DISCLAIMER: I do not own Scott Summers, Alex Summers, their parents, or a certain orphanage in Nebraska. No money is being made off of this fanfic, and I don't have anything worth suing for anyway.

NOTES: This is just a bit of reflection on the part of a young Scott. I think it might be slightly out of continuity; if so, I apologize. I don't know why this stuff hits me at work; heck, this isn't even the story I started out to write. Feedback can be sent to hutch @ Flames will be used to make s'mores. Please ask before archiving; I will, without doubt, say yes. =)

Lots of thanks go to Lynxie for beta'ing this for me.

Late at night, when everything is quiet, I like to lay awake and think. I'd go outside if I could, but the doors are locked at lights-out, and anyone who sneaks outside has to clean the bathrooms for the entire next week. Take my word for it, I speak from experience. So, laying in bed, I imagine that I'm laying on one of the big, flat rocks outside -- up on the low hill in the back, just a little ways away from the main house. It's quiet out there, even during the day when everyone's running around, and I like to go there when I have some free time; I'll work on my homework out there, or talk to Alex, but mostly I like to be alone and think.

But it's night now, so I can't be outside. I've watched my little brother drift off to sleep, a restful, peaceful sleep for a change -- at least for now. He doesn't have nightmares as much as he used to, but the past week has been bad; the older kids have been teasing him about the fact that he still wets the bed once in a while, so I'm trying to keep an eye on him to make sure nothing happens. I figure I have to take care of Alex; it's my job, now. Has been for a few years.

That's not the only reason I'm still awake, though; being awake this late at night, while against the rules, is something of a treat for me. At no other time of day or night does this certain, perfect stillness descend. Even in a room I share with ten other kids, all of them in various stages of sleep -- some snoring, some offering other bodily noises -- I lay in my bed in the corner, by the window (I have seniority, so I got to pick the best bed), and I feel the utter stillness like a warm blanket around me.

From this vantage point, I only have to angle my view a little to look up and see a decent slice of the sky outside. The dome of velvet-black, sprinkled with an embroidery of dazzling white, spreads clear and huge here in Nebraska; even the moonless nights are beautiful, as this one is. Most nights, as long as it's clear, I feel like I can see all the way up into the deep heavens -- into outer space, even. The midnight blues darken, deepen, the further up I look, until the faintest stars glitter on a background of pure black. And I know, from science class, that I'm not only looking up into space, but back through time; after all, the light from those stars started traveling towards us thousands and thousands of years ago, and some of those stars are dead now.

But their light travels on, like me and Alex. Alex and me, I mean. I thought about it once, that my mom and dad, they're like those stars that are gone now, but whose light can still be seen. Even now -- it's been a few years since the plane crash -- I can still feel their influence on me, as if their light continues to guide my brother and myself. When I lay in bed and look up at the stars, thinking about the accident isn't so hard; it's easy to imagine that they're still alive somewhere.

I like to tell Alex that Mom and Dad just couldn't be around right now, that they're involved in some top-secret spy stuff and kids would be too much trouble. We'd get in the way, or compromise their positions, something like that. Alex knows I'm just making up stories (and, yeah, I've been reading James Bond books, so that's part of it), but he helps out with them anyway. He prefers when I tell him the pirate stories that Dad always told me, though. I know I don't tell them as well, but it's better than nothing. It's keeping Dad alive, too, by imitating the voices and sound effects he'd use. And Alex lies and says I'm just as good. We keep each other going, him and me.

I know, deep down, that they're not coming back. It's okay. It's not as painful as it used to be. I mean, every now and then, it still hits me hard, but I always feel better when I can lay here and look outside. I can think about what'll happen to us someday, after we get out of here (I'm pretty sure we're not going to get adopted, not when everyone wants babies); maybe I'll get a job, so that Alex can go to college. He deserves that, and I wouldn't mind taking care of him. I'd like to learn how to fly planes. That would be cool.

I look outside one last time before rolling over to try and get some sleep. Alex is asleep on the bed next to me, quiet and solid in deep dreams. The starlight falls across me to touch his face, his blond hair; I can almost feel it on me, like a warm blanket wrapping me close.

Back to the X-Fic.

this page last updated on 18 january 2003