Shut Your Eyes

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: I'm a movie fan. Therefore, I don't know the comic canon on Scott's past. I've been told what it is, and it sounds really complicated, and it didn't inspire plot bunnies, so I'm ignoring it. This fic is based on the movie and the novelization (which you don't need to read to understand this). Got that? I am defying comic canon. You have been warned!

Thanks/Dedication: To kaly, who betaed, encouraged, and provided comments and reassurance on damn near every paragraph. *grins* It wouldn't have been nearly as good without ya.

Scott stood on the doorstep of his own home, his eyes screwed shut, his palms pressed against them for good measure. The police officer's hand on his shoulder felt heavy, like the scared knot in his stomach. At seventeen, guys didn't admit they were afraid of anything. But he was scared. Another headache was building. What if opening his eyes was the only way to release the pressure? What if his only choice was between the blinding pain of the headache, which would surely only get worse the longer he denied it, and destroying things?

Or killing people. None of the girls in the other washroom had been hurt, but that was a lucky break and Scott knew it. He couldn't see to make sure it was safe, so he wouldn't open his eyes. And really, what was safe? Who knew what the range of his deadly gaze was.

Suddenly the phrase "if looks could kill" didn't seem funny anymore. They could and they would, and the only thing between disaster and peace were his eyelids. But how long can you keep your eyes shut? How long before the tempation to see something, anything grows too strong to resist? What then?

The police officer rang the doorbell. Scott could hear it chiming inside the house. A long moment of silence, and then footsteps. Clicking noises - the door opening. Would this be his life now? Sounds, full of sounds, but no sights.

"Yes, officer? Scott! Are you okay?" His mom sounded worried, and a little bit panicked. "Is everything all right?" He couldn't tell who she was talking to, him or the cop, so he didn't say anything.

"Your son's fine, ma'am. There was an accident, some damage was done, but everyone is fine." Scott felt his mom's gentle grip descend on his shoulder, as if to pull him away from the officer. The man held his grip. "There's more. May I come in?"

Silence, but they started moving forward, so Scott figured his mom had nodded. The policeman guided him into the room and, daring to rely on only his eyelids, Scott felt for the edge of the couch in the living room and sat down. The silence stretched on and on, and Scott began to wonder if they'd left him alone and gone somewhere else to talk. Surely he would have heard them leave...

Then suddenly he wondered if his dad knew. If he'd heard what had happened, and he knew, and he didn't care what happened to Scott anymore. His mom wouldn't talk to the police without his dad, and maybe his dad didn't want to be near him.

All at once the silence and the sightlessness was too much, and he almost opened his eyes just to see what was happening. He didn't, but he broke out into a cold sweat just thinking of how close he'd come. His mom could have been sitting in front of him.

Someone cleared their throat. Probably the cop, because he broke the silence. "Your, uh, son was involved in an incident at the dance, Mr. and Mrs. Summers." His dad must have come in during that long quiet moment. Scott shifted uncomfortably in the couch. They were talking like he wasn't there, and he couldn't even tell that they were there!

"An incident?"

"Apparently he had an argument with his girlfriend during the dance. She left, went to the girls' washroom. He followed, but one of the teachers says he went into the boys washroom instead." There was a pause and a rustling of paper. Scott figured the policeman was checking his notes. "Your son complained of a headache," now there was an understatement, "and one of the other boys say his eyes, uh, 'glowed red'."

There was a choked sound, as if someone was going to say something, but that was all. Scott was starting to have trouble breathing properly. 'Glowed red'. The phrase sounded melodramatic, but it somehow belonged in nightmare his life had become. Glowed red, like a demon, an alien...something inhuman, anyway.

The cop pushed on, sounding a little skeptical but sticking to the facts as he had them. "Shortly after that, red light shot out of his eyes. It struck the bathroom wall, demolished it, passed through the girls bathroom and punched through another wall. At that point your son closed his eyes, and the beam disappeared." Scott could feel the weight of eyes on him.

Suddenly he was really angry. It wasn't his fault! He didn't ask for this! And he stopped it, didn't he? The damned cop could at least use his name! Scott had told it to him. He was still a person!

Wasn't he?

"He destroyed two walls with his eyes." The comment was flat, toneless. Nameless. Scott bit his lip, hard, as if the physical pain could wash away the emotional. Something as simple as a name had never seemed so important before. Now he was all but desperate to hear it. You named people, you named things you loved, and a thing without a name was nothing to you.

"Yes, sir. I was skeptical myself, but there were a number of witnesses. Including your son, who hasn't opened his eyes since the incident. He says he can feel the energy inside, waiting to come out like it did in the bathroom." Abruptly, the term witness seemed horribly ironic to Scott.

His own explanation sounded damning when repeated in the comfort of his living room. Energy inside his head, waiting to come out. That wasn't normal. That wasn't human.

The breath the policeman took was so deep Scott could hear it. "We believe your son is a mutant, sir."

He wanted to shout a denial, wanted to scream it and run away. To his room, outside, anywhere. But he knew it was true. There wasn't really another explanation. And he couldn't run. Because he couldn't see where to go, and because no one would give him a place.

Now that he'd lost his eyes, Scott couldn't help but see how very dark the world had become.

There wasn't much more for the cop to say, so he asked Scott's parents to keep an eye on him, and he left. "Go to your room," he heard his dad say, "your mother and I need to talk." But Scott couldn't see, so he stood carefully and felt his way across the room to the hall, down the hall to the stairwell, up the stairwell to another room. Two doors down, and he found his safe haven. Except it looked just like everywhere else, now.

No one offered to help. Stillness enveloped Scott, broken only briefly by raised voices.

"He's just a child!" His mother.

"He's not a child, he's a mutant!" His father. Scott winced where he lay on his bed, safe from unseen obstacles scattered over the floor. His eyes were hot, but he couldn't tell if it was the energy in his head or tears. He tasted blood, and realized he'd bitten through his lip.

"Scott is a child and he deserves a chance, dammit!" His mother never swore.

"A chance? What the hell are we supposed to do with him? He can't go back to school, and he can't stay here!"

"This is his home..."

"All he has to do is blink. Think about that. Think about the people outside, if you won't think of your family. Walls won't stop those eyes of his." Already he wasn't part of the family anymore... Tears ran down Scott's cheeks and, suddenly scared, he jammed his hands over his eyes again. What if he blinked to clear the tears, and the red beams slipped out?

"Honey, what are we supposed to do?"

"I don't know..." Voices, sad now instead of angry, dropped below the level Scott could hear. "I just don't know."

Staring into the red-tinted darkness behind his eyelids, Scott tried not to think too far ahead. Planning what to do was out of the question. The further he looked, the less of a future he could see. It was better not to think about it.