X-men Evolution Fan Fiction / X-Men Fan Fiction ❯ BurnOut ❯ Chapter 6 ( Chapter 6 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Moira MacTaggert met Charles Xavier twenty-five years earlier at Oxford. He was a young American on a fellowship to study evolutionary genetics and she was a pre-med student straight off her father's sheep farm on Muir Island. At a tea party hosted by some of the faculty they struck up an immediate affinity. Charles seemed to know all about her, it felt like he was reading her mind; of course, he was. Throughout their relationship they had spent months, years, apart. But always, the moment they saw each other, their deep familiarity was renewed. It was as if no time had passed since they were last together.
Soon after Charles and Eric Lehnsherr, who was not yet known to the world as Magneto, had recruited their first students, Moira received a transatlantic phone call from an anguished Xavier. He wanted to know if she could come to the Institute to help him with a ten year-old child named Jean Grey.
Jean had recently witnessed the death of a friend, a girl named Annie Richards. The two girls were playing together in Jean's front yard. Annie wanted Jean to see the new dress her mother had bought her so they decided to race across the street to the Richards' house. In an instant that would stretch into infinity for Jean Grey, a large black vehicle screeched around the corner and slammed into Annie. The event triggered Jean's dormant telepathy. She suffered onslaughts of pain and confusion as her friend experienced the final dissolution of consciousness.
Awakening from a month long coma, Jean now heard the thoughts of everyone around her and kept reliving the traumatic event. Her nascent telekinesis was becoming a problem as well. During instances of extreme agitation, which were frequent, anything or anyone who approached her was violently tossed up against a wall or thrown into the air. Charles had managed to calm her by transmitting his thoughts directly into her mind. Using all of his energy and concentration, he directed her away from the torrent of screaming voices and brutal images and led her to a place of peace. As soon as he let go, however, she was thrown back into terror.
After observing Jean, Moira arrived at the conclusion that the only way to free the girl from constant trauma was to permanently disarm the thoughts that were torturing her. She and Charles developed a new technique, which enabled him to link minds with Grey. As opposed to the transmission or reception of thought Charles had long been accustomed to, this process melded his consciousness and Jean's into one. They co-existed in a warped world formed by the fears of a frightened child. Xavier raised the ten year-old up to his level and showed her how she could soar high above the small girl lying in the street bleeding from her brain. Annie Richards receded into the distance and Jean Grey emerged.
Moira knew Charles and Jean became closer at that moment than any two human minds ever had. From that day on they always existed partially in each other's heads. Standing in his office, Moira was shocked when Charles revealed he could no longer hear Jean's thoughts. She could see it pained him.
“Before it was noise, there was so much going on in her mind. Instead of a single train of thought, she had hundred different consciousnesses racing around. But over the past few days she's become totally opaque to me. She won't let me see a thing.”
Charles turned his chair from the window to face Moira. He didn't tell MacTaggert everything - that he felt cut-off, as if he'd become partially deaf. The psychic bandwidth was still and silent. For so long Jean Grey had been there, chiming along with his own perceptions. Her lovely voice whispering between his ears was absent.
“Charles, remember Hank's analysis. Jean is generating a powerful negative energy field, it may be repelling your psychic connection.”
“That's not it. She's purposefully hiding her thoughts from me.”
“Maybe she wants to be alone.”
“I can't help her if she won't let me!” Xavier caught himself. He was shocked to hear himself raise his voice.
“You're doing all you can,” Moira sat down and took his hand.
“We all knew this could happen, you, Eric, and I. But once I broke through with her, I thought I could teach her to control her powers, no matter how limitless her abilities grew. She's never shut me out like this before. She was never able to. But she's beyond all of us now.”
“I know. And I also know what you're not saying. I'm prepared to do what is necessary. But I don't think we're there yet. Jean is trying. Give her some more time.”
“That's what worries me, Moira. At any time she could lose control, and then she'll be gone, or worse, everything will be gone.”
“Charles, I think we should have faith in Jean, for now. But if you truly feel she is not in charge of her actions, and is an unmanageable threat to herself and others, give me the order,” Moira looked into the eyes of her old friend, “and we'll stop her.”
* * * * * * * *
She was floating, free from the Earth once more. The wind on her face was cool relief in the summer heat. She felt a tug at her waist where the harness she was wearing connected to a cable tied to a man below. It was Scott. Sunlight glinted off his visor.
“Jean, control it. I know you can do it. Come down to me,” he called up to her.
But she wouldn't return to the terrace, not yet. She was cherishing the vivid blue, noontime sky; it was the color of his eyes. He had been there, in the same airspace. When was it? Days earlier, a week, perhaps… His wings rising on thermal currents, he aimed his blue eyes at her.
“I won't try to stop you. I'll go with you.”
She could smell him for a second. Was thunder rumbling somewhere in the distance? The air felt charged like just before an electrical storm. Where was Warren now? Ever since that afternoon he had been present in her thoughts. The following morning, at the beginning of the six-hour long session of mental exercises and guided meditation she endured daily with the Professor, a full-blown psychic emanation of Warren almost bloomed into full view. Realizing what was happening, she dissolved the thought right before Xavier was able to make out anything distinct. Yet he remained interested. In avoiding his inquiry she found she could block his telepathy. Almost for the fun of it she began closing doors - practically in his face. His response seemed born more of hurt than frustration.
Jean, our minds must be in synch. You aren't taking this seriously. You aren't even trying.
She didn't want Charles inside her head anymore. He kept telling her she had to demonstrate control. It was all he talked about. If he wasn't convinced she was in control, he wouldn't allow her to leave to attend the University in a couple months. Her parents had agreed to Xavier's terms of admission long ago, awarding guardianship of their daughter to Charles and the school. Of course, she was eighteen now and could legally determine her own fate, but she doubted the University would risk enrolling a rebellious mutant who lacked the support of the Institute. They would be far too fearful.
And she desperately wanted to go. She was extremely curious. She wanted to figure out what was happening to her - her strange experiences since the defeat of Apocalypse. Could she now perceive the fabric of matter itself? Cells, circulating DNA strands, molecules, particles, waves, strings, she could see them pulsating, hear their frequencies coalescing into harmony, then dispersing into dissonance. Sometimes she could feel it all. Change it, if she wanted.
“Jean!” Scott again, calling up to her. “Come down, please.”
It was definitely time she left Scott and the Institute. Every inch of the estate was imbued with the Professor's presence. She not only needed to move beyond Charles' tutelage, she had to free herself from his scrutiny, and his deep, repressed, desires. During their many hours together over the past two weeks, the buried feelings that Xavier wished away with every turn of self-reflection had become increasingly evident to Jean. She sensed how he wanted to touch her every time his voice entered her head. It disturbed her so much she now dreaded his attention. The Professor wasn't supposed to be like the other men (and boys) she knew. He was her true father - the noble leader who understood her, understood the world, and was supposed to guide her selflessly, not harbor vulgar human longings.
The only way she found she could prevent Charles' latent fantasies from dominating her consciousness was to think of Warren. She transmuted Xavier's desires, transferring them to Warren's body. She envisioned stroking Angel's wings as Xavier ached to run his fingers through her long, red hair. Actually seeing Warren again might be dangerous. She couldn't predict what her reaction would be if he were close.
She called out to him. She couldn't stop herself. Maybe he was far away - emotionally or geographically, and he wouldn't hear her. Scott was still there looking up at her. She would demonstrate control. She pulled her body to the ground.