X-Men fan fiction
part 1: Gifted Students
Chapter 1: Homecoming
Chapter 2: Recharge
Chapter 3: Regenerate
Chapter4: Xavier's Decision
Chapter 5: X-Men in Training
Chapter6: Mission Fatigue
Chapter 7: New and Improved
Chapter 8: Fear Itself
Chapter 9: Through the Glass
Chapter 10: Mourning Glories
Chapter 11: Ghost Stories
Chapter 12: The Devil and Despair
Chapter 13: Spuytin Dyvil Falls
Chapter 14: Evil Spirits
Chapter 15: Heart Stone
Chapter 16: The Rubble O'r Our Sins
Chapter 17: Shadow Boxing
Chapter 18: House Rules
part 1: Gifted Students
The Devil and Despair
Charles Xavier had known he was different from a young age – and not always in a good way. As T.H. White once described the boy who would be king: nobody had to tell him so. But, just as White’s young protagonist had noted before him, young Charles Xavier learned that he was different... and being different was wrong; it meant he was treated as though he were inferior in some way he did not entirely understand.
He had faced manipulation, rejection, neglect, even abuse, from those closest to him. That part of his young life had changed when he met Moira Kinross at Oxford. They were so hopeful, so certain that they could use their knowledge for the betterment of society. They thought they would be hailed as heroes for their scientific breakthroughs in genetics: Mapping the Emergence of Mutant Variants in Human DNA. But the world changed before their eyes. Instead of world renown, Moira had quietly returned to her home town in Scotland, and into the waiting arms of her long-distance fiancé.
She chose Joseph MacTaggert, five hundred miles away, over you.
And Xavier had entered the Army. Military service empowered him physically and emotionally, it made him a leader of men. Gabrielle empowered him to use those skills to help others through her refugee work. With each new step forward, a young Charles Xavier had been learning what he was capable of, who he wanted to be... then it all started to unravel.
First Gabrielle, then the loss of his legs, then Erik had walked away from him too. Xavier had inherited his family’s estate in Westchester New York years earlier when he’d come of legal age, but he’d had no desire to return home. After the Army, after Gabrielle, he’d begun traveling.
Running, like a miserable coward.
He’d been trying to lose himself, trying to forget his broken heart and the horrors of war: lost comrades, lost purpose. On his travels he’d found others like himself, fought several, befriended several more. Over time he’d begun to find new purpose. But all of that came crashing to a halt when he lost the use of his legs.
When you were crippled.
“You still have full use of your mind, Charles.” Erik had reminded him as he moved a chess piece across the table in Charles’s hospital room. “And you are surrounded by pawns.”
Xavier picked up one of the chess pawns and advanced it, knowing that Erik was speaking about more than game pieces. “And you would have me do what, order them around, make them into a mindless army of personal servants?”
Erik shrugged, watching as Charles made his move. “You know as well as I, the wealth of evil in men’s minds. I dare say the purpose would improve a great many of them.”
“I don’t believe that the removal of free will is the answer to stopping evil in the world, and I refuse to sink to that level for nothing more than personal gain.”
You refuse.... You broke that vow, too, eventually.
Erik had pushed away from the chess board, slowly rising to his feet. “Then, I’m sorry, Charles, but if you won’t help yourself, I am afraid I can no longer help you either.”
The following year was the worst of his life. Erik had left him in the hospital, physically recovered enough to return home, but very far from well. He spent his first year back home living in the boat house, avoiding the prospect of having to live the rest of his life in a chair.
Unable to run, but still a miserable coward.
After Amelia left he finally returned to the main house. Another year had passed, trapped in this chair, trapped in a mansion that he watched slowly become accessible to him again, piece by painful peace. He’d begun to fear he’d die here, like his mother had before him: broken, defeated, and alone.
Drowning in your own private sea of misery.
Finally he’d been contacted by another old friend, John Grey. Xavier and John had served together in the early days of the war. Back then, Xavier had led search and rescue missions, and John had been his team’s emergency medic. Although they’d kept in touch sporadically over the years, Xavier had expected yet another so-called friend, calling only to offer pity. But instead John Grey was calling to ask for help.
“There is no one else I can call, Charles.” There was a painful, lingering silence on the other end of the phone line. “They say she’ll never wake up. They say we should put her in an institution.” John’s voice choked up over the last word, and he took a moment to compose himself. “I saw you work miracles, back in the war. Patients who were physically and emotionally traumatized beyond anything I could do for them medically... they began to recover when you treated them. Please, Charles. Help my daughter, if you can.”
