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A second chance...

Charles was spending some time in Cerebro, doing his daily search for new mutants. As his mind flicked over the thousands within his reach, he found himself wondering about the man he met a few days ago. Such a tortured soul, Charles couldn't help but wonder how he was doing.

He searches for his mind, just to check up on him. Nothing more. He won't even know he's there...


( 58 thoughts — what are you thinking? )
May. 28th, 2012 07:59 am (UTC)
Will was precisely where Charles had left him: Quantico. Right now, he was studying a board with gruesome pictures pinned to it, depicting both of the crime scenes. He was worried about the moon coming in two weeks. That was when the Tooth Fairy had chosen to strike twice before. They had no idea yet where he would next because Will hadn't stepped behind the killer's eyes yet enough to tell them.

“When are you going to Atlanta, Will? Have you been to Birmingham yet?”
“Soon, Jack. Soon.”
“You need to get down there now. We're running out of time.”

He knew it. Every time he went to pick up his ticket and fly out, he'd find himself a half hour later doing something else. The time between was empty and blank, like a drunken blackout.

“Hello, this is Special Investigator William Graham with the Behavioural Sciences Unit. There was a gentleman here a few days ago by the name of Charles Xavier. I need to get his information, please.”
“One moment, please. I'm sorry, Agent Graham. We have no record of a Charles Xavier visiting here in the past week.”
“Are you sure? He said he was visiting a friend.”
“Positive, sir. If you like, we can fax you a copy of the visitor log for your investigation.”
“Please do.”

Will had seen it for himself. There had been nothing like a Charles Xavier there. It had taken two hours of searching to find the Marine they had passed. Even he denied ever seen Will or any man in a wheelchair on Quantico's grounds. The next step had been searching. So far, not much was coming up yet. There were over ten thousand people named 'Charles Xavier in North America and Canada.

It wasn't misuse of resources as long as he could tell himself that it was working on a mystery.
May. 28th, 2012 08:15 am (UTC)
Charles smiles to himself in the darkened room of Cerebro. It was irony that the man was searching for him as well. He could help him along...but he is hesitant to reveal himself and his abilities just yet.

It wouldn't be just himself he would expose, he has to think of the children and their safety. If the FBI knew of the existence of mutants...

Those blackouts are curious though. Charles wouldn't be surprised if they were stress related, considering all that Will is exposed to on a daily basis.

He waits a moment or two longer, the environment around Will coming into sharper focus as he senses his surroundings through his minds eye.
May. 28th, 2012 08:40 am (UTC)
Will hadn't been lying when he spoke of using people with abilities. Jack Crawford had emotionally blackmailed him into taking this task up when no one else could complete it. Before that, Jack had set Will on the trail of not one but two killers as easily as he would have a bloodhound. The first had ended with Will doing time in a psychiatric institute as his sanity slipped away from him. The second had ended in his death and revival. Yet Jack had called him up from a life of retirement and set him on the trail of a third.

It was perhaps fortunate that Charles couldn't see the future. If he had, he would have known that two to three weeks from now, William Thomas Graham would be lying in an ICU bed with gunshots and a grievous wound to his face where a knife had been driven in through his left cheekbone hard enough to shatter it and part of his upper jaw... or a family of five would be dead. Three months after that, Will Graham would be a hopeless alcoholic in a solitary existence with a face that frightened small children and made him hard for adults to look at.

All because one human without a gift knew all too well how to use one with the ability.

Will sighed and took another drink of the gut-rot coffee, already thinking of having a hard hit of alcohol when he got back to his barracks room. He deserved it in his opinion. His thoughts moved between the streams of this mysterious Charles Xavier and going to Atlanta in equal parts. There it hit a partial wall.

The blond haired man with eyes of a nightmare touched him (ohgodsohgodshelphescoldtoocold) and said ugly things about being his pet because he was 'interesting' and that Will was not to leave, not to leave, not to leave, not to leave and there was a turning of his thoughts like an arm wrenched behind him to near breaking-

The conscious mind easily forgot these things, condemning them to the dark underworld of the subconscious. A solid wall stopped Charles, another's uncaring and too strong telepathic barrier that said 'no'.

I'll give you to him as a pet. We can share you! Was the lunatic whisper. A madman mutant perhaps or something else.

Will sighed and scrubbed his hands through his hair. His thoughts spun around like any human's that didn't know or hadn't experienced telepathy. The human mind tried to compensate, to put the so-called 'reality' back together.

His computer beeped at his side, narrowing down the terms 'paraplegic' and 'Charles Xavier' to little over a hundred leads. Will tapped a foot on the floor as he thought of how to define it further.
May. 28th, 2012 09:00 am (UTC)
Now that definitely wasn't normal. Charles had come across many a mental block, this one was stronger than anything he'd seen to date. Someone had been picking at this man's mind long before he had met Charles.

He couldn't leave it at that. Charles was all too willing to help, but it might be tricky work. Mental barriers could be forced open but the damage it resulted in had to be worth the risk before attempting that.

