Rescue Me

Nov. 12th, 2011 05:35 am
ihearyouthink: (62: at his desk)
[personal profile] ihearyouthink
[A fic written jointly by [livejournal.com profile] stonecoldfrost and [livejournal.com profile] ihearyouthink here]

[Charles shivered under a thin blanket. He really didn't feel well, he had been ill for a few days now. But the people holding him hostage weren't about to let him go anytime soon. Oh no, they had a telepath and they were going to find out what makes him tick. He'd been poked so many times, he had lost count. The metal halo around his head kept him from using his ability and he had nearly given up on being found at this point. Right now, all he could do was lay here on the floor of his cell and try to get some sleep]

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Really, Charles, I expected better from you. [The voice cut through the near silence in his cell. The only other noise was the sound of heels clicking against the concrete floor. They stopped by his head before Emma crouched down and slowly started to remove the metal halo preventing Charles from using his powers.] At least try and get taken hostage by people that actually know how to protect the mutants they've kidnapped. You really are letting your standards slip, aren't you, dear?

[And no, she couldn't just come and rescue him without turning it into an exercise in sarcasm. Maybe it was because she couldn't do comfort without still needing her words to reflect she did anything but care about the person she was rescuing.]

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[His eyes crack open to look up at her, the irrational part of his mind trying to tell him she wasn't real. But as the halo is taken off, its like a vice is removed from his mind and he finds hers easily to convince himself. A slow smile comes to his face]

Miss Frost... [His voice may be raspy but he has lost none of his manners] ...come for a visit? [Charles can joke but he still is burning up with a fever]

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I had a sudden urge to experience hostage hospitality. It's just as bleak as I imagined, but the blanket really does give it a certain homey charm. [She keeps her mind open for him, realizing how important it was for people with their ability to need to verify that what they were seeing and experiencing was real. She even brushed her fingers through his matted hair to try and smooth it back away from his face.

When she felt his forehead, her lips formed a thin line of displeasure to realize just how sick he was. Suddenly the scattered trails of bodies left behind her didn't seem like enough.]
Though if you can manage to part with your new found accommodation, I thought you might want to come back to Westchester with me.

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[His eyes close for a second, enjoying her cool hand on his forehead] I am hardly in a position to refuse... [Charles' own mind is pretty wide open too after being gagged by the halo for so long. There's a hope building inside that he will actually get out of this alive. He wants to be home so badly.]

[He works on sitting up weakly leaning against the wall behind him.]
Ready...when you are...

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[Emma probes at his mind, taking advantage of the fact that he is so wide open to try and assess how much damage the kidnappers did.] Should have known if you take you being bound and gagged to finally learn to say yes to me. [She smirks faintly, letting her hand rest against his forehead again to give him some more relief.]

Now, please don't take this the wrong way... [She slid her arms around him as she started to stand, holding Charles against her as she became diamond to give her the strength to carry him without needing to rest along the way. The rabbit warren the would-be mad scientists had him held in didn't contain a quick route to the surface.] I realize we haven't even had dinner together yet, but I've always been one to skip a step or two in the courting ritual.

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[He knows what she's looking for and lets her look all she wants. There was blood tests, drugs, lots of things involving needles. He had gotten ill from the poor living conditions and lack of food and water. Charles does look like he could not stand on his own if he tried, but his mind is still whole]

[He has to convince himself not to fall asleep with her hand on his forehead, its the first comfort he's had in awhile. Standing him up isn't too much effort, he's practically a rag doll and just about crumples against her. But with her help, he keeps his footing, his arms holding weakly around the back of her neck.]


If this is an offer to dance, I may have to take a raincheck...

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Men and their constant need to lead. I'll have you know I would have been perfectly capable, but I'll take the raincheck. [Her smile was a little softer despite the diamond exterior and she didn't waste time in making her way out of the cell now that she had Charles on his feet. It's a little disconcerting to see the man so many were starting to believe was invincible in such a condition, but her first focus really is getting him back to New York.]

Now please do try and stay awake. It's not going to do my ego any good if you drift off during the rescue. Though if you do feel the need to fall asleep on me at least try and keep from snoring.

[She falls back into silence as she focuses on their escape route, but to her knowledge she left few survivors and those still alive were left with severe mental deficiencies. They would never be trying to do this to another mutant. As much as it isn't Xavier's style, Emma doesn't care. She did what she had to in order to rescue him.

It's not until they're safely on the jet that she speaks again, setting him down in the back as she morphs back to her human form. The only other person on board is the pilot so she has no qualms about sitting down next to Charles and sliding her arm around his shoulders as she pulls him into a hug.]


You really do know how to pick your moments, don't you?

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[He wavers for a second before deciding it would be better for her to "lead".] I will do my best... [He says, trying to push away that dizzy feeling creeping up on him] ...no promises...on the snoring.

[Charles is quiet the whole way to the jet. He doesn't approve of the lives sacrificed for his own and a guilty feeling emanates from his mind but there is nothing he can do about it now]

[By the time they make it to the jet, he's only just able to keep awake. He eases into the seat with a groan of relief. Maybe he can rest now....and he's being hugged. Charles leans his head onto her shoulder, bringing a hand up to touch her arm as he's not feeling well enough to do more than that]
I could say the same of you.

