Disclaimer: Don't own Static Shock or X-Men
A/N: If Sean Foley is ooc in here I'm sorry I just wrote what I saw of him in the few episodes he appeared in. Written as if "Sons of the Fathers" never happened.
Richie rolled over in his bed, unable to sleep. The whole idea that he was a bang baby sat completely wrong with him, but the fear of what his dad would do if he found out was worse. Sure, Richie's father had never raised a hand to his son in anger, never abused Richie in a physical sense, but Richie always knew his father was disappointed in his son not liking sports as much as he thought he ought. Richie loved watching sports, he just didn't have much urge to participate. Then the sound of his mother yelling caught Richie off guard, Richie pulled the ends of his pillow up over his ears to block out the sound, he was too used to this. He sometimes thought his life might be better if his parents divorced. Sometime after that Richie managed to doze off but the sleep was fitful and didn't produce much in the way of rest.
Virgil arrived at school to see Richie already there, dark circles under the paler boy's eyes a testament to his lack of rest.
"Bro, did you not sleep at all last night?" Virgil asked
"I slept... just not well" Richie confessed, he had always felt he could be honest with Virgil, whom he had begun to see like an actual brother, closer to him than most of his actual family.
"Hey, if you need to talk..." Virgil put a hand on Richie's shoulder as Richie started to walk away
"I know" Richie sighed.
Meanwhile Charles Xavier was checking cerebro when he located Virgil and Richie. He knew Virgil had control of his gifts to an extent, but he felt Virgil could be helped to get even better with his gifts. It was Richie that had him concerned, from the brief scan of Richie's mind Charles had found that Richie's home life was turbulent and his parents didn't get along.
Charles called Scott Summers and Jean Grey and had them meet him in the Blackbird along with Yessenia Esquivel and Li-Na Kim, a couple of mutants closer to Virgil and Richie's age. They arrived in Dakota and went to the Freeman Community Center where they met with Richard Hawkins.
"Mr. Hawkins I'm here to speak with you about your son Virgil"
"Mr. Xavier in all honesty I don't understand why you would want to speak of Virgil" Richard said playing down the fact that he knew of Virgil's gift
"You know exactly why I'm here, Virgil has a gift, the ability to create and use electromagnetic energy" Charles said "but he is the only young person you know so well that is gifted, his best friend Richie, he is gifted as well, with the ability to absorb and retain extreme amounts of knowledge. He is also what is known as technopathic meaning his mind can control and communicate with technology in ways even I do not understand fully."
Richard was stunned
"Why bring this to me, why not go to Mr. Foley with this"
"You know as well as I do why I do not go to Sean Foley with this information about his son, Richie is afraid, afraid that if his father learns of this gift he will be shunned" Charles said "you on the other hand, you understand Richie for who he really is, you know Richie better than Sean ever will"
"Yes, but on the same token I can't sign off on anything for Richie, you would have to go to Sean or Maggie for that" Richard pointed out
"Indeed, I would" Charles hated this, he didn't want to out Richie to Sean, this would push Richie away from him, thus coming to the Community center to speak with Richie without his father present to hear what was said.
Richard sat back and looked at the group that had come in, he had been introduced to Scott and Jean, but the two girls who were in the basketball court area were a mystery to him. They had an mp3 player out dancing along dancing side by side like only best friends would.
"Oh, you've noticed Yessenia and Li-Na, they are some of my younger students, about the same age as Virgil and Richie" Charles said as they went into the basketball court area.
"Hi professor" Yessenia said as they both ran up to him "you must be Mr. Hawkins"
Both girls shook Richard's hand politely then started out
"Where are they going?"
"They are going to talk to Virgil and Richie, privately of course, about the school, about the offer to attend classes at the Xavier Institute for the Gifted."
The girls arrived and soon located Virgil and Richie, but separately, Yessenia had found Virgil and Cascade had found Richie.
"Hey, you think we could talk for a minute?"
"Sure, I'm free this period" Virgil said
"Um yeah, we might want to duck out of sight and ear-shot this has to do with something I'm sure you'd rather keep secret" she whispered coming closer to him
Virgil could feel the weird energy from her and looked at her in confusion
"What ever it is we can talk right here"
"Um... unless you want to out your identity I really wouldn't recommend we talk here" she whispered where only he heard
They ducked into an empty classroom
"Okay now explain how you know what I am?"
"Chill... I'm a mutant too, or I believe you prefer the term meta-human" Yessenia said causing a few paperclips to fly around in a circle "I go to this school, it's called the Xavier Institute, it's pretty sweet"
"And you want me to come?"