That phone call marked the greatest turning point of Charles’s life: the beginning of this dream, the beginning of his life’s work. He would take in and educate young mutants. He would teach them that it was okay to be different, teach them to embrace rather than shun their special gifts. He would train them not only to use those gifts responsibly, but to build toward a day of open, peaceful coexistence between mutants and the rest of humanity.
Is that really what you think you’re doing?
Yes, Xavier replied. This place has enabled them to make positive changes in their lives. One day they will change the world.
So, you’re back to trying to change the world. Mocking laughter rang through Charles’ head. Yes, by all means, change the world... that plan has worked out so well for you before.
Xavier had spent two years in the planning stages before he brought Erik and Moira in to help him lay groundwork for the school. For a short time it was a wondrous, exciting collaboration: the three of them united in their common goal for mutant advancement. But soon their personal differences became too great to overcome. Charles was again left alone in this house, but he refused to give up his dream. He regrouped, he reached out to Hank and Warren. They recruited Scott, Ororo, and Jean, and in the first two years his three students had exceeded all of their expectations. But not without pitfalls, dangers. Dangers inherent in their powers and in Xavier’s decisions.
Now you’ve found a new purpose: amassing a base of power to defeat evil mutants.
For the greater good, for the peaceful coexistence of all.
Hmm. Not for the personal empowerment of a man trapped in a wheelchair, relying on idealistic and naive children to fight his battles for him?
Idealistic and naive? I think not. Ororo came here with great self-assuredness, ready to focus on her abilities and shape her own future. I have given her the tools and the guidance to do those things.
Storm. She cannot survive a small, enclosed room.
Jean has incredible inner strength and determination, and she has grown enormously in the use of her telekinesis and telepathy, learned self-acceptance and–
Jean is as afraid of her own mind as Storm is of small spaces.
Scott. Scott has literally transformed himself from a blind man into a strong, capable leader.
Cyclops. Your precious Cyclops is more of an emotional cripple than you are... trapped here, in this house of horrors.
No longer! This place is a force for good!
With a torture chamber housed inside an old atomic fallout shelter in the basement? Again there was derisive laughter. You are no different from those you claim to loath: deranged mad scientists and greedy, power-hungry monsters. Experimenting on mutant children in your hidden basement.
“Professor?” Scott found Charles Xavier sitting in the library. “Is this a bad time?” Scott asked. He didn’t think Xavier looked particularly well. Pale. Strained. But Xavier greeted Scott warmly.
“No, not at all, Scott.” Xavier set his book aside.
Scott glanced down, noting the title: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“How did the training session go this morning?”
“Well, sir. Though we missed you there, as I missed your input earlier.”
Missed you. I’m sure he did.
“I apologize for my absence. Perhaps you can bring me up to speed.”
Scott updated Xavier on this morning’s session, assuring him that the team had performed well and that Ororo appeared to be suffering no lingering ill effects from her previous trauma.
As Xavier listened to Scott’s debriefing he found himself reflecting on the progress Scott had made. Cyclops’s team would follow his orders because they trusted his judgement and his abilities – but they would risk themselves beyond that because they trusted him. They trusted Scott to lead them into danger and bring them all home safe. Scott, likewise, would feed off that responsibility. It would push him to always be at his best and to make sure his team was at their best as well.
He wants to be a leader, the little toy solider. It will be the death of him.
And Xavier found himself thinking about his own dreams, dreams he had for the school, for the X-Men... set against dreams he once had long ago... dreams that had gone sour.
You couldn’t hold the pieces together then. What makes you think you can do it now?
“Have a seat, Scott. I’d like to tell you about a young man I met when I was about your age. His name was Erik Lehnsherr. And he helped me found the school, he and Moira MacTaggert.”
“The original three founders.”
Xavier nodded. “We were young people with big dreams. For a time we shared a common cause, common goals, and I was as close to them as you are to Ororo and Jean. Erik and I were like brothers.”
A brother who would kill you in cold blood, and without a second thought, given half a reason.
“When I first met Erik, Moira and I were studying at Oxford. Erik was there as a guest lecturer, speaking on the dangerous parallels he saw between Nazi Germany and the rise of the Soviet Union. At the time I thought him reactionary, but I also found his argument fascinating: predicting a larger war to come and raising the specter of nuclear proliferation.”
“He wasn’t wrong.”
