by Amaranth


This story is what happens when you fight with your mom before going to bed, then get up at 6:30 in the morning to write. Oh, well.

I spent an hour yesterday counting scars.

Big ones, small ones, long and short. Some were in places that I had to twist myself into interesting new shapes in order to see.

So many.

I have one, cuts just under my ribs, stretches about four inches. I got that one from Sabertooth.

I have one, not as obvious, on the bottom of my foot. I stepped on a piece of glass when my parents... when my parents and I took a trip to the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk. I remember hopping down the boards to a souvenir shop, one of many, and waiting for someone to come help me, while the blood started pooling on their doorstep.

My head. The back, if I leaned over. You・d be able to pull the hair away and see that there・s a bare place, where Bastion cracked my skull against a wall. I was lucky that time.

A scar on my abdomen, where they took out what was left of my appendix after it ruptured. I was in the hospital for weeks with a bad case of peritonitis. Not so lucky that time.

And not so lucky this time. My back, on which I slid across a hard-topped gravel parkway, protected only by a covering of unstable molecules. My back, which will forever bear a discolored spot the size of a dinner plate, where my skin was scraped away.

There are others, smaller, from fights, accidents. I don・t remember where I got most of them. The memory, the remembrance of pain, fades with time, as the pain itself once did.

There are scars inside, too.

Those are a lot harder to count.

Easier to hide.

I can push things down, down, to where I can・t see them anymore. Where nobody can see them.

Except me.

Late at night.

That・s when they come bubbling up to the surface.

The faces of my parents, the confusion on them, as Reno and Molokai mistakenly (Mistakenly? Or do I only wish that that were true?) drag them from the apartment, bent on exacting a debt.

The memory of their car, a twisted heap, flames still licking about the hood. The reporters loved that shot, and to them it was only improved by the sight of my mother・s hand stretched upon the ground.

Nothing else.

Just her hand.

I can remember long days, nights, trapped in a small, dark cell, with only the faint noises of footsteps to remind me that I wasn・t alone. Those scars have a smell to hem, medicinal, damp, rotten.

Not just smells. The feeling of being forgotten. Left behind.

Always left behind.

Deeper still, the scars that I have to twist in order to see.

Scars of failure.

Failing tests, failing my family, failing my friends, failing my team. Some failures are real. The others are born out of... out of what? Low self-esteem? Guilt over things I could never hope to change?

Those scars.


That・s what keeps me up at night.

Thinking of how I don・t belong. How I・m not as smart, as strong, as anything, as anyone else on the team.

I can sit in bed, and let myself drown in my feelings of abandonment, of emptiness.

I can let myself remember mistakes, all my mistakes, the problems they・ve caused, the arguments.

I can let myself believe that I・m a failure, destined to always screw everyone up.

I can let myself believe that no one cares.

But I try not to .

Because regardless of how I feel in the middle of the night, during the day I am told nothing to encourage those feelings. My friends crack jokes, but never call me a loser. Wolverine always tells me that I・m the best person the knows, that I・m a good person. Even Emma, even she can make me feel better for awhile. But reinforcement of the positive doesn・t make the negative go away.

The scars are still there.

Just hidden.


And when night rolls around again, they bubble up to the surface once more.

Scars on skin. Pale, shiny, each a testament to physical injury.

Scars on soul. Dark, malignant, each a testament to psychological injury.

Bodily scars, so easily covered up, hidden. Same with mental scars. Nobody knows that they・re there, except for me.

I spent an hour yesterday counting scars.

Big ones, small ones, long and short. Some were in places that I had to twist myself into interesting new shapes in order to see.

So many.