Cody wasn't looking forward to school starting back up. The summer had been great — especially once Chance had chilled out after spending a few months hanging out with his friends like a normal person — and for as much as he was looking forward to actually starting classes with the main student body, he had to admit, he was a little nervous because he'd watched his older brother get picked on for years for not having powers — and he wasn't there yet either.
To be fair, neither was Kari, but Kari didn't seem to get nervous about anything. Ever.
But there were still a few weeks before the semester began, and he was going to get in as much time with his friends as possible. And that included finally talking K into letting him come out to the range to try shooting. After all, Chance was a crack shot. Maybe he could be too. He was okay at archery… maybe he could be better with guns. Maybe he could find something that was his the way Chance had, so he could have something to do when he was frustrated with the bullies he was sure would come after him while he didn't have any powers.
But he was disappointed when he got out to the range to find that he couldn't hit a bullseye. Chance had talked about it like it was easy, but it wasn't.
To be fair, the targets K set out for him were easy to explode — in smoke or water or actual explosions — without hitting them square on, but Cody was still a little disappointed that he hadn't hit everything in the center. At least until the red targets came out.
Then it was impossible to be in a bad mood when he was getting explosions.
Chance had been right — this was fun.
When they were done shooting, K took them through the process to break down their weapons and loaded the cases into the back of the Jeep, the whole time making sure that Cody knew he'd done pretty darn well for a first timer. "It's a lot of practice to get to be good, and I have no doubt you'll get it with some time," she told him. "And in the meantime, the red targets don't need much to set them off."
"Yeah, those are definitely more fun," Cody had to agree with a smile.
"You want to make this a regular thing?" she asked, packing up the last bits of flotsam, her back to him.
"I guess that would help," he agreed, though he was a bit distracted when he realized that the headache he thought was from the noise of the explosions wasn't going away. "I mean, I don't know what powers I'm going to get, if I get any. I should have something I can use, right? And Chance said this was fun — and it is. I just kind of … I'm not good at it, I don't think."
"Well, honestly, even if you end up with the coolest powers you can imagine, you can still end up somewhere, sometime without them, so this is good no matter what you get," K told him.
"So, can we do this on weekends, maybe?" Cody asked, rubbing a spot between his eyes. Maybe he'd inhaled a lot of smoke — or got some in his eyes.
"Sure," K said, nodding, though she paused when she saw him having trouble. "You alright?"
"Yeah. My head just hurts. I think it's the smoke," he said.
"Oh, if you're allergic to gunpowder, that will suck," she told him as she tried to take a better look at him, resting her hand on his arm.
"You think that's the problem?" he asked, glancing up at her.
"I've never heard of anyone being allergic to it, but who knows?" K answered. "Might be too much glare — that can cause a headache."
"Oh, I hope I'm not allergic," he muttered as he rubbed his forehead. "I really want to try this. Chance said it was fun, and the explosions are amazing…" He trailed off and rubbed his forehead harder when the headache started to get more insistent, a little bit sharper behind his eyes.
K stopped and pulled Cody over to the passenger seat so he could sit down more comfortably before she started on a few pressure points she'd learned from Logan that would ease a headache. She didn't say a word as she did it until she was at a point where it should have been helping him. "Is that any better?" she asked quietly, still putting pressure on the two at the back of his head.
"Yeah," he said, sounding surprised. "Can you teach me that? What are you doing, anyway?"
"I can try, but Logan's better at it," K told him. "Acupressure points. They're supposed to relieve pressure in your body, reroute whatever it is that causes odd pains."
"Well, it's working," Cody said, sounding relieved.
She took a minute to show him the points and how much pressure to use — and in which order — before she promised to have Logan show him if there was an easier method or points that were more specific to where it was hurting. When he looked somewhat comfortable, she finished up and hopped into the Jeep, not wanting to drag it out any longer if it was going to be an ongoing issue.
When they got back to the mansion, Scott was the one to meet them, grinning and expecting to see an overly excited boy, like Chance had been when he went shooting for the first time — though Cody wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as Scott had expected. The headache was mostly gone, but he had lost a lot of excitement because of the flare up.
"He did fine at the range," K reported. "Nailed the safety stuff, was wonderful about what was beyond his target, but … afterward, things lost some of the fun." She had one hand on Cody's shoulder and was trying to give him a supportive sort of smile, but it was clear that Cody wasn't thrilled.
"What happened?" Scott asked with a little frown.
"It's fine. I just … I think the glare gave me a headache," Cody muttered at the floor.
