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The rest of the night passed, and soon the sun was shining brightly upon Richmond, Virginia and upon the military base housed within it under the guise as a standard scientific research facility.
And if there was some poor janitor who had needed to stay up late to fix the dessert case, well, Charlotte didn't feel too guilty about it. She did feel bad for causing the extra work, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and that was what that cheesecake was at the time; a desperate measure.
All antics and stresses of the past night, however, were far out of her mind as she focused on the current moment. The signing of documents, the information on Cerebro that the teenaged Doctor McCoy had indeed finished throughout the night, and unfortunately need to argue with the Man in Black, Oliver Flemygn on the topic of exactly how they'd track down mutants if the machine did work.
[b "No, I'm sorry but I just do not agree with you. We can not send government personnel out to speak and/or retrieve other mutants."] Charlotte's voice was firm as she spoke this, she and Agent O on opposite sides of the debate. [#229e00 "It's a government sanctioned actions, Miss Xavier. How else do you expect them to get here? The agents of this office will be doing it."]
The woman bit the inside of her cheek, [b "Mr. Flemyng, all of these individuals are hiding or live in fear of the government coming for them—sending people in suits to 'talk with them' and try to recruit them is just asking for disaster,"] She hesitated briefly and then, with shoulders back and spine ramrod straight she declared with an air of authority, [b "If Cerebro does indeed work, then Erik and I will be the ones traveling to speak and potentially retrieve our mutant allies."]
Oliver seemed floored by this offer, [#229e00 "You want me to allow you, a civilian, and Mister Lehnsherr, another civilian, to have full control of government resources and work?"]
The two stared at one another a long moment, but soon the man sighed. [#229e00 "I'll allow it. I'm going to have to jump through some hoops, but you and Erik will have full jurisdiction over the mutants. Agent McTaggert, however, will be required to be place on the documents as your supervisor. Just send Mister Lehnsherr here whenever you find him so he can sign his documents as well?"]
Nods of agreements and compromises met, Charlotte would leave the man's office several long minutes later.
As she got to the corner of the hallway she slowed down, came to a stop, and then casually just popped her head around the corner to stare up at the man, [b "You know, Erik, you could have just come into the office like you were supposed to instead of easedropping out here. You projected your thought process very loudly, by the way,"] She looked at him, eyes squinting slightly in a mixture of playfulness and seriousness. [b "...If I didn't know better, I'd think you did your best to project your thoughts so loudly and that you were [i testing] me."] Giving him a grin, she folded her arms behind her back and began in a quick walk down the halls.
[b "Come along! We need to go meet with Hank and Raven at Cerebro."] It was amazing how fast that woman could move when she wanted, for she was out of sight and around another corner quite quickly.
Erik smirks. [b "When you try German chocolate cake, you'll never want another dessert in your life. Then again, it's so full of sugar that you would never need another dessert in your life. You can even add blueberries, if you wish. Though strawberries might go better with it."]
He rises from his place and moves to follow her. [b "And here I thought you were a goodie-goodie,"] he teases, glancing back at the picked lock and their dirty dishes. [b "Wouldn't want anyone to know that great Charlotte Xavier is capable of such crimes. Your reputation would be ruined."]
They walk in amiable silence back to their room, being careful not to wake Raven as they opened the door. Satisfied that her soft snores were real, Erik steps in to the room first, putting a finger to his lips to signal for quiet. [b "Sleeps like a rock, doesn't she?"] he murmurs by her ear.
He moves to his bed and removes his sweater and jacket, placing them on the empty bed next to his. Not feeling particularly worried about decorum, he sits to take off his boots and slides out of his pants as well, leaving him in just his t-shirt and boxer shorts. The sheets are cool and welcoming as he settles back against his pillow. [b "Guten nacht,"] he utters under his breath.
The clock on the wall ticks rhythmically, but no matter how he tries he can't get to sleep. Erik is almost positive that both girls are dead to the world, but he doesn't risk rising once more. Instead, he stares at the popcorn stucco on the ceiling, once more weighing the pros and cons of his staying to help with recruitment. Only this time, the pros outweigh the cons greatly.
