2010-09-26: Tale Of Yesterday


Theo_icon.jpg Scott_icon.jpg

Summary: Scott summons Theo to discuss training missions for the year, but the conversation evolves, and Theo finally reveals his hidden history.

Date: Sunday, September 26, 2010. 7:00pm

Log Title: Tale of Yesterday

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Scott's Office

You see nothing out of place.

It was finally time for Scott to meet with Theo, another member of the Corsairs, Scott's training squad. The Headmaster stands in front of the large bay window in his office. Sipping on a mug of coffee. His attire consists of a royal blue polo with a yellow circle-X on the left pec. He's in one of his rare lulls between work right now. But he is expecting Theo soon. The door to the office is opened, letting anyone walk in to talk in the meantime.

Promptly on time, the young technopath steps in. He looks rather spent already. So much has been happening around him lately, he's not even sure what this meeting is about anymore. He wears a button-down blue shirt, with navy slacks and dress shoes. Looks like he just got back from work. "Hey," he says casually. "You wanted to see me?" He doesn't wait to be offered a seat, but slips into the chair across from the desk comfortably, and hopes that it will be a comfortable conversation.

Scott raises an eyebrow as Theo announces his arrival. "Yes, I've been talking to everyone on the Corsairs. Just wanted to get any questions you have answered." Scott looks to the technopath and sits in his chair at the desk. "Seeing how you were doing, and such."

"I'm tired," he says. He skipped the first day of classes, which is no secret. Though he did contact his teachers for homework, he offered no defense for his absence. "Can we do stuff outside of the Danger Room this year? I hate that place, it's like sticking my head in a blender every time it starts up." He may not be able to control any of the technology inside, but it sure does a number on his senses.

"What has you so tired?" He asks, he is fully aware of what Theodore tried to pull off on the Driver's Ed course, but he's not making that an issue right now. He's interested in what is going on right now, rather than what happened. "We will do some training outdoors. In fact, I wanted to ask you and the others if there was anything they wanted to learn this year." Scott looks to the student, awaiting his response.

"Life," the boy answers. "Life has me very tired." He doesn't go into detail for the moment. "Since you're asking," he says, "There is a few things. I'd like to learn how to keep telepaths out of my head," he states. There's probably a particular one in mind, "and I'd like to learn how to tune out the noise of machines when I'm sick of hearing it. But I guess those aren't team things. I think it'd be good if we could learn about how to operate…seamlessly in society with our powers. So we can just blend in, and nobody would be the wiser, but we could still have a benefit with our powers." For now, he doesn't bring up the Driver's ed course either.

Scott looks to the technopath. "Learning to keep someone out of your head is an extremely hard task, Theo. A lot of very powerful mutants and non-mutants have tried to learn and haven't been able to." Scott speaks first hand, it seems like it's more of a random occurrence than anything. "I may not be the one who would teach you how to silence other technology, but I have a feeling there are people here who would be able to teach you." He's got Emma and Addison in mind there. "That's part of what we are trying to teach here. The thing about it is you have to control your powers in order to stop them from working. Like a muscle, you have to exercise it to make it stronger."

Theo doesn't argue, instead he just nods. "I guess I don't really understand why we have the teams," he admits. "Is it just practice? You trying to turn us into superheroes? I mean, what're you trying to accomplish?" Having come in toward the end of the year last year, he hasn't really gotten a good grip on the purpose of the training squads.

A question that has come up pretty often in these conversations is about the superhero thing. To this, Scott just flat out answers. "No, we aren't trying to make you kids into superheroes. We are getting you to learn teamwork, strategy, and control of your own powers. Putting you in teams helps that, especially with as many students as we have now." The Headmaster's words are truthful, he's not trying to deceive anyone here.

"Strategy I can do," Theo says. And his mind moves to the other subjects. He doesn't really want to learn teamwork. "I guess stuff that makes me stretch the use of my powers. He leaves that other aspect unmentioned. "Things that make me think of using my powers in ways that don't seem normal. Make me think crazy hard to figure it out."

Scott ponders. "Well, do you have any specifics?" He's digging for more info mainly because technopathy is…new to him. It's a bit of a new territory for him, and he's learning about it just as much as Theo is.