“No. I was serving in the Vietnam War when we next crossed paths, and his predictions about the Cold War had panned out very much the way he said they would. But all of this was far from an academic discussion for Erik. Erik had a very deep distrust for humanity. He was one of the first I ever met like myself... and most unlike myself.”
“Then he was a dangerous mutant,” Scott surmised.
Xavier gave a smile that told Scott he was oversimplifying things. “Oh very, but more so for his philosophies than for his gift. When I first met Erik he hadn’t yet turned his back on humanity, not completely. He still took pity on the poor, the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, especially those unfairly affected by war.”
He still thought some of the insects were worth saving.
“Was he a solider as well?”
Xavier shook his head. “Very much a conscientious objector.”
Yes. Quite the pacifist. Far more concerned about settling scores with Nazi war criminals and preemptively eliminating Soviets before they could become war criminals.
“Over the years we had many debates, discussing the Communists, the Nazis. Horrible past crimes of war and rumors of future plans that were even worse. Erik came to believe that mutants were endangered.”
Xavier could still hear the impassioned insistence of a long ago argument: “Like the Nazi Party, the Communist Party Gestapos murder without restraint. The NKVD has torture catacombs for their enemies. Labor camps. Soviet ‘scientists’ experiment on human subjects without remorse in order to test weapons that will win wars. Now imagine if men like these learned there were ‘superhuman’ individuals among us.”
“Superhuman?” Xavier had tried to laugh off the outlandish-sounding implication, but the intensity of Erik’s gaze left very little to doubt: his suspicions were far more concrete than he made them sound. Erik didn’t have to say the word “mutant” for both of them to know and understand precisely what was being discussed.
“Erik became convinced that mutants would not survive a third world war, another holocaust, unless they fought it.”
“Eventually Erik came to believe that mutants were so far superior to normal humans, their superiority gave mutants the right to reshape society in their favor. Even if that meant eliminating humans from society.”
Scott’s expression didn’t show much change as he sat back in his chair, but Xavier could read his student’s shock.
“I know how terrible it sounds.”
“It sounds terrible because it is terrible. You called his philosophy dangerous. What I’m hearing far surpasses ‘dangerous’. It sounds more like ‘evil’ to me.”
“What if I told you Erik was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp as a child. Would the frame of reference of a Holocaust survivor change your opinion of his views?”
“It would better explain his thought process, yes. But it still wouldn’t justify his proposed actions, sir.”
“Does it not?”
This time Scott’s jaw actually dropped in shocked silence.
“I’m not calling Erik’s way right, or even remotely conscionable,” Xavier clarified quietly. “I’m saying that, in his mind, his actions are very much justified.”
Scott shook his head in confusion. “Something so unjust cannot be justified except through deeply flawed logic. He’s taking the deeply immoral actions of some and assuming that under similar circumstances all of humanity would act toward mutants with the same level of depravity used by the Nazis to systematically exterminate millions of innocent civilians.”
“I agree. His logic is fatally flawed, and blind adherence to his own dogma makes Erik gravely dangerous. But I cannot call him evil. In spite of his flaws, I have seen Erik fight against the abuses of humanity to try to ease the suffering of war. He saved my life, many times over, none the least of which was on the day I lost the use of my legs; I might have died under a rockslide if not for his actions that day. But Erik didn’t just save my life, he fundamentally changed me.
“Erik is one of those rare people whom, simply by virtue of my coming into his orbit, gave me new perspective on the world, new direction in life. In a world at war, steeped in fear and paranoia, Erik challenged me to fully accept myself, to use all of my abilities without hesitation or fear. He saw mutation as a great gift, where for much of my life I had seen it as a obstacle, or even as a curse. When I finally revealed myself as a mutant, it was Erik whom I told, and Erik whom accepted my revelation with genuine joy.
“I know he is not all bad. Like most people, he is far more complex than either good or bad. Despite his gravely flawed logic, despite his determination to adhere to his own dangerous ideology, he has not acted against innocent humans– and I hold out hope that he will not. I hope his better nature will prevail.
“The reason I tell you all this is not to judge nor to vindicate him, but to illustrate that different people can face the same obstacle yet see it entirely differently. Life is rarely divided neatly into good or evil. The lines are often blurred. Even evil often thinks itself right and justified, or at the very least necessary and unavoidable.”
“Then how are you to know the difference when the lines become blurred?” Scott asked, mostly to hear Xavier’s answer.