It may be that he didn't need to help, Will was narrowing down the search nicely. He was in that list of paraplegics, a gunshot wound to the lower back as recently as a year ago. Perhaps if he thought to cross reference that list with the University of Oxford's alumni list....
May. 28th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Will Graham tapped the top of his pen against his lips, scanning down over the hundred or so entries that had come up with those search perimeters. He wasn't thinking along the same lines as Charles, what would have most likely been the way anyone else would have done it.

“The chair had a new look to it. His hands didn't have the callouses or rough spots he would have if he had been in the chair for awhile. It's a recent change in his life. It took him a few seconds with the rock in the path. Someone in a chair for a long time would have swerved around it easier,” Will said to himself.

That wasn't helping right now though. A hospital records search would take time, and with HIPPA standards, could get questions.

“There hadn't been any suspicion or unease with being on a highly secure military base.”

Again, interesting but not relevant right now. Had Will not been alone, another listener might have been a little confused about the tones and patterns of Will's speech changing until they were a mirror of Charles'. He was starting to try to see through Charles' eyes.

“An instructor, of sorts. Teach at a private boarding school.”

The room around ceased to exist in Will's mind. He was back on that path but instead of being himself, he was sitting in Charles' chair. There was the perfect recall with the emotional empathy to 'become' the person.

“A speciality in human genetics and mutation...”

Will paused, the 'him' in his mind sitting there with the flutter of fingers to temple as the guard walked by, the motions that didn't make sense on the surface. His own hand lifted to mimic how Charles' had. This was what worried people, caused some to be afraid of Will Graham.

“What were you doing here? Hiding? But it wasn't hiding. It was ... something else. You weren't afraid. A person hiding is afraid. You were...”

His voice had become a little more his own, but when Will spoke again, it was pure Charles Xavier.

“Do you think they could be unmade? If given the chance.”

Then what Will spoke was himself again although his mental pictured remained that of Will-as-Charles.

“You know a monster, Mr Xavier. A bad one, but one you want to save. Were you here to get in our database? To see what we know?”

Will's mental picture of himself as Charles blurred some, that not seeming right. There was something more. What he saw in his mind remained frozen, rewinding – replaying – fast forwarding as Will relived the entire exchange and tried to slip further in.

His hand reached out for the keyboard, further defining the search: Charles Xavier, paraplegic, human genetic and mutation.
May. 28th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
Charles was fascinated, watching the man becoming more like himself from memory alone. He'd never seen this technique before outside of his own telepathy. There was no linking of minds, this was all from Will's imagination. And he was very close if not spot on with the truth each time.

An active mind like that, Charles had to be careful not to give himself away. Some people had an innate sense of when another person was inside their mind. He settled into a corner of Will's mind, watching the scene play out. Will switching places with him and himself as he tried to piece together who Charles was.

Will's search was not in vain this time, there was a short listing of papers on genetic mutations. It wasn't a widely read subject, most of it was on stem cell research but there was a thesis on the evolution of man as a species through genetic mutations.....written by one Charles Xavier when he was still a student working on his masters at Oxford. The paper wasn't online as it was written back in the 1960's, the original was likely still with the author.
May. 28th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
It was the 'sorry' that came back. That word was out of place with everything else. But why?

What if there were ten Will Graham, and all of them put on a different mutant. Imagine a Will Graham watching a few hours of footage, maybe a 'chance' conversation or two with said mutant. How long would it take the government to have a working profile on them, one that listed suspected weaknesses or mental flaws. Imagine how much easier it would be to trap, accuse of crimes, manipulate or flat out kill mutants if ten or twenty or a hundred Will Grahams were set to study them?

It was a good thing that people with Will's abilities were far more rare than mutants were. A good many had photographic memories, but to have that empathic component twisted up with it was next to impossible.

Eyeing his computer screen, Will began to step back and away from the mental work he had been doing. It faded out, stored in a part of his mind should he need it again like a giant warehouse. Tapping a few keys, he 'hrmmmed' and clicked on a few links and began working on this single 'Charles Xavier' to find what he could. The FBI database was added in, drawing out everything that a federal background check would have spit out.

"What were you doing here?" he asked again, his own voice again. "And what monster are you hiding?"

Lecter? He doubted it although it was possible. This Xavier was the learned sort the doctor would have associated with, intelligent and well-bred.
May. 28th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
And Will knew, in some strange way, that he was being used. As a tool. That insight made Charles wonder if he would be sympathetic to their cause or not.

Charles' grades at Oxford were there but not much else. A straight-A student with a few pictures in the yearbook. Even the younger pictures couldn't hide the fact it was indeed the same Charles Xavier.

There was a classified and sealed file reference to a Xavier within the CIA database, but they were keeping that locked up really tight. Mostly because they didn't want anyone else knowing that they had worked with mutants....and it had nearly started WWIII.

What if you can't find him? Charles gives him a quiet suggestion. He's curious to know.
May. 29th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
“There you are.”