By the time his eyelids grow heavy and fall, it's well in to the night, but for once his dreams aren't plagued by memories.
[b "You? Picky?"] She gasped, dramatically holding a hand against her heart. [b "I had no idea! Dear me, the scandal of such information."] A snicker passed her lips the same moment they failed from curling into a smirk, and then soon enough they were delving into the cheesecake.
Charlotte couldn't resist watching his face as he took the first bite, and smiled at his reaction before taking a bite. It was smooth on the tongue in her opinion, but she understood where he was coming from on the sugar. [b "I actually agree with you on that. There's too much actual sugar with how naturally sweet the strawberries are."] And with their critiques done on it for now, they followed the next few minutes with silence as they ate. The petite light next to the hulking darkness; bare feet idly swinging with what one could call sweetness while booted feet sat firm in what one would call firmness.
They definitely were a contradiction.
The young professor finished her last bite of the dessert moments after he had, she wiping her mouth with the back of her hand before pushing her own plate away as well.
At his words, she quirked an eyebrow. [b "Heavy and sturdy? I have to admit, that doesn't sound very satisfying for a dessert. ...Unless it's heavy in, say, blueberries. That would catch my interest."] She grinned, resisting the urge to make the dirty joke that was on the tip of her tongue. [i If Raven heard I made a joke like that outside of our own little sisterhood, or outside of a bar, she'd never let me live it down.] She reminded herself, urge now fully sated away for the time being.
[b "But tell you what, Erik; I'll try a German dessert at some point [i if] you let me cook a cheesecake for you. One much better than what we just ate. An eye for an eye."] She spun on the stool, hopping down and shivered only slightly when her bare feet touched the cool concrete of the floor once more. [b "Come on, let's head back to the rooms and get some rest. We'll have a long day tomorrow."] She paused, glancing over her shoulder while bluntly adding, [b "...And lets hurry before someone else comes by and sees that I picked the lock on the dessert case to get at the cheesecake in the first place."]
He was going to live to regret this. He knew it. But, a part of him knew that she was right. Erik couldn't do this on his own, as much as it pains him to say. He's not done particularly well with taking down Shaw alone. So, he reaches out and shakes Charlotte's hand.
[b "Cheesecake?"] his face scrunches. [i "I don't think I've ever had it. Desserts were a rarity in my home. Cookies, at best. If it's as good as you say it is, I may as well give it a try."]
The walk through the corridors is silent so as to not alert anyone else that they were awake. Erik isn't particularly hungry, but agreeing to trying the cheesecake seems to be like signing a contract with her. Sealing their deal over food.
He takes a seat at one of the high bar stools after setting two plates with forks out for them. [b "My mother was an exquisite baker. This has much to compete against. I'm rather picky, if you hadn't noticed."]
Still, when she slides a portion on to his plate he doesn't hesitate to take a bite. The burst of sweetness overwhelms him and he isn't quite sure if he likes it at first. Raising an eyebrow at her, he tries another bite. [b "I feel like I'm ingesting months worth of sugar, just from this. I'll have to make my run extra long tomorrow just to work this off."]
They could almost look like friends, he's sure, as they sit side by side devouring their pieces of cheesecake. And a sight they must be. His hulking form sitting beside her petite frame, dark and light together like this. It irks him that he may even be growing fond of her ferocity. Not that he would tell her. She'd never let him hear the end of it. [b "I'll give it a seven out of ten rating,"] he pushes his now empty plate away. [b "You haven't tasted anything until you've had authentic German desserts. They're heavy and sturdy just like the German people."]
Charlotte would be a liar if she said she had been intentionally hiding behind the corner, out of sight, in hopes of him coming back into the base after her. She's also be a liar if she said she had been seconds from doing a 'happy dance' after he'd called after her when he ended up rounding the corner and almost knocked her off her feet.
