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L. Burke

New Beginnings and Second Chances

*Note-- This story takes place during the first night that Scott spends
under Xavier's roof.  I also borrowed elements from Lobdell's story when
Amelia leaves Charles.  I tried to tie the events of that night up from
Scott's point of view.

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

Scott Summers had meant to leave.  What made him hesitate going out the
window in to the night he would never know.  He had decided from the moment
he had been brought to this place, he would never fit in.  The mansion was
huge, bigger than Scott had ever thought possible looking at it from the
outside.  When he had walked inside, the only word he could use to describe
the effect was cold and impersonal.  If Scott hadn't of known any better he
would have sworn that no one lived in this house.  It had all the warmth of
a museum.  There were not pictures on the walls to remind you of happier
times or show any close friends or family.  There were no personal effects
anywhere, no sign of a half-read magazine on the coffee table.  The whole
place was perfect in a very cold sort of way.  The place didn't have any
warmth to it at all and that just made Scott wonder about the man who owned

The only imperfection that he could find was on the grounds.  There was a
small garden by a small corner of the house.  There had been beautiful roses
growing there at one time.  Now most of them were dead from abuse and
neglect.  There was just five alive in the bed, struggling against the weeds
trying to choke them out and neglect.   For some odd reason Scott emphasized
with those roses.  Those five continued to struggle to grow, regardless of
how much growing deformed and warped them.  When Scott looked a little
closer, he decided that they would never bloom.  That thought just managed
to depress Scott even more.  He then headed up to his room.

It was the bed that made him decide he was leaving.  It was the softest bed
he had tried to sleep in for years.  It was just too damned soft.  His mind
would just not register what his body was telling him.  He ended up just
tossing and turning.  That's what had snapped him about the place.  He would
never fit in here.  He was a teenage runaway, and before that an orphan. 
What was he even thinking that he would fit in to a place like this for even
a minute, the best thing he could do is pack what little he owned and bug

Frankly he thought Xavier was a little crazy anyway.  He talked about how
some day humans and mutants?  Is that what he had called people like them? 
Could live and coexist together in peace.  Scott thought it was a wonderful
dream, and part of him really wished that Xavier was right, but Scott
sincerely doubted that Xavier had looked in to the eyes of a mob before. 
Scott had, and it had been the scariest experience of his life, it had been
his first real look at hate.  Those eyes still haunted his dreams.  Scott
knew to this day that if Jack hadn't of shown up when he did, someone would
have ended up dead.  Probably him, but he might have in a moment of
desperation fired in to that mob, to try to save himself.  Part of him to
this day wondered if he would have been able to do it, even if not doing it
would be at the expense of his own life.  He guessed he would never know.

Xavier may be a little crazy, but other than that he seemed to be the all
right sort.  Then again he had thought that about Jack when he had saved him
from that mob.  Jack taught you that first impressions were not always
right.  Scott had ended up going from one nightmare to another.  He quickly
found out that Jack only wanted him so Scott could help him commit crimes,
not because there was any human warmth in the man.  He quickly found out
that Jack was not only a bully but a monster as well.  The one time Scott
had tried to run away Jack had tracked him down and beat him so badly he
couldn't get out of bed for a week.  Scott had honestly thought during that
beating that Jack was going to kill him.  After that Jack had never really
taken his eyes off Scott enough for Scott to plan another escape.  Jack had
beat him a couple of times after that first beating, usually when Scott had
objected to Jack hurting someone, but memories of that first beating had
always stayed with him.

He had had his stuff packed and was just about to go out the window when he
heard Xavier's and Amelia's voices arguing.
"What am I spouse to do with the boy Amelia?  Throw him back out on the
streets?  He has no one and no where to go.  Where should I send him? Back
where I found him?"  Xavier's voice sounded angry.
"Your spouse to find him a foster home!  Don't keep him here, and make him
part of your personal army!  Don't you understand if you start this Eric
will retaliate and find his own students, you are pushing our people towards
a war, a war NO ONE is going to win!"
"Find him a foster home!  It is not that simple and you know it!  That boy
has a mutant power he can not control.  What foster home would take him?  At
least here I can protect him, try to help him learn to control his powers so
he is not a threat to himself or others.   So I ask you again what am I
"spouse to" with him?" Xavier shouted.  Scott flinched they must think that
he's asleep.
"I have tried to talk you out of this for weeks.  Obviously it didn't work. 
I can't stay here and watch you do this, I sorry.  I am leaving tonight." 
Amelia stated so calmly, something in Scott knew that she wasn't changing
her mind.
"Amelia we can work this out."  Apparently Xavier thought she was serious
"No we can't.  I am leaving Charles."  Amelia's voice had an icy edge to it.
Scott at this time decided to creep out of his room and see what was going
on down for himself.  He ducked behind the stair railing over looking the
landing to the front door.  From his hiding place Scott could see what was
happening down by the front door.  Amelia was standing there with a suitcase
and Xavier was still trying to convince her she should stay and try to work
things out.  Xavier finally snapped.
"I am not going to let you leave me. "  Amelia just stopped in her tracks,
like someone was controlling her mind.  Scott's only thought was "Oh, shit".
  An expression of horror came across Xavier's face suddenly, and all at
once Amelia was herself again.   Amelia just gave Xavier an expression of
horror, replaced quickly by one of complete fury.
"Amelia, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean." She just came right up and slapped
him.  Scott could feel that slap up on the second floor.   After that,
Amelia just vanished in to a whirl of mist.
Scott quickly crept back in to his room.  Trying to process what he had
just seen.  Xavier let her go.  He could have used his powers to make her
stay but he had let her go.  Jack never would of let her walk through that
door but Xavier had.  Maybe, just maybe Xavier wasn't anything like Jack at
all?  Jack had never walked away from an opportunity to bully someone. 
Could Xavier be on the level about wanting to help him?