Time had passed, but Will was convinced that was the same man staring out at him from the old picture. The eyes and the way he held his head were almost the same although this younger version had a more mischievous look to him. Something had changed between then and now, a big something.

“Did you meet your monster, have your accident, or both?” he asked the screen. It remained silent.

The CIA file was noted in his memory but left alone. There was no way in hell he could convince someone that he needed something with that much security. Even Crawford wouldn't buy it. Playing about with CIA files, especially ones with that many levels of security, was a good way to become a non-person. No one was going to miss a broken down drunken ex-profiler.

Will didn't question Charles' thought as anything other than his own.

“If I can't find him, then I can't. It's not as if it matters. He's not part of my case. I want to finish it and go home.”

Yeah, home where there was an empty house with all the pieces of his and Molly's life that she didn't take with her.

“I think I will be able to though. There's enough to start on. There's always some loose end to pull on.”

Will was already going down his mental list of who he could call with a name, picture and university who could track down the lines from there to where and who this Charles Xavier really was.
May. 29th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
That case seemed to be weighing Will down though. That line of work would do that to you. If he wasn't careful, it would likely be the end of him.

Charles remembers when that picture was taken, smiling faintly at the memory. Happier times....ones he couldn't go back to. One could only go forward. He hoped someday, Magneto and him could find common ground once again. But till then, he was going to help train mutants, teaching them how to deal with themselves and the world on equal footing.

The school didn't have a record of his house, only the apartment he stayed in while over in England. Him and his sister, Raven. If he did manage to track down a few of his college mates, they would likely tell him of how he was in college, his late nights at the pub, what a good mate he was. But not much else.

Charles didn't want him tracking him down to his house. No, that would expose the children. What he needed was middle ground if Will was insistent on meeting him again. He could do it long distance like this, but that might confuse the poor man more. And he really shouldn't spend that long of a time in Cerebro if it was going to be a long conversation.

He bides his time, waiting to see what Will would dig up next.
May. 29th, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
'Weighed down' was understatement. About ninety-five percent of his waking time was spent on it and about fifty of his sleeping. Time was running out. If he didn't do something soon, another family was going to die. After that, he'd have another three to four weeks, then another would die. And another.

This one wasn't going to stop. Will knew it. He liked feeling like god.

Saving the picture and printing out a copy, Will leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. He really did not need to be chasing some phantom person instead of keeping his mind on the Jacobi and Leeds families. If he didn't, another name was going to join the list.

That didn't stop Will from picking up the phone and putting a few cadets on chasing down the leads he had with name, college and the research paper. There might be an organization Xavier had belonged to like the AMA or the like. Those groups sent out newsletters and took in research papers. They might have an address, phone number or email address.

Making himself stop for now on that, Will dragged the vodka bottle over, poured a very generous amount in some soda and stared at the stack of photographs he didn't want to go through again.
May. 29th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
An idea was forming for Charles. Will was extremely suggestible, that much was apparent. And since he had been trying to become Charles, it was a small matter for Charles to take over for a moment.

Having Will lean over and pick up the phone, dialing a number he won't remember later. Right before he leaves him to himself, Charles pulling back to turn off Cerebro. He lifts off the headset as Dr. McCoy in the next room asks if he should get the phone. "No, that's ok Hank, I'll get it."

He wheels out of Cerebro's room and into the corridor picking up the phone to answer it. "Hello. I believe you've been looking for me, Mr. Graham," he says, smiling into the telephone.
May. 29th, 2012 02:17 am (UTC)
Finding himself doing something else when contemplating leaving hadn't been new to Will. He'd 'woken up' so far in the basement of the barracks, on the kerb outside the base and standing at the ten foot edge of the base pool. The last had been a little disturbing. Finding himself on the phone with his drink still at hand wasn't bad.

"Mr Xavier?"

He stared at the phone before him, utterly lost on how he'd gotten ahold of a number. Had one of the interns called back and told him? Had he found something? The idea that he'd had a conversation and didn't remember it didn't sit well.

"How did you know?"

A glance at his watch told him it was still the same day, so he hadn't blacked out for too long.

"Did I call you or you call me?"
May. 29th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
"I could be completely enigmatic and say it was both, but that would take awhile to explain on the phone.

I would prefer if you stopped asking about me to my friends, they're going to start to wonder if I'm in some kind of trouble with the FBI." Charles doesn't sound upset in the least, he's quite genial about the whole situation. So long as it kept the FBI away from his school and the children.

"You have my attention now, what is it I can do for you, Mr. Graham?"
May. 29th, 2012 04:40 am (UTC)
That confirmed some of what Will had suspected no matter if it didn't feel right: Charles was a government spook. He wasn't the first Will had met.

"I was curious."

No use in lying right now. Xavier could probably pull up all the searches he had done, the checked he had conducted with the guards, and most likely had access to the cameras even here in Quantico. There was no limit to resources they had.

"I wondered why you were here, really here."

What else was there to say?

"Who is your monster, Mr Xavier?"
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( 58 thoughts — what are you thinking? )


62: very serious
Professor Charles Xavier

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