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What can I say, I like my men weak and open to being taken advantage of. [She pressed a kiss to the top of his head before resting her chin on it, fingers idly brushing his arm as she stares out the window nearby. There's not much to see once they're in the air though. Nothing but blue sky and the odd hint of cloud.] Makes them easier to cuddle under the guise of saving their lives.

[Her lips flickered with a hint of a smile, but telepathically she sends him an apology. While he might not want to hear her justification for what she'd done, as far as she's concerned occasionally the lives of the many do not outweigh those of the one - not when it's Charles Xavier.]

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[He would argue back that he is only one man...the lack of argument shows how tired and ill he's feeling.]

[His eyes are already drooping in this more comfortable environment even if he still shivers now and again. There's no attempt to remove his head from her shoulder. His mind reaches back sleepily]
...think I might check out for awhile...sorry...

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[Emma huffed out a breath in place of a laugh. She has no doubt now how ill he really is, and a part of her is impatient regarding the speed at which the jet is moving. She knows he needs medical care, and there's a stray thought that she wished she'd brought McCoy along.] Sleep well, Charles. You'll just have to make it up to me later.

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[Half asleep, he answers back] ...take you...to dinner...

[Anything else he tries to think to her just gets jumbled and fades away as he drifts off against her shoulder....his head starting to slide down towards her lap]

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[At first she wasn't sure how to take the way his head was starting to slide, but Emma shifted to uncross her legs and guided his head down to at least make sure he wouldn't wind up with a kink in his neck.

For a moment she just sits there watching him before she starts to comb her fingers through his hair, working on untangling the short strands.]


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[His usually neat brown hair is tangled and dirty under her fingers. He relaxes unconsciously as she combs out the knots. Her hand is still cooler than he is]

[He sleeps soundly without stirring, his mind quieted by hers being there. He had been away from any minds for his entire capture. It had been very hard to sleep like that]


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[For once she doesn't mind the dirt that starts to cover her fingers in a light layer. She's even expecting to find marks on her clothing after, but again she doesn't mind. Her blue eyes flick up to make sure the pilot is still very much focused on the controls and the sky ahead, then she goes back watching Charles' face.

She can see the stress lines starting to ease as he sleeps, but his scalp is burning under her fingertips and she wishes she has access to ice. Anything to help him cool down. An idea occurs to her and she gently nudges his dreams and thoughts to more icy landscapes, leaving little breadcrumbs for his mind to pick up. Snow... ice... cold water... swimming in a pool...]


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[At first, his mind automatically pushes back, not wanting the thoughts that aren't its own, but eventually his defenses give way to her nudges. Charles stirs a bit before settling into the colder thoughts....and slowly his chills stop as his temperature lowers just enough.

The snow was beautiful...ice cubes closing in on him...swimming in cold water...Erik was there, Charles was trying to save him....pulling him up but it was harder this time. He didn't have the strength. It was a memory turned sour by his feeling that he couldn't save Erik anymore.]


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[The memory surprised Emma, his thoughts on Erik not something she had ever been privy to before. There was a curiosity on her part that wanted to see it play out some more but she decided to become a little more aggressive in manipulating his mind, pulling him away from the cold water and from Erik.

Her fingers didn't let up in his hair, pushing soothing thoughts back onto him as she kept him in the snow. No more swimming for Charles if it was only going to make him worse. She leaned forward, lips pressing against his temple briefly.]


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[Some part of him knew it was Emma doing this, that he was still asleep as he's pulled away from that memory...

Snow....frost....the irony was not lost on him as he lays on his back in it.]


Emma...

[He wasn't calling to her, more identifying her influence in his mind. He knows what you're doing. It's helping.]

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[The irony had been too good to pass up, and her laughter echoed in his mind. She wasn't about to make herself appear in his dreams. Even that was too self-indulgent even for her.

This was about bringing him temporary relief, helping Charles relax and bring his temperature down even for a little while. A light dusting of snowflakes falls on his face, melting when they touch his skin. A mental echo of her fingers brushing gently across his cheek.]


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[If he had the time, he would have marveled at the completeness of the illusion, right down to the snowflakes. Instead, he drifts with the snow, fading to dreamless black....to snow...and back again. This is more than he has ever let someone into his own mind.

His temperature is better under her hand in his hair. The fever won't break with just an illusion though, that probably wouldn't happen till he got some proper medical attention]


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[She was nothing short of a perfectionist, even if she was supposed to just be dabbling. But the fact that Charles had let her this far past his barriers meant she wasn't going to make it meaningless.

The medical attention needed to wait for just a little bit longer, their journey not quite over yet even if the jet had started it's descent. Approaching the school was not something to be taken lightly even if she was sure the pilot was driving in circles on purpose.]


Nearly there, Charles... hang on just a little longer.

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[He almost doesn't hear her, his sleep bordering on a fever induced coma. It was dark now and he didn't have the strength to wake up. Here it was safe, he was lost in the blizzard in his mind.]

