorely tempted to hurt him for it.
"Wolverine. A small, nasty little badger. Well, you're not small, but you certainly look nasty. Maybe you're small in length, not height?" Warren asked coolly, not taking well to the way Logan was looking at him.
Jean's eyes widened, and Scott began coughing loudly, trying not to laugh. He did not like Logan at all. Logan's eyes narrowed and he literally growled.
"Well, from what I heard, pansy little boys named Warren are usually gay. But hey, what's in a name?" Logan asked nastily. Scott looked up and glared at him. Now was not the time for him to be insulting Warren.
"Well, I *am* actually gay, so names must mean something. Hope those socks in your pants are clean," Warren spat. "Let's go, Scott."
Scott blinked behind his glasses, watching Warren flounce away, complete with nose in the air. "See ya later, Jean. You, too, small stuff," Scott said, unable to resist.
Logan growled and made a lunge at Scott, but Jean held him back. Scott just grinned, almost impishly, and followed Warren down another hallway.
Warren was leaning against a wall, looking thoroughly unhappy. Scott walked up next to him.
"Hey, are you alright?" he asked gently.
"I'm not a fucking piece of china. I'm fine. I'm not going to crack at every little insult I ever receive," Warren snarled, not looking at Scott.
"I know. I'm sorry, that guy's just an asshole. I couldn't stand him from the moment we first met. Just avoid him," Scott advised. Scott wasn't going to react to Warren's outburst on his sexual preference, because it really wasn't any of his business. He just hoped that Warren wouldn't think Scott was afraid of it.
"Seems a little close to your girlfriend there. Is he fucking her?" Warren asked coolly, looking up at Scott. Scott was a few inches taller than he was.
Scott worked his jaw. "I don't know," he admitted, having his own suspicions about Jean and Logan.
"I'm sorry. She seems nice. For a woman. A little dull for my tastes, however," Warren shrugged.
"Well, you didn't react too well to her."
"That had nothing to do with her."
Scott had nothing to say to that, so he instead just patted Warren on the shoulder.
Warren was still considering Scott. "If I stayed, and became an X-Man... Would you... Could we... be friends?" Warren asked. His voice was soft, childish again. Scott realized that Warren probably had never asked for a friend before.
"Sure, we could be friends. I'd like that. I'm not exactly a social butterfly, though," Scott shrugged, smiling easily. Warren kept alternating from arrogant to desperate. It kept him off balance.
"Well, I don't think I am anymore, so it doesn't matter. One thing, though?"
"If you're going to hang out with me, lose the turtlenecks."
Scott grinned. "What do I do if I get cold?" he asked.
"Put on a jacket."
"So does this mean you're joining the X-Men?"
"Why the hell not? What else am I going to do? Join the Justice League? Just please tell me we don't respond to X-Signals," Warren smiled weakly.
"Not at all. Mostly just to the Professor's sharp mental commands. Want to see the Blackbird?" Scott grinned.
"Sure. What's a Blackbird? Another X-Man?"
"Nope, it's our jet plane, with advanced technology. You'll like it."
"We have a jet plane, too? Christ. Might as well go see it."
"To the X-Mobile, Angel!" Scott cheered with a goofy grin. He always acted uptight and in control of everything. Especially around the other X-Men, who were all older than he was and critical of his behavior. It was nice to be with someone younger, someone who didn't expect him to be a humorless stick in the mud.
And it was even nicer to finally hear Warren's golden laughter echo with his down the hallway as they headed downstairs to see the Blackbird.
He was very rich. He was filthy rich. And his name was Cameron Hodge.
"What do you mean the little prick's still alive?" Cameron exploded, nearly knocking off his glasses in his rage.
"Exactly what I said, Master Hodge. Warren Worthington III is still alive. He escaped the assassin his father sent after him. He was picked up by the X-Men, from what my sources tell me," Domino told him coolly, a smile on her cold black lips.
"The X-Men? That band of mutant freaks that got involved with the whole Magneto issue?" Cameron asked coolly, regaining his composure.
"The very same. We're researching their base of operations. I've got very good leads, and connections leading me to believe that Dr. Grey, renowned biologist, is involved with them," Domino said evenly. She was the picture of gothic beauty. Pale white skin, dark black hair and eyes. She had an odd diamond tattoo over left eye, and wore a simple black cat suit, accentuating her slender figure.
"Do you know... Do you know that I arranged his discovery, Domino? I sent his father into his room, thinking Warren was having an emergency. The moment I found out he was a mutant, I knew I had to get rid of him. I never even really liked him to begin with. I just used him for his money. Now *I'm* his father's principal heir to the vast Worthington fortune. But if he shows up and makes a claim... Then not only am I done for, but so is his father. It is imperative that he dies," Hodge said darkly, steepling his hands in front of his handsome face. A face modeled with plastic surgery to vaguely resemble Warren Worthington III.
"I live to serve. As long as the cash is good, and in vast amounts, of course," Domino smirked.
"Don't worry, Domino, you'll be well-paid, as always," Cameron smiled. He had dyed his dark hair blonde, but missed the eyebrows.
"I'm sure I will. Callisto is dead, so I may have to get personally involved. I can easily assemble a strike team, for a slightly higher fee," Domino smiled cruelly.
"Slightly, my ass, Domino. I know how you charge. Do what you need to do, though. I want Warren to suffer, and then die."
"Admit it, Master Hodge, you just want him dead because you're jealous of him."
"I don't think you could afford that, too," the pale assassin smiled unpleasantly and placed a hand on her hip.
"Funny. Now get to work," Cameron growled.
"Same account number. Tack on two extra zeroes to what I charged you for Callisto."
"Fine, fine. Now tell me, Domino... Do you think I would look good with blue contacts?"
Domino blinked, taking in the wiry youth before him. Dyed blonde hair, altered face, crisp business suits. Molding himself to look just like the man he was trying to kill.
"Of course you would," Domino said smoothly and turned out of the office, preparing for another killing spree. She enjoyed those.
For the right price, Domino would slit her own mother's throat with a smile on her face.
Go on to Part2