Heartless

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Marvel. I own nothing.

Sometimes im waking up confused. Its a strange feeling, you know? You are warm and comfortable in soft bed, still in this nice state of half-wakefulness and everything is right in your world. And then you really wake up, realize who you really are – not plain, old Scott Summers: son, husband, father, friend. You are Cyclops: hero and leader of the X-Men, hell, of mutantkind. And it sucks. Because next thing you are doing is a tally. Who is alive. Who is injured. Who is on a sabbatical and why. And when, if ever, they will come back. Who you can still rely on. Who hates your guts so much he wont even talk to you anymore. Who is dead. And its just your team.

Family comes next...and isnt it the saddest thing any man can think? And most confusing part ever. Sometimes i laugh my ass off curled in my bed. Because really, counting on my fingers who of my direct and extended family is alive and who is dead IS hilarious. OK, maybe not so much – but its better to laugh at myself than curl into tighter ball and just switch off. I want to...sometimes. To let go, stop thinking, caring, mourning, fighting...losing. But i cant, and i wont. Thats the thing about us, Summerses – we dont know how to stop. We fight. When we got pounded to the ground we got only madder. We get up and run into the fray again. Yeah, we are THAT dense. My Dad, the space pirate. My brothers – heroic Alex and psychopathic Gabriel. My sons – real, cloned and from alternate realities. My daughter from the future that hopefully will never come around. Hell, even my wives. How the hell i am supposed to take care of my family when always someone is stranded in space, time or alternate reality? Screw this - ALL THE FREAKING TIME SOMEONE IS DEAD! Seriously, i cant recall a moment in my life when everyone were around. I love them, really. Or, in some cases at least feel responsible. But God – why i am always the one to bury the dead and deal with everything? Oh sure, i had my own share of freaky not-quite-deaths. Merger with Apocalypse? Eleven even on Summers scale. Freezing to death in space? Maybe six, but only because i planned this, and im quite proud that it worked all the way. But in the long run it all falls on me: burials, grief, waiting for unavoidable big return to life. And of course my favorite part – keeping track.

My friends think that i've lost my soul. That i turned into heartless bastard without feelings. Dumbasses. What do they know anyway? Oh, i'd love to see Hank living my life. Or my dear, holier-than-thou Ororo. They have a lot to say about my decisions and orders and mistakes. But surprise, surprise – no one has come to relieve me of my duty. No one offered to take my place, so i could go to my Alaskan house and have some time for myself, to deal with all that happened to me. Seriously, how much crap can you pile on one man before he snaps? Obviously quite a lot - if its me. I think that of all X-Men only Peter is the one i wouldnt switch places with – poor bastard. And maybe Warren. They both know how it is to have your heart repeatedly ripped from your chest and squashed in the dirt. If you dont want to give up and simply die, after years and years of such treatment you have to grow a layer of scar tissue on the outside. I simply cant allow myself to fall to pieces everytime i lose someone who i love – because its too damn much at this moment. Alex, Nathan, Dad, Rachel, Maddie...Jean. Always Jean. Every damn time, when i relax and allow my defences down i lose her. I love her, always did, always will – but Jesus Christ on skateboard, how many times do i have to stand over her grave and wonder how many years it will take this time? Call me weak if you like, i dont care. Under spandex and flashy heroics im flesh and blood, and i need someone i can cuddle with after another hellacious day of my life. Emma is not Jean, she'll never take her place in my heart. But she is here for me, warm and alive, and she's willing to go anywhere i go. I dont expect, or want, anything more.

Sometimes i wonder why i even bother to get up, pull uniform on and go on. All i get as reward is a heartache, and flak from my righteous colleagues. Friends turned into subordinates. Family into strangers. Enemies into allies. Psychopathic murderer for a brother. Daughter who doesnt use my name anymore. All the mind-wipes i've experienced...Seriously, do i have KICK ME written all over my brain? Damn your curiosity Emma! Did you really had to open this bottle in my mind and let the djinn out? Now i know how real Scott Summers is like. Smirking, careless bastard who laughs in the face of death and is not afraid to give as good as he takes. Brilliant liar, ruthless fighter, borderline sociopathic and so wonderfully free. So wild, and yet so in control – of his life, his choices, his powers. In a dark, secure corner of my mind i wonder how Jean would react to this different me. Would she find him/me as alluring as she finds Wolverine? Would i finally be enough? Why did i decided to lobotomize myself? Why sacrificed my freedom for cage of ruby quartz and responsibility? Answer is simple: to fit in gentler, easier times when X-Men were born. Seriously, no one ever was curious how shy, mild mannered Scott of old days survived in Sinister's orphanage? Or on the streets? Do they realize that i've killed a man at the age of sixteen? Is this your doing too, Charles? Did you played with our minds so early in the days? And why? Because of pity? Compassion? Love? Or you just desperately needed a leader for your team, and i was too good opportunity to pass over? An ace...no, knife in your sleeve you could unleash with one thought? So be it. I can live with myself, with my choices – with a knowledge that there is private, cozy spot in Hell with my name on it. I've seen the future of my kind, y'know. More than one, in fact. Still have nightmares to prove it. I will fight against it with all i have. I will use any dirty trick, any opportunity and weapon. I will sacrifice last shred of my soul to kill this monster waiting for us. And when time comes to finally pay the Piper...i will do so with a smile, even if price will break my back.

Heartless? Sure, i can do heartless. Am i? Decide for yourself. Just remember, you didnt have to live my life. Whoops, look at the time. Ten minutes for Scott is over. Cyclops has work to do.

Author's notes: This piece popped in my mind while i was reading another fic, with quite a lot of Cyke-bashing inside. Well, for me Scott Summers is best X-Man ever. And here is my answer to all Cyclops haters out there.