“We are more than mutants, in spite of what many will say. Some, like Erik, will say we are all that matters, better than humans. There will be others who will say we are worse: far less, abominations of nature. We cannot afford to get lost in those weeds. We cannot make our fight for acceptance the only fight, the mutant cause our only cause. We cannot let the concerns of mutants be our only concerns. We must be more than mutants. Coexistence means we all must fight for one common cause: the good of all. We live or die together because – like it or not – we will need each other. The good and the evil, the weak and the strong, alike.”
Scott nodded. “I agree that we must work together with all people of good will, be they mutant or human. But how can good tolerate evil, much less need it?”
“I’m reminded of the words of Joseph McCarthy: ‘You cannot offer friendship to tyrants and murderers without advancing the cause of tyranny and murder.’ To this narrow way of thinking, anything short of somehow immediately eradicating all evil from the world is an endorsement of evil. But once you label something as ‘evil’, be it a person, or a country, or a way of life that contradicts your own, then there is nothing left but to destroy this evil thing that so threatens you and your way of life. I disagree with those intolerant words. This sort of all-or-nothing thinking only illustrates the inherent dangers of unquestioning self-righteousness. Once one is standing comfortably in a place of intolerance, there is only a short step forward from intolerance into eradication. This is why good not only can, but must, tolerate evil.”
Scott frowned, still somewhat unconvinced. “I follow your reasoning. But McCarthy had already ruled out coexistence as an option. He thought coexistence with the Communists was, in his words, ‘neither possible, nor honorable, nor desirable’. He believed the only way to face down evil – in his case, Communism – was to wipe evil from existence. A position so unthinking and uncompromising would have plunged the United States into a war that could not be won, and from which we could never surrender.
“Instead of going to war with an ‘evil empire’ we chose to pursue peace with the Soviet Union. We did so while maintaining a strict posture of military strength, but foremost by setting a positive example. The United States deliberately cast itself as the better alternative: setting the example for freedom, democracy – hope for a brighter future – for people everywhere.... But I’m still not sure how that logic translates into tolerance for people or philosophies which are truly evil. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.’ I could argue that King’s reasoning was far more sound than McCarthy’s, as applied to the Cold War, yet King’s stance sounds a long way from ‘tolerating’ evil.”
Xavier paused for a moment. “Do you believe humans beings are capable of being purely evil?”
“I believe we are all capable of doing evil, of being good or bad, each with equal potential.”
“Good or bad. Right or wrong. That’s a childish distinction. It implies that the world exists in either black or white, all or nothing. If that were the case there would be no moral conflict.”
“Right or wrong is an oversimplification of complex moral issues, yes, but we are all capable of moral or immoral actions, selfish or unselfish intentions.”
“What defines right or wrong but a common moral social code, whatever is deemed socially acceptable at the time?” Xavier countered.
“That’s just getting bogged down in semantics,” Scott replied. “We can take the most basic definition of ‘evil’ to mean a persistent lack of regard for the well-being, right to life, liberty, and basic human dignity of other people.”
“Do you believe Jack Winters, as an example, was evil?”
“He was consistently immoral.”
“By what standard?”
“He caused injury to others for his own gain, and did so without remorse or restitution. He believed that his own personal circumstances outweighed those of everyone around him, and he was willing to break the law in support of that moral imbalance. When he discovered he had mutant powers his goal immediately became to exploit those too. He acted to deliberately abuse his newfound strength in order to better his personal circumstances, and he pursued those actions with complete disregard for anyone who got in his way.”
“Does that mean we shouldn’t use our powers for personal benefit?”
“Not at the expense of others who are weaker than us, no.”
“Why not? Men like Erik will argue that it is nothing more than nature. Evolution. The natural progression of humanity. Why would modern human have needed to protect the Neanderthal from extinction; its time on Earth had clearly passed.”
“Modern humans never deliberately set out to wipe the Neanderthal from existence. Making that determination consciously, deciding who is worthy to live and why, that kind of logic casts us as gods rather than humans. Society makes and institutes laws in order to fairly and justly govern itself. Aside from being blatantly immoral, it’s deeply arrogant to assume our own superiority and then to presume to judge everyone else based on standards of our own making. Tolerating such thinking undermines our efforts to coexist – and none of us, humans nor mutants, can ultimately survive if we cannot coexist with one another.”
“What do you say to those like Erik who believe, in fact, that mutants are gods among mortals and therefore have the ability to determine what is right and acceptable. To change society. To establish a new world order.”