"Well, I spent all summer working with Dr. McCoy," he starts. "And at this point I know enough to operate almost any common machine. Blenders, computers, cars — your jeep's engine is beautiful, by the way —, I guess the big trick at this point is learning to use it in situations that are less conventional. Like when Quill punked me, I could use the sprinkler heads against him by spraying him, but afterward, I thought, 'I could've tripped him'. Stuff that makes me think out of the box, you know?" Theo shrugs. "I don't like my challenges to be too straight forward, they get boring and they're too easy. That's why I signed up for all AP classes, too."

"Well, that is something I'll try to cover in our training sessions. Though, that kind of impromptu ingenuity is something you have to actively seek out. The Danger Room allows you to do anything constructed in the simulation. It will react according to your actions, so there is not a set way to finish a simulation." Scott will have to emphasize the elasticity of the scenarios in their first session.

"Yeah," Theo says, "Okay. Well, I think it could be a good way to help me be impromptu if I could leave the campus again," he suggests. "I didn't do anything wrong." Says he, though given the physical evidence, it might be interesting to see how he defends that statement.

Scott looks to the student with calmness and in a very light disciplinarian way. "Theo, we both know that you forged that signature. Miss Frost and I have spoken about this already." This seems as a perfect time to talk about it. "You know, if you would give us a straight answer some times, we can help you. We have helped many kids who've run away, or have lost their families. We want to help you."

"So I put my name on the parent signature line as well, big deal?" Not quite. Theo signs III at the end of his name, and the signature had II, and seemed to be an attempt at different handwriting. "My parents aren't here, and you can't get ahold of them for a signature, can't you just leave it at that? I'm old enough to work for one of the most brilliant minds on earth, but I'm not old enough to decide to take a Drivers' Ed class?"

"Yes. You're old enough to work. Period. Who your boss is, Tony Stark, or the manager at Best Buy, is irrelevant. You're old enough to learn how to drive, yes, /with/ parent or guardian permission. You're a legal minor in the U.S. It sucks, I'm not going to lie. I was in the exact same situation." Scott's not exactly holding back a lot here. Because he feels that Theo needs a little wake up call. He even held back on his personal opinion of Anthony Stark to keep Theo from shutting down completely.

Theo knits his brow. "No you weren't," he says definitively. "Nobody here knows my situation, and it's none of their business." His voice has a slight bite to it. "I could file for emancipation, that'd solve this problem real quick, wouldn't it? Then you can have your legal quota. Would that make you happy?"

"You're right, I don't know your situation. But don't think that just because I live here I've had it easy." Scott gives out an ultimatum. "Emancipation from what? We're not exactly sure your parents are alive. And if they aren't, then you'd have to go into a system that at this point in your life, just wants to shove you into a corner for the next two years of your life, and just cut you loose the day you turn eighteen." Scott's been in that system, and it's not pretty, not something he wants anyone to be in. "You'll have to explain to a judge why you want to be declared an emancipated minor. And if you have qualms talking to people who truly want to help you, then I seriously doubt you'll explain exactly why to a judge who's main interest is a two o'clock tee time." Cyclops leans forward in his seat, his voice trying to sound warmer than usual. "You are not a number to us, Theo."

Scott's point is heard, and one that Theo hadn't thought about, because he's never had to live in that world. He's quiet for a long time. "You think I don't tell you because I don't trust you," he says. "But it's not like that. I believe you care, and that you mean well. But if I tell, then it's possible that word could get out. And I don't know what will happen."

"Word would get out to who?" He asks, "Theo, if something happened by accident, it's not going to have you lynched. There are dozens of kids who hurt someone by accident. And that is exactly why they are here." Scott's eyebrows are raised, unfortunately, his glasses obscure Theo from seeing into Scott's. "Trust me, I've heard it all before. I've seen it all before. Kids who run away from home after seeing a Friends of Humanity rally, one boy who accidentally killed his grandfather when his powers manifested. And I promise, if it's something I haven't dealt with before, then myself and the Headmistress will help however we can." His words calmed and calculated, like normal.

"The headmistress?" Theo articulates in an echo. "Emma Frost, demon for hire?" he lets out a loud laugh. "She wants nothing more than to see me suffer. I saw it in her eyes. When I got the job at Stark Industries. I only asked one thing from you. I asked that no one tell Tony Stark what my powers were." He shakes his head and paces to the bookshelf. He runs his fingers across the spines to find one out of line with the rest. He doesn't find one. "She might as well have painted him a picture on a canvas. If I tell you, she'll hear about it, and she can't be trusted." He looks back at Scott. "But don't worry, it wasn't me that hurt someone."