She just... walked very slowly and might have been moments from making gestures of thankfulness.
[i Or I'm full of shit, even when talking to myself in my own head.] Charlotte thought as she straightened herself out from almost stumbling as she listened to his words.
The one thing she doubted she'd ever be able lie about, to her own self or to any others, is the smile of warm relief that spread her face as he presented that deal to her. It genuinely did bring her so much happiness to know he'd be staying for, quite honestly, she was already worried to death over the health and wellbeing of the Lehnsherr male.
She knew Raven had realized that already, and seemed concerned for her but she swept it aside. The older of the two Xavier female got deeply and so easily. The elder sister saw it as being empathetic, the younger saw it as a death sentence. Raven had admitted to her these worries that Charlotte's emotions and "big heart", the very essence and everything that made the woman who she was, would easily be what destroyed her as well.
That was neither here or now, however. The worries that the telepath had skimmed from her sister thinking too loudly were not what mattered right now. Right now was the relief of this man giving her a chance to help him in any way possible.
Charlotte had nodded her head at the other mutant's words before holding out a hand in order to shake on it, [b "Of course we have a deal, Erik. I'll do all I can to make sure no blow-ups happen."] After a moment she dropped his hand and clapped her own together enthusiastically.
[b "Now, I believe there's some strawberry cheesecake in the cafeteria that we could go and... borrow,"] her voice was far too innocent as she paraphrased from his stance on those boots he'd stolen the night before. [b "Would you care to join me?"] She asked with a tilt of her head in the general direction they'd have to take in order to get to the base's eating areas. An already unmistakable sparkle of mischief twinkling in her blue eyes as easy-going smile tweaked the corners of her mouth.
For a tiny woman, she had a fire in her that could fuel a volcano, Erik thinks wryly to himself. It was partially inspiring, and partially a pain in his ass. Crossing his arms over his chest, he gives her his attention. [b "Go on then. Convince me, Xavier."]
His jaw twitches and he fights the urge to roll his eyes when she brings up time. Of course he's worried about time. Every minute is important when you're tracking someone! The next point is a straight blow to his ego. [b "I'm better prepared now. I know that he's not alone, and what his people are capable of."]
Still, she continues to refute him. [b "You are insufferable!"] he mutters, not pleased to have his defenses ignored by her tangent.
Charlotte had struck a nerve with the accusation of his distrust of them all. [b "My family was murdered by a group of people that were supposed to be their countrymen. Excuse me for having some issues in that department,"] he snaps. [b "I've been at this a lot longer than the few days you have, so please spare me the hero speech. I owe these people nothing, as you don't owe me. Why don't we just agree that this is a terrible idea to be involved with. You can go back to your life of education, and I can get back to what I know."]
Erik isn't prepared for her change in tone, nor for the understanding look in her eyes. He's brought back to that moment under the water when she'd rescued him against his own stupidity. Still, he's always been a proud man. So, it's no surprise when his gaze drops and looks away.
When it appears she's said all she has to say, Charlotte disappears back in to the base. [b "Shit,"] he sighs, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose.
Curse the woman for being so rational. [b "Charlotte,"] he calls while going after her, proceeding to bump in to her the second he rounds the corner. [b "I'll give you time. If this shows signs of blowing up in my face, I'm gone. Do we have a deal?"]
[i For the love of absolute bloody fuck, he is the worst drama queen I've ever met—and I all but raised Raven myself. We haven't even BEEN HERE FOR A SOLD 24-HOURS YET!] Charlotte thought to herself in her frustration, groaning internally but on the outside she kept herself calm and silent. The brunette stared at him a few long moments, blue eyes locked upon hazel-green.
[b "....Fine. Go ahead and leave,"] the woman gave a shrug, shifting her weight, [b "But do me a small favor and just listen—really, [i truly] listen—to what I have to say first. Listen before you leap."] The short woman would stand there in silence and await whatever reaction he may give, and once he'd hopefully give the one she had been waiting for, one of agreement to the proposition, she'd nod her her to herself before beginning to walk forward.