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[Emma doesn't let up with the snow, the frost. She doesn't let him escape the cold even as he's led to the medical bay. She doesn't risk changing into her diamond form and breaking the spell. However far he may have slipped into unconscious, she doesn't want to risk it.

There's a part of her that hopes her mind can guide him back before he does slip into a coma. There's strange looks when she refuses to leave, no one else understanding why the White Queen would suddenly be protective over Charles. But she is. She even growls when McCoy tries to get her to leave.

And she's still there hours later when he's resting on one of the beds, eyes not leaving his face.]


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[He stays linked to her, held in the snow almost against his will.

On the outside, he's out like a light. Dr McCoy and a few others start working to try and clean him up, starting IVs and antibiotics to try and get his body to fight back.]


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[Emma watches them all intently when she lets her gaze wander from Charles' face, her mouth a thin line as she sits there with her legs crossed watching.

While she may have growled earlier, now she just sits in silence. They might be monitoring his heart rate, but with their minds linked she will have more of an idea if anything is going wrong. She eases her hold on his mind a little, giving him an exit from the snow if he wants it but she'll be quick to drag him back if his mind goes anywhere bad.]


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[He may look paler but it's an illusion, he's just finally had his face washed after so many days without a bath. The kids in the mansion aren't allowed in the room but they do come by the door now and again, their minds filled with worry over their professor as they peek around the door frame.

There's ice packs put around Charles to try and get his temperature down which keeps spiking up. Beast looks over at Emma at times, she can probably overhear him thinking that he doesn't really like having her here...but he wants to ask how Charles is doing and she might be the only one who knows.

Charles' mind finally leaves the snow, his fever prompting memories of being kidnapped and taken to the place he was rescued from. There were needles coming at him from all sides...Charles tries to get them to listen but nobody is listening...there's only the hovering nameless and faceless white lab coats.]


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[Emma murmurs an answer to Hank's unasked question, but she can feel the shift in Charles' mind, see where he's gone now that he's left the snow. She can't help but frown at what they did to him, not feeling an ounce of regret now for the bodies she'd left behind.

She doesn't try to draw him back to the snow this time, but she at least makes the lab coats and needles fade away. Her eyes close briefly as she focuses, putting him here in the mansion. But instead of the medical bay, he's in his office.

And this time Emma is with him.]


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[It all melts away...

...his hand reaches out and catches....Emma's arm. He's sitting up in his chair and in his office. There's a moment of disorientation, of disbelief before he accepts it as the illusion it is and sighs, leaning back in the wheelchair. He doesn't let go of Emma though, his hand still on her arm as he looks at his desk, the bookshelves, the large windows to the outside where it seems to be daytime.]


Impressive... [he may still sound half asleep]

[His fever is still in the background, symbolized by the fire in the fireplace but it's contained there.]


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Stroking my ego will get you everywhere, darling. [Emma reached up with her free hand, pushing back his hair from his face before combing her fingers through the now soft strands. Part of the illusion was a perfectly healthy, perfectly clean Charles.

She leans back against his desk, staying close. The fire doesn't escape her notice but there's nothing she can do about that. Instead she focuses on the man in front of her.]


They're trying to help you, trying to bring down your temperature. I don't know why it's such a surprise that you're not making it easy for them. You always were stubborn, even more than me. [Her lips twitched slightly in amusement.] I suppose it's one of the things I do like about you.

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[He carefully lets her arm go once he's certain the illusion isn't going to fall away. The familiar setting is helping his own concentration and he blinks as if waking up while her fingers go through his bangs.]

...we're back at the mansion? [He tries to remember before but...that's the memories she's blocking of his kidnapping] You're keeping something from me. Am I that bad off?

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Yes. [She pressed her lips together as she let her hand drop from his hair and grips the edge of his desk instead. Her gaze flicks away and for a moment she considers letting his memories take over again, but she doesn't. She keeps the illusion in tact.] And yes.

You were taken, held captive. There were needles. [It's all she says for now, her tone clear that she'd rather talk about anything but.] You'll remember soon enough but I'm not interested in having you crash on McCoy's table. Let them do their work. I just want to make sure your mind stays alive.

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[Realizing that she's trying to keep him alive does help and he stops trying to look for those memories, letting her control the scene. Though it's clear he's not used to having another in his head creating the illusions, it's a little uncomfortable]

I see. Since I shouldn't remember what happened before this... [He trails off, looking down at his legs in the wheelchair. That he still remembers, being a paraplegic. It was something that always stayed with him, even in his subconscious now. But technically, he shouldn't have to stay in the chair.]

[Now remembering he started a sentence, he finishes it]
...perhaps you would like to talk of something else?

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[Emma blinked, waving a hand when she realized her error and soon Charles was no longer in his chair. It was true, on this plane of existence he didn't need to be restricted. He could walk, run, dance...

She offered up an apologetic smile before taking his arm and leading him to the window where they could look onto the grounds.]
I'm sorry, darling, sometimes I forget myself. I just wanted you to be grounded before this illusion went too far.