"And now I know why you wanted to shield yourself." The Headmaster stands, moving over to the large window he was at before the meeting. "If I remember correctly, I recommended you to keep you powers quiet to him. Anyway, I don't know what she was doing. It was after the Driver's Ed incident. She wanted to clear up some things with him." Personally, he preferred she go to Tony. "She's not as awful as everyone makes her out. At least in my experience."

Theo arches his brow. "When I told you that I got the job with Tony, I asked that you not tell him," he reminds Scott. "And I never wanted him to find out. I didn't want him to think I was just good at technology because I'm a mutant. I'm good at it because I'm smart, and because I work hard. But if he hasn't figured it out now, then he's not as bright as everyone gives him credit for." Theo places his hands behind his head. "So tell me how I can tell you about my past, if I know that she might throw that around as well? She talked to me about betraying trust without even knowing what was going on, and she is the one who was throwing me under the bus, and brought Tony in as a spectator."

"The most I would be able to offer you Theo, is this; I will keep whatever information you tell me in the strictest confidence. And, barring an invasion of my privacy as Co-Headmaster, I will handle whatever you tell me personally." Scott doesn't know how else he can reassure Theo, but this is as good as he can offer.

Theo rolls that over in his head for several seconds, staring down the back of Scott's head. He moves around the desk and joins Scott at the window. Though he can't look into Scott's eyes, he wants to at least see his face. "How often does she do that?" he asks in all sincerity. "Daily? Hourly? Can you even know?" He holds up a finger as he makes his next point. "Because, you have to understand something. If I tell you, and it leaks, people could die. People I love. I don't even want to think about the things I would do if that happened." He clearly wants to get it off his chest. He's been holding it in since he arrived in March. But not so much that he's willing to be careless.

Scott's eyes, even though they aren't seen, are looking right at Theo's. "She usually doesn't do it." He says, though there have been times, in emergency situations that she's had to do something on him." He'd like to think that he's trustworthy enough that his words would be enough.

Theo's semi-sad glare stays fixed on his reflection in Scott's glasses. He's processing this carefully. "Usually." The word is only somewhat comforting. "And do you trust me?" he asks, still with one more hurdle before he's willing to break. "Emma said that the school can't trust me. Do you worry about what security measures I could bypass if I grew in my power enough? Do you worry that I've already broken them and I can freely roam around the X-men secret files? Do you worry about what I'd do if I could?" The clarity of Theo's strength is vague at best in Danger Room sessions. He's been growing more sensitive, and the flood of machine noise in the Danger Room makes his powers very difficult to apply, but outside of the Danger Room, the best source of intel is technology based. So if he has been doing things he doesn't want to share, it'd be hard to know.

"Honestly? I feel like I can trust you, as much as I trust any of the members of my squad. And, if you can access the secret files, you'd be able to access many more things here that would trouble me. I would hope, that should you have that much power to control technology, that you'd also have a matching amount of respect for your powers." He is trusting of Theo, even if he thinks that Theo needs more time to train and learn about powers.

Theo nods, and then takes a deep breath. "Then let me join the Blackbird Training class." He says. "If I tell you, show me you trust me by letting me learn that technology. I hope this doesn't sound demanding, but once I tell you, you'll understand why evidence is important to me."

Scott takes a moment to think about the situation. "If I let you in the class, realize that it requires a lot of discipline and work. It's fun in the simulator and when we take the Blackbird itself out." The Headmaster looks to the student and has a serious look on his face. "But I will allow you to take the class."

Theo's expression softens a little. "Don't worry. I'm no stranger to hard work." It does seem to stress again, however. He sits down on the sill of the window. "Okay. This is for you, and you alone. I've never told anyone this, and there are only a handful of people in the world who know the whole story." He suddenly is uncomfortable sitting down, and stands back to his feet, and paces. His hands almost seem to shake for a split moment, and he straightens his shirt so that he has something to do with them. Fits of figdeting aren't becoming of him, but he's very nervous as he tries to mentally prepare himself.

Scott turns himself around, paying full attention to Theo and the story he is about to tell. He focuses on keeping a neutral look on his face while he talks.