[b "One, you're stressing over wasted time when we've been here for less than 20 hours,"] she held up a finger to start tacking off every point she was making, speaking in a calm voice, [b "Two, you almost died on your own when you did take Shaw because it's not just Shaw you're going to have to face, but his own team of people who he's likely manipulated for years."]
Another finger came up, her feet having brought her to a stop a mere three-feet in front of him. [b "Three, you're not willing to depend on people without even bothering to give them a proper chance. And finally, fourth and final, this [i is] my mission now too."] Before he could potentially throw some sort of hissy fit—for that's what she labeled his moods like so far, like a toddler's hissy considering the circumstance behind most of them so far fit—she held up a hand to all but demand his silence.
Once she was sure he wasn't going to interrupt, she continued, [b "It became my mission too the minute Shaw's own telepath tried to get back into my brain. He knows of my existence and, not blowing my own horn here, but I'm pretty sure my abilities are genuinely more powerful than his telepath's. I'm a [i target]. I didn't know it was Shaw's brain I glimpsed, but there was a strong surge of... desire the moment the blonde woman you described noticed me and lashed back. And if you think even without that reason I'd be letting you go on this suicide mission alone, you'd be very wrong."] Charlotte waggled her fingers at him, moving her arms to hug around herself.
Suddenly something in her expression shifted. All natural sass even with her brutal honesty disappeared from her face. Her expression became somber and maintaining it's already present honest and seriousness tones.
[b "I know, Erik. Alright? I.... I [i know],"] She stared at him silent, allowing those two little words to really sink in. To let him [i know] what she knew. [b "I'm sorry I intruded so deeply when we first met while going for our little dip yesterday. I didn't mean to, but it happened. You were just thinking of all of it so much... it was impossible to avoid seeing. I saw what he did to you. Like it or not, I understand [i why] for every action you've made since I've met you."] She was silent again, just staring up at him, but then with a sigh she stepped back from him. [b "You're a good man, Erik. A smart man. You shouldn't try doing this on your own. You don't [i need] to it on your own. You just need some faith."]
A silence would pass through them, nothing but the slight whistling of the gentle wind to break it before the telepathic woman looked up at him once more. [b "I told you what I'm capable of—even if you don't seem to really believe me without proof. I could [i make] you stay.... but I won't. It's your choice, Erik."] She gave him a small smile, turned, and walked back towards the doors of the military base.
[b "Shaw has friends on his side, and you've got some who want to be on yours. Wouldn't it be best to keep us?"] She called over her shoulder, entered into the class doors, and walked off through them visible until she reached a corner and was turned out of sight.
Erik had to restrain himself from growling out loud. They didn't have time to wait. Who knows if the boy can even get the project finished and ready by tomorrow? He wants to speak up and threaten motivation in to the young McCoy, but Charlotte was already taking control of the situation. It was all becoming too much, and Erik was thankful when they left the tower and split off.
What has he been thinking? This is never going to work. He's held out too much hope that by joining this team of misfits, they'd have a better chance at taking down Shaw, but in reality, they've gotten no closer than he has on his own.
Ignoring the others, he wanders the ground for the rest of the day, only reappearing to eat. They'd be in bed soon enough, and then he could make his escape. There's no point in staying if they aren't going to make the process go faster. So, Erik will just have to bide his time until Charlotte and Raven fall asleep. He'll be gone before they wake up.
He makes little conversation with them as they ready themselves for bed. Making the excuse that he's not quite tired enough, he remains in his clothes and grabs a book. [b "I'm going to the study. This is a lot to take in,"] he drawls before excusing himself from their room.
He isn't even down the hall before he tosses the book aside and zips up his jacket. He was an idiot to think this would work. Unfortunately, he's not even thirty feet from the door before Charlotte is interrupting his escape. Sighing, he turns to face her. [b "I don't have time to wait around for my commentary to become reality. It was a mistake for me to stay here this long. Who knows how far Shaw has gotten to, and now I've fallen behind in tracking him. I work better on my own."]
