Scott Summers closed his eyes tightly as he felt an all-too-familiar headache forming at the bridge of his nose. Since he was about 10, he had known he was…different somehow. He had headaches, and sometimes his eyes would burn. After accidentally putting a hole in the wall of the house he lived in at the time, he learned to keep his eyes shut whenever another headache began, lest he do serious damage to something--or someone--else.
Making his way blindly to the pitiful closet that served as his room, he expertly maneuvered the obstacles in his way, extracting a thick strip of cloth from a drawer by his bed. He tied it firmly around his head, ensuring that he wouldn't accidentally blink, or let his eye twitch, for any opening, however small, was taken advantage of. He only hoped the headache would end soon.
Scott just sat on the edge of his bed, listening intently for any sign that his "guardian" was home. He let a scowl cross his features as he thought of the bad life he'd lived so far. Only 15 years of it. And he wished sometimes he'd never been born. His real family had died in a horrible plane crash when he was very young…the trauma had put him in a coma for several months. After that, he'd been in a number of orphanages, and numerous foster homes, but no one wanted the angsty little boy who had headaches, and destroyed property.
That had all changed when Scott decided to run away from the orphanage. He had met a shady man who just called himself "Jack." This man had taken him in off the streets, even knowing of his dangerous power. Scott soon realized that he was probably better off on the streets when he first became a victim of Jack's foul temper. Scott had been beaten so badly that he'd been rushed to the hospital, and despite his pleas for help to the doctors, he'd been restored to an extremely irate Jack who didn't appreciate his "little antics" in the emergency room.
When Scott picked up a sound from the next room over, he sat deathly still, afraid that the mattress of the bed would groan, giving him away. As it was right now, his "guardian" didn't know he was home, and that was the way Scott preferred it. When he heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps coming to his room, he whipped the blindfold off. It was bad enough to be discovered home, but it would be ultimately worse if it was learned that Scott was in the midst of a headache.
The first time this happened, he'd been taken outside and forced to demolish their car to collect insurance money. It had made Scott feel horrible afterwards. He felt like a criminal. Up there with the Living Diamond, a man so cunning the police never caught up to him. Or the Lady Deathstrike, whose entire body was indestructible. Only Scott wanted to be the good guy.
His door suddenly burst open. "Scott, come with me to the livin' room."
Scott immediately got up, moving to go through the door, but to his surprise, he bumped into the stationary Jack. He heard an amused chuckle come from him, and felt hands on his face.
"How're yer eyes, kid?" he said, and Scott felt the fingers on his face trying to pry his eyelids open.
"No!" Scott said, struggling against the touch.
Immediately, the fingers retracted, and Scott felt his guardian start to pull him down the hallway by the arm, warning him to keep his "bazooka blasts" to himself. To emphasize his meaning, Scott was picked up by the collar of his shirt to the extent that he could feel foul breath on his face. "I'm warnin' ya, if you so much as twitch an eye in my direction, yer gonna get it," Jack growled.
Scott just nodded, thinking it best not to speak for the moment. He never knew when his voice would set him off.
"Good. We un'nerstand each other. In."
Scott was unceremoniously dropped to the floor, stumbling, and he quickly scrambled into the room, bumping into the wall first in his haste, and nearly blinking. He squeezed his eyes shut as tight as he could, and put his arms in front of them. In some twisted scheme, his lasers could destroy anything, but were stopped by his skin. He couldn't roast himself. He'd tried.
Scott realized at once that there were other people in the room. His fear kicked in, and he just stood in the middle of the room, not sure where he could sit, and not wanting to set off any of his guardian's guests. He was shoved roughly to the floor from behind as Jack entered the room. He was kicked once for being in the way, but then blessedly ignored.
"Whas with the kid, Jackie-boy?" a voice slurred.
"He's gonna be a part of our plans if I can help it, boys," Jack replied. "I've been a scientist of sorts fer the las' week 'r so, and I've made me a chart concernin' the boy."
"Whaddaya mean, Jack?"
"Never mind, it's between me n' the kid, ain't it Scotty?"
Scott just kept his arms over his eyes and nodded mutely. This time, though, it wasn't enough. "Th' boss is talkin' to ya, short-stuff!" Scott jumped, feeling a hard clap on the back.
