Up until today, the strangest thing Julio Richter has seen wash up on this beach was a bumper from a 1965 Ford Galaxie. Granted, it was shoved through the eye socket of a Sentinel head, but still.
He’s lived a quiet life here, fixing cars, computers and the occasional marriage, since he buggered off from X-Factor. None of this child-soldier-protecting a world that hates and fears blah blah blah. No Right trying to make him into an earthquake machine, and certainly no FUCKING TELEPATHS all up in his shit No Offence Jean but COME ON.
He’s never been happier, taking his lunch through the overgrown wasteland that had been a residential neighbourhood before Hurricane Sandy screwed the pooch and clambering up the dunes to eat while the sea rolls in. He can feel the bedrock beneath the sand, hear the song in the jettys, and life is good.
It’s good until he sees something brilliant red-gold wash up in the grey-green tide, and at first, squinting against the sun, he thinks it’s a traffic cone. Until it’s not and he sees that it’s *hair*.
“Oh, motherfucker.” Julio curses, shoving the rest of his ham sandwich in his mouth as he scrambles down towards the water. Facedown in the surf, sand crusting torn white leather, the man doesn’t move until Julio prods him with his foot.
There’s a wheeze and a cough and he pushes himself upright as Julio takes a step back. His face is pale and bruised, but the inky, star-like mark around one silver eye is anything but and Julio promptly falls on his ass in the sand under that sharp stare. “Are you ok?” He asks dumbly. In the back of his head, he hears Cyclops telling him to ready his powers for a possible attack, but he can’t even bring himself to try.
The redhead’s first response is to lunge for him, and suddenly his internal Scott seems vindicated, but the motion abruptly turns into a stumble and another faceplant in the sand. And then he rolls over and squints up at the sky, then back at Julio, muttering in something that sounds like Russian, except played backwards, in a voice that’s almost too deep and raspy for someone with an absurdly pretty face and enough hair to qualify as a My Little Pony.
Fuck the bumper in the sentinel head, Julio thinks as the redhead picks himself up and starts clearly cursing in that weird cheese-grater language again. This is the strangest thing Julio Richter has ever found on the beach.
Maybe just ever.