As for talking about something else, there is the dinner offer you made me that you've no doubt forgotten by now. We could work out the where and when.

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[He was standing....but only in his mind. Still, it felt good, remembering how to use his feet again. It was definitely a distraction from being sick. Charles lets her lead him to the window, but he keeps his eyes on her.]

I must be pretty sick for you to have gone to this much trouble. [a slight smirk at the side of his mouth] And I'm not one to turn down a date, no matter how old fashioned my students think I am. Any preference on the type of food? [What were they even doing, talking about dates and going out? They were on opposite sides of this war...he didn't even know if it would happen but he wasn't going to back down from his word now]

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[She was more than aware of his eyes on her, and a soft smile stayed on her lips as her own gaze kept to the view outside the window. Her actions alone had spoken of the hidden affection she had towards Charles. This wasn't the first time she had tried to keep him alive, and it wouldn't be the last. Anyone else was fair game to her, but she carried too much respect for this man to take his life.

As long as he was alive, she felt as if there was some hope the war wouldn't end with her side. That Charles might actually prevail for the better.]


I'm just not ready for you to fall into the wrong hands. I'll claim a momentary lapse of judgement on my part, but you'll know the truth. No one deserves what they did to you. I'd rather you lived through it. [She finally looked away from the window to meet his gaze.] Besides, it finally got you to ask me out. It's not all bad. Silver linings and all that... I wouldn't say no to Italian food. It's always been a weakness.

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[With "enemies" like this, he might very well be able to do what he had been trying to accomplish. Being able to integrate mutants into a society that accepted them. Preventing the two sides from tearing each other apart in this unnecessary war.]

[He nods, pulling on his ear thoughtfully as his gaze moves away from her]
I had hoped to... [He stops, the rest of that sentence was lost in the memories of his kidnapping and he had promised to stay away from those. When he was first taken, all he did was talk and try to change the minds of those working on him. None of it worked but he couldn't be blamed for not trying.]

[Charles looks down at his feet in their patent leather shoes, making an admission to Emma that he hasn't told anyone before.]
I don't usually indulge like this. It doesn't help much when you have to go back to a different reality.

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What happens in your mind, stays in your mind. [She let go of his arm to rub her hand against his back and leaned in to brush a kiss to his jaw.] As much as I appreciate why you wouldn't wish to indulge, there's no harm if you can manage to continue to recognize what is real and what isn't.

If you would prefer to be back in the chair, I can do that. I just assumed from the look... [Her eyebrows drew together, feeling like the for the first time she wasn't actually sure if she was doing the right thing. This is what happened when you tried to go with your heart instead of your mind.]

Do you at least see now why I was trying to keep those memories from you? Not everyone will listen to reason. Not all can be spoken to like intelligent creatures. Some men... and women... are just barbaric. They thrive at the suffering of others.

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[He takes the kiss without mention of it. He knew Emma was used to men she could use and manipulate. Her real affection wasn't given easily and likely this was just her trying to be motherly because he was sick. But he wasn't about to turn down that kind of affection. Charles knew better than most that she had a mind under all of that womanly charm, one that was always working much like his own. He had wondered if they would be able to find common ground some day if they ever got the chance to talk it out. Of course, he hadn't expected a scenario like this.]

[Charles shakes his head, putting his hands into his pockets as he stares out the pretend window]
No, it's fine. If nothing, it's a good distraction.

[His smile returns as he looks at her] Usually I'm the one protecting someone from unpleasant memories. I'm not used to being on the other side of the glass, as it were.

I do know...some think I'm naive to it but I do know there are people like that in this world. [meaning Erik thinks that of him] But humanity is not all bad they're just....human.

[There's a phonograph record player nearby and Charles, on a whim, reaches over to turn it on. Rhapsody in Blue starts playing quietly in the background.]

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[Motherly was still not a word she could identify with, but it was true about how little she gives away true affection. The protective urge over him hasn't abated even if she knew that out in the real world Beast was making progress. She wasn't leaving Charles to his own thoughts just yet. Perhaps it's because she knows he's not easily fooled by her exterior that she's slowly starting to offer up little pieces of herself as tokens of gratitude and trust. Regardless of the rift between them thanks to the war, she still sees him as someone she could confide in once it was all over.

She smiles again when he decides against returning to the chair, but her eyebrows go up as soon as she hears music. That was decidedly not her.]
Feeling better then, are we?

And once in a while it does us all good to be the one needing protection, and comfort. I'm hardly going to hold it against you. It's not as if I'm trying to comfort you after you saw a mouse. That I would not have time for. [She smirked faintly.] I never took you to be naive, Charles. Just one to try and see the best in everyone, and sometimes it's just not there.

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It's there...sometimes you just have to look deep enough to find it. Choice is what makes the difference, everyone is capable of good and bad. Even me.

[He hovers over the record player] It's a comfort, I like music while I work sometimes. This one is a favorite. [It was probably because he was standing again, there was one thing he missed greatly about not having the use of his legs and that was being about to take a date out dancing. His students would never believe it of him if they knew that...]

Do you dance, Miss Frost?