"Yeah, the offer's open, no pressure though, you don't have to come if you don't want to and you can always transfer back here to Dakota Union High if you don't like it, but I think you will. You'll be staying in this super cool old mansion for the school term, me I live there year round, but that's beside the point." Yessenia said "Just think about it, no more secrets, you go around with others with gifts that aren't trying to kill you"
"What about Richie"
"Offer's up for him to, my friend Li-Na is talking to him now" Yessenia said she then pulled a communicator out of her pocket and handed it to him "Remember no pressure, but if you want, the doors are open for you"
"Okay... but why do you live there year round?" Virgil asked
Yessenia's expression dropped and Virgil instantly regretted asking
"I have nowhere else to go, Virgil, I was orphaned when I was seven. Professor Xavier took me in as a foster child two years ago when my powers kicked in."
"You were in the big bang?"
"No, natural meta-human... meaning I was born with the genetic anomaly... it just didn't activate until I was fifteen." Yessenia explained
"Oh" Virgil sighed "sorry 'bout your folks"
"Don't be, you weren't the drunk in that other car"
Virgil winced and watched as Yessenia wiped her tears away
"Look, I shouldn't have asked"
"No, you were just curious" she said
"Listen I feel for you, what you've had to go through"
Yessenia was shocked when she found herself in his arms she didn't push him away, not now. She just hugged him back, he was trying to help.
"I know what it's like to lose a parent" he said
"Yeah maybe you do but I lost two, and I have a brother I haven't seen since he was two"
"Hey, it's okay, you've got a lot going for you now... things will get better" Virgil said trying to sound half as confident as he was.
Yessenia leaned into him and began to cry, she hadn't meant to fall apart in front of Virgil this way, she hated doing this, she had done so much crying in her life. He just soothed her and let her cry, it was a surprise to her, but for him working in the Community center meant he saw kids like her a lot who just needed a shoulder to cry on.
Meanwhile Li-Na and Richie were in another classroom talking as well
"I know you're afraid to tell your parents about your gifts... of how your father will react"
"Yeah, my dad doesn't like meta-humans too much" Richie sighed
"You aren't like Virgil, you aren't a bang baby"
"What... but that throws our whole theory off... if I'm not a bang baby how did I get powers?"
"You are a natural meta-human like Polaris and myself... even if the big bang hadn't occurred you would have still gotten powers" she said
"So I wasn't a bang baby after all, I knew that whole late boomer thing didn't make sense... it's been too long"
"Exactly your powers had nothing to do with the vapor Virgil inhaled no matter how much of it remained on his clothing" she said
After school Richie and Virgil went to the Community center and Richard noticed the dark circles under Richie's eyes.
"Third time this month, Richie, have you said anything to your parents about this insomnia?"
Richie shook his head
"You know where to go" Richard said
"Yes, Mr. H" Richie said and excused himself
Charles watched this
"Where is he going?"
"There's an empty store room off the office, I set up a cot for him in there and he takes naps there sometimes when he doesn't sleep at night"
"Have you gone to Sean about his son's sleep problems"
"I wasn't going to betray Richie that way... he confides too much in me, if I betray him now... I may lose his confidence forever. Charles, you know if I could I'd take him into my home, take him away from his parents. He'd do a heck of a lot better there, but I can't do that... they haven't proven themselves unfit to parent him. It's hard to see him this way"
"The environment is toxic for Richie, his self esteem is low. I think he would flourish in your care, but we cannot take him away from his parents without alienating him, unless he comes to my school" Charles sighed "I... I wish there was a way I could put him in your custody, God, how that boy could shine given the kind of encouragement he'd get in your care. You love him like your own son let him know it's safe to come to you about anything. It's more than he can say about his own father"
A couple of hours later Sean Foley arrived at the Freeman Community Center looking for Richie.
"Sean, Richie is asleep, he didn't sleep very well last night" Richard said
"He should be at home if he needs sleep"
"Mr. Foley have you ever thought that maybe home has become a place Richie doesn't want to be" a voice asked
Sean turned to see Charles sitting behind him, and unbeknown to them Richie was watching from the room he'd been sleeping in praying they wouldn't tell his father his secret.
"Why wouldn't he?"
"Look at yourself for a moment, look at the way you treat your son and your wife and ask yourself, if you were a child with that going on, would you want to be anywhere near it?" Charles asked
Sean growled and went into the room where Richie had been sleeping to see his son at the door.
"Dad... I... I didn't do anything, I promise"
This was the first time in Richie's life Sean Foley hit him
To Be Continued...