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L. Burke


DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Marvel, and are
used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

            There is a certain breed of man you can define by the scars they carry.   You’ve probably seen them everyday.  It’s the soldier, the police officer or the fire fighter.  I always called them the dragon slayer breed.  They are the crusader types.  These are the type of men that carry who they are in the battle scars they carry.   My husband’s one.  Give him a sword, a shield, and a chance to fight the good fight.  He’ll leap at it.  Scott laughed at me when I compare him to a knight in shinning armor.  He called it a silly romantic notion, brought on by reading too many fairy tales in my youth.

Maybe Scott is right.   It is a silly romantic notion, picturing knights in shining armor.  I just couldn’t come up with a better description for this particular breed.  I grew up around them.  I didn’t realize how rare they were until I spent some time out in the real world.  They have a knack for being very bright life forces wrapped in flesh.  If you could look at them with psychic senses they look like stars.  I remember the first time I looked at Scott with my psychic senses, he was blinding.  It was looking opened eyed in to the sun.  Those very bright life forces are not always a good thing.  Combined their bright life forces with an unusually high vitality and they tend to charge in to places where the warrior archangels would book the hell out of to call for reinforcements.

When I run my hands through Scott’s hair.  I’m reminded of the first thing that started forging him.  The first scar that defines him, the skull fracture scars.  Hank once told me in confidence that Scott shouldn’t have survived that fall, much less be a fully functional human being.  It left him a complete blank slate, raw iron for Sinister’s forge. The raw iron that Sinister was looking for was in Scott’s from the very beginning.  Sinister took that raw iron and tried to burn away ‘unnecessary’ elements like compassion, and humanity. 

Sinister burned away everything that made that iron soft and left a cold steel will in its wake. There are times I’m very thankful for what Sinister did.  I don’t know if Scott would have survived without that steel.  That steel has saved our lives more than once by refusing to let us give up on a situation or ourselves.   It’s that same steel that allowed him to take the first shot at Phoenix to save the universe.  It’s that same steel that gives him the strength to stand along and make the tough command decisions.

Wills of steel are another mark of the dragon slayer breed.  Though some of them hide it under softer more deceptive material.  Warren hides the steel under his charm.  Hank hides it under a rather mellow exterior.  Bobby hides it behind his slacker front.  Scott hides his behind his rather shy, soft-spoken mask.    But when they set their minds to doing something.   Get out of their way.  You’re not going to talk them out of it. 

 I don’t think there’s a person alive that could.  These men can give ‘determined’ a new meaning.  They have a knack for biting off more than they can chew, chewing it up, spitting it out and coming back for seconds or thirds.  Most times all you can do is throw your hands up in disgust and follow them in with the Medical kits.  They never give up regardless of the odds.  They hate to lose and they are the worst losers you will ever meet.  They are the type of men, if the dragon squashes them.  They come running back for another round with a larger sword.

Scott wears the scars from his battles with Jack all over him.  He doesn’t talk about Jack.  He refuses to talk about Jack.  From Jack, Scott gained a very deep understanding of what it’s like to be beaten down, by the streets, or by abuse.  I think that’s why Scott connected with the kids we rescued so well.  He didn’t judge them for what they had to do to survive.  Scott has been there.  His time on the streets gave Scott a very deep empathy towards people.  I might just see a drunk passed out on the streets.  Scott will wonder about the paths and choices that got him there. 

            Scott’s gathered a few more scars from his years of being an X-man.  I won’t deny it.   There’s the one on his calf from the time that he slit it open jumping dirt bikes with Bobby one afternoon.  He told me with that lopsided grin of his that he ‘miscalculated’.  There’s another from a time Warren grabbed him too hard and broke his arm in training.   There’s the scar from where Mastermind put a bullet in his upper arm.  On the other side there’s one his shoulder from where an Acolyte put a bullet through him.  Maddie added a few more to his back when Scott took that killing blast that was meant for Nate.  There’s of course the one that runs down his chest that we put there cutting the bomb out of him.  Scott’s gathered his share of scars as a X-man.

            There are times I miss Slym Dayspring’s body.  Scott gathered his share of scars on that body too.  Some of them were battle wounds from raids, but those aren’t the ones I miss.  There’s one where Scott was carving a chess set for Nate's birthday.  I said something Scott found remarkably funny.  Scott managed to not only make the chess piece a little lopsided but managed to slice his finger open laughing about it.  I miss the laugh lines the most.   With his glasses or his visor on the only thing you can see is the lines that worry has carved in his face.  With Slym I saw the whole package.  The worry lines, the lines that sarcastic raise of the eyebrow carved in his forehead over time, the laugh lines.

I miss those laugh lines the most.  They were scars from very different battles.  Like the time Scott was showing Nate the basic of rockets and artillery and the two of them sent a toy rocket through my roof.  Another time Scott tried to cook me a roast for our anniversary one year.  I walked in to smoldering curtains and a big blackened spot on our kitchen wall.  Scott’s only response was ‘Surprise Sweetheart’.  

There was of course my favorite time when Scott showed Nate the basics of Roman engineering and Nate got the brilliant idea to reroute the storm drains in to our water storage unit.  The first big rain storm we got, I was wading through my house in six inches of water, screaming at both of them.  My husband found the whole situation so delightfully funny he was holding his sides with tears running down his face.   I ended up chasing Scott around the house trying to brain him with my broom.  All the while he was singing the old Johnny Cash tune "How's High The Water Ma".  There were times I swore I was raising two little boys.  The Dayspring household might have been 'strange' but it was never boring.  Lord I miss those days.  Lord I miss seeing those laugh lines.

Now all those scars are gone thanks to him merging with Apocalypse.  The things that helped define who he was and the battles he's fought are gone.  I quietly walk in and watch him sleeping on the couch.  He sleeps fitfully these days, muttering things in his sleep in a language I don't understand.  He's pulled away from all of us.  Won't let anyone in close.  Like he's frightened about what we might find.  We cut my dragon slayer out of the belly of the dragon and he's been forged in to someone new.  Without those scars, without that map, I’m scared.  I don't know whom anymore.


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