Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant to infringe on that copyright or defame Marvel Comics or theX-Men and related characters in any way.
Copyright: This work of FanFiction and the original characters described within are the intellectual property of K-NICE and her IRL persona. No copying, distributing or editing of this material is permitted without the express permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright law.
Thanks: I really want to thank Sparks for Beta-Reading this for me. If it wasn't for her, I would have sat on this story for a long while.
This is for Falstaff's first line challange.

Broken Promises
by K-Nice

I go away for a week and the world goes to hell. Not the whole world, just this one little house at 112 Green Street, Port Washington, Long Island. But that is enough because right now, this is my world.

I was a late-life child; when other kids parents were in their 30's, mine were in their 50's. It was never a problem before. It was never a big deal. My dad was always a pretty active guy. He took me fishing and camping, out to ball games, played catch, taught me to ride a bike. Just like other dads.

For some reason -- maybe the fact that we were two generations apart -- me and my dad always had a little trouble. He had this super gung-ho work ethic and I kinda like to goof off. I mean, I get the job done, but why not have a little fun while I'm at it, you know. 'Round when I turned 13, we used to fight a lot. He just couldn't understand what I was going through. I didn't much understand it either, and maybe that's what bothered me so much.

I remember when we would go to Mets games and he knew every player on each team's line-up, knew what pitches should be thrown, which bases should be stolen. It was like that with cars, politics, everything. He just knew things. But he didn't know about this thing. About this mutant thing. I didn't know that was what it was. I just knew there had to be something wrong with me.

When I was seven and Tommy Masters said the Cub Scout leader had abused him, my father had made me promise I would always tell him if something happened that scared me. I never told him about the days I woke up with my bed covered in snow. It just didn't make sense -- I couldn't explain it or even describe it. After the first time my mother found the wet sheets, he gave me a speech based on some military metaphor that I still don't get.

I'm sitting here at a bar in swinging downtown Port Washington, nursing a beer because I promised my mother I would help her sort through all the condolence cards we've accumulated. It's after seven and the evening crowd, all ten of them, are crushing up toward the bar.

I remember driving my mom and my aunt back to our house from a dinner at the church. It was the Wednesday Pot-Luck supper. We used to go to those every so often when I was a kid but they always made my father feel uncomfortable. He liked to be able to belt back one or six beers at the dining table, and he never felt right busting through a six pack in the basement of the rectory. But my mother liked church get-together's and my dad promised her she would never have to go to one of those things without her whole family.

So I sat in the car, feeling stark, raving terror at the prospect of going in my own house. My mom was waiting by the door and I just pulled out and drove away. The Down Under was the only place I could find to park. After about ten minutes of staring blankly at the steering wheel, I figured I might as well go inside.

Me and my dad were just starting to get along. See, when he finally found out I was a mutant, he pretty much kicked me out.

My father once promised me that he would never be ashamed of me for anything I told him, that he would always be proud of me, no matter what. Still, I didn't tell him about my powers until the very last possible moment, i.e. when the cops arrested me. Not that he wasn't normally an understanding guy, he was -- sometimes -- but my dad can ... could be kind of bigoted. Well, not kinda: He was New York's version of David Duke. I wonder that he didn't lynch me that day.

Anyway, we didn't say a civil word to each other after I went to Xavier's. Sometimes I would call to talk to Mom and it would just dissolve into a shouting match until one of us hung up. He once promised me that I would never set foot in his house again until I had been "fixed," as he termed it.

Something changed somewhere along the way because about seven months ago he stood up for mutants -- and for me -- to that Kluxer-in-a-silk-suit Graydon Creed. Later, Creed had some goons beat the crap out of him to teach me a lesson. I quit the X-Men to help him as he healed. I promised Mom that I would stay at home until he was all better, back to the man he used to be.

We spent more time together in those months than we had spent since I was 13. Slowly, we were close again and everything seemed as nice as ice.

Then, the world needed saving. I convinced myself that he didn't need me anymore. That a day or two wouldn't matter. So I left and fixed some of the broken things out there. Saved a life or maybe more. But then I was an X-Man again so I figured a week more couldn't hurt.

I made him promise to let Mom help him get around. She went out to run some errands and he decided he just had to get the mail right-that-instant.

He's not a young man. The strain his injuries and recovery had put on his heart was too much -- coupled with the pack-a-day habit he had picked up in Korea and the extra fifty pounds he was lugging around and you have to wonder at the look of shock on his face as he collapsed on the front walk. I wonder what it was that surprised him. He had to know he was playing with disaster.

He was always promising Mom he was going to quit for her birthday.

I hadn't called ahead to say I was coming back. I pulled in the driveway to the sound of departing sirens. A neighbor had to come and tell me what had happened. I got to the hospital just in time to watch him die.

Someone, a man, sits down next to me. I look over a see good old Scott Summers. Wow. I haven't seen him since the funeral last week. He drove two hours from Westchester just to look at my ugly face. What a guy.

"Hey, Bobby." Good ol' Fearless. Not afraid of anything. Honest, Loyal, Faithful.

I drain my beer and order a scotch. My father drank scotch whenever things were hectic at the job. I know it's a good way to get drunk. I down the shot, ignoring the fire that burns through me. My eyes try to tear but I just tamp it all down with a wave of icy cold.

He shivers as I say "Hey, Scott," and order another.

I can tell by the way he is looking at me that he is trying to decide what to do. I figure he'll order a soda and try to get me to talk about my feelings. Scott's a stand-up guy that way. He won't get a drink because he's got that long ride home but he won't just abandon me.

"Gin and tonic." I choke on my scotch as Scott accepts the liquor.

"Thanks." I'm not sure what I mean by that but I don't know what else to say.

"I can't let you get drunk alone, can I?" Scott flashes one of those rare grins and I feel brave enough to order another drink.

The bartender gives me a funny look, so I determine to hold on to this one for a while.

My father and I watched "Bambi" together when I was 9. I remember asking him what happened to Bambi's mother.

The question made him uncomfortable and he looked around as if searching for the answer. He was probably hoping my mother would passby. He sighed and looked at me with this distressed expression.

"She died ... she went away forever."

My little face crumbled. "Will you go away?"

He got really serious and said, "I promise, I won't leave you as long as you need me."

I toss back the scotch and tap my glass on the bar for another. Scott's a big guy. I bet a beer or two wouldn't hurt him, and it would sure help me. Scott orders a beer.

We sit like that for hours, him alternating gin and beer, me swallowing more alcohol in one sitting than all I've ever drunk before. After something like twelve shots I stumble off my stool. Scott catches my arm, his bleary eyes peering out from those red shades to search mine.

By way of explanation I slur out, "I promised myself I wouldn't cry."

It's flip, corny and somewhat crass in my situation but all I hear in response is, "We all break promises."

It could be Scott's voice, so sad but strong. It could be Scott's arms that hold me up and Scott who drives me home and spends the night on our couch so he can be there in the morning when we'll need him.

Or it could be my dad.

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