Chapter 45: Damn Those Garden Gnomes

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'And these people...,' she inquired, her words growing steadier by the sentence. He appreciated the fact that she was doing her best to cope; it made him feel less uncomfortable. 'The Legacies.... They're the ones who took you?'

'They didn't take me. I joined them. Willingly. I wanted... I wanted to be able to do something. I wanted to be able to make a difference. I wanted to be able to come back home, one day, and not have to worry about hiding my secret from you, or from dad, or from anyone else in this city!'

'You never had to hide anything from us, Elliot. You know that.'

'Do I? I've never heard either of you say one good thing about mutants, before. If you were to know that I.... That I was one, I thought.... It would ruin you. Ruin the family...'

'Elliot...' Again, she glanced at him, but he'd refused to let her see his own expression. 'Okay, I'm going to be honest with you, alright? I'm not exactly... pleased, by this revelation. But it's not because you're a... a mutant. It's because you thought you couldn't trust us with something like this.

'I know we have our flaws. Sometimes we're too distracted by work, or other events; sometimes we can't seem to make enough time. I know we're not the best parents, and that must make it hard on you, but we're still your parents, Elliot. I mean.... How long have you been hiding this from us? Have you... always... been able to...?'

He shrugged, loosely. 'Only about nine or so years.'

'Nine years.....' Her mouth worked as if it had wanted to say more, but nothing came out for several moments. 'You've been able to see for nine years?'

'I told you, it's not really seeing. It's more of an... awareness. My eyes are as useless as they look.' he added bitterly.

'That's beside the point! All this time you've been.... Lying to us! Keeping secrets! Our family does not keep secrets from each other! That's the one central rule we've brought you up on. And you've been breaking it for nine years!'

'I know!' he replied, his voice rising in volume. 'I'm sorry....'

'Sorry isn't good enough, Elliot!'

'What more can I say?! I can't take back the past, mum!'

'You could start by telling me why! Why you thought you had to hide this! Why you thought we wouldn't...' She trailed off, and he shook his head, wishing he didn't have to watch as tears streaked down her cheeks. 'Look, you're our son. Mutant or not, that's never going to change. So, from now on, no more secrets, alright?'

He swallowed, unable to reply.

'Elliot...' her tone went stern. 'Promise me you won't be keeping anything else from us. Please.'

'I...' he stammered, unsure exactly how to continue. So, he settled for the truth. 'I can't.'

A spark of surprised anger flared though her body, and he flinched.

'You... can't?' Her voice was higher than normal, and Elliot sighed, resting his head back against the headrest.

He let his face tilt in the direction where she sat. Even after all of these years, practicing, he had trouble aiming where his eyes were looking. He wished she had started up the ignition, already, maybe even headed off for home. Then he wouldn't have been holding her undivided attention, and it may have made it a bit easier.

'It's not that I don't trust you, mum,' he assured her. 'It's just... there are things about us, about my team, that I can't reveal or, not only will it put us in danger, but.... It could do the same to you.'

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