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You? Bad? [She snorted in amusement as she bumped her elbow against his playfully.] I highly doubt it.

[She was already taking his hand, moving around to stand in front of him as she slid her other hand around the back of his neck with a sly grin. She couldn't help it. She was hardly about to turn down this opportunity however much of an illusion it might be. It was the emotion behind it all that counted.]

Wonderfully well, even if I say so myself.

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[He moves along with her into the music, one hand at her waist and the other holding hers as they turn.] Difficult to believe, I know, but I have had my moments. Telepathy is not without it's temptations. [Or complications, like with his half brother but that was a story for another day]

[The soft jazz music plays around them, he gives her a twirl out and back to himself easily.]
You do dance well.

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You partner well. [Emma's smile had grown and she relaxed into the dancing as she let herself go, moving with him easily.] No one would ever know this was something you didn't get much of an opportunity to do. But if you ever do get tempted afterwards, my mind is always open for something like this.

[She moved in a little closer, letting her cheek rest against his as her fingernails teased lightly against the back of his neck.] Being able to do what we do can be an addiction. I won't lie about that. I'm not always as strong to resist temptation.

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I did have some practice at Oxford now and again. [It wasn't much of a dance more of a swaying back and forth with an occasional turn as the music swayed with them.] Of course, I had a lot of very shallow dates back then.

[He keeps his hand on her back, letting her get close but not taking advantage of that fact. Always the gentleman.] Practice helps in making the right decisions. Also....also remembering how much a person can be hurt by their mind being changed. [There's an almost palpable pause, Charles thinking of what he had to do to Moira to keep the school safe. That hurt him as much as it hurt her to do it, erasing her memory like that. He knew it had to be done...but it still hurt.]

You don't get a chance to dance much either, I take it?

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Are you saying I'm not a shallow date? Well, then... that's music to my ego. [Emma laughed again, trying to breathe in his scent but it was something that even her own mind hadn't quite gotten right. The thing that was so unmistakably Charles seemed to be missing.] I'm sure the women loved you.

[Emma wet her lips in the pause, eyes dropping down as she just hummed quietly in agreement. There were times where she took pure delight in altering a person's mind, but she wasn't so ignorant as to believe it wasn't always the right choice. She gave his hand a soft squeeze.]

I'm hardly the first dance partner people want when they're looking to have fun. I'm not going to deny it. It's hard to ask a woman to dance when she probably constantly looks like she'd rather poke her own eye out.

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[Charles had no idea what he smelled like, so even if he knew what she was trying to do, he couldn't help with that.] Absolutely not. Not shallow in the least. [He said with a hint of irony in his voice. He was complimenting her but he was not ignorant of the fact she did use her appearance for less than honorable purposes. Like seducing a Russian general]

Nothing quite impresses a girl like ordering her favorite drink for her before she's even told you what it is.... [a smirk] though if they had known I was reading their thoughts, I would have gotten quite a few less phone numbers...and not a few face slaps, I would wager.

[Charles moves them away from the window and across the makeshift dance floor of his study, pulling back slightly to talk to her face] ...or one that might eat them alive. [To the average human male, Emma was pretty intimidating...and Charles was teasing her lightly about it]

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I almost believe you when you say that. [She knew why the irony was present. Of course she did. But she also knew that Shaw had shaped who she was now. She was the ultimate honey trap and she wasn't about to deny it. Only when men had proven their worth and managed to get past the manicured exterior did she ever let on to the fact that there was a depth to her. It was a mechanism that had served her well over the years, and not one she was about to give up.]

Now I can see the bad boy in you, Charles. It's endearing. [And she even smirked at the images it conjured up of Charles on the prowl, trying to impress the ladies with his little parlor trick.] It would have been their loss if they'd decided to slap you in the face. I will still never understand why people regard us with fear other than the fact that they don't like the unknown. The amusing part is we wouldn't be unknown if they stopped fighting long enough to get to know us.

[Emma pulled back as well, looking up at him from under her lashes before she bared her teeth and gnash them.] Take no prisoners, darling. At least I can be sure a man's serious if he's willing to brave being eaten alive.

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[It was true, compared to the scores of women he had tried to impress, she was not shallow. But that life was behind him now, he was a little older and wiser. At least he hoped so.]

I would have probably deserved it if they had. [It had nothing to do with being a mutant and more to do with being a male with a cheat sheet on dating]

[The teeth gnashing was funny and Charles looked amused by it. The music was cycling back through, an endless loop of Gershwin.]


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Tell me this then, Charles, apart from waiting to ask me out on your deathbed in this lifetime... If we had met in another, in one where you were still the charmer at Oxford and I wasn't a man-eater, how would you have tried to seduce me?

[She gnashed her teeth once more before running her tongue over them and then laughing as she let go of Charles' hand to rest both of hers around his neck. The endless loop had kept them in a gentle sway, and just as they turned again, Emma caught sight of the fire place. The fire that had been roaring inside it had died down just a little.

Her gaze flicked back to Charles and she smiled warmly. It was even reflected in her eyes as they turned a richer blue.]


