Title: Shades of Green
Author: Gaeriel Mallory
Fandoms: Angel the Series and X-men (movieverse)
Continuity: Takes place a month after X2 and shortly after AtS series finale.
Distribution: The Haven, TTH, FF. net
Disclaimer: Lorne and all Angel the Series is property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, Inc. X-men is property of Marvel Comics, Bryon Singer, and FOX. I do not own any of the characters portrayed in this piece of fiction. No money is being made off of this story.
Note: This is not related to any of my other fics.
POV: Scott Summers
The man was wearing a trenchcoat over a lounge suit. A fedora sat low on his head and his shoulders were scrunched in, making him easy to overlook. At least, he would have been except that his suit clashed horribly with his green skin. Even me, who saw only in shades of red, could tell. He was slowly making his way through a tumbler of whisky, ignoring the glances that were being thrown his way by the other inhabitants of the bar.
I sat down beside him and nodded to the bartender. "Budweiser." Despite being a rich man's heir, I still drank cheap beer. It was a holdover from my days on the streets. Pool hustlers didn't make much – or fourteen-year-old pool hustlers didn't, at least. It was part of the con; get drunk so that your opponents thought you couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, let alone a ball into a pocket. I was able to play the angles even then, an early sign of my mutation. I also learned how to run fast, to get away from the guys who were less than happy to lose their money to a young punk, face too pretty and far too good at pool for his own good.
I downed my beer in one go, draining the entire bottle without stopping. Slamming the glass back onto the counter, I motioned for another. That one I took a little slower, prudence taking over. I could never hold my alcohol well and after only one beer, I was starting to feel the haziness numb my brain. I welcomed it. Exactly one month to the day, I had lost the one person in the entire world who I loved more than air. The grief that I thought I had learned to control came back to bite me in the ass as I was teaching a class earlier today, once I realized just what day it was. I managed to keep it together until all the students had left after I dismissed them early. I then ran back to my office, locked the door, and curled in the corner sobbing.
Swallowing hard, I slung back the rest of bottle and placed it beside the first. "Another," I rasped to the bartender. If I was going to get drunk, by God I was going to get piss-assed drunk. I turned towards my neighbor and raised my bottle towards him. "Here's to those we lost, huh?"
He looked at me in surprise but joined me in the toast. "To those who aren't here today," he said softly, nodding at me in understanding. We both drank and I contemplated the way the light hit the side of my bottle.
It was my turn to be startled when he said, "To lost innocence." I chuckled a little wetly and clinked my bottle against the side of his glass.
"So who'd you lose?" he asked me, his words not slurring at all.
"My fiancée," I replied. "Though she might as well have been my wife. We were together for nine years."
"That's a long time." He took off his fedora and placed it on the counter. I tried not to stare at the horns poking through his hair but know I failed. "Lorne," he said, holding out his hand.
I took it. "Scott." I took another sip of my beer. "So what about you?"
He sighed and played with his near-empty glass. "Too many people," he said softly, "starting with myself."
I nodded. Unlike most people, I know what it was to lose yourself. To live life and suddenly turn around and notice that you're not the person that you wanted yourself to be – and you had no idea how you got there. It was part of the reason why I accepted Xavier's offer of home, though I was very distrustful at first.
I finished the bottle – my third – and reached for the new one the bartender automatically placed on the counter. "I'm cutting you off after this one," he told me. "And you better put your hat back on," he said, glaring warily at Lorne. "Money's money but there are some folks who aren't as accepting as me for your kind."
Lorne finished his whiskey and set the glass down. "Listen, sweetcakes," he told the bartender, "I've been through hell and back, seen friends die, watched my world crumble around me. And if I want to walk around without a goddamn hat on, I damn well will." He matched the man glare for glare. "And I want another whiskey."
The bartender dropped his gaze first and refilled Lorne's tumbler. "I don't want any trouble," he told the two of us. "Finish your drinks and get out."
I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me that we got ambushed as soon as we were out the door. As we left, a group of four guys got up and followed us. "Hey, muties," I heard behind us. "Where do you think you're going?"
I sighed and turned around. I was too drunk on alcohol and grief to react calmly and said some things in response that were less than wise. The next thing I knew, I was dodging a punch and fighting against three guys bigger than me. I fought dirty, going for groins and eyes. I got in a few good shots before they overpowered me through sheer numbers. As my face was ground into the gravel of the parking lot, I wondered idly what had happened to my drinking partner.
