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So Far Away From Me
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Written circa 2009. Lyrics from the Dire Straits' "So Far Away".
Nobody at Xavier Institute could believe it when Scott Summers came down to breakfast one morning. Late.

Kitty and Evan stared at him over their Pop Tarts and Corn Flakes in astonished silence. Only Kurt seemed to have the ability to speak: “Dude, do you know vhat time it is?”

“Nope.” Scott went to the refrigerator and poured a glass of orange juice.

“You’re not even dressed,” Kitty finally said. “Did you like just wake up or something?”

“I overslept.”

“You? Mr Ten O’clock Curfew?” Evan jeered.

“I was up late.”

“Doing vhat?” Kurt asked.

“That’s none of your business.”

The three young mutants seemed relieved; at least his rudeness was still alive and well. It was still a shock that the obsessively-punctual Cyclops should arrive late for school, and still more shocking that he didn’t seem to care. Scott’s motto was ‘On time is late’, and he made sure every resident at the Institute adhered to his ideology, even if they didn’t agree with it. The others knew he pushed them because he wanted them to succeed, but he didn’t have to be such an asshole about it. And he was an asshole, loud and proud.

But ever since the incident with Magneto on Asteroid M and the reunion of Scott with his long lost brother Alexander Masters (now Summers again), the other mutants had noticed slight changes in their usually rigid comrade. Almost as if he were lightening up a bit. Unfortunately for them, the only time when Scott put on his happy face was when he was talking to or about Alex. It was a shame that they were thousands of miles apart, otherwise life would have probably been a lot easier for the young mutants.

“We really need to think about kidnapping Alex and bringing him here,” Kitty had grumped on more than one occasion. “I bet Scott would be like sooo much easier to get along with.”

“You just want ‘im here ‘cause you heard he was cute,” Rogue (among others) had responded to such comments.

Alex was cute, of course, with his sun-kissed blond hair and surfer’s physique, not to mention his cheerful, easygoing nature that was like the day to his moody brother’s night. Professor Xavier had mentioned from the beginning that Alex was welcome to join the X-Men. Alex had bashfully declined, saying that he needed time to think about it, but thanked the professor for his hospitality. It had pained Scott to hear that his little brother wouldn’t be coming back home with him, but he understood Alex’s need for space and the desire to stay with his adoptive parents. And with his newly-emerging mutant powers, meeting his older brother, getting brainwashed and supersized by Magneto all in a matter of days, it was a lot for a sixteen year-old to deal with. So Scott, calming the selfish monster that never wanted to let Alex out of his sight again, respected his decision and returned to Bayville, New York alone.

But the Summers boys had found other ways to make up for lost time; hardly a day went by that they weren’t in communication with each other. Alex was as much a web surfer as a wave surfer, and he emailed Scott even if he had nothing important to say. It would always brighten Scott’s day to hear how his little brother was doing, what happened at school that day, how good or bad the waves were. Because of the differences in time zones they had to restrict phone calls to the weekends, and that went for live webcam chats as well. The latter was the preferred mode of communication and they cheated on curfew occasionally, especially if something came up that was important. If Scott got an email from Alex that hinted at any sign of distress or angst, he’d stay up until four o’clock in the morning to offer his live, streaming support. And that was exactly what he’d done last night.

Alex had had a bad day at school due largely in part to an incident concerning his mutant powers and accidental damage to school property. He had been sent home; his adoptive parents tried to be sympathetic but it had ended in an argument. Alex had been on the verge of tears as he told his older brother everything. Afterward he had wiped his nose and smiled and said, “I wish you were here with me right now, Scott. I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too, little bro,” he replied with uncharacteristic sentiment. “I’d be hugging you right now if I could.”

They had signed off a few minutes later. Scott had crawled into bed with his clothes on, and hit the snooze button on his alarm when it went off two and a half hours later. It was going to be a long day.

 

It was fortunate that Scott Summers had an excuse to wear shades, because he had eyes like a raccoon with plenty of bloodshot to spare. And, if he sat in just the right position, he could totally fall asleep in class. He didn’t like doing it, but sometimes it just couldn’t be helped.