His fists are gripped at his sides, the only evidence of his agitation. [b "You know as well as I do that this won't work. That boy's machine hasn't even been properly tested. We're putting too much hope in it. What good is this place if we cannot rely on these people? The boy is talented, but I will not rest my mission on his scrawny shoulders. On any of yours. This is my mission alone."]
The Xavier truly wished she didn't understand their need for more firepower. She did, but she wish it wasn't a necessity.
Thankfully, her rather rueful thoughts retreated thanks to the curiosity that sparked to life at the mention of the very young Doctor McCoy's apparent device. Cerebro.
[b “Cerebro, hm? Spanish for the brain?”] She couldn't help but tease gently, and Hank beamed before he proceeded to answer Erik's droned question.
She remained silent for the few moments after that, but after Erik turned his attention to her once more she had already found herself in a contemplative, “listening” silence. At first unintentional, but it was just too hard to ignore.
[b “You said you haven't done proper tests, but a few have still been done?”] Charlotte asked, and Hank nodded his agreement.
[#0086eb “Yeah! Y-Yeah. It's just... basically, I decoded the gene that seams to separate from the normal human DNA. The gene that seems the source of powers and abilities—I call it the X-gene, personally,”] The teenager beamed, expression then falling slightly, [#0086eb “I tried getting the satellite to pick up that gene in people, rather than pick up other radio signals, but... well... It didn't work. But now-”]
[b “But now that you and Oliver know what I can do, and now that it's been confirmed properly, you think you might have found your solution?”]
Charlotte finished for him, a gentle look upon her face as she watched the boy flush, and the woman consoled with an equally gentle smile, [b “I didn't mean to overhear, it's just your brain screams in a very loud way as far as your emotions go. The thoughts just leak on in with them.”] Hank gave her a hesitant smile back, and with a small nod of encouragement from the woman he had feared he insulted he suddenly bounded back up to the hyper energy all teenagers seemed to have.
[#0086eb “Yes! Yes, yes, yes, that's exactly it! I think that if I find a way to incorporate neurological senors into this satellite dome's system, and have it track where the brainwaves ping and focus upon instead of pings from other radio signals, that could use it to find others like us. That it can pick up whatever your own brain 'pings' on!”] Hank was all but vibrating, and seeing his shared excitement in Raven he bounded over to her, grabbed her hand, and then lead her over to the other side of the room where he began promptly explaining plans. It easily echoed about the room, but the teenagers were having a moment and Charlotte couldn't help but smile.
[b “He thinks he can have it done at sometime tomorrow, or the day after at the latest. I hardly know the boy, but... I almost feel like I'll have to scold him into [i not] staying up until dawn to get it done quickly. His mind is already screaming in exhaustion—he's probably been live-wired since hearing about us. It's the adrenaline.”] Charlotte's words were soft as she all but whispered this to Erik, a playful grin upon her face before she once more turned her gaze to sweeping around the dome of a room.
The hours would pass, and all seemed in tip-top order. The only thing left that needed to be done after hours of meetings with Mister Oliver, and hours of phone calls and protocol teachings, that all they had to do come dawn was sign government contracts of promise and they'd be good to officially start with things.
Alas, of course a certain Mister Lehnsherr had been debating between staying with all of this sheer overwhelming amounts of opportunity, or theft some of the information that had already been freely given and return to looking for Sebastian Shaw on his own.
[i Bugger. Why can't I just get a good night of sleep? That's all I want.] These were Charlotte's whining thoughts as she hurried her way thorugh the halls of the building as quickly and silently as possible. Her brain had been seconds away from tipping into unconsciousness before realizing that one thought pattern was getting to far away.
And then she had zeroed in on the thoughts.
She had bolted out of bed, forgoing shoes or socks or slippers, and haven't even grabbed a robe or a coat to throw on over her nightclothes. Just an Oxford t-shirt and one of various pairs of sleeping shorts she and Raven usually stole back-and-forth from one another.