"He seemed like he was hurting pretty good for a minute there, but I don't keep any Tylenol or anything, so I showed him a few pressure points," K continued. "Logan knows more, though."
Scott looked thoughtful for a moment. "Maybe we should take you down to Hank if it was that bad."
"I'm fine, Dad," Cody promised. "The pressure points helped."
Scott frowned and watched him for a moment longer before he put a hand on Cody's shoulder. "Thanks, K, I've got it from here," he promised.
"Anytime," K replied. "For either of you …"
Scott smirked her way as he steered Cody back toward their suite, though he was sure to ask, "You sure you're alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's mostly gone now anyway," Cody promised. "Probably just a fluke thing."
"Maybe," Scott said, with a little frown. "Would you tell me if it comes back?"
"It's really not a big deal," Cody said.
"That's not what I asked," Scott said.
Cody took in a deep breath that moved his shoulders all the way up to his ears. "I don't think it'll come back," he said.
"Yes, Dad," Cody said, letting out a little sigh.
The next time Cody went shooting with K, he was relieved when he didn't get a headache at all. So he figured it was a fluke thing and that he'd just had a problem with the glare, like K had said. Of course, it didn't do much for his shooting, because he was half waiting for the headache to start up again, but he was sure that he would do better next time when he wasn't so nervous.
But if he thought he was going to get off without any more headaches, he was sorely mistaken. This time, it happened when he went with Kari to a fencing lesson. After all, he wanted to try a few things, see what stuck. And Kari and Krissy both swore that sword fighting was a blast.
He didn't even get past warming up before, all of a sudden, the headache came back. It was sharp and just behind his eyes and felt like something was trying to come out of his head, and he totally missed it when Kurt said something about moving on from warming up to some basic forms — he was too busy trying to will the headache into going away.
"Cody?" Kurt prompted, then frowned when he saw that the boy was holding his head in his hands, the heels of his hands pressed into his eyes. "Was is los?"
"I'm okay," Cody said, trying to press a few of the pressure points Logan had showed him to get the headache to stop. "Just give me a second."
Kurt crouched down next to Cody as he tried to get his headache under control. "What's wrong?" he asked gently. "You can't fence in this state — let me help."
"It's just a headache," Cody muttered.
Kurt frowned as he kept a hand on Cody's back. "Perhaps we should go down to see Hank."
"I don't want to see Hank," Cody said, still rubbing his eyes.
Kurt waited with him for a moment, but when the headache wasn't letting up in the slightest, he decided it was time to go to the med bay anyway, and the two of them appeared in a poof of blue an instant later, with Kurt still steadying Cody with one hand on his shoulder. "Henry," he called out.
"What brings you to my laboratory today, my dear boy?" Hank called out from his office as he made his way to where Kurt and Cody were, though it was clear Cody just wanted out.
"I don't need to see a doctor," Cody muttered, but Kurt wasn't letting go of his shoulder.
"Headache," Kurt explained to Hank.
"Well, that should be a quick matter, then," Hank said as he instructed Cody to get comfortable and he started a brisk exam.
"It's not really — I think I'm doing the pressure points wrong, that's all," Cody argued. "That worked last time."
"How often has this been happening?" Hank asked, already considering taking him in for a CAT scan if the headaches were this bad and persistent.
"It was just one time," Cody said. "And then today. But I can handle it."
"Are they getting worse?"
Cody let out a breath, frustrated that they weren't letting him leave. "I don't know, I guess," he said, still rubbing his forehead. "I can't really … compare. K helped last time. Really. If I can get the pressure points it'll go away; I think I'm just doing it wrong."
"If they're the same pressure points that Logan uses, then you're in the right places for them," Hank said. "But it's entirely possible that the pressure points won't do what you need them to."
"They worked before," Cody argued.
"Then your symptoms may be worsening," Hank told him. "But that's still no cause for alarm; it's perfectly normal for people your age to develop migraines."
Cody let out a breath of frustration. "Well… can't I just, like — isn't there something I can take for it?" He glared at the floor and then closed his eyes, putting the heels of his hands back where they were before — though the longer Hank took, the quieter he got when the headache wasn't letting up in the least.
"We can take a quick scan, and I can give you something to ease the migraine, but you'll have to wait here until it kicks in properly," Hank told him.
"Okay," Cody said behind his hands.
Hank gave Kurt a significant look — both men knew Cody had to be hurting now that he wasn't arguing — and as soon as Kurt stepped out of the lab, he teleported up to find Scott while Hank quickly got his scans underway. Scott and Kurt reappeared in the lab a few moments later, and Scott frowned when he saw Cody hunched over trying to get some relief.
