Disclaimer: I'm obviously not Marvel. I just like toying with their characters.
Summary: Avalanche delves into his past, searching for the parents he can't remember.
EDIT 6/18/2011: After re-reading this, I've made some small edits to each chapter. Mostly grammar and syntax, except chapter 4. See that section for more notes on its revision.
Chapter 1: Unpacking Emotional Baggage
"Do you ever wonder where your real parents are?"
He furrowed his brow but didn't look up from tightening the tuners on his guitar. He strummed lightly and twisted until the string reverberated at a pitch that appeased him. "Nope."
His girlfriend pulled herself upright on the couch. "Aren't you curious?"
Fingering a D chord, he strummed again and then individually plucked each string to check the pitches. "Not really."
"Oh." She reclined again on the ratty green couch, this time rolling onto her stomach. "I always figured you would be."
She didn't press the subject anymore, but he could tell by the way that she tapped her pencil against the newspaper crossword puzzle that it was still on her mind. "I tried to find them once. When I was ten," he offered.
She looked up again. "And…?"
"I got a name and number from Children's Services after a little bit of…er, digging."
"You did!" She pushed herself up again, knocking the pencil and crossword onto the floor. "Well what happened? Did you call them?"
"Almost. But then I trashed the info instead."
He had succeeded in stumping her again. "You did?"
"I figured it was more trouble than it was worth. They gave me up. Why did I have to be the one crawling back to them."
"It wouldn't have been like that—"
"Look Kitty, I know that you think family is really important and all, but it never has been for me." He shifted his weight to lean forward on the guitar. "It's hard to care about people who abandon you, especially if you can't even remember them." There was no edge in his voice, just apathy.
She opened her mouth to press further, but then closed it. "Okay." She rose from the couch and approached the chair he was sitting in. Leaning down she pressed a quick kiss on his cheek. "Gimme a ride home?"
"Sure thing." He leaned the guitar on the chair and grasped her hand to get up.
They drove to the manor in silence, save "Diary of a Masochist" blasting from the speakers. The Stone Ciphers were not a band Kitty was terribly fond of, but she obliged Avalanche his musical tastes in the car. It was one of the things that made him so…Lance.
He parked just outside the front gate, where they usually said their good byes—the Institute did not afford much privacy. She gave him one last hug before pulling on the latch and pushing open the Jeep door. "Oh, I almost forgot," she said, hopping out, "Do you guys want to come over for Thanksgiving dinner next week?"
"I don't know if that's such a good idea." The Brotherhood and X-Men were not exactly family. Or friends. Or civil to each other.
"Come on, it'll be fun!"
"Yeah right." Lance snorted, "Can you imagine me and Summers eating at the same table? 'Cyclops, could you please pass the cranberries? Oh, and I just love that sweater vest you're wearing.'"
She giggled. "I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous, but things haven't been all that bad lately."
Things had been better recently, but after the Apocalypse fiasco, where else could they go but up? She did have a point though; everything was more settled now than it had ever been before. Magneto had refurbished the boarding house, and replenished their dwindling bank account before leaving town on "business."
Mystique had disappeared again, which suited him just fine. She'd lead them to no where he wanted to go again, and he was through taking orders from her. Lance Alvers was going to start living for himself.
"So what do you say? Will you come?"
And then there was Kitty, making puppy-dog eyes at him to persuade him to do as she wanted. He found his resolve slowly wrapping itself around her little finger.
"Is the professor okay with it?"
"Was his idea."
He hesitated. This sounded like a disaster in the making. "Alright. I'll ask the others, but they should be cool."
"Great!" She said phasing through the gate. "See you tomorrow?"
Once he saw her enter the glass front doors, he revved his engine and sped back the way he came. Once back in his house, he collected his guitar from the living room and made his way up to his own room. After laying it near a heap of clothing on his floor, he dove for his bed, resting his hands behind his head once he'd landed.
Remembering his earlier conversation with Kitty, he reached into the last drawer of his nightstand, rummaging through his personal effects. He found what he was looking for near the bottom and drew it out. It had yellowed with age and was ripping along the creases that came from over-folding. He opened up the piece of paper and reread the faded ink he'd memorized long ago.
Nick and Maggie Alvers
To Be Continued…