The further east I got, the more hostility I received. It seems that while we were neck-deep in our battle with the Senior Partners, another battle was going on in the minds and hearts of the American people. Mutants. Were they good? Were they bad? And with my green skin, red eyes, and horns, I was automatically taken for one. I didn't bother trying to correct people – it was easier to let them assume than to let them know about the darker side of the world.
I traveled aimlessly, not sure of my destination, only that I wanted to get as far away from Los Angeles as I could. I ended up in a bar about an hour north of New York City when the fateful happened. I barely noticed when he sat next to me, lost in my own thoughts. The toast was a surprise but it struck a chord inside of me and I knew instinctively that I had found a kindred spirit. One who had seen loss, and had lost.
I wasn't a fighter; I never was. When we were attacked, I didn't know what to do. Three of them went after Scott and the remaining one turned towards me, cracking his knuckles threateningly. It was lucky that I managed to hit him at all. It was even luckier that my accidental punch to the jaw knocked him off balance enough that he stumbled and fell. I stepped onto his throat, putting enough pressure to make his eyes widen with fear. "Tell your buddies to back off," I snarled.
I may not be a fighter, but I knew that I could look damn terrifying in the right light. Apparently, my would-be assailant thought so too. He cried out for his friends to stop, his voice breaking a little. They turned towards us and I saw that they were about to tackle me in turn. I was trapped.
The red beams startled them as well as me. Scott was slowly getting up, using a nearby car for support. Holding onto his glasses with one hand, he said softly, "Get lost." Lifting up the shades, another set of beams crashed into the ground near the three goons, making them jump. A small crater appeared, gravel and dirt flying through the air.
They got lost. I let the one under my foot go and watched as he scrambled away into the night. "Those are some killer eyes," I observed.
He snorted in amusement. "So I've been told." He dug into his pocket for his keys, which he held up in front of him. "I don't think I should be driving right now." He walked over to a shiny red Corvette and unlocked the door. Poking his head inside, he emerged with a cell phone. "Do you need a ride anywhere?" he asked me.
"I've got nowhere to go," I told him honestly.
He looked over at me, eyes hidden behind his red glasses, before dialing in a number. "You do now."
The woman who came to pick us up had pure white hair and smooth coffee-colored skin. A rough-looking man was with her, black hair sticking up in ways that made me wonder if it had ever known a comb. He grunted at Scott and grabbed the keys to the Corvette, getting into the car and driving off. "Chatty one, that," I remarked as we climbed into the silver BMW. Whoever these people were, they had expensive tastes in cars.
"Don't mind Logan," the woman told me as we pulled onto the road. Her voice was accented though I couldn't quite place it. "I had to wake him up and he's a bit grouchy."
"You shouldn't have, Ro," Scott said. "I could have picked up the car tomorrow."
"And leave more evidence behind for our enemies? It would have been a simple thing to run the tags. I thought you would have had more sense than that," she chided him. Looking at me through the rearview mirror, she introduced herself. "I'm Ororo."
"Lorne." I paused, unsure how to go on. "Look, not that I'm not grateful but just who are you guys? Why would you have enemies?"
Ororo and Scott exchanged glances in the front seat. "I think it would be better to have the Professor explain everything," she finally said. "You'll meet him when we get back to the mansion."
I frowned. "Listen, I'm no stranger to the cloak-and-dagger stuff but this is getting a little much even for me. I want some answers now."
Scott sighed, twisting around in his seat to face me. "We're mutants," he said. "We run a school for mutant children, helping them learn to use their powers and to provide them a haven where they can be themselves without fear of recrimination from others."
I narrowed my eyes. There was something he wasn't telling me. "So do you have a school song and everything?"
His lips twisted into a rough parody of smile. "What, like 'Welcome to Mutant High'?" he asked, sing-songing the last bit.
It was enough. I stared at him, trying to process what I had seen. A mutant vigilante group, policing other mutants and saving those who needed to be saved. I also saw incredible loss in the recent past for the group. A redhaired woman who gave her life so others could live. Amazing. "Why do I always fall in with Champions?" I whispered.
"Excuse me?" Ororo asked.
"Nothing," I said hastily. It seems that the Powers that Be hadn't quite abandoned me yet. I may have left one group of white-hats, as Spike had called them, but I found another. I cannot wait to see their reaction when I tell them I wasn't a mutant, but a demon.
End Part 1