"Y-yessir," he muttered, clamping his hands tightly over his eyes. He wished he had his blindfold. He felt another clap on his back, and amended this thought, wishing instead that he hadn't been discovered home in the first place. He picked up his name again in the conversation and decided to try and listen. As long as he was pointedly being ignored, except for the guy who kept smacking him on the back, then he would do well to listen.
"We've been plannin' this raid fer a while now, and I finally have Scottie's problem worked out."
Scott froze. What?
"Boss, whyzza kid comin' widdus anyways?"
"He has certain…talents that could be useful to us," Jack replied vaguely.
"What kinda --"
"Don't ask questions."
Scott was clapped on the back again. He shifted his position and felt a clap at the back of his head. He struggled to keep his eyes sealed firmly.
Jack didn't seem to notice. Scott realized in horror that Jack had actually been paying attention to the dates that his headaches occurred, and could actually chart a pattern. Scott wondered what was to become of him. Another clap to his back.
"S'now, all we have left t' plan izza ackshul times an' stuff, right boss?"
"Right. I'll contact everyone in the morning," Jack finally ushered everyone from the room, though not without a final clap on the back from the man sitting next to him. Scott fell to the floor, and in his haste to catch himself, his eye opened a little bit, and even the half-second of exposure surely left a small hole in the floor. At least a crack. He brought his arms up to guard his eyes once more.
"Come on, kid!" Jack seized Scott by the collar of his shirt and roughly pushed the boy ahead of him out of the room, and back towards Scott's tiny living quarters.
Scott was thrown to the floor of his room, and he felt his blindfold being tied firmly around his eyes.
"I toldja to keep yer bazookas to yerself, ya scrawny nobody!"
"I-I'm s-sorry --"
"Yeah, so am I!"
Scott felt himself being lifted up off the ground and thrown across the room. He broke a table on the way, hitting hard on the floor. He groaned as he heard Jack's quick steps across the room.
"J-Jack, Please, I--"
"I'm the one who decided t' letcha live in my home, and you try n' destroy it? Huh, freak?!"
"It-it was an accident!"
Scott felt the man seize him by the hair. "I'm the one who letcha stay, instead a' handin' ya over t' the cops!"
Scott was roughly shoved against the wall, and as Jack let go of his hair, he backhanded him. Hard. He didn't fret about being roughed up, though, it was the fact that his headache got worse with each blow. He felt blood dribble down his chin. His lip had split.
"Ya don't remember yer place, kid! I. Own. You! And I can kick yer face in if ya say otherwise!" Emphasizing his point, he kicked him several times in the gut. "Stay outta my sight, kid, 'till I call ya."
Scott held his head in his hands, more worried about his massive headache than anything else, even if he did have a broken rib. He just lay on the floor for a while, willing his head to stop hurting, and listening for any sign that Jack would bother him again tonight.
As the pain in his head began to recede, he risked getting up and stumbling over to his bed, forgetting that a broken table lie in his way. Once amongst the blessedly soft pillows and warm blankets, he shakily removed the blindfold, sighing in relief when he could safely open his eyes.
He surveyed the damage best he could through a little pocket mirror, deciding that a little soap and water would do him well. He bemoaned his swollen lip and the angry-looking welt on his face. He looked himself over for a long time, several thoughts running through his mind.
I would have been better off at the orphanage.
I should have nicked a bigger mirror.
I need a hair cut.
Jack must've been wearing his trusty class ring.
Someday I might not be able to open my eyes at all without destroying something, so I'd better memorize my face well.
This welt is huge! A ring can't make a welt this huge!
Would it do me any good to sneak out tonight?
His final thought was accompanied by a painful twist in his stomach. Usually his only meal was lunch, so he was sure to fill himself up pretty good, but having been kicked in the stomach a few times he wasn't surprised it was confused.
Ignoring the protests of his ever-hungry belly, he lie down on his small bed, just remembering to set his alarm for school the next day, hoping he wouldn't be bruised too badly come morning.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a man named Charles Xavier picked up a ghost of detection on his advanced computer, Cerebro. He tried harder to detect the signature, but too much interference was picked up, and the signal seemed to be too far away. He shrugged it off, knowing something would happen for the mutant in question to expose themselves sooner or later, and when it happened, the Professor intended to be there to help.