At the end of what turned out to be one of the longest days in the history of studentkind, Scott drove Kurt, Kitty and Jean back to the Institute that they called home, and promptly fell asleep on the couch with the Bayville Daily Post still held in his hands. He was later woken up by Logan who needed his assistance in the after-school training program for the middle school kids. Scott suited up without complaint and sludged through training until dinner.

After a shower and just before bedtime, he wearily sat down at his desk and turned on his computer.

YOU HAVE 1 NEW E-MAIL MESSAGE, said a popup in the taskbar.

He clicked it expectantly. Just as he thought, it was from Alex.

Scott,

thanx for talking with me last nite. i know i probably kept you up way to late but i want you to know how much it meant to me. i’m so lucky to have a brother like you in my life & i hope we can get together in person again sometime soon. i miss you and think about you all the time

love u,

Alex


ps. heres something i made just for you. http://hawaiian-surf. com/albums/amasters/forscott. mpg

Scott clicked the link and waited for the file to download. The media player opened it as soon as it was finished. A home movie came up, showing a white sand beach and clear blue tropical waves. A solo electric guitar began to strum out a mellow rhythm. Alex ran out from behind the camera and posed heroically with his surfboard. It looked like an old clip—he couldn’t have been a day over fourteen. He smiled and waved and then ran off into the surf. The clip changed, this time to a road sign that read South Beach, CA. Looked like the Masters had flown Alex out to a youth surfing competition. He stood beaming in a cheering crowd with the first place trophy.

Scott smiled and rested his chin in his hand, watching his little brother’s life unfold.

Here I am again in this-a mean old town,” sang the Dire Straits, “and you’re so far away from me. Now where are you, when the sun go down? You’re so far away from me.

Alex at a pool party with his friends. He did a cannonball off of the diving board but scratched his arm on the way down. The next clip was Alex proudly showing off his bloody scratch.

You’re so far away from me, so far I just can’t see. You’re so far away from me, you’re so far away from me.

Scott could feel tears coming to his eyes as he watched Alex blow out the candles on his fifteenth birthday cake. It had a shark fin surfacing in the icing and a surfer riding a chocolate wave. Mr Masters laughed and hugged his son while Mrs Masters cut the cake.

I’m tired of being in love and being all alone, when you’re so far away from me. I’m tired of making out on the telephone, ‘cos you’re so far away from me.”

Alex holding the camera on himself at the beach, kissing the lens and making silly faces. He looked sunburned and wet, but happy. His hair was getting longer.

And I get so tired when I have to explain, when you’re so far away from me. Say, you been in the sun and I been in the rain, and you’re so far away from me.”

Uh oh. A hospital room. A goofy grinning teenager. Mr Masters showing off a broken surfboard to the camera. Alex showing off a line of stitches on his right calf, then the shark tooth that the doctor had pulled out of his leg.

So far away from me, so far away fromyou’re so faaaaar. You’re so far away from me.”

A sixteen year-old Alex on a sunset beach, squinting against the wind, his blond hair blowing. He was smiling and laughing at someone behind the camera. He flashed the gnarly sign—thumb and pinky out, other fingers in—and stuck out his tongue like Gene Simmons.

As the song began to fade, the movie wrapped up its final scene in Alex’s bedroom, where he sat at his desk with an inflatable beach ball globe. No doubt this footage had been made since their last chat. He made a show of pointing out Hawaii and then New York state, shaking his head, and tossing the globe over his shoulder. He smirked, kissed his thumb, and pressed it over the eye of the webcam. The picture went black and the movie ended.

Scott sat back from his desk and carefully removed his shades. Keeping his eyes tightly shut, he wiped the tears from his cheeks and put them back on. Not only did he have the most talented, funny and creative little brother in the world, but also the sweetest. Whatever girl he dates should count herself lucky, because she’s never going to find another guy like Alex in a million years.

A sharp pang went through Scott’s heart. No girl is good enough for Alex, he thought automatically. Not a girl on this earth. Not even Mother Theresa. Not even Jean.

He hit REPLY on the email but was suddenly overwhelmed with a heavy feeling of tiredness. The sleepless nights were beginning to catch up to him.

Tomorrow, he promised, closing the program. But not before he saved the movie in his own personal files. It had already become his favorite.



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