"Headache?" he asked Hank, just for confirmation, as he headed over to sit by Cody. When Hank nodded, Scott let out a sigh and turned back to Cody to give him his full attention. "Cody, I need you to try something for me," he said low and quiet before he put the glasses he always carried just in case into Cody's hands. "Tell me if this helps."
Cody looked totally disbelieving for a moment and couldn't help but glance up at his dad, but when Scott looked perfectly serious, he tried it, slipping the slightly too large glasses on.
It took a moment, but the longer he looked through the red lenses, the less the headache in the back of his head bothered him, and Cody was visibly relaxing as Scott rubbed his back and muttered, "It's alright. Just keep focusing on your breathing."
Finally, Scott looked up at Hank. "We should get some new frames that fit his face better," he said. "But this will help with the headaches. It's not a migraine."
"We'll have to get that right away, then," Hank said, relaxing but still simply watching Scott for a good long time.
"Am I going to have to wear these all the time?" Cody asked quietly
Scott shook his head. "They'll help with the headaches when they come up," he explained. "I had headaches for a while before my powers kicked in." He started to smile. "When you start actually having optic blasts, you'll have to wear them until you can control it, though. Just so you don't hurt anything or anyone." When Cody frowned, Scott smiled a little wider. "It's not permanent, I swear."
"So I'm — I'm getting my powers?" Cody asked, both of his eyebrows raised behind the glasses as he started to very slowly grin.
"Well, seeing as the glasses helped..." Scott said with a little smile before he reached over and pulled Cody into a hug and grinned outright. "Of course," he said when he pulled back a bit to look at Cody, "it could be a while. I had headaches for a long time, and even when it starts for you, it'll be sporadic."
Cody grinned the longer he thought about it, nodding to himself. "But if I'm wearing these, how will I know when it happens?" he pointed out.
Scott smirked and tapped the side of the glasses. "They'll get brighter. Right now, these look more like shades than anything else."
"So… keep an eye on the mirrors," Cody surmised.
Scott grinned and nodded. "And I'm sure if you miss it, your friends will help you look out for it."
Cody nodded as he thought it over, then paused. "Wait. Does that mean I'm going to get a headache every time I use my powers?"
Scott smirked and shook his head. "Not every time," he promised. "For the first little bit, maybe, but…" He tapped the side of his head. "No headaches, I promise. You just need to be careful about using it all up. That will give you a headache." He grinned and got to his feet, pulling Cody with him. "We'll practice once it comes up."
Cody was also grinning up at his dad as he nodded, clearly thrilled with this turn of events. "Yeah, yeah when I get the glow."
Both of them were outright beaming as they headed out of the lab, with Cody still wearing the glasses, though now he was wearing them more because he so excited that he'd forgotten to take them off than because he needed help with his headache.
"So how long do you think the glasses will take? My glasses, I mean?" Cody asked.
"Shouldn't be more than a day or two," Scott promised. He had to smirk. "It took a little longer with mine, but we got pretty good at making those glasses after I was on the team for a while."
K and Logan were in the kitchen when Scott and Cody came up from the lab. The two ferals were discussing the test they wanted to run the kids through in combat class and sharing a mug of coffee, though they stopped when the two Summers boys came in, and Logan straight up did a double-take and raised one eyebrow on seeing Cody's new accessory.
"Slim and Slimmer," Logan said, smirking slightly at the young man. "What's the story here?"
Cody glanced up at Scott before he looked over at Logan again. "I'm going to get optic blasts," he explained, clearly thrilled.
"How'd you figure that one out?" Logan asked, his chin resting in the palm of his hand.
Cody tapped the side of his head. "Headaches," he said.
"Headaches," Logan said slowly before he turned toward K and started shaking his head. "Like the one you had the other day?"
"Right," Cody said, nodding. "But Dad brought me his glasses, and it fixed it." He shrugged. "So… that's how he knew about it."
"Your mom will want to hear about this too," Scott pointed out quietly, and Cody grinned even wider.
"Right!" He gave his dad one more hug before he ran off.
As soon as Cody rushed off to tell his mother and his siblings, Logan gave K such a look as if the whole situation was completely unbelievable. And somehow, entirely her doing. "Take him out for one shooting session and you just had to drop kick him right into puberty."
K let out a growl and smacked him hard, though she didn't even have the beginnings of a shot back when all she could come up with was: "You… are just … awful."
And that had Scott laughing — especially when Logan simply smirked back at her for her total lack of a comeback.