Yet the tiny genius mutant didn't want to draw more attention then she already would, so she sped-walked through the halls. Once having reached the main entrance, though, she bolted the last 50 feet before opening the glass doors and stepping silently onto the cement outside. Looking at the back of the lone figure.
[b “You know, Erik, that considering a lot of your commentary from earlier? I hoped you wouldn't think to pull a runner.”] Her words were loud enough to be audible, but her voice was that ever-gentle calm tone she just seemed to naturally have. No tone of mocking or rudeness present. Just honest observation of what he was doing.
Erik spares her a glance from the corner of his eye. [b "It's...something. I supposed we're better here than where we started. But, we're still going to need a lot more firepower, if you know what I mean."]
The three of them, plus the young McCoy were hardly an army. While it meant that they have somewhat of an advantage with recruitment, they would need a handful of mutants to even have a fighting chance. Shaw's crew were experienced, and it will take more than a few teenagers to take them down.
Grasping his hands behind his back, Erik takes in the surroundings. [b "I was hardly expecting to find a mutant in this place, but if there's already one, perhaps this won't be a lost cause. Maybe he'll be able to point us in the direction of some others,"] he drawls.
Hank drops from the plane and lands smoothly on his feet with grace. [i "I might have something that can help you,"] he says, having overheard the conversation.
Erik arches an eyebrow. [b "Do you now?"]
The boy nods. [i "It's something that I've been working on. It's not exactly finished, and I haven't properly tested it, but the foundation is there. Come with me."]
He takes them on a trek across the grounds, and up in to a separate building. [i "This is Cerebro. A prototype of mine,"] Hank gestures to the masses of wires and metal.
[b "That's well and good, but what exactly does it do?"] Erik drones.
[i "Right. Well it uh, it's meant to find mutants. People like me. It uses a tracker of sorts to find mutations in people, from all around the world. Separates them from regular people."]
Interesting indeed. Erik turns to Charlotte. [b "Perhaps we've found our leverage."]
The Xavier woman had known of the boy being a mutant himself the moment he had come into view. She hadn't dug, oh no; it was just sort of hard to ignore the way his mind had seemed to be projecting in screaming in utter joy and wonder in a mantra of [i There really are others like me! Mister Flemgyn hadn't been lying! It's true!] over and over again. It had been utterly precious.
But she had held her tongue in case he hadn't been ready to tell them about it just yet, but nonetheless he took it with grace when Raven had teased a mutation existing in him and Oliver took it. He'd seemed a little startled and nervous but had remained calm.
His feet made her eyes widen in awe for it was the first physical mutation she had seen beyond her sisters. And when Hank McCoy was able to vault himself into the air from a stationary position and hang upside down by his feet? Well it appeared his mutation went even deeper than those 'monkey feet' of his. It was a wonder, and she felt that wonder.
A near look of soft reverence was on her face that was mixed with understanding, for the boy's anxiety over his mutation were projected clearly for her telepathy to pick up.
[b "You are [i absolutely incredible.]"] Charlotte took a few steps closer to come face-to-face with the now dangling teenager, [b "Never let anyone tell you different, yeah? Because they'll be wrong."] She smiled at him and though the boy looked shocked and hesitant he was soon beaming back.
The tone of voice Charlotte had spoken in wasn't overly dramatic, over hyper, or any other sort of thing that one might expect in the heat of a moment. She had spoken with a tone of wonder and tone of statement so utterly [i sincere] that is would undoubtedly be seen as uncommon. Maybe even viewed as impossible to exist by some people. And yet... it had been there. In her voice, her face, her eyes, and maybe even her very soul.
The moment was broken once the young Dr. McCoy flipped down Raven had moved over and began pattering him with compliments and questions, and he started the same right back.
Charlotte smiled softly at the teenagers. She noted that Oliver and Moira had begun discussing something while glancing over papers together so, with expression still happily content she mosied her way back on over to stand beside Erik. [b "So... what do you think of the place so far? It's by first time in the building, but I'm happy to see with already got some good people. Aren't you?"]
