Spider Man: Duty And Loss Book 1 Chapter 123
Charles looked up as the door slowly opened. As it cracked open the cacophony of the kids outside flooded the quiet peace of the room, but it brought a smile to his face as he looked at the two entering.
The door quickly closed once again, as Charles sent out a small probe towards Peter. He had heard that he had found a way to block telepathy, but it couldn't hurt to check. The smile on his lips turned to appreciation as he tried to sense Peters' thoughts, but there seemed to be some interference surrounding him.
The device worked perfectly and if what Jean told him was true, he had created it when he was 10 years old! Though, Charles thought to himself, he's probably improved it by now. "Thank you Jean for guiding Mr Parker here."
Giving a small nod and smile to one of his best students, the smile she sent back was all Charles needed to see to know that everything was worth it, everything he had done over the years he frowned for a second as his thoughts travelled to the past, something Peter and Jean quickly noted.
Before Jean could say anything he continued. "I'm sorry I've cut your time short Jean, but I have some things I would like to discuss with young Peter." It was Jean's turn to frown for a second, before she pouted in the professor's direction.
She was hoping she could stay in the room when they had their discussion, but it looked like that wasn't the case, the look the professor was sending her way, left no room for argument. Still pouting and having trouble moving her legs back out the door, Peter's hand clasped her shoulder and broke her from her slump.
Giving her a smile that brightened her day immeasurable, Peter spoke with a chipper tone. "Don't worry Red, I'll be finished quickly, then we could do something else if we have the time before I go." Jean gave a smile back, before begrudgingly moving her body out.
She contemplated the idea of eavesdropping, but the professor would know if she stayed so close to the door and she couldn't just read the minds of both people inside, because of practical and moral reasons.
Stomping her foot in slight irritation, she continued down the corridor, looking for her bunkmates, she could talk to them for a whilenow where would they be?
Feeling that Jean had left the immediate area, Charles smile slowly started to leave his face and it quickly became one of worry and determination. Peter quickly sensed the shift in mood, as his back slightly straightened and his eyes hardened. He might not have known what the professor was going to say next, but he knew it was important.
Locking eyes for a few seconds, Charles was the first to break contact, as he slowly wheeled himself out from behind his desk. Moving over to the huge windows that overlooked the mansion grounds, his eyes seemed to be far away as he starred out at the kids passing by.
Lost in his own thoughts, Peter looked at the bald man, before making his way to stand next to him. They continued to stand there for a few minutes before Charles finally spoke up, his voice a bit nostalgic and sad at the same time.
"I started looking after Jean when her parents died; she's like a daughter to me after all these years" Peter didn't say a word as he remembered when he heard the news, he was heartbroken for his best friend, shortly following that she also had to move away. At the time both sudden events had crushed young Peter's summer holidays and he remembered those few months as the worst summer vacation he ever had.
"But that wasn't when I found her" Peter drew out of his thoughts as he turned to regard the disabled man, listening intently. "I first felt her presence months before, when she first awakened her mutant powers; I usually find them, see what their situation is like and then help if I can. It's usually hard for those like us"
His eyes turned even sadder as they became unfocused. "even then her powers were unprecedented, like a bright light shining in the dark and they only grew stronger as the days went by. I was resolved to step in and see her near the start but she suddenly disappeared, then reappeared. It happened a few times before I realised she was learning to control her powers, or something along those lines"
He sent a small smile Peter's way as he finally looked away from the window and moved back behind the desk. Peter gave a small embarrassed chuckle as he saw the look; he knew exactly why that happened.
"I was going to leave her be. Her powers while strong were under control, everything was fine" He let out a sigh and reached for his desk, slowly pulling out a small hip flask from inside. To say Peter was shocked he kept a small 'pick me up' in his personal desk would be an understatement, especially after hearing Jean talk about him. But he didn't say anything as he took a small swig from it.