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A loaded question if I ever heard one. [He takes the cue from her and settled his hands on her waist as they move back and forth to the music] Hypothetical situation...where I am still at Oxford absorbing information on bio-genetics and picking up girls with my ability. [He shakes his head with a smile] You would have never fallen for any of it.

[His own blue eyes hadn't noticed the fire, but he did feel a little better as his temperature was coming down finally.]

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I don't think I ask any other kind. [Her finger curls a lock of his hair around it, and her eyes search over his face as she smiles again.] Depends. If I hadn't reached the Hellfire Club first, then you would have been in with a chance. I just don't think I would been pretty enough for you to go after.

Glasses, brown hair... Nothing at all distinguishable about me other than my ability. At least you always had your looks, darling.

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I would counter that by saying I did not go for pretty girls. The fact you're a mutant and a telepath at that would have been interesting enough. All through university, my sister and I were the only mutants I knew of with our kind of abilities.

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[Emma pulled him close so that for a moment she was out of his line of sight, but when she shifted back on her heels she wasn't the perfect blonde. She had brown hair, glasses, and her clothing was far from revealing. She was as plain as could be, the grown up version of the adolescent she had once been.]

I should have known you'd only ever be interested in my genetics. It's touching, really. To know you'd have only wanted me for my mind. How do you feel now knowing you're not the only ones and never have been?

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[She looks so nonthreatening like that, it was...cute. Librarian-esque. Charles isn't sure how his slightly younger self would react to her outer appearance but he stood by the fact that he would likely have been too excited about meeting another telepath to notice or care]

I am...vindicated in some ways, my thesis for one on genetic mutations. One also likes knowing they aren't the only ones in this world with an ability. That, I have found to be the same regardless of age or mutation. Which is why the school setting works well for them.

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[She tugs on his hair when she can see the smile, the look that means he's thinking of using the word "cute". Instead of reverting back to the White Queen however, she stays the librarian.]

So you don't mind sharing yours with me? I would have thought there'd be a part of you not wanting another telepath in the world. And what of the students, you can't truly believe that you can keep them war - keep them from seeing the worst of people. They don't need shielding from it. They need to be prepared.

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[Nothing wrong with cute, he makes no apologies for that thought.]

Have you ever seen two deaf people meeting each other? They have a hard time leaving each other because they've found someone who speaks their language. It's like that, all of this... [He looks up at the illusion and back at her] Other people can't do this. I almost wish that they could, some of the experiences I've had...
[not all of them though, he fleetingly thinks of when Shaw was killed and quickly shuts the door on that painful thought, hiding it from her. He hadn't even told Erik that he felt Shaw's death, all of it as he held him frozen]

[He's a little more serious on the topic of his students]
They may surprise you.

----------------------------------

[She eyes him for another moment before smiling, brushing her lips against his cheek.] I almost wish I'd met you first.

[She frowns as she starts to get the sense for the memory, her body rigid. Shaw had been her lover, the man she had done unspeakable things for many years in the name of loyalty. It was hard not to feel like the rug had been pulled from under her to suddenly have his death waved in front of her teasingly. She held onto Charles tightly, burying her face in against his shoulder as her jaw clenched.] When I felt you for the first time it threw me off. How could it not? But then it was like a game. Trying to see who could outdo the other. Now... it's different. But you're right, it is like meeting someone who speaks the same language - who can understand what it's like for me.

[She let out a slow breath, her cheek still against his shoulder.] I hope so, because their professor certainly has.

----------------------------------

[He stops their swaying and holds her in a hug, realizing her connection to Shaw.] That's a memory I was hoping not to show anyone. I apologize.

[He wasn't going to unlock that memory again, even if she tried to see it.]

[The fire was almost completely out, the lights dimming around them...it was nice, being like this...

...if it wasn't for a weak and aching feeling creeping up on him. His fever had broke in the real world and Xavier's mind was starting to pull him awake. Charles finds himself leaning heavily forward, getting too tired to keep himself standing. The background voices of Hank and his team are filtering through under the music]


...whoa... [His knees buckle, still holding to her as the illusion waned around them]

----------------------------------

We all slip up from time to time. It's fine, I just need a moment.

[She involuntarily went down on her knees as he pulled her with him, Emma looking around as the illusion started to fade without her wishing it. She looked back at Charles, her smile taking on a sad edge.]

Try not to forget your promise, Charles. Italian food and a date.

[And then, as her own mind was pulled back to the real world she leaned in to kiss him on the lips, her hand held against the side of his face. Just as they touched, Emma blinked, the harsh light of the medical bay making her blink rapidly.

She was up on her feet without waiting for Hank to give the okay, by Charles' side just as his eyes fluttered open. She slid her hand into his without saying a word.]


----------------------------------

[Her voice had a faraway echo to it. Then a kiss....

Everything stopped for a long moment before he started coming around. This was definitely real life, he felt awful. He was soaked in sweat from his fever breaking. Every inch of him ached but he was alive.]

[There's an understanding smile as he feels her hand and closes his fingers around it as best as he can. Hank looks relieved to see him awake and is asking Charles how he's feeling]

[He manages a raspy deadpan reply]
Fantastic. Any calls while I was out?