"I am not taking the blame on this one," K laughed as Logan pulled her over for a kiss, ignoring her half hearted attempts to make him let go of her.
Scott laughed a little harder and shook his head. "No, I was about his age when it started for me."
"And did you have some pretty older woman showing you explosions?" Logan teased.
"No. He has a point, K."
"What the hell is even going on?" K said, completely in shock. "You two … are not supposed to team up on me. I mean … it's the only way you'll have a chance, but still."
Still grinning, Scott shrugged openly. "Hey, you're the one giving my son optic blasts," he teased.
"Oh, you … are so going to get it," K promised. "You're encouraging him with blaming me for these kids … yeah. You're in trouble now."
"What, you don't want to take the credit?" Scott had to laugh.
"No, I'm pretty sure that's all you," she laughed. "I had nothing to do with any optic blasts or face lasers or anything like that! I was just present when he got a headache. Which I am getting now, by the way."
Scott shrugged openly. "I guess that's true," he said, still grinning widely. "Can't blame you for the blasts if it hasn't happened yet."
"Losin' your touch," Logan told her as he got to his feet.
"Yeah, that's gonna get you a touch alright," K shot back, eyes narrowed as Logan took a few backward steps, grinning wider at her all the while.
Hank stepped into the kitchen moments before the two ferals took off at a run, with K giving chase for once, while Scott was still chuckling to himself and unable to stop grinning as he nodded Hank's way. "It seems as if I've once again missed something vital," Hank said.
Scott shook his head, knowing what he was referring to with "once again" missing something — since Hank hadn't known about the headaches. "I wasn't in the X-Men when that started happening; you couldn't have known."
"No, of course not, but I had no idea. All this time, and in all these years, you never shared that experience with me," Hank said. "I would very much like to hear it."
Scott looked surprised for a moment and then shrugged lightly. "You heard it. And you'll see it with Cody. That's just how my power set worked."
"There has to be more that we can be prepared for," Hank said. "Something that might have helped you ease into it, had it been available."
That had Scott actually pausing to think it over. "I don't know that there's anything that we can do to help. The headaches are just the powers starting up, so a painkiller isn't going to do much. Maybe there's something now that we didn't have then, but those glasses will make all the difference." He sat down and gestured for Hank to do the same. "My parents didn't know what was going on — so for him to have them from the start? He'll be alright."
"And there isn't anything else you can think of that might be useful?" Hank said. "I truly want him to be prepared, even if there is a new visor being cut for him as we speak."
Scott leaned back. "I really can't think of anything else," he admitted. "But I'm not exactly the best litmus test for this part."
"I'm afraid I disagree," Hank said. "Who would be better?"
"Honestly, Alex," Scott said.
"Then would you mind terribly if I called him in to try to work something up before we need it?"
"I'll call him," Scott said. "But I'm telling you: the glasses made all the difference once I had them." He let out a breath. "I wish I could give you more, but you know I still don't remember all of it."
"Well if anything comes to mind, please," Hank said.
"Of course," Scott promised.
"Absolutely amazing," Hank said, shaking his head as he thought about it. "I have to say, Scott, your pediatrician had to be a genius. There had to have been dozens of different attempts before they settled on this. I'd never even heard of ruby quartz before I met you. I'd love to see the files from that time."
Scott's smile faded. "Yes, well. You'd be hard pressed to find anything, considering the source was Dr. Essex," he said quietly.
Hank was perfectly still as he watched his old friend. "I had no idea, Scott. And I take it all back."
Scott let out a breath and then smiled lightly at Hank. "It's fine. It's probably the only good thing he ever did for me, finding me those glasses."
"It's likely the only good thing he ever did for anyone," Hank replied.
Scott had to nod his agreement before he leaned back. "That's why I don't have much to give you; I still don't remember all of it."
"And in that case, I hope that you never do," Hank replied. "You've dealt with enough nightmares and horror shows from that particular villain to last anyone a dozen lifetimes."
Scott looked as if he'd rather be having just about any conversation over this one as he awkwardly tried to change the subject. "Anyway, Cody has a leg up with the glasses. It's when he starts blasting things that we'll really have to keep an eye out," Scott said..
"Before I go, should I be concerned for Logan's safety? I can't recall seeing him run like that before," Hank said, clearly trying to add a little levity to their chat when it was so clear Scott didn't want to talk about anything to do with how he had slipped into his abilities.
Scott couldn't help but chuckle. "Oh, it was worth it." He got to his feet. "Thanks for looking after Cody, by the way. Let me know when the glasses and visor are ready."