“I say that logic is deeply flawed. It’s unethical because it’s inherently selfish: changing society primarily for your own betterment instead of the betterment of all. We have to hold ourselves to a higher moral standard.”
“Even when your enemies would not hold themselves to the same standard.”
“Especially then. In my view, that’s the difference between strength and power. Power is something only for yourself. Insulated. Abuse of power ignores outward obligations, devalues the suffering it causes others, to focus only on its own gain. Strength is a light that shines outward, on everyone. A truly strong person protects those who cannot protect themselves,” Scott concluded, “because he or she recognizes that it would be deeply wrong to do otherwise.”
That would be Scott’s chosen place, his mission in life.... It would not always be Xavier’s. Charles Xavier smiled in spite of that disturbing realization.
“Then your counter argument is that the strong have a moral obligation to care for the weak.”
“You once taught me that we had to prove ourselves, establish our good intentions to everyone around us before we could do any good as X-Men. A very large part of establishing our intentions is choosing to protect those who cannot protect themselves. As mutants we’re neither gods nor monsters, but we can prove to the world that our intentions are good – by doing good.”
Xavier smiled and gave a bow in acknowledgment, or was it in concession? Perhaps the teacher was becoming the student. Scott thought he detected a hint of sadness there alongside the pride as Xavier tabled their current debate temporarily so that Scott could continue his report on this morning’s Danger Room session.
Scott told Xavier about the changes Hank had made to the Danger Room, and about the new gloves that would allow Scott an alternate means of manipulating his optic blasts. And Scott told Xavier about the test session he had with Jean. Xavier noticed his hesitation. When he spoke of Jean, Xavier could sense Scott’s worries for her, his deepening confusion over her. Xavier sensed more there than he had before.
“I think I get it now,” Scott confessed, “what you were trying to tell me before.”
The last time they had spoken, Scott had asked Xavier about Jean’s hesitation to use her powers. Scott had asked a rhetorical question: “That’s exactly what I don’t understand. Jean seems almost determined to avoid using the gifts she possesses. Why should she be?” He had asked that question without suspecting that Xavier had a concrete answer to his question.
Deceit and manipulation. Do you think he will thank you for that?
“Jean feels like there are lines she shouldn’t cross,” Scott explained, “because, if she does, she may not be able to come back again. Some of it is not knowing what she’s capable of with her telekinetic and telepathic abilities, but some of it runs even deeper.” Scott frowned. “I should have understood that sooner, the danger she feels.”
Jean was his best friend and his most fierce protector. Scott had always known there was a part of her that was deeply insecure when it came to her own powers. And yet, he had never really seen her vulnerable side before today. It was an entirely new realization to Scott that Jean could need protecting, that she had fears and scars just like the rest of them. Scott felt something sudden, forceful, almost overwhelming in that realization. Jean had always been there for him, protecting him, supporting him. He wanted to be that person for her, that person who stood up to anything that would harm her and said, “you have to go through me first”.
The boy is lovestruck. And the girl has already lost her head over him. Love will break them both.
What Scott felt was confusing to him. It was different from the sense of obligation he’d felt when the both of them had been in danger from Jack Winters. Different from familiar feelings of brotherly devotion toward all of his friends. Different from the intense responsibility he felt for the team as Cyclops. He simply realized Jean’s need to feel protected and cared for... and his own desire to fill that need. The one thing he knew with complete certainty was that nothing should ever be allowed to hurt her.
You can see into his mind.
There was one overriding thought when it came to Scott’s feelings toward Jean.... As long as he drew breath, nothing and no one would harm her.
How to deal with this unexpected complication?
“There are many pitfalls a telepath must face in learning to master his or her own mind, and almost all of them are made more dangerous by strong emotion. Forming close ties can be a particularly treacherous thing. Love, loyalty, even friendship – at the very least, such strong emotion can blind you to the truth. I learned that with Moira and Erik... and it may be more than Jean can handle right now. Often, the more deeply we become invested in people, the more we depend upon others, the easier it becomes for us to see them as we want them to be instead of as they truly are. Both sides end up feeling hurt and betrayed in the end.”
A house divided, it is, then.
Scott wasn’t sure if Xavier’s guarded warnings were meant to apply more to him or to Jean, but something in them made Scott suspicious. It wasn’t like Xavier to downplay any of their abilities. And before, Xavier had always been quick to list Jean’s commitment to her friends not just as one of her assets, but as a great strength. Xavier did have a point though. Scott was starting to lose focus. His newfound confusion over Jean showed that he needed to find a better balance between Scott and Cyclops if he was going to make both sides work.