[b "Hardly competitive when only one of the runners has any real challenge,"] Erik throws casually over his shoulder with a smirk.
He regales his victory to Raven as they get ready for their flight, only embellishing certain details to get under her sister's skin across the room. He only cedes his bragging when she starts reciting the lyrics to Mowtown songs in his head during the flight.
Their destination is certainly impressive, complete with top of the line equipment and scientists running around. The jet itself is quite the accomplishment, and Erik can think of several uses it could have in taking down Shaw. His thoughts are interrupted by the young genius behind the machine, who barely looks old enough to be out of high school. [b "You designed this?"] Erik points to the jet.
Hank nods. [i "Yes. It took some time, but I figured out how to maximize the potential of its structure to ensure optimum defense in the event of an air battle."]
[i "Hank is quite proud,"] Oliver claps a hand on his shoulder like a proud father.
[b "As you should be,"] Erik drawls, stepping closer to examine the shell. [b "Perhaps Charlotte has been overthrown as the smartest in the room."]
Raven snorts a laugh, but can't seem to pull her eyes from Hank. [i "Depends. Is this your mutation? You're super-smart?"]
The young man flushes several shades of red but stammers over his answer. Oliver laughs again. [i "Hank's mutation is quite unique, I can assure you. Go on and show them."]
[i "You're a mutant?"] Erik interrupts, suddenly more interested in the boy.
In silence, Hank kicks off his shoes and peels his socks down. He allows them a quick glimpse of his monkey-esque feet before jumping and grasping on to the wing of the plane with his toes.
[b "It's not cheap trick if the one you're trying to race is like two of your own self in height—you said it yourself, 'Mr. Long-legs',"] The short brunette sassed back, and then gave a frustrated huff as she did her best to pick her speed back up as Erik sped ahead. She had managed to get to the point of being just half a step behind him before they ended up near toppling over poor Moira.
She remained in silence as the scolding occurred and it was just as the Lehnsherr male was starting to step around her that she spoke up, [b "You know Moira that, from a technical standpoint, a foot-race is in no way a game of leisure. The purpose literally involves competitive speed."] Charlotte said this in her most calm, serene, and almost teacher-like voice to the older woman... and then snickered like a naughty child as she dodged a well deserved swat to the head before she zipped off.
The issues of moral standpoints and why neither of the duo were doing specific things with their powers didn't come up again that day, and likely wouldn't anytime soon. The flight back to Richmond, Virginia, was long and dull. The only form of entertainment on the federally owned jet being books, magazines, some poorly chosen music, and a few decks of playing cards.
Once landing in the city the travel to the building run by the government employee known as 'The Man in Black' was another half hour, but finally they reached their destination. The runner of this division of the government meeting them outside personally. He began with giving the quartet the start of a tour of the facility and it wasn't too long after they'd gotten under a quarter-sized model of a rather intricate looking jet that they were approached by a very young man, wearing a lab coat, that couldn't have been all that much older than Raven.
He spoke up as he seemed to make it hesitantly closer towards the group, [#0086eb "You should see it in action—the currently fastest aircraft in existence."] Oliver laughed warmly as he moved over to the kid that towered over his own height by half a foot and clasped him good-naturedly on one of his shoulders.
[#229e00 "Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce you to Hank McCoy! He's who I've chosen to work closely with us. He's a remarkable young man—the government's currently youngest scientist at just 16 years of age. He graduated at 14 years from Harvard actually, so I think he's giving you a run for you money Miss Xavier."] Oliver chuckled at his own wit and the mentioned genius offered up a faint smile in return to the man.
[b "Well I was completing several degrees simultaneously in order to leave Oxford as a full-fledged professor—it takes a little more time."] The woman's words were playful as a grin spread her face, and she shook hands with a the young scientist as her grin turned from minor snark to genuine warmth, [b "Charlotte Xavier, and I have to say it is an absolute pleasure to meet such a wonderful mind."] The woman's voice was kind and warm, and thought Hank looked a little awkward from the compliment the boy grinned all the same.