"until she awakened her telekinesiswhen her parents died." Charles's body visible shuddered at the memory and Peter stood stock still at the words. He had never known how Jean's parents had gotten into their car crash; it had just happened one day. She never talked about it and it was because of her powers
Peter felt his mood turn downcast as he empathised for his best friend, he never knewno she didn't want him to know. He clenched his fist tight in anger, but in the end slowly let the tension drop, his shoulder slumping as well. He couldn't do anything, there was no one to blame, nothing he could do.
Charles just continued in his sombre voice. "When I took her in, she wasn't at a good place; her powers that had been growing steadily were exploding forwards, I tried to help her, I tried so hard to find the right balance, but I failedI had no choice, it was best for her so she could live normally."
Peter frowned once again as he looked at the man before him. "What did you do?" Charles could only give a self-depreciating chuckle. "I did what I had toand it worked" Peter gave him a hard stare. "What. Did. You. Do?" Charles sent one look his way before shaking his head. "Her powers while still strong no longer lashed out, no longer endangered those close to her, she was happy."
Peter didn't bother to ask again, his head moved down as he retreated to his thoughts, the information flowing through his mind slowly took what the professor was saying in and quickly filtering it, trying to figure out what it all meant, while at the same time his impression of Charles Xavier slowly moved down.
Sure he had only known him as a world renowned professor and been told by Jean about the caring man behind that, sitting before him. Peter even respected him for what he had been doing for all the kids in the mansion, what he had been trying to do for all of mutant kind with his work.
But what he was talking about here, didn't sit all that right with him. The fact that he wouldn't say what he did was the greatest tell, the look of shame that crossed his face, the fact he was drinking in the middle of the day just thinking about it.
Peter might have been more worried about Jean, if he couldn't tell couldn't see it in Xavier's eyes that he hadn't crossed the line that he hadn't done something unforgivable. He had done something, but he hadn't gone too farbut then where did he stopwhat did he do?
A silence sat over the room as Charles stopped talking and just looked at Peter as if searching for something, waiting for something from him. Finally Peter looked at him once more, determination in his eyes, his voice a bit colder than it used to be.
"Why are you telling me this?" Charles looked at him for another few seconds before confirming something to himself, seemingly satisfied with what he saw, he continued after taking one more gulp from his flask.
Putting it back in the drawer that it had been sitting in, his eyes blazed with conviction and hope. "I'm telling you Mr. Parker because even though I tried my best, even though I helped her before, slowly he powers are coming through once again and I can't stop them. You might not have noticed it and maybe no one else either, but I can tell and it's affecting her, slowly affecting her mind and"
He paused for a second, his eyes looking as if they had gained another 20 years in the blink of an eye. "I don't want to lose the Jean we have now" His voice broke for a second. "My Daughter. I need you to promise me you'll help her when the time comes, help her get through the tough times ahead"
He looked at the door Peter had entered through as if he could see where Jean was at that very moment. "You're her best friend, the one she trusts the most. With you by her side, I just know she'll be able to get through whatever may come"
He looked back at Peter one last time, eyes locking on to his to see his reply, his conviction. "So Mr. Parker, what is your answer." Silence dominated the room one final time as they looked at each other.
After 1 minute of staring Peter gave a small smirk as he broke eye contact first. Turning his back to the professor, he slowly walked to the door and opened it. The cacophony of voice once again flooded the room as Charles looked on in slight surprise and disappointment.
Stopping in the door frame Peter sent a small glance over his shoulder at the man behind the desk. "Oh was that all?" Peters face became dead serious. "You didn't have to ask. She's my best friend, I'll always be there for her." Leaving those words, Peter shut the door on his way out, leaving a slightly stunned Charles Xavier in the room.
Starring at the closed door for a short while, a bigger smile appeared on his lips and a weight was lifted off his shoulders. He was tempted for a second to go for his flask once more, but then looked at the papers on the desk; he still had a long day ahead of him.