Disclaimer: Everything herein©Marvel
Warnings: runaway, hurt/bcomfort/b, alternate universe, self-esteem boost
Notes: Written for hc_bingo Round 2 on Dreamwidth, the prompt being "mutation."
Please note the AU warning, as this throws two canons into "alternative timeline" territory.
These people were quite unlike anyone he'd ever met before, but for some reason he felt that they were more like him than his own family.
Well, those who he'd thought were his family, adopted freak that he was.
But no, no. Freak was something that the blond young man had referred to as a four-letter word (although didn't it have five letters? It would take a lifetime to understand these people...) in this house, and while he was unusual in his way, so was everyone else.
The blond himself – Alex Summers – had a fairly unnerving talent of shooting energy from his torso, although he tended to channel it through his hands. A redhead by the name of Sean Cassidy could produce screams on the sonic level and was able to utilize the skill to 'fly' with the aid of a harness. A fairly tall – but close to his own height – furry blue fellow named Hank McCoy was... well, blue and furry, and also very quick and agile.
The head of the household, a man who somehow managed to remind him of both his adoptive parents in equal measure, was confined to a wheelchair due to some unfortunate events that happened some six or seven years before his arrival. Yet despite what would be viewed by many as an obvious handicap, Charles Xavier exuded power. And it was not simply the fact that he could peer into a person's mind with ease, but that he didn't judge people based on what he picked out there. If that were the case, then he never would have set one foot on the grounds.
"You are better than you realize," Charles had said to him, the smile on his face matching the smile in his eyes and making him feel at ease in a way he hadn't felt in forever. "You have a huge amount of potential, but you can't see it because you don't want to."
"What potential?" he'd asked, every bit the petulant runaway teenager. "I'm not the golden child, never was and never will be."
"And it is because you are not your brother that you have the potential to be so much greater than you let yourself be."
It was an argument that they continued to have, sometimes once a week, but it was one he was beginning to realize he was losing spectacularly. And yet, he didn't mind being wrong.
In the years he'd lived in this house, with these people, he had started to take pride in himself once again. Not in the façade he'd lived under all too unknowingly back in the home of his childhood, but in the man he could be. No one looked twice when he forgot to change his appearance to a 'normal' pale skin tone and instead wandered around the house in his natural blue and tribal-marked state. Hank took note that, while 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was the normal temperature for most people, his normal baseline was closer to 36.5 degrees Fahrenheit; when the cold weather set it, fires were lit and sweaters grabbed by everyone but himself and Hank, neither of whom were affected terribly by the chill in the air. If he wished to be someone else for a day, no one batted an eye (although it was sometimes funny to have two Alexes or Seans or Hanks at a meal).
And as more time passed, as Alex and Sean grew older and left, as children and teenagers arrived to fill the rooms with laughter and life, as he aged more slowly than everyone, he accepted who he was. In the past, he had only known that he was different, but did not understand or know the why. His life was literally something from out of a story, but Charles had never thought him mad; Charles had simply wondered aloud that genetic mutations had lead to modern man, and that it could be possible that the same genetic mutations could occur on other worlds as well.
It made so much sense to him that it nearly made him weep to finally understand.
And even as the world changed – as those new children grew and left, as Alex's younger brother became a man, as Sean brought his daughter to the school and commented you look good for your age, as Hank went into politics (and that was the greatest prank of all waiting to happen, he just knew it), as the government began to scout him for an organization they only called SHIELD – he only sometimes wondered if anyone still thought about him, if anyone still missed him, if they ever had.
On those nights, Loki would gaze up at the night sky with burnt orange eyes, hoping that his mother and brother could see him and wondering how many other Jotun like himself – born smaller and prettier than their parents – had been left to die for a mutation that they couldn't help but be born with.
End Note: Yes, I went there. Consider this extremely AU because Loki found out he was adopted when he was in the Asgardian equivalent of his teens and ran away to Midgard/New York. Charles and company found him around 1968, and he's been with 'em ever since... although if I write more in this 'verse he'll have wandered off to join SHIELD before the events of the first X-Men movie ever kick off :3