“How did you learn to avoid the pitfalls?” he asked Xavier.
Xavier smiled. “I’m afraid it took a great deal of time and many costly mistakes – much like the rest of life.”
Scott paused. “It’s hard to know what I can or should do to help Jean. The inability to fully control her own mind, plus the fear of getting lost in other people’s thoughts. That must be terrifying. Not knowing how far she can go before she loses her way, loses herself, even her grip on reality.... But in spite of all that, Jean is learning to use her powers as opposed to being helpless in the face of them.” Scott shook his head. “Maybe I just need to stand back and give her room.”
“Unfortunately, the experience of great physical and emotional trauma accompanying the initial manifestation of mutant traits– well, that occurrence is far from uncommon,” Xavier mused. “But the three of you each faced situations of extreme trauma at uncommonly early ages. When your first experience of being a mutant is met with pain and trauma, even terror... that experience becomes a difficult thing to overcome. Jean has made a lot of progress, but she still must overcome her fear of the risks that come along with using her telepathy.”
“Once something has almost killed you – or killed people that you love – you would be a fool not to fear that thing,” Scott reminded Xavier of his own earlier words.
“Yes,” Xavier inclined his head in acknowledgment, “and though Jean’s experience may be the most extreme, the same is also true for the rest of you. You have all faced death, and walked away. Ororo must overcome her claustrophobia, just as you overcame your fears following the plane crash. The one difference is this: it was friendship which caused Jean to risk herself, her mind, her sanity, her very life, for Annie’s sake.”
Scott was no longer surprised to learn that Xavier had prior knowledge of Jean’s past trauma, just as he had prior knowledge of Ororo’s claustrophobia. But his casual mention of Annie’s name set off alarm bells in Scott’s head, as did the almost casual way Xavier spoke of their worst fears, like he was rattling off a laundry list of chores yet to be accomplished.
Scott was here, in part, because he had assured his teammates that he would speak with Charles Xavier. But, for a short instance, Xavier truly did not sound like himself. This, coming on top of several instances of suspicious secrecy... Scott was abruptly reminded of what Jean and the others had told him earlier today in the Danger Room: warnings about Xavier’s recent strange behavior. Even seeing that behavior play out before him, Scott found he still didn’t know what to make of what he was hearing.
“I understand what she went though,” Scott offered cautiously, “as best I can anyway. But I have the visor. Jean only has her own mind. And if she overextends, correcting herself is a lot harder for her than closing her eyes.”
Xavier nodded. “The need for control and understanding the risk in its loss is a trait that we all share. It can be a good motivator. It’s why Ororo has worked hard to master her wind and rain-making abilities, it’s why you find new ways of practicing with your visor. Jean will have to test herself as well. But those same things – need for control and fearing its loss – can also be a limiting factor for those who dwell on it excessively. You know this too.”
Scott nodded. That was why he worried about Ororo’s claustrophobia, and Jean’s hesitation, about Hank’s working up to his full potential, and Warren’s not overestimating his abilities. It was why he planned excessively and why he constantly second-guessed his own leadership. There were a million ways things could go wrong, and Scott tended to see them all. That was both a strength and a pitfall of his.
It was usually Jean and Ororo whom Scott relied on to pull him back from that mire when he required rescuing from himself. But at the moment it unnerved him to know that both Ororo and Jean – his closest friends – had serious incidents in their pasts that he was unaware of. Did Xavier choose not to reveal those things out of privacy, or loyalty, or was there more to it than that? Were there things he didn’t want Scott to know, particularly about Jean’s abilities and her reluctance to use her powers? Scott was equally unnerved to find himself questioning Xavier’s trustworthiness.
Scott stood to go. But a new thought gave him pause. “Your friend, Erik – what was his gift?”
“His was the power to control metal.”
“Power?” Scott curiously picked up on his use of the word. Normally Xavier took great pains always to categorize mutant abilities as gifts rather than powers.
“And he calls himself Magneto now.”
“One more question: Do you still consider him a friend?”
Xavier countered with a question of his own. “Do you still believe that good doesn’t need evil, that it is impossible for them to coexist?”
“By its very nature, good has to fight against evil. So, no, I believe that the two cannot coexist as they are, not without one fundamentally changing the other. But when it comes to people, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as purely evil, nor purely good. All of us have the responsibility to choose our actions wisely, and the potential to change ourselves for the better.”
Or for the worse....
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004