Erik grits his teeth and stares back at her defiantly. He knew his limits, without question. He just didn't have many of them. Given the chance, he'd get revenge on everyone who had wronged him in any way that he could inflict pain on their pathetic selves. [b "Let's just say that I have more 'woulds' than 'could nevers',"] comes his bitter reply.
Who was she to judge his choices? She had never experienced the gut-wrenching pain that he had endured as a boy. She didn't have to watch her mother be brutally murdered because of her failures. That alone is enough to make a person's morals crumble. Erik will do what he has to do; no hesitation at all.
[b "Something tells me that we aren't going to agree on this so I suggest we drop the subject. I have my beliefs, and you have yours. We'll get nowhere by debating them. Experiences separate people, and that is clearly evident here,"] he brushes off his hands on his shirt. [b "Shall we continue?"]
Charlotte appears dazed momentarily before blinking up at him, announcing their need to return. Before he can answer her challenge, she's off and barreling down the path. [b "Cheap, Xavier. Quite cheap."]
He takes off after her, catching up with a handful of strides. [b "Never challenge someone with longer legs to a distance race,"] he pesters her as he runs in stride with her, before pulling in to the lead.
Rounding the corner, they nearly run smack in to Moira, who shrieks and grabs her chest. [i "This isn't the time to for leisurely games. Come quickly and change. We have business to attend to,"] the agent tries to sound authoritative.
[b "No matter. I was just about to bask in my victory, but I think I can spare you that humiliation,"] Erik taunts Charlotte as he moves to step around her.
Oh, like Raven hadn't made various versions of [i that] kind of statement to her over their years growing up together as adoptive siblings. [b "I've discovered in my life that a balanced mind doesn't guarantee a balanced body."] Her words came out slightly muffled as her hand stayed cupped over her face, but soon enough the rather tall male was kneeling down in front of her with a touch that was a slight more gentle than she would have otherwise expected. Soon enough as Erik finished his little examination she couldn't help but speak up with a slightly disgruntled tone, [b "My athleticism is just fine, thank you."]
Charlotte soon found her way back to her feet with the help of Erik's hand grabbing onto hers—the man probably could pluck her up as easily as a rag doll thanks to their size difference but she appreciated the bit of dignity he let her keep after that fall.
Despite the stinging from the scrapes on her nose and cheek all seemed fine and dandy. In fact she had been moments away from moving to continue down the trail when he spoke up and caused her to pause in her literal tracks.
[b "...I know what I am, and am not, willing to do. As the person I am right now? I know those limits. I know the limits of what I can handle."] The brunette glanced down at her scraped hands, rubbing them together a little bit to try and massage out the stinging. It was a stupid thing to try to do, but she did it anyway in order to ground herself. After a moment of silence passed she looked up and asked, [b "Do you know yours, Erik? Do you know all of your own would, could, will, won't, wouldn't, and could nevers?"] She arched an eyebrow but before the man could likely answer the shorter mutant raised her head, looked dazed for the briefest of seconds, and then smiled as she huffed a sigh.
[b "Raven's back from shopping for you, and Moira is looking for us. They want to head out to the airfield as early as possible to fly back to the Virgina—which is ridiculous, because it's not like us getting there sooner will let us leave quicker. It is a government owned plane. They'll fly when they want."] The Xavier woman rolled her eyes at the other woman's desired, and then giving a friendly pat to the Lehnsherr male's bicep she turned and began jogging off. [b "Race you back?"] She offered over her shoulder, grinning a bit cheekily.
And of course as the fair-playing, kind woman she is, she of course waited for him to catch up with her before officially starting the race.
...That was a lie. She cheated and bolted as soon as her question was answered. It seemed fair in her own mind, though, considering Erik's leg-length compared to her went up to near the middle of her stomach Charlotte saw herself getting a head-start as utterly fair. Which it was in a way.
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