"From where I was sitting, you did all the work," Hank said honestly. "And the new visor and glasses should be ready by morning. This machine cuts faster than the old one."
"I'll come down and get them first thing," Scott said with a nod before he couldn't help but smile and put his hand on Hank's shoulder. "I'd better get up there. I'm sure Annie's beside herself."
When Cody got upstairs to the Summers suite, he was still grinning and excited. He didn't even have to say anything when he got in before Charlie had pulled him into a huge hug, beaming and almost dancing in place.
After all, she could tell he was excited and proud — and that coupled with the glasses had pretty much told her everything she needed to know.
But Chance had only seen the glasses before he started to laugh. "Hey, if you were hard up for sunglasses, you could have asked me. I bet mine would fit you better," he teased.
Cody glared at his older brother over Charlie's shoulder. "Aw, shut up Chance."
Chance laughed before he rushed over to hug Cody too. "So, spill. How'd it happen?"
Cody grinned and waved his two older siblings further into the suite so he could find Annie and Chloe playing checkers — he wanted to tell the whole family. When Annie looked up at him and smiled, she had to do a double-take when she saw that Cody was wearing his dad's glasses. Then, she scrambled to her feet and rushed over to take his head with both of her hands, looking him over with a look that was caught between proud and devastated — since no mother wanted her son to have to hide his eyes, after all.
She brushed his hair away from the glasses. "Cody?" she prompted.
He grinned madly. "Dad says I'm getting optic blasts," he explained.
"Getting?" Chance repeated, his head tipped to the side. "Pretty sure you'd know if beams were coming out of your face."
Cody rolled his eyes at his older brother, but it was hidden behind the glasses, so the effect was totally ruined. "It's not like Krissy where she just started teleporting," he explained. "Dad said he had headaches for a while before he started blasting." He tapped the glasses. "These help."
Annie frowned as she looked Cody over. "Honey, how long have you been having headaches?" she asked, sounding obviously concerned.
Cody scrunched his shoulders in a bit. "It… it was just one time before today," he said. "I didn't think it was a big deal."
"And instead, it turns out you're going to have Dad's powers!" Charlie said, grinning widely.
Cody couldn't help but laugh as he nodded. "Yep! Totally worth the headaches."
Annie was shaking her head at the excited kids, unable to stop her own smile at their enthusiasm, but even so, she couldn't help frowning as she watched her little boy. "Well," she said before she leaned over to kiss his forehead. "That's wonderful news."
"Oh, don't worry, Mom. He's going to be amazing at this," Charlie promised, putting a hand on her mom's shoulder before she pulled Annie into a hug.
"He's not going to have to wear the glasses all the time, Mom," Chloe pointed out in a perfectly matter-of-fact tone.
"Yeah, just when I get headaches," Cody said. He picked the glasses up for a second so he could look at Annie. "See? No red glow yet."
Chance grinned. "You'll get it."
"Dad said it could be a few months, but until then, Hank's going to make me some glasses that fit better." Cody touched the side of his glasses. "Since these are kind of big."
"You might grow into them," Chloe teased.
"Gonna sprout two feet in two hours," Chance chuckled.
Cody picked up his glasses just to give Chance a glare, but that had Chance laughing even harder. "It's so much funnier with them on!" he giggled delightedly.
"Oh, leave him alone," Charlie said with a sigh.
"Never," Chance swore, which got Cody to give him another dry look. And of course, that had him laughing harder.
"Nobody can see your face, Cody. It's not working really well," Chloe said in that same perfectly matter-of-fact tone, which had Chance doubled over and clutching his stomach.
"Chance, stop teasing your brother," Annie said, shaking her head.
"I can't stop laughing, though," he insisted, still grinning.
"You're just jealous," Cody insisted.
"Of the glasses? Oh yeah," Chance said, nodding along. "I've always wanted ones that are too big for my face."
Charlie reached over to smack her twin brother in the back of the head. "Seriously, Chance."
He rubbed the back of his head and then laughed before he pulled Cody over into a side hug. "Seriously, Cody. That's awesome. Let me know when the powers actually come in, huh? We can go to the range and shoot stuff." He paused and grinned. "You use your face. I'll use my guns."
"Chance," Annie said in a warning tone.
Chance grinned her way and shrugged, then raised both hands in a gesture of surrender. "Okay, okay."
Annie shook her head at him and then reached over to pull Cody into a proper hug. "We really are so excited for you," she promised.
"Thanks, Mom," Cody said, grinning before he returned the hug and nearly got knocked over when both of his sisters joined in.