----------------------------------

[Emma laughed softly at the joke, but her smile disappeared as soon as she met Hank's gaze. He was still giving her the evil Beast eye, but she just tilted her head towards her and Charles' hands.] He wants me here. Now if you would be so kind...

[She perched herself on the edge of Xavier's bed, still holding his hand as she makes it clear to McCoy and everyone else that she's at least staying put for the time being.]

Really, you'd think they'd never seen a hero before. After all, I did save your life.

----------------------------------

[Given Emma's reputation, Charles can't blame Hank for being worried and protective. He looks up at Beast, giving him a telepathic message] It's ok, Hank. She kept me alive, she's not here to cause trouble.

[Hank doesn't like it but he nods and moves away to work on something else. He trusts Xavier's judgement.]

[Charles takes a careful breath, mentally checking himself over. He couldn't feel past his waist but everything above seemed to be ok. He drags his other arm out of the covers, finding the IV on it along with some bruises]


----------------------------------

[Emma waited for Beast to move away before she rubbed her thumb over the back of Charles' hand and then leaned in to touch her fingers to his hair again.]

Just out of interest, what do you think they'd do if I ever defected to your side?

[She watches as he moves, looking down at the bruises. It's the first time she's gotten to see how much damage really was done.]

----------------------------------

[He looks back at her as she moves his bangs to the side. One could almost read his answer from that alone, Charles wouldn't turn anyone away that wanted to join them...if he thought they truly meant it]

[He answers truthfully]
There would be mutual distrust till you had proved you were not out to sabotage or hurt anyone...not unlike any new mutant that comes through our doors.

[He leans his head back a bit into the pillows, running his mind back over all he had gone through as if making sure he could still remember it all]

----------------------------------

[Emma runs her tongue over her lips as she moistens them, the gesture biding her time as she holds his gaze.]

I should think saving their cherished leader was enough of an offering to start with. [She continued to hold his gaze, arching her eyebrow slightly.] And really, you're starting to make a bad habit of nearly getting killed. Clearly they're not keeping enough of an eye on you. Someone else has to do the job.

[Her eyes narrow slightly as she waits to see just how much he does remember.] How's the memory, dear?

----------------------------------

[He looks back without looking away as he answers telepathically] You are here, in the mansion. That could have been the goal...but I know it was not.

[She had saved him because she wanted to, not to use him. That had earned his trust to a degree]

I hardly need looked after. [Xavier was one of, if not the most powerful telepath on the planet. It couldn't be helped that the bad guys were getting clever]

Seems to be all there... [Even the uncomfortable bits, but he's glad of that. He wouldn't want any unexplained gaps]

----------------------------------

I could have just seduced Alex Summers if that had been my intention. But I prefer my men legal and willing. [Her lips twitched in a smile finally before she exhaled.]

Charles, I'm no fool. And I'm slowly realizing that I'm not built for the side I've found myself on.

[She crossed her legs over, glancing up at the ceiling. It really had been her choice to save Xavier. She was the closest, and she was the one who could do it quickly and quietly enough.] I'm not no one's henchman. I can be of more use here. If you'll have me.

[Emma felt her shoulders drop in relief.] Glad to hear it. Though between the two of us I'm sure we could have rediscovered any gaps.

----------------------------------

[He hadn't expected her to make such a decision here and now. There is a questioning look] Are you sure?
[Far be it from him to discourage her but he wanted to be sure she meant it. And that she had considered what it meant to be on their side.]

Would you want to teach? These are kids here, not adults...rescue missions don't involve killing all involved. [And he hasn't mentioned Erik...he might not take her defection well, he was not sure what her relationship was to him. Or her loyalty.]

[There was a small idea in the back of his mind, were he a more devious sort, he should ask her to be a man on the inside of Erik's operation for them but he would never ask such a thing, no matter the tactical advantage]


----------------------------------

You tell me, Charles. You're the other telepath in the room. [She hadn't closed off her mind to him yet, not when she knew it was one of the few ways a telepath could really trust what someone was saying.

She couldn't blame him for doubting her motives, but her face remained impassive for a few moments before she ducked her head with a smile.]


Darling, I've dreamed of being a teacher since I was a little girl. It just got lost in life at the Hellfire Club. Meeting Shaw changed a lot of things... Changed me, but you've seen the woman I could have been. She's still in here. She's not completely forgotten. [Her gaze flicked back to his face.]

If you were a more devious man, I wouldn't be. I've had my fill of devious. It only gets you so far. [She flexed the fingers of her free hand, the other tightening it's grip briefly on his hand.] I've also had my fill of blood on my hands. If you're serious, if you really think you can accomplish what you've set out to do - then I will stand by you, and I will help you.

----------------------------------

[If she hadn't had her mind that open....Charles would have sworn he was dreaming this. The hand in hers actually shakes a little bit with emotion that he's almost too ill to express just yet. To think she would throw her lot in with them, it was better than he could have ever hoped for.]

[Now he can't help an incredulous smile from ear to ear]
....I should get kidnapped more often.

