A/N: So yes, I'm starting a new series. Unlike my previous ones, this will be a series of X-Men story ideas that creep into my head that I may or may not pick up. Basically, I've got ideas but I don't have the time to turn them into proper writing, so I'll keep them here in case anybody wants to pick them up.
This was not how he imagined his day would turn out.
He was merely making a quick grocery stop—he had underestimated how much his group, which now included five new mouths now that his… younger self and the rest of his group, could eat after a morning of training, and he was the appointed food supplier which, in the eyes of his colleagues, apparently extended to more than just cooking said food—so the last thing he expected was for a certain redheaded girl to burst out of whatever hole she had been hiding in and block his path.
Scott's first instinct was to prepare for the girl to hit him with his own optic blasts again. She looked cold, disgruntled and disheveled, and from past experience, that almost always meant the girl would jack the abilities of whoever was around her and then use it to pummel them.
It only took him a moment to realize that this girl wanted something else from him, and Scott could only groan inwardly.
And really, what prompted her to make as outrageous a suggestion as to join him? He had thought that the Avengers or, at least, Nathan were making sure she lived the life of normalcy she had always begged for.
…How the hell did the girl find him, anyway? Maybe his foolproof plan to live in the last place people expected him to be was more fool and less proof than he originally thought but, knowing this girl, her method likely included either hijacked powers and/or time-travel of whatever sort.
But he digressed.
"You know," Scott finally began, breaking the awkward silence that followed her unusual and abrupt demand. The girl had her arms folded as she continued blocking his path, but he could tell that the quiet had only robbed the girl of her composure. "It says a lot to a guy when the girl you swore to protect would rather trust a man that promised and attempted to kill her. Twice."
To her credit, the girl did not flinch. All her pent up frustration did ignite her eyes and, more predictably, her temper.
"I was a stupid kid under a lot of stress!" Hope Summers exclaimed rather than explained.
The girl was wearing that green bodysuit that he had honestly thought she had already buried in her closet, never to be worn again.
Weird. The paradise of normalcy she envisioned must not have been all it was cracked up to be if she still clung to her past.
"Oh, I know." He waved off her exclamation aloofly.
"If you do, then why do you still not trust me?" She accused him with arms folded and a glare that demanded an answer.
"Because you're still a stupid kid." And Scott told this to her as nicely as humanly possible.
"I've changed!" Hope flailed before him, inwardly wracking her mind for a way to convince her once-leader and… friend, confidant, and mentor. "Give me a chance!"
"I don't have any more to spare." Scott explained patiently. "I've already given you plenty."
"That was before! This is now! Let me prove to you that I'm different—that I've grown up!"
"No. The fact that you're acting like this already tells me you haven't."
Hope deflated under such pointed a reminder, but she would not let it stop her.
"…You're really petty, you know? Hating on a teenage girl."
Scott wasn't fazed by the girl's obvious attempt to make him feel miserable. Really, he wondered if even a dictionary could teach this girl subtlety. This girl had always bid her self-perceived maturity to gain more independence, so why was she retreating to the reality of her situation now? Scott supposed that was yet another pleasure only a child could indulge in.
"Hate? You're still as conceited as ever." The older Summers casually admonished her with a patient shake of his head. "I don't hate you. I just don't care about you."
Hope's heart thundered at Scott's sincere admission. There was nothing in his voice but truth, and it cut her more deeply than should be possible. Whoever said that words could never hurt a person clearly never met Scott Summers at his harshest.
"Whatever you do to try and convince me, it'll be a wasted effort. A waste of time." Scott gave the girl a firm smile. "Give up and walk away."
"That's not fair, Scott!" Hope snapped. How could he even spout such utter nonsense after all the two of them had been through! "So what—just because I finished my task as your Messiah, you're gonna throw me away?"
Scott shrugged carelessly.
"If that's the way you see it, then yes." His answer threw off her momentum once more, leaving her feeling more frustrated than when she began. "You're going to live your own life. I'm going to live mine."
"I need you, Scott!" She pleaded him desperately. Why couldn't he understand? "You're—you're my fam-"
"No." Scott cut the girl off succinctly. He didn't want the girl to get the idea in her head—it would only give her falsities to use as a crutch, and falsities never were made of the sturdiest material. "My son did adopt you, but that doesn't make you and I family. Not in bonds, and definitely not in blood." A tired sigh left his lips and he wondered how much time this unplanned encounter wasted. Glancing at his watch—an action that, unknown to him, made the girl's heart thunder harder with panic—Scott repeated with a tight smile. "Just leave, Hope. You shouldn't even care about this."
His words were meant to aggravate the girl more—to get her to storm off as she normally did. The girl, apparently, still had the capability to surprise him.
"The fact that-" Hope drew a sharp breath as she struggled to bottle her raging emotions before she could lash out another thing she would painfully regret. "The fact that you're saying all the right words to hurt me- to crush me, tells me you've given this a lot of thought."
Her eyes watered but never spilled. Scott's words hurt, yes, and god was he aggravating, but Hope knew that if they were to move past this- if she wanted to move past this, then she would have to get hurt. It was simple real-world physics: movement begets friction, and friction begets pain.
Fortunately, if she was one thing, she was Hope fucking Summers. She stubbornly survived into adolescence amidst adversity, so she would withstand her jerk-of-a-grandfather's scathing language.
"It tells me you gave me a lot of thought." Hope declared, feeling more confident than she had ever been during their conversation. "It tells me… it tells me that you still care about me."
"Don't twist my words into your delusions." Scott told the girl with a small frown. "That's the only warning you'll get from me. Leave."
"No." She stared at him defiantly. "You're right. I'll live my life and you'll live yours—but I'll live my life parallel to yours."
"You're reaching." He pointed out the dangerous tendency.
"I don't care—and neither should you!" As if to punctuate, she thrust her finger up at his face. A smirk plastered itself on her lips, and she threw his words back at him mockingly. "After all, you don't care about me, right?"
"Alright." The swiftness and neutrality of his response nearly threw her off her exhilarated mood. Scott calmly walked past her as he continued his way back to the rendezvous point; by his estimate, Illyana should already be there waiting. "Don't get your hopes up."
Hope quickly invited herself to Scott's company with a wide and triumphant grin etching itself on her face as she fell into step.
"That's the second warning you've given me."
A/N: Basically, a post-AvX idea for Scott and Hope's reunion. I've drawn my apathetic Scott from Distant World in contrast to current canon Scott, who actually still cares about that brat for whatever reason. The premise of this story would be Hope taking a good look at herself and realizing how much of a selfish brat she was to everyone around her; always using her childhood as an excuse to act the way she acts.
The story would have Hope developing through Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development, with Scott, a man that sees all the angles to everything he sees, as her compass. The story would chronicle their adventures, both comedic and meaningful, and its ending will depend entirely up to the writer.
Personally, with the animosity I currently have against that red-haired brat, I'd end it, after all of Hope's development, with her death and Scott saying "told you so" as he walks away completely normal, grabbing a cup of coffee while reading the morning paper. But, that's me as I type this.
If any of you noticed, I always typed "this girl" whenever Scott refers to Hope non-verbally. It could be used as a technique to show how Scott's opinion of Hope changes.