The technopath continues fidgeting for a few moments, and finally, he speaks, now avoiding looking at his headmaster. "I grew up in Manassas, Virginia. I had seven sisters, and my parents both loved each other very much. It was February 14th of this year. I was supposed to actually have a date for Valentine's Day," he laughs a little. "I never thought about that until just now. My friend Kyle and I had heard about a group with the Friends of Humanity that were traveling around, teaching people about mutants in an 'honest' manner." He holds up his fingers in quotes with the term. "Now, in Manassas, nobody had ever actually seen a mutant. Or at least, if we did, we'd never known it. In a little town, anything that happens is worth attending, because there's nothing to do."
The boy starts to pace the room, he seems to be looking for something. He checks the books again to make certain that they are perfect. He goes to the desk to find one of the pens not quite perfectly lined up, and so he straightens it. "I talked my friend Kyle to go with me to see it. He said they were just a bunch of bigots and didn't want to have anything to do with them, but I pressed him, and so he came with me. They had this device. They said it would find any mutant within ten miles, and could give a general idea of how strong they were. They turned it on, and it pointed straight to me. It said I was a class five mutant, the most dangerous and powerful kind. I can only imagine now it said that because of the nature of my powers."
The technopath begins to speed up in his search for aberrations in the room, though in a room like Scott's, it's hard to find them. He checks for dust on the top of the computer monitor. "I froze. I couldn't move. I thought it was a joke. The look of those people. Our town had never been very big on the idea of mutants. I saw people there who had known me my whole life. People I thought were my friends. They were as shocked as I was, but I think they were more. I saw as that look of horror turned into a look of hatred with each passing word from the speaker. Kyle kept his head a lot better than I did. He got me on his bike, and hauled ass out of there. We went straight to my house as fast as he could, and told my mom. My dad wasn't home from work yet."

Scott's heard something as much from the Friends of Humanity before. So this whole thing isn't that new to him. "And I'm assuming that in their vast expanse of hatred, someone had the gaul to follow you."

"I don't know if they followed me. I know they didn't come in the house right then," Theo answers. "When my dad came home, he came into my room, and sat down with me. He gave me a great speech. He was brilliant in everything, and I could never help but feel better when he talked to me, even if I was getting busted for something. He said that everything would be fine. He said that he loved me no matter what happened, and he believed I would be a great man whether I was a mutant or not. Kyle stayed the night that night, and I owe him my life for that." Theo adjusts the mouse to the computer so that it sits straight, and with his powers, he puts the computer back to sleep, and the screen darkens.
"I thought that since they didn't come raging in the door, things would be fine. People might hate us, but I never thought they'd try to kill us." His breath quickens, and he suppresses a cough. "Kyle woke me up. I don't know what time it was. It was so hot. He told me we had to get out. I grabbed my phone, and we tried to get out of the room, but the fire was right outside my door. We jumped out of the second story window, and I saw everything that I knew burning to the ground." His voice cracks. "I couldn't go back in. I couldn't help them. And I didn't even have time to think about it. There were dozens of people standing outside of my house. They had done it. They stayed to make sure that I didn't get out. The power went out to the whole block, and we ran. There we were in our underwear, but we were too scared to care how cold it was. We ran all the way back to Kyle's house."

Theo's words hit hard, but Scott's seen the power of the Friends of Humanity's hatred before. Theo's story is another of the many tales that speak of the evils of the FoH. "A lynch mob. waiting to kill your entire family."

"They did kill my family!" Theo barks back, slamming his fist on the desk. "They killed my Dad, my Mom, my sisters! They're gone!" He wipes some tears out of his face, and paces to the other end of the room again.
"Kyle said his dad would help. He was a pastor, and I had heard that some churches hate mutants. I was scared. And more than that. What would I do, wait for them to come kill his family next? I took off and ran. I stole one of those bastard rich kids' cars, and used their laptop to look up safe havens for mutants. I should've thought it through. They had been kidnapping mutants, but I didn't know that. I'm not sure how many days I was stuck there. It couldn't have been more than three or four. They wanted a ransom from my parents. I couldn't call my parents, so they left me there." He furiously stomps as he speaks, and finally resorts to messing up the pens on the desk so that he can have something to arrange again.
"The cops finally caught on and busted them, took all of us who had been captured to the hospital to get checked out. I didn't stick around, though. I ran off again. This time I started searching a little more descreetly. I looked through mutant forums, looking for hints. It took a while, but I found somebody who talked about how glad they were that they were safe in a mutant school." He shrugs, starting to calm down again. "I am not even sure how I did it, I guess I used my power without knowing it, but I traced the forum poster's IP address to Westchester. I got here and just wandered around for a day or two until Pietro Maximoff found me near the school. That was the tip off."