He chose to help me over her staying.  Scott bit his lip, no one had ever
chose him before.  Alex's foster parents didn't no matter how much he and
Alex begged not to be spilt up, they had taken Alex and left Scott.  Jack
only chose him because Scott's power would be helpful with his crimes. 
Never in his life had someone chose him first.  Frankly Scott didn't really
know how to process this.  This had never happened before.

Scott quickly put his stuff back in to his dresser, and sat down on the bed
to think this situation out.  Was he really afraid of Xavier or not fitting
in?  Maybe he was more afraid that Xavier was on the level and trying to
give him a second chance?  Maybe second chances were more frightening
because if you screwed it up you had no one but yourself to blame?

Scott figured he had two choices.  He could stay and try to make this chance
work for him or he could leave and keep running for the rest of his life. 
Scott was suddenly very tried of running.  He had been running for a very
long time, and he had a horrible feeling if he started again now he would
never be able to stop.  He didn't want to live that way any more.   He
wanted to give this a chance, maybe even put down some roots so he could get
an education.  Maybe he could even go to college someday, meet a nice girl
and start a family of his own.  Suddenly the possibilities of a respectable
future were glaring in front of him and Scott decided he was going to take

He quickly changed in to pajamas, but he was not going to sleep in that bed.
  It was still too soft.  Scott took his pillow and a couple of blankets and
settled in to them on the floor.  He decided he was going to tackle that
rose bed in the morning.  If he was going to be staying here the next couple
of years he was going to make the best of it, and he was going try to make
the place feel a little more like home.  He was going to start with that
rose bed and then see what he could do with the rest of the place.  Scott
drifted to sleep with the thoughts of saving those five roses in mind.

It took a few weeks for Charles Xavier to notice the changes starting to
take place.  Admittedly he had been very busy.  He was starting to find out
that running a school and teaching classes were two very different animals. 
There was paperwork that needed filing, licenses to get not to mention
setting up the process to report Scott's progress to the proper authorities.
  He had been so swamped he had hardly had a chance to see Scott at all
except when Scott had hunted him down and asked if he could rearrange the
library.  Xavier had been on the phone to an agency in upper New York and
had just nodded to him and said to go right ahead.  That had been the last
he had seen of Scott.  He had just been so wrapped up in just trying to get
the schools doors open and trying not to miss Amelia that he had not noticed
anything else happening.

  That was until he walked in to the library to find a book.
The room had been totally rearranged.  Scott must have gotten his
housekeepers help.  The heavy drapes that had covered the windows had been
taken down and replaced with lighter ones that let more light in.  The
furniture had been rearranged in to a less formal layout.  There was a
colorful throw over the couch, and some colorful pillows thrown around.  The
room now reminded you of a room that you wouldn't mind spending an afternoon
in with friends or curling up in with a good book on a cold winter's night
all by yourself.  The room just had warmth that was missing before.   It
didn't feel like a school library but a library you would find in a home.

Home what an odd thought.  This mansion had never really been a home to him
before.  The last time he actually had thought of the place as home was
before his father had died and that had been a very long time ago.  Most
times Xavier had thought of the mansion as a place he could stay when he was
in town or in terms of his lab in the underground levels.  Suddenly he
really liked the change.

Coming out of the library is when he started noticing the other smaller
changes.  The drapes were wide open to let the sunlight in several different
rooms, and there was a book lying on the coffee table.  Scott certainly
seems to like to read.   Reminding Charles that he had neglected to test
Scott to see what reading level he was on, another thing that he needed to
do.  When he went over to the coffee to pick up the book it was called
"Greek Legends", and there was a bookmark in the middle of it.  That made
Charles feel a little better, Scott may not be as far behind as Charles
feared he might be.

The book wasn't from his library; it must be one of Scott's.  Frankly Xavier
didn't think Scott had brought anything with him but he had hardly talked to
the boy since he arrived, much less seen what he might have brought with
him.  The book showed signs of wear, of being flipped through lots of times.
  When Xavier flipped open the book, it was marked at the story of the
Cyclops.  Not one of Xavier's favorite legends, he had always favored Jason
himself but apparently it was one of Scott's.  What it said about Scott that
one of his favorite legends was about a vicious, spiteful, one eyed,
man-eating monster Xavier didn't know.  Xavier just shut the book and went
in search of Scott.  It was time the two of them got to know each other a
little better.

He found Scott by his Grandmother's old rose bed.  The boy was kneeling by
the bed, reading a book called "Caring for Roses".
"You know when my Grandmother was alive, there was roses blooming all summer
long.  It was probably the most beautiful rose garden in the state."  Xavier
stated softly.  Scott responded to his words by jumping a foot straight up.
"Sir, I didn't hear you coming." was all that Scott stated.  He looks like
he's ready to bolt, Xavier thought.
"I could tell.  I came to return this, and tell you I liked what you did
with the library." Xavier stated holding Scott's book out to him "Leaving it
in the library may not be all that wise.  I tend to stuff books back on the
shelves with out looking at whom the book belongs to.  When I get distracted
I tend not to look.  I see your trying to save what is left of the roses.  I
tried once, I'm afraid I was responsible for more of their demises that the
weather was.  I did not apparently inherit my Grandmother's green thumb.  I
tend to kill any green plant around me I'm afraid."

Scott was starting to relax a bit and reached out to take the book.  "I'll
keep that in mind Sir.  As for the roses, I think I may keep them alive long
enough for someone else to take over.  I'm not having much luck at making
them grow.  Maybe someday you'll get a student that has a way with plants
and can make them bloom.  I'm glad you passed my test Sir."
Xavier just blinked at him and asked, "What kind of test are you talking
about Scott?"
"I wanted to see if you would give me my book back.  So I left it out in
plain view.  If you gave it back to me, I was going to try your X-man thing.
  If you didn't I would stay here as long as I needed to and then I was
leaving and never coming back."

Xavier just stared at him for a moment, "That's a very interesting test to
judge someone by Scott, may I ask what the test is all about?"
"Knowledge is power Sir.  I just wanted to see if you would deny it to
someone else."
"Scott you do realize I'm a teacher, giving knowledge is what I do."  Xavier
Scott just nodded at him slowly, "But it was my knowledge.  Just because
you're a teacher doesn't mean you give knowledge.  Knowledge is presenting
the facts and allowing your student to judge for them selves.  You didn't
pick that book out for me, it wasn't idea's you wanted or expected me to
read.  My book, my knowledge, my power; there are lots of ways for someone
to control another person, without using fist or telepathy; denying someone
the right to question, to look for answers, and make up their own minds is
one way. I wanted to see if you would use that one.  I resent it when
someone tells me what I should think.  Jack always tried that and I swore to
myself that it was never going to happen again.  I was just making sure you
were on the level and weren't using me for your own personal mutant army,
that's all."

Xavier was silent for a moment, taking that all in.  "So by giving you your
book back I passed your final test?"  Scott just nodded at him.  "Maybe
Scott we have quite a bit to learn from each other.  You just certainly gave
me a lot to think about just now.  Scott, may I ask you one question?" 
Scott gave him a thoughtful look and just nodded at him.  "Why the Cyclops?"
  Scott just gave him a thoughtful look.

"Well most people just see the hateful, spiteful, man-eating monster Sir. 
The Cyclops was hunted by man that wanted to see him dead, he and his people
were betrayed by Zeus, his own father the god of the sea abandoned him.  He
saw his fellow Titan Prometheus bond to a rock and the Cyclops himself was
exiled to an inland with only sheep for company because nether he or
Prometheus would tell Zeus who would be the gods' downfall.  Zeus would have
freed him from his exile if he had told Zeus what he wanted to know.   The
Cyclops never did because that would mean sentencing his people to Zeus's
rein forever.  He never lost his perspective and certainty that Titans were
going to win in the end.  He was just a little more hateful and a little
less noble than Prometheus and liked to rub it in to Zeus that Zeus would
never brake him.  I don't think many people take the time to think about him
in those terms, in his own hateful, spiteful way the Cyclops was saving his
people.  Sometimes you have to look beyond the surface at someone's motives
and not just there actions."

Xavier just blinked, eyeing this boy in a very new light and consider
everything the boy just said. "Now I'm sure that there is a lot we can teach
each other Scott.  I had never quite considered the story that way before,
but your right; Cyclops was saving his people.  I was thinking perhaps that
we could go out for diner together tonight.  Maybe we can get to know each
other a little better and you can tell me more about the Cyclops and we can
discuss new beginnings and second chances, what do you think?"
Scott just nodded at him, "I think I would like that Sir."


Other Stories By L. Burke


Please Get Well For Christmas

There's No Place Like Home

Beneath the Floor Boards

We Will Always Have the Stars

Elves, Weirdoes and Ten More Degrees

What Could Have Been

The Suggestion Box

Friday Nights, Guy Talk, Stalkers and Other Strange Things

New Begginings and Second Chances

A Very Bad Day

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