You are welcome here, Miss Frost. If you think we can put up with each other, I think anything is possible.

----------------------------------

[She watches him quietly, watches his face for his reaction. It's only when he smiles that she slowly starts to put her defenses back in place. It's a safety blanket of sorts, one she's sure he understands.

Her own smile increased and she even laughed a little.]
Perhaps you should. At least it allows me to be the white knight. Not a role I get to play often.

Thank you, Charles. And please, call me Emma. [She leaned in to press a kiss to his forehead.] So far I think we're doing more than alright with putting up with each other, wouldn't you agree?

----------------------------------

Ah, if you're going to be a teacher, you will have to put up with hearing your surname once in awhile I'm afraid. [Besides, it was a habit with Charles, not one that was broken easily to call everyone by their last name]

[He relaxes back into the pillows]
It's a good start.

[It would probably be awhile before the other X-men trusted her, but he was willing to be referee for those kind of problems. It was what he dealt with best, getting people who didn't like each other to work together]

----------------------------------

I suppose I'll have to work on dressing more appropriately too. The sacrifices I make in the name of good... [She was teasing. Mostly. She straightened back up and tucked her hair behind her ear again.]

Do I get to choose what I teach, or are you going to assign the subjects to me?

[She was no stranger to feeling their distrust, but she was serious about changing sides. She also had thick enough skin to withstand anything they chose to throw at her.]

----------------------------------

Yes...and please, no seducing Alex Summers. Poor boy is insecure enough as it is. [He only half serious about that. Better to head off problems before they became problems]

As of yet, everyone helps where they can. It's not exactly a fully staffed school. What do you feel you are qualified to teach? [He'll put her in wherever she wants to work. Though the actual details might have to wait till he's feeling a little healthier]

----------------------------------

Just go and take away all my fun why don't you. [She sighed, trying to act like she was really hurt by being told the younger mutant was out of bounds.] Besides, I've always preferred brunettes.

I see. So nice to know you've got such a... free love vibe going on here. [The question just had her smirking as she gave him a pointed look.] Sexual education of course. But if there has to be other options... It's not as if I can't help with a little mental defense techniques. Perhaps even business studies?

----------------------------------

I have an old fuddy-duddy professorial reputation to live up to.

[Of course, he walked into that one] I'll be honest, we haven't had anyone teaching that. Kids today are pretty well informed already.

One telepathy class, one business class. That sounds like a good balance to start with. [He puts a hand across his eyes tiredly, Charles is well worn out from being kidnapped, sick, and now excited about a new teacher. Some days he felt older than others.] I'll ask Jean to set up one of the bedrooms for you.

----------------------------------

I'm surprised you don't have tweed pajamas. [A beat.] Do you have tweed pajamas?

Doesn't stop them from needing to be prepared in case they still make a mistake.

[She gave a nod.] I will be more than happy with that particular balance. Ah, yes... your protégé. I promise to play nice with her too. [She slipped from the bed, offering up a soft smile as she looked at him.] This time you really do need your rest without my interference. I'm sure Hank wants to get at you without my being here as well.

----------------------------------

I do not have tweed pajamas. [....they're silk and blue and terribly posh and British]

[He looks up at her as she stands] I have the worst feeling that I'll wake up from all of this and still be back in that cell, none of it would have happened. [But he hopes that won't happen]

[Hank is already coming back in to check on Xavier and seems relieved that he's doing so well.]


----------------------------------

[She sees him in them and bites back a more devious smile. It was so very endearing an image.]

You know how to reach me if you need help sleeping, dear. [She tapped a finger to her temple before brushing her fingers through his bangs one last time.] But I promise you you're safe. This isn't some elaborate dream. If it were, one of us would have been naked by now.

[The surprised noise Hank makes at hearing her comment really does have her grinning and she just bats her lashes at him.]

----------------------------------

[Charles gives her a reproachful look for peeking at that memory. Not one word about the pajamas. He's got a rep to maintain with the students]

[Poor Hank, he would be ten shades of red if he weren't already blue. Charles smiles ruefully, knowing she enjoys the effect she has on men]
Thank you. I don't think I will have too much trouble. [He felt tired enough to sleep for a week without stopping]

We'll talk more about this later then.

----------------------------------

[Emma just winks at him before sending him a memory of what she doesn't sleep in. He did accidentally show her his after all. Sharing was only fair.]

I look forward to it... Professor Xavier. [She let go of his hand, turning to leave but not before shooting Beast one last grin. It was true that she enjoyed the effect she had on men. But the effect she had on Charles was something she was far more interested in, and something she was prepared to be patient about.]

Sweet dreams, darling.

----------------------------------

[Oh. Well. Not much can be said about that, not without him giving up on being a gentleman]

Thank you, Miss Frost.

[He has a lot to think about but it will have to wait. Charles closes his eyes and he's asleep within minutes. Now that the fever is gone, he can rest easier and Hank will be hovering back and forth to make sure he's doing alright.]

[Jean will already have a room set up for Emma, Charles sent her a telepathic message to the effect]
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Charles Xavier

December 2016

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