Scott refrains from telling the student to calm down, instead he takes a box of tissues and sets them on his desk. Letting Theo get one when and if he wants one. "Forgive me, Theo, but I don't really see why you're so concerned over keeping this away from everyone. Murder is murder."

Theo nods, sniffing back on his nose. He seems defiant of his own tears, as if it would make him weak to cry. "I had seven sisters. I was born fifth. My oldest two sisters had already moved out. Mary and Rebekah. And one of my younger sisters, Abigail, was at a friend's house for the night." He starts to make a reach for a tissue, but changes his mind, and instead wearily walks back to one of the chairs, and sits down, shakily.
"Mary's a lawyer, married to a lawyer, too." He lets that stand on its own. "She'd never ever let me stay here if she found out. She's always been a control freak. I'm sure that Abigail probably lives with her now. I'm surprised I haven't seen my face on any of the milk cartons yet. If she gets wind of the school. She'll make sure that I'm taken out and move back to Virginia. I followed the news feed. Nobody ever got arrested, because Kyle couldn't identify anybody specifically. It was dark, and we were too busy running for our lives. It all happened so fast. I couldn't identify anybody if I tried. They're still there. If I go back, they'll kill what family I have left."

Scott wait a moment before taking a seat next to Theo. "I'm going to tell you something, Theo. And I want you to really listen to it before you just wave it off and say no, alright?" The Headmaster's voice is as comforting as he can make it. "They may be lawyers, but we have access to the best lawyers Miss Frost and this school can get. These people are experts in child services, they work for us on retainer. We can fight for you to be placed in our care until you are eighteen years of age. It's the best way for us to be in the clear, if by chance your sister should find out where you are, then we'd not only be forced to give you back, the school could also be liable to legal charges."

There is a quiet moment. "I know," he says. "That's part of why I didn't say anything until now to begin with. Then you could claim ignorance at least." He sinks a little in his chair. "I just don't want to lose them, too." He lets out a nervous laugh. "You know, Robyn, and Heather, and Kael, and so many other kids here. They don't get it. They treat their parents like they're the enemy. They're so lucky, and they don't even see it. I had everything, and unlike most kids my age, I knew it." He pulls out his iPhone. The one he came to the school with. A picture comes up of a man holding him in a headlock, presumably his father.
"I don't want to cause trouble for the school, but I'm scared. If something went wrong…"

The picture Theo shows Scott strikes a chord with him in a way that Theo doesn't know. "Right now, they think you are dead, Theo. You can't contact them, they're not a part of your life at this moment. You have to decide which you want. I think you'd be best off having the school take full legal responsibility for you. It's only two more years until you can do whatever you want, until then, we are running the risk of getting the school in trouble, and you being forced to go back to Virginia." His tone gains more neutrality as he finishes, this is something that Scott hasn't seen too often, but he also wants to be here for his pupil, and assist in how he can.

"They know I'm not dead," Theo states. He's paid attention to the news surrounding his disappearance. "I have to think about it." He continues to stare at the picture. "I miss him. He'd know what to do, he always did."

"I know how you feel about your father. I would have said the same thing about mine, and The Professor at your age." Now, Scott doesn't push Theo further on the issue. "You know exactly where to find me when you want to give me an answer."

Theo nods, and gets to his feet. He takes a few deep breaths to clear his emotions. "Yeah," he says. "Thanks. I'll let you know. Maybe I'll scramble a call to her and see if there's any way to talk her into it over the phone before I give away my location." He walks toward the door and turns the handle. He doesn't open it quite yet, though. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry about the form. I wasn't trying to cause a problem. I just didn't want anybody to ask me any questions. I didn't tell Miss Frost, but that student-teacher project with the security systems, it really did sound like something I'd love to do."

"And we forgive you for it. Doesn't take back what we had to do in response though." Scott gives a smile when Theo mentions the project. "We'll see how well you do after the grounding, alright?" Theo's still got some time to do in punishment, but as long as Theo doesn't have any problems, there may not be any reasons to keep that project grounded.

"I know," Theo says. "I don't expect to get out of the grounding. I just wanted to say I'm sorry to you." Not to Emma. "I should've talked to you first." He pulls open the door.

"Thank you, Theo. It means a lot." Genuinely said, an apology when you're wrong can go a long way, if it's heartfelt and genuine. Scott looks to Theo and smiles. "I'll see you soon at training."

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