1964-01-07 - Running From Ghosts
Summary: After Plan A was blown to smithereens, Tommy's forced to relive memories he'd rather forget before starting on Plan B.
Related: A Speedy Lunch and Different Streaks
Theme Song: None

Warning: Rough childhood.

Casa De Shepherd. Springfield, New Jersey, USA.

Growing up, Frank's house was never the kind of place that Tommy enjoyed being; most obviously because it meant being around Frank himself. This past week? It's been a delightful haven for him. For one thing Frank Shepherd was in Las Vegas at some sort of business convention. For another? He's been sharing the house with none other than recently acquired girlfriend Hope.

So the simple equation was, take house, subtract one bitter, hateful OLD man, add one vibrant, beautiful, fascinating young woman, equals happy.

However, even that happiness isn't bulletproof. No, with the end of the subtraction on the horizon — especially since Tommy never bothered to go and steal the old man's plane ticket back like he'd thought about — dread was setting in. Sure, he could force the issue. He could be the big bad scary mutant kid.

But that was one piece of trouble he didn't want to drag Hope into; or himself. Not with a super powered police force out there, and not with his eighteenth birthday now in the rear-view mirror. No, as little as he wanted to admit it? There /were/ precautions to be taken. Unlike Teddy, however, it wasn't the bad guys that gave him any concern.

"Hope? You hidin' in here, Spicecake?" Tommy calls out, taking off the 'borrowed' suit jacket and lobbing it at the well-worn sofa. With no response, eyes linger on the sofa for a few moments.

Thoughts go back to the future and the past in kind. Shared memories of a younger Tommy sitting on the sofa with a bowl full of cereal. Eating it like popcorn while he watched the television set. Frank and Mary screaming their heads off in the background, with him trying to ignore it in favor of the things on TV.

Little differences flickered back and forth in his mind, as he remembers this being both 1950-something and 1990-something at the same time. The television set changes size, programming and whether or not it's in color. The cereal itself changes between popular brands. Sometimes, he really can't tell which of the two is real; but that wasn't the important part.

Shaking his head, Tommy forcibly snaps himself back to reality. Drags his eyes away and walks towards the kitchen. Maybe she was working on improving those cooking skills that she didn't exactly have?

Nope. Instead, it's an empty kitchen… and again, memory took him kicking and screaming.

"Look, Frank. The only reason we came out here is 'cause one of the kid's teachers saw the black eye and figured you were hitting him. Knowing /that/ kid? He could probably use some sense knocked into him." he could hear the officer's voice clear as day; it almost seemed to echo.

"Hah! Damn bitches can't keep their mouth shut, can they Carl? Watch this. The kid loves me. He'll tell you I didn't do it." A moment's pause, and a yell. "THOMAS!"

A few moments later, an eleven-year old Tommy would walk through the archway. "Yeah?"

"Tell Carl here that I wasn't the one who hit you." came the order. The look in the man's eyes meant business — and hate.

Young!Tommy hesitated.

"Now, Thomas!" came the followup order, through gritted teeth.

"…yeah, it wasn't F— dad. Matt at school was callin' me names 'cause mom left. I hadda teach him a lesson." Even then, he was a capable liar.

"See, Carl? No problem. You and the boys still comin' over for poker later?"

"Yeah, Frank. We'll be here."

He shakes off yet another memory and retreats. Now it's down the hallway towards his bedroom he goes. Lips force themselves up into an amused grin, "Spicecake, if you go and tackle me again I'm gonna have to turn to finding some horrible and embarrassing nicknames for you…" he warns.. and then /zoom!/ He rounds the corner.

Nope, no Hope. She must have gone out while he was out. That's alright, though. She'll be fine. She's fast like he is. Nobody can touch either of them unless they let them, and the only people who could conceivably catch up? Would be one another.

Tommy's glad Hope's on his side, and suspects the same holds true for her. It's nice not to have to watch his back against the one person who /is/ as fast as he is.

Still, it seems like getting out of the house before he spends more time in his thoughts is a good idea. Turning around and getting a look at the door to his room? Not so much. It wasn't the original door.

"Go away, FRANK. You can clean it up yourself, I'm going /out./" yells a disgusted sounding and very teenaged Tommy Shepherd, sitting on the floor of his room and taping some cans of spray paint together for travel.

"Thomas Shepherd, open this door this minute and pick up this garbage before I toss you out with it!" yelled an enraged Frank as he banged on the door. Tommy could picture him now. Veins visible in his neck from the sheer rage.

For the most part, though, Tommy tried to ignore it. Gathering paint and firecrackers into a cloth sack. There was mischief afoot.

Banging turned into kicking. Kicking turned into ramming — and it took two or three, but the door gave way.

It was at that moment that Tommy's perception /changed./ Everything seemed to go in slow motion. He could see the door exploding towards him, wood splintering and spinning through the air. He could reach out and grab it if he wanted to. He could even see the muscles on Frank's face, contorting into a vaguely constipated expression that meant trouble was coming, and not the fun kind.

Instinctively, Tommy gathered up his things and ran. Time sped up briefly, and he was in the hallway looking back on a bewildered Frank.

"I said I'm going out, asshole." And he did.

That was a fateful night for Tommy. It was the night that his life changed forever, he became too fast to be touched unless he wanted to be touched. It was also the night that a prank gone wrong ended up with hundreds of students without a school to attend, because Tommy had vaporized it with the /other/ side of his powers.

It led to a stay in Juvie. It led to something akin to torture.

First comes an irritated scowl. Then something akin to a roar. "Fuck you, Frank!" he yells loud enough for the neighbors to hear a disturbance. Then he's moving. Running. It's a short distance, but right now he just wants to make something /explode./ Catharsis required. Fist rears back, green eyes focus on the wall. Already accelerating the molecules. It'll look /so/ cool to drive his fist towards it, and just have the explosion shatter the wall while it looks like his fist does.

There's a wordless scream and… a thud, followed by a crack, and a yelp not unlike a scolded dog. He was too fast for the explosion. He'd weakened the wall a little, but it was still intact when his fist /got/ there and now he's in pain and is that /blood?/

Fingers work slowly. Not broken. Maybe fractured, but he can still will them to move. New plan of attack. Get out of this ridiculous suit. Hit up a hospital for bandages. Then go see if that Pietro guy's in. Plan A flopped mightily, Plan B is up